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January 18 , 2011

Life and Letters from the Roman Frontier


Greetings, I ask that you send the things which I need for the use of my boys . . . which you well know I cannot properly get hold of here . . . – A Roman solider on the frontier of England around AD 100 Over three hundred letters and documents were recently discovered at the fort of Vindolanda, in Northern England, written on wooden tablets which have survived nearly 2,000 years. Painstakingly deciphered by Alan Bowman, the materials contribute a wealth of evidence for daily life in the Roman Empire. Military documents testify to the lifestyle of officers and soldiers stationed at Vindolanda, and portraits of domestic life are included in letters between the officers' wives and a letter from home promising a solider a package of socks. The engaging texts from thirty-four tablets provide insight into the similarities of daily existence in the Roman Empire and the present.

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