Ancient curse inscribed on 1,700-year-old tablet found in Israel

28th Oct 2013

Tourists on city breaks to Israel never cease to be entranced by Jerusalem's archaeological abundance.

So the latest find in the Old City should come as no surprise to them - a 1,700-year-old lead tablet with a curse inscribed upon it.

A magician, legend has it, is believed to have created the "magical tablet" discovered in a ruined Roman villa.

The Greek-written curse, which calls for assistance from six gods to punish a man named Iennys, is thought to play a role in a bitter legal row among gentry and was ordered by a woman called Kyrilla.

The archaic inscription reads: "I strike and strike down and nail down the tongue, the eyes, the wrath, the ire, the anger, the procrastination, the opposition of Iennys."

Jerusalem, Israel's capital, affords tourists a unique religious and spiritual experience, rich history and a calendar packed with cultural events and festivals.

It offers sight-seers famous must-see attractions, such as the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee and the mountain fortress of Masada.

The newly unearthed ancient tablet was found in a ruined Roman mansion.

It suggests the big house's occupants were rich as many gems were discovered at the site alongside other decorative objects, including the marble bust of a boxer.

The tablet was unearthed in the north-west area of the mansion, which is thought to be around 2,000 square metres, along with pieces of mosaic and fragments of frescoes besides a decorated box full of carved bone pieces.

The unearthing of the house and its contents gives first-hand archaeological proof of the southward expansion of the Roman occupation over the southern part of Jerusalem in the late third century AD, Professor Robert Walter Daniel wrote.

Professor Daniel, of the Institut für Altertumskunde at the University of Cologne, has published details of the study in the journal Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphi.

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