Dedda Pie (thecoweyed) wrote,
Dedda Pie


DDbDP transcription: o.bu.njem.25 [xml]
IIIspc Golas

̣ ̣ ̣ ̣ n(umerus) xḷịịịị[ -ca.?- ]
ẹx̣ ịṣ libṛ(arius) i
[optio] i
p̣ṛ[o]culcator i ̣ ̣ ̣ ̣
[ad b]alneuṃ iii
quintanari xiiị
stationari iiii
egri ii
Pacciụs Max(imus) Iul(ius) Secundarius iị
rel(iqui) repungent s(umma) xviiii balneus
accipit xii fornarius vii

There's a website full of these creatures waiting for translation. It seems like there's one ostrakon for each day. This one is in pretty good shape compared to the rest, but they seem to have basically the same formula. Some words are oddly spelled, some I'm extrapolating a meaning for based on extant words. They're counting stuff up and divvying it out: the question is, what? I think this example might help us out.

There's something, the number is 44.
From these, the secretary gets 1.
the second in command gets 1.
the scout gets 1.
three go to the bath.
the guys posted on the central street get 13.
the guys posted on the look-out posts get 4.
the sick get 2.
(Paccius Maximus and Iulius Secundarius, that is, get 2.)
The rest punch back in and the sum is 19.
The [slave who heats the bath?] gets 12.
The slave who heats the oven gets 7.

My main problem is the meaning of 'repungent,' which, over and beyond the fact that I keep wanting to write 'repugnant,' is only listed in the dictionary once, to poke or pierce a second time. pungo by itself can mean any number of poking activities, including voting by making a mark or scratch in something. So: IF Paccius Maximus and Iulius Secundus are in fact the sick people (I saw another where the sick people were listed), then their 2 is the same 2 as the 2 in the sick people line, and the sum total of units distributed is 25, which is 44 minus 19. So maybe after they're done distributing units, they count the remaining units and make a poke hole in something or a scratch for each unit they count. Possibly a process they did at the beginning to get a number to start with, so the leftovers make the hole the second time. Thus my 'punch back in' translation.

So what are they? How about pieces of firewood? All the important people get their own, plus the scout who might be out... scouting. In other examples instead of "to the bath" it's "to the water of the bath," which would need warming. The people posted in the street that runs through the center of the housing units can distribute the bulk of them to the soldiers. The look-outs need fires to keep warm. The sick obviously need warmth. And that's the only thing I can come up with that makes sense with the slave who heats the oven getting seven at the end of the day. balneus, by the way, not a word, but if I can construe it alongside fornarius (also not a word, but easily contracted from fornicarius), it makes sense. What would need more heating than the ovens but the bath?
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