Monday, February 02, 2004

Deed Of Earliest Woman Sold in London Goes On Display

"A Roman writing tablet bearing the deed of sale of a slave, the first to be found in Britain, has gone on display at the Museum of London. Unearthed in 1996 by Museum of London archaeologists, the silver fir tablet contains 11 lines of text inscribed into black wax with a sharp metal stylus for a rich Roman bureaucrat over 2000 years ago.
The legal document relates to a Gallic slave-girl called Fortunata who was sold in around AD 80-120 for 600 denarii, a price far higher than the annual salary of a legionary soldier."

"Translated by Roger Tomlin, Oxford University lecturer in Late-Roman History, the text reads: 'Vegetus, assistant slave of Montanus the slave of the August Emperor, has brought the girl Fortunata, by nationality a Diablintian for 600 denarii. She is warranted healthy and not liable to run away.'

"It seems that Fortunata had been bought by Vegetus, himself a slave owned by Montanus, who was also a slave once owned by another slave called Secundus."
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