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Tablet 242

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Vindolanda Inventory No. 85.160.a


Two fragments of a diptych, containing a letter which presents problems of reading and interpretation. What is legible is only a small part of the text at the beginning of the main part of the letter and, if ueni (line 2) is to be taken as an imperative, the writer is instructing someone to come to Vindolanda in connection with a numeratio. The hand in which the text is written bears some similarity to that of 291, 248 etc., but since the latter come from the household of Brocchus and Severa, it can hardly be the same hand (note, too, that it uses interpunct more consistently). The name of the sender, on the reverse, which suggests that the letter is not a draft or copy, is certainly not Brocchus. If it is Cerialis, as it seems to be, it is not easy to explain how a letter from him (a) ended up at Vindolanda and (b) was addressed to someone from his own cohort (see notes to ii.2 and back 2). Of the four lines on the right-hand portion, the first is so abraded as to be illegible for all practical purposes; the other three could well be written by the same hand as 225-32, which we have identified as the hand of Cerialis. The message seems to be dated at the end (line ii.4) and this may be explained by the supposition that Cerialis was instructing someone to return to Vindolanda at short notice. In short, it is possible that we have a letter from Cerialis perhaps to a centurion of his own cohort, absent but not too far away, instructing him to return for some official duty; and that the letter was brought back to Vindolanda by its recipient and deposited there.

. . . . . .
n 1 cras · bene mane Vindo-
n 2 landam ueni · ut
n 3 numerationi · cen-
. . . . . .
n 1 traces
n 2 m2? uale mi Felici..[
n 3 karissime uacat
n 4 ...... Septembres
. . . . . .
n 1 m1? viiii Bat(auorum)
n 2 [a] Flauio Ceriale traces


"Come to Vindolanda tomorrow, early in the morning in order to ... the payment (?) of the century (?) ... (2nd hand?) Farewell, my dearest Felicio (?) ... September. (Back, 1st hand) ... of the 9th Cohort of Batavians, from Flavius Cerialis, prefect (?)."