The text on this tablet may be complete but this is far from certain. What is certain is that the text does not conform to the normal pattern, though the difference may be confined to the word order. There is a problem both at the beginning and the end, the former the more serious (see notes to lines 1 and 3-4).
The use of interpunct and apices is noteworthy.
"I, Messicus ..., ask, my lord, that you consider me a worthy person to whom to grant leave at Coria. (Back) ... of (?) Messicus."
The small fragment must fit at the start of the first preserved line since it contains the top of des from the line below, but it is very hard to read the remains of the letters it contains, as they are somewhat obscured by dirt. What we require to fit the normal pattern is dignum me habeas, but there does not seem to be room for more than six letters before ha[b]eas. If the first preserved line is not the first line of the document, we could simply read num me in this line with dig on a previous line; possible restorations before this would be rogo domine Cerialis or just rogo domine (see below). In which case the name of the applicant may have preceded and we would have to suppose that the tablet contained two requests for leave, the second of which came from Messicus (unless Messicus submitted his request in duplicate, which seems unlikely). It is perhaps more likely that the whole of dignum me habeas stood in this line; it might just be possible to read dignu[m me] before ha[b]eas but there seems scarcely to be room for the letters supplied in the lacuna. If this is correct, the tablet may well be complete as it stands; it then conveys exactly the same sense as the other requests but with a different word-order. It is not essential for the name of the recipient to have been included after domine (it is omitted in 176), but it could of course have come in a further line not now preserved.
Córis: the apex mark here and in line 4 is slightly curved. For its use with short vowels cf. 291 and 265, introduction and above, pp.59-61. For the identification of Coria as Corbridge see 154.7 note.
Messicus the name is not in LC; NPEL and RNGCL cite only one instance, from Noricum (CIL 3.11502). For another possible Norican connection in the Vindolanda texts see 184.i.1 note.
At the end of line 3, after Messicus, t is certain and there is not room for more than two or at most three letters lost after this. One possibility is to read t[e, cf. 173.1, where, however, te comes between rogo and domine. More seriously, however, this leaves us without any indication of Messicus' unit.
rógo: for the apex see note to line 3.
The trace after messic is so slight that it permits either the reading Messico (so probably just a] Messico) or Messici, which might have been preceded by a noun meaning "request". We do not think that the apparent traces thereafter are ink. The writing on the back of what was evidently the first part of the text supports the idea that these requests were normally written on half-leaves.