The project Magica Levantina (ML) aims at the edition of mainly unpublished Greek magical texts from towns in the Levant in the late Roman Imperial and early Byzantine periods. Most of the texts are curses inscribed on sheets of lead but also some protective charms inscribed on sheets of gold and silver.

Print editions are planned to appear in two volumes of the series Papyrolo­gica Coloni­en­sia. The ML Website, which is being developed as a complement to these volumes, will doc­u­ment the inscribed objects photographically and include Greek transcriptions and English translations of their texts.

Since decipherment of the inscribed objects usually requires constantly varying angles of light and magnification, the editors have depended to a very large extent on photographic documentation made by the recently developed technology called Reflectance Transforma­tion Imaging (RTI). One of the main features of the ML Website will be to make available to the public—for the first time in the fields of Greek and Latin epigraphy—the RTI documen­tation that the editors themselves used to read the texts. The ML Website will also include a selection of supporting photo­graphic material showing images of the rolled tablets before they were opened (if such images are available) or, occasionally, of other interesting features such as the materia magica that was found with a few of the tablets. The transcriptions and translations are currently being enter­ed in EpiDoc.

When ML Vol. I has gone to press, the correspond­ing documen­tation will be made available on the ML Website. The new material will include inter alia:

  • most of the leaden curse tablets from the Syrian towns of Antioch and Daphne that were found during excavations in 1934 and 1935 conducted by W.A. Camp­bell on behalf of a Franco-American consortium of institutions and that are now housed in the Princeton Art Museum.
  • all of the legible leaden curse tablets of the Israel Antiquities Authority that had been found in a well at Promontory Palace in Caesarea (Israel) during excavations conducted in 1994 by Barbara Burrell and Kathryn Gleasen on behalf of ###.