"We have already seen that defixiones must be treated as a familiar feature of ancient Mediterranean cultures. What is more, they cut across all social categories; on this point there is virtual unanimity. The reason for their pervasive presence lies in the observation that they worked, or that they were believed to work, which comes to the same thing. Their success and effectiveness also explains why they were treated as illegal or dangerous. Dangerous not because they always intended harm but because they worked. Better yet, they worked in ways that could not be controlled by the legal, social, and political centers of ancient society. Indeed, at times they stood outside, perhaps in direct opposition to those centers. The idea that magoi could dispense power on matters of central importance to human life; the idea that any private person, for nothing but a small fee, could put that power to use in a wide variety of circumstances; and the idea that all of these transactions were available to individuals who stood outside and sometimes against the “legitimate” corporate structures of society- all of these ideas presented a serious threat to those who saw themselves as jealous guardians of power emanating from the center of that society, whether Greek, Roman, Antiochene, or Rabbinic. Here was power beyond their control, power in the hands of freely negotiating individuals”
-Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World- John G. Gager
"Our written evidence for the Greek and Roman world mostly derives from literary texts written by and for small aristocratic groups, but in curse tablets we hear different voices, of provincials and non-citizens on the edge of empire, women and slaves."
-Curse Tablets from Roman Britain