Curse Tablets of Ancient Rome … or, No Wonder our Driver is not Feeling his Best!

Almost all of our modern ideas on history and mankind have been anticipated in Greek & Roman thought … human nature has not changed enough to make knowledge of our ancestors obsolete.

Almost all of our modern ideas on history and mankind have been anticipated in Greek & Roman thought … human nature has not changed enough to make our ancestors’ knowledge obsolete.

We can recognize our common (if unsavory) humanity in the prevalent Curse Tablets of ancient Rome, which were inscribed on thin lead tablets and hidden in advantageous spots … chariot racing was a hotbed of sabotage and curse tablets.

Here is an actual Roman curse typical of the day:  ‘I command you, demon, and demand from you this hour and day and moment, that you torture and kill the horses of the Greens and that you kill in a crash their drivers.’

Other authentic Curse Tablets were more elaborate and featured detailed instructions:

‘I conjure you, holy beings and holy names, to join in aiding this spell, and bind, enchant, thwart, strike, overturn, conspire against, destroy and kill the charioteer and all his horses tomorrow in the circus at Rome. May he not leave the barriers well. May he not be quick. May he not outstrip anyone. May he not make the turns well. May he not win any prizes, and if he has pressed someone from behind, may he not overtake him; but may he meet with an accident; may he be bound, may he be broken; may he be dragged along by your power, in the morning and afternoon races.

Superstition is an ancient custom and, then as now, not always a pleasant one.

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