Tablet 180

description

Inv.no.88.943. 77 x 264 mm. Plate VIII.
This document consists of three sections of a tablet (designated (a), (b) and (c) for the sake of clarity) each approximately the size of a normal half-leaf. On one side is the present text, an account, and on the other is a draft petition (344). The fact that the account occupies all three pieces whereas the petition only covers two suggests that it is probably correct to regard the latter as secondary, but our designation of the account as the front and the petition as the back can only be offered with caution. The format naturally invites comparison with 190 (see Tab.Vindol.I, pp.38-44 and Bowman (1975)). The offsets show that the fronts of (a) and (b) were folded face-to-face and that the back of (c) faced the back of (b). This tablet differs from 190, however, in that there are apparently no tie-holes or notches. This may well mean that we have a large leaf which was cut and folded into a triptych, concertina-fashion; there is no other tablet like this but it should be noted that the vertical dimension of the whole tablet which this hypothesis implies is smaller than that of 154. We would still have to suppose, however, that the beginning of the petition was on another tablet, now lost. The alternative is that we have two diptychs of which the lower half of the second has completely disappeared; this would make it more difficult to explain the offsets in 344. Grouped with (c) there are 5 unplaced scraps of which 3 may each have remains of one letter.
The tablet is one of a group found together and attributed to the Period 4 building; see also 181, 182 and 343, the first of which is undoubtedly written by the same hand as 180 and 344. Some of the names in this account also occur in other texts in this group (Primus, line 28 and 181.6; Spectatus, line 5 and 343.iv.42; Firmus, line 23 and 343.iv.43; Candidus, line 24 and 181.3, 343.i.1). The name of the person who compiled this account is not known, but several deductions can legitimately be made from it and from the related documents (cf. Bowman, Thomas and Adams (1990), 43). The familiar and familial tone of some of the entries (mihi, tibi in lines 3, 20, 25 etc., patri in lines 7, 16, 33) suggests that this is not an official account but a private one made by one person for a close associate; it seems possible that we have two partners (perhaps brothers) and the father of one or both of them. It is certain that the draft petition on the other side was written by the same hand (the idiosyncratic form of f in lines 23, 25 and 344.i.10 is particularly distinctive) and since the author refers to trade (mercem, line i.2) and describes himself as a hominem trasmarinum (line ii.15), it is very likely, as the whole tone of the petition suggests, that he was a civilian trader and that his associates were also. The account shows that wheat was supplied to military personnel, including a beneficiarius (line 18) and some legionary soldiers (line 22). Spectatus and Firmus, on whose instructions the disbursements in lines 5-6 and 22-3 were made, were surely military personnel. The nature of the business and the find-spot of the tablets suggests that they are likely to have been either centurions or optiones (the latter perhaps slightly preferable since these are known to have had responsibilities for matters connected with the food-supply in their units, see RMR, p.311, 81.ii.5-12; cf. A.R.Birley (1991a), 17, suggesting that they might be legionary centurions). If these inferences are justified, they leave us with the need to explain how non-official accounts generated by a civilian trader came to be discovered in a room of a barrack-block. Any such explanation can only be speculative, but it is perhaps worth noting that some of the footwear discovered in the same context also implies the presence of non-military personnel (VRR III, 44-6).
The evidence for the involvement of civilians in army supply, and especially in the supply of wheat, the basic commodity, is of considerable importance and contributes to filling an important gap in our knowledge (Breeze (1984), 58-9). The unknown author of this account must have been a crucial link between the producers and the army personnel who authorised the distribution within the unit; contrast O.Bu Njem 74-109 and pp.57-63, "lettres de voiture", sent to a praepositus by soldiers detached to producers of wheat, via transporters, stating the quantity carried. At the same time, several of the entries incidentally bear witness to a certain amount of agricultural activity in the penumbra of the fort: line 9, bubulcaris; line 27, ad porcos, cf. 183.4; line 33, ad i[uu]ẹncoṣ.
The account itself does not concern itself with money and gives no indication how the wheat was paid for (it is to be noted that the entry in lines 5-6 is described as a loan). The traders might have been working under some kind of contractual arrangement. An arrangement of this sort might be inferred from 343.i.6-ii.14 where Candidus at Vindolanda is asked to send Octavius the considerable sum of 500 denarii to help him avoid financial embarrassment over an amount of 5000 modii of (unthreshed?) grain which he specifically says that he has bought.
The dates in the present account (lines 11, 17) fall between 6/11 and 26 September, appropriately close to harvest-time. The total disbursement in the account is 320½ modii and the largest surviving individual entry is 26 modii. Some idea of the scale of this operation may be obtained from the calculation that if a very active male requires 3822 calories per day for subsistence (Foxhall and Forbes (1982), 48-9), the wheat equivalent needed to supply this
would be about one seventh of a modius. This account therefore represents the wheat equivalent of a day's calorie requirements for more than 2000 soldiers (cf. 343.i.7-8).

