Tablet 322

description 97 x 28 mm. Plate XXVIII.
A fragment of a leaf containing remains of four lines. There may be remains of notches in the left-hand edge, in which case the fragment will belong to the left-hand part of a diptych. This is supported by the fact that the ends of the lines seem to overrun the edge of the leaf. The content suggests a petition or appeal, perhaps directed to the prefect since it is attributed to the Period 3 praetorium, about the theft of a balteus (cf. 344). Word-division is good. The form of a in balteum (line 3) is interesting.


. . . . . . . .
traces ... neo seruoṛụ[m n
traces et balteum me[ n
mihi subripuerunt
. . . . . . . .


2. Nothing can clearly be seen before neo but there are few words possible; of these balneo is the most attractive and can probably be read. For the presence of slaves see 190, 301, 303, 347 and above, p.29. If the balteus is an item of military equipment (see note to line 3), it may be that the author is suggesting that the slaves are involved in the theft or that there is some connection with the slaves' quarters. If this is right it suggests that the slaves have a separate bathing establishment in the praetorium or the fort.

3. balteum me[: the obvious supplement is me[um and the sense requires nothing more before mihi in line 4. The balteus might be a cross-belt from which a short sword or knife was suspended or a waist-belt (later more commonly called cingulum), see Robinson (1975), 169, 171, Bishop and Coulston (1993), 96-8. A b [ a] ltẹu ṃịli [ ta] re [ sic] is among the items of clothing and equipment requested by Claudius Terentianus in P.Mich.VIII 470.6 = CEL 145, cf. P.Mich.VIII 464.18, 474.8-9, III 217.19. If the word is used in a more general sense as "belt", the author need not be referring to an item of military equipment and might not be a soldier (i.e. perhaps a slave).

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