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Attestation: VB·3.1 (§latumarui:sapsutai:pe:uinom:natom) (1)
Status: dubious
Language: Lepontic
Word Type: nominal

Grammatical Categories: gen., acc. sg., pl.
Stem Class: o

Morphemic Analysis: nat-om
Phonemic Analysis: /natom/
Meaning: 'of the sons' (?)


1) natom = "of the sons"? cf. DLG: 181, GPN: 207, Delamarre 2007: 222

2) nad-tom: Birkhan 2005

Helmut Birkhan 2005 has proposed a new interpretation of NAŚOM, not as /naksom/ (uel sim.) ‘Naxian (wine)’, the widely preferred analysis, but as /natsom/ (uel sim.) < *ned-tom or *ned-som, a past participle of the root *ned ‘to bind, tie’ (recte /natsom/ < *Hd-tom, past participle of the root *neHd found in OIr. nascaid, MBret. nasca; cf. Schumacher 2004a: 489). For Birkhan, the delicacy contained in the vessel for the buried couple Latumaros and Sapsuta is not ‘wine from Naxos’, but ‘wine (from vines) tied up (in contrast to vines spreading on the ground)’. While Birkhan’s analysis is unimpeachable on morphological, phonological and factual grounds, I do think that the wide-spread translation ‘Naxian’ can be defended on palaeographic grounds. Birkhan assails the phonetic interpretation of the letter Ś ‘san’ as /ks/ and demands that it be strictly considered as representing a Proto-Celtic combination of dentals and/or sibilants, i.e. tau Gallicum (like in ANAREUIŚEOS < *ande-are-id-tios [San Bernardino di Briona, S 140] and IŚOS < *is-tos [Vergiate, S 119]). But he overlooks the fact that the letter rendered as Ś in the transcription is actually a variant that is found merely in two inscriptions (see Lejeune 1971: 374). This particular variant consists of a body shaped like an X, the two lower ends of which are connected by an understroke. In the only other inscription purported to contain it [Nosate, S 105], traditionally read as PEŚU, the photograph reveals that the understroke has been added accidentally and does not belong to the letter (see Studi Etruschi 60 (1994), tavv. LXVII b and LXIX a). The name in S 105 has rather to be read as PETU, perhaps a short name based on the numeral *petores ‘4’. Consequently, S 128 remains the sole instance for this particular shape of the letter. This raises the question if the letter should be read as ‘san’ at all, whereas in other inscriptions from the late Lepontic period for ‘san’ the so-called ‘butterfly-sign’ is used [San Pietro di Stabio, S 21; Carcegna, S 122; Levo, S 126]. My tentative suggestion is that the letter in the inscription from Ornavasso is not ‘san’, but a loan grapheme Latin X = /ks/, to which has been added an understroke as a diacritic in order to distinguish it from isomorphous native Lepontic X = /t, d/. The letter M in S 128, which has not the inherited flag-like shape, betrays Latin graphematic influence, too. The word can thus be read overtly as /naksom/. The // of the supposedly underlying o-adjective /naksom/ must be assumed to have been ‘absorbed’ into the preceding /ks/, or could the diacritic understroke actually represent the I?

natoś Tibiletti Bruno 1981


Birkhan 2005 Helmut Birkhan, "UINOM NAŚOM", in: Franziska Beutler, Wolfgang Hameter (Eds.), "Eine ganz normale Inschrift" ... Vnd ähnLiches zVm GebVrtstag von Ekkehard Weber. Festschrift zum 30. April 2005 [= Althistorisch-Epigraphische Studien 5], Wien: Eigenverlag der Österreichischen Gesellschaft für Archäologie 2005, 223-228.
Delamarre 2007 Xavier Delamarre, Noms de personnes celtiques dans l'épigraphie classique. Nomina Celtica Antiqua Selecta Inscriptionum, Paris: Errance 2007.
DLG Xavier Delamarre, Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise. Une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental, 2nd, revised edition, Paris: Errance 2003.
GPN David Ellis Evans, Gaulish Personal Names. A Study of Continental Celtic Formations., Oxford: Clarendon Press 1967.