Tablet 318

description 80 x 26 mm.
Part of a portion of a diptych containing four lines of a letter. The first surviving line, of which only the bottoms of letters remain, appears to commence further to the left than the subsequent lines. It is thus likely that it will have been the first line of the message proper if this is the left-hand column of the letter; there may, in fact, be a v-shaped notch in the left edge. The loss of part of the letter m at the end of line 3, where it seems to have overrun the fold, supports this. The author was in command of a cohort and it is possible that he was prefect of an auxiliary unit; alternatively, he might be a legionary centurion (see line 2 note). The recipient is likely to have been a prefect.


. . . . . . . .
traces n
domine comm... [ n
ex cohorṭe cui praesuṃ
missi ad te ideo ut poss [ n
. . . . . . . .


'... my lord, I have sent ... from the cohort of which I am in command to you so that you (?) might be able ..." '


1. For the probability that this is the beginning of the message see introduction. If this is correct we might expect it to begin with a name or names (cf. 295.i.3, 300.i.3). The traces of 8-9 letters at the left might end with -um.

2. comm...[: it is difficult to envisage any restoration other than commịḷị[tones/onem (cf. 226.c.4 note) and there is room to restore it, assuming that we have a left-hand column. If this is correct it is possible to imagine that it was written by an auxiliary prefect, cf. Suetonius, Caes. 67.2, nec milites eos pro contione, sed blandiore nomine commilitones appellabat. Alternatively, it might have come from a centurion commanding a cohort in a legion (see Breeze (1969) and cf. 255.back note).

4. missi: see 255.i.6-8 note, 309.i.3 note. poss[: poss[is is the likeliest restoration but we cannot exclude poss[im. There are no tops of letters visible below this line, which suggests that the letter was a short one with not more than lines in this column.

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