Latin students practice cursing for a grade


Cassidy Corey

Students in all Latin classes participated in carving curses from ancient Rome into “curse tablets” made of aluminum foil.

Spanish students often can be found creating family trees or studying the various countries in which the language is spoken. French students sometimes paint pictures or study the rich culture within France. Latin students, however, look to ancient Rome where simple acts of violence and faith in the gods were common. One of these common Roman practices was crafting tablets which were used to curse people who had wronged the tablet’s creator. 

“The whole point was that you didn’t know who had done it because otherwise you would just attack them yourself,” said Ivy M., an eighth-grader and Latin 2 student. “You were supposed to say ‘I curse whoever stole my chickens or killed my cow.’ So I cursed whoever had stolen my will to live and I said that they would bleed from their eyes and lose the ability to breathe.”

Students were given a list of fill in the blank sentences in Latin to engrave on pieces of tin foil, which were supposed to mimic the lead tablets that were used in Rome. One of the things students could choose was the deity to call upon to curse this person. 

“…you could be generic, and call upon Mars or some other god or goddess of war,” Ivy said. “But then also you could call upon Aphrodite, goddess of beauty, and say ‘hey i want you to make this person look ugly’ because the punishments didn’t have to just be violent, you could be more creative.”

While violence in the curses were not necessary, students like Caelan McIlwraith, a freshman in Latin 2, chose to curse specific people for crimes they may or may not have committed.

“I cursed Elon Musk for stealing my horse,” McIlwraith said. “He will never sleep again and his internal organs shall slowly rot.” 

By Cassidy Corey

Editor’s note: Brevard Public Schools policy prohibits the inclusion of middle-schoolers’ last names on district-sponsored websites.