Tablet 248

description, Tab.Vindol.I 21, Plate III, 6, IV, 2. CEL 89. R.E.Birley (1990), fig. 14. VRR II, Plate VIII
This letter from Niger and Brocchus is almost certainly written by the same hand as that of 243 (from Brocchus), 291 (from Claudia Severa to Lepidina) and 244. Whether it is in the same hand as 295 (Oppius Niger to Priscinus) is discussed in the introduction to 295, where the identity of the various persons in the tablets called Niger is also discussed. We think that Niger in the present text is more likely to be Valerius Niger (465) than Oppius Niger.


'Niger and Brocchus to their Cerialis, greeting. We pray, brother, that what you are about to do will be most successful. It will be so, indeed, since it is both in accord with our wishes to make this prayer on your behalf and you yourself are most worthy. You will assuredly meet our governor quite soon. We pray, our lord and brother, that you are in good health ... expect ... (?) (Back) To Flavius Cerialis, prefect of the cohort ... '


i.2. For the high mark, like an apex, after the m of salutem see above, p.57.

i.3. With the additional evidence of the other texts written by this hand, we now regard the mark over o as a deliberate apex (likewise tu in line 8); see above, pp.57-61.

ii.9-11. A.R.Birley (1991b), 89 suggests the possibility that the governor was in the region of Vindolanda, which is certainly plausible.

ii.10. n(ostro) is abbreviated to n with a superscript dash, as happens frequently in the tablets. In the we stated that this was preceded and followed by a medial point but we are now less confident that these marks are ink, although the same phenomenon may occur in 255.i.3.

ii.12-14. The reading and interpretation of the closure remains problematical. It is odd that domine is written further out to the left than the rest of the sentence and there seems to be a space between it and bene. A possible explanation of this is that the writer began to write a normal formula which would have fitted on two short lines but then decided that he wanted something longer; since he was very short of space, he began his third line (14) as far to the left as possible, but even so failed to get it all on the line. This involves understanding domine as the beginning of line 14 and supposing that there is continuous writing from domine to exspec- which has simply faded, and that the whole of lines 12-4 were written by the same hand. It is possible that this is the same hand as that of 247.2-3, in which case it is likely to be the hand of Brocchus.

ii.12. We now think op<t>amus preferable, surprising though the error is.

ii.13. te can be read provided that we accept that it was fouled by the subsequent writing below. The order is odd but not unparalleled, see 258.4-5.

ii.14. The traces after domine are very faint and the reading is uncertain. If it is correct, we must have part of the verb exspecto, but there is no room for anything after exspec in this line; there may be faint traces below on the broken corner of the leaf. Possibly the writer intended the imperative exspecta.

Back.17. There are possible traces of the name of the unit, which might be read as viiii Ba[t(auorum). There may be traces in the bottom left-hand corner which could be part of a Broccho, but we can see no sign of the name of Niger.

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