Tablet 597

description

(a) Inv.no.93.1478B + 1478c (i). 78 x 26 mm. (b) Inv.no.93.1478B. 80 x 44 mm. Plate 6.
Archaeological data. Location: SG (bonfire site). Period: 3.
Two fragments, one of which (a) consists of two joining pieces, of an account or accounts written along the grain in a clear bold but otherwise unexceptional hand which uses interpunct regularly. The pattern of the wood grain suggests that fragments (a) and (b) might belong together and might be from the left- and right-hand columns of a single diptych, although we cannot be sure which is which. Fragment (a) is certainly incomplete at the top, bottom and left. The right hand side looks like a cut edge, but there must be some writing lost here in lines 2 and 3; if this were the left-hand portion of a diptych one could imagine that the writing overran the fold. Fragment (b) is complete at the right and perhaps at the top and should be the right-hand column. The back of (a) contains writing by a different hand, perhaps part of a letter or draft (see 804). The back of (b) is blank. This inventory number also contains another fragment of an account (599) which is related in subject matter and might be by the same hand, although the form of the n used for n(umero) is noticeably different. Interpunct is used with noteworthy consistency in 597 and 599.
The account refers to various items of equipment and hardware and to repairs (b.3, cf. 599.3); this suggests a possible connection with the workshops (see 155). Irrespective of whether (a) and (b) belong to the same account, the compiler has been inconsistent in his use of cases (cf. Adams (1995a), 114-6 and on the syntax in general, id. (2003)). The main interest of the account lies in some of the items mentioned, especially the dog-collars (collares kanum, b.4) and the couinnus pensilis (a.4). The latter is a term which also occurs in 598 and 599 and which we have not been able to parallel precisely; its implications for the technology of transport vehicles are of some significance.
The origin and meaning of the word couinnus has been satisfactorily elucidated by Rivet (1979), who shows that by the late first century AD the original connotation of a Celtic scythed war-chariot had been extended to cover Roman vehicles for civilian use, clearly demonstrated in Martial 12.24. This is surely likely to be the meaning here, despite the fact that Tacitus, Agr. 35 attests continuing native military use in Britain by his use of the term couinnarius eques. On the various terms of Celtic origin for Roman vehicles see Chevallier (1976), 178-9, and cf. Adams (2003). The adjective pensilis, which qualifies it in both occurrences here, can be used of something carried by human porters such as a litter (TLL X.1 1101 s.v. IIB, cf. Juvenal 1.159 with Courtney's comment ad loc.), or machinae mobiles (TLL X.1 1101 s.v. IIB). The entry in a.4, if correctly read, shows that the couinnus pensilis was yoked, which would appear to rule out a litter of any kind. The natural conclusion would seem to be that the phrase refers to some kind of a suspended wheeled wagon with a yoke. If this is correct, it is a matter of some importance, for it would be, as far as we can tell, the first clear written evidence for the existence of a suspended coach or wagon in Roman times, supporting theories and reconstructions based on archaeological data. See Chapman (1982), 188, indicating the possibility of the introduction of suspension of a vehicle's body by through-braces; see most recently Greene (2000), 758. We suggest that the evidence of this account, if we have understood it correctly, shows beyond doubt that the suspended body was known in the Roman world at the end of the first century AD. This is an important addition to the evidence of 309 and 600, also concerned with the construction of transport vehicles.

edition

a:
. . . . . . . .
traces
] .. m · are ..lam · uertebr. [ n
] ratio · ex laṃṇis · n. [ n
[a]d couinni · pensilis · iuguṃ [ n
5 [ ]…. [.] .. []
. . . . . . . .
b:
. . . . . . . .
] . em · alter · panario n
pestlus · n(umero) · i · n
ọ llas · refectas · n(umero) · ii · n
collares · kanum · [ n(umero)] n
5 p̣eṣṭḷ [us] n
. . . . . . . .

translation

'(a)likewise (?), a jointed (?)
Account. From the sheets
For the yoke of a suspended carriage
(b) likewise (?), a second bolt
for the bread-box, number 1.
Repaired pots, number 2.
Dog-collars, number
A bolt (?) '

commentary

a.2. We have not been able to elucidate this line satisfactorily. The traces at the left are consistent with i]ṭẹm and we think this is attractive. At the right uertebr.[ is certain and the last trace is very likely to be ; we could envisage a genitive singular, uertebrạ[e, preceded by a noun, or perhaps uertebrạ[tam ("articulated" or "jointed"), agreeing with a preceding noun. But we have not found anything suitable. The reading of the first three and the last three letters seems certain. areculam is compatible with the traces: we wonder whether it could be a diminitive of area, meaning a "small platform" (cf. TLL I 498, MLD s.v.4).

a.3. ratio: there is no sign of writing immediately preceding this and it may be that it is inset as a heading. It seems less likely that it is the end of a word which began in the previous line. laṃṇis: m and n are not easy, but lanceis is not persuasive, nor is lanc(u)lis. We have considered lamnatis, which would mean something like "plated" but there are not quite enough strokes and the word is attested only at CGL V 469.37. If laṃṇis is correct, this presumably will refer to something made of plates or sheets. The n which follows does not have a superscript bar so it is probably not n(umero). We note that TLL VII 905 cites Caesar, BC 2.10.3 for lamina, used along with claui (cf. c.4) and tigna to make a musculus ("shed"). If we do have ratio meaning "account" we cannot see how to make sense of ratio ex lamṇis, except by taking lamnis to refer to sheets on which something was written. There is perhaps some slight support for this in a problematical passage in Pliny the Elder, NH, 16.68, nunc intra pugillares lectorumque silicios† aut lamnas raro usu spectatur, cf. Bowman (1975), 237, Tab.Vindol.I, p.30, Locher and Rottländer (1985), 146 (emending silicios to sectiles) and A.R.Birley (2002), 33. Pliny, NH 16.229 shows that the word can be used of sheets of wood: eadem (sc. fraxinus) sectilibus lamnis in tenui flexilis capsisque ac scriniis sola utilis.

a.4. For the couinnus pensilis see introduction and cf. 599.5 and note. iugum perhaps also occurs in connection with the couinnus pensilis in 598.e.2 and 4.

b.1-2. These lines should probably be taken together. If the column is almost complete at the left i]ṭem would fit well in line 1. panarium is either a container for bread (cf. the Greek panãrion, e.g. in P.Oxy. II 300) or a seller of bread, see TLL X.1 .188. pestlus should be taken as a form of pessulus = bolt rather than pistillus = pestle; so it is more likely that the panarium is a bread-box or container. On pestlus and on the syntax of this account see Adams (2003).

b.3. Given the alignment of the writing at the left in lines 3-5 it seems likely that there is nothing lost; we therefore read ọllas rather than ab]ọllas, although abollae would perhaps be more likely to be repaired. The first letter seems clearly to be o and this rules out ]ullas (e.g. tr]ullas).

b.4. Note the masculine form collares (see TLL III 1576-7). There is a bronze statuette of a dog wearing a collar from Lydney Park (see Henig (1984), Plate 17). At the right the dash over n is still visible. For evidence of hunting-dogs in the tablets see 594 (and cf. 593).

b.5. p̣eṣṭḷ[us: the reading is not certain but it fits the traces of the tops of letters.

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