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Image Gallery: Two Ancient Curses

Snake Goddess

Two ancient curses depicting the goddess Hekate with snakes coming out of her head.

(Image credit: Photo courtesy Museo Archeologico Civico di Bologna, cropping by Owen Jarus)

Two ancient curses inscribed on lead tablets were rediscovered in 2009 at the Museo Archeologico Civico di Bologna, in Italy.

This tablet, shown here, contains a curse directed at a Roman senator named Fistus, possibly the only known case of a curse targeting a senator. An eight-point star covers the deity's genitals and snakes project out of its head. The curse is written in Latin with Greek invocations. [Read more about the ancient curses]

Genital Star

Two ancient curses depicting the goddess Hekate with snakes coming out of her head.

(Image credit: Photo courtesy Museo Archeologico Civico di Bologna)

This tablet contains a curse directed at a Roman senator named Fistus, possibly the only known case of a curse targeting a senator. An eight-point star covers the deity's genitals and snakes project out of its head. The curse is written in Latin with Greek invocations.

Crush, Kill Fistus

Two ancient curses depicting the goddess Hekate with snakes coming out of her head.

(Image credit: Drawing by Celia Sánchez Natalías)

A drawing of the curse tablet that targets the Roman Senator. The text reads in part, "Crush, kill Fistus the senator ... May Fistus dilute, languish, sink and may all his limbs dissolve ..."

Kill Porcello

Two ancient curses depicting the goddess Hekate with snakes coming out of her head.

(Image credit: Photo courtesy Museo Archeologico Civico di Bologna)

This curse tablet targets a veterinarian named Porcello. At top is a deity with snakes coming out of its head and an eight figured sign on its genitals. On the bottom is Porcello, shown in a mummified state with his name written on his arms. The curse is written in Latin with Greek invocations. Part of the curse reads "Destroy, crush, kill, strangle Porcello and wife Maurilla. Their soul, heart, buttocks, liver..."

Mummified Porcello

Two ancient curses depicting the goddess Hekate with snakes coming out of her head.

(Image credit: Photo courtesy Museo Archeologico Civico di Bologna, cropping by Owen Jarus)

The mummified Porcello, the victim of the curse. If you look closely you can see his name written on his arms.

Crossed Arms

Two ancient curses depicting the goddess Hekate with snakes coming out of her head.

(Image credit: Drawing by Celia Sánchez Natalías)

A drawing of the curse tablet targeting Porcello. Both the deity and Porcello have their arms crossed, an element of the curse that was cast on him.