Vindolanda Tablets Online Tablets Exhibition Reference Help

Tablets guide - Tablets guide - interpreting and customising their presentation

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Tablets guide

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Individual tablets - interpreting and customising their presentation

The Image Zooming Viewer


Tablets display page

In the default display an image of the first (often the only) leaf of the tablet is placed in the top left-hand corner. Beneath the image is the introduction to the text. The Latin text and English translation occupy the central and right hand columns respectively.

The tablet display can be modified according to a user's preferences: the image, text and translation columns can be minimised on the screen, to allow more screen space for the columns that are of most interest. To minmise a column, click on the arrow at the top right of the column'hide column' button. A minimised column can be restored with the 'restore column' button: 'restore column' button.


Tablet Images

The digital images include views of separate leaves, of the layout of the whole tablet and high resolution images that can be viewed close up with the Image Zooming viewer.

When the tablet page is opened, the default view is of the front of the first leaf. Use the tablet control bar to select alternative views. The tablet control bar contains a set of buttons:

leaf 1 (front) a highlighted button indicates the leaf currently visible (in this case, leaf 1 (front)). This button is not hyperlinked.

leaf 2 (front) a numbered leaf icon links to the corresponding leaf (in this case leaf 2 (front)).

leaf 1 (back) a leaf icon with a flip arrow links to a reverse leaf view (in this case leaf 1(back)).

tablet leaf layout launches a popup window containing a larger image of the whole tablet, showing the relationship of the leaves.

view all leaves displays all leaves of a tablet in the page simultaneously.

The control bar thus displays a button linking to every leaf view available for a tablet. For example, Tablet 184 has three front leaf images, as well as two reverse leaf images. Therefore, when in the default view (leaf 1(front)) the control bar would look like this:

Example Control bar - screenshot of Control bar for Tablet 184, Leaf 1 (front)


Clicking on the leaf image or on ‘open image zooming viewer’ opens a pop-up box containing a larger image of the tablet that can be viewed close-up with the Image Zooming viewer.


Texts and translations - layout

The texts are presented as in the print publication, the lines separated as in the original documents and numbered, the leaves also separated and labeled. ‘i.’, ‘ii’. etc indicate separate columns of text on different leaves of the same tablet, ‘a.’, ‘b.’ etc indicate fragments belonging or probably belonging to the same tablet between which the relationship is unclear. Where leaf divisions were not indicated in the print edition they have now been added, but line numbering remains the same.


Texts - conventions

When ancient documents are published a set of conventions is used to ‘mark up’ the text. These indicate, for example, uncertainty in the reading of a letter or word, letters or words that are missing due to damage but which context allows to be supplied, breaks in the text or erasures. The print edition of the Vindolanda tablets followed the general conventions for ‘marking-up’ a text in this way, with some differences. As far as possible we have remained consistent with the print conventions in the online edition. The principal exception is the representation of uncertain readings. In print these are represented by a subscript dot; online they are indicated in the lighter, grey colour of the letters. The ‘mark up’ of the texts in the database is described elsewhere.

The conventions which have been used are the following:

i, ii: designate separate columns of text following the original layout.
. . . : indicates that the text is broken or incomplete at the top or bottom.
m1, m2: distinguish different hands in the text.
[ ]: indicates a lacuna in the text.
[ c.4 ]: estimate of the number of letters missing in a lacuna.
uacat: a space left by the scribe on the tablet.
[[abc]]: letters crossed out or erased by the scribe.
abc: letters or words added by the scribe above the line.
<abc>: letters erroneously omitted by the scribe.
{abc}: superfluous letters written by the scribe.
abc: doubtful or partially preserved letters.
... : represents traces of letters visible on the tablet which have been left unread.
praef(ecto), (centurio): expansion or resolution of an abbreviation or symbol.



The existence of notes for a line of text (whether pertaining to an individual line or a series of lines) is indicated by an underlined n. Clicking on the n launches a pop-up window and takes you directly to the relevant note. In this pop-up window it is also possible to scroll through all the notes associated with a tablet. You may also launch the notes viewer by clicking on ‘open notes viewer’.


Revised readings

The existence of revisions to the text, based on the digital images, is indicated on the entry for the individual tablet by ‘Revised reading’. Click on this to link to the page of Addenda and corrigenda and scroll/click on the tablet number to find the revised reading.


Volume I commentaries and notes

The texts of tablets published in Tab Vindol. I were republished in Tab Vindol. II but not the original commentaries or notes, only updates or modifications. Click ‘Volume I notes’ to see these in a pop-up window. However please remember to check these against any revisions made in Tab. Vindol. II or in the new revised readings.

For abbreviations used in the Volume I introduction and notes, click on ‘Tab. Vindol. I Introductory chapters’ in the menu on the left side of the screen.



The Tab. Vindol. II referencing style follows the ‘Harvard system’. It gives the author or authors name(s) and date of publication, with the full reference in a consolidated bibliography. To find a bibliographic reference or to expand an abbreviation, click ‘Bibliography’ to open the bibliography in a pop-up window. Click on the relevant section of the bibliography and scroll to find the reference.

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