translation

'Account of wheat measured out from that which
I myself have put into the barrel:
to myself, for bread ...
to Macrinus, modii 7
5to Felicius Victor on the order of Spectatus
provided as a loan (?), modii 26
in three sacks, to father, modii 19
to Macrinus, modii 13
to the oxherds at the wood, modii 8
10likewise to Amabilis at the shrine, modii 3
.. September, to Crescens
on the order of Firmus (?), modii 3
likewise ..., modii ..
to Macr... ..., modii (?) 15
15likewise to Ma... (?), modii ..
to father ..., modii 2
26 September
to Lu... the beneficiarius, modii 6
to Felicius Victor, modii 15
20for twisted loaves (?), to you, modii 2
to Crescens, modii 9
to the legionary soldiers
on the order of Firmus, modii 11+
to Candidus, modii ..
25to you, in a sack from Briga (?), ...
to you, ...
to Lucco, in charge of the pigs ...
to Primus, slave (?) of Lucius ...
to you ...
30to Lucco for his own use ...
likewise that which I have sent ... modii .. (?)
in the century of Voturius (?)
to father, in charge of the oxen ...
likewise, within the measure ...(?)
3515 pounds yield 15+ pounds (?) ...
total, modii ...
likewise to myself, for bread, modii ..
total of wheat, modii 320½. '

commentary

1. eṃ[ensi: only the first part of the letter after e is preserved and this is compatible with either m or n. eṃ[pti is the obvious alternative (cf. 343.i.7, sp̣ịcas me emisse, 181.3, lịgnis emtis) but we prefer eṃ[ensi on the ground that the account is not a record of purchase but of amounts of wheat disbursed; cf. Augustus, RG 3.12, duodecim frumentationes .... emensus sum. For the passive meaning of the participle see OLD, s.v. ex quo: there is room for this restoration at the end of the line but quod is also possible and would give the same general sense, see line 2 note.

2. in cupaṃ: we are confident of the reading despite the fact that the writer has curiously left a rather large space between u and p (he also does this elsewhere for no apparent reason, cf. line 3, mihi). See Frontinus, Strat. 3.14.3, salem ... cupis conditum, Alfenus, Digest 19.2.31, quod si separatim tabulis aut heronibus aut in alia cupa clusum uniuscuiusque triticum fuisset. For the use of dedi see perhaps OLD, s.v. do 9a. The leaf is broken after the middle of ṃ and we cannot tell whether the line will have contained anything else. This is a point of some importance since it materially affects the meaning. If we have lost m(odios) plus an amount, the sense would be: "Account of wheat measured out, from which I myself have put into the barrel x modii". But we regard this as less attractive.

3. ad panem: for this use of ad see OLD, s.v. G44. The entry is duplicated in line 37. Since the amount of wheat is not preserved in either case, it is impossible to tell whether the bread was for personal consumption or for re-sale. For supply of loaves to a military unit cf. O.Claud. 3-5 and note Rustius Barbarus sending loaves in O.Wdi Fawkhir 1.4-7 (= CEL 73). For bread in the military diet see Davies (1989), 191.

5. Felicio Victori: the name occurs again in line 19. For an occurrence of the gentilicium in Britain see RIB I 690 (York), Felicius Simplex a soldier of Legio VI Victrix. For Spectatus see 343.iv.42 and introduction, above.

