Tablet 582

description

Inv.no.93.1299a-b + 93.1298a. (a) 190 x 30 mm. (b) 63 x 44 mm. (c) 30 x 17 mm. (d) 24 x 8 mm. Plate 4.
Archaeological data. Location: SG/NE (intervallum road). Period: 3.
Under this number we publish fragments containing parts of accounts written along the grain, found in close proximity but originally inventoried separately. Each of the tablets consists of two joining pieces; inventoried with fragment (b) there are two more scraps (c and d) with traces of writing which we cannot join to the larger pieces. In fragment (a), the wood-grain shows that the pieces originally formed part of the left- and right-hand sides of a diptych and the account will have been written in two columns (cf. 182, 183 etc.). The tablet is certainly complete at top and left and probably also at the right. The hand appears to be the same as that of (b); it is possible that the fragments are all part of the same account, but we have not succeeded in making any joins and the leaf on which fragment (a) is writtten is rather thicker than fragment (b); even if they are different tablets, they could, of course, still belong to a single account written on several tablets. In any event, it is probable that both texts are concerned with poultry for the praetorium (see a.i.2 note), also recorded in 581; this deduction is supported by the fact that the name Chnisso (a.i.2) also occurs in 581.24. All of which evidence strongly suggests that Chnisso was the (or a) supplier of poultry to the unit at Vindolanda.
The writer occasionally uses interpunct and ligature, and the two common forms of l, square and elongated.

edition

a.i:i:
ratio (denariorum) · x
cum Chnissone · n
p̣uḷḷị traces n
. . . . . . . .
c:
. . . . . . . .
].em .. [
. . . . . . . .
d:
. . . . . . . .
traces (?) n(umero) [

translation

' (a.i)
Account of the 10 denarii:
with Chnisso
chickens '
' (ii)
from them, for the use of our prefect (?),
consumed, number 10+
the remainder , in the hands of Chnisso (?) '
' (b)

denarii, 5, 1/2, 1 as (?)
chickens, number 8 (?), denarii
total of chickens, number 21
they cost denarii 9 _ , 1 as
there remain, denarii 1/4, 1/8, 1 as (?) '

commentary

a.i.2. Since line 2 is set out to the left, it seems likely that this is a heading for what follows rather than an elaboration of what precedes it, in which case one might expect there to have been a cash sum entered against the quantity of chickens recorded in line 3. The name Chnisso which also occurs in 581.24 is not attested elsewhere, cf. Adams (2003); we presume it is Germanic, although AS lists no names beginning Chn-; the closest we have found is Chismus (CIL V 1171, Italy), which is hardly close enough to be helpful. In 581 Chnisso appears to be supplying chickens, which must also be the case here.

a.i.3. There are quite extensive traces of ink at the right. At the far right there are remains of the top of a letter which must be either x or a denarius symbol and there might be some further traces after it. The first traces after p̣uḷḷị could well be n(umero) with a superscript bar, possibly followed by x and some further digits, a number which must in any case be higher than 10 in view of the entry in a. One way of reconstructing this, which we have tried, is: p̣uḷḷị n(umero) x.[. s(ingularis)] (denarii) ... – that is, giving the price per chicken (cf. 596). If this can be connected with the remainder of the account in fragment (b), the entry might have given a total of 21 chickens (cf. b.3), a unit price, a total cost (unit price x 21) and the balance remaining from the 10 denarii mentioned in The difficulty with this is that while the subtraction in b.4-5 works out, we cannot deduce a unit price for a chicken which will multiply by 21 to yield the figure in b.4 (see note).

a.ii.1. There is a medial point after p and probably one after n. We suppose that the abbreviation stands for p(raefecti) n(ostri), although this combination does not occur elsewhere in the tablets; n for noster with a superscript bar (as here) is common (see Tab.Vindol.II , Index V, s.v.). This fits the evidence of 581 for the supply of chickens to the praetorium. Printer: can you put the bar over the n in the text?

a.ii.2. The letters -um- are written in the same way as in b.3, a single stroke serving as the second part of u and the first part of m. 581 uses the term absumptus (e.g. line 49), but not consumptus. The latter can mean "eaten" (LS IB) or "expended" (LS II.2.b (b)); we see no reason why it should not mean "eaten" here.

a.ii.3. For penes cf. 581.106 and note; the surviving trace of the second letter after penes is very tall and suggests h, i or l; it seems likely that we have another reference to Chnisso here.

b.1. Only the bottom halves of the symbols survive. The angle of the surviving part of the strokes suggests the denarius-symbol rather than . Only the bottoms of the remaining digits or letters survive but they do not seem to fit anything other than what we have read. The difficulty with this figure, equivalent to 89 asses, is that it is not precisely divisible so as to fit with a deduced unit price (see further b.4 note).

b.2. After p̣ụllos there is a damaged letter, where two pieces join. This could be interpreted as ṇ(umero) though it is difficult to see any sign of a superscript bar. If this is correct the number following can be read as iix.

b.3. On the medial point after sum(ma) see Adams (2003). The abbreviation of pullor(um) is not marked (nor is that in line 5). After pullor there is a superscript bar over a damaged letter between two joining pieces and we think this must be ṇ(umero).

b.4. There is an apparent trace before stant but the initial s is aligned with the beginning of the line above so we think this is probably not ink. We understand stant in the sense given by OLD s.v. sto 23, n.b. especially Livy 34.50.6, … Polybius scribit centum talantis eam rem Achaeis stetisse. The figures which can clearly be seen at the right yield a sum of more than 8 denarii and we suggest that lines 4 and 5 can be understood as offering a total cost for 21 chickens of 9 1/2 denarii + 1 as (= 153 asses); this reading suits the remaining traces very well but is unfortunately not divisible by 21, so as to give us a unit price per chicken.

b.5. The first two symbols can hardly be read as anything but the quadrans and the octans; the calculation we suggest makes sense of the arithmetic: initial sum 10 denarii (a.i.1); cost of 21 chickens, 9 1/2 denarii + 1 as (b.4); balance 1/4 + 1/8 + 1 as (i.e. 7 asses, b.5). It seems that, unless the writer has made mistakes in the arithmetic, the individual chickens did not all cost the same amount. The average cost appears to be in the region of 7-8 asses (cf. note to b.1). For the fractional notations see 596, introduction.

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