I know that the most common writing media for the Latin language were papyrus, stone, wax and wood tablets. But, are there any clay tablets preserved to this day that are written in Latin?

All I can find in my research are tablets in cuneiform writing, so from other civilizations.

1 Answer 1


Sort of. Bricks for building were often stamped with words indicating who made them and oversaw their production. But this probably isn't what you're looking for. They also sometimes wrote on shards of broken pottery ("ostraca") for short-term notes, since it was cheaper than papyrus for some purposes. But I don't think this is what you're looking for either.

Clay tablets were used in Mesopotamia because clay was everywhere, and their writing system developed from stamping clay tokens into clay envelopes, so it was well-suited for, well…writing on clay.

But the Romans had papyrus and ostraca (and wax) for writing ephemeral things, and stone for more permanent things. There was no real reason for a Classical-era Roman to carry a ball of clay around to write on.

  • 2
    The Greeks, of course, wrote on pieces of broken clay pottery (ostraca) I would be surprised if the Romans never followed them in this.
    – fdb
    Nov 21, 2022 at 21:11
  • researchgate.net/publication/…
    – fdb
    Nov 21, 2022 at 21:21
  • 3
    @fdb True. I figured the asker meant inscribed clay tablets, as found in Mesopotamia, rather than using ink or a stylus on pieces of pottery. But I'll be more explicit about that.
    – Draconis
    Nov 21, 2022 at 22:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.