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Inkwells & Romans

About ten days ago there was a discussion of inkwells found at Qumran and
some speculation that they may have been left their by Romans during and
after 68 CE.  Thereafter, I saw a notice concerning a seminar scheduled for
November 9, 1996 at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia
entitled: "Roman Lifestyles I - everyday life in the Roman world."  One
speaker on the program is giving a presentation entitled: "Legions at Rest:
Roman Soldiers Off the Battlefield."  The speaker is Hugh Elton of Trinity
College. So, I e-mailed Elton to ask about the likelihood that Roman soldiers
would be using inkwells.  He responded: "Although most soldiers in a legion
would not be literate, there was a large proportion of the headquarters staff
who were, men responsible for carrying out the large body of paperwork
associated with the army - for examples see Fink, R.O., "Roman Military
Records on Papyrus" (Cleveland, 1971).  I see no problem with some of these
troops having inkwells if part of their unit was based at Qumran."  I thought
others might be interested in this comment.

I suppose that it isn't too clear whether Romans were "based" at Qumran after
68 CE.

I came across some other material related to cross cultural influences and a
much earlier discussion of Zoroastrianism and its possible reflection in
Qumran material.  The material relates to Mithraism.  According to the
material, the earliest datable evidence for the cult of Mithras came from the
military garrison at Carnuntum in the Province of Upper Pannonia on the
Danube River.  Soldiers from legion XV Apollinaris stationed at Carnuntum
made mithraic dedications in 71 or 72 CE after their return from a campaign
which included quelling the Jewish revolt in Jerusalem from 66 - 70 CE.  I
believe that Josephus discusses Silva at Masada.  I don't recall ever seeing
any identification of the Roman legion or general who destroyed Qumran.

Another of the University of Penn lectures is entitled "Dead Men Do Tell
Tales: Roman Funerary Practices."  Well, at least they do in some parts of
the world.

The Mithraism article discussed the merchants, slaves, prostitutes etc that
followed the legions around.  This caused me to wonder about other sources of
inkwells and graves at Qumran.

Mark Dunn