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Home > Auctions > 5th March 2024 > Roman Inked Wooden Tablet, a Legal Document from the Rascotiano Estate

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LOT 0120

GBP (£) 1,000 - 1,400
EUR (€) 1,170 - 1,630
USD ($) 1,260 - 1,770

Current bid: £750 (+bp*)
(3 Bids, Reserve met)

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(3 Bids, Reserve met)   |   Current bid: £750
4 7/8 x 5 in. (23.7 grams, 12.3 x 12.5 cm).

A reused tablet with a recessed panel on one side, the last tablet of a legal document which consisted of two (diptychon) or three tablets (triptychon); ten black inked lines of New Roman cursive script, the end of a record of a transaction in a highly formulaic legal language, confirmed between heirs and elders (heredes et seniores), negotiated on an estate called Rascotiano; one edge irregular, pierced for addition of a thong or string. [No Reserve]

From an important London collection since 1975.

Accompanied by a collection of eighteen 1970s photographs of the the tablet.

Rothenhoefer, P., Neue römische Rechtsdokumente aus dem Byzacena-Archiv / New Roman Legal Documents from the Byzacena Archive, (forthcoming).

Cf. Rothenhöfer, P., Blänsdorf, Jürgen, Sana mente sanaque memoria testa-mentum feci: Eine testamentarische Verfügung vom 12. April 340 n. Chr., Gephyra 13, 2016, pp.153-163; Rothenhöfer, P., Neues zum Testament des Pomponius Maximus aus dem Jahr 371 n. Chr., (forthcoming); see also Masi Doria, C., Dal testamento di Pomponius Maximus: prospettive del diritto ereditario tardo antico, in: Isola, L. (ed.), Klauselgestaltungen in Römischen Testamenten, Berlin, 2022, pp.151-175; also see Thomas, J. D., Vindolanda: The Latin Writing Tablets, Britannia Monograph Series No 4, London, 1983, for examples of wooden tabulae re-used as writing surfaces; for examples of testamentary documents on wooden tablets that have survived, see FIRA III, p.47, for Anthony Silvanus from 142 AD, also see BGU VII 1695 for Safinnius Herminus; for another from Transfynydd, North Wales, see Arch. Camb. 150, pp.143-156; and see Bowman, A.K., Life and letters on the Roman frontier : Vindolanda and its people, London, 1994, for discussion of the uses of Roman writing tablets.

The contract follows standard Roman legal formulae.