Masclus Ceriali regi suo
Cras quid velis nos fecisse
Rogo domine prae-
Cum vexsillo omnes
Rediemus an alter-
ni compitum aeque
Et sis mihi propitius
Non habunt quam
Rogo iubeas mitti
a Masclo dec(urione)*
Masculus, to his king Cerialis, Greetings.
I ask, lord, that you give us instructions tomorrow
what you wish us to do. Are all of us to return the standards
at the crossroads or only some of us?
Let you be most blessed [. . .]
And fortunate to me.
P.S. I ask that you order beer, which the soldiers don’t have, to be sent.
To Flavius Cerialis, prefect
From Masculis, decurion
Source: Vindolanda Tablets Online II
Excavations at the site of Vindolanda recovered several hundred wooden tablets with preserved writing from(/to) soldiers stationed at a Roman fort near Hadrian’s Wall in northern England. Most inscriptions are written with ink on wood or bark. These texts offer a glimpse into the life of the soldiers at the edge of the empire.
More beer! More beer! More beer! The soldiers need more beer!
Masculus (ca. 1st-2nd c. CE)
We don’t know much about him. Obviously, he was a soldier.