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)