Curses! Lead foiled again.

It’s not unusual to find Roman cursing charms inscribed on lead in England, but ones cursing the emperor were pretty much unheard of, until now.

Some 1,650 years ago someone was so comprehensively fed up with the state of the Roman empire that they committed an act of treason, blasphemy and probably criminal defacing of the coinage. They cursed the emperor Valens by hammering a coin with his image into lead, then folding the lead over his face.

Valens was emperor from 364 AD to 378 AD. He was a hardcore Arian and not keen on religious tolerance, so doubtless that garnered him some hatred. He also let the Visigoths settle across the natural border of the Danube and then treated them like crap so they revolted, kicking ass all over the Balkans until finally kicking Valens’ own ass for good and annihilating his army at the Battle of Adrianople.

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5 Comments »

Comment by wei yau
2007-12-18 19:41:29

Whoa, Valens met his end at Adrianople?

Does this mean this curse thing actually worked?

I gotta try it, but what’s the point in cursing dead presidents?

Comment by livius drusus
2007-12-24 14:51:13

Or bison. Unless you’re Ted Turner. He might have cause to curse a bison or two.

As for Valens, I think he was cursed by his own megalomania. Then again, perhaps his ego problem was a result of the curse. Mysterious ways and all that.

 
 
Comment by Steve
2011-06-21 12:30:19

Is it just me, or is megalomania a prerequisite to be a Roman emperor? examples: Nero, Caligula, Valens…

 
Comment by livius drusus
2011-06-21 14:15:55

It’s just you. Those emperors didn’t last long or end well. There were plenty of emperors who just got on with it and kept the machine running. Now a huge ego, on the other hand, was probably a must.

 
Comment by EmilioJZacn
2012-08-07 16:15:23

Hello People :), Im New TO This Forum. How are you guys doing?

 
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