Hoc ego averse scribo: The Aversus-Formula on Ancient Greek and Latin Curses



Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Etymologus, Festschrift for Václav Blažek
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Greek and Latin curse tablets; aversus formula; compounds of vertere; simili formula
Description Curse tablets provide an important piece of epigraphical evidence of ritual practices based on sympathetic magic in the ancient Mediterranean world. Our contribution fo-cuses on the use of the aversus-formula in Latin defixiones and its functional equiva-lents in Greek curses, spanning from the 5th cent. BCE up to the 4th cent. CE. The cor-pus of curse tablets containing the aversus-formula, either as a subset of a simile-formula is analysed in terms of diachronic development, territorial distribution, regional specificity, and especially the functional aspects of the magical analogy. Latin curses containing the aversus-formula and Greek documents with the functional equivalents exhibit many peculiarities with respect to the orientation of the script (e.g. retrograde, upside down) which are closely connected with the rules of sympathetic magic that sometimes governed also the ac-companying ritual.
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