Tablet 186

description 60 x 167 mm. Plate VIII. VRR II, Plate III.
This double leaf contains 25 lines of an account. Much of the writing is abraded. The tablet is complete at the right-hand margin and probably at the foot, where the bottom third of the second half-leaf appears to be blank. There is some loss at the beginnings of lines. The top of the first half-leaf is physically intact and comparison with line 17 suggests that there is room for a date in the missing portion at the left; this may therefore have been the beginning of the text, but we cannot exclude the possibility that there may have been one or more leaves preceding (cf. 190).
The account covers a period of some weeks at the end of AD 110 and the beginning of AD 111. It is of the greatest importance that it contains a reference to the consuls of AD 111 at the point at which the account goes from one calendar year to the next (lines 13-4). It is the only text from Vindolanda to carry a year date and is thus a crucial element in the dating of the occupation levels. Its location in the building of Period 4 suggests a connection with the centurions or optiones of the unit(s) at Vindolanda.
The account records miscellaneous commodities (nails for boots, salt, Celtic beer, pork) with quantities and cash value or cost. The names Gracilis, Audax and Similis (see line 22 note) occur with the preposition per, suggesting that commodities were purchased through them. The entry in lines 7-8, however, records 100 nails with the name of Gracilis in the dative, which indicates sale or disbursement to him. It seems plausible that the account was compiled by someone responsible for acquiring and re-selling or redistributing supplies. The names of Gracilis and Audax do not occur elsewhere and that of Similis, if correctly read, is unlikely to have any connection with Flavius Similis (235, 254, 286, cf. 347). There is no indication of the status of these persons and we cannot exclude the possibility that they were slaves (cf. Privatus in 190.c.26 etc.). This is the only account which reckons in asses alone rather than denarii or denarii and asses, and it seems to do so consistently.
The hand is rather ugly and sprawling. The form of p in line 4 and elsewhere is noteworthy and might perhaps be termed old-fashioned; the same may be true of a which often has two obliques at the left (see Fig.1 on p.53).


[ ] per traces n
[ ] . m(odios) xxx [..] ...... n
[ Decem]bres pẹr G̣racịlem n
[ ] . p(ondo) c .. [ n
5 [...] .. [ Dece]ṃbres per Grạc̣ịḷẹm n
[..] .. p(ondo) xxịị (asses) .. n n
... Ḳ(alendas) Ịạnuarias Gracili clauos n
caligares · n(umero) c () duos n
[ K(alendas) I]ạnuarias per Audacem
10 salis p̣(ondo) lx̣xxv[ ] . ii n
[ K(alendas) I]anua{ui}riaṣ cẹr[u]ẹse n n
ṃetretam (asses) viii n n
n CO(N)SULIBUS() uacat n
15 ..... [Ia]nuariạṣ p̣ẹṛ ... a.. m n
. 6 . ....... c̣. ṇẹ assem() i · n
..... [Feb]ṛuuaris peṛ Gracilem n
. 7 . .. meṭ. r. ... s ... cum (asses) · n
.... Februuar[i]ạs per G̣raciḷẹṃ n
20 .... .. m e. poṛc.. traces n n
[ p]ẹr Audacem pọṛciṇe p(ondo) xị .. n n
[.. Id]ụs Februuarias p̣eṛ Simịḷẹm n
c̣eruese metreṭạm ... n
. 7 . aṣ per Auḍa[c]ẹṃ n
25 . 8 . m traces


'... through Gracilis (?)
... modii, 30+ ...
.. November/December, through Gracilis,
..., pounds 100 ...
55.. November/December, through Gracilis,
... pounds 22, asses ..
00 December, to Gracilis, nails
for boots, number 100, asses 2
00 December, through Audax,
1010of salt, pounds 85+, asses 12+ (?)
00 December, of Celtic beer,
a metretes, asses 8
In the consulship of Calpurnius Piso
and Vettius Bolanus:
151500 January, through Audax (?),
goat-meat (?), ..., as 1 (?)
00 January (?), through Gracilis,
..., asses ..
00 January (?), through Gracilis,
2020... pork (?) ...,
through Audax, of pork (?), pounds 11+ , ...
0 February, through Similis,
of Celtic beer, a metretes, ...
00 February (?), through Audax


1-2. It seems likely that this entry occupied two lines, as do all the other entries in the text except lines 19-21. There is room for a date in the missing portion at the left (cf. line 17). The writing after per is very abraded; m is fairly clear as the last letter and the rest is not incompatible with Gracilem. The name of a commodity has been lost at the left in line 2. As is common, the abbreviation of m(odios) is marked by a superscript bar and the number may have lost one or two digits at the end. The abraded traces which follow may begin with the symbol for asses.

3. Here and in line 5 we have restored the month-name as December, but in theory it is of course possible that the month-name was Nouembres.

