Ancient Roman Tablet Holds ‘Black Magic’ Curses
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.