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Reading in transliteration: zuφniφanuaφi
Reading in original script: I saddΦ1 saddA1 sU sN saddA1 saddΦ1 sI sN saddΦ1 sU saddZ1 s

Object: PD·1 Ženjak (helmet)
Position: front, bottom, outside
Orientation: 180°
Direction of writing: sinistroverse
Script: North Italic script (Este alphabet)
Letter height: 0.7–1 cm0.276 in <br />0.394 in <br />
Number of letters: 14
Number of words: 2
Number of lines: 1
Workmanship: pecked
Condition: complete

Archaeological culture: La Tène A, La Tène B, La Tène C
Date of inscription: 450–50 BC

Type: unknown
Language: Celtic
Meaning: 'of Dubnos son of Banuabios'

Alternative sigla: Whatmough 1933 (PID): 1* bis (b)

Sources: Marstrander 1925: 44–51



First published in Mommsen 1853: 208, no. 12. Examined on 10th January 2014.

Images in Giovanelli 1845: tav. II (drawing = Giovanelli 1876: Taf. II, No. 1), Mommsen 1853: Taf. I, 12B (drawing; see Mommsen 1853: 208 f.) (= Fabretti 1867: Tav. VI, b = Pauli 1885: Taf VI, 99 A = Marstrander 1925: 38), Sulzer 1855: Taf. VII, Sacken & Kenner 1866: Taf. Nr. 2 (drawing), Pichler 1880: [?] (= Pauli 1885: Taf. VI, 99 B), Marstrander 1927: 7, Fig. 3 and 4 (drawings) and Pl. I (photo), Reinecke 1950: 133, a (drawing = Markey 2001: 105, Fig. 6) and Taf. 11a (photo), Egg 1986: 226, Abb. 183 (drawing) (= Schumacher 2004: Taf. 16, 3) and Nedoma 1995: Abb. 6 and 7 (photos).

Length about 6.5 cm. Embossed with a pointed tool on the chamfer, upside-down when the helmet is worn. A white inlay was added sometime before 1927, possibly for photos made for Marstrander 1927, but must have been cleaned away since. Remains can still be seen in some of the deeper indentations.

The inscription as such is in good condition. The problem lies in the identification of the four letters consisting of a vertical hasta with a circle (or circloid) on top (letters 1, 3, 6 and 13) as either phi addΦ1 s, the Raetic letter for a dental addT1 s (see TIR), or – in case of the first letter – a variant of zeta. The first letter features two circles. While the bottom circle is as lopsided as the circles in the other letters, the top one is perfectly circular and made of more, but shallower and not easily visible indentations arranged around a single particularly deep one. It seems to have been executed with much care. (Compare the detailed description in Marstrander 1927: 7 (A 3). The view that the first character is not a letter but some sort of symbol, decoration or punctuation mark, as held by Pauli (Pauli 1885: 36, no. 99b) and, following him, Olsen 1903: 25, is obsolete.) Letter 3 does not much resemble letter 1: the circle is irregular and distinctly bigger, taking up more than half of the length of the hasta. The circle on top of letter 6 is considerably smaller, though still bigger than in letter 1; letter 13 features a circle almost as small as those of letter 1, with one indentation belonging to the hasta sitting above it.

It is theoretically possible that all four letters are intended as the same letter – Mommsen read four times addT1 s þ̣uþniþanuaþi. Similarly, all the respective letters in SL-2.3 could be identified as phi, because in all cases the hasta continues into or through the circle, in letter 13 even beyond it. addZ1 s might be explained by a mistake of the writer, who may have started applying the inscription the other way round. (Compare the question of two of the Raetic inscriptions on the helmet, SL-2.1 and SL-2.2, were applied.) The circles of letter 1, however, are much smaller, and the appearance of the top circle seems peculiar. The "dumbbell" shape may be an otherwise unattested variant of the problematic Raetic dental character addT1 s, possibly the result of an effort of the writer to distinguish the letter more clearly from the three phis addΦ1 s – as an afterthought when realising that his circles had become continually smaller. Even the upper circle may be an emendation, if the deep indentation at its centre was originally intended as the top element of addT1 s, then not considered clear enough. The theory that the letter is an archaic variant of Etruscan addF1 s f (Whatmough PID II: 611 f., Kretschmer 1943: 186 f.) can be dismissed.