4. The traces at the right are presumably the remains of the price. The weight (100 lbs) suggests that we might perhaps be dealing with ferrum (cf. 182.ii.15, 183.2).

5-6. We have placed here a small detached fragment which contains parts of two lines and must belong at the left. It could in theory belong anywhere between lines 1 and 6, however. If we are correct, the reading in line 5 could be .. N]on[(as) Dece]mbres.

6. The name of the commodity at the left perhaps ends ]is. There appears to be an interpunct after p(ondo) but it would be one of only two possible instances in this text (cf. note to line 8). If the small piece at the left does not fit here, we might have had sal]is.

7-8. This is the only entry in which there is a name in the dative (cf. introduction). clauos caligares: there appears to be an interpunct following (cf. note to line 6). For military footwear in general see van Driel-Murray (1985). A very great deal of footwear has been found in the excavations at Vindolanda, see VRR III, 31-47; it is certain that the facilities for repair existed in the workshops at Vindolanda (cf. 155.2). It is noteworthy that in P.Ryl.II 223 (=RMR 82) nails are measured by weight rather than number, as here. Line 8, like 10, 12 and several others, is indented.

10. salis: salt also occurs in 191.5 and perhaps 185.22 (see note) and 202.a.8; cf. note to line 6, above. For salt extraction in Britain see Bradley in De Brisay and Evans (1975), 20-5, Jones and Mattingly (1990), 224-8, and for its importance in the military diet Davies (1989), 188-9. Presumably the symbol for asses is lost in the gap. The numeral may well be xii, followed by a symbol which must be a fraction of an as (cf. 182.i.2, 9).

11-12. This seems to be the only entry without per plus name or a name in the dative.

11. I]anua{ui}rias: there is no doubt about the writing of the extra syllable which is presumably simply a mistake (cf. lines 17, 19, 22), though a surprising one. cer[u]ese: for Celtic beer see 190.c.6 etc. with Tab.Vindol.I, p.91 (line 12 note) and for a ceruesarius in the writing-tablets 182.ii.14.

12. metretam: this is a vessel of known capacity (100 sextarii, see TLL VIII 894) and is appropriate to the context here and in line 23. Here it is possible that it was followed by the digit i. It occurs nowhere else in the Vindolanda texts. In 190 ceruesa is measured in modii.

13-14. Calpurnius Piso and Vettius Bolanus are the consuls of AD 111. These lines must have been slightly indented if, as is surely the case, there was nothing before [Cal]purnio. The names are written in capitals, as is not uncommon with headings in military records (see Bowman (1994b)). For consular dates in capitals see e.g. RMR 70.b.i.6, ii.6-7 (= P.Aberd. 133). The form of R which is closer to the cursive than the capital form is noteworthy.

15. The format of the entries suggests that we should have a date followed by per; the traces would perhaps allow Audacem although it is not an easy reading.

16. This line is very abraded. At the left we may have ]ari or ]rni. Following that there are 7 or 8 letters of which the last 4 appear to be cine. If this were an adjective ending with -cin(a)e we might conceivably have ca]rnis porcine or, perhaps better, hircine. The difficulties with this are: (1) almost all sign of the s at the end of the first word has disappeared, though there may be a top-stroke visible; (2) we would have to imagine p(ondo) plus a numeral after -cine, all trace of which has disappeared. For pigs at Vindolanda see 180.27, 183.4, 191.6 and cf. Hodgson (1976), (1977), VRR III, 113; for goatskins see 309.ii.14.

17. Feb]ruuaris: it is noteworthy that -uu- is used consistently in the spelling of this month-name; see Adams (1994).

18. At the beginning of the line perhaps ]bum. There is more than one way in which the words could be articulated. We might have e.g. ]bum et .r.[...]s; this might suggest se]bum (cf. 184.ii.22) followed by et and another word which ends with s just after the hole (cf. CIL 32, p.953, no.XV, pag. posterior, line 25). We would then expect a quantity and a sum, but the traces before the as-symbol look like alcum.

19-21. It seems that the entry for this date occupies three rather than two lines and includes two commodities obtained (?) through different individuals.

20. This line is very difficult. The first two letters could be almost anything; m is then certain as is e following it; then after one more uncertain letter we seem to have po and a descender of r. This suggests two nouns (cf. line 18 and note), the latter connected with pork, but neither porci nor porcelli is plausible. porcine (cf. line 21) might be better. The first word ought then also to be a genitive but we cannot suggest anything suitable.

21. porcine: see notes to lines 16 and 20, above.

22. Similem: we are confident of the reading of this name although it probably does not occur elsewhere in this account.

23. See notes to lines 11-2.

24. The spacing suggests Marti]as at the left. The commodity presumably follows in line 25.

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