Tablet 645

description

Inv.no.91.1022. 200 x 84 mm. Plate 16. Birley and Birley (2003), 440-5, Plate XXVI, Bowman and Thomas (1996), Appendix, 326-8. Archaeological data. Location: N. Period: 3.
This letter was first published in Birley and Birley (2003), 440-5, hereafter cited as ed.pr., and revised, with minimal commentary, by Bowman and Thomas (1996). There are a number of further small points, in addition to the more substantive matters discussed in the 1996 revision, on which the present edition differs from the ed.pr.; we have not thought it necessary to signal these in all cases.
The tablet is more or less complete at all margins. The letter is written in the usual two columns with a brief valediction at the end of the right-hand column. The writer has added an intercolumnar postscript written at right-angles in between the columns (see 643, introduction). It is very interesting that the diptych has two holes in the centre, as well as semicircular notches in the left- and right-hand edges. These holes were obviously there before the tablet was used, since the writer avoids them, and one can envisage that they were made by folding the tablet and clipping the edges while it was still blank. We have not noted any other certain example of this feature in the tablets. Our statement (Bowman and Thomas (1996), 326) that the address on the back is upside down in relation to the writing on the front was erroneous and should be discounted.
The hand is a clear, workmanlike cursive, slightly right-sloping, fairly representative of the better Vindolanda hands. Note the varying height of some letters (c, e, p, s), the occasional occurrence of a made in three rather than only two strokes (e.g. i.3 epistulas), and i with a marked serif (e.g. mihi i.5). There is no use of interpunct (pace the ed.pr., line 7 and note), but apex is used sporadically. In two places (i.3 and 7) it may occur over a short vowel; see notes ad locc. Ligature occurs here and there, and word division is occasionally indicated. The whole text is the work of a single hand. The place-name in the address on the back is written in capitals, a feature which also occurs in 714 and perhaps 744. The Latin is not substandard but there are some noteworthy features (see notes to lines 4, 6, 12-13, 14-16, and especially the discussion in Adams (2003), §6). Since we regard it as certain that the letter was sent to Vindolanda, not from it (see Introduction, pp. 17), we see no reason to regard it as a draft, as the editors of the ed.pr. assumed.
Neither the author of the letter, Maior, nor the addressee, Maritimus, has as yet been identified elsewhere in the tablets. The gentilicium of the recipient, Coccei(i)us, suggests that he may have been a freedman of Nerva, perhaps an imperial administrator; alternatively he may have been a soldier. The letter is concerned with matters of business and commerce; notable is the involvement of imperial slaves or freedmen, the Caesariani (i.8-9), on whom see Weaver (1972), Aubert (2003), Bowman (2001), 13-15, and the note in the ed.pr. The fact that Maior twice refers to his father perhaps suggests a family business dealing in grain (cf. 180); a braciarius occurs in 646.back.

translation

'Maior to his Maritimus greeting. I wanted you to know that a letter has been sent to me by my father in which he writes to me that I should make known to him what I shall have done about . But if you have conducted business in that regard(?) with the Caesariani, see that you write back to me with clear information so that I can write back to this effect to my father. If you have made any payment from time to time, I shall remove grain from store(?) for you without delay in proportion to the sum which may be raised. When I was writing this to you I was making the bed warm. I wish you may enjoy the best of fortune. sends you greetings. Farewell. (Margin) If you intend to send a boy to me(?), send a note of hand with him so that I may be the more reassured. (Back) [Deliver] at Vindolanda. To Cocceiius Maritimus from Maior. '

commentary

i.1. There is a large gap between the names. This is a not uncommon feature in the tablets, but the gap in 645 is especially wide. Both Maior and Maritimus are commonly attested names: see ed.pr., notes to lines 1 and 25-6.

