To Curse or not to Curse? Divergent Uses of Literacy in Aquae Sulis – Daan van Helden

This paper investigates the different ways in which people sought to express their identity in literate religious practice in Aquae Sulis, Roman Bath. The contents of inscriptions on stone and the curse tablets from the sacred well are analysed to get a handle on the way people of different status and backgrounds engaged in literate communication with the gods.

When close attention is paid to who it was that dedicated these texts, the type of text and their content, and these are analysed in concert, interesting patterns are visible. These patterns can inform our interpretation of religious practise and the uptake of the epigraphic habit. Moreover, it provides a very interesting glimpse into life in Roman Bath and the way people negotiated their identity there.

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