Fri, Jun 16|
3-Week SASA Reading Group: Curse Tablets: Personal Communication with the Dead and the Gods in the Ancient World
3-Week Text-In-Translation Reading Group Fridays at 2 pm Eastern Time Led by Charlotte Spence.
Time & Location
Jun 16, 2023, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT
About the Event
The aim of this Reading Group is to illustrate the diversity of individuals creating curse tablets in the ancient world. Many of our sources centre on the lived experiences of elite men and it can be difficult to answer the question: but what about ordinary people? We have curses written by men, women, and slaves covering a range of issues such as unrequited love, the loss of relatively small amounts of coinage or ploughs, against opponents in legal trials and even against key political figures. Throughout the weeks of this Reading Group social issues such as that of literacy levels in the ancient world, how ancient justice systems worked, and how much personal power individuals had will all arise. As well as an understanding of how the classification of these rituals as potentially magical, rather than personal religion, has impacted the study of these objects and texts. The creation of curse tablets spans over 1,000 years and examples survive from all of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, Austria, the United Kingdom, Russia, and Ukraine. This reading group will illustrate the simultaneous sense of unity which comes from a shared ritual practice but also the deeply personal nature of these interactions with the dead and the divine. Course attendees will gain a good understanding of the creation of curse tablets as objects as well as the formulaic, yet also personal, nature of the texts. They will also have a greater understanding of the social history of the ancient world.
3-Week Text-In-Translation Reading Group
Fridays at 2 pm Eastern Time
Start date: June 16th
End date: June 30th
MUST RSVP TO GET THE ZOOM LINK. The same link will be used for all 3 sessions.