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Celtic Curses

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The first comprehensive study of early Celtic cursing, this work analyses both medieval and ancient expressions of Celtic imprecation: from the binding tablets of ancient Britain and Gaul to the saintly maledictions of the early medieval period, and other traces of Celtic stipulation and binding only speculated on in earlier scholarship. It provides the first full overview and analyses of the ancient Celtic use of binding curses (as attested in Old Celtic and Latin inscriptions) and examines their mooted influence in later medieval expressions. Ancient finds (among them long Gaulish curse texts, Celtic Latin Curse tablets found from the Alpine regions to Britain, and fragments of Old Brittonic tablets excavated from Roman Bath) are subjected to rigorous new interpretations, and medieval reflections of the earlier tradition are also considered.
BERNARD MEES gained his PhD from the University of Melbourne.

Reviews

An idiosyncratic and ambitious volume, it certainly contains much useful material and many thought-provoking points which will stimulate research in this fascinating area. CAMBRIAN MEDIEVAL CELTIC STUDIES, 65, Summer 2013

A major intervention in one of the most important recent debates in [the] field. TIME AND MIND

Will be of great use to historical linguists and Celticists. [...] I predict that Celtic Curses will become a standard text on the subject for many disciplines. FOLKLORE

The author has done an invaluable service to scholars of late Iron Age and Roman-period religion and ritual in providing an up-to-date presentation of evidence for inscribed spells and putting them into the context of cursing practices in the Graeco-Roman world. [A] superlative work. INNES REVIEW

An eminently readable, cogently argued volume that makes a substantial contribution to our understanding. SPECULUM

Even the specialist reader of this wide-ranging survey of cursing practices among ancient and medieval Celtic peoples will encounter much that is new among the vast collection of inscriptions and charms. MEDIUM AEVUM

A serious-minded and studious work that emphasizes archaeological and anthropological research. [...] Enthusiastically recommended for any research library with a focus on Celtic history. MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

Details

First Published: 21 May 2009
13 Digit ISBN: 9781843834571
Pages: 238
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Boydell Press
Subject: Medieval Literature
BIC Class: DSBB

Details updated on 21 Apr 2014

Contents

  • 1  Introduction
  • 2  Infernal powers
  • 3  Dark waters
  • 4  Gemma's tomb
  • 5  Vengeful prayers
  • 6  Fragments
  • 7  Breastplates and clamours
  • 8  Geases and binding
  • 9  Incantations
  • 10  Conclusion: Cursing wells
  • 11  Bibliography