Between 350 and 400 CE in Roman Britain, Muconius sought divine retribution against a thief who had stolen money from him. To contact the gods, Muconius carved a Latin curse onto a lead tablet, a material chosen as it was believed to boost the energy of the curse.

  • Lead curse tablet

In his curse, Muconius urged the sea god Neptune and water-nymph Niskus to ‘consume’ the blood and mind of the thief. He then threw the tablet into the River Hamble for the gods to fulfill his wish. The curse tablet, known as a defixio, was discovered in 1982 and is now on display at Westbury Manor Museum in Fareham. Over one thousand examples of defixiones exist in Europe, a not unusual way of calling upon the gods’ intervention in the ancient Greco-Roman world.

Where to find a selection of these items

Westbury Manor Museum, West Street, Fareham PO16 0JJ