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Volume One (TVI) material for tablet 151 (TVI tablet number 2)

Commentary:

Four joining fragments of an official document. The loss of the greater part of this text is particularly regrettable since it bears every sign of being militarily important. For remarks on the format of the document see No. 1 (155) introductory comments. The text of No. 2 was written parallel with the broad side of the leaf. If it was written in a single column on a half-leaf which was not folded, we would guess that not more than about 3 cm are lost at the right; but there is no way of telling whether it was not written, as in the letter format, in two columns on a leaf approximately twice this width.

We have discussed the classification of Nos. 1 and 2 in the introductory comments to No. 1 (151). We propose to interpret No. 2 as recording the strength of cohors viii Batauorum (see line 2, note). It seems clear that there was a quingenary and milliary series of Batavian cohorts. Of the former we have attestations for the first (Britain, A.D. 122) and second (Moesia Inferior?) units; of the latter for cohorts i, ii and iii (Pannonia and Raetia). There is also a cohors ix which appears in Raetia in 147 and is attested as milliary in 153 (Roxan, RMD No. 46). Some of the quingenary units may have fought at Mons Graupius (Tacitus, Agr. 36) where, incidentally, Tungrian units were associated with them (see No. 30.4 note (295)). Richmond and Ogilvie (Tacitus, Agricola, p.78) thought that the Batavian units at Mons Graupius were more likely to have been the milliary cohorts later found in Raetia and Pannonia but see now P. Holder, AAT p.l l l. As for cohors ix, we must either place it in the milliary series or suppose that it was originally part of the quingenary but was later increased in strength, between 147 and 153 (Roxan, RMD No. 46, P. Holder, AAT pp.5-6). It is noteworthy that this unit and the quingenary cohors i Batauorum are both cohortes equitatae and we think it quite likely that cohors viii Batauorum was also equitata (see No. 1 introductory comments (155), No. 4 introductory comments (190)).

The hand is a clear and functional cursive with no real elegance, although there is a noticeable use of serifs (i, l, n, u) in the first line. Note also the fairly ornate initial P and the fact that small p (line 4) has a closed loop which is unusual in these tablets (see Vol. 1., Ch. 4).

 

Notes:

1. This line commences considerably further to the left than the following lines. There is no abbreviation mark after Pr. If we are correct in supposing that this is some kind of a daily report (see No. 1 introductory comments (190)), the line might be completed somewhat as follows: Pr(idie) Nonas Iulia[s n(umerus) mil(itum) numeral coh(ortis). This basically follows the pattern of RMR 47, but it should be noted that in the latter the word cohors) and the name of the unit stand alone in line 2 of cols. i and ii. However, as Fink points out, in all such documents we have to make allowance for the individual practices of different clerks.

2. It seems almost certain that we have a reference to a military unit and several considerations lead us to propose the restoration viii Bat[auorum. The numeral and b following are certain; the next letter must be a or r; the traces of the third letter admit several possibilities. This narrows the choice to Bat[auorum, Bre[ucorum and Bra[caraugustanorum. Of these, the last can be rejected on palaeographical. grounds alone; if the third letter were a we should be able to see part of the descending tail of the left-hand stroke (in any case there is no known cohort of this name numbered higher than five, see P. Holder, AAT p.235). There is evidence for a cohors viii Breucorum in Germania Inferior in the Julio-Claudian period (P. Holder, AA T p.225) but it is not known ever to have been in Britain. Furthermore, we prefer to read the second letter as a rather than r; the tail of r in line 1 has a more pronounced bend to the left than either the a in the same line or the letter here under consideration. The principal reason for choosing to read Bat[auorum rather than Bre[ucorum is the evidence of No. 23.12-13 (263). There is very little doubt that this is an address to Flavius Cerialis as praef(ecto) coh(ortis) viii Bat(auorum). Although the numeral is not entirely free from suspicion we can be confident that it is not possible there to read the name of the cohort as Breucorum) (see note ad loc.). Finally, Bat[auorum is supported by other evidence for Batavian units (see introductory comments).

3. ad locum [: we suggest that this notation indicates the presence of personnel from the unit at a place further described or specified (the periphrasis may indicate lack of a specific proper name). Compare the entries in No. 1 (155)and perhaps also No. 12 (127).

4. The last two letters are difficult. The penultimate letter might be e or f, the last looks most like t. ad impet[ might suggest something like ad impet[randum followed by a noun (cf. RMR 47.ii.4; missi ad hordeum comparandum and the entries in No. 1.4, 5, 7, 8, 11 (155)). If the penultimate letter were f, we would have to consider ad imp( ) f.[, which seems to rule out the possibility of reading the last letter as t (unless f is also an abbreviation); but the top-stroke is horizontal, which does not favour a or r. We can only suggest something like ad imp(eratum) fa[ciendum; but this seems vague and imperatum in the sense of an order seems to occur in military documents only in the oath quod imperatum fuerit faciemus (e.g. RMR 47.i.6). Since there is no other example of e or f in this hand we cannot express any firm preference.