Writing-tablet with an intelligence
This tablet describing the fighting habits of the Britons was
probably a memorandum, perhaps left by a commanding officer for
his successor. Despite the disparaging reference to
Brittunculi ('Little Brits'), it may be that the
document was an assessment of their potential for recruitment
into the local military units.
Writing-tablet with an intelligence report
Roman Britain, late 1st or early 2nd century AD
Vindolanda Roman fort (modern Chesterholm),
© Trustees of the British Museum
'... the Britons are unprotected by armour (?). There are very
many cavalry. The cavalry do not use swords nor do the wretched
Britons mount in order to throw javelins.'
Culturekiosque readers should note that the above images are
from the excellent and lavishly illustrated book Hadrian:
Empire & Conflict that accompanies the current
exhibition. It is the work of Thorsten Opper, curator in the
Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the British
Museum. Highly recommended and astonishing value for money.
Hadrian: Empire & Conflict
By Thorsten Opper
Hardcover: 224 pages
Harvard University Press (September 2008)