Lot 4: Roman Testament of Julius Fiddin
December 6, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: Late 3rd-early 4th century AD. A pair of wooden writing tablets pierced for attachment with a thread or thong, with inked text in Roman cursive script concerning the will of Julius Fiddin; Tablet 1 transcription, side A: sciunt et possidentur (a)equibus partibus dividatis; do dono / Iulio Victori filio meo domum in quam manet Assaratim / cum ianuam suam et cohorte ad se pertinente cum posticium / sicuti cludet; item do dono fidem Victori filio meo Camel/lam quam Arutie hodie habet et oves quatuor cum agnos / duo; do dono Iulio Primo filio meo spatium ubi sibi (a)edi/ficet qui iungitur Iuliano Masiani sicuti terminibus com/clusa est ita ut (a)edificent cui illo fratres eiius materiias / Cinnas, ut de viribus omnioru(m) fratru(m) (a)edificet set et cellam / qui est post posticium centenari qui comparatur de Roman/tiu Romanticahinis. Ad eundem Primum pertineat camellam / meam cum filiam, ad Iulium Primum et Sperantium / fili mei pertinere bolo ut (a)equibus partibus dividant. Item / do dono fidem Primo filio meo oves quinque et capras / Translation: - they shall possess it in equal parts; I give and I donate to my son Julius Victor the house in which Assaratis lives with its entrance door and the fenced yard which belongs to it and with its back door. I also give and donate the camel, which today Arutie has, to my son Victor, and four sheep with two lambs. I give and donate to my son Julius Primus the space where he shall build (a house); it is connected to (the land of) Julianus, son of Masianus, and also enclosed by border stones; and his brothers shall build him (the house) with their building materials. With the manpower of all brothers also shall be erected a room, which is situated behind the back door of the Centenarium, which was acquired from Romantius, son of Romanticahinis. The same Primus shall have my camel with its (female) child. I want that my sons Julius Primus and Sperantius shall have it and that they share it equally. Furthermore I give and donate faithfully to my son Primus five sheep and goats. Side B (Intus, framed side) MAMONIS sertum ++B+P++++++++L++++++L++++ / mionem qui comparatur de NABORE SERVGIS et est / in com VAL T/BECUBILI sertum arbores fici et olivas; do / lego datique ab heredibus meis iubeo Iuliae Crescenti/ae filiae m(e)ae dalmaticas tres cum MASURTIR/MAFURTIR sua afro / claviante purpura libras quatuor in campana; item / do lego fidem Crescentiae filiae m(e)ae oves duae de o/ves meas; do lego Antonillae uxori m(e)ae bene de me/merenti secundum fide strumento in nomine ei/ius comparantes pari cellas possesionis qui comparan/tur a Martide et Victore habeat proprium; do do/no eisdem heredibus meis cribtam [= cryptam] meam PALIARITA / commune habeant, sic tamen paleas ad Primum et Spe/rantium pertin[e]nt. P+NE VERO de frumentum mei Translation: - who bought it from Nabor, son of Serus, and which is in - - - planted with fig- and olive trees; I give and donate and I order that it will be given from my heirs to my daughter Iulia Crescentia three dalmaticae with its African mafortia with purple stripes (?) with a weight of four pounds; I even give and donate to my daughter Crescentia two sheep of my sheep. I give and donate to my well deserved wife Antonilla in confidence the things which were bought in her name, and also the rooms which were acquired from Mars and Victor, shall she possess as her property. I give and donate to my heirs my crypt ---, they shall use it together; but if you will get pale-faced (= die) it also shall be for Primus and Sperantius. - Tablet 2 transcription (incomplete) - accipiat Iulius Victor filius meus / H+++IM+DIOS viginti relicum fructum habeant Pri/mus et Sperantius fili mei et Antonilla mater eoru(m) / super lectilem meum vero++ R bonum et rusticum et / si quid movilia habeant Antonilla uxor mea et Speran/tius filius meus sane vero do dono Iulio Primo filio meo / orcas castillanas quinque et cathedras duas MAGIDAUMA / et chulurrium quem sibi comparabit alitus habeat; do le/go Antonillae uxori mae DES vestes quas hodie infra me ha/beo dalmaticas tres et sticauna et stramenta mea habeat / do lego Antonillae uxori mae oves sex quas propr/ia habeat et quidquid mihi excidit de rebus meis / quod non nominavi ad heredes meos pertineat fa/milia testamenti faciundi erga emit Iulius Iuli/anus, antestatus est Iulius Romantius libripen/de. Iulius Fiddin testamentum factum die et consule s(upra) s(cripta"). Translation: - may take my son Julius Victor - - - twenty of the remaining fruit trees shall have my sons Primus and Sperantius and their mother Antonilla. --- good and solid (furniture) shall have my wife Antonilla and my son Sperantius. I give and donate with clear mind to my son Julius Primus five Orca castillana (some kind of furniture) and two chairs and he shall have the chulurrius which he bought for himself. I give and donate to my wife Antonilla two apparels which I actually have with me, three dalmaticae and other clothes. I give and donate to my wife Antonilla six sheep which she shall have as her property. And all of my things which I did not make a mention of shall belong to my heirs - - - buys Julius Julianus. Witnessed by Julius Romantius as libripens. Julius Fiddin has made his will at the above mentioned day and year. See Münchner Beiträge zur antiken Papyrologie und Rechtsgeschichte, Leopold Wenger Institute (LMU Munich); forthcoming. Accompanied by an Art Loss Register certificate. 151 grams total, 24 x 19cm, 18 x 11cm (9 1/2 x 7 1/2, 7 x 4 1/4"). From an important London collection since 1975; acquired by a London dealer 1973; formerly the property of Monsieur Alain Sfez, a Belgian collector; acquired by gift from his father Albert Sfez, 1965; acquired by Albert in the early 1950s; accompanied by a copy of a witnessed ownership statement from Alain Sfez. 
Condition Report: Fine condition.