Lila's story | The Roman Baths

In line with the latest Government advice, the Roman Baths will be closed from Thursday 31 December 2020 until further notice. Please read more here.

Lila's story

After King Edward VI school visited the Roman Baths, students were asked to pick an object from the collection and write a creative piece or report. Lila produced an excellent story and it is based on one of the curse tablets which were thrown into the Sacred Spring. You can read Lila's story below.

Lila's story


Greetings my subjects. My name is Sulis Minerva and I am the goddess who lives in the sacred springs of the Roman Baths. I am a much loved goddess and Romans from all over the ancient world come to offer me sacrifices and bestow their words of praise upon me. Naturally, I never show myself to them; I have to keep my identity hidden. That's part of the magic, but I make my existence known by healing anyone with an illness that bathes in my murky waters.

However, people don't always come for me for good things; people sometimes come to me with curses and that's how this story begins.

It seemed a rather average day to begin with. I cured some random old man of his blisters; I was bestowed with the gift of a shiny green glass pot and I cleaned some peasantly Roman children. But that all changed the moment Lucius Wendanious Jaga walked into my domain, carrying a small-looking lead tablet.

He seemed unsure of what he was doing. His head kept twisting, turning almost as if he was looking out for someone; could someone possibly be watching him? No, that wasn't it; he was looking for signs to find his way. He clearly hadn't been here before. That was outrageous in my eyes, how could you even resist the temptation of visiting me? Most people seemed to come daily in prayer to me.

Anyway, after taking multiple wrong turns and asking numerous guests at my lair, he eventually managed to find his way to my eternal and most beautiful home: the great bath.

Once he reached my waters, he stopped still, looking at the tablet in his hands. After a slight hesitation, he took a deep breath and tossed the thing into my waters. I was excited; was this a gift? With the uttermost joy I glided over to the tablet my hands outstretched, ready to grab it. Once I had the object in my hands I took the time to read its newly-scratched words; this was no gift, it was a curse.

“The person who has lifted my bronze cooking pot is utterly accursed. I give him to the temple of Sulis, whether woman or man, whether slave or free, whether boy or girl, and let him who has done this spill his own blood into the vessel itself.”

I decided to grant him with my help, although he was clearly not a regular at my place of worship and not at all deserving. If I helped him he may repay me in some way by spreading the words of my powers and overall excellence.

After a little research, I discovered that the culprit was in fact a lowly female slave named Rubia. She was not a worshipper of mine and, as far as I know, had never even stepped foot in a temple in all her life. She was worthless so I shall be glad to dispose of her.

Naturally, I don't do the dirty work myself so I used my powers to invade a dream of one of my most regular worshipers, an assassin named Gauius Descibus Salvius. In the dream I showed an image (totally fictional of course) of the culprit beating my assassin’s wife, to provoke anger. Then I showed an image of the bronze cooking pot, dripping with blood, the perfect murder weapon.

The vision worked. My loyal assassin did the deed as I guessed he would. I do love it when my subjects appease me. The slave girl is dead, the pot returned and I should hope her master comes to thank me. I shall be expecting him. Long live Sulis Minerva!