Ancient Roman Curses You Should Know About

If you don't believe in curses, maybe you should think twice. Most spiritual traditions around the world believed in curses, and the ancient Romans seemed to have had one for every occasion. They probably won't affect your everyday life, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

For example: Qui mihi Vilbiam involavit sic liquat comodo aqua. Ell[...] muta qui eam involavit

Translation: "May the person who carried off Vilbia from me become liquid as the water. May she who has so obscenely devoured her be struck dumb."

Vilbia is a woman's name. Someone stole this person's woman from one of those old-timey Roman bathhouses. The thing about ancient languages is we don't know if she was actually kidnapped or if she was metaphorically stolen, by a more sufficient lover perhaps, but we do know this person was mad about it. The curse stands to leave the woman-thief unable to speak. Maybe to prevent him or her from luring away other men's girlfriends. The written curse goes on to list a whole string of possible suspects.

Maybe don't steal this person's cloak

The curse: Humanum quis sustulit Verionis palliolum sive res illius, qui illius minus fecit, ut illius mentes, memorias deiectas sive mulierem sive eas, cuius Verionis res minus fecit, ut illius manus, caput, pedes vermes, cancer, vermitudo interet, membra medullas illius interet

Translation: "The human who stole Verio's cloak or his things, who deprived him of his property, may he be bereft of his mind and memory, be it a woman or those who deprived Verio of his property, may the worms, cancer and maggots penetrate his hands, head, feet, as well as his limbs and marrows."

You know how your ex stole your favorite hoodie and you spouted off a string of terrible happenings you wished would befall them? Well, apparently, that was a thing in ancient Rome too. Verio's cloak was stolen! Oh no! Let's wish every possible harm upon the culprit. It was, after all, his favorite cloak. The curse stands to strike down the thief with just about every horrible affliction the curser could think of. In the biz, we call that "overreacting." Maybe just take a hand or something.

The Romans cursed their sports rivals just like you do

The ancient Romans didn't have football teams, but sports have been around since the dawn of human existence. In ancient Rome, the game was charioteering. There were fans and rivals just like those you see between the Bears and Green Bay or the Vikings and Green Bay or anyone and Green Bay. A curse found on what's known as the "Roman Circus Tablet" describes a curse used against a charioteer.

"I invoke you... so that you may help me and restrain and hold in check

Cardelus and bring him to a bed of punishment, to be punished with an evil death, to come to an

evil condition, him who his mother Fulgentina bore"

This curse is a spiritual "... and your mother!" if we've ever seen one. The mother is called out by name as an extra insult. The angry fan's main point is to implore any number of gods and demons to come forth and stop his rival from winning, cause him harm, and... uh... kill him. It's like when you stroke your lucky socks in hopes that the power forward scores the home run at halftime with a field goal. How do sports work again?

Angry theater kids have curses too

The curse: Sosio de Eumolpo mimo ne enituisse poteat. Ebria vi monam agere nequeati in eqoleo

Translation: "Sosio must never do better than the mime Eumolpos. He must not be able to play the role of a married woman in a fit of drunkenness on a young horse."

This curse was found in western France in the late 3rd century. A drunk woman on a horse was a common comedic theme back in ancient Rome, and Eumolpos didn't want Sosio to be funny. The curse is the equivalent of wanting a rival actor to fail so you can get their part. It's like wishing a performer to "break a leg" while giving them a death glare. This sentiment is common. At its root, this is envy. So, yeah, you should probably be on the lookout for curses like this. At least, this one isn't wishing for death.