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Reading in transliteration: setupk
Reading in original script: K sP sU sT sE2 sS2 s

Object: MI·6 Milano (unknown)
Position: unknown
Direction of writing: sinistroverse
Script: North Italic script (Lepontic alphabet)
Number of letters: 6
Number of words: 1
Number of lines: 1
Workmanship: scratched
Condition: unknown

Archaeological culture: unknown [from object]
Date of inscription: unknown [from object]

Type: unknown
Language: Celtic
Meaning: abbreviation

Alternative sigla: Whatmough 1933 (PID): 335
Tibiletti Bruno 1981: 30
RIG: E-6
Solinas 1995: 100
Morandi 2004: 135

Sources: Morandi 2004: 612 no. 135



First published in Mommsen 1853: 217 f.

Image in Mommsen 1853: Taf. III, no. 44 (drawing).

The authenticity of the inscription was doubted by the only person who ever saw it and had his opinion published – the vessel's owner Bernardino Biondelli, who wrote to Mommsen "i caratteri e la graffitura mi sembrano affatto moderni". Biondelli was inclined to epigraphic scepticism (see VA·5); Mommsen argued that the letter forms are too plausible to be a forgery, and read ietupk (see also CII no. 11, Poggi 1879: 315). The reading setupk goes back to Pauli 1885: 11, no. 24, who, based on Mommsen's drawing, argued that sigma is frequently only slightly curved in the Lepontic alphabet (see S); see also Giussani 1902: 52, Rhŷs 1913: 45, Whatmough 1933 no. 335.

The inscription is generally assumed to be an abbreviation of the compound name setupokios (Rhŷs 1913: 45, Whatmough 1933 no. 335, Lejeune 1971: 51, 70, Tibiletti Bruno 1975b: 54, Tibiletti Bruno 1978: 148, Tibiletti Bruno 1981: 185 f., no. 30, RIG E-6, Solinas 1995: 364, no. 100, Motta 2000: 214, Morandi 2004: 612, no. 135); see the word page for details.

The document is one of the six included as Gaulish in the RIG (E-6). Lejeune, who writes that sigma consists of six strokes (although Biondelli/Mommsen's squiggle shows only four), speculates whether the inscription – if it is from the immediate environs of Milano rather than from nearer the Lake region – may be the oldest Cisalpine Gaulish inscription.

Corinna Salomon


CII Ariodante Fabretti, Corpus inscriptionum italicarum antiquioris aevi. Ordine geographico digestum et glossarium italicum, in quo omnia vocabula continentur ex umbricis, sabinis, oscis, volscis, etruscis aliisque monumentis quae supersunt, Augusta Taurinorum: 1867.
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.