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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Antiquities| ▸ |Antiquities by Type| ▸ |Ancient Writing||View Options:  |  |  |   

Cuneiform Tablets and Other Ancient Writing
Roman Military Diploma Fragment, Auxiliary of Arabia Petraea, Reign of Hadrian, 117 - 138 A.D.

|Ancient| |Writing|, |Roman| |Military| |Diploma| |Fragment,| |Auxiliary| |of| |Arabia| |Petraea,| |Reign| |of| |Hadrian,| |117| |-| |138| |A.D.|
This bronze fragment is part of a "Roman Military Diploma," a legal document in the form of a bronze two-leaved hinged tablet engraved to record the award of citizenship and the legal right of marriage to an honorably discharged auxiliary soldier of the Roman army after 25 years of service. These diplomas are often found as fragments because they were frequently cut up and divided among heirs, serving as de facto deeds to a portion of the veteran's land. This fragment is from a diploma type issued for auxiliary troops retiring in Arabia Petraea during the reign of Hadrian. This diploma likely read as follows:

Imperator Caesar DIVI Traiani Parthici f.
divi Nervae nepos TRAIanus Hadrianus Augustus,
pontifex maximus, tribunicia potestate ..., consul ...,
pater patriae, equitibus et peditibus qui militaverunt
in alis ... et cohortibus ... quae apellantur...
VI sunt
IN ARAbia sub ... quinis et vicenis pluribusve
stipendiis emeritis dimissis honesta missione,
quorum nomina subscripta sunt, civitatem dedit et
conubium cum uxoribus quas tunc habuissent, cum est
civitas iis data, aut, si qui caelibes essent, cum
iis quas postea duxissent dumtaxat singulis singulas.
[name of the military unit and its commander]
[name of the recipient (and names of his relatives
also receiving citizenship)]
Descriptum et recognitum ex tabula aenea quae fixa
est Romae in muro divi Augusti ad Minervam.
AS99089. Bronze military diploma fragment, auxiliary of Arabia Petraea, clear letters, green patina, 2.292g, 23.8x17.7mm, 1.0mm thick, letters average 4.2mm tall, reign of Hadrian, 11 August 117 10 July 138; Tabella 1, outside face: left edge border with two lightly incised lines, three lines of Latin inscription: ALAE(corum) V[I ...] / VI HISP[ANORVM...ET SUNT] / IN ARA[BI SVB...]; Tabella 1, inside face: two lines of Latin inscription: ...DIVI.. / ...TRAI... (note, the inner face of diplomas repeats most of the same information on the outer face but is abbreviated and some information is omitted); SOLD

Mesopotamia, Clay Cuneiform Tablet, c. 2400 - 700 B.C.

|Ancient| |Writing|, |Mesopotamia,| |Clay| |Cuneiform| |Tablet,| |c.| |2400| |-| |700| |B.C.|
Ancient Mesopotamia and Sumerian culture are the "cradle of civilization." Man's recording of history, science, mathematics, and literature began with clay and a reed stylus. Only a small percentage of tablets have been translated. Reading cuneiform is extremely difficult and a word for word translation is often impossible. Often it is only possible to get the gist of a tablet. Most are receipts for payments in kind, the number of lambs, goats, or oxen donated to a temple, for example. This tablet is untranslated but it is perhaps this type of receipt.
AS87307. Buff clay, 5.27 x 4.36 cm; complete and intact, from an American Collection, ex Edgar L. Owen Ltd. (2012), ex collection of a New York City professional entertainer (acquired in 1980's); SOLD

Drehem, Neo-Sumerian Empire (UR III), Mesopotamia, Cuneiform Clay Tablet, 2113 - 2006 B.C.

|Ancient| |Writing|, |Drehem,| |Neo-Sumerian| |Empire| |(UR| |III),| |Mesopotamia,| |Cuneiform| |Clay| |Tablet,| |2113| |-| |2006| |B.C.|
Found at Drehem. The city Drehem or ancient Puzrish-Dagan, was the centralized state redistribution center for the Neo-Sumerian Empire. Thousands of cuneiform tablets account for the livestock (cattle, sheep and goats) received at Drehem and redistributed to officials, the temples of Nippur, and the royal palaces of Sumer.

This tablet comes with transliterated text and a summary translation, "listing livestock slaughtered and received by the receiving official."
AS48862. cuneiform tablet; 22 mm X 22 mm, Superb, lists livestock slaughtered and received by the receiving official at Drehem; expertly re-fired for preservation; ex Alex G. Malloy Sale 11/99, #1000; SOLD

Babylonian Letter-Orders, Cuneiform Clay Tablet, Old Babylonian Period, 1900 - 1700 B.C.

|Ancient| |Writing|, |Babylonian| |Letter-Orders,| |Cuneiform| |Clay| |Tablet,| |Old| |Babylonian| |Period,| |1900| |-| |1700| |B.C.|
This tablet reads, "Say to Imgur-Sin: "Thus says Nur-lipissu: ' Send me the gift of Lipit-Eshtar and Ki (unclear, under dirt), send me his adversary, so the king can question him, let them speak to him, (unclear line), years.'""

