De Gruyter Advent Calendar | Door 20
Trouble with officialdom? Bother with the neighbours? Or with the publishing house? Dare we say it, even with Santa Claus? How about trying a spell? Take a thin lead tablet and inscribe some magical formulae onto it, such as: "Bind and nail ... to the depths. Spend the force from his limbs, sinews, heart, spirit and mind ...", followed by some magical words such as badetophoth, phthosisiro. Then send the tablet to the one who is causing you trouble. That, at least, is how it was done in antiquity.
The existence of such spells is known from a brief note associated with Plato. The first real tablets of this kind were not discovered until the 19th century, however. Since then, hundreds have been found, generally very rusty, often folded and punched through by nails, difficult to open, read and decipher, and even more difficult to understand.
A new edition containing all known fragments from Athens and Attica is being produced within the "„Inscriptiones Graecae". As early as 1815, the Academy in Berlin held this critical edition of all known ancient Greek inscriptions, catalogued by region and territory. The 200th anniversary of this, the oldest human science project in Europe, is to be marked in August 2015 by major celebrations. Needless to say, the project is far from completed. Hundreds of new inscriptions are discovered every year, continually extending our knowledge of the ancient world in all fields.
But back to your problems. If you wish to cast a spell, you must use lead for your tablet. You must scratch the name onto the tablet, ideally fragmented and twisted. In the classical era, the use of curse tablets was tried in court, against rivals and neighbours, at chariot races and gladiator contests, in elections, and against party cronyism. Are you still looking for inspiration? The Berlin Museum has enough examples in the Wünsch collection of around 200 curse tablets, which were recently restored by state-of-the-art methods.
PS We do not know much about counter-spells.
PPS Experience has not yet been gained with binding spells against Santa Claus.
PPPS Spells do not have to be harmful. Why not try a love spell for the new year? Draw [name] to me in every hour of life, night and day, until she/he comes to me and remains inseparably at my side ...