Cyprus Sex Curse

Via the Anomalist, indirectly, comes a story about a curse tablet (a genre which we’ve discussed before) found on the island of Amathus near Cyprus:

According to Pierre Aubert, head of the Athens Archaeological School currently working there, the curse is inscribed in Greek on a lead tablet and part of it reads: “May your penis hurt when you make love.”

Speaking to The Cyprus Weekly over the phone, Aubert said the tablet also showed an erect male figure holding in his right hand something that looks like an hour-glass, while undeciphered lettering appears over his body.

The article goes on to say that this likely dates to the 7th century AD.  The piece was found in a cistern, one of the traditional places for depositing such items.  (Other popular locales were the house of the affected person and tombs.)  Oddly enough, the materials above it were dated to circa 300-100 BC.  It’s not impossible for the stratigraphy to work like this, but it nonetheless should bear watching.

One other aspect of the article is also troubling:

Professor Aubert surmised that this might indicate the activity of sorcerers and soothsayers still surviving from the pagan era.

It’s not as if Christians gave up the need for sorcerers and soothsayers even after the fall of paganism in the region.  Indeed, it’s quite possible that a Christian magician would use pagan techniques simply because they were part of his or her repertoire.   I hope the press release and the eventual publication of this material clears matters up.

Published in: on July 14, 2008 at 1:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

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