New Roman Curse Tablets Found in Serbia

Sebian Curse Tablet 250

Photo from the Institute of Archaeology, Belgrade.

Archaeologists working at Viminacium in Serbia recently discovered gold and silver curse tablets, written in both Greek and Latin, among some tombs at the location. The curses appear to use barbarous names of invocation and seek redress in a variety of personal matters. Archaeologist Miomir Korac notes that these curses are especially interesting because they invoke both Christian and Pagan deities.

From NBC News:

“The find is considered significant because previous examples of the tablets were inscribed in lead — a much less valuable substance.

“This is a very important archaeological discovery because it shows us how luxurious the life in Viminacium was or how much hope they had in the ‘curse tablets’ so that they used precious metals,” Miomir Korac, the chief archaeologist at the Viminacium site, told NBC News. “According to my knowledge, such tablets have never been found inscribed in gold anywhere. According to the Roman customs, gold was never put into graves.”

Korac noted that people who live in that part of Serbia today are known for being superstitious.

He added: “Opposing deities appear on these tablets, as if invoking both Christ and the Antichrist today, or Christ and pagan gods, and that is weird. This shows us that the process of converting to Christianity was slow.”

Of course, there is much to take issue with in this report. The idea of “superstition” immediately jumps to mind, as is the assertion that gold was never deposited in grave sites according to the Roman custom. We know that the Bacchic Tablets, some of which date from the Hellenistic and Imperial era, were inscribed on gold and placed with the deceased. But Korac is right, lead is usually used for curse tablets, and their composition in gold is certainly a novelty here.

Read the full story here.

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