Tablet 215

description

Inv.no.86.447+448. 114 x 79 mm. Plate XIV.
Three joining pieces survive from the right-hand half of a diptych, with probable remains of notches in the right-hand edge. The leaf contains the second column of a letter, which may be missing something at the end (see notes to line 8 and back 2). At the left there are some traces of the ends of lines of the left-hand column which, as often happens, overran the fold; they are so exiguous that we have not attempted to transcribe them. Unusually, the first line of the right-hand column projects at the left. It is noteworthy that the closing greeting is written by the same hand as the rest of the text, but it is possible that a final greeting was added by another hand below this. The name of the addressee on the back clearly begins with Cassio, a gentilicium which occurs elsewhere in the tablets only in the case of Cassius Saecularis, and the remains of the beginning of the cognomen leave us in no doubt that the addressee is Cassius Saecularis (see note to back 1). If the attributions of 213 and 214 to Period 2, and of 215 to Period 3 are correct, it is nevertheless possible that a centurion or decurion or optio, or someone holding a "senior staff post" (cf. Breeze (1974)), might have been at Vindolanda and generated correspondence over a number of years (or have been there on more than one posting, separated by some years). The subject-matter of the present letter, the supply of timber, compares well with the evidence in 213 for Cassius Saecularis' role in supplying barley.
The right-sloping hand is one of some character. i with a foot (approaching the shape of L) is interesting as is r, close to the capital form.

edition

i:
. . . . . . . .
traces of ends of lines
. . . . . . . .
Back:
Cassió Ṣạ traces n
uacat
] ẹ c̣ọṛniclario n

translation

'... if there are any ... they will have the authority of Severinus. For I have got [it?] from him, if anyone wants to come, and he will not mind where they are storing the wood and timber. I pray that you are enjoying the best of fortune and are in good health ... (Back) To Cassius Saecularis, from ... cornicularius. '

commentary

ii.1. dịc̣ẹs: we have considered as an alternative dụịs, which cannot be ruled out. In the context, however, a restoration such as iu]/dịc̣ẹs, or in]/dịc̣ẹs, from the verb indico rather than index, would be attractive (cf. 334.2). The spacing suggests that si qui begins a new sentence. After the break at the end of the line, a place-name or location would be appropriate; alternatively we might have had a perfect participle beginning in-. If the sense we envisage is on the right lines, qui could refer either to people who will have the authority or the objects which someone might obtain "if there are any in (place)". Since qui must be plural here it is impossible to tell whether we have an example of contamination of quis and qui, see note to line 4. On si qui for si quis see Lšfstedt (II, 1942), 79-96.

ii.3. Seuerini: the name, which is reasonably common (e.g. RIB I 1212, 1267), does not occur elsewhere in the tablets and the position of the person is unknown. There is a larger than normal space between this and ego which is appropriate to a break between sentences.

ii.4. si qui: in view of uolet this must be taken as si quis, although it cannot be explained in the same way as P.Mich.VIII 468.41 (= CEL 142) where there is a following s. See Adams (1977), 30, note 112, 47. uenịṛẹ: this is the least unlikely reading, but i is not quite like the other examples and not much survives of e; uenịạṃ is more difficult.

ii.5. quọ: the final letter looks somewhat like i but it is unlike other examples in this hand and is harder to construe. materiem: cf. materias, 309.i.3. On the distinction between this and lignum see TLL VIII 449.64-9, Furneaux on Tacitus, Ann. 1.35.1.

ii.6. aequà perfereṭ: the final trace does not look easily compatible with either perfereṭ or perfereṇṭ but the former makes better sense and assumes less missing at the right where there should be no loss (cf. 260, introduction). The obvious reading of the preceding word is aeque, but the final e would be unlike e elsewhere in this text and we do not see how to make sense with it. We think it just possible to read aequo with an apex over o (cf. back 1), which we suggest is to be understood as for aequo animo (cf. 302.5, aequo emantur, i.e. aequo pretio).

ii.8. It is possible that a second hand has added (e.g.) uale frater below this, cf. 250.ii.17.

Back.1. Cassi—: the apex is clear. It is curious that the cognomen is so badly abraded when the gentilicium just before it is very clear. The long diagonal ascender in the first letter can hardly be anything but s and the second could well be a.

Back.2. ]ẹ c̣ọṛniclario: this is written with a pronounced slant from bottom left to top right which is quite normal in this position. The first four surviving letters are abraded and obscured by dirt but the reading is not in any real doubt. cornic(u)larius unlike cornicen (see 182.i.1 note) is not attested as a name (Cornicula, LC 331, is not related to the military title) and it must therefore indicate the writer's position. For legionary and auxiliary cornicularii, characterised as "senior staff officers", see Breeze (1974), 267-76, 280-86; in the legions this was a position from which men were regularly promoted to the centurionate. An auxiliary cornicularius appears in CEL 140.27 (= P.Oxy. VII 1022, AD 103). There is no way of knowing whether we are here dealing with a legionary or an auxiliary cornicularius. The title will have been preceded by a name, for which is a suitable termination. This must mean that something has been lost from the bottom of the leaf, cf. note to line 8.

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