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No provenance (S. Britain) A

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Author: Unknown

Authority: Roger Tomlin

Publications:

Keywords:

Description:

No provenance, probably Gloucestershire or Avon. Irregular piece of hammered sheet lead, 137 by 104 mm, bought(FN1) in Bristol in c. 1985. It has been inscribed with a fine point in Old Roman Cursive (c. AD. 150-c. A.D. 275)(FN2). After being inscribed, it was pierced by four small round nails whose holes remain, two to the left and two to the right. Since it has not been folded, and three of the holes are at the edges, it would seem to have been nailed up for display. There is damage to the edges, especially top left and top right, but the text of this ‘curse tablet’ is largely complete, without however being altogether clear.

(FN1) At the sale by auction of the effects of a local collector deceased. The present owner, who bought it from the original purchaser, made the tablet available. Language and handwriting are easily paralleled at Bath and Uley, but not the four nail-holes and absence of folding. If it was intended for display, this would be unusual in Britain (see Tab. Sulis 15, with note, and compare RIB 7 and 8), most tablets being thrown into water or rolled up before burial. The find-spot was evidently a temple of Mercury, but not one already known to have produced ‘curse tablets’ (Uley, and probably Pagans Hill); the patination, which is very light, is in any case different.

(FN2) For this rather ‘clerical’ style of writing, often found in British ‘curse tablets’, see Tab. Sulis, pp. 84-93.

The left margin survives of 4-8 and the right margin of 3-6, making it possible to estimate how many letters have been lost elsewhere.

Edition:
n 1 [don]atur deo Merc[urio si]
2 q[i]is involaverit c....lam
n 3  [.]icinnum nec non alia minutalia
n 4 Tocitami si baro si mulier si puel[l]a
5 si puer si ingenuus si servus n[o]n an[t]e
6 eum laset quam mimbra (ra)pi manu di-
n 7 em mortis concrutiat e[u]m quq[u]j[i] se-
n 8 curam [.]nnoris involavit EA.....
n 9 AEAPR nec non et qujqui res [p]ictor[i]a[s]
10  involaverit

Diplomatic:
1 [. . .]aturdeomerc[. . .]
2 q[.]isinuolaueritc....lam
3 [.]icinnumnecnonaliaminutalia
4 tocitamisibarosimuliersipuel[.]a
5 sipuersiingenuussiseruusn[.]nan[.]e
6 eumlasetquammimbrapimanudi
7 emmortisconcrutiate[.]mquq[..]se
8 curam[.]nnorisinuolauitea.....
9 eaprnecnonetququires.ictor[.]a[?]
10 inuolauerit 

Commentary:

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Given to the god Mercury, whoever has stolen . . . and other sundries . . . whether man or woman, whether girl or boy, whether free-born or slave. May (the god) not allow him rest before . . . limbs(?) . . . by hand(?) . . . day of death . . . may (the god) torment him who has stolen the axe(?) of . . . and who has stolen the writing(?) things.