The Powers of Death: Memory, Place and Eschatology in a Coptic Curse
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This discussion takes as a case study three curses written in Coptic on mammalian rib bones, dating to the ninth or tenth century CE. These curses call upon the Powers of Death, psychagogues known from Christian literary texts, to remove the victim's soul, before adjuring the spirit of the dead person with whom the curses were deposited to make the victim suffer alongside it in hell. These manuscripts, known in one case to have been buried in a Pharaonic grave, demonstrate the ways in which Egyptian Christians re-constructed their 'pagan' past, and that their knowledge of this past could be used as a tool in the social conflicts which led to the production of written curses.