6. comodati: perhaps read co<m>modati but the form comod- is cited by TLL III 1993.43. The noun commodatum usually refers to a loan of imperishables, but it could be used of a valid loan of perishables, see J.A.C.Thomas (1976), 274-6. Here we can hardly have the noun in the genitive and we suppose that we must have the participle, agreeing with m(odii); the verb can be used of things provided but not necessarily as a loan (see OLD, s.v.3).

7. We have considered the possibility that patri (cf. lines 16, 33) is to be taken as a proper name but we have not found it attested as such.

9. bubulcaris: for bubulcariis, for which see CGL II 259.44; it seems likely to refer to rations for oxherds, perhaps non-military personnel, working in woodland. in siluam: for the use of in see OLD, s.v.A8.

10. item: the force and referent of this word is unclear here and in several other entries (lines 31, 34, 37). Contrast 182.i.7 and note. Amabili: there appears to be an extra stroke after m which suggests the reading amiabili, but such a name is not attested and an earlier photograph makes it clear that this is an offset. ad fanum: this might refer to a local shrine and its guard or caretaker (who might perhaps be a civilian, compare the use of non-military personnel to man watchtowers in Egypt, O.Flor., pp.25-6). Alternatively, it is worth considering whether it might be a reference to Fanum Cocidii (we note that Caesar, BC 1.11.4 refers to Fanum Fortunae as Fanum). If the identification of Fanum Cocidii with Bewcastle is correct (PNRB 363), this suggestion must be abandoned, since the Bewcastle site is not pre-Hadrianic, see Austin (1991), 41-3. If Fanum Cocidii is Nether Denton, however (see Jones and Mattingly (1990), 275 and cf. Jones (1991)), it would be an appropriate place to which supplies from Vindolanda might have been sent.

11. Only a trace of one digit of the numeral survives; it might be ị or ṿ, slightly inset. There is no abbreviation mark for Septem(bres). It is very odd that there are two dates in the middle of the account but none at the beginning. The only area in which there might have been a date, now lost, is at the end of line 2, but the space would only allow something short, e.g. K(alendis) Septem(bris). Crescenti: the name occurs again in line 21. A centuria Crescentis occurs in 128.4 and 148.2.

12-13. There is a loose fragment which might be placed so as to supply the bottom of the letter after iussu and part of the first letter after item in line 13. Of the names which survive in this text F̣[ị]ṛṃị could be restored. item might here refer to iussu plus name in the previous line but the word seems to be used rather capriciously in this account (see line 10 note).

14-15. macṛ[: the reading of the surviving letters is virtually certain. What follows, after a gap of not more than three letters, seems to rule out a restoration of Macṛ[ino (cf. line 4, above). Therefore, perhaps e.g. Macṛ[i(ni)]ọ Ịuṣ[to; for gentilicium and cognomen see lines 5 and 19. Both Macrius and Macrinius, though fairly rare, are attested in Gallia Belgica (see NPEL).

15. ma.[: the third letter cannot be read as c; note e.g. Marino, 343.i.3. In the photograph of this leaf there is a tiny scrap with part of one letter which is misplaced after item in line 13.

16. ].as: most probably ]ṭas.

18. ben]ẹficịạr[io: this is likely to be the beneficiarius praefecti and may well be the same person as the beneficiarius mentioned in 344.i.10; cf. the later inscription from Housesteads (RIB I 1619) commemorating Hurmius son of Leubasnus, beneficiarius of the praefectus of cohors i Tungrorum. There is a small fragment with traces of two letters which may fit in this area. If the first letter, which is likely to be the foot of r, belongs to [O]c̣toḅṛ[es in line 17, the second might allow us to read b]ẹ[n]ẹficịạr[io here. The spacing would allow a restoration of Lu[cconi or Lu[cc]ọ[ni before it, cf. lines 27 and 30, but it is surely very unlikely that a beneficiarius would be looking after pigs.

19. Felicio Victori: cf. line 5 and note.

20. turṭas: palaeographically, only two readings seem possible, turịas and turṭas, and we think turṭas more probable, accepting that only a vestigial trace of the cross-bar survives. turtas is an explicable alternative spelling of tortas, see Adams (1994); for torta meaning a "twisted loaf", see Vg.Exod. 29.23, Num. 6.19, 1.Sam. 2.36, 10.3, (1.Chr. 16.3 1.Par. 16.3), Jer. 37.20 and cf. tortula, Vg.Num. 11.8.

