Ancient curses found in 2,400-year-old grave
April 6, 2016 | 10 comments
The ancient Greeks feared the gods of the underworld. Image Credit: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Lead tablets inscribed with powerful curses have been unearthed at a grave site in Athens, Greece.
Found pierced with an iron nail, the five tablets - of which four bear inscriptions - had been folded and buried in the grave in the hope that they would reach the 'chthonic' ( gods of the underworld. )
"The way that curse tablets work is that they're meant to be deposited in an underground location," said Jessica Lamont of John Hopkins University. "It's thought that these subterranean places provided a conduit through which the curses could have reached the underworld."
According to the inscriptions on the tablets, the curses had been intended to target four different husband-and-wife tavern keepers and may have been commissioned by a rival in the area."Cast your hate upon Phanagora and Demetrios and their tavern and their property and their possessions,"
one of the curses reads."I will bind my enemy Demetrios, and Phanagora, in blood and in ashes, with all the dead..."
The grave itself is situated northeast of the Piraeus, the port of Athens, and is believed to contain the ashes of a young woman. It isn't actually clear if this person would have had anything to do with the curses because whoever was responsible for writing them may have simply used her grave as an opportunity to deposit the tablets in the ground for their journey to the underworld.
What became of the tavern keepers mentioned in the inscriptions however remains a mystery.
Source: Live Science
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