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Reading in transliteration: esonius : urenti / akitu : esonius / ueriounos
Reading in original script: E3 dS2 dO6 dN6 dI dU dS2 dseparator dU dR dE3 dN6 dT dI d
A dK6 dI dT dU dseparator dE dS2 dO6 dN6 dI dU dS2 d
U dE dR dI dO6 dU dN6 dO6 dS2 d

Object: BI·4 Cerrione (stela)
Position: front
Orientation: 270°
Direction of writing: dextroverse
Script: North Italic script (Lepontic alphabet)
adapted to: Latin script
Letter height: 5–12.5 cm1.969 in <br />4.921 in <br />
Number of letters: 34
Number of words: 5
Number of lines: 3
Workmanship: carved
Condition: complete

Archaeological culture: Roman republican period [from object]
Date of inscription: 100–40 BC [from object]

Type: funerary
Language: Celtic
Meaning: 'Esonius (son) of Urent(i)os ???'

Alternative sigla: none

Sources: Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013: 45–48 no. 7



First published in Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2011: 92 f.

Images in Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2011: 94, fig. 89 (drawing = Brecciaroli Taborelli 2011: 502, tav. 121 = Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013: 46), Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013: 46 (photo).

Inscribed in three dextroverse lines running downward; well legible. The size of the letters decreases noticeably from the rightmost (10–12.5 cm) to the leftmost line (5–7 cm), indicating that the line on the right was written first, the one on the left added last. Solinas (Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013: 46) notes an additional punct in line 2 in the upper area between iota and upsilon, of uncertain function (and relevance). The alphabet used is the Lepontic one, but with Latin-influenced letter forms (E3 d in line 1 and N6 d) and also orthography in the spelling of [n] before [t] in urenti (cf. Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013: 46); four-stroke sigma – a decidedly Lepontic variant – is executed as two curved lines. Considering the comparatively strong Latin influence evident in the inscription (also linguistically, see below), it is likely one of the youngest of the alphabetically Lepontic ones at the necropolis; cf. Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2011: 90 and 2013: 25.

The inscription records two or possibly three person's names. Line 1 esonius urenti 'Esonius (son) of Urent(i)os' is a name formula with a genitival patronym; line 2 akitu esonius may be interpreted as a second name formula, here with an adjectival patronym esonius as in the other linguistically Celtic inscriptions from the Cerrione necropolis, in all likelihood naming the son of Esonius in line 1. The on-stem akitu retains its Celtic ending (rather than Latinised -ō), but esonius both as an individual name and as a patronym features the Latinised ending -us (rather than Celtic -os); the genitive ending in urenti and its use in patronymic formulae, as well as appositive -ii̯- in the patronym esonius are shared by Gaulish and Latin and thus (intentionally?) linguistically ambiguous.

The fifth word, ueriounos in line 3, is more difficult to interpret. It could be a third person's name in the nominative (Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013: 48 option 1) – unlike esonius not Latinised; the formation u̯eri̯ou̯n- does not find comparanda in Transalpine Gaul, but does in the Latin inscriptions of Cerrione, where a family name ueriounia appears in no. 47 in Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013 (first half of 2nd c. AD); Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013: 47 f., 156 f. further cite ueriounus and ueriouna in Latin inscriptions from the area of Torino. The absence of a patronym would be irregular – maybe ueriounos, squeezed in beside line 2, names another son of Esonius and is thus meant to share the patronym of akitu? Alternatively, ueriounos has been interpreted as a grammatically Celtic genitive in -onos of an on-stem u̯eri̯ū (cf. Stifter 2020b: 343 f., Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013: 48 option 2). This individual name is attested indirectly in the Latin inscription no. 9 at Cerrione (late 1st c. BC) uerionis f; Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013: 54, n. 11 cite further examples of uerionis in Latin inscriptions from the Celtic area. The spelling ⟨ou⟩ of the first /o/ of the ending (and its appearance in the abovementioned attestations of u̯eri̯ou̯n-) requires explanation, as does the function of the form in the inscription – a second appositive to akitu? If names 3–5 belong together, they could be an attempt to construct a Latin name formula of the type "individual name – gentilicium – filiation": 'Akitu the Esonian, son of Ueriu', as found in numerous Latin inscriptions at Cerrione (e.g. no. 15 uericus munatius meteli f, no. 16 ualerinus farsulei ualeri f). Solinas (Cresci Marrone & Solinas 2013: 48 option 3) and Stifter also consider a more complex structure for the text, in which esonius urenti is the name of the deceased, esonius ueriounos that of the curator of the burial (who happens to bear the same individual name), and akitu a verb (cf. karnitu). While this is formally possible – 'Esonius (son) of Urent(i)os. Esonius (son) of Ueriu X-ed.' – a verbal base ak-/ag- it not otherwise attested in Celtic epigraphy; see the word page for etymological options.

Whichever of the above interpretations is preferred, it is apposite to enquire into the function of the inscription's parts – unless a curator is named (which is not the case in any other inscription at Cerrione), the two or even three names must all refer to buried persons. Did they share a grave because they died at the same time? (But then why are the lines in which they are named not more evenly spaced?) Was the (in this case unfortunately unidentified) grave reused? Was only the stela reused and relations buried in its vicinity?

Corinna Salomon


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.