21. Crescenti: cf. line 11 and note.

22-23. militibus legionaribus: for the change of suffix in the adjective see Adams (1994) and note that at Caesar, BC 3.2.2 there is a variant reading legionarium militum, cited at TLL VII.2 1109. The entry is important since it proves the presence of a group of legionaries at or near Vindolanda in the period before the building of Hadrian's Wall. Given the evidence for movement and fragmentation of units, this is not surprising. For an early legionary tombstone at Carvoran see RIB I 1862. iussu Firmi: there may be a short apex mark after iussu but the writer does not use this elsewhere and it may well belong to the foot of s in militibus. He has left a large space between r and m in Firmi; since the leaf has split down the grain at this point it may be that there was a fault or irregularity in the surface which he was avoiding (though he has not done so elsewhere). The name Firmus occurs in the tablets only here and in 343.iv.43 (but see above, lines 12-3 note), where it may well refer to the same person; see introduction, above.

24. Candido: a Candidus is the recipient of 343 and the name occurs elsewhere at Vindolanda in this group of texts and outside it (see introduction, above and 181.2 note). Since it is a very common name it would be unwise to attempt to identify the recipient of wheat with any of the other Candidi.

25. in folle br.gẹse: for folle see above, line 7. The word which follows must be an adjective agreeing with folle but we are unable to explain it satisfactorily. The third letter is damaged by a break in the leaf but is most likely to be i; the fourth is quite certainly g; after that ẹse is virtually certain. If we have brige(n)se, could it be a sack from Briga or a particular kind of sack associated with the place? For Briga see 190.c.38, 292.c.v.2 and note that AS I 542 records an adjective Brigiensis, cf. Pliny, NH 5.30, Tagasense (wrongly recorded in LS as Tagastense).

27. Lucconi: NPEL cites six instances from Italy and the Danubian provinces; cf. note to line 18, above. ad porcos: see also 183.4 and cf. line 33, below. This will mean that Lucco is in charge of the pigs, not that the wheat is to be used to feed them (cf. line 30 note).

28. Primo Luci: the second name could be a patronym but it is also possible that Primus is a slave (LC 291 shows that it is a common servile name) and that Lucius is the name of the owner; perhaps Lucius the scutarius (184.ii.22) or Lucius the decurio (299-300). The name Primus also occurs in 181.6, where it may refer to the same person.

30. in ussus suos: for the geminate s see Tab.Vindol.I, p.73. The phrase implies personal use and should presumably be contrasted with the entry in line 27 which might, for instance, be issued as rations for Lucco and his (agricultural?) workers.

31-39. The writing on this, the third, section of the tablets is more abraded than that on the other two, as is natural if it was unprotected by a facing leaf (see introduction).

31-32. The indentation of line 32 suggests that these two lines should be taken as one entry, with the amount missing at the end of line 32, but we have not been able to solve the problems of reading and interpretation. ]ụọs: there cannot be more than two letters lost before this and there is unlikely to be more than one lost here or after m. The reading can hardly be doubted and it seems equally certain that a new word begins with m; this seems to reduce the possibilities to duos, quos, suos, tuos or uos. Then we could read a name such as M[a]ṭtiạ[no but we cannot see how to make sense of it. As a possibility we tentatively suggest item [q]ụọs m[i]ṣṣị ṃ(odios)[ followed by a number.

32. in[.]uọtur[.].: there may, but need not be, a letter lost after in and the same applies after r. The last letter in the line looks distinctly like a centurial symbol. We could perhaps read in uọtur[i] (centuria/-am)? The name Voturius is cited as a gentilicium in Narbonensis by NPEL and it is also a Gallic tribal name; for Viturius (sc. Veturius) in Gallia Belgica see CIL 13.6391, but the reading is not as attractive. We cannot explain it, however. It should be noted that Speidel (1984), 107 is unable to cite a single instance of the name of the commander preceding centuria, but see RMR 9.9.f-n.

