Tablet 622

description (a) 180 x 44 mm. (b) 94 x 52 mm. Plate 11.
Archaeological data. Location: SG (bonfire site). Period: 3.
It is probable that almost a complete diptych (a) survives, only the top line of each column being lost, together with a small gap in the centre of both columns (but cf. a.i.5 note). At the left and right edges small v-shaped nicks are visible. In addition, under the same inventory number, is a half-diptych (b); this is also incomplete at the top and has a small loss in the centre, and it too has a v-shaped nick in its right edge. This is clearly the end of a letter and, since its first hand is the same as the hand responsible for (a), it presumably forms the closing part of the letter of which (a) contains the first two columns. There is an address on the back of (b), whereas (a) is blank on the back. No doubt we have a letter written on two diptychs, of which there was a third column written on the left-hand half of (b) and now lost (cf., e.g., 292).
The letter contains an invitation issued by Brocchus to Cerialis and Lepidina to pay him a visit. Aelius Brocchus and his wife Claudia Severa were well known to us from texts already published: 243-248, 291-292. On him see also A.R.Birley (2001b), 10-12, (2002), 136ff. Birley believes he was the commander of a unit at Briga (which he tentatively identifies with Kirkbride), based on the phrase mansura Brigae which Severa uses of herself in 292.c.2; in our note we suggest that the phrase may imply rather that this was not their home base. For the possibility that Brocchus was based at Coria and may have been the commander of the ala Petriana there see Appendix, 292. For visits between the families of Cerialis and Brocchus see also 291 and 292.
The number of dark marks which may or may not be ink is especially prevalent in this tablet. The main hand is an upright, practised cursive; the large sloping foot to l is noteworthy. There is at least one instance of interpunct and there may be one or two occurrences of an apex mark (see a.ii.1-2 with notes). The second hand can be identified as the hand of Brocchus himself; see further 623 introduction.


a:. . . . . . . .
                      ṣạlụṭẹm n
et Saṭurnaliạ n transie-
et h..[..]ea mihi n
    missa suṇ[t] et non
5    tam .[....]ṇc̣.. quam n
. . . . . . . .
                 traces of unknown linesn
es · c̣[um tu]ạ Lepidiná ueni n
sicu[.....]. Kalendasn
apu[d nos] ṛemane..s n
. . . . . . . .
     ].. Sẹuera ṃẹạ
uos [s]ạlutat
    ua[le] ṃi frater n
      ḳ[ari]ṣsime nn


' greetings. Both the Saturnalia have passed and the have been sent to me and not so as Come with your Lepidina, in this way so that you may stay with us beyond(?) the New Year. My Severa greets you (both). Farewell, my dearest brother. (Back) To Flavius Cerialis, prefect of the cohort, from Brocchus '


a.i.1. ṣạlụṭẹm: the tablet is broken through the middle of letters but the reading is certain. What is not certain is whether the line before ṣạlụṭẹm is blank or whether there are traces of ink, presumably from suo or from the lost first line. We assume that Aelius Brocchus Ceriali suo has been lost before ṣạlụṭẹm, cf. 243.

a.i.2. The following lines are inset with respect to this line, which suits the idea that it is the first line of the letter proper (cf. Tab.Vindol.II, p. 42 top). For another reference to the Saturnalia in the tablets see 301.

a.i.3. The apparent trace of a letter to the left of ṛuṇt is not ink. The traces of the two letters after h are slight but would permit or, pointing to họṛ[d]ea, though the plural would be unexpected. If barley, was it for the horses or perhaps for beer making? We have also considered họṣ[tr]ea = ostrea; for a gift of oysters see 299.

a.i.5. The trace after tam is indeterminate; probably o, d, q or u. After the lacuna the first letter must be n or, less probably, u, and the last letter of the word is i or s; perhaps ]ṇc̣ṭị or ṇc̣ịṣ. There may be traces of one or two ascenders of a line below this, but we think it unlikely that the marks are ink.

a.ii. We have based the size of the lacuna in the middle of this column on line 4, where we regard the supplement suggested as virtually certain.

a.ii.1. At least one descender of this line is visible and there may be a second over the a of Lepidina where we have marked an apex.

a.ii.2. After the interpunct either c, g or e. c̣[um tu]ạ Lepidina gives the sense we expect and the slight trace after the break is consistent with a; there may be a trace of an apex over it, but cf. the previous note.

a.ii.3. sicu[: see the note to line 4. After this Rea suggests ultr]ạ Kalendas; we had earlier thought of u[sque a]ḍ Kalendas. The difficulty is the horizontal stroke linking to the top of k, which can hardly be part of k and is not easy to read as part of d. It is somewhat easier to take it as part of a and we have adopted Rea's suggestion in the translation. For Kalendae without qualification meaning New Year's Day see 265.3-4 note. This would imply that the letter was written between the end of the Saturnalia and 1 January following. For a visit by Brocchus to Cerialis on 25 December see 581.63-64.

a.ii.4. apu[d nos]: the restoration looks inescapable. After ṛemane the ink has mostly faded; there is room for two letters before s and there may be a trace of a letter after s. If the sentence did not end at this point, we might think, for example, of ṛemaneṛẹ si [uis, followed by poteris. If the sentence did end here, we would suggest reading ṛemaneạṣ; with a broad second a. If we adopt ultr]ạ as the restoration in the previous line (cf. above), we can supply sic u[t before it to introduce the subjunctive, and this has been assumed in the translation.

b.3-4. The greetings from Brocchus preserved in 247and 623 also begin with the expression uale mi; but these all include domine as well as frater. On uale mi see 635.3-5 note.

b.4. ḳ[ari]ṣsime: the trace of the first letter is minimal; we have preferred ḳ[ari]ṣsime to c̣[ari]ṣsime as this is the spelling used by Brocchus in his other greetings.

Back.3. In 623 Brocchus adds coll(ega) and no doubt did so here.

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