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Tablet 301

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Vindolanda Inventory No. 87.748


A complete diptych with notches in the left- and right-hand edges. The whole of the message is on the left-hand portion and the right contains only a brief closure. It is notable that the beginning of the message in line 3 is hardly at all indented (cf. 350). The address is on the back of the right-hand portion and is written in fairly large but normal cursive, unlike the spindly script normally employed in addresses (for another example see 352.back). It shows that the addressee was a slave of Genialis (see back 8 note); it is likely that the author of the letter was also a slave (see back 11 note). The closure is written in the same hand as the rest of the text, but more rapidly, and we assume it to be the hand of Severus himself, which is competent and fairly fast, with some word division. The subject of the letter seems to be some payment for an item or items connected with the Saturnalia; the syntax is peculiarly compressed and our failure to understand the first word of the message makes it infuriatingly obscure. In view of the importance of the Saturnalia for people of servile status the subject of the letter is particularly appropriate. There is no other reference in the Vindolanda texts to this festival; for other religious observances see 190, 265, cf. 261 and perhaps 466.

n 1 S[eu]er[u]s Candido suo
2 salutem
n 3 souxtum saturnalicium
n 4 (asses) iiii aut sexs rogo frater
n n 5 explices et radices ne mi-
n 6 nus (denarii) s(emissem)
n 7 uacat
8 uale frater
9 uacat
10 Candido Genialis
11 praef(ecti)
12 a Seuero
13 ....i seruo


"Severus to his Candidus, greetings. Regarding the ... for the Saturnalia, I ask you, brother, to see to them at a price of 4 or six asses and radishes to the value of not less than½ denarius. Farewell, brother. (Back) To Candidus, slave of Genialis the prefect, from Severus, slave of ..."