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A Latin Registration of Birth

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 September 2012


It is now some ten years since Sir Flinders Petrie entrusted to me, with the wish that I would edit them, one Latin and seven Greek tablets acquired by him in Egypt and placed among the collections of University College, London. The Greek tablets I edited in the 1927 volume of Ancient Egypt. I began the decipherment of the Latin tablet at the same time but then laid it aside, and its publication has remained ever since in abeyance, one of the tasks to be attempted ‘at a more convenient season.’ The primary cause of the delay was the pressure of more urgent work; but I must confess that a contributory factor was the difficulty of decipherment. Not only is the hand by no means among the easier examples of Latin cursive (the writer makes little distinction in form between certain of his characters) but, more seriously, the outside of the tablet had been so much rubbed and defaced as to obscure the writing in many places.

Research Article
Copyright ©H. I. Bell 1937. Exclusive Licence to Publish: The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies

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1 On the inside, where the ink is perfectly clear, no photographic aid was necessary.

2 Cf. what H. A. Sanders says of the diptych published by him (see reference above), p. 310.

3 Cf. a tablet mentioned by Grenfell, B. P., Bodl. Quart. Rec., ii, 259Google Scholar.

4 Cf., too, Wilcken, , Archiv f. Papyrusforschung, ix, 243Google Scholar.

5 I omit the brackets, dotted letters and MS. punctuation of the edition.

6 So Wilcken expands (Archiv f. Papyrusforschung, viii, 293), explaining, no doubt rightly, ‘wegen militärischer Verhinderung.’