Claudia’s letter to Miranda begins in the fashion of traditional Roman letter writing. Notice that the opening salutation occurs in the third person. Claudia suae Mirandae salutem dat Claudia gives greetings to her Miranda. This is modelled directly on Seneca’s letters to his student, Lucilius; Seneca Lucilio suo salutem. The formula was so, well, formulaic, that the final verb, dat, could even be dropped without any confusion. Indeed, the entire thing could be abbreviated to sal. or s.d.
Seneca begins one letter to Lucilius with a reference to an old and apparently discontinued nicety;
The old Romans had a custom which survived even into my lifetime. They would add to the opening words of a letter: ‘If you are well, it is well; I also am well.’
In Latin this is si vales, bene est; ego valeo. Claudia begins her letter si vales, bene est If you are well, it is well. And then dives straight into the topic of her letter.
Claudia gives greetings to her Miranda. If you are well, it is well. Today I visited Pompeii. It was a marvel! Now I should like to tell you everything.