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Ave!<br>
I recently found this drawing of an extant wax tablet which (I think) was found in Britain. I'm not sure of the exact location.<br>
What I am wondering is if any of you can help me translate the marking or inscription on the cover and tell me what it says? What does it mean? Is it a maker's mark of some kind, and if so, were many wax tablets marked in such a manner? I think the design is either branded (burned) into the wood, or stamped in some kind of ink, but I'm not sure which. I know that when a tablet was sent privately, it would be sealed with a knotted string which was then also sealed with wax impressed with the sender's seal, but I don't think that that is what this particular mark is. Any help you could provide would be much appreciated!<br>
<img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v384/Lucius68/WaxTabletwithMark.jpg" style="border:0;"/> <p>Lucius Aurelius Metellus, draconarius, Secunda Brittanica</p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p200.ezboard.com/[email protected]romanarmytalk>Lucius Aurelius Metellus</A> <IMG HEIGHT=10 WIDTH=10 SRC="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v384/Lucius68/Lucius.jpg" BORDER=0> at: 12/24/04 1:26 am<br></i>
It is from London and you'll find it in <em>The Roman Inscriptions of Britain</em> volume <strong>II</strong> Fascicule <strong>4</strong> (eds. S.S. Frere and R.S.O. Tomlin) (Oxford 1992), 2443.2. The transcription is<br>
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<em>Proc(uratores) Aug(usti) dederunt Brita(anniae) prov(inciae)</em><br>
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'The imperial procurators of the province of Britannia'<br>
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IIRC tiles were commonly stamped in a similar same way.<br>
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Mike Bishop <p></p><i></i>
Hi Mr.Bishop,<br>
Thanks for helping me with the translation, you have been a great help! What would this stamp have signified? Was it a maker's mark? When I first found the picture, I originally wondered if it was some type of mark for the "Cursus Publicus". What were the Imperial Procurators? <p>Lucius Aurelius Metellus, draconarius, Secunda Brittanica</p><i></i>
<em>What were the Imperial Procurators?</em><br>
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There were different types of <em>procurator</em>, but the principal one in a province like Britain was the <em>procurator Augusti</em> who was an equestrian official directly responsible to the Emperor for the finances of a province, bypassing the authority of the senatorial govenor (the <em>legatus Augusti pro praetore</em>). The conflict between these two officials (personifying the larger equestrian/senatorial classes) can be seen in the rebellion under Boudica, when the whole thing was started off (if you believe Tacitus) by <em>procurator</em> Catus Decianus whilst Paullinus (the <em>legatus</em>) was campaigning in what is now Wales, and finished with <em>procurator</em> Classicianus being helicoptered in (so to speak) to curb Paullinus' enthusiasm for mopping up in the aftermath (...if you believe Tacitus).<br>
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This way the emperor kept his fingers on the purse strings through an appointee of his own choice... and had someone highly placed to keep an eye on a potential rival (and Roman imperial history consistently threw up governors who thought in precisely such a fashion, so it wasn't such a daft idea).<br>
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Mike Bishop <p></p><i></i>
So, with its mark on the cover, could this wax tablet have been a sort of record book for this officer, or would it have meant that the Procurator owned this tablet? Even though I now understand what the office is, I am still not understanding what this mark would have signified on this particular tablet? I'm sorry if I am aggravating with all of these questions, I just want to learn about it... <p>Lucius Aurelius Metellus, draconarius, Secunda Brittanica</p><i></i>
<em>Even though I now understand what the office is, I am still not understanding what this mark would have signified on this particular tablet?</em><br>
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Don't worry, if you don't ask, you don't find out! It probably means (in other words we don't know for sure;-) that it belonged to the office or post of the <em>procurator</em> (it interestingly doesn't actually mention his <em>officium</em>, which would more be in the sense of his staff) and be the property of the (non-military) procuratorial officials, rather than those belonging to the (military) <em>legatus</em>. This is verging on the grey realm of definitions (eg no such things as a governor per se in the Roman system, no such thing as a province as a geographic entity etc).<br>
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To cut a long story short, it would be reasonable to see it being used by the <em>procurator</em> (or rather his scribe!) or somebody directly employed by or appointed to him to do the financial business of the province of Britannia.<br>
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In reality, as in most bureaucracies, they were probably used to write tedious memos or bad poetry during boring meetings. To a Roman, the wax tablet was the equivalent to a PDA today or the PADD in Star Trek... only the games really sucked (unless you happened to like Mould The Wax Into Rude Shapes).<br>
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Mike Bishop <p></p><i></i>
Thanks for your help, Mike, I understand it now. Do you know of any other wax tablets that have been found with stamps of any kind on the covers? The reason I am enquiring about all of this is because I make reproduction wax tablets, and I would like to make my replicas as close as possible to the originals. Most I have seen are plain, with no markings or stamps on the outside, but I think a stamp done in an original style looks rather nice, so I will only use historically accurate stamps for my replicas. I wish I could find a nice depiction of a military stamp of some type... <p>Lucius Aurelius Metellus, draconarius, Secunda Brittanica</p><i></i>