News (Ancient) Inscribed Roman stylus found in London

Gregorius Textor

Civis Insanus
Found during excavations for Bloomberg's European headquarters in London:
A unique Roman stylus, with the most elaborate and expressive inscription of its kind is set to go on display for the first time in a new exhibition at the Ashmolean: Last Supper in Pompeii.
The inscription has been painstakingly examined and translated by classicist and epigrapher Dr Roger Tomlin. It reads:
‘ab urbe v[e]n munus tibi gratum adf(e)ro
acul[eat]um ut habe[a]s memor[ia]m nostra(m)
rogo si fortuna dar[e]t quo possem
largius ut longa via ceu sacculus est (v)acuus’

‘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.’

Read all about it: I went to Rome and all I got you was this stylus


One of "those" people
What does "gift with a sharp point" mean.


Staff member
What does "gift with a sharp point" mean.
In this case, a stylus.

I'm finding the last two lines difficult to make sense of. I think the person who made the translation struggled with them as well. The translation provided doesn't seem all that likely. One thing I'm almost sure of is that the clause quo possem largius must be the object of daret.


Homo Sapiens
Staff member
yes, it's hard for me to understand as well. I wonder if something's been misread.
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