About this Project

Small lead tablets inscribed primarily 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 more intensive and contextualized study of these texts found throughout the Mediterranean basin and beyond. In the past these texts have generally been studied as a unified epigraphic 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. Recently excavated hoards from Greece, Italy and Roman Germany allow us new opportunities to study these curses as material objects in their specific archeological and historical contexts. This project requires a combination of technical skills: restoration, imaging, paleography, archaeology, and historical and religious studies. A series of four international conferences over the next two years will provide a platform for new editions of texts and collected volumes of essays focused on important aspects never considered in the past.

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