Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

A Roman Tommy Atkins?

The Mail Online has an article about a Roman military payslip found in spoil from the time of the siege of Masada in the year 73, though the slip itself is assigned a slightly wider date range of 72-75 by historians.

Written on papyrus it records the payment made to Gaius Messius, who came from Beirut, and , more importantly, the deductions for food and equipment. The net result was that he was left with nothing at all in the way of cash. How typical that was is not clear, but on this evidence any plans he might have had to contemplate future retirement to the coast of Lebanon or the hills around Baalbek would be deferred.

The article, with a link to the text and translation of the payslip, as well as a relevant bibliography on Roman army life, can be read at Ancient Roman payslip shows he was left penniless after deductions

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