Tablet 640

description 129 x 42 mm.
Archaeological data. Location: SG/NE. Period: 3/4.
The upper part of a diptych containing parts of two columns of a letter from Aemilianus to Severinus. Aemilianus has not occurred in any other Vindolanda tablet, but a Severinus, who could well be the same man, is mentioned in 215; cf. also A.R.Birley (2001b), 26. As well as at the foot, the tablet is broken away at both left and right, with the loss of several letters in both places. The hand is thin and quite elegant, of a type found several times in the Vindolanda material. Some letters occur in a short and a long form: c, e, i, l, r; note also the greatly extended left diagonal of a at the start of ii.1. In its short form i has a pronounced serif. There is an apex in i.4 and ii.1, and there may have been others which are no longer visible. Several offsets can be seen between the columns. There are faint traces in address script on the back of the right-hand column.


]s Aemilianus Seuerino n
suo salutem
]..m domine oblata esṭ n
]. ọc̣casió non praete[r-] n
5 ] traces [ n
. . . . . . . .
á Ve.o chirogrạ[ Sa-
n c̣ensạ [ n
id est ....eṛẹ..ẹ[ n
ṣc̣ịṣ me [ n
. . . . . . . .


' s Aemilianus to his Severinus, greetings. As soon as(?) an opportunity was offered, my lord, I did not neglect to(?) '


i.1. Only the final letter of the gentilicium remains, so at least four or five letters have been lost at the left. Seuerino: the break in the tablet occurs in the middle of n and we cannot altogether exclude the reading Seuerin[i]o. A Severinus is known from Vindolanda, see introduction. If there was an apex over o, it is no longer to be seen; the same applies to suo in the next line.

i.3. The traces at the start are compatible with mum; if so, a possible restoration would be cum pri]ṃụm.

i.4. At the start one expects mih]ị, which is perhaps possible if we suppose i in its short form and with a pronounced serif (see introduction). hae]c̣ or nun]c̣ would be an easier reading and it is not impossible that there was room for mihi before this. For occasio cf. 212.2, 225.4-5 and 646.i.6. After non some form of praetermitto looks likely.

i.5. One or two ascenders only survive.

ii. The loss at the right is probably no more than some six letters (to judge from the tablet as it survives and the probable loss in i.1), but we cannot suggest how the words which are preserved were connected. We have therefore not attempted a translation.

ii.1. Ve.o: the second letter is much smaller than the writer's usual e, but we do not see what else it can have been. What is written after this before o is difficult. It might be possible to read aueḥo but we think a followed by a personal name is more likely. It is easy to read Veḷ but there seems to be too much ink for just Veḷo and we have not found the name attested. Other possibilities we have considered are Veịo and Veḷịo, both attested gentilicia, but neither is wholly convincing. All the letters are smaller than elsewhere and it is not impossible that the writer at first left a blank and that the name was inserted later (though probably by the same hand). Some case of chirographum looks inevitable, but we cannot tell whether or not it goes with the genitive of the name following, nor, if so, whether it means here "in Saturninus' handwriting"or "a bond of Saturninus". The word is also found in 645.22-23, 647.5 and perhaps 648.ii.5-6 and 715. The probable size of the lacuna (cf. above) suggests that little or nothing is likely to have intervened between some case of chirographum and the personal name following; if the word were in the form chirografum, there may have been room for de after it, as in 647.5. Sa]turnini: the name has not previously occurred in the Vindolanda material.

ii.2. c̣ensạ[: the reading is either c̣ensạ[ or p̣ensạ[; since p normally has its cross-stroke sloping downwards or horizontal (as in praete[r in i.4), not sloping upwards as here, we are inclined to prefer c̣ensạ. This might refer to "the property of Saturninus"; see the reference in OLD s.v. to Cicero, De consul. suo fr. 7 (= V, Budé ed.), quorum luxuries fortunas, censa peredit (as emended); cf. also TLL III 806.80ff. (a feminine singular form is also attested with uncertain meaning, see TLL III 796.22). pensa can mean "a day's provisions", see LS s.v., with reference to Ed. Diocl.; cf. TLL X 1050.14ff. for other meanings. It might also be part of a longer word.

ii.3. After id est the tablet is partially broken and the letters after the break can be read in a number of ways. eṛị or eṛẹ is fairly certain, with perhaps p to precede.

ii.4. ṣc̣ịṣ: only the tops of the letters survive, but the reading is very probable.

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