Tablet 236

description (a) 60 x 82 mm. (b) and (c) small fragments.
A draft or copy of a letter from Cerialis on what must have been the left-hand portion of a diptych. There are two tie-holes in the left margin and two notches in the left-hand edge. The name of the addressee has not survived (frater in line 3 suggests that he might be another prefect), nor is there enough of the text to be sure of the subject. Cerialis seems to be saying that he has been waiting for someone or something to arrive. The hand bears some noticeable resemblance to that of 225-32 and it is therefore possible that this is Cerialis' autograph. The two small fragments (b) and (c) cannot be placed. The back is blank.


Flauius Ceriạ[lis
[salutem] n
iịị K(alendas) fratẹṛ . ụ. [ n
in horam [ n
5 exspectaui [ n
res mihi .. [ n
[. 4 .] .. oḥṇ[ n
[.....] r. ṣ[
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
]. sum[
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
]. er[
. . . . . . . .


'Flavius Cerialis to ..., greetings. On the 3rd (?) day before the Kalends, brother, I have been waiting ... until the nth hour ...... from our cohort (?) ... '


a.2. No trace of writing survives but the space between line 1 and the beginning of the message guarantees that the lost portion at the right will have contained salutem or suo salutem.

a.3. The remains of at least two letters are visible before k, of which the first has a complete vertical. The only plausible readings would seem to be pr(idie) or iii. As for the first, p is possible but r looks very difficult. We could have three digits but what looks like the top of the third may, in fact, be the misaligned top of the vertical of k. However that may be, we think it impossible that the word frater could be placed in the middle of the date and therefore assume that the month-name was omitted because the recipient is expected to know which month Cerialis meant (cf. 199.1, O.Bu Njem 91). .u.: the first trace might be i or d and the third trace looks like s. If the first trace is dirt rather than ink, we might simply have us[que (see note to line 4), though this would make the line very short.

a.4. in horam may well have been preceded by usque at the end of line 3 though this is not essential, see B.Afr. 78.9, Caesar in horam decimam commoratus. An ordinal number will presumably have followed.

a.5-7. One might imagine a restoration such as [ut (or dum or si forte) mitte-]/res mihi ("I waited for you to send to me ..." or "I waited in case you might send to me ..."). In line 7 e]x coh(orte) n[ostra might be feasible.

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