The Romans believed you could appeal to the gods or to dead spirits to give you revenge if you had been wronged; by a lover or a thief for example.
To communicate with the underworld you had to write your curse on a sheet of lead, roll it up and leave it at a sacred place like a pool of water, a stream or buried in a pit.
Lead doesn't decay very much and these tablets are often found - with their bloodthirsty curses still crying out for revenge all these centuries later.
This one was found buried at Carthage in North Africa and is one of the less nasty ones.
It's written by a desperate sports fan - he's calling on a spirit or a god to nobble the Red and Blue teams in tomorrow's Chariot race.
I'm guessing there's some money depending on the result;
"I invoke you, spirit of one untimely dead, whoever you are, by the mighty names SALBATHBAL AUTHGERÔTABAL BASULTHATEÔ ALEÔ SAMABÊTHÔR
Bind the horses whose names and images on this implement I entrust to you; of the Red team: Silvanus, Servator, Lues, Zephryus, Blandus, Imbraius, Dives, Mariscus, Rapidus, Oriens, Arbustus; of the
Blues: Imminens, Dignus, Linon, Paezon, Chrysaspis, Argutus, Diresor, Frugiferous, Euphrates, Sanctus, Aethiops, Praeclarus.
Bind their running, their power, their soul, their onrush, their speed. Take away their victory, entangle their feet, hinder them, hobble them, so that tomorrow morning in the hippodrome they are not able to run or walk about, or win, or go out of the starting gates, or advance either on the racecourse or track…
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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