Two Curse Tablets addressed to Attis Tyrannus

The following Latin curse tablet was found in a pit near Mainz, Germany (Latin Mogontiacum):

Greatest of the gods, Attis Tyrannus, and the whole collective of the twelve gods (duodecatheum)! I entrust this violation of justice to the goddesses, so that you may avenge me against Priscilla, daughter of Carantus, who married badly. By your Mother-of-Gods, avenge the ancestral holies (sacra)! May Priscilla perish! By the Mother-of-Gods, within 100 days, quickly, avenge your great divinity (numen) against Priscilla, who took away (or ‚revealed‘) the holies! I estimate Priscilla as null and nothing; she has married a family (gens) out of fear (tremente) and in error.

The reconstruction of the social background to this text is difficult, so I have stuck to the ordinary meanings of words instead of basing myself on speculation. Sacra can mean ’secrets‘, for example, but that is a transferred sense; gens can somehow be construed as referring to a single person, but there is no strong reason to reject the sense ‚family‘; tremente could conceivably refer to lust or something else, but without strong grounds, the usual sense of ‚fear‘ should be retained, even if we do not know what is meant by this. I permit myself one bold reading in taking the fas in iniurium fas as a genitive.

The Latin text (dfx. 5.1.3/1):

Deum maxsime, Atthis tyranne, totumque duodecatheum, commendo deabus iniurium fas, ut me vindic<e>tis a Priscil<l>a Caranti, quae nubere er<r>avit. Per matrem deum vestrae (l. vestram) vindicate sacra pater[..] (l. paterna). Priscil<l>a pereat. Per matrem deum, intra dies C, cito, vindicate numen vestrum magnum a Priscilla, quae detegit sacra. Priscillam usquam (l. nusquam), nullam numero. Nupsit gentem tremente Priscilla quam erante.


Another Latin curse tablet from Mogontiacum was found in a temple complex, dedicated jointly to Isis and Mater Magna, which was situated in the middle of the town and active around 100 CE.

Good, holy Attis Tyrannus be present, come, with wrath against Liberalis! By all things, I ask you, lord, by your Castor and Pollux, by the containers in the inner (temple), that you give him a bad mind and a bad death, so that, as long as he lives his life, he shall see himself die in his whole body, except his eyes! And may he not be able to redeem himself by money or anything else, neither from you nor from any other god, except by a bad death. Furnish this, I ask you by your majesty!

The Latin text (dfx. 5.1.5/2):

Bone sancte Atthis tyranne adsi<s>, advenias Liberali iratus. Per omnia te rogo, domine, per tuum Castorem, Pollucem, per cistas penetrales, des ei malam mentem, malum exitum, quandiu{s} vita<m> vixerit et omni corpore videat se emori praeter oculos neque se possit redimere nulla pe{r}cunia nullaque re neq(ue) abs te neque ab ullo deo nisi ut exitum malum. hoc praesta, rogo te per maiestatem tuam.

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