Indiana Hoenlein and the Lost Gambler's Curse on a Horse Race. Malcolm Hoenlein @Conf_of_pres @ThadMcCotter
“The curse calls upon the angel who stands before Balaam’s ass to block the horses of the opposing team.”
“Additionally, because the spells cost money — one would need to pay a scribe or magician to inscribe them on sheets of gold, silver or lead — it also teaches us that their use potentially stretched to the more elite members of society. Taken together, this dispels the notion that the magic was used primarily by poor, uneducated women."
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Ancient Jewish gambler’s chariot race curse found in decoded 5th Century scroll
A nailed-shut amulet uncovered in Turkey in the 1930s, written in Jewish Aramaic and newly translated, pleads for help from Balaam’s ass at the track
When a typical nailed-shut 5th century curse scroll was uncovered by the University of Princeton in a 1930s excavation under the hippodrome in the city of Antioch (now in Turkey), the team of archaeologists didn’t realize what a unique find they had in hand.
It would take almost another 90 years to discover that the amulet, made of thin lead, is the only known example of a curse written by Jews against a chariot horse racing competitor.
In the curse, written in a Jewish dialect of Aramaic in Hebrew lettering, the gambler beseeches God and his panoply of angels to thwart the competing horse and cause him to “drown in the mud,” said Tel Aviv University doctoral student Rivka Elitzur-Leiman, who recently deciphered the miniature 8.8 x 2.1 cm lead tablet.
Horse racing at the time had the emotional involvement and popularity of soccer today, explains Elitzur-Leiman. The doctoral student was tapped to decipher this scroll because she is studying Jewish magical amulets — for protection or curse — from the 4th-7th centuries for her dissertation. She said it was another piece of a growing body of evidence for the long and rich tradition of magical use by Jews of the era.