Vindolanda tablets

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During the 1970s and 1980s several hundred wooden writing‐tablets were discovered at the Roman fort of Vindolanda behind Hadrian's Wall (see wall of hadrian); a further 400 turned up in 1993. Of the earlier finds, some were of the well‐known stylus type, but most were made of thin, wooden leaves, written in ink with a pen. Very few such tablets were previously known, and the concentration of such numbers at one site is unique. They date between c.ad 90 and 120, when the fort was occupied first by Cohors I of Tungrians and later by Cohors IX of Batavians.

The Vindolanda material includes the largest group of Latin letters ever discovered (see letters, latin). There are also literary fragments, shorthand texts, military reports, applications for leave, and accounts. The letters often bear on the official and private concerns of the officers, their families, and slaves, while the military documents tell us much about the way the Romans organized a newly acquired frontier area. The tablets also provide valuable information on palaeography and the Latin language.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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