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Tablet 194

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Vindolanda Inventory No. 87.597.a-b


Two fragments of a leaf containing writing on both sides, the text on the one side being upside down in relation to that on the other. Both sides are written by the same hand and probably form part of a single text. Since the order is uncertain it should be noted that our designation of the sides as A and B is arbitrary and is used only for convenience of reference. A third fragment which was inventoried under this number (195) contains a text of a similar kind and at least one side of it may be written by the same hand, but it is impossible to establish that it belongs with 194; 196 may also be at least partly by the same hand but has likewise been treated as part of a separate list. This hand may also be responsible for 197 and 191. Fragments (a) and (b) do not join directly but can be positioned side by side with a small gap between (large enough to accommodate one or two letters). The placing of the fragments and the reconstruction of the text is based on our understanding of lines B.1-2, although there is a problem with both reading and meaning in line 1 (see note), and is strongly supported by line A.8, if it is correctly read. The text is a list of household objects which are almost all related to cooking, eating or drinking. The content is appropriate to the find-spot of these tablets; Room VIII of the Period 3 praetorium has been identified as a kitchen and the text must surely be part of an inventory of equipment. In some cases (e.g. lines A.7-8) we only have single objects; even where the gap between the fragments makes it impossible to be certain of the exact number of items involved, the order of magnitude seems to be small (see line A.3 note). We can hardly suppose therefore that this represents the complete stock of equipment for a substantial establishment such as the praetorium must have been, and it may be that this is part of a much longer list which the writer compiled by walking round and listing items in different locations in the room (see line A.6 note). Lists of this kind are not uncommon in the papyri; see for example, P.Wash.Univ.I 59, SPP XX 67, BGU III 781, ChLA XI 485. The terms for the different kinds of eating and drinking vessels, several of which appear in our list, are discussed by Strong (1966), 128-30 and by Oliver and Shelton (1979) with reference to BGU III 781, a long inventory of a very valuable collection of plate which totals over 300 Roman pounds of silver. This makes an interesting comparison with the Vindolanda list, especially, perhaps, if some of the silver in BGU III 781 was the property of the late and disgraced prefect of Egypt, Cornelius Gallus, a considerably wealthier Roman eques than Flavius Cerialis will have been, cf. Shelton (1977), 69. Most of the objects at Vindolanda are perhaps more likely to be ceramic than silver but there is some evidence for utensils of bronze at Vindolanda (cf. VRR II, 91) and a bronze lamp is listed in B.2 (see also note to B.1).

. . . . . . .
n 1 .[
n 2 scutul[as ] ii[
n 3 paropsides [ ] v[[ii]]
n 4 acetabul[a ]iii
n 5 ouaria · iii
n 6 in laterar[..].
n 7 lancem
n 8 scutul[a]m
n 1 compend[iá]rium et
2 lucern[am] aeneam
n 3 panaria · [ ]iiii
4 calices · [ ]ii ·
n 5 in the[ca]
n 6 trullas · [ ] theca
n 7 s[
8 [
. . . . . . .


(A) " ... shallow dishes, 2 (?) side-plates, 5 (?) vinegar-bowls, 3 (?) egg-cups, 3 on the purlin (?) a platter a shallow dish" (B) "a strong-box (?) and a bronze lamp bread-baskets, 4 (?) cups, 2 (?) in a box bowls, 2 (?) in a box ..."