Tablet 611

description

Inv.no.93.1379. 202 x 78 mm. Plate 8-9.
Archaeological data. Location: Site II/SW. Period: 3/4.
A diptych containing part of a letter which is addressed on the back of the right-hand section to Flavius Genialis. Both halves are broken into two pieces, of which the larger two, (b) and (d), are complete at both sides and the foot, apart from the loss of a small fragment at bottom right of (b). The remains of v-shaped notches can be seen in the outer edges. Both halves are incomplete at the top. The smaller fragments, (a) and (c), clearly belong above the larger, probably with an exact join and no line missing between them, if we allow for some warping: see ii.1-2 note. They are complete at both sides and apparently contain the top of both left and right columns. The lower third of the right-hand column, after the closure, is blank. Since there is no sign of the opening address at the top of the left-hand side, it is likely that we have the end of a letter which was written on more than one tablet, as, e.g., 292.
A point of major interest is the identity of the author of this letter. We are confident that his name, on the back, should be read as Haterius Nepos. This, if correct, will enable us securely to identify him as T.Haterius Nepos, whose equestrian career culminated in the prefecture of Egypt, held in AD 120-4 (Bastianini (1975) 284, ANRW II 10.1, 508). This man has traditionally been identified as the honorand of the acephalous ILS 1338, from Fulginiae in Umbria. The list of posts held by that person before the prefecture of Egypt are: praefectus cohortis, tribunus militum, praefectus equitum, censitor Brittonum Anavion[ensium] (or Anauorum), procurator Augusti Armeniae maioris, ludi magni, hereditatium et a censibus, a libellis Augusti and praefectus uigilum. If this is indeed Haterius Nepos, the secure dating of the prefecture of Egypt would require an active career span of around 30 years or more if the Vindolanda letter is to be dated to the mid-90s and assigned to the earlier part of his career (CPE, no.95, cf. PME H1). The only post which has a specific British context is that of censitor (see 304, introduction) which has been dated (although on no compelling ground) to c. AD 112; presumably any or all of the earlier equestrian militiae could have been held in Britain and it is perhaps most likely that our letter is to be assigned to a period in the 90s when Nepos was a young fellow-prefect of Genialis. The text of the letter itself is incomplete and gives us no further direct information, but Nepos' expressed wish that Genialis should come to Coria (Corbridge: see i.5 note) suggests the possibility that this was his base. The idea that Corbridge was held by a cavalry ala would accommodate the hypothesis that Nepos was there as praefectus equitum commanding an ala (probably the ala Petriana, see E.Birley (1988), 370-1, Tomlin (1996a), 461, A.R.Birley (2001c), 16 n.1, and cf. 281.back 4 note, 700.back and Introduction, p. 00), the third and most senior of the militiae equestres recorded for the honorand of ILS 1338. As A.R.Birley suggests (2001c), there is no reason why we should not connect the activity as censitor of the Anavionenses with this praefectura, perhaps held just before AD 100; the Anavionenses are also mentioned in 594.a.6. In that case, the same operation may be referred to in 304.
The writing in the left-hand column is much abraded, especially above line b.3, and the whole of the right-hand column is poorly preserved. The main hand is upright and somewhat angular in appearance, especially noticeable in e and u. It is competent with some pretensions to elegance. Note the tall form of p (b.7), the long tail of r, and the exaggerated diagonal of n; i can be both very tall, as in isdem (b.6), or can have a long tail, as in pertuli (b.3). Interpunct apparently occurs two or three times (b.5-7). There is an apex on the back and there may be instances of apex in b.4, one over a short vowel, see note. The closure of the letter is written in a second, less elegant, hand, which will be that of Nepos himself.

