Tablet 589


(a) + 94.1604b.back. 89 x 54 mm.
(b) 25 x 25 mm.
(c) 29 x 18 mm.
Archaeological data. Location: LXXIV. Period: 4.
Three fragments of accounts written across the grain. We present these together, although we are unsure whether they all belong to the same account. The fragments were found in close association, the subject-matter is related, and in the cases of (a) and (c), but not (b), the other sides of the leaves contain parts of a letter which are also closely associated (660). Fragment (a) consists of seven joining pieces. We are confident that fragment (b), which is blank on the other side, was not written in the same hand as the letter (660). Fragments (a) and (c) are both written in the same hand, which may be different from that responsible for fragment (b); if so, it is possible that they are written in the same hand as the letter, though we think this unlikely. Fragment (b) of the letter (660) does not have any of the account on the other side. Fragment (a) of the account is part of the right-hand portion of a diptych, complete at the left and right margins, where there are remains of two tie-holes, and it may well preserve part of the bottom edge. The column of writing is complete at the left and to the left of this the ends of lines from a preceding column are preserved. The ends of these lines (col.i) correspond to lines 3, 4 and 6 in col.ii. Fragments (b) and (c) are incomplete at all margins. The order in which the three fragments of the account are presented here is arbitrary since there we can make no joins and no direct connection between them and there is no internal evidence in the text which helps to establish the order (the dates in February in fragment (a) and November in fragment (b) could belong to the same calendar year or two separate years). See also 660, introduction.
The letter (660) may be regarded as the primary text, perhaps a draft, with the account written on the back, but it might also be imagined that the account was written first and that the back of the tablet was used for a draft letter. For the fractional symbols used in this account see 596, introduction. The only commodity which survives in full is oleum (oil), in a.ii.4 and b.3 (and cf. c.2 note); there may be something different in a.ii.3 and c.1. The account does not make it clear what the oil was for; possibly either for cooking, for use in the baths (cf. 184, recording purchases of sebum), for "industrial" activity (see c.1, note) or perhaps for religious purposes (a.ii.2 and note). Oleum also occurs in 203.5, a short list of foodstuffs. a.ii.4 records a date in February and if it belongs to the same account as fragment (b), containing dates in November, we must have a summary account covering a fairly long period, like that in 581. Perhaps also related is 681, a fragment of an account containing the name Amabilis, which also occurs in the present group, but there is not enough of the writing to be sure whether this is the same hand or from the same text.


a: i:
. . . . . . . .
] () i
] trace (?)
] () () i
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
] ṇo uacat (denarii) (octantem) n
] Amabilis n
ạ [] ...... ]i uacat (sextarios) ii s(emissem) (denarium) i (octantem) n
viiii Ḳ(alendas) Mar(tias) Amabilis olei amp(ullam) (denarios) [ n n
5 tilia data [ n
summạ [
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
] . i Nonas N[ouembres]
[N]onis Nouẹ[mbris]
] olei amp̣(ulla) [ n
] . i Idus Noueṃ[bres]
5 traces
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
] . ạsis (sextarios) .. [ n
] .. Amab(ilis) am[ p(ulla-)] n
] ụar Flu.. [ n
] . [
. . . . . . . .


ii.1. ]ṇo: the structure of the entries in the account is not clear since not enough of it survives; this might be the end of a personal name in the dative or a/ab plus ablative. In lines 2 and 4 the personal name is presumably in the nominative, rather than genitive.

ii.2. The name also occurs in 180.10 and 681.1 where it might refer to the same person. If this is the case, the entry in 180, item Amabili ad fanum, suggests the possibility that the oil might be for use in a religious context. There might be something, perhaps a date, lost at the left. There is nothing to the right, suggesting that we ought to read lines 2 and 3 as a single entry.

ii.3. The word probably begins with a but m cannot be excluded. a[cet]i looks rather too short, unless it was written in fairly large letters.

ii.4. There is no mark of abbreviation after mar (cf. c.3 and note).

ii.5. This phrase does not occur elsewhere in the Vindolanda accounts. For tilia (= "writing-tablet") see Appendix, 259, 643.a.ii.4 note, 707.2 and cf. Introduction, above, p.00. We suggest that data should be understood in the sense given by OLD s.v. do 10, ("sent", "dispatched"). The entry might then, for example, refer to some item or amount of money specified in a document sent to someone on some specific date.

b.3. amp̣[ullam should be restored, presumably in an abbreviated form, as in a.

ii.4. The word also occurs in 184.8 (see note ad loc.) which supports this interpretation. It presumably designates a fairly small flask. The abbreviation amp does not occur elsewhere in the tablets; it is found in RMR 82.2, used of a container of liquid pitch and the editor there interprets it as amp(hora).

c.1. The letters before sis are obscured by dirt. It would be possible to read ] ṛạsis, which is a kind of raw pitch (LS and OLD, s.v., citing Columella 12.20.6, genus crudae picis) and might suit the context. If this is correct the commodities may be for industrial or artisanal use.

c.2. There is no abbreviation mark after amab (cf. mar in a.ii.4) but we are confident of the resolution in view of the occurrence of the name in a.ii.2 and a.ii.4 (and cf. 681). The traces before it could be read as but if the restoration of am[p(ulla-) at the end of the line is correct we would expect to have ol]ẹị; it seems possible to read the first trace as the cross-bar of , although one might expect to see something of the top of the letter.

c.3. The first three surviving letters are presumably the end of an abbreviated month-name (cf. a.ii.4), Ian]ụar or Febr]ụar. After that, probably a personal name. The obvious reading is Flug̣.[ but we think that the apparent tail of may be the top of an ascender (b or l) from a line below. In that case we could read Fluẹ.[. We have not been able to find an attested name which begins with these letters. It is perhaps worth noting that Fruẹ.[ occurs in 187.i.3 and the name Fruendus is reasonably well attested in Belgica/Germany (see NPEL).

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