Tablet 284

description

Inv.no.85.094.b. 55 x 25 mm.
A fragment of the right-hand portion of a diptych containing part of a letter with an address on the back. This is complete at the right and suggests that nothing is lost at the left of the column on the front. The writing on both sides is very abraded and difficult to read. The text provides a clear attestation of the cohors viiii Batauorum and is addressed to its prefect, whose name should probably be read as Flavius Cerialis (see back 1 note). The sender of the letter was probably a decurion with the cognomen Verus. It is not possible to obtain any substantial idea of the subject of the letter. If there is a reference to the clementia of the recipient in line 2 (see note) it is possible that we have a petition or an appeal of some sort (cf. 257, 281.i.1 note, 322, 344).

edition

Front:
. . . . . . . .
ạgas ṣị. ụom. [ n
rẹ ẹt ẹam cleṃ[ n n
lo exsigas ịḍ.. [ n
. . . . . . . .
Back:
] .. [ . ] .. ....... n
p̣raef(ecto) coh(ortis) viiii Bat(auorum) n
] . dio Vero dẹcụṛịọṇe ... ẹ n
. . . . . . . .

translation

' ... (Back) To Flavius Cerialis (?), prefect of the 9th Cohort of Batavians, from Claudius (?) Verus, decurion of the ala (?) ... '

commentary

Front.1. Perhaps si duo m.[. An alternative might be saluom, cf. 225.6.

Front.2. There is a space after et; eam following it is plausible if we assume that the mark before e is not ink. Following that, the reading clem looks good and suggests a reference to the recipient's clementia.

Front.2-3. The restoration of uo/lo is plausible and fits the subjunctive following. exsigas: see Adams (1994).

Back.1-2. The reading of line 2 is secure and the recipient must be a praefectus of cohors viiii Batauorum. Flavius Cerialis is the only person attested as such in the tablets. There are substantial traces of the letters of the name and we think it difficult though just possible to read [ F]la[u] io Ceriali without doing too much violence to the traces. We cannot exclude the possibility that we have Cerialis' predecessor or successor but we do not find it any easier to read (e.g.) [ F]la[u] io Geniali (but there is no clear evidence which connects him with the Ninth Cohort of Batavians, cf. above, p.194). The numeral has a superscript dash.

Back.3. It is noteworthy that this line is not written on an upward slant, as is often the case, but it must be the name of the sender. For the gentilicium the most obvious restoration is Cla]udio and the exiguous trace of the first surviving letter is compatible with the right-hand stroke of u. Of decurione only the first e is really difficult and the reading is credible if we assume that the word has been crushed in. Following that there are traces of 3 or 4 letters which could be read as alae; if that is correct, the name of the unit will presumably have come in the next line.

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