Vindolanda Tablets Online Tablets Exhibition Reference Help

Volume One (TVI) material for tablet 341 (TVI tablet number 45)


Three joining fragments from the right-hand section of a diptych containing two lines from the end of a letter and an address on the back. The name of the sender, Trophimus, suggests that we are probably not dealing with people of the officer class, in contrast to most of our other letters. This impression is reinforced both by the use of the word conlega and the misspelling karisime. The writing also tends to support this; it is bold and clear but can certainly not be described as elegant. Since such an exiguous amount of the letter survives we cannot be certain that both sides are in the same hand, although we think this probable. The loss of the major part is particularly regrettable since, palaeographically, the hand is of very considerable interest; no other hand in the collection closely resembles it, though there is some similarity in that of No. 42 (324). Most striking is the ‘uncial’ form of a used in karisime (on which see Vol. 1., Ch. 4); note that the address twice employs the normal form of this letter. Also worthy of comment are the l in conlega, the form of e, and m made in four strokes.



1. Only traces of the bottoms of letters survive.

2. Perhaps the end of the letter, concluding with, for example, karisime frater. There is a space below this line with no sign of writing. For ]imo, the supplement could be aestimo, redimo etc.

3. The second trace is a long descender, probably r. This may be the name of the addressee or his position or century or something similar.

4. This and the following line are written on a slant from bottom left to top right of the fragment (cf. Nos. 39 (299), 42 (324)). The name Trophimus suggests a person of fairly low social status.

5. conlega: cf. P. Hib. 276 and RMR 81.ii.14. According to the glosses quoted in TLL s.v. this is equivalent to commanipularis - therefore a ranker rather than an officer?