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Cursing not Just the Body. Some Remarks on a defixio from Nomentum in the Light of the Role of Female Public Slaves in the Roman World

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Franco Luciani



An opisthographic lead tablet from Nomentum, dating to the first half of the 1st century CE, contains two anatomical curses against a man (side A) and a female public slave (side B). Whilst the curse against the man aimed to affect not only some parts of his body, but also his social and economic status, the one against the woman describes in detail only pieces of her body, with particular emphasis to her abdomen and genitals. The first section of the paper aims to provide the status quaestionis of the study of this curse tablet, with particular regard to the epigraphic and linguistic aspects of the text. The second section sets out to offer a general overview of the role of female public slaves in the Roman world, which may allow a better contextualization of the meaning of the curse on side B.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Luciani F, Urbanov√° D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Epigraphica

Year: 2019

Volume: 81

Pages: 421-442

Print publication date: 18/09/2019

Acceptance date: 20/02/2019

Date deposited: 15/10/2019

ISSN (print): 0013-9572

Publisher: Fratelli Lega