The Pella curse tablet, from the Cemetery of Agora.

This lead tablet measures 30x6 cm, and dates to the first half of the 4th century BC. It was discovered rolled into the right hand of a dead man.

The numerous curse tablets from the ancient Greek world indicate one thing of importance: women in the classical period did not on the whole make use of curse tablets to bind lovers to them. […]

The only known example of a curse tablet definitely used by a woman in the period under discussion comes from the 4th century BC, from Pella in Macedonia. A woman, Thetima, asks of the daimones: ‘May he indeed not take another wife than myself by let me grow old by the side of Dionusophon.’ 

Women, particularly in cities such as classical Athens, had little say (if any) in whom they married, and little scope for romantic interests prior to marriage […].

-Matthew Dillon, Girls and Women in Classical Greek Religion (2003), page 178.

Here’s a translation of the tablet, via Bryn Mawr College Classics:

Of Thetima and Dionysophon the ritual wedding and the marriage I bind by a written spell, as well as (the marriage) of all other women (to him), both widows and maidens, but above all of Thetima; and I entrust (this spell) to Macron and to the daimones. And were I ever to unfold and read these words again after digging (the tablet) up, only then should Dionysophon marry, not before; may he indeed not take another beside myself, but let me alone grow old by the side of Dionysophon and no one else. I implore you: have pity for [Phila (?)], dear daimones, [for I am indeed bereft (?)] of all my dear ones and abandoned. But please keep this (piece of writing) for my sake so that these events do not happen and wretched Thetima perishes miserably [—-] but let me become happy and blessed.

Artifact courtesy of & currently located at the Museum of PellaCentral Macedonia. The first photo is taken by Filos96, the second image is via the Wiki Commons.

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