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Curse Tablets, Lead Boxes, and Voodoo Dolls

Thursday, March 2, 2017, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Curse tablets made of lead or rarely of other material are the most common textual sources of Greek and Roman magic, as today we know over 2.000 inscribed curse texts. First we will have an overview of the typology of curse tablets by presenting a characteristic example of each type. A small proportion of curse tablets were placed into small boxes, coffins, or containers of lead that were either buried in a grave or submerged in water. The talk will demonstrate the latest finds (Rome, Mainz) and highlight some special assemblages. The last topic discussed will concentrate on ancient voodoo dolls, presenting their material, finding spot, and application.

György Németh graduated in History and Hungarian Language and Literature from ELTE, Budapest in 1980, and two years later in Ancient Greek. In 1982 he received his summa cum laude doctor's degree under the supervision of Prof. István Hahn. He started working at the Department of Ancient History in ELTE in 1981. In 1997–2008 he was head of the Department of Ancient History at KLTE, Debrecen. In 2007 he became head of the Department of Ancient History at ELTE, Budapest. He acquired the title dr. phil. habil. in 1997 with the dissertation "The world of poleis". From 2001 he is professor of the Universities ELTE, Budapest and DE, Debrecen. He was guest professor at the University Babeş-Bolyai, Cluj-Napoca (Romania) in 2002, and in Clermont-Ferrand (Université Blaise Pascal) in 2009. His research interests are archaic and classical Greek history, internal politics in Athens in the 5th c. B.C., Greek epigraphy and Greek magic. He is editor-in-chief and editorial board member of several Hungarian and international journals.