Ill wishing well and the Curse Tablets

Discussion in 'Ancient History and Archaeology' started by Debi, Feb 5, 2020.

  1. Debi

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    Dozens of curse tablets found down a 2,500-year-old well in Athens

    Ill-wishing Well
    Dozens of Curse Tablets Found Down a 2,500-year-old Well in Athens

    Thwarted by a new law from placing their hexes in tombs of the untimely dead, Athenians sought a new avenue to the underworld gods

    Thirty lead tablets engraved with curses have been discovered at the bottom of a 2,500 year old well in ancient Athens. Discovered in the area of Kerameikos, ancient Athens’ main burial ground, the small tablets invoked the gods of the underworld in order to cause harm to others.

    These curses were ritual texts, usually scratched on small lead objects. “The person that ordered a curse is never mentioned by name, only the recipient,” observes Dr. Jutta Stroszeck, director of the Kerameikos excavation on behalf of the German Archaeological Institute in Athens.

    Before the discovery of the 30 specimens in the well, dozens of curses from the classical period (480-323 B.C.E.) had been found mainly in tombs of dead people who had died in an untimely manner and were therefore thought suitable to carry the spell to the underworld. One had also been found in another well. But there was good reason for the transition of ill-will from graves to wells in ancient Athens.

    Forbidden magic

    The well where the curses were found was excavated in 2016 by a team under Stroszeck’s direction while investigating the water supply to a bathhouse about 60 meters beyond the Dipylon - the city-gate on the road to the Academy. It was a public bathhouse, not a private one, that operated from Classical to Hellenistic times, the fifth to the first centuries B.C.E., and is thought to be the spa referred to by the comic playwright Aristophanes (Knights, 1307-1401). It was also mentioned in a speech by the 4th century B.C.E. Greek rhetorician Isaeus (against Kalydon, fragment 24).

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  2. Lynne

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    Thanks for this story debi. One must join the site to view the story.
     
  3. ElliO

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  4. Debi

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