Sanchita Balachandran, Curator/Conservator for the Museum, has been conserving an ancient Roman curse tablet dated to the 1st century BCE. Inscribed on a lead tablet, the curse condemns Plotius to a painful death, and offers sacrifices to the Gods who will make the curse possible. The conservation of the tablet—which has been broken into over 50 pieces since it was unrolled and transcribed by Hopkins alumnus William Sherwood Fox in 1908—will make the curse visible again. Want to read the full translation of the curse? Want to learn more about how the curse was physically pieced together? We will place this tablet and its transcription and translation on view in time for Halloween. Check our Facebook page for information on informal museum talks about this ancient curse tablet on Halloween day.
Reviving a Two Thousand Year Old Curse
This Roman curse tablet dates to the 1st century BCE. Inscribed on a sheet of lead, the curse condemns Plotius to a painful death, and offers sacrifices to the Gods who will make the curse possible. These images show the scroll, which was unrolled for study by Hopkins alumnus William Sherwood Fox in 1908 undergoing conservation for display in the museum.