Conference Paper: A Social Demography of Cursing at Mogontiacum

I am happy to share that my conference paper proposal, “Rogo Te ut Me Vindices: A Social Demography of Cursing at Mogontiacum,” has been accepted to the 2018 Society for Classical Studies (SCS Conference) in Boston! This project builds off of my work on the Mainz curse tablets and seeks to understand who was patronizing […]

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 […]

NSEA Panels at the 6th International ESSWE Conference

(This post is partially cross-posted from ancientesotericism.org.) The preliminary schedule for the 6th International ESSWE Conference in Erfurt is out! I am happy to report that the Network for the Study of Esotericism in Antiquity has two panels scheduled, both on the first day of the conference (Thursday, June 1st). I will be speaking about […]

Ancient Curses Research Project: An Honourable Mention

Last year I undertook an independent research project on curses with Tony Burke at York University. (Learn more about this project at the Ancient Curses website!) While the course itself included curses from many different genres (Roman curse tablets? Yep. Biblical curses? Those too!), my major research project focused on Roman-era curse tablets, specifically those […]

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 […]

Modern Maledictions: The Curse of the Billy Goat

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! In a recent post at AncientCurses.com, we took a look at sports-related curses—i.e. curses which were employed by athletes and their fans to ensure victory […]

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 […]

Is Cursing a Magical Act?

In a recent post at the Ancient Curses blog, I talked about the categorical difficulties inherent in the term “magic.” I took the view that many of the distinguishing features which scholars use to define magical practices often apply to normative religious phenomena in antiquity. Thus, when talking about the ancient world, it is not […]