Curses, Healing, and Devotion: Roman Britain Through Its Spiritual Legacy

Date of Award

Spring 6-8-2020

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Dr. Christine Chaney

First Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Owen Ewald

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Rebecca Hughes


Britannia, curse tablets, Bethesda, Ely


This paper explores the spiritual history and legacy of Roman Britain, connecting the larger Roman world and medieval Christianity. The first section connects the context of John’s “Healing at the Pool” account to healing cults and the use of water in Greco-Roman worship. The next is devoted to studying the defixiones (curse tablets) of Aquae Sulis in Bath, their existence as well as their use of the Latin language as they shed light on religious lives of people in the Roman province of Britannia. Finally, I will connect my own life and faith journey to this research through a study of Æthelthryth’s site at Ely. An expanded edition is expected to be completed by Autumn 2020.


A project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Scholars Honors Program

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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