In late antiquity or the early medieval period, a laterculus is an inscribed tile, stone or terracotta tablet used for publishing certain kinds of information in list or calendar form. The term thus came to be used for the content represented by such an inscription, most often a list, register, or table, regardless of the medium in which it was published. A list of soldiers in a Roman military unit, such as of those recruited or discharged in a given year, may be called a laterculus, an example of which is found in an inscription from Vindonissa. The equivalent Greek term is plinthos (πλίνθος; see plinth for the architectural use).
A common type of laterculus was the computus, a table that calculates the date of Easter, and so laterculus will often be equivalent to fasti. Isidore of Seville said that a calendar cycle should be called a laterculus "because it has the years put in order by rows," that is, in a table.
List of laterculi
Notable laterculi include:
- Laterculus Veronensis, a list of Roman provinces from the times of the Roman emperors Diocletian and Constantine I.
- Laterculus Malalianus, a late 7th-century historical exegesis of the life of Christ from the Chronica Minora in the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, drawing from the Chronographia of John Malalas and so called by Theodor Mommsen, though only a relatively small part of the text takes the form of a list (covering Roman emperors from Augustus to Justin II).
- Laterculus regem Vandalorum et Alanorum, a list of Vandal kings based in Mommsen's view on diplomas or, alternatively, largely on an African version of the Chronicle of Prosper Tiro.
- Laterculus regum Visigothorum, list of Visigothic kings.
- Laterculus Polemii Silvii, an Imperial Roman list of emperors and provinces by Polemius Silvius.
- The original meaning of laterculus in Classical Latin was "brick" or "tile."
- Sara Elise Phang, The Marriage of Roman Soldiers (13 B.C.-A.D. 235): Law and Family in the Imperial Army (Brill, 2001), pp. 313, 326.
- Duncan Fishwick, Imperial Cult in the Latin West (Brill, 1990), vol. 2.1, p. 441 online. For further examples, see for instance Brambach's Corpus Inscriptionum Rhenarum online passim.
- Anthony Grafton, Joseph Scaliger: A Study in the History of Classical Scholarship (Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 331.
- Jane Stevenson, The 'Laterculus Malalianus' and the School of Archbishop Theodore (Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 1.
- Isidore, Etymologies 6.17: quod ordinem habeat stratum annorum; Grafton, Joseph Scaliger, p. 331 online.
- Stevenson, The 'Laterculus Malalianus', pp. 1–3.
- MGH, AA XIII, pp. 457–60.
- John Robert Martindale, The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire (Cambridge University Press, 1992, reprinted 2000), vol. 3, p. xxiii.
- Roland Steinacher, "The So-Called Laterculus Regum Vandalorum et Alanorum: A Sixth-Century African Addition to Prosper Tiro's Chronicle?," in Vandals, Romans, and Berbers: New Perspectives on Late Antique North Africa (Ashgate, 2004), p. 163.
- MGH, AA XIII, pp. 464–9.
- J.N. Adams, The Regional Diversification of Latin, 200 BC–AD 600 (Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 252.