Curses (drawn from the plays of Plautus)
by: M. Horatius Piscinus
Ooops! Did you make an error? Step on a lictor’s foot, spill wine all over the new praefector, or maybe got caught with a Vestal Virgin? Forgot to pay Jupiter due respect and He reminded you by crashing a thunderbolt on your favorite goat? Well then, there is nothing like a good Roman curse to relieve some of your tension. But we’ll just visit Plautus for a few of the milder curses.

May you all go to Hades!

Vae capiti tuo!
Be dragged to Hades by your hairs!
- Menaechmi

Male istis evenat.
- Curculio 39

I in crucem.
Go hang yourself on a cross.
- Menaechmi

Quis tu is in malam crucem.
Whoever you are, be ill hanged on a cross.
- Menaechmi 915

Ilicet parasiticae arti maxumam malam crucem.
May all those lying leeches who practice the parasitic arts be crucified and suffer miserably.
- Captivi 3.1.9

In malam a me crucem. Pectus auris caput teque di perduint.
In evil, depart fromme and be hanged! May the gods damn you to Hades, you, yourbreast, your ears, head and all!
- Casina, Act. IIIScene V

Male tibi di faciant.
May the gods curse you.
- Curculio 130

Juppiter te dique perdeant.
May Jupiter and all the gods damn you.
- Captivi 868

Qui te di advenientem peregre perdant. Male vive et vale.
May all the gods visitperdition on you. Live and prosper ill.
- Trinummus 996-7

Tibi Juppiter dique omnes irati certo sunt…ut profecto vivas aetatem miser.
May Jupiter and the gods be angry with you, so that you live ineternal misery.
- Amphitruo 1022

Diespiter te dique perdant et ventrem tuom parasitosque omnes, et qui posthac cenam parasitis dabit.
May the gods destroy you, and your stomach, and all the parasites that dwell in it, and all those who shall encourage them henceforth.
- Captivi 909-910

Clades calamitasque, intemperies modo in nostram advenit domum quasi lupus esuriens.
May calamity, misery, and all ill fortune be visited upon youlike a hungry wolf.
- Captivi 911-2

Venus, veneror te ut omnes miseri lenones sient.
Venus, I pray to you that allpimps may suffer.
- Rudens 1348-9

Di illum infelicent omnes qui post hunc diem, lenoullam Veneri umquam immolarit hostiam quive ullum turis granum sacruficaverit.
May the gods damn any pimp who after today ever offers a single victim to Venus or presents her with a single grain of incense.
- Rudens 449-50

Di illum omnes perdant!
Maythe gods destroy all such men!
- Menaechmi 596

Nemini, nec me ille sirit Jupiter.
No, of course not, may Jove forbid it.
- Curculio 26-7

Id te Juppiter prohibessit.
May Jupiter prevent it (from happening to you).
- Pseudolus 13

Non tu scis, mulier, Hecubam qua propter canem Graii esse praedicabant? Quia idem faciebat Hecuba quod tu nunc facis.
I suppose, woman, thatyou know why the Greeks use to call Hecate a bitch? Because sheacted just like you.
- Menaechmi 714-16

Pro digum te fuisse oportet olim in adulescentia quia enim te macto infortunato.
In your adolescence I’ll bet you were a prodigal then too, because today I’ve cursed you with every misfortune.
- Amphitryon 1031

Hercle istum di omnes perduint…Malo Hercle iam magno tuo, ni isti nec recte dicis.
By Hercules, may all the gods damn him…(and) by Hercules, I’llflog you, too, if you don’t abuse his name as well.
- Asinaria 467,471

Perfidiae laudes gratiasque habemus merito magnus quom notris sycophantiis, dolis astutiisque.
Praise and thanks we ought to give to the great god of treachery (Mercury), for surely there is no end insight of our own slanderous ways, our deceitfulness or our slyness.
- Asinaria 545-6
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