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Tablet 225

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TVI Publication No. 37

Vindolanda Inventory No. 29,31


This text can now be recognised as a draft of a letter from Cerialis to Crispinus. The association with the correspondence of Cerialis is established by the identity of this hand with that of 227, where the name of Cerialis is to be found in the nominative. There are six other fragmentary texts (226, 228-32) written by the same hand, and it may also be at work in the closure in 242.ii; see also 466. The hand, discussed in detail in the ed. pr., is very idiosyncratic and unlike those found in texts which we suppose to have been the work of "professional scribes"; for this reason we think it probable that it is the hand of Cerialis himself, although this cannot of course be proved.

Minor revisions of the readings in the ed. pr. are signalled in the notes. Our view of the general sense and purpose of the letter has not changed. A.R.Birley (1991), 95-100, has suggested that Cerialis is asking for a transfer or promotion; it is certainly possible that this is the implicit point of the request for patronage but there is nothing explicitly about promotion in this or the other letters of Cerialis. Nor is it clear that we should regard this as an example of litterae commendaticiae in which the writer recommends himself, cf. Speidel and Seider (1988).

We are confident that the name of the addressee in Cerialis' draft was correctly read as Crispinus. The cognomen is common and we cannot identify him. Our original view that the draft should not be associated with what we identified as the "Archive of Crispinus" has been proved correct by the recognition that the name of the principal person in that archive is, in fact, Priscinus (295-8). The terms in which Cerialis writes suggests that Crispinus is an important man (note line 6, d]ominum meum) and well-placed to assist an equestrian prefect by interceding with the governor. He might therefore be of senatorial status, a laticlave tribune or a legionary legate (cf. 154.5-6 note).

n 1 [ ] uacat Crispino suo [ uacat?
n n 2 [G]rattio Crispino redeunte .[...
n n 3 [ c.10 ] [[non fui mihi]] et .d.[..
4 [ c.7 li]benter amplexus s[um do-
5             mine salutandi te occassionem
6 [d]ominum meum et quem saluom
7 [[habere]] esse et omnis spei
n 8 [[suae]] compotem inter praecipua
n 9 uoti habeo hoc enim de
10           me semper meruisti usque
n 11 ad hanc d[ c.4 ].tem cuius fid-
12 [ c.4 ]..[ c.6 ][...
n 13 [....]m Marcellum clarissi[mum ui-
n 14           [rum] consularem meum quar.[....
n 15 [oc]cassionem nunc ut.[ c.11
n 16 [...]. tibi amicorum do[ c.10
n 17 sua [p]raesentia quos tu[ c.9
n n 18 illius scio plurimos habere [....
n 19           quomodo uoles imple quidq[uid
n 20 de te exspecto et me .lu.[.]...
n 21 amicis ita instrue ut beneficio
n 22 tuo militiam [po]ssim iucundam
n 23 experiri ha[ec ti]bi a Vindolan-
n 24           da scribo .[ c.6 ]. hiberna [..
n 25 [.].n.u. h..[ c.6 ].ius a.[
. . . . . . . . .


"To his Crispinus. Since Grattius Crispinus is returning to ... and ... I have gladly seized the opportunity my lord of greeting you, you who are my lord and the man whom it is my very special wish to be in good health and master of all your hopes. For you have always deserved this of me right up to the present high office (?). In reliance on this ... you first ... greet (?) ... Marcellus, that most distinguished man, my governor. He therefore offers (?) the opportunity now of ... the talents (?) of your friends through his presence, of which you have, I know, very many, thanks to him (?). Now (?), in whatever way you wish, fulfil what I expect of you and ... so furnish me with friends that thanks to you I may be able to enjoy a pleasant period of military service. I write this to you from Vindolanda where my winter-quarters are (?) ..."