Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World
In the ancient Graeco-Roman world, it was a common practice to curse an enemy or rival by writing an incantation on a tablet and dedicating it to a god or spirit. More than a thousand such texts, written between the fifth century BC and the fifth century AD, have been discovered in places ranging from North Africa to England, and from Syria to Spain. Until now, however, there has been no English translation of these tablets and indeed the texts themselves have remained virtually unknown. This volume makes these fascinating texts available for the first time. A substantial introduction supplies the full cultural, social, and historical context for the texts. The selected translations, arranged thematically, are fully annotated and accompanied by extensive commentary. Reflecting a wide range of social occasions, including lawsuits, love affairs, business competition, and horse-races, the tablets open a window into the hearts and minds of ordinary people, shedding light on a dimension of classical society in which historians today are increasingly interested.