Reference: Thomas, Scriptorium 30 (1976), p.41, pl. 6a
Two fragments of a diptych containing parts of two columns of a letter and an address on the outer face of the right-hand portion. The names of both the writer and the addressee survive only in part, but there is enough to make it clear that this letter has no connection with any of the three identifiable archives. The content of the letter is not recoverable, but the tablet is not without palaeographical interest. The letters are bold, slightly right-sloping and made with some style. Note the marked serif on i in line 4, the ligature us (line 1, twice) and am (piscam, line 4); possibly n ligatures to following u in line 1 and to following s in line 6. On the form of a in line 5 see the note. The back may be in the same hand and is written in the script normally used for addresses in these tablets (see Vol. 1., Ch. 4 ).
1. The cognomen Fontanus is too common to help us identify the writer. As for the nomen, the trace at the extreme edge of the fragment allows, but does not enforce, a reading of n (e.g. Annius); but there is no means of measuring the extent of the loss at the left. The final o, which must belong to su]o indicates that the left-hand column must have overrun the central fold.
4. Presumably we have the first person singular of the future indicative or present subjunctive of concupisco. TLL s.v. gives examples of this verb with accusative and infinitive. The general sense might be something like ‘I am so well disposed to you that I eagerly desire your success (or welfare) more than my own.’
5. quam: the a appears to be written with a cross-bar whereas the other two examples in this text have the normal form in two strokes. For this form seeVol. 1., Ch. 4.
6. instruere: cf. perhaps No. 37.21-2 (225), me . . . amicis ita instrue.
7. We must have nomen and cognomen here. Our reading of the remains of the nomen assumes that the second s was written over i; we could read ssunio (or scunio) but the indices of Schulze, LE reveal no name with this ending which would fit with the first surviving trace, which can hardly be anything but i. The possibilities appear to be Lis(s)inius and Dis(s)inius. For the cognomen, the remains are just compatible with a reading of Nigro. Of the less common names listed by A.Holder, AS, only Nistus and Niccus seem palaeographically possible (of these the latter would be preferable; it appears in CIL 13.6175 (Upper Germany), cf. also Nicus in CIL 12.5686, 637).