In late Latin, there was frequent confusion between B and V between vowels (a position where the distinction was eventually lost throughout the Romance languages), and even at the start of words (where the distinction ended up being maintained in many branches, although eventually lost in Spanish). Some previous questions related to this topic:

It seems to have been more common to write B in place of V than vice versa. I am wondering what the earliest examples are of texts that write V for B.

Vulgar Latin, by Jozsef Herman, 1967 (translated by Roger Wright), says "Written forms such as siui for sibi (for himself), or the other way around, such as uiba for uiua (living), are common all over the area from the first century A.D." (page 45). However, this passage does not reference a specific text where siui occurs. I know the Appendix Probi has a few examples: "baculus non uaclus" and "plebes non pleuis". Wikipedia states that the original of that document dates to the fourth century AD. What earlier texts show examples of V/u to spell Classical Latin B/b?


1 Answer 1


CIL 11.137 (Ravenna, 1 cent. CE) has:



The whole text can be read in: Harvey, Brian K. Roman Lives. Hackett Publishing, 2015, p. 97.

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