Archaeology & History
'Magic' jar bore deadly curse in ancient Athens
By T.K. Randall
May 31, 2021 · 0 comments
The Agora of Athens as it appears today. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 George E. Koronaios
Archaeologists have discovered a jar that was once used to bestow a deadly curse on 55 people.
Dating back 2,300 years, the jar was unearthed beneath a commercial building in the Agora of Athens.
Its unnerving contents - coupled with the fact that someone had driven a large iron nail through it - have led researchers to conclude that its purpose was to deliver a deadly curse.
"The pot contained the dismembered head and lower limbs of a young chicken," wrote Jessica Lamont of Yale University.
"All exterior surfaces of the [jar] were originally covered with text; it once carried over 55 inscribed names, dozens of which now survive only as scattered, floating letters or faint stylus strokes."
Exactly who these named individuals were or what they had done to get on the wrong side of whoever was responsible for placing the jar at this location remains unclear.
"The ritual assemblage belongs to the realm of Athenian binding curses and aimed to 'bind' or inhibit the physical and cognitive faculties of the named individuals," wrote Lamont.
"It was certainly composed by people/persons with good knowledge of how to cast a powerful curse."
"The sheer number of names makes an impending lawsuit the most likely scenario."
Source: Live Science
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