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Vindolanda Inventory No. 87.514
diptych, complete at the top, left and right, containing a draft or file copy
of a letter from Cerialis to Brocchus (B) and, at the right, written across the
grain from top to bottom of the leaf, three lines of a list of foodstuffs (A).
We think it most probable that (A) was written first and that the leaf, having
been rotated through 90°, was then used for the draft of the letter without
erasing the primary text. No doubt we have the end of the draft letter since
there is a considerable space between the last line and the bottom of the leaf
and we would not expect to find Cerialis' closing greeting. At least one line
at the foot of the left-hand column must be lost, however, as is confirmed by
the trace of one letter at the bottom edge; furthermore the items in (A) extend
to the edge of the leaf and suggest the loss of part of the tablet which may
have contained cash sums relating to the food items.
as seems likely, the two texts were written by the same hand, the list of
foodstuffs suggests that the scribe may have been a member of Cerialis'
household staff (perhaps a slave) rather than a member of the military unit.
The hand may be the same as that in 235 and 240; there is
some use of ligature. Some examples of o are noteworthy,
being made much like a small c; note in particular the first o in Broccho.
asks Brocchus to send him some plagae (see note to line
B.4) and, perhaps, to repair something (either the plagae or
something else depending on what was in the missing part of the text).
Flavius Cerialis to his Brocchus, greetings. If you
love me, brother, I ask that you send me some hunting-nets (?) ... you should
repair (?) the pieces very strongly."
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