Sulis was a Celtic goddess worshiped at the thermal springs of Bath.

Head of the Cult Statue of Sulis Minerva from Bath. Roman Baths Museum.

She was worshiped by the Romano-British as Sulis Minerva, whose votive objects and inscribed lead tablets suggest that she was conceived of both as a healing goddess and as an effective agent of curses wished by her votaries.

Altar to Sulis Minerva and the Imperial Cult from Bath. Roman Baths Museum.

About 130 curse tablets, mostly addressed to Sulis, have been found in the sacred spring at the Roman Baths in Bath. Typically, the text on the tablets offered to Sulis relates to theft. It is evident, from the localized style of Latin used, that a high proportion of the tablets came from the native population. In formulaic, often legalistic, language, the tablets appeal to the goddess Sulis to punish the known or unknown perpetrators of the crime until reparations are made. Sulis is typically requested to impair the physical and mental well-being of the perpetrator, by the denial of sleep, by causing normal bodily functions to cease or even by death. These afflictions are to cease only when the property is returned to the owner or disposed of as the owner wishes, often by its being dedicated to the goddess.

Curse Tablet with complaint about the theft of Vilbia from Bath. Roman Baths Museum. (c) Mike Peel

The tablets were often written in code, by means of letters or words being written backwards; word order may be reversed and lines may be written in alternating directions, from left to right and then right to left. While most texts from Roman Britain are in Latin, two scripts found here, written on pewter sheets, are in an unknown language which may be Brythonic. They are the only examples of writing in this language ever found.

Alta to Sulis from Bath. Roman Baths Museum.

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