2000 Year Old Series of ‘Magic Spells’ Discovered in Serbia along-side Human Remains
Magic is something that has bewitched generations of humans and been scoffed at by science. Evidence pointing towards it has existed for thousands of years and it seems to be present in every civilization and in every custom. But we have yet to find any actual scientifically proven evidence backing the claim of magic. Researchers have come across similar evidence of such arts is eastern Serbia.
The discovery of lost arts
The researchers discovered that strange spells have been engraved onto rolls of gold and silver and these rolls have been buried alongside remains of humans who seem to have been dead for almost 2,000 years. Magic spells alongside remains sounds very creepy to me. But what do these spells actually signify? The research team is still trying to figure out what these incantations actually mean. They may have been used for good, evil or maybe to invoke some sort of higher power.
Chief researcher Miomir Korac, from Archaeological Institute in Belgrade told Reuters, "The alphabet is Greek, that much we know. The language is Aramaic - it's a Middle Eastern mystery to us.” Ilija Dankovic, a team member further added, “We read the names of a few demons, that are connected to the territory of modern-day Syria”.
The spells were contained in small lead amulets and were carved onto precious metal. Each incantation was about the size of a candy wrapper but it is believed that these incantations would have been very valuable in the past. The burial site is near the city of Kostolac which was once the Roman city Viminacium. The team has estimated that these spells were buried around the 4th century. It would be unwise to read too much into this discovery yet, as a full analysis still has to be conducted on these remains and the team still has to carbon date them.
What do these incantations purportedly do?
Similar traces of magic have been discovered in parts of UK and Egypt but this is the first time that such artifacts have been found in Serbia. The difference between the tablets discovered in those areas and the ones in Serbia is that these tablets have been carved into people’s tombs and buried alongside them. Researchers believe that these spells represent some sort of ‘binding magic’. Binding spells are supposed to benefit or curse the living but are usually buried with the dead so that these spells would help carry the deceased to hell or heaven or to be precise to the demons or angels in the afterlife. These spells are believed to force the dead into doing the bidding of the angels or demons.
According to what Dankovic told Reuters, “They were often love charms, ordering someone to fall in love, but there were also dark, malignant curses, to the tune of: 'May your body turn dead, as cold and heavy as this lead”. In 2006, one such tablet was discovered in Leicester, England. It dated back to the 2 A.D and it was supposed to be request to god to curse a thief. It said, “To the god Maglus, I give the wrongdoer who stole the cloak of Servandus ... that he destroy him before the ninth day."
According to Dankovic these spells were buried with people who had suffered violent deaths. This was because it was believed that "souls of such people took longer to find rest and had a better chance of finding demons and deities and pass the wishes to them so they could do their magic". The exact causes of death aren’t yet discovered but a lot can be said about the beliefs of the people of Viminacium at that time.
In an interview, Korac told NBC News, "This is a very important archaeological discovery because it shows us how luxurious the life in Viminacium was or how much hope they had in the 'curse tablets' so that they used precious metals. According to my knowledge, such tablets have never been found inscribed in gold anywhere. According to the Roman customs, gold was never put into graves."
Evidence also states that the Roman city was in some sort of a religious shift during this time as both Christian and pagan gods are called upon in these incantations. Korac further added, “Opposing deities appear on these tablets, as if invoking both Christ and the Antichrist today, or Christ and pagan gods, and that is weird. This shows us that the process of converting to Christianity was slow".
All of this is still very mysterious and exact reasons as to why these incantations were used, how they worked, and for whom were they used is still very vague. But we can draw one very important conclusion form these events, there is still a lot to be learned still about our ancestors and the civilizations that existed before us.