Tablet 194

description (a) 32 x 60 mm. (b) 21 x 50 mm.
Two fragments of a leaf containing writing on both sides, the text on the one side being upside down in relation to that on the other. Both sides are written by the same hand and probably form part of a single text. Since the order is uncertain it should be noted that our designation of the sides as A and B is arbitrary and is used only for convenience of reference. A third fragment which was inventoried under this number (195) contains a text of a similar kind and at least one side of it may be written by the same hand, but it is impossible to establish that it belongs with 194; 196 may also be at least partly by the same hand but has likewise been treated as part of a separate list. This hand may also be responsible for 197 and 191.
Fragments (a) and (b) do not join directly but can be positioned side by side with a small gap between (large enough to accommodate one or two letters). The placing of the fragments and the reconstruction of the text is based on our understanding of lines B.1-2, although there is a problem with both reading and meaning in line 1 (see note), and is strongly supported by line A.8, if it is correctly read.
The text is a list of household objects which are almost all related to cooking, eating or drinking. The content is appropriate to the find-spot of these tablets; Room VIII of the Period 3 praetorium has been identified as a kitchen and the text must surely be part of an inventory of equipment. In some cases (e.g. lines A.7-8) we only have single objects; even where the gap between the fragments makes it impossible to be certain of the exact number of items involved, the order of magnitude seems to be small (see line A.3 note). We can hardly suppose therefore that this represents the complete stock of equipment for a substantial establishment such as the praetorium must have been, and it may be that this is part of a much longer list which the writer compiled by walking round and listing items in different locations in the room (see line A.6 note). Lists of this kind are not uncommon in the papyri; see for example, P.Wash.Univ.I 59, SPP XX 67, BGU III 781, ChLA XI 485. The terms for the different kinds of eating and drinking vessels, several of which appear in our list, are discussed by Strong (1966), 128-30 and by Oliver and Shelton (1979) with reference to BGU III 781, a long inventory of a very valuable collection of plate which totals over 300 Roman pounds of silver. This makes an interesting comparison with the Vindolanda list, especially, perhaps, if some of the silver in BGU III 781 was the property of the late and disgraced prefect of Egypt, Cornelius Gallus, a considerably wealthier Roman eques than Flavius Cerialis will have been, cf. Shelton (1977), 69. Most of the objects at Vindolanda are perhaps more likely to be ceramic than silver but there is some evidence for utensils of bronze at Vindolanda (cf. VRR II, 91) and a bronze lamp is listed in B.2 (see also note to B.1).


. . . . . . . .
. [ n
scuṭụḷ[as ] ịị [ n
paropsiḍeṣ [ ] ṿ [[ii]] n
acetabuḷ[a ]iii n
5 ouaria · ịii n
in laterar [..] . n
lanceṃ n
scutul[a]ṃ n
compenḍ[iá]rium et n
lucerṇ[am] ạeneam
panaria · [ ] iiii n
calices · [ ]ii ·
5 in ṭhẹ[ca] n
trullas · [ ] theca n
s[ n
. . . . . . . .


' ...
shallow dishes, 2 (?)
side-plates, 5 (?)
vinegar-bowls, 3 (?)
5 egg-cups, 3
on the purlin (?)
a platter
a shallow dish
(B)"a strong-box (?) and
10 a bronze lamp
bread-baskets, 4 (?)
cups, 2 (?)
in a box
bowls, 2 (?) in a box ... '


A.1. Since we are uncertain which side of the leaf to read first the order of the entries in the list is therefore also uncertain. It is clear that we have the cut edge of the leaf below line 8 and above B.1. At the left there is the bottom of a letter hooked to the left, probably c or e.

A.2. scutul[as: only the bottoms of the last three letters survive but the first three are clear and we are confident of the reading. The word recurs in line 8, apparently in the singular; see also 208.a.1. The precise characteristics of these dishes, which are also listed in BGU III 781.IV.8, are not known (see Oliver and Shelton (1979), 26). On the reading and interpretation of the numbers see the notes to line 5 and B.3.