33. [a]d ị[uu]ẹncoṣ: we are certain of the ending, the initial i suits the traces and there is room to restore [uu]; we are therefore confident of the reading especially when we compare line 27, ad porcos.

34-36. These lines are difficult to understand both in detail and in the context of the account as a whole. item (cf. line 10 note) suggests that a new entry begins in line 34 but it is less clear whether this line is a complete entry on its own, or whether it is to be taken with line 35 or line 35 and line 36.

34. inter metrum: the reading is clear. There is a space between inter and metrum which might suggest that we have two words, but this writer is rather inconsistent about his spacing (cf. line 2 note). We have no example of it elsewhere (either as one word or two) nor do we see what the force of inter is likely to be. It is difficult to see what it could mean, although TLL VIII 899 suggests that metrum might be used in later Latin to mean "measure" and cites its use with frumentum (Rufinus, Hist. 3.6.3). We have translated it literally and wonder whether it might mean something like "on average", to be taken with what follows (see note to line 35). We have considered another possible interpretation in the light of C.Theod. 13.5.38 and 13.9.5, where epimetrum and diametrum are found with reference to ships' cargoes, apparently meaning, respectively, something over and something under the correct amount. This perhaps suggests that in the Vindolanda text intermetrum is to be taken as a single word meaning something like "balance". Elsewhere we have found the terms only in ChLA X 436, a third-century account of annona militaris, where they are abbreviated to diametr and epimetr, which might, in a papyrus from Egypt, be resolved in the Greek form -metron. Both ἐπίμετρον and διάμετρον occur in Greek and it may be that intermetrum is the Latin equivalent of διάμετρον. One meaning of ἐπίμετρον is, as might be expected, an additional tax. In P.Hib.I 110.14 (cf. P.Tebt.I 91.11, 92.11) the meaning of διάμετρον is unclear (see note ad loc. and cf. P.Cair.Zen.IV 59669.2 note), although it is translated "difference on measure". This does not seem very promising.

35. At the beginning of the line we have either librịs xv or librạs xv, at the end librạẹ (or possibly librạṣ or librịṣ) followed by a number which might be read iv or lv[ or xv[; of these, the first would be an unexpected form since iiii is much commoner in the tablets, the second is palaeographically the easiest and the third necessitates taking as a cross-stroke a mark which may not be ink. In between redd is certain and we might have reddọ or reddị. The point of this passage might be explained with reference to Pliny the Elder's calculations of the amount of bread which is yielded by various types of cereal and methods of baking, particularly NH 18.88, siliginae farinae modius Gallicae xx libras panis reddit; 18.62, Galliae quoque suum genus farris dedere, quod illic bracem uocant, apud nos scandalam, nitidissimi grani. est et alia differentia quod fere quaternis libris plus reddit panis quam far aliud; 18.67, lex certa naturae ut in quocumque genere pani militari tertia portio ad grani pondus accedat, sicut optumum frumentum esse quod in subactum congium aquae capiat. If this were a notation calculating the yield of bread, we might expect something like librịs xv reddị(tae) librạẹ x̣v[iiii, i.e. 15 pounds of cereal yield 19 (?) pounds of bread, which is within the range suggested by Pliny (the reading of the first numeral is certain and it therefore seems impossible to make sense of the second as either iv or lv[). This would seem to demand a preposition with librịs and some mention of panis, which could be accommodated by supposing that ex is lost at the end of line 34 and panis at the end of line 35. These two lines, taken together, might then mean "likewise, on average 15 pounds (of wheat) yield 15+ pounds of bread."

36. The suggestion made in the previous note does not take account of this line which is indented and looks as if it ought to belong with what precedes it. The reading is clear and it must mean "that makes nn modii", but we are not attracted by the notion that line 34 calculates modii of wheat, line 35 weight of bread made from weight of wheat and line 36 reverts to modii of wheat. For a combination of librae and modii in the same context, though not the same commodity, see Suetonius, Iul. 38.1, frumenti denos modios ac totidem olei libras.

37. See line 3 note.

38. A total is appropriate and sum at the start of the line is convincing. There is a gap between sum and ma and the two letters following are very spread out, cf. line 2 note.

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