This paper falls into two main sections. The first deals with the defixio and its traditional definition as an example of so-called private inscriptions. Unlike public epigraphs, which were monumental, crafted by professionals, intended for display, and had (mainly) a commemorative function, defixiones (whether written by
...magoi or amateurs) are usually considered to be among Antiquity’s most private texts. Nevertheless, curse tablets and public inscriptions share a very important feature: both contained messages meant to endure. This specific feature brings us to the second section of this article, which discusses the influence of public inscriptions on curse tablets: to what extent are defixiones a reflection of monumental epigraphy? Aspects such as the ordinatio of the text, the media employed or the way they were displayed (even inside a tomb) are analyzed in this regard. In an attempt to answer these questions, three publicly displayed curse tablets are discussed in depth.
The aim of this paper is to analyze binding curse tablets found in the Latin West from a material perspective, in order to rethink their multifaceted nature, since sometimes – but not always – defixiones are inscribed pieces of lead.