Tabulae Ceratae Assendelftianae

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 This represents the VI plate of the Waxen Tablets with Fables of Babrius, known also as Tabulae Ceratae Assendelftianae.

The plates were aquired at Palmyra in 1881 by Mr. H. van Assendelft de Coningh, officer of the Royal Dutch Navy. They are dated back to the 3rd century of our era.

 

 

Palmyra

 On the hill top, Qala'at ibn Maan, a muslim fortress.



"... Mr. Α. D. νan Assendelft de Coningh presented the Leiden library with a set of seven wagen tablets, forming α small book. They were acquired at Palmyra in 1881 by his brother, Μr. Η. νan Assendelft de Coningh, officer in the Royal Dutch Navy. Mr. Η, νan Assendelft de Coningh died soon after his return to his country; we know, however, that the tablets were found at Palmyra from a fragment of a letter which he wrote some days before his death. It runs as follows : ' During my brief visit to Palmyra Ι acquired these wooden tablets.' The tablets came into the possession of Mr. Α. D. νan Assendelft de Coningh and were put aside with other souvenirs of his brother's travels. They happened to be shown to me and Ι easily saw that they contained Greek writing. The tablets were then presented to the Leiden library, the principal librarian of which, Dr. W. Ν. du Rieu, gave them the name of Tabulae ceratae graecae Assendelftianae, in honour of the generous giver and his deceased brother.
The seven tablets are covered with writing on both sides, except the first one, of which the recto-side is plain wood. Of the others the wooden surface is sunk to a slight depth, leaving a raised frame at the edges ; they are of beech-wood,(1) like most waxen tablets preserved in the British Museum. The wood is coated with wax of a very dark colour, ρrobably due to pitch being added to the wax in order to prevent melting and to make the writing clearly visible. They measure 14•5 by 12 cm. (5'7 by 4·7 inches). The plates appended to this article will supersede a more detailed description; they are νery successful and in most cases they are legible to the same degree as the original. Only where the coating of wax has perished, the sharp stilus sometimes has marked through οn to the wood behind the wag, so that οn the original some letters αre still visible." 


    "As to the general character of the text, it is easy ta see that it is very corrupt and full of errors, additions and omissions. This condition of the text will not surprise us, if it is borne in mind that this waxen book was a schoolboy's copy-book. That it was such evidently results from what we know about the use of waxed tablets, alike from the testimonies of ancient authors and from the waxen tablets vνhich have sυrvived to the present day."


The journal of hellenic studies, vol. XII, part. II, p.293-314; London, 1892-1893
On Waxen Tablets with Fables of Babrius (Tabulae Ceratae Assendelftianae)
D. C. Hesseling