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  • 1 Department of Classical Philology and Medieval Studies, University of Bologna, Italy
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Summary

At the beginning of my paper I have explained why I could not use the new finds of the Vindolanda Tablets. In this regard I quoted the letter I sent to Professor Bowman and the kind answer he gave me. Then I took into account three elements of the Vindolanda Tablets until now published that deserve attention, namely (1) the conflation of second and third conjugation of Latin verb, which is considered a feature of Vulgar Latin, (2) the presence of official language in distinguishing the familiar puer from the formal servus to mention a slave, and (3) the use of rogo (or similar verbs) + ut or the simple subjunctive. In all these cases the presumption of Vulgar Latin in Vindolanda tablets must be reduced. As to the first I actually challenged in some cases the supposed conflation of second and third conjugation. I demonstrated that the expression qui debunt (instead of debent) must be read qui debent, because the letter V of debunt is a false reading for E written in the cursive form employed not only in Vindolanda tablets but also in a letter sent by Cl. Terentianus to his father, Cl. Tiberianus, in P. Mich. VIII 468. 40. The closing greetings Valu fratur (Vindolanda Tablet 301 Plate XXIII), which of course must be read Vale frater is a proof that in the cursive formula of final greetings, written in a kind of currente calamo, a cursive script was employed and the conflation of second and third conjugation must be reduced in some cases to a cursive (and regular) script. Also as to the difference between puer and servus, and rogo + subj. (with ut or without ut) the Vindolanda’s Latin was not so vulgar as could be supposed if we consider Octavius’ and Chrautius’ Latinitas. In particular the construction of rogo + subj. (with ut or withour ut) was object of study because Latin speaker showed a great attention in choosing one or the other construction as happened in a couple of letters sent by Brutus and Cassius to Mark Antony. Maybe this depended upon the action of military scribes, as Adams right supposed. On the other hand, if we consider the role played by Brittain Latin in the Carolingian Renaissance, every defence of correct Latin in this region requires a larger investigation. Therefore the use of the new Vindolanda Letters should have a great weight.