This line contains the date of
the document. Clearly visible is the Roman numberal 12 (numbers
were frequently distinguished from text by drawing a line over the
number) followed by "K. Martias". This date would then
be the 12th day before the Kalends of March. Missing from the date
is, of course, the year. Dating the year in this time period was
accomplished by listing the names of the two consuls for that year.
This makes the reading c[o]s very probable, as "cos" was
the usual abbreviation for "cosulibus", used regularly
in dating formulae. The top strokes of the letter s are clear, and
the elongated top stroke of the letter c remains, although this
stroke alone is not enough to be certain of the letter, and it is
marked as uncertain.
Knowing exactly what is missing from this line is very helpful in
reconstructing the dimensions of the text. It is reasonable to assume
that there was enough space in the lost portion of the text to give
the names of both consuls.
The line would then read something like:
[ N1 et N2 ] c[o]s(ulibus)
XII K(alendas) Martias
Where N1 and N2 represent the names of the consuls.
Recall that parantheses are used to show the resolution of an abbreviation in
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