Most Babylonian letters relate to state business, usually the transfer of goods.
AAA30983. height 5.3 cm (2"), width 4.1 cm (1 1/2"), excellent condition, few small chips and some encrustation, attractive and intersting!; SOLD

Hispania, Roman Bronze Swollen Foot Votive, c. 150 B.C. - 300 A.D.

|Roman| |Antiquities|, |Hispania,| |Roman| |Bronze| |Swollen| |Foot| |Votive,| |c.| |150| |B.C.| |-| |300| |A.D.|
Bronze and terracotta votive feet were deposited by the afflicted in sacred springs, running waters, and shrines thought to help bring healing to injury or illnesses related to the feet. Tyriasia is an obsolete medical term for Elephantiasis (swelling), often caused by round worms. This piece was reputedly found in a stream bed in southern Spain.
AS74032. Bronze Swollen Foot Votive, 32.871 g, 36.0 mm long, VF, obverse right foot, perhaps swollen; reverse TYRIASIA CARTIA (or similar), SOLD

Babylonian Cuneiform Tablet, Old Babylonian Period, c. 1900 - 1700 B.C.

|Ancient| |Writing|, |Babylonian| |Cuneiform| |Tablet,| |Old| |Babylonian| |Period,| |c.| |1900| |-| |1700| |B.C.|
AAA30979. height 9.3 cm (3 5/8"), one corner missing otherwise intact, an administrative clay tablet listing the names of 17 workers; SOLD

Babylonian Administrative Text, Cuneiform Clay Tablet, Ur III Period, 2100 - 2000 B.C.

|Ancient| |Writing|, |Babylonian| |Administrative| |Text,| |Cuneiform| |Clay| |Tablet,| |Ur| |III| |Period,| |2100| |-| |2000| |B.C.|
The text gives amounts of barley for named individuals.

Some tablets were fired to harden them. Most were considered temporary and never fired. Many ancient tablets, perhaps including this one, were hardend unintentionally when the building they were stored in burned. Unintentional firing has preserved many tablets that would have been otherwise lost.

When we first received this tablet, the bottom third appeared to be intact, however, it was a forged restoration, the cuniform was nonsense.
AAA30982. height 4.9 cm (1 3/4"), width 4.2 cm (1 5/8"), 2/3 of tablet, dark black, hardened; SOLD

Babylonian Cuneiform Inscribed Clay Bulla, Old Babylonian Period, c. 2000 - 1600 B.C.

|Ancient| |Writing|, |Babylonian| |Cuneiform| |Inscribed| |Clay| |Bulla,| |Old| |Babylonian| |Period,| |c.| |2000| |-| |1600| |B.C.|
Bullae, such as this one, were attached by a cord to a basket of tablets, a container, an object or an animal. This bulla appears to name three individuals and lists five cattle; there is also a seal impression. It may have sealed a container which held tablets that also identified the owners, senders (taxpayers?) or intended recipients of the cattle.
AA30981. length 3.0 cm (1 1/8"), black clay bulla; SOLD

Jewish, Lead Menorah Bulla Seal, 7 Branched Menorah on Each Side, c. 6th - 10th Century A.D.

|Holy| |Land| |Antiquities|, |Jewish,| |Lead| |Menorah| |Bulla| |Seal,| |7| |Branched| |Menorah| |on| |Each| |Side,| |c.| |6th| |-| |10th| |Century| |A.D.|
A bulla (plural, bullae), is a lump of clay or lead molded around a cord and stamped with a seal that identifies the sender. With a bulla in place a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, thereby ensuring the contents remain tamper-proof until they reach their destination.
JD34522. Menorah bulla seal, weight 11.1 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, 8.9 mm thick; rare; SOLD

Roman Bronze Plaque Fragment with Latin Inscription, c. 2nd Century A.D.

|Roman| |Antiquities|, |Roman| |Bronze| |Plaque| |Fragment| |with| |Latin| |Inscription,| |c.| |2nd| |Century| |A.D.|
The thickness is much greater than typically seen for military diploma fragments.
AS70506. Bronze plaque fragment, inscription appears to read: ...VI OQVVIN TESTI VE... (or similar), encrusted, weight 26.729 g, maximum diameter 41.8 mm, SOLD


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