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By Bernard Mees

The 1st accomplished learn of early Celtic cursing, this paintings analyses either medieval and historical expressions of Celtic imprecation: from the binding capsules of old Britain and Gaul to the saintly maledictions of the early medieval interval, and different strains of Celtic stipulation and binding in simple terms speculated on in past scholarship. It offers the 1st complete assessment and analyses of the traditional Celtic use of binding curses (as attested in outdated Celtic and Latin inscriptions) and examines their mooted impact in later medieval expressions. old unearths (among them lengthy Gaulish curse texts, Celtic Latin Curse pills discovered from the Alpine areas to Britain, and fragments of previous Brittonic pills excavated from Roman tub) are subjected to rigorous new interpretations, and medieval reflections of the sooner culture also are thought of.

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Example text

Silvanius has lost a ring. He has given half to Nodens. Among those whose name is Senicianus, do not permit health until he brings it to the temple of Nodens. Renewed. The mention of giving half (rather than all) of the stolen ring being dedicated to Nodens in this text is reminiscent of an episode in the Old Testament Book of Judges concerning a man named Micah and his mother. Micah’s mother had uttered a curse over the loss of some silver, but Micah admits to his mother that he was the one who had taken it.

The Greek 23 Hesiod, Op. A. ), Cath Maige Tuired: the Second Battle of Mag Tuired, Irish Texts Society 52 (Naas 1982), pp. 58–9 (§129); PGM no. K. ; Faraone, ‘Agonistic context’, p. 8; Mees, ‘Chamalières’, pp. 18–20. org/terms 26 CELTIC CURSES word tithêmai ‘put’ is commonly used in handing-over curses as it could also be used to mean ‘assign’ or ‘give’ as well as ‘hand down’ or ‘ordain’. e. 24 The votive-like shape of the Chamalières tablet at first suggests that it may once have been displayed publicly at the sacred spring, perhaps mounted on one of the wooden votives, rather than having been thrown directly into its waters.

Despite being only imperfectly understood, this fragmentary and clearly multi-authored text appears to mimic many of the features of the Latin-language defixiones which have been found at Bath. Rather than being a slavish copy of a Roman text, however, it evidently features several Celticisms over and above what might strictly have been necessary in a straight translation. After all, the use of the ‘lay’ or ‘commit’ verb also seen at Chamalières (albeit here in a slightly different form) suggests a broader Celtic relationship may be at hand: the existence of a shared Old Celtic vocabulary of cursing.

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Celtic Curses by Bernard Mees


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