The Vindolanda Tablets

Discussion in 'History' started by Swagger, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. Swagger

    Swagger Gold Member

    Jul 26, 2011
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    Up on the scaffold
    In the '70s archaelogists excavating the site of the Roman fortress of Vindolanda on Hadrian's Wall unearthed wooden tablets that bore legible messages between ordinary Romans: citizens, troops, traders and servants. They included shopping lists, personal correspondences, news and military despatches.

    I'm sure that some of you already know of the existance of the tablets and their contents, but after the warm reception of my Ancient Faces thread, I thought I'd refresh your memories, especiailly after I've just been reminded of myself after watching a documentary that finished with an audio translation between the the sisters Claudia Severa and Sulpicia Lepidina (the latter was the wife of Vindolanda's legate, Aelius Brocchus).

    English translation of vulgar British Latin:

    "Claudia Severa to her Lepidina greetings. On 11 September, sister, for the day of the celebration of my birthday, I give you a warm invitation to make sure that you come to us, to make the day more enjoyable for me by your arrival, if you are present. Give my greetings to your Cerialis. My Aelius and my little son send him their greetings. I shall expect you, sister. Farewell, sister, my dearest soul, as I hope to prosper, and hail."

    Officer bragging to his friend about a successful hunt:

    "Gaius Tetius Veturius Micianus, prefect of the ala Sebosiana, on fulfilment of his vow willingly set up this for taking a wild boar of remarkable fineness which many of his predecessors had been unable to bag"

    Letter from one legionary to another, presumably stationed along Hadrian's Wall:

    "Sollemnis to Paris his brother, very many greetings. I want you to know that I am in very good health, as I hope you are in turn, you neglectful man, who have sent me not even one letter. But I think that I am behaving in a more considerate fashion in writing to you ... to you, brother, ... my messmate. Greet from me Diligens and Cogitatus and Corinthus and I ask that you send me the names ... Farewell, dearest brother."

    Pissed-off Centurion:

    "... the Britons are unprotected by armour. There are very many cavalry. The cavalry do not use swords nor do the wretched Britons mount in order to throw javelins."

    I found reading some of the excerpts both intriguing and touching, especially when you consider the Romans' brutal reputation.

    Vindolanda Tablets Online - Oxford University
  2. konradv

    konradv Gold Member

    Mar 23, 2010
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    "you neglectful man, who have sent me not even one letter. But I think that I am behaving in a more considerate fashion in writing to you"

    Translation: You didn't 'friend' me. :D

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