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A Greek defixio from Morgantina

Matteo Rivoli    Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, Italia    



The inscription, dated to the I century BC, comes from a votive pit in the sanctuary of the chthonic deities of Morgantina (Sicily), where it was discovered with other nine similar documents in 1962, during the excavations conducted by Princeton University. Scratched on a thin sheet of lead once rolled up, the inscriptions is likely a curse against the slave Venusta, who is also addressed to in other similar documents. Since the text avoids the use of strong and violent expressions common to many defixiones, some scholars have suggested that it could rather be a positive invocation aimed at facilitating the entry of the deceased in the afterlife. However, the archaeological context, as well as the comparison with a recently found inscription, prompts to confirm the malevolent nature of the spell.

Dec. 10, 2021
Oct. 27, 2021
Aug. 5, 2021

Keywords: Lead laminaGreek curse tabletMorgantina (Sicily)DefixioKatadesmos

Copyright: © 2021 Matteo Rivoli. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.