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Tablet 311

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Vindolanda Inventory No. 85.100,85.108


Three joining fragments of a diptych containing a letter from Sollemnis to Paris with an address on the back. The left-hand portion is complete and probably contains remains of two notches in the left-hand edge; the right is missing a line at the top and probably one or two lines at the foot. It is noteworthy that there are three lines of writing, probably by a second hand, at a right-angle to the main text in the margin between the columns; the first two of these lines are on the right-hand portion, the last on the left. The text of the letter is of some interest for its style and latinity but its substance is not very informative. Sollemnis complains that Paris has not written to him, sends greetings to three friends and asks for a list of names. The address connects Paris with the cohors iii Batauorum, part or all of which may therefore have been at Vindolanda in Period 3 (see above, p.24); this is one of only two pieces of evidence for the existence of this unit (cf. 263.ii.5 and note). It is difficult to be certain of the nature of that connection, however, because parts of the address are difficult to read. It is possible that Paris was a slave of the commander or another officer of the unit and this would make it likely that Sollemnis was also a slave (cf. 301). The Greek name of the addressee, as well as the names in lines ii.3-5, might seem to support this (see note to line i.1). However, the evidence for Batavians in the imperial guard shows that Greek names are not at all unusual in that Batavian context (see Bellen (1981), but this particular name is not attested. The main hand is a very competent and interesting, squarish cursive which spaces the words carefully and uses few ligatures. Interpunct appears only once (i.5) although the state of preservation of the writing, particularly in col.ii, might well not allow us to see it, were it there. It is noteworthy that the writer four times uses an apex mark over the final letter of a 1st person singular verb (i.5, 8, 9, ii.5); cf. above, pp.57-61. The form of e is noteworthy as is u in ualere (line 3); note in particular d in Paridi which ends with the curve normally diagnostic of b in ORC (also in Diligentem, ii.3).

1 Sollemnis Paridi fratri pluri-
2 mam salute[m
3 ut scias me recte ualere
4 quod te inuicem fecisse
5 cupió · homo inpientissi-
6 me qui mihi ne unam e-
7 pistulam misisti sed
8 putó me humanius
9 facere qui tibi scribó
. . . . . . .
10 tibi frater [..]..[
11 contubernalem meum
12 salutabis a me Diligen-
13 tem et Cogitatum et
14 Corinthum et rogó
15 mittas mihi nómina
16 traces
. . . . . . .
17 m2?]m.
18 ]ter
19 ]me
n 1 m1Paridi ..luc..or.[
n 2 coh]ortis iii Batauo-
3 rum
n 4 a Sollemni
n 5 ]....o


"Sollemnis to Paris his brother, very many greetings. I want you to know that I am in very good health, as I hope you are in turn, you neglectful man, who have sent me not even one letter. But I think that I am behaving in a more considerate fashion in writing to you ... to you, brother, ... my messmate. Greet from me Diligens and Cogitatus and Corinthus and I ask that you send me the names ... Farewell, dearest brother (?). (Back, 1st hand) To Paris ... of the 3rd Cohort of Batavians, from Sollemnis ..."