Tablet 261

description 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 ... '


1. Hostilius Flauianus: the cognomen may occur in 172 with reference to the same person but he does not appear elsewhere in the tablets. The gentilicium is fairly common in Italy and the western provinces (see NPEL). Cereali: the name is spelled thus only here.

2. See 243.2 and 233.2 with note.

3. nouom: although the last two letters of the word are somewhat abraded and may be obscured by dirt, the penultimate looks much more like o than u. The word is an insertion above the line. See Adams (1994). faustum: despite the loss of the bottoms of letters, the reading is not in doubt. The phrase is formulaic and is frequently found on lamps and containers, see CIL 2.4969.3, annum nouum faustum felicem mih(i) hu [ n] c (inscribed lamp; for tibi see e.g. CIL 10.8053.5.i) and cf. Seneca, Ep. 87.3. Flavianus' letter presumably contained a verb in the lost portion, cf. perhaps Fronto, ad M.Caes. 5.4(Teubner ed., p.77), annum nouum faustum tibi et ad omnia, quae recte cupis, prosperum cum tibi tum domino nostro patri tuo et matri et uxori et filiae ceterisque omnibus, quos merito diligis, precor.

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