10 Ancient Curses for Your Archnemesis That Will Ruin Their Day

A little more specific than ‘screw you’
10 Ancient Curses for Your Archnemesis That Will Ruin Their Day

Wishing someone emotional or bodily harm is not nice. Like other things that are not technically nice, though, it is very fun — especially if you want to get poetic with it and cook up a whole hypothetical scenario that ends with them hoisted high on their own petard or something similarly embarrassing. 

Horrible fantasies like this arent much more than a mean little lark of the imagination these days, but in ancient times? There were steps to be taken to ask a favor of the gods to bring your little home-cooked tragedy to bear. They were often inscribed on curse tablets if the issuer wasnt a god themselves, and boy, are they brutal.

Here are some particularly entertaining ancient put-downs…

May You Lose to Bears


This fate was lowered on a bear hunter, someone whose day-to-day well-being is very much predicated on winning against bears. The curse included “may he lose with every bear, may he be unable to kill a bear on Wednesday, in any hour,” which is a very fun little method of hiring a bear hitman via the gods. I guess the modern equivalent is something like, “May he forever be invisible to city buses.”

May You Die Without A Priest

Damn, dog. Youd think once your enemy was no more, the whole thing would be done and dusted. Not so for the person firing off this curse at their landlord, who apparently wanted him not only to die, but to do so without a chance at absolution. Man must have absolutely cranked his rent.

May No One Worship You Forever


If you dont want to get cursed, I highly advise not pissing off gods, especially all-powerful ones. They don't need to fuck around with tablets and dolls, theyve got the security clearance to do it themselves. When the god Brahma lied to Shiva, Shiva laid the smack down with a curse decreeing no one would ever worship him. A quick scan of the Hindu calendar will indicate zero Brahma-related holidays, so it seems like everyone stuck to it.

Labeling Them Old, Putrid Gore

The ancient people werent particularly known for their word economy, which makes this curse all the more unique. Probably a nice relief on the hands, as I cant imagine lead engraving is a pleasure for the wrist. Whoever Tacita was, she got taken out with precision by the curse, “Tacita, hereby accursed, is labelled old like putrid gore.

May You Dissolve


Youve got to be royally pissed off to wish the fate of a single-use Alex Mack on your enemy. For one spurned lover, that was exactly what they desired done to someone who had stolen “Vilbia” from them. Their humble request for the gods was for the offender to “become as liquid as water.” This is very hard to survive.

May Only Your Limbs Dissolve, and Then the Rest Crushed

Thought that being dissolved was as bad as it gets? Time to be proven disgustingly wrong. This curse was aimed at a Roman Senator, which really makes me assume it was well-deserved. Their fate? To have all their limbs dissolved, and to have the remaining human nugget be crushed.

Banned From Going to the Bathroom


Stealing from a temple? Terrible choice of target. Its about as intelligent as an accountant skimming off the top of Al Capones bank account. For the very shortsighted thief who robbed a temple of Mercury, they might have found themselves in a highly confusing bind after they were cursed to be unable to “urinate nor defecate.” Other abilities were also requested to be taken away, like sleeping and speaking, but thats definitely the one thats going to have you the most unsettled.

May Your Jokes Bomb

Sosio was apparently a Roman comedian, one who was despised by a superfan of local mime Eumolpos. So, like the ancient equivalent of stan-account Twitter harassment, someone appealed to the powers above to ensure Sosio would “never do better than the mime Eumolpos.”

Maximum Death


Oh hell yeah. Someone named Docilianus got his cloak stolen, and whoever took it was probably regretting it real quickly once he learned what his fate was: Being afflicted with “maximum death.” Would love to see a coroner label an autopsy with that.

The Evil Eye

Maybe one of the most well-known general curses around is the “evil eye,” and strangely, this one isnt necessarily all magic. Its cast, at least in theory, by envious glances. Of course, if youre someone who everyones jealous of, youre a prime target for shit getting done to you, so it might have been a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy situation.

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