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Tablet 233

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Vindolanda Inventory No. 87.514

Introduction

A diptych, complete at the top, left and right, containing a draft or file copy of a letter from Cerialis to Brocchus (B) and, at the right, written across the grain from top to bottom of the leaf, three lines of a list of foodstuffs (A). We think it most probable that (A) was written first and that the leaf, having been rotated through 90°, was then used for the draft of the letter without erasing the primary text. No doubt we have the end of the draft letter since there is a considerable space between the last line and the bottom of the leaf and we would not expect to find Cerialis' closing greeting. At least one line at the foot of the left-hand column must be lost, however, as is confirmed by the trace of one letter at the bottom edge; furthermore the items in (A) extend to the edge of the leaf and suggest the loss of part of the tablet which may have contained cash sums relating to the food items.

If, as seems likely, the two texts were written by the same hand, the list of foodstuffs suggests that the scribe may have been a member of Cerialis' household staff (perhaps a slave) rather than a member of the military unit. The hand may be the same as that in 235 and 240; there is some use of ligature. Some examples of o are noteworthy, being made much like a small c; note in particular the first o in Broccho.

Cerialis asks Brocchus to send him some plagae (see note to line B.4) and, perhaps, to repair something (either the plagae or something else depending on what was in the missing part of the text).

A
n 1 alicas [
n 2 callum [
n 3 ungellas [
B.i
1 Flauius Cerialis Broccho
n 2 suo salutem
3 si me amas frater rogo
n 4 mittas mihi plagas
5 ].[
. . . . . . . .
B.ii
n 1 fortissime uacat
n 2 frusta exercias
3 uacat

Notes

"gruel ...

pork-crackling ...

trotters ..."

Flavius Cerialis to his Brocchus, greetings. If you love me, brother, I ask that you send me some hunting-nets (?) ... you should repair (?) the pieces very strongly."