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curse

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1934,1105.1

  • Description

    Lead curse, scratched onto sheet metal.

  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 220 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Language

        Latin
      • Inscription Content

        Tretia(m) Maria(m) defico et / illeus uita(m) et me(n)tem / et memoriam [e]t iocine/ra pulmones interm<x>ix<i>/ta fata cogitata memor/iam sci(=sic) no(n) possitt loqui / (quae) sicreta si(n)t neque SINITA / MERE possit neque [. / ...] CL VDO
      • Inscription Translation

        I curse Tretia Maria and her life and mind and memory and liver and lungs mixed up together, and her words, thoughts and memory; thus may she be unable to speak what things are concealed, nor be able ... nor ...
  • Curator's comments

    The wishing of ill-health, or worse, on a person is typical of many Roman curses. Curses were sometimes rolled up, hidden under floors or in wall cavities, or nailed up. After this example had been inscribed it was pierced by seven holes driven through from the back of the sheet, a procedure perhaps intended to increase the power of the curse.

    This example from Roman London, scratched on a fragment of lead sheet, reads:

    'I curse Tretia Maria and her life and mind and memory and liver and lungs mixed up together, and her words, thoughts and memory; thus may she be unable to speak what things are concealed, nor be able...'

    Roman Britain, 1st-4th century AD

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • R I B I, 7, p. 3 bibliographic details
    • Roman Britain 1964 p. 48, fig. 22.1 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G49/dc4

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1934

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1934,1105.1

COMPASS Title: Lead curse (defixio)

Unknown

COMPASS Title: Lead curse (defixio)

Image description

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Object reference number: BCB71751

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