At a time when black magic was relatively common, two curses involving snakes were cast, one targeting a senator and the other an animal doctor, says a Spanish researcher who has just deciphered the 1,600-year-old curses.
Both curses feature a depiction of a deity, possibly the Greek goddess Hekate, with serpents coming out of her hair, possibly meant to strike at the victims.
The two curses, mainly written in Latin and inscribed on thin lead tablets, would have been created by two different people late in the life of the Roman Empire. Both tablets were rediscovered in 2009 at the Museo Archeologico Civico di Bologna, in Italy, and were originally acquired by the museum during the late 19th century. Although scholars aren't sure where the tablets originated, after examining and deciphering the curses, they know who victims of the curses were.
One of the curses targets a Roman senator named Fistus and appears to be the only known example of a cursed senator. The other curse targets a veterinarian named Porcello.
1. May all his limbs dissolve…
|A drawing of the curse tablet that targets the Roman Senator. The text reads in part, "Crush, kill Fistus the senator ... May Fistus dilute, languish, sink and may all his limbs dissolve ..."|
2. Kill the pig