Writing-tablet with an intelligence report
Roman Britain, late 1st or early 2nd century AD
Vindolanda Roman fort (modern Chesterholm), Northumberland
'... 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.'
This tablet describing the fighting habits of the Britons was probably a memorandum, perhaps left by a commanding officer for his successor. Despite the disparaging reference to Brittunculi ('Little Brits'), it may be that the document was an assessment of their potential for recruitment into the local military units.
A.K. Bowman, Life and letters on the Roman (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)