Inscriptions of doubtful relevance

From Lexicon Leponticum
Jump to navigationJump to search

This page collects inscriptions which have been claimed or suggested to be linguistically Celtic and/or written in the Lepontic alphabet, but whose readings were judged insufficiently convincing to be included in LexLep (see Cisalpine Celtic on the scope of LexLep). We assign the sigla code "EX" for "excluded" for unambiguous reference.

Siglum Putative reading Object Find place Dating Literature Reasons for exclusion
EX·1 ]ọuairx[ fragment of a bowl Bergères-les-Vertus (Marne, FR) 5th–early 4th c. BC Olivier & Markey 2010 Markey's reading of the fragmentary inscription is not tenable. Apart from the fact that the first letter could be rho as well as omicron, the assumed ligature of alpha and iota is unparalleled and pointless (and presumably proposed to get rid of heta, which is unattested in the Lepontic alphabet). The interpretation as rouāi rīx 'king in tomb' (with emended /i/) is equally fanciful. Interesting document, but there is no reason to assume that the inscription, if genuine, is Lepontic.
EX·2 eśuitoranei boar's tusk Istres (Bouches-du-Rhône, FR) unknown Markey et al. 2013 Interpreted as a Celtic dedication to two deities esūi̯ toranei̯ 'to Esus, to Toranis'. The reading is achieved by ignoring the inconvenient first scratches, dubiously motivated segmentation of the rest, and strained explanations for unparalleled letter forms, and thus not tenable – even when assuming that the inscription is the work of "a rather unskilled carver" who apparently would have needed the help of a professional "'spacer' (= layout designer)" to apply the letters separately (p. 121). The argument that it would be too much to ask for a neat inscription on a small rounded object like the tusk is repealed by many perfectly legible Raetic inscriptions on antler pieces which are hardly larger (e.g. MA-10). The lack of symmetry and the intuitively recognisable orientation may indicate pseudo-script, i.e. an attempt at an inscription by an illiterate person, but the script known to the writer would probably have been the Greek alphabet; Istres is the site of the Gallo-Greek rock inscription G-519 (Lejeune 1988c: 99–101).
EX·3 (p)ansi ceramic fragment Gamsen, Waldmatte (CH) late 1st c. AD Paccolat et al. 2019: 3A 284 f. Casini and Motta regard the marks on the fragment of the foot of a bowl as intentional and propose the reading (p)ansi (sinistroverse), the genitive of a personal name. The reading could not be confirmed in examination; the very abraded marks are a series of parallel scratches of varying length and are probably unintentional – the same goes for the tiny and finely scratched, but very neat-looking O7 s-shape off to one side of the larger marks. In any case, the dating is very late for a Lepontic inscription. The second graffiti from Gamsen is included in LexLep as VS·3.
EX·4 pao ceramic plate Augst (Augusta Raurica) (Baselland, CH) 50–30 AD Féret & Sylvestre 2008: 50, no. 199, pl. 19 (drawing) Féret & Sylvestre file the graffito on the foot of the plate under "alphabet incertain", observing that the letter forms resemble those of the Lepontic alphabet. Indeed, the drawing shows the Lepontic letters P dA dO8 d pao. Of course, ⟨ao⟩ does not look Celtic, though an ad-hoc splling of the diphthong /ou̯/ might be possible (cf. the abbreviations pou and pau), and the dating, based on the stamp, would be very late for an alphabetically Lepontic inscription. The authors do ultimately suggest a Latin-alphabet reading P3 dR4 dO8 d or addF2d sR4 dO8 d by supplying additional lines. See also EX·5 below.
EX·5 pọṣ[ ceramic plate Augst (Augusta Raurica) (Baselland, CH) unknown (1st c. AD?) Féret & Sylvestre 2008: 50, no. 200, pl. 19 (drawing) Féret & Sylvestre file the graffito on the foot of the plate under "alphabet incertain", observing that the letter forms resemble those of the Lepontic alphabet. The drawing shows Lepontic pi P d and the upper halves of ambiguous O8 d and Latin sigma S6 d pos[. No dating is given for the object, but comparison with EX·4 suggests that it is also late for an alphabetically Lepontic inscription; personal names in bos- or pos- are rare in Gaulish. Here, too, the authors suggest a Latin-alphabet reading P3 dO8 dS6 d[ or addF2d sO8 dS6 d[ by supplying an additional line to the first letter.


Féret & Sylvestre 2008 Gaële Féret, Richard Sylvestre, Les graffiti sur céramique d'Augusta Raurica [= Forschungen in Augst 40], Augst: 2008.