Tablet 281

description

Inv.no.87.607. 172 x 36 mm. Plate XVIII.
The lower part of a diptych containing part of a letter. On the left-hand side are three lines of the first column. On the right there are only exiguous traces, perhaps belonging to the closing greeting; saluta in i.3 seems likely to come towards the end of the message and it is therefore reasonable to suppose that it ended in the upper, lost portion of the right-hand half. The attribution to the correspondence of Cerialis is not certain; it is suggested by the occurrence of the Ninth Cohort of Batavians in the address on the back (see note to back 2). Of particular palaeographical interest is the form of e, made in three distinct parts (e.g. line 2, ipse).

edition

i:
. . . . . . . .
]... bẹ.. os n
ḥabeo quos ipse tib[i
aḍferam saluta . [ n
. . . . . . . .
ii:
. . . . . . . .
traces
. . . . . . . .

translation

'I have ... petitions (?) which I myself will bring to you. Greet ... (Back) To .... of the 9th Cohort of Batavians, from Cluvius Faber, ... of Petrus. '

commentary

i.1. ]...be..os: the first surviving trace is compatible with s; thereafter we ought to have a noun or an adjective to which quos in line 2 refers and the verb adfero in line 3 suggests that we ought to think of objects rather than persons (cf. 327.1). We suggest the reading libellos, which is compatible with the traces and could be understood either in the literal sense of "little books" (cf. libros, 333.2) or "petitions" (of which we have possible examples in 322 and 344, cf. 257). There may be ink traces after this word, in which case a number might be appropriate.

i.3. It is uncertain whether there is ink after saluta. If so, probably a, the beginning of a name or of a me.

Back.1. There are traces of the bottoms of a few letters which would be compatible with the reading/restoration of Flauio Ceriali praef(ecto), but they by no means compel it. Alternatively, c [ o] h(ortis), but that makes it difficult to see how we could read the trace at the beginning of line 2 (see note).

Back.2. It is very difficult to see how the ink mark at the broken edge before the numeral can be read as h of co]h(ortis), nor is it obvious that the missing piece could have accommodated co; if it were an abbreviation mark we would certainly expect to see some part of coh before the break. There may be an oblique mark over the last digit of the numeral.

Back.4. The reading of Petri is uncertain but we can think of no military rank or title which suits the traces. The name Petrus does occur in Gallia Belgica (CIL 13.1443, 1547) but not until the Christian period. There is, however, an earlier occurrence of the female cognomen Petra in Germania Superior (CIL 13.11672, cf. Weisgerber (1968), 241-2) which might justify our reading. What precedes it looks most like l but we do not find co]l(lega) Petri persuasive; perhaps (turmae) or (centuriae) F]l(auii) Petri (for the abbreviation of the gentilicium cf. 291.i.1). Alternatively, we might have a reference to the ala Petriana (see CIL 16.43, 69) in which case the line might read dec(urione) a]l(ae) Petri(anae), cf. 284.back 3 note.

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