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Curses in Context

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Small lead tablets inscribed in Greek or Latin with private curses against rivals or wrongdoers reveal a darker side of ancient life that is often hidden from us in our sources for ancient history. This project aims at a general study of these texts found throughout the Mediterranean basin and beyond.  These texts have generally been studied as a unified corpus with little emphasis on the local context of their deposit in tombs, sanctuaries and bodies of water or on the local features of dialect and Paleography.  Carefully excavated hoards from Greece, Italy and Roman Germany allow us new opportunities to study these curses in their archeological context. This project requires a combination of technical skills: restoration, imaging, paleography, archaeology, and historical and religious studies. A series of meetings will provide a platform to new editions of texts and general studies of important aspects never considered in the past.

Research Team

Christopher Faraone (Classics), Sofía Torallas Tovar (Classics), Richard Gordon (University of Erfurt), Celia Sánchez Natalías (University of Zaragoza)


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