In 1973, an unusual discovery was made in the Vindolanda Roman camp (England). Water-soaked tablets with Roman notes were extracted from the ground. After conservation, it turned out that the artifacts are a great source of information about the life of people who were in the camp in antiquity.
We can read, among others, about the supply of bacon, oysters or honey; a message addressed to the legionary stating that more socks, sandals and underwear were given; or the Romans’ impression of Britain.
Among the tablets we also come across the official invitation of the camp’s prefect’s sister by his wife to a birthday feast:
Claudia Severa to her Lepidina, greetings. On 11 September, sister, for the day of the celebration of my birthday, I give you a warm invitation to make sure that you come to us, to make the day more enjoyable for me by your arrival, if you are present. Give my greetings to your Cerialis. My Aelius and my little son send him their greetings. I shall expect you, sister. Farewell, sister, my dearest soul, as I hope to prosper and hail. To Sulpicia Lepidina, wife of Cerialis, from Severa.
The records of the wife of prefect Aelius – Claudia have thus become the oldest example of the use of written Latin by a woman who has survived to our time.