Inv.no.86.501. 102 x 33 mm. Plate IX. VRR II, Plate IX.
Part of the left-hand side of a diptych containing the beginning of a letter from Hostilius Flavianus to Cerialis, sending a New Year's greeting. Hostilius Flavianus' status and whereabouts are unattested but it is possible that 172 is a fragment of a request for commeatus addressed to him. If so, it would suggest that Flavianus was at Vindolanda at some time and that he was a prefect (see above, pp.77-8). The social and religious prominence of the New Year is further emphasised by a letter to Cerialis referring to a sacrifice made on that occasion (265, see introduction and the references in notes to lines 3-4); note Pliny, NH 28.22, primum anni incipientis diem laetis precationibus inuicem faustum ominamur.
'Hostilius Flavianus to his Cerealis, greetings. A fortunate and happy New Year ... '