The Johns Hopkins Tabellae defixionum

TitleThe Johns Hopkins Tabellae defixionum
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication1911
AuthorsFox W
Academic DepartmentPhilosophy
Date Published06/1911
UniversityJohns Hopkins University
KeywordsHierapolis, Plutonium
AbstractThe Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum contains fragments related to five lead curse tablets from ancient Rome. One of these tablets (JHUAM 2011.01) was recently conserved and placed on view, along with the original iron nail (JHUAM 2011.06) associated with it. Objects such as this one are evidence of a common practice in Greek and Roman antiquity to scratch curses onto tablets which were then deposited in wells or graves. While the earliest tablets only contained the name of the person to be cursed, later examples grew more elaborate, such as this example. Curses could be inscribed on basically anything, ranging from pottery sherds to gemstones, though lead is the most common material used for this purpose.