From Lexicon Leponticum
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Reading in transliteration: ]ọiśa?[
Reading in original script: ]O4 dI dŚ dA2 d?[

Object: BR·1 Marseille (unknown)
Position: foot, outside
Direction of writing: dextroverse
Script: North Italic script (Lepontic alphabet)
Number of letters: 5
Number of words: 1
Number of lines: 1
Workmanship: scratched after firing
Condition: fragmentary

Archaeological culture: unknown [from object]
Date of inscription: 2nd century BC [from object]

Type: unknown
Language: perhaps Celtic
Meaning: unknown

Alternative sigla: none

Sources: Bats 1988: 141



First published in Guichard et al. 1988: 79.

Images in Guichard et al. 1988: 80, fig. 7.102 (drawing = Bats 1988: 142, fig. 13 = Bats 2011: 218, fig. 25), Rayssiguier & Guichard 1990: 52, no. 46 (photo).

Inscribed dextroverse on the outside foot of the vessel following the curve of the rim, tops of the letters pointing inward. The first letter is damaged, but in the lower area the lower end of the second half-circle of omicron can be seen, so that rho can be excluded. Iota and san are clear; the lower bar of alpha is prolonged. Of the last letter before the breaking edge, a full hasta is left, suggesting iota, but it cannot be excluded that one or more bars were attached to it on top (pi, nu, mu). Cf. the reading by Bats 1988: 141 "()oidsa(i)" (also 2011: 217 "[k]oidsai"). Bats 1988 ibid. and 131 with n. 28 already identified the inscription as written in the Lepontic alphabet, after the script had been classified as Iberian in the original publication; cf. also Bats 2011: 217, Mullen 2013: 25, n. 117 and Mullen & Ruiz Darasse 2020: 763, n. 39. The identification of the alphabet as the Lepontic one, with butterfly san Ś s and upright alpha, was confirmed by David Stifter upon seeing the inscription in Marseille in 2022.

The sequence is too short to allow for an analysis and thus linguistic classification. We would in principle expect a Gaulish personal name. ]oiśa[ finds a potential comparandum in TI·2 koiśa (cf. Bats 1988: 141), though the reading of the latter is uncertain. Bats, reading the last letter as iota, suggests that the form is a dative singular in -āi̯, "marquant l'appartenance plutôt que la consécration".

Beside the coin legends in Lepontic alphabet from the lower Rhône valley, the inscription is so far the only alphabetically Lepontic document in southern Gaul.

Corinna Salomon


Bats 1988 Michel Bats, "La logique de l'écriture d'une société à l'autre en Gaule méridionale protohistorique", Revue Archéologique de Narbonnaise 21 (1988), 121–148.
Bats 2011 Michel Bats, "Emmêlements de langues et de systèmes graphiques en Gaule méridionale (VIe-Ier siècle av. J.-C.)", in: Coline Ruiz Darasse, Eugenio R. Luján (eds), Contacts linguistiques dans l'Occident méditerranéen antique [= Collection de la Casa de Velázquez 126], Madrid: 2011, 197–226.