Tablet 648

description 200 x 38 mm. Plate 17.
Archaeological data. Location: Site II/SW. Period: 3/4.
The upper part of a diptych containing parts of two columns of a letter, with the address on the back. The semicircular notches in the edges are noteworthy; cf., e.g., 214, 216, 645. Although the hand is rather ugly, it is generally unremarkable, except for the form of h and the sometimes triangular o, e.g. on the back; some examples of o are open at the right and ligatured to the letter following. The tablet is very difficult to read, partly because of abrasion but principally because there are many dark lines which may or may not be ink. There is some evidence of word division. There are a great many small dots visible on this tablet; we have not thought it worthwhile to try and indicate the one or two which might be interpunct and not just stray marks.
The sender of the letter has the unusual name Suolcenus, on which see i.1 note. We have read the recipient's name as Gentili. On the back the reading Flauio Geniali has a superficial attraction, especially as we know of several letters to Flavius Genialis, a praefectus at Vindolanda (see 217-224, 611-614A); but on the front it cannot be read, even though Gentili is not entirely certain; see further i.1 note.


Suolcenus G̣entịli sụọ saluṭ[e]ṃ n
coṇuenit me Ing̣ẹṇuṣ dẹ re n
quam ualde ego nu..ṣ...ṛ n
ṣe. non desuṃ et spero me n
5traces(?) n
. . . . . . . .
Back: n
Flauió G̣ẹntili
. . . . . . . .


'Suolcenus to his Gentilis greetings. Ingen(u)us has accosted(?) me concerning a matter which I for my part strongly . But(?) I am not neglectful(?) and I hope that I Please give me through Ingen(u)us has seen that I am not neglectful(?) about the wheels which, I hope, he will quickly sort out(?). But I want you to collect the debt The agreements in respect of the bond(?) you will procure(?) from Candidus (Back) To Flavius Gentilis '


i.1. Suolcenus: there is a vertical mark between l and c which, if ink, would lead to the reading Suolicenus. There is a similar mark between t and i in the name of the recipient. We think it unlikely these marks are ink (cf. the introduction). AS 1670-1, records a few names beginning Suo-, including Suoliccenc( ) [sic] from CIL 13.1551 (Aquitania) and Suobni-, cf. RIB II 2501.51, probably from London. G̣entịli: both here and on the back the initial letter could be . The letters ntil we regard as virtually certain when we compare the readings in the two places. A Gentilis may occur in 217 (as the writer of a letter to Flavius Genialis), and in 654, a letter to a libertus of Genialis, see the notes ad locc. Whether any or all of these are the same person is unclear. We think it unlikely that 256 was a letter from Flavius Gentilis: see Appendix. There are probable traces of the m of saluṭ[e]ṃ on the edge of the right-hand piece.

i.2. This and the next line present major problems. conuenit has a variety of meanings and constructions, and we do not know whether it is present or perfect. The reading after me is not certain, but we think Ing̣ẹṇuṣ likely to be right in view of the occurrence of the name in ii.2. If so we do not see how else to read what follows other than dẹ re, even though the first e is made somewhat differently from the way it is made elsewhere in this letter. There remains the problem of how to translate conuenit. The translation suggested above is only one of a number of possibilities. Other possibilities include "Ingen(u)us met me" and "Ingen(u)us is suing me".

i.3. After nu it is particularly difficult to decide which marks are ink and which dirt. Although the emphatic ego would fit well with non desuṃ in 4, we think we must have a first person verb here of which quam is the object. It is very difficult, but perhaps not impossible, to read nuṇc̣; but we cannot suggest what could have followed.

i.4. At the start of line 4 ṣe looks reasonably secure and there is a trace of a further letter before non. ṣeḍ is just possible or ṣeṭ (= sed). Possibly, however, there is a stroke through s marking a deletion and we should read [[s]]eṭ. desuṃ is almost certain (desunt cannot be read); cf. ii.2 note. As with conuenit, the meaning we have suggested in the translation is only one of several possibilities.

i.5. There may be slight traces of the tops of one or two letters from this line. If the notch referred to in the introduction came in the middle of the side of the tablet, it is unlikely that any more lines have been lost.

ii.1. There are abraded traces of two letters before rogo; perhaps just ẹṭ. After rogo, u is a good reading, much less so. After this mihi des p̣er is probable (d looks like a Greek theta and is perhaps a correction). The next letter seems most likely to be , though is possible; then only slight traces, perhaps compatible with f̣ṛạṭṛẹṃ. Alternatively we may have a personal name.

ii.2. After uidit the reading looks superficially like inẹx̣, but in this hand the letters can be read ing̣ẹ without difficulty, which supports our reading in i.2. The name Ingenuus is attested elsewhere in the Vindolanda tablets, see 631, introduction; in 181.11 it is also in the form Ingenus. At the end of the line the reading is clear, with nothing lost after dese. We suppose that this is for deesse (cf. i.4); desse for deesse is well attested, see TLL V.1 s.v. desum.

ii.3-4. ex[pl]ịc̣abiṭ is probable but not certain. explico occurs in several of the tablets; for its likely meaning here see 343.i.4 note. This implies that spero is being used parenthetically, for which cf. OLD s.v.3: see also Adams (2003), 00.

ii.4. uọḷọ: the reading is uncertain and only possible if we suppose that it is written in slightly smaller letters than is usual in this hand.

ii.4-5. The phrase debitum meum percipere is found in SB XII 11043 verso 6-7 (though the reading is not certain). But both meum and tuum look too long for the space available at the start of 5.

ii.5-6. A reference to agreements and to a chirographum suits the context in view of debitum in line 4; for other attestations of the word in the tablets see 647.5 note. The phrase chirographarium debitum is found in CJ 8.26(27).1.3. The first trace visible in 6 could be the top of f, i.e. we might read/restore chi|[rogra]f̣-: The traces following, however, are too many for chirografi and seem to be too few for chirografaria. Later in the line we appear to have the top of ạc̣c̣, for which we have no suggestion (there is too much ink for accipies). We think it possible that these letters can be read ạṣṣ, in which case ạṣṣuṃẹs is a reasonably good reading, followed by C̣ạṇḍidọ, the last a name well-attested in the tablets, see Index II s.v. and Tab.Vindol.II, Index II s.v. There is a small detached fragment which must belong at the beginning of a line from this column. It contains an l or a c, which may be preceded by another letter (but it cannot form part of explicabit) or this may be a descender from a line above; there is a partially preserved letter after l, perhaps o. The most likely solution is that this is the start of line 7, with the trace before l or c the tail of the first r from chirograf-.

Back. There may be traces of ink from the top of a second line.

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