A.3. paropsides: common in the graffiti from La Graufesenque (see Marichal (1988), index, s.v.). These seem to be side-plates, perhaps for fruit or vegetables, see BGU III 781.I.14 (BL 1, 66) with Strong (1966), 129, Oliver and Shelton (1979), 23-4. The numeral was originally written as three digits but the last two seem to have been crossed out; it is possible that the uncorrected digit at the left is i rather than v but if so, the writer has not taken the trouble to correct the noun to the singular (cf. line 7 note).

A.4. acetabul[a: also common at La Graufesenque (Marichal (1988), index, s.v.). See Oliver and Shelton (1979), 25-6.

A.5. ouaria: presumably egg-cups, for which see Strong (1966), 128 and Plate 42B. He also identifies an egg-phiale which holds a dozen eggs (98 and Plate 26B). The only citation of the word ouarium in OLD and TLL is CIL 8.9065.3, referring to the structure which held the oua used for recording the laps of chariot-races, but it must here describe either the egg-cup or the egg-holder. That it is the former rather than the latter is suggested by the occurrence of the word in its Greek form (ὀάρια) in BGU III 781.IV.6, with Oliver and Shelton (1979), 28, where there are 20 of these items. After the word there is an interpunct and then a possible faint trace at the right-hand edge of the leaf, but we are very uncertain whether this should be taken as n(umero), cf. B.3 note.

A.6. in projects to the left, which suggests that it might have been added after the second word had been written. There is an ink trace at the left-hand edge of the second fragment which could be either the top-stroke of s or an apex mark, of which there is one other example in this text (B.1). The top-stroke, together with the size of the gap, suggests laterar[i]—, laterar[i]‡ or laterar[ii]s. Of the possible words offered by OLD and TLL, lateraria ("a pottery") does not seem promising. We can derive sense from the use of laterarium in Vitruvius 10.14.3, 15.3 where it appears to mean "cross-beam" or "purlin" if we can envisage that the objects listed below (at least those in lines 7 and 8) were placed or stored on a cross-beam in the kitchen, cf. B.5 note.

A.7. lancem: the word can perhaps be restored in 208.4; cf. Oliver and Shelton (1979), 28. Here and in the following line the writer seems to have followed the practice of not specifying the number when only one item was meant, cf. 192.2 note and note to line 3, above.

A.8. See note to line 2, above.

B.1. compend[i‡]rium: the high stroke, the top of which is visible, must be taken as an apex mark. The letter below it is lost but no other suitable word exists and the restoration, which enables us to fix the size of the gap between the two fragments, is certain. The precise meaning is uncertain. "Short-cut" offers no sense in this context; the word occurs in the context of granaries (CIL 6.33860, 33747) where Rickman (1971), 197, explains it as meaning "safe-deposit". Here it seems likely that it indicates some kind of container.

B.3. There appears to be an interpunct after panaria and then a possible trace at the left-hand edge of the second fragment, but it is doubtful whether we should take this as n(umero), cf. line A.5 note.

B.5. We must have in the[ca] (cf. BGU III 781.V.16, 18), presumably ending in the gap, but there may be a faint trace of a on the right-hand fragment. This is indented and probably refers to the item or items preceding (cf. B.6 and note). The word seems to be a general term for containers or receptacles, cf. Digest, nec frumenti nec leguminum thecae (arculae forte uel sportae), "receptacles for grain or vegetables (such as boxes or hampers)".

B.6-7. In view of the plural noun there must be a number and in seems to be required before theca (cf. B.5); the size of the gap might just about allow us to restore trullas · [ii in] theca. For trullas see Strong (1966), 130, noting that the trulla might be the "very popular saucepan-shaped vessel which is found throughout the period of the Roman empire" and referring to Digest 34.2.36; cf. also SPP XX 67, ὀξυβάφια τρύλλια κασσιτ(ερινά), presumably shallow vinegar-bowls made of tin. s[: this is indented suggesting that it might belong with what precedes; it must have been a short word or an abbreviation since there are no traces on the right-hand fragment; s[ec(unda)?

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