Forthcoming Publication: Defixiones and the Temple Locus: The Power of Place in the Curse Tablets at Mainz

I am happy to announce that my paper, “Defixiones and the Temple Locus: The Power of Place in the Curse Tablets at Mainz,” has been accepted for publication in the journal Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft (University of Pennsylvania Press)! This paper is a direct result of a research project on cursing in antiquity that I […]

ESSWE6 Conference Wrap-Up

As many of you know, the ESSWE conference is held every two years. Having attended the one in Gothenburg (Sweden) in 2013, I was excited to attend this year’s conference in Erfurt (Germany). I was doubly thrilled as I co-organized two panels on esotericism in antiquity with Dylan M. Burns (Freie Universität Berlin) and I […]

The Island of Sacred Deer

The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus (Asia Minor, now Turkey) was a massive cult site which served a variety of community functions. Moreover, like other temples in antiquity, the physical space of the Temple of Artemis was designated as sacred. Nevertheless, such spaces weren’t always used for sacred purposes. For example, sacred land could be […]

Why Does Juvenal Hate Trumpets?

Roman satirist Juvenal was not one to pull his punches. He skewered Roman society, taking aim at his fellow Romans (and fellow non-Romans) in ways that are, to the modern reader, shocking and offensive. Read enough Juvenal and one quickly picks up his personal pet peeves: women, foreigners, and trumpets. Trumpets? Yes, Trumpets. Now, to […]

Curse Words

This article is cross-posted from AncientCurses.com. If you would like to read the full article, or would like to know more about cursing, I invite you to visit the website! Cursing as a practice is looked at from several different angles by scholars. On the one hand, some look to the historical import of cursing […]

Make Him Powerless With the Horses: On Sports-Related Curse Tablets

Sports-related curses were extremely prevalent in the ancient world. In fact, it was assumed that those who competed in public contests regularly employed curses. Moreover, this was not just some literary fantasy—material evidence of lead curse tablets (defixiones or katadesmoi) bears this opinion out. To get specific, these curses were inscribed on lead tablets which […]