Tablet 641

description

Inv.no.93.1351a. 184 x 47 mm.
Archaeological data. Location: SG/N. Period: 3.
An incomplete diptych containing parts of two columns of a letter. The tablet is broken away at the top but is partly complete at the foot. The start of the lines is preserved in col.i; in col.ii the start of lines 2-3 is preserved as are the ends of lines 5-8. The hand of the body of the letter (which is probably the same as the hand of the address on the back) is a good, markedly right-sloping cursive, with signs of elegance. e is often very elongated; l in ii.3 (bis) is in the short form with a serif at the top; i can be tall with a hook at the top (e.g. the second i in mịṣị, ii.2); the second part of n sometimes starts halfway down the first stroke (especially in ii.7). There appears to be one clear example of interpunct (ii.2) and two others which are less certain (i.6, ii.5).
The content is too broken to allow us to establish any connected sense. Col.ii refers to the despatch of a small lamp, perhaps for repair by the addressee. The letter is being sent by a certain Arcanus, a name which occurs in several other tablets, see back.3 note. The name of the addressee may be Marinus, who may also have occurred previously in the tablets, see back 2 note.

edition

i:
. . . . . . . .
traces n
].aụ. de me . c̣.ṛ[.]. de [ n
domịnico .ussu..cu...[] n
cum emissem [...].be.q̣..ḷec..[ n n
5 exit ụt mihi .[....].[...].[ n
derit · ịta r[
denariuṃ [ n
quidem er.[
ii:
. . . . . . . .
..].mạṛẹ eṭ mịṣị..[ n
…ẹṛueram · misi tibi p̣eṛ [... n
....ịum lucernulam ạ..[... n
........c̣ep̣eris rog̣o .rẹ.... n
5 ........ ] ṣ[al]ụta a me · Crescen-
tem
n ......... ] F̣lọrentinum n n
et omnes tuos [con]ṭibernales n
cum quibus opto [ si]ṣ f̣elix ụale n
Back:
. . . . . . . .
....... n
.arinó n
ab Ạrcano ...[...]. n

translation

'(Col.ii) I have sent you through a small bronze(?) lamp. When you have received it(?), please write back to me(?). Greet from me Crescens Florentinus and all your(?) messmates with whom I pray that you may be fortunate. Farewell. (Back) To Marinus(?), from Arcanus '

commentary

i.1. One or two descenders only survive.

i.2. If this line is aligned with those following, only one letter preceded a at the start, but if it is first line of the letter proper (after the salutation), there may have been two or three more letters lost. de me looks plausible, after which there is a break in the tablet and no letter may be lost before . c̣ạṛ is a possible reading, suggesting a reference to carts.

i.3. domịnic: there is a flat dash over ni like those marking an abbreviation; we have assumed that this apparent dash is not ink. The adjective dominicus has not occurred before in the tablets, but since prefects are regularly addressed as dominus, there is no difficulty in Arcanus (assuming he is a soldier) using this word of his commanding officer. Alternatively, we could suppose that Arcanus is a slave. See also Adams (2003), 00. There would seem to be two possibilities at this point: domịnicoṣ ussuṣ (for the spelling see Adams (1995a), 88-9) or dominico ịussu.

i.4. The partially preserved letter before be is most like s.

i.4-5. A verb running over into the next line such as intell]exit is improbable because of the false word division, and line 4 is likely to have been almost complete as it survives. A possible reading would be cịṭ[o] | exit. If so, we might have ịḷḷe to precede; in which case we cannot read before it.

i.7. denarium: for other texts in which the word is written in full see 650 and 655.

ii.1. The line may have ended eṭ mịṣịṭ q̣[uod/q̣[uae.

ii.2. A new sentence no doubt began with misi. p̣eṛ [: there is room for two or three letters after this, unless the tie-hole came at this point.

ii.3. ....ịum: presumably a personal name, which may have begun in line 2 (see the previous note). lucernulam ạ..[: cf. the occurrence of a lucernam aeneam in 194.B.2; the traces here would permit ạẹṇ[eam; less likely is ạẹṛ[eam.

ii.4. At the start of the line it may be just possible to accommodate the remains of the letters to c̣ụṃ ẹạṃ ạc̣c̣ep̣eris. rẹ....[: the third letter after rẹ has a long descender; rẹṣc̣ṛị|[bas (or rẹṣc̣ṛị|[be) is possible, no doubt followed by mihi; rogo rescribe mihi occurs in Tab. Luguval. 34.

ii.5-6. For the numerous references in the tablets to persons named Crescens see Index II and Tab.Vindol.II, Index II (where correct 551 to 552), and 574.9 note.

ii.6. F̣lọrentinum: the name also occurs in 692 and probably in 603.i.5 and 657.B.4.

ii.7-8. The writing becomes more cramped and cursive in these lines, but we do not think the hand changes until the final word ụale. For the suggested restorations cf. 346. 4-5. It is quite common for the closing greeting to consist of no more than the one word uale cf., e.g., 343.45, 642.10.

Back.1-2. The trace before arino is minimal and may be illusory. If not, it is quite likely that we have a letter to Marinus. A man of this name is attested in 343.3. Alternatively we may have a longer cognomen beginning in the previous line, preceded by a gentilicium.

Back.3. Written on the slant as usual. After Ạrcano the tablet is broken away, but the trace of the second letter looks like the top of e. If Arcanus is a slave (see i.3 note), the letters could belong to the name of his owner, cf. 301.back. Neither G̣ẹṇ[iali]ṣ nor C̣ẹṛ[iali]ṣ is impossible. A man named Arcanus occurs in 162, 333, 603.ii.3 (where see the note) and probably 697.

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