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 Museum Explorer

Gods and spirits in Roman Britain

Lead curse

Length: 220.000 mm

P&EE 1934 11-5 1

Lead curse (defixio)

From: Moorgate, London
Date: 1st-4th century AD

Romans prayed to the gods, but they could also put curses on their enemies. The words scratched on this scrap of lead sheet say:

'I curse Tretia Maria and her life and mind and memory and liver and lungs mixed up together, and her words, thoughts and memory...'

After writing this, someone has driven seven holes through the sheet from the back, perhaps to increase the power of the curse. What do you think Tretia Maria might have done to deserve this?