In this instructable I will show you how to make a simple curse tablet in the same manner as most tablets found from Roman Britain. The Latin word for these was “defixio”. I will also mention some other types of curse table and how to make them, but this will be in less detail than how to make a defixio. A defixio is a type of curse found throughout the Greco-Roman world, in which someone would ask the gods, spirits, or the dead to do something to a person or object, or in some other way make the curse happen.
Tag Archives: cursing
Most of us have at least toyed with the idea of a voodoo doll, but we wouldn’t really curse someone… would we? The people of the ancient world weren’t so shy, and have left us a lot of their ill-wishing to study. The things that made them angry enough to curse someone aren’t so different from the things that annoy us now: lawsuits, theft, property damage, infidelity, stealing someone’s boyfriend/girlfriend, and so on.
Nemesis: Goddess of Rebalancing
I reblogged an article on Nemesis, the goddess of rebalancing, last week, but I’m still really intrigued by this goddess, so fearsome and yet widely worshipped. The Greeks built temples to honour her, and the Romans took her cult to the ends of the Roman Empire, from Dacia to Scotland.
Lugos and Gaulish Mercury
The Irish god Lugh, we’re told, is one version of a pan-Celtic deity, called Llew in Wales and Lugos/Lugus in Gaul. Given that Lugh was such an important deity, and that Lugos could be the Celtic Mercury that Julius Caesar describes, you would expect Lugos to also be an important and well-attested god.
So it’s a bit of a shock to look up the Gaulish god Lugos/Lugos on the Epigraphik Datenbank and find no inscriptions matching his name. Why is Lugos so often assumed to be the Gaulish Mercury when there’s very little evidence for his worship in France?
Aeracura: Goddess of Magic and the Underworld
Aeracura seems to have been a a goddess of the underworld and of prosperity, whose cult centered on southern Germany and the north-west of the Balkans. Her consort was Dis Pater, who accompanies her in inscriptions, a statue, and magic spells. She shares her fruitful attributes with the Mothers, and may be a patron of miners.
Deities of Earth and Underworld
Chthonic in ancient Greek means “of the earth”, as opposed to the heavenly deities who lived in Olympus. These deities could be deities of the fertile earth, like agricultural deities, or else of the underworld. Heroes and the spirits of the dead were also considered chthonic.1
Maponos: the Son
The Celtic god Maponos had followers on both sides of the Channel: he was also one of the most commonly invoked gods along Hadrian’s Wall. He was no war-god, however, but a youthful deity, a musician and hunter. In the Roman era he was often called Apollo Maponos, linking him to another god of youth and youths.
Ogmios: Strong Persuader
Ogmios is a vaguer deity than the Irish god Ogma. Most of what we know about him comes from the Roman writer Lucan, who called him Hercules and described him as a master of persuasion and rhetoric. One inscription seems to record a dedication to him in fulfillment of a vow, and two curse tablets invoke him.
Andee: the non-gods of Ireland
In the Irish myths a mysterious phrase crops up: the gods and the non-gods (or un-gods). We all know what a god is, but what is an non-god?
Adsalluta and Savus
This post exists because of a mistake. When I was researching my post on Sulis, I came across references to a goddess Adsullata, who seemed similar. She was from Central Europe, and I was a bit excited at the thought that maybe Sulis wasn’t alone after all.
Unfortunately, it turned out that Adsullata was Adsalluta. She and her partner, Savus, are unusual in that they are a divine couple who retained their native names, with no Roman overlay. (The Epigraph Databank has eight entries for Adsalluta, seven for Savus, but none for Adsullata.)