Tablet 590

description 79 x 85 mm. Plate 5.
Archaeological data. Location: SG (rampart edge). Period: ?.
A diptych containing 11 lines of an account written along the grain on the left-hand half. The front of the right-hand half is blank, but there appear to be traces of writing on the back. The left-hand piece is complete at the top, right and foot. The blank right-hand section appears to have all margins intact and its dimensions show that there are not more than about 4 mm missing at the left margin of the left-hand section. The first line is probably a heading, and there is hardly room for more than a couple of letters lost. This is followed by entries in several of which a personal name is followed by an item of culinary or dining equipment. In three cases (lines 3-5) the name is followed by a single letter n, which we take to be an abbreviation of n(ihil), see further line 3 note. If we have read line 1 correctly, this is probably therefore a memorandum, list or account recording cooking or dining equipment issued to members of the unit by the cook, or the deposit of such equipment with the cook by the named individuals. The implication of the zero notation is that it is standard practice for members of the unit to possess or have use of such utensils (cf. 588.a.i.3 and note). On the syntax of this list see Adams (2003).
The hand is a bold and practised cursive, notable for using three forms of u, one bowl- shaped, one consisting of two strokes at an angle and the third an almost horizontal dash.


] ṃạg̣ịro ṇ [ec]essarịọṛụṃ n
] Ạuḍax ụịṭreum n
] ṛạttọ n(ihil) n
] .oripọṛus n(ihil) n
5 ] ..aṭus n(ihil) n
]urius cucuma n
] Firmani uitreum n
]ns decurio ụịṭreum n
] .. [..] .. [.] scutulam n
10 [ui]ṭreum
] . uị . [ ..... [] ..gum n


'(List?) of items needed from (?) / for (?) the cook:
Audax, a glass vessel
.ratto, nothing
Doriporus (?), nothing
atus (?), nothing
urius, a cooking-pot
of Firmanus, a glass vessel
ns, decurion, a glass vessel
a dish
a glass vessel
a scale (?) '


1. The reading of this line is complicated by the fact that there is some surface dirt on the tablet. There are only a few millimetres lost at the left (see introduction); we assume that there would not be room for more than a or ab at most and there may be nothing lost. For what follows, we are confident of ro with a space following, pointing to a word ending with these letters. Before it, g̣ị is a good reading, though the form of g would be made differently from the way it is made in line 11 and the way it is usually made in the tablets. Before this we could read nt, but this is impossible if giro is correct. We think ma is a reasonable alternative reading and have some confidence that magiro is right. The word, a transliteration of Greek mãgeirow is attested elsewhere in Latin, see TLL VIII 52, citing HA, Elag. 10 and the Testamentum Porcelli (ed. Buecheler, p.268.8) and note magira at Cato, Or. frag.XX (ed. Malcovati); see further Adams (2003). We are not confident of what follows and suggest the reading with some hesitation. The trace of the letter at the broken edge of the tablet can easily be read as without a superscript bar and we think that n[ec]essariorum best suits the traces, even though we would have to understand a noun supplying the sense of "account" or "list". The alternative would be to understand n as n(umerus), followed by esc̣arịọṛụṃ, used as a substantive (TLL V.2 856.40ff.), meaning "dining utensils"; in view of the occurrence of uitreum three times in the present text, Digest is noteworthy, uitrea escaria et potoria in supellectili sunt sic ut fictilia. Against this, however, is the near impossibility of reading the letter after es as c, the absence of any sign of a superscript bar over n and the fact that the list does not in fact record numbers of items.

2. Ạuḍax: of the first letter only the end of the diagonal stroke is preserved but there can be no doubt of the reading. There is perhaps nothing lost at the left of this line and we would expect it to be indented as the first entry after the heading. The common name Audax also occurs several times in 186. ụịṭreum: the first three letters have more or less disappeared but there is no doubt of the reading in view of lines 7, 8 and 10. The word can be used to refer to glass in general or to glass vessels, see Trowbridge (1930), 77; uitreum is the neuter adjectival form used as substantive and could be either nominative or accusative, see OLD s.v. 1b. This is the first reference in the tablets to glass at Vindolanda. Presumably these are flasks, vessels or beakers of the sort commonly found at British sites; for a good summary see Marvell and Owen-John (1997), 387-93 and cf. Cottam and Price (1998); there is no reference in VRR I to glassware among the small finds at Vindolanda, except for beads and counters, but Birgitta Hoffman has kindly informed us that she is preparing a report on the finds of glass.

3. ]ṛạttọ: for the second letter we suggest with some confidence though the descender is faint. The most promising restoration is F]ṛạttọ which is attested in Belgica/Germany (NPEL). The reading of n is clear here and in the following two lines, but in none of these entries is there any sign of a noun or a digit. The conclusion that it is an abbreviation of n(ihil) rather than n(umero) seems inescapable, but we have not been able to parallel this at Vindolanda or elsewhere. We have considered the possibility that what we take as n should be read as ii but then we would have to understand a plural noun (perhaps uitrea) and this seems most unlikely.

4. ].oripọṛus looks to be the best reading; this writer habitually makes o with almost no circle visible (i.e. the left and right curves are written on top of one another); there is no name which has precisely this termination but we suggest that it might be a form of Doryphorus, attested as a cognomen in Narbonensis and elswhere (see NPEL). The exiguous surviving trace before o is not inconsistent with .

5. The name Pr]ịụaṭus, well attested at Vindolanda (190, 610.8 etc.) is possible (for the form of the first u, uitreum in line 8 is comparable).

6. Note that cucuma is nominative whereas scutulam in line 9 is accusative.

7. Firmani: this is the only name in the genitive. The position makes it clear that something is lost at the left, perhaps a short, common name followed by (centuriae) Firmani, for further identification. The name, which does not occur elsewhere in the tablets, is incorrectly recorded as Firmaninus by A.R.Birley (2001a), 253.

8. The name might be Cresce]ns, which is very common at Vindolanda and would justify the addition of the rank, decurio, for further identification, cf. 574.9, 609.ii.12-3 and notes; there are several other common names with this ending, e.g. Valens, Prudens (for the former perhaps cf. 187.i.2, 608.12).

9. At the left traces of tops of letters of the name survive.

11. The readings are uncertain. The first traces presumably belong to a name and might be ].uịạ[ or ].uịṃ[. At the end gum looks secure, preceded by or possibly .ọ (cf. note to line 4). poclum (for poculum) does not look possible. LVL offers nothing ending –ogum and for –ugum only iugum. The meaning offered in TLL VII.2 643.12, a scale, is the only one which seems to fit the present context at all, if we discount as a possibility the reference to some part of an oven (ibid. 643.43).

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