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Daily life in
Roman Britain

Birthday invitation

Length: 22.300 cm

P&EE 1986 10-1 64

Birthday invitation (Vindolanda)

From: Vindolanda Roman fort, Northumberland
Date: about AD 97-103

This letter is a Roman birthday invitation, written on a very thin slice of wood. Claudia writes in Latin to her friend Sulpicia:

'On 11 September, sister, for the celebration of my birthday, I give you a warm invitation to make sure that you come to us...'

The letter was found in the Roman fort of Vindolanda in Northumberland, along with many other letters which are now in the Museum. Sulpicia was the wife of the commanding officer at the fort.

But Claudia did not write all the letter herself. We know this because, if you look carefully, you can see that the handwriting changes. A secretary wrote most of it and she just wrote a quick message herself at the end. Whose handwriting is better?