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Uley 43

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Author: Docilinus

Authority: Roger Tomlin

Publications:

Keywords: beast

Description:

Irregular oval, 84 by 98 mm, trimmed from hammered lead sheet c. 1 mm thick, found in 1978 at the temple of Mercury. There is corrosion over much of the R. half, and further damage due to the diagonal fold. It has been inscribed on one side in well-formed ‘rustic capitals’ almost identical with those on a tablet from Bath, quite possibly by the same practised hand(FN1). After being inscribed, the tablet was folded once.

(FN1) See Tab. Sulis 10. The only significant difference is that the Bath S is formed in the same way with three distinct strokes which however do not intersect. It will be seen from the tabulation on p. 91 of Tab. Sulis that the script is unique at Bath, which makes its presence at Uley still more remarkable. The identification is reinforced by the language: not by the coincidence of the somnum permittere formula, which is quite common, but by the coincidence of maximo leto adigas (see note to line 8), which is unique to these two texts. If the same man wrote both, as seems likely, it raises an important question of authorship. It was argued in Tab. Sulis (pp. 98-101) that the diversity of hands suggests that petitioners inscribed their own tablets rather than resorted to a professional scribe. At first sight it now looks as if the same ‘scribe’ was working both at Bath and at Uley, but it must also be noticed that Tab. Sulis 10 was addressed to Sulis by ‘Docilianus Bruceri (filius)’ whereas this tablet was addressed to Mercury by ‘Docilinus’. ‘Docilinus’ and ‘Docilianus’ are almost identical and may well have been used by the same man, a little vague about Latin terminations. Names cognate with docilis were popular at Bath, and it is likely that they were romanised forms of the locally-attested Celtic name Docca: thus the man may have thought of himself as ‘really’ Docca. On the other hand, docilis-names are too common for this to be certain. But it would be quite a coincidence to find the only pair of tablets from the same hand (Tab. Sulis 95 and 96 being virtually a continuous text) were written by an anonymous scribe for two men with almost identical names. If, therefore, the two tablets were indeed written by the same man on his own behalf, they provide an interesting link between the great urban shrine of Sulis and the rural temple of Mercury.

Edition:
1 deo Mercurio
n 2 Docilinus QVAENM
3 Varianus et Peregrina
n 4 et Sabinianus qu[i] peco-
5 ri meo dolum malum in-
6 tulerunt et INT.RR[.] pro-
7 locuntur rogo te ut eos
n 8 max[i]mo [le]to adigas nec
9 eis sanit[atem nec] som-
10 num perm[itt]as nisi
11 a te quod m[ihi] ad[mi-]
12 ni[strav]erint
13 redem[e]rint

Diplomatic:
1 deomercurio
2 docilinusquaenm
3 uarianusetperegrina
4 etsabinianusqu.peco
5 rimeodolummalumin
6 tuleruntetint.rr[.]pro
7 locunturrogoteuteos
8 max.mo. .toadigasnec
9 eissanit.[.].[1-2].[.]som
10 numperm[...]asnisi
11 atequodm 2-3 ad.[c.1]
12 ni.[..]..erint
13 redem[.]rint

Commentary:

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To the god Mercury (from) Docilinus . . . Varianus and Peregrina and Sabinianus who have brought evil harm on my beast and are . . . I ask you that you drive them to the greatest death, and do not allow them health or sleep unless they redeem from you what they have administered to me.