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Volume One (TVI) material for tablet 283 (TVI tablet number 40)

Commentary:

Part of the right-hand side of a diptych containing seven lines of a letter on the front, and an address to a praefectus whose name is uncertain (see note to line 8) on the back. Little of the content can be recovered, but it is worth noting the possible reference in line 4 to a trip to Rome and that in line 5 to uiaticum. The former is perhaps not very surprising if the person involved was an equestrian officer - which, as a correspondent of a praefectus, he might well be.

The ink on the tablet is rather poorly preserved and the best photograph still gives a rather blurred effect. Nevertheless, we can read enough to see that the hand was a professional competent cursive, notable for the use of long i, q with a tail to the right, and a probable example of ui ligature (quitur) in line 5.

 

Notes:

2. peruersum is a possible reading.

4. Before mam, which is certain, are two letters of which the first is almost certainly r; the second letter must be a vowel and cannot be i (which in this hand is always a much more elongated letter), e or a; o and u are both possible, but rumam does not suggest any word that is at all plausible. We are therefore reasonably confident of Romam. Perhaps a reference to an officer making a trip to Rome.

5. quitur: a verbal ending, most probably, we suppose, of one of the numerous compounds of sequor.

uiatico: uiaticum is travelling-money, which was normally paid to recruits on enrolment; the pay records show that some or all of this was retained as savings, see Watson, RS, pp.44, 102, 105, 150, RMR 70, 73. There seems to be no reason why officers should not also have received uiaticum.

6. We might read quod fit si fibulas a..[; the lack of space before si is against the idea that this begins a new sentence.

8. We are certain that the name cannot be either Ceriali or Crispino. We are reasonably confident of the last three letters of the cognomen; before these we may have e or u. A name such as Liburnus would suit the traces. The attestation of another prefect at Vindolanda could be explained by the supposition that he was a predecessor or successor of either Cerialis or Crispinus.