translation

' his debtors, which I have brought to your attention just as I ought. So much the more do I hope that you will come to Coria, just as you decided. I have written in the same words also to Proculus (?) Farewell, my dearest lord and brother. (Back) To Flavius Genialis, prefect of the cohort, from Haterius Nepos. '

commentary

a.i.1. It is possible that nothing, or just an interpunct, came between s and debitoribus. We have considered reading/restoring red]|deris but at the end of the line it does not seem possible to read tuis. debịṭọrịbus: t is difficult, but the rest of the reading is good. It is not certain whether a line has been lost between this fragment and the one following; cf. ii.1-2 note. b.

b.i.2. The photograph clearly suggests quoṛ at the beginning of the line, which would have to be the end of a longer word, e.g. lo]quoṛ. The scan suggests that we can read quoḍ (quos is not possible).

b.i.3. p̣ẹrṭuli: we are confident of the reading, even though the initial letter looks more like c. For the phrase in notitiam perfero cf. Pliny, Ep. 10.67.2, haec in notitiam tuam perferenda existimaui, and TLL X.1 1358.63ff. A new sentence will then have begun with te. See further on this whole passage Adams (2003), §8.

b.i.4. tanto magis: there are two faint diagonal strokes which may be intended to be apex marks over the o of tanto and the a of magis; if so, the latter would be over a short vowel, for which see Adams (1995a), 97-8.

b.i.5. Corịạ: we originally read Coris from the photograph and assumed this was another example of the "locatival" case to indicate the goal of motion, on which see, e.g., Leumann, Hofmann and Szantyr (1965), II 150, and, most recently, Mackay (1999), 229ff., esp. 236-8. The scan, however, suggests that the expected form Coria is not impossible and we prefer to read this since Adams has pointed out to us that such a use of the locative would be surprising in a letter from someone as high up the social scale as Haterius Nepos; see further Adams (2003), 00. On Coria = Corbridge see 154.7 note.

b.i.7. Of the last letter before the break only a high diagonal survives. This is closely comparable to the top of c at the beginning of line 6 and we regard proc̣[ as the most convincing reading. In the context, a name would make best sense and Proc̣[ulo is suggested by 219 and 612, in which Flavius Proculus is a correspondent of Genialis (cf. also Appendix, 444); indeed, a trace of the top of l may survive. If this is correct the present text might suggest that he was another cohort commander in the local area; see further 612, introduction and A.R.Birley (2001b), 18, (2001c), 16. But there is also the possibility that he is the provincial governor, see Appendix, 344, and A.R.Birley (2002), 125.

c-d.ii.1-2. The scan suggests that (c) fits immediately on top of (d) with no line lost; against this is the fact that we cannot suggest how this clause could have construed. It may well be that no line is lost between line 1 of this column and the last line preserved on column i.

c-d.ii.3. f̣ra is a good reading, though ẹra is possible. There is a trace of at least one letter thereafter, which could well be t. There may be traces of two further letters, which points to frater, presumably the last word in the letter. If these traces are not ink, we must look for a word ending erat. If frater is correct, no letters may have been lost between this and ṭuṃ preceding.

c-d.ii.4-7. The format is unusual: assuming nothing has been lost at the right (there is a hole after the writing in lines 3-4 but the tablet is certainly blank after the one word preserved in lines 6-7), each word of the closing greeting is written on a separate line, each line justified at the left. This is likely to be the hand of Haterius Nepos himself. In view of the later Egyptian prefecture of Nepos, it is worth drawing attention to this feature, for there are few papyri which can confidently be thought to contain the autograph of a prefect: the best known example is SB I 4639 = PGB 35 = PGP I 42 (Subatianus Aquila).

Back. It is impossible to say whether the top two lines in address script are the work of the writer of the body of the letter, but the third line does not seem to be in this hand. The name of the sender is written with a slight upward slope from left to right, as is normal. We are confident of the reading of the gentilicium. The reading of the cognomen is less certain; epo is clear but the traces of the other letters are minimal. For Haterius Nepos see the introduction.

Download EpiDoc version using the CC license Creative Commons License and EpiDoc Schema v.5