i.3. scire te uólui: an epistolary cliché, found also in 738 and 668; see CEL 76.2n. There appears to be an apex over the o of uolui, but there is a break in the tablet at this point which makes it impossible to be certain. For apex over a short vowel cf. 6-8 note and Tab.Vindol.II, p. 59, Adams (1995a), 97-8. epistulas: despite the plural, we think it likely that only a single letter is meant (so ed.pr., and see OLD, s.v.1b).

i.4. ab patri meó: the reading is certain. For the third declension ablative singular ending in -i see Adams (1995a), 99.

i.5. For scribo + ut see OLD s.v. 13c. On ei where normal grammar would require sibi see Adams (2003), §6.

i.5-6. On notum faciam see Adams (2003), §7.

i.6. gesseró: on the indicative in an indirect question see Adams (2003), §6.

i.6-8. de fussá quod sị ịṭá gessịsti negotium: this section poses serious problems. The reading of the word or words after quod is uncertain: there are five letters of which the first must be s and the last a with an apex; the middle letter is almost certainly i. The second and fourth letters could each of them be c, p, t or i with a serif, all of which can be made in much the same way in this hand. There is no doubt that the easiest reading is scita (cf. ed.pr.) but there seems to be no way in which this could construe or make sense. The ed.pr. read spica; in our revision we preferred sị ịta; this reading is accepted in A.R.Birley (2002), 172 n.13. The ed.pr. supposed that a new sentence began with de fussa, translating "Concerning the spilled(?) grain, which business you have carried out ..."; i.e. they understood the Latin as the equivalent of de fussa spica, quod negotium. We rejected this because of the word order, which the ed.pr. described as "incongruous" and which we consider to be impossible, and preferred to read si ita, assuming a new sentence to begin with quod sị. This too is not without its difficulties. We are not happy with an apex (which is clear) on a of ita (though cf. 3 note above), and it remains difficult to explain de fussa (in view of the comments in the ed.pr. we should stress that the reading is certain). In the context it is much more likely that de is the preposition (rather than taking defussa as one word) and there is no problem with gemination of s after a long vowel. TLL VI 1661.12 records the feminine fusa for the normal masculine fusus or neuter fusum from CGL V 392.47, stilium uel fusa spinil, and in our re-edition we suggested that this might be what we have here. The regular meaning of fusus is "spindle" and it is worth remarking that part of a mill is known as a spindle, see Moritz (1958), 83ff., 124ff. Vitruvius 10.2.14 shows that fusus can be used of other winding mechanisms: rotas enim circiter pedum xv fecit et in his rotis capita lapidis inclusit, deinde circa lapidem fusos sextantales ab rota ad rotam ad circinum compegit, ita ut fusus a fuso non distaret pedem esse unum. deinde circa fusos funem inuoluit ... (cf. also 10.5.2). Against this it must be admitted that fussa would be more comfortable as a past participle and fundo can be used of grain which has been poured out (TLL VI.1 1565.73ff.); e.g. Varro, RR 2.4.20, hordeum fusum in longitudine. If fussa is a participle we need a noun to go with it. Though spica would suit the sense, the problem is the occurrence of quod between fussa and spica. The ed.pr. states that there appear to be stops before and after spica, which might seem to be an indication to the reader that the writer has put this word in in the wrong place; however, the scan shows no sign of such stops. It is not easy to understand brace from the occurrence of bracem some seven lines further on. Nevertheless, a solution along these lines may well be preferable, see the discussion in Adams (2003), §6.

i.8-9. The note in ed.pr. refers to a "bold top stroke" over n in these lines, but the marks are wood-grain, not ink. C̣aesariaṇis: see the introduction. Since the ed.pr. implies that the reading is not entirely clear, we should perhaps state that we regard the reading as certain. 10. r]ẹ[s]ṣc̣ṛibas: for the gemination of s (also in line 11) see Adams (1995a), 89.

ii.11. There may well have been an apex (now lost) over the o of meo, but there was no apex over the last letter of resscribere, as suggested in the introduction to the ed.pr.

