Tablet 664

description

Inv.no.94.1584. 116 x 28 mm.
Archaeological data. Location: LXXIV/W. Period: 4?.
The tablet is broken away at both top and bottom, but complete at the left and no writing has been lost at the right. It contains a fragment of a letter and, to judge by the content, perhaps from near the start. If so, we have part of the left-hand half of a diptych. It is written in a competent, upright hand, with good word division. There is at least one instance of interpunct.
An unexpected feature is the presence of two lines of much abraded writing on the back. This does not look in the least like an address and indeed we should not expect an address on the back of a left-hand column. The hand is different from the hand on the front. We are unable to suggest what its purpose may have been.

edition


. . . . . . . .
traces n
omni tempore cupio ego certẹ n
cụm hoc scribsi ualebam recte n n
dies est tertius · frater quod n
5 ] traces ṛọḅ[
. . . . . . . .
Back: n
traces of 2 lines

translation

' I desire at all times. I at any rate when I wrote this was in very good health. This is the third day, brother, '

commentary

1. Several long descenders from this line survive, including at least one to the left of omni in 2; this line was therefore in ecthesis, a feature which is often found with the first line in a letter after the salutation. This supports the view that what is preserved comes from near the beginning of the letter; see also the next note.

2-3. We have assumed a heavy stop after cupio, and suggest the writer may have said something like "I desire at all times that you are in good health", before going on to say that he himself is in good health. This is in effect little more than an elaborate variation on si uales bene est, ego ualeo, which was the standard opening of Latin letters in the late Republic and early Empire: see Cugusi (1983), 48, with reference in particular to Seneca, Ep. 15.1, and Tab.Vindon. 52, with note ad loc. For a similar expression to the one in the present tablet see 311.i.3-5: ut scias me recte ualere quod te inuicem fecisse cupio; cf. 670.A.i.3-4 and note ad loc.

3. scribsi: for the spelling cf. 647.3 note. recte: there may be an interpunct after this. For the word order cf. Cicero, Fam. 11.23.1, nos hic ualemus recte; the usage in CEL 3.2 (= CPL 246), s]ei ual(etis) recte, seems to be different, see Cugusi's note ad loc.

4. There may be interpunct after dies as well as after tertius.

Back. The writing in both lines is very badly abraded. There is a gap of one line between them. The second line may end auream; otherwise we are unable to read more than the occasional letter.

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