BI·7

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Inscription
Reading in transliteration: ṣịṇus : uịnḍonus
Reading in original script: S6 dI dN7 dU dS6 dseparator dU dI dN7 d?O2 dN7 dU dS2 s

Object: BI·7 Cerrione (stela)
Position: front
Orientation: 270°
Direction of writing: dextroverse
Script: prob. North Italic script (Lepontic alphabet)
Letter height: 5 cm1.969 in <br />
Number of letters: 13
Number of words: 2
Number of lines: 1
Workmanship: carved
Condition: complete, damaged

Archaeological culture: Roman republican period [from object]
Date of inscription: 50–30 BC [from object]

Type: funerary
Language: Celtic
Meaning: 'Sinus (son) of Uindu'

Alternative sigla: none

Sources: Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013: 49–52 no. 8

Images

Commentary

First published in Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2011: 103.

Images in Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2011: 94, fig. 90 (photo = Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013: 50 [in colour]), Brecciaroli Taborelli 2011: 397, tav. 16 (drawing = Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013: 50).

Inscribed in a single dextroverse line running downward. Judging by the drawing provided by Cresci Marrone, only the lower parts of the first two letters are preseved. The break of the stone runs along the second iota, which can be identified (apart from the linguistical considerations) because there is no space for or traces of anything other than a single hasta. Cresci Marrone identifies the damaged ninth letter as retrograde Latin ⟨d⟩ (Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2011: 94) with "un'asta ben visibile e un arco solo parzialmente percepibile" (Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013: 51) and asserts (Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2011: 94) that "i caratteri alfabetici (a eccezione di una D retrograda) si rifanno a tradizione inequivocabilmente latina", with some graphically Lepontic features in final sigma with four strokes and nu with oblique lines and somewhat shorter bars than hasta (Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013: 51). The dubious retrograde ⟨d⟩, however, is the only letter in the inscription which lends itself to a clear ascription to either alphabet: iota and upsilon are homographic; large omicron and curved sigma can be argued to be Latin-influenced forms, but appear also in other alphabetically Lepontic inscriptions at the Cerrione necropolis. Considering the layout (vertical line) and structure (Celtic name formula, see below) of the inscription, we prefer to classify the alphabet as the Lepontic one, with notable graphically Latin influence in the large angle of nu and the use of Latin ⟨d⟩. The spelling of /n/ before /d/ may also be counted as an orthographically Latin characteristic; see The Cisalpine Celtic Languages. Ultimately, the attempt to make a decision between the two alphabets is arguably purely academic, as the distinction may not have been meaningful to writers and readers in a biscriptal environment. In any case, the inscription's outright mixed aspect in terms of writing agrees with its dating (based on the associated grave goods) to 50–30 BC, making it the youngest inscription with Lepontic features in the necropolis.

While the name formula sinus uindonus, with individual name and patronym, is Celtic, the grammatical endings in the inscription are Latinised. The patronym appears to be a failed attempt at Latinisation of a Celtic form: a Celtic genitive -onos of an underlying name u̯indū, in which the ending -os was replaced with -us as done with the o-stem nominative ending -os in sinus, rather than replacing the entire ending with its Latin equivalent -onis. The inscription appears to have been composed/applied by a person who intended to conserve the Celtic form of the patronym, but did not have sufficient grasp of the language to analyse the ending correctly. The properly Latinised version of the patronym is attested in the Latin inscription no. 11 (no archaeological dating) of saluius uindonis f., a Latin patronymic formula. It may be assumed that sinus and saluius were brothers, the elder's epitaph still showing stylistically, graphically and linguistically vernacular features, while that of the younger – who also bears an etymologically Latin individual name – is fully Roman. Cresci Marrone (Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013: 51) also considers the possibility that uindonus is not a patronym, but an appositive indicating some familial relationship, intentionally distinguished from uindonis f. expressly indicating a parental one. The name underlying the patronym is etymologically Celtic, as is in all likelihood the individual name; see the word pages for details.

Corinna Salomon

Bibliography

Brecciaroli Taborelli 2011 Luisa Brecciaroli Taborelli (ed.), Oro, pane e scrittura. Memorie di una comunità "inter Vercellas et Eporediam" [= Studi e ricerche sulla Gallia Cisalpina 24], Roma: Edizioni Quasar 2011.
Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2011 Giovannella Cresci Marrone, Patrizia Solinas, "Il messaggio epigrafico: Riconoscimento del sepolcro e strategia della memoria", in: Luisa Brecciaroli Taborelli (ed.), Oro, pane e scrittura. Memorie di una comunità "inter Vercellas et Eporediam" [= Studi e ricerche sulla Gallia Cisalpina 24], Roma: Edizioni Quasar 2011, 89–106.
Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013 Giovannella Cresci Marrone, Patrizia Solinas, Microstorie di romanizzazione. Le iscrizioni del sepolcreto rurale di Cerrione, Venezia: Edizioni Ca' Foscari 2013.