Celtic Curses

Celtic Curses

Bernard Mees

eBook for Handhelds

Boydell Press



Full analysis of ancient and medieval expressions of Celtic cursing, using evidence ranging from magical charms to curse tablets.
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.

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10 line illustrations
238 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Hardback, 9781843834571, May 2009
eBook for Handhelds, 9781782047216, May 2009
Boydell Press
BIC CFF, 1D, 2AB, 3F
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Table of Contents

Infernal powers
Dark waters
Gemma's tomb
Vengeful prayers
Breastplates and clamours
Geases and binding
Conclusion: Cursing wells


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

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

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