archaeology
subscribe
Special Introductory Offer!

Inscribed Roman Stylus Identified in London

Monday, July 29, 2019

Roman inscribed stylusLONDON, ENGLAND—The Guardian reports that conservators have found an inscription on one of the 200 Roman styluses recovered from a construction site in London’s historic city center. The engraved stylus dates to around A.D. 70. According to epigrapher Roger Tomlin, the tiny inscription on the iron writing implement reads, “I have come from the City. I bring you a welcome gift with a sharp point that you may remember me. I ask, if fortune allowed, that I might be able [to give] as generously as the way is long [and] as my purse is empty.” The city mentioned in the dedication is thought to refer to Rome. The inscription thus could suggest a link between people living in Rome and Londinium, which had become an important port despite its location at the edge of the Roman Empire. “It’s one of the most human objects from Roman London,” said Michael Marshall of the Museum of London Archaeology. “It’s very unpretentious and witty. It gives you a real sense of the person who wrote it.” More than 400 waxed writing tablets, inscribed with legal and business matters, were also recovered during the excavation. Marshall suggests the inscription on the stylus is a reminder that literacy would have allowed traders, soldiers, and officials conducting business in Londinium to keep in touch with friends and family members living in other parts of the Roman Empire. For more, go to "London's Earliest Writing."

Advertisement

Advertisement


Advertisement