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Reading in transliteration: ]ualaunal / ]raṇeni
Reading in original script: ]U dA dL dA dU dN3 dA dL d
]R dA dN3 dE2 dN3 dI dspace d
Variant reading: ]ualaunal / ]raụeni
]U dA dL dA dU dN3 dA dL d
]R dA dU12 dE2 dN3 dI d

Object: GR·1 Mesocco (stela)
Position: front
Orientation: 270°
Frame: betweenbetween  (left: none, middle: between, right: none)
Direction of writing: dextroverse
Script: North Italic script (Lepontic alphabet)
Letter height: 10–13.3 cm3.937 in <br />5.236 in <br />
Number of letters: 14
Number of words: 2
Number of lines: 2
Workmanship: carved
Condition: unknown

Archaeological culture: La Tène D 1 [from object]
Date of inscription: late 2nd–early 1st century BC [from object]

Type: funerary
Language: Celtic
Meaning: unknown

Alternative sigla: Whatmough 1933 (PID): 255
Tibiletti Bruno 1981: 19
Solinas 1995: 19
Motta 2000: 12
Morandi 2004: 1

Sources: Morandi 2004: 519 f.



First published in Planta 1885: 176. Examined for LexLep on 27th September 2021.

Images in Planta 1885: 176 (drawing = Danielsson 1909: 30), Tagliabue 1893: fig. no. 2 (drawing = Giussani 1902: 40, fig. 10), Rhŷs 1913: pl. V (photo), Risch 1970: Taf. 4.2 (photo), Crivelli 1973b: tav. 8, fig. 17 (drawing), Risch 1984: 27, Abb. 7 (drawing = Risch 1989: 1585, fig. 5) and 35, Abb. 17 (photo = Risch 1992: 683, Abb. 4.2), Morandi 1991: 210, tav. XXI (photo = Solinas 1995: tav. LXIIIb = Morandi 2004: tav. V.1) and 211, tav. XXII (drawing), Morandi 2004: 525, fig. 8.1 (drawing), Stifter 2020: 28, fig. 19 (photo).

The inscription is complete in both lines at the bottom, where a substantial uninscribed piece of stone (10 cm in line 1, 24 cm in line 2 according to Whatmough), today covered by a plinth, shows that no letters followed after ualaunal (the line running down the middle between the two lines also ends below final lambda). The upper end of the stela has a breaking edge; it is not clear whether text was lost. As observed by Whatmough, traces are visible below the edge in both lines (see the drawing), but they may be due to surface damage. The letters are well legible and unambiguous, except the third letter in line 2, where an engraving mistake appears to have happenend. All elements of nu are present, but in addition a curved and clearly intentional line extends the second bar toward the bottom of the hasta. It seems possible that the writer mistakenly engraved nu, then corrected to upsilon as elegantly as possible (cf. Tibiletti Bruno 1978: 152). (The other way around, as suggested by Whatmough, is not feasible.) The lower bar of the third alpha in line 1 is curved and extended to the bottom line. The second bar of nu is almost vertical in all instances.

After Planta in the original publication and Lattes apud Tagliabue 1893: 109 considered the inscription Etruscan, Kretschmer 1905: 105 f. discusses the salient problems of the inscription's analysis: -al in ualaunal is reminiscent of the Lepontic patronymic suffix -alo-, but 1. why is there no ending? and 2. if ualaunal is the patronym, why does it come before the putative individual name raneni? Danielsson 1909: 29–31 suggests that the lines should be read bottom to top, and that – raneni being interpreted as a genitive – the genitive ending was dropped in the (now) second form: raneni ualaunal(i) '(grave) of Ranenos son of Ualaunos'. This solution is supported by Rhŷs 1913: 31 f., no. 2, Jacobsohn 1927: 31, no. 207, and Whatmough PID 255. Terracini 1927: 146 and Thurneysen 1933: 6 f., who consider Lepontic -alo- to be a loan of the Tysenian genitive II ending -al (see the morpheme page), regard -al in ualaunal as an attestation the morpheme in Lepontic prior to its thematisation to -alo-. This theory took hold in the following years – cf. prominently Lejeune 1971: 52 – but the analysis of raneni as a genitive is challenged by Pisani 1964: 282 f., no. 119 G, who thinks that raneni is a feminine name in the nominative, and Tibiletti Bruno 1978: 152. The latter (also 1975b: 50 and 1981: 174, no. 19) considers the morphology to be not so much archaic as outright Tyrsenian due to Etruscan/Raetic influence, and interprets ualaunal as a genitival metronym, raueni an Etruscan feminine name: 'Raueni daughter of Ualaunai'. (Similarly Morandi 1991: 212 f., who interprets ualaunal as a gamonym.) The interpretation of -al as a non-thematised form of patronymic -alo- is rejected by Prosdocimi 1991: 164–166, who points out that, when taken in their order as in the document, the forms look like a name formula in the nominative with a genitival patronym in : 'Ualaunal son of Ranenos'. This view is adopted by Solinas 1995: 327, no. 19, Eska & Wallace 2001: 230 f., and Motta 2000: 206, no. 12; Risch 1989: 1582 f., De Hoz 1992: 324, Morandi 2004: 519 f., no. 1, and Stifter 2020: 28 (caption fig. 19) remain undecided. Risch 1970: 130 (also 1984: 29) voices doubts about the language being Celtic.

In summary, though the inscription is plausibly Celtic in terms of language material (see the word pages for possible etymologies), it must be considered unclear in terms of morphology; none of the analyses listed above is entirely convincing. Prosdocimi's analysis is preferable insofar as raneni, if it is Celtic, must be a genitive; genitive phrases being atypical for Lepontic grave stelae, in which the deceased's name usually stands in the dative, the form is more plausibly explained as a genitival patronym. Prosdocimi's ad-hoc explanation of ualaunal as an i-stem with assimilated ending (see the word page), however, is not credible. While the possibility that letters are missing seems a convenient way around the problematic ending -al (assuming that the word continued in line 2), the evidence of VB·26 tunal / koimila indicates that -al is in fact the ending. As pointed out by Markey & Mees 2003: 143, the comparatively low dating of both documents with forms in -al precludes the analysis of the morpheme as pre-thematised -alo-

See also Giussani 1902: 40 f., no. 9, Granucci 1975: 231.

Corinna Salomon


Crivelli 1973b Aldo Crivelli, "Cronologia protostorica della Valpadana dal IV al I sec. a.C.", Rivista Archeologica dell'Antica Provincia e Diocesi di Como 152–155 (1970–1973), 427–474.
Danielsson 1909 Olof August Danielsson, Zu den venetischen und lepontischen Inschriften [= Skrifter utgivna av Kungliga Humanistiska Vetenskaps-Samfundet i Uppsala 13.1], Uppsala – Leipzig: 1909.
De Hoz 1992 Javier de Hoz, "Lepontic, Celt-Iberian, Gaulish and the archaeological evidence", Études celtiques 29 (1992), 223–240.
Eska & Wallace 2001 Joseph F. Eska, Rex E. Wallace, "A syncretism in fieri in early Celtic", Indogermanische Forschungen 106 (2001), 229–240.
Giussani 1902 A[ntonio] Giussani, "L' iscrizione nord-etrusca di Tesserete e le altre iscrizioni pre-romane del nostro territorio", Rivista Archeologica della Provincia e Antica Diocesi di Como 46 (1902), 25–67.