Sunday, August 03, 2003

Vindolanda Tablets Now Online

In "Letters From The Roman Front", a program on the Discovery Channel, the discovery of correspondence written on thin pieces of wood was considered the most important of all the items recovered at the site because these letters provided first hand accounts of daily life in that period of the Roman Empire. Now, scholars have translated the documents and provided their text in its entirety online for everyone to read and study. What a wonderful resource.

Even small fragments can raise interesting issues. For example, in one letter to Lucius the decurion, a friend writes "A friend sent me fifty oysters from Cordonovi." Since Vindolanda is not on the coast and seafood spoils quickly, it suggests transporation systems were apparently well developed and hostilities must have been marginal at that time to effect this type of delivery.
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