Vindolanda Tablets Online Tablets Exhibition Reference Help

Vindolanda Tablets Online Database - Print-friendly tablets display

TVII Tablet: 260
Search Result: 1
Title: Letter from Iustinus to Cerialis
Category: Correspondence of Cerialis


The right-hand side of a diptych which contains the whole of the right-hand column of a letter from Iustinus to Cerialis. This seems to be guaranteed by the presence of notches in the right-hand edge and it is therefore odd that we seem to have lost one or two letters at the ends of some of the lines (cf. 215.6). We can only assume that a small amount of the leaf has been lost by abrasion. Iustinus does not appear elsewhere, but his use of the terms domine frater in lines 4-5 and col(lega) in line 11 strongly suggests that he was a fellow-prefect. It is notable that the hand in which the text is written does not change in line 4 where the closing salutation begins; it is possible, therefore, that this is the hand of Iustinus himself, but it may be that we have lost a final uale in a second hand at the foot of the leaf. The content of the message proper suggests that this might possibly have been a letter of recommendation (cf. 250).


. . . . . . . .
n 1 de op...[
n n 2 esse scri[ c.7 i]n no[ti-
n 3 tiam tuam lubentissi-
n n 4 me perfero opto domin[e
n 5 frater felicissimus
n 6 bene ualeas saluta a m[e
n 7 Vindicem n(ostrum) et pueros
8 tuos uacat
n 1 Flauio Ceriali praef(ecto)
n 2 coh(ortis) ·
3 a Iustino col(lega) ·


"... I have the greatest pleasure in bringing to your notice. I pray, my lord and brother, that you enjoy good health and the best of fortune. Greet from me our friend Vindex and your boys. (Back) To Flavius Cerialis, prefect of the cohort, from Iustinus his colleague."


1-2          There may be up to 14 letters missing in line 1. One way of supplementing and understanding this passage would be to restore opin[ione followed by a short name (or possibly te) and adjective, followed by esse scri[psit quod i]n no[ti-/tiam etc.: "N has written about his opinion that N (or you) is (are) ..., which I have the greatest pleasure etc.". There are, however, alternative readings which are compatible with the traces, notably opta.[ or operi[bus.


For the phrase cf. Pliny, Ep. 10.75.2, quod in notitiam tuam perferendum existimaui. P.Vindob.Lat.Inv.126, line 12 (Sijpesteijn and Worp (1977), 92-4) may well contain the phrase ad notitiam perfero, or something like it.

lubentissime: despite the damage at the beginning of the word, we are confident of the reading.

4-6          For the formula cf. 215.ii.7-8 and 250.ii.14-6.

7          Vindicem n(ostrum): the name does not occur elsewhere in the tablets. Vindex must be assumed to be stationed at Vindolanda, and perhaps a member of Cerialis' cohort. The abbreviation of n(ostrum) is marked, as is normal, by a superscript bar (cf. 248.ii.10).

pueros: although there is no doubt of the presence of children in the praetorium during Cerialis' residence, we regard it as certain that the term here refers colloquially either to slaves or to fellow-soldiers as "the boys" (see 255.i.7 and note). Greetings to members of the family normally take a different form and would surely be expected to include Cerialis' wife Lepidina if their sons were mentioned, cf. 291.ii.9-10.

back 1-2          It is noteworthy that praef(ecto) is, unusually, on the same line as the name and that the abbreviations of coh(ortis) and col(lega) are marked by medial points.

© Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents, The British Museum and other copyright holders.