ii.12-13. inṭernumeraueris: we agree with the ed.pr. that this is likely to be a single word (cf. Bowman and Thomas (1996), 328). The compound is not attested in classical Latin, but it is attested in the medieval period, see DMl s.v., where it is translated "to reckon among, include (in a total)". We previously offered (doubtfully) the translation "if you have made any payment as an intermediary", but Rea suggests that the meaning is more likely to be "if you will have paid anything from time to time", i.e. payment at intervals, for which he compares LS s.v. inter II.D.b; so also Adams (2003), §7.

ii.13. We expect an apex over o in egọ, but it is unclear whether one was written or whether the ink at this point is all the tail of r from inter.

ii.14. brạc̣em: we have no serious doubts about the correctness of the reading brạc̣em (instead of Britem in the ed.pr.) and bracis occurs several times in the tablets; on its meaning at this period cf. 646.back 2 note and see also Pearce (2002), 934.

ii.14-16. brạc̣em ... effịciatur: see on this passage the explanation offered in Adams (2003), §6. We have adopted his suggestions in the translation.

ii.15. s[[s]]ummá: see Adams (2003), §3.

ii.16-18. We have found no parallel for lectum calfacieba[m. The note in the ed.pr. interprets it as meaning that Maior was warming the bed by being in it. This is certainly possible, but it is also possible, though perhaps less likely, that it is an expression of hospitality in expectation of a visit from the addressee.

ii.19ff. There is no change of hand for the closing greetings.

ii.20. salutat: s is made in a single movement, starting with a downstroke and then looping up from the bottom of this back through it. After te the ed.pr. read f̣ṛ[ater, for which we suggested p̣ạ[ter m]ẹ[us (Bowman and Thomas (1996), 326). The first of the two surviving letters before the break is fouled by the top of e in uale from the line below, but is not f. We still consider p̣ạ[ter to be a satisfactory reading; but since Maior's father is writing to him from elsewhere (i.3-5), it is perhaps less likely that he is sending greetings to Maritimus, though he may have sent his greetings in writing which Maior is passing on. Alternatively pa- may be the start of a personal name.

margin.22-23. On the supplement chiṛ[o|grafum (or chiṛ[o|graphum) see Bowman and Thomas (1996), 328; for other attestations of the word in the tablets see 647.5 note. We there suggested rogo s]i in 22 but we should then have expected mittas to follow (for rogo + jussive subjunctive in the tablets see Adams (1995a), 117-8), unless rogo were parenthetic (cf. rogo ... mitte in 343.14-15). Since there does seem to be a need for something longer than just s]ị, to match the restoration at the start of 23, we suggest as an alternative si mih]ị. miṭtes is future for imperative.

Back.24. VINDOLAṆDE: one of the comparatively rare examples in the tablets of e for ae: see Adams (1995a), 87-8. It is noteworthy that in all the texts where the word is written out in full, the spelling is Vindolande not Vindolandae (here, 686, 716 and the stilus tablet Inv.no.87.689 (Tab.Vindol.II, p. 365); in 338, 343, 646, 714, 744 the ending is either lost or the word is abbreviated). We consider it certain that place-names in the locative which occur in this position in the tablets indicate the place where letters are to be delivered: see Introduction, pp. 17.

Back.25. Cocceịió: so ed.pr.; Coccelió Bowman and Thomas (1996), 328. We still think that this is slightly preferable as a reading, since the first letter after cocce is taller than the one following. But, as A.R.Birley points out ((2001a), 245 n.13), the reading of the name Coccelia in an inscription from Spain appears to be a misprint and the correct reading there is Cocceiia (with I longa). This suggests that here too we should prefer the name Cocceiius, especially as the spelling poses no problem (cf. 646.back 2 and Adams (2003), §3). There is another instance of the gentilicium Cocceius in 352.back 1, on which see Appendix.

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