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Writing-tablet with a line from Virgil

 

Length: 10.000 cm

P&EE 1986 10-1 128

Room 49: Roman Britain

    Writing-tablet with a line from Virgil

    Roman Britain, late 1st or early 2nd century AD
    Vindolanda Roman fort (modern Chesterholm), Northumberland

    In the commanding officer's residence (praetorium) at Vindolanda, probably during the occupation by Cerialis and his family, someone took a wooden writing-tablet on which a private letter had been begun, but not finished. They wrote on the back of it, in a rather good hand, a complete line from the second half of Virgil's Aeneid (9.473).

    It was certainly not a readily memorable line, which makes us wonder: Were the texts of Virgil available at Vindolanda? Were they used for writing practice as is commonly found on papyri? By whom? Cerialis' children?

    A.K. Bowman, Life and letters on the Roman (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)

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    On display: Room 49: Roman Britain