I’m not sure what started my current fascination with all things Roman. All of a sudden, I was tracing Roman roads and kicking myself for not realising that I had practically grown up on one. Until I moved to the south coast, all my homes were within very close proximity to Stane Street, the road that ran from Chichester into London. Who knew?
While researching Roman roads, I stumbled on to a local Roman curse tablet. I’ve seen a curse tablet before in Bath but I had no idea there was one sitting in a museum in Fareham.
This curse tablet was found in a tributary of the river Hamble, near Southampton, by a metal detectorist. It is believed to be dated around 350 AD. It says:
Lord Neptune, I give you the man who has stolen the solidus (gold coin) and six argentioli (silver coins) of Muconius. So I give the names who took them away, whether male or female, boy or girl. So give you Niskus, and to Neptune, the life, health, blood, of him who has been privy to that taking away. The mind which stole this and has been privy to it, may you take it away. The thief that stole this, may you consume his blood and take it away, Lord Neptune.
Next to the curse table were three solidi, similar to the one stolen by Muconious’ thief.
To top off this Roman inspired day, I went to Porchester to take a walk around the old Roman fort walls. Portus Adurni was an important defence for the Romans, built to see off Saxon invaders. Today, the walls, built in the 3rd century, are almost all intact.
There’s a Norman castle built within the walls and a church dedicated to Saint Mary.
In the corner of the churchyard, near the Roman wall, there’s a small labyrinth. It’s not obvious so you have to know it’s there.
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