Friday, December 01, 2006

This Curse Is a Blessing

Archaeologists working in Leicester, England, have unearthed a curse dating from the second or third century AD, inscribed on a sheet of lead.

It has been translated by a specialist at Oxford University, and reads: "To the god Maglus, I give the wrongdoer who stole the cloak of Servandus. Silvester, Riomandus (etc.) ... that he destroy him before the ninth day, the person who stole the cloak of Servandus…"

Then follows a list of the names of 18 or 19 suspects. What happened to them is not recorded.
According to Richard Buckley of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services, this "curse tablet" is one of the few artifacts or documents found that identify Leicester residents of the era.
"The curse is a remarkable discovery, and at a stroke, dramatically increases the number of personal names known from Roman Leicester.

"So far, we have the soldier, Marcus Ulpius Novantico, from a military discharge certificate of AD106, 'Verecunda' and Lucius' from a graffito on a piece of pottery and 'Primus' who inscribed his name on a tile he had made." [Link]

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