Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/24/2013 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Tablet invokes Christian and Jewish belief alongside pagan.

Never sue a Roman. At least that seems to be the take away from the discovery of a Roman curse tablet excavated from the ruins of an ancient mansion in Jerusalem.

Written on a lead plate, the curse is intended to prevent someone from speaking against another.

Written on a lead plate, the curse is intended to prevent someone from speaking against another.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/24/2013 (6 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Curse tablet, Roman, Jerusalem, tradition, religion, culture


JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (Catholic Online) - An ancient Roman mansion dating to the third and fourth century AD, is yielding some insights into Roman life in the restive Roman province. At that time, the region was a place of religious diversity, something that is reflected in a lead tabled inscribed with a curse.

While excavating one of the rooms, long collapsed from an ancient earthquake in 363 AD, archaeologists uncovered a lead tablet covered with Greek writing. Once deciphered, scholars found a curse, though to be written by a woman, against a man.

According to the inscription, a woman named Kyrilla invokes six different gods from various religions to curse a man named Iennys, against whom she is worried about engaging in a legal dispute.

Translated, part of the curse 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.  [May] he in no way oppose, so that he say or perform nothing adverse to Kyrilla . but rather that Iennys, whom the womb bore, be subject to her..."

Kyrilla's curse against Iennys covers all the bases, invoking the power of six gods from four religions. Four Greek gods, one Babylonian, and one Gnostic -(Abraxas) from an early Christian heresy. According to scholars, the text also invokes words that were considered powerful in ancient Jewish tradition.

The tablet was placed in a room, likely that used by Iennys in some capacity, and was intended to prevent him from speaking against Kyrilla.

The notoriously pagan Roman people were very tolerant of religious diversity, their own religion borrowed from the Greeks. Rome was an integrated, melting-pot style society, similar to the United States of today.  Romans gladly permitted the practice of many religions in their republic and in the empire, with one notable exception -Christianity.

Christians were perceived as intolerant and potentially disloyal because of their refusal to acknowledge other gods or to worship their emperors. Until the reign of Constantine the Great, who legalized Christianity, and Theodosius who made Christianity the law of the empire, Christians faced persecution.

However, the Romans occasionally invoked the Christian God for their purposes, perhaps not fully understanding the exclusivity of his being.

The tablet is clear evidence of this.

The tablet is also evidence that Romans could be notoriously aggressive in their pursuit of their goals, ready to offer sacrifices to obtain what they called "pax deorum" the peace, or favor of their gods.

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More Middle East

Palestinian Christians prevented from Easter pilgrimage to Jerusalem since 1967 Watch

Image of Israel issues some permits to both Christians and Muslims during religious holidays, but this can be a lengthy and bureaucratic process. Permits are usually issued to older, married Palestinians.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Palestinian Christians feel the sting of segregation acutely during Holy Week. Strict, Israeli restrictions on movement prevents their access to holy sites in nearby Jerusalem. Many holy sites have remained out of reach in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since ... continue reading


BIGGEST IN THE WORLD: Saudi Arabia determined to build world's tallest building Watch

Image of High winds will also be a problem for this gargantuan building, so the tower will change shape regularly to counter it.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Not be outdone, Saudi Arabia is vowing to build the world's tallest building. Said structure, called the Kingdom Tower, heads into construction next week. AT its height, 3,280 feet, it will eventually dwarf Dubai's Burj Khalifa, which stands at 2,716 feet, the ... continue reading


AL-QAEDA ALIVE: 'We must eliminate the cross ... The bearer of the cross is America!' Watch

Image of  In the video, the nefarious

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"This is quite an extraordinary video," terrorist experts Paul Cruickshank says. There's another word for it: absolutely horrifying. In the video, the nefarious "crown prince" of al-Qaeda, Nasir al-Wuhayshi is seen addressing a group of 100 like-minded ... continue reading


Suffering, dying in silence: Syrian Christians face arduous holy week Watch

Image of Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus says that Syrian Christians face a seemingly endless Way of the Cross, with many suffering and dying in silence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The assassination of Dutch Jesuit Fr. Frans van der Lugt, shot to death by an unknown assailant at his base in Homs, Syria on April 7 has cast a pall for the faithful here. Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus says that Syrian Christians face a ... continue reading


Asia Bibi remains in prison, reluctant officials hide behind bureaucracy Watch

Image of Asia Bibi remains in prison, judges unwilling to take up her case for fear of violence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Asia Bibi, the Pakistani woman facing death for blasphemy in Pakistan still sits in a women's prison her case held up by deliberate delays and a reluctance of judges and others to hear her case. Officials are afraid that they will become targets of Islamic ... continue reading


Dutch priest beaten, killed at his Syrian monastery Watch

Image of Father Frans van der Lugt was described as a man of great courage who

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dutch Jesuit priest, 75-year-old Frans van der Lugt was beaten and shot dead by unidentified gunmen at his monastery in Homs, Syria this week, the Vatican said. He had been living in Syria since the early Seventies. He's being described as man of great courage ... continue reading


Tunisian government strives to root out Islamist influence from Mosques Watch

Image of Tunisia's newly elected government, recognizing that one of the nation's chief sources of revenue is tourism, has wasted little time in quelling extremist factions there.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Tunisian authorities, along with the Islamist party Ennahda had clashed on several levels for any months. The conflict was felt on all strata of Tunisian society. Violence roiled in the streets, to the universities, in places of worship and private homes. ... continue reading


Syrian refugees in Lebanon passes one million mark Watch

Image of U.N. staff in Lebanon register 2,500 new Syrian refugees every day, the UNHCR said.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As Syria's devastating Civil War drags into its fourth year without an end in sight, the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has officially passed the one million mark, the United Nations' refugee agency says. Syrian refugees now make up almost a quarter of ... continue reading


Meet Catholic Online's new Middle East correspondent Watch

Image of Kaci Racelma received his Bachelor of English literature in 1996. He has worked in the daily Algerian newspaper la Nouvelle République since 1998.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Journalist Kaci Racelma has joined the Catholic Online family as a much needed and vaunted Middle East correspondent to our international news desk. We welcome his wealth of experience in relaying breaking stories in this complex part of the world.  LOS ... continue reading


Authorities break up kiddie sex abuse ring, 17-year-old pimp and several men arrested Watch

Image of Several hundred women in Israel - many of them foreigners - are trafficked within the country annually for commercial sexual exploitation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tel Aviv Police have arrested seven men in connection with a child molestation ring. An undercover investigation began after one of the purported victims came forward and told them about a number of girls who had sex with a group of adults in exchange for ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Peter 5:5-14
5 In the same way, younger people, be subject to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17
2 for you have said: love is built to last for ever, ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 16:15-20
15 And he said to them, 'Go out to the whole world; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 25th, 2014 Image

St. Mark
April 25: The second Gospel was written by St. Mark, who, in the New ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter