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 […]