]si: we originally thought that these letters belonged to line ii.6
and completed the verb misi which began in ii.5. It now seems
more likely, given that they stand to the left of the beginnings of lines in
col.ii, that they belong to a line in col.i which overran the fold.
tuó: we previously read the last letter as e made in
two semicircular strokes, but we are now confident that it should be read as o with an
apex mark (see above, pp.57-61), even though there is no other apex preserved
in this text.
The spacing of the descenders visible before et is not
decisive enough for us to calculate the number of missing letters here. We
would not wish to rule out the reading com-/m[endaue]ras et.
epistu/las might perhaps be
followed by i[ll]as or m[e]as (or even d[u]as),
depending on the reading of the verb at the end of the line. The interpunct
before quas appears to be deliberate although it is the only clear
example in the text, except with the numeral in line 5 and the abbreviations in
line 6. We are still uncertain whether to read acceperam or acceperas (either
is palaeographically possible). If the latter, the writer would have to be
understood as making a point about the date on which he had sent the letters
which Cerialis had received; m[e]as would, of
course, only make sense with acceperas.
In the ed. pr. we prefered viii to iii as the
reading of the numeral but now that evidence for the Third Cohort of Batavians
has appeared in 311.back 2 we are quite sure that this is to be
read here. The number, which is surmounted by a saucer-shaped mark, is preceded
and followed by medial points. The first could indicate the abbreviation of coh(ortis) but such
medial points appear in MSS to indicate that a number follows; this also seems
to be the case in 295.4 and is therefore likely here.
reads [re]mi-/si but since we now take si to belong
to a line in col.i, we prefer to read m[i]si in line 5
which would fill the space available.
ad te: ad te now seems
a more defensible reading despite the fact that there is no sign of a vertical.
is quite likely that there are medial points after pr and k to
indicate abbreviation; if there is a point before pr it must
ma.....: maias with a
short word following (e.g. et) seems to suit the
traces but martias cannot be excluded.
The hand appears to change at this point, in which case the last three lines
must constitute the closure of the letter. We did not attempt to read these in
the ed. pr. but we now think that we can read dominam and at
least a few other letters. This line may well therefore begin with a reference
to Cerialis' wife in the accusative (or the writer's wife, domina m[ea, but
perhaps less likely coming from a decurion, see note to back 3). At the end of
the line we might have salu, followed
by ta at the beginning of the following line, but dominam
[tuam] a m[e] salu-/ta is not at
The third letter in the line is clearly o, which could be the
beginning of opto.
This line is still a complete mystery. It might begin with the word uitalis, either in
the dative or nominative case, but the reading is really very uncertain and is
somewhat awkward in view of our new reading of the address on the back (line
3). If it is correct we would have to suppose either that it is the adjective uitalis or that
the writer, Vitalis the decurion, is referring to himself in the nominative or
to some other person also named Vitalis (the name is common and occurs in 181.8 as the
name of a balniator).
Palaeographically, the reading of the numeral as viii is easier,
but in view of the additional evidence now available it must be read as viiii (see 151.2 note).
It is surmounted by a mark like that over the numeral in line ii.5 (see note).
The accumulated evidence for the pattern of addresses on the backs of the leaves,
which was not available to us when the ed. pr. was written, makes
it certain that we have a followed by the name of the sender. The
reading of the name is not problematical. In the title, the abraded letters uri must have
been rather crushed, but we see no other plausible reading.
a...[: we cannot elucidate this. The possible trace after the break
looks like a high horizontal stroke. The letter before the break looks like g but the
top stroke is probably dirt rather than ink. Therefore aut.[ or adt.[ or aue.[? If we
have the name of a second writer we would expect et; if the
place from which the letter comes, we have no parallel in the tablets. We
cannot see how to read it as the identity of the sender's unit. We have
considered whether it might be the date of receipt (i.e. acc(eptum) followed
by a date, cf. RMR 89 = CEL 191), but we cannot
see how to read it as such and, more significantly, the hand does not seem to
change at this point.