68. Curse Soup

68. Curse Soup

By Helen Zaltzman

The Allusionist

Saturday, 25 November

Somebody has really ticked you off. You’re all steamed up inside and you want to vent that rage using words, but you don’t want to confront them directly because you’re either too polite or too cowardly. So do you:

A. Subtweet them.
B. With your finger, scrawl an insulting message into the dirt on their car.
C. Get a small sheet of lead, scratch into it a message cursing your enemies, roll it up and throw it into your nearest sacred spring?

Oh, I forgot to mention that it’s 1,700-2,000 years ago and you’re living in the Ancient Roman Empire, so the answer is C.

Stephen Clews, the manager of the Roman baths at Bath, shows us the curses that were sloshing around in the waters for hundreds of years.

NB One category A and one category B swear appear in this episode.

Find out more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/curse-tablets.

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