Roman Curses Appear on Ancient Tablet

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PostThu Aug 23, 2012 11:09 am » by One-23

A curse tablet or binding spell is a type of curse found throughout the Graeco-Roman world, in which someone would ask the gods to do harm to others.

Curse tablet Overview

Roman Curses Appear on Ancient Tablet


An ancient Roman lead scroll unearthed in England three years ago has turned out to be a curse intended to cause misfortune to more than a dozen people, according to new research.

Found in East Farleigh, U.K., in the filling of a 3rd to 4th Century AD building that may have originally been a temple, the scroll was made of a 2.3- by 3.9-inch inscribed lead tablet.

Popular in the Greek and Roman world, these sorts of "black magic" curses called upon gods to torment specific victims.

Rolled up to conceal their inscriptions, the tablets were either nailed to the wall of a temple or buried in places considered to be close to the underworld, such as graves, springs or wells.


Roger Tomlin, lecturer in late Roman history at Wolfson College, Oxford, and an authority on Roman inscriptions, was finally able to decode the inscribed text.

"The tablet is not necessarily complete, but what there is consists of two columns of personal names," Tomlin told Discovery News.

He deciphered the Latin names Sacratus, Constitutus, Memorianus, Constant[...] and the Celtic names (Atr)ectus and Atidenus. Eight other names are incomplete.

Experts speculated that this was probably intended to invoke "sympathetic magic" and make life especially difficult for the named and shamed individuals.

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PostThu Aug 23, 2012 11:40 am » by Slith

Interesting post. I never realized that there were scrolls made from lead. I think there are many more unearthed items in GB from the Roman empire yet to be discovered. Stay tuned...

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