The identification of the problematic first letter also affects the issue of the alphabet used in the inscription. Assuming that it is not simply an unsuccessful phi, it can be identified as Raetic addT1 s or a variant of zeta. If addZ1 s is a variant of the Raetic letter addT1 s, the inscription could be written in a Raetic alphabet, even if the use of Sanzeno-type tip-down upsilon would be unusual in combination with addT1 s (see TIR). Retrograde alpha (with the bar rising in writing direction) is typical of the Raetic alphabets, but also for the Venetic Isonzo alphabet. Alternatively, an identification of addZ1 s as a variant of zeta points towards the Venetic sphere, where zeta is used to write d in certain alphabets (see North Italic Script). Such a variant of zeta, while having a graphic parallel in the Old Sabellic alphabet, would be attested only once in Northern Italy; its putative graphic precursor Z6 s is very rare beyond the Po (see only TV·1, and a possible attestation in *Od 7b [Prosdocimi 1988: 303 ff., but also Eska & Wallace 1999: 123 f., n. 10]). Marstrander himself derives Raetic addT1 s from this singular variant of zeta (see TIR). If the first letter of the inscription is zeta, the inscription is best analysed as alphabetically Venetic (Isonzo alphabet) – zeta for a dental stop does appear in Raetic inscriptions, but only as a sporadic feature which is, again, best interpreted as due to Venetic influence (see TIR). Cf. Marstrander 1927: 20 ff. (as opposed to Marstrander 1925: 53 with n. 2), Prosdocimi in Prosdocimi & Scardigli 1976: 225 ff., Prosdocimi 1978c: 318, Prosdocimi 1978b: 387, Prosdocimi 1986c: 32 ff., Prosdocimi 1988: 331 f. Tip-down upsilon is not the standard form in the Venetic alphabets, but does occur quite frequently; the Isonzo inscriptions, unfortunately, do not have upsilon at all. PD·1 does not feature Venetic syllabic punctuation, but this may be due to its potentially early dating and/or to geographical remoteness (see Nedoma 1995: 25, n. 36).

The reading with one anlauting dental and three labials and Venetic orthography is the basis for Marstrander's (1925: 44–51) interpretation of the inscription as a Celtic bipartite personal name in the genitive zuφni φanuaφi dubnī banuabī 'of Dubnos, son of Banuabios' (with zeta for d and phi for b), φanuaφi being a genitival patronym (not congruent with the individual name in the genitive) as known from Cisalpine Celtic, Gaulish and Ogam inscriptions (see the morpheme page). Considering the easterly find place of the inscription and its possible high dating, the names cannot be certainly identified as Cisalpine Celtic, but may belong to an Ambi-Danubian Celtic (Noric? Tauriscan?) filum. While the names themselves are certainly Celtic, we cannot entirely exclude, with regard to the alphabet used, that the ī-genitive is Venetic (cf. Nedoma 1995: 71 f. on -i in harigasti on the Negau helmet B and the discussion in TIR). If φanuaφi contains a -i̯o-suffix expressing the patronymic function, the genitive could be congruent with that in the individual name ('of Dubnos Banuabii̯os = son of Banuabios'; thus, if I understand correctly, Prosdocimi in Prosdocimi & Scardigli 1976: 225). Like the ī-genitive, the use of patronymic -i̯o could hypothetically be Venetic as well as Celtic. A third option, that the form is congruent with the individual name but does not contain -i̯o, and functions as an epithet to dubnos ('Dubnos the pig-slayer'; thus Markey 2001: 116, who identifies Dubnos as yet another titled priest to go with his interpretations of SL-2.1 and SL-2.2), is formally possible, but unlikely, as we would expect a patronym in any case. An alternative (but also Celtic) analysis was suggested by Heiner Eichner (according to Nedoma 1995: 20), who, expecting a votive inscription, proposes to analyse -bi as a Celtic dative plural (with the entire sequence in the inscription dubnibanua- as a composite base; cf. also Stifter 2011b: 167, n. 8); see below on whether the inscription could be votive.

The inscription was included in the Raetic corpus by Schumacher 2004: 330, after the four inscriptions on the Negau helmet A had repeatedly been put in the context of Raetic (see TIR). Indeed, of the other three inscriptions, one is certainly Raetic in alphabet and most likely in language, one is very probably alphabetically Raetic and linguistically opaque, while the third is not well legible and impossible to ascribe to a corpus at this point. All four inscriptions were given Raetic sigla by Schumacher; the present one, formerly SL-2.3, has been transferred to the Cisalpine Celtic corpus in accordance with Marstrander's reading and interpretation.

For the dating of the inscriptions on the helmet see Nedoma 1995: 16–18 and 20–22. Depending on which type of inscription we are faced with, PD·1 may have been applied at any time after the manufacture of the helmet in the second half of the 5th century by one of its owners, or as a votive inscription on the occasion of a putative original sacrifice of the helmet or of its deposition at Obrat around 100 BC. The helmet may well have been inscribed with a dedication, but considering that four unconnected texts are inscribed on it, we must assume that at least three of them are unconnected with the donation. Nedoma 1995: 12 argues that the inscription's position indicates a profane function, citing examples of votive helmet inscriptions, which are usually applied prominently on the bowl. Note that Marstrander 1927 interprets the last element of SL-2.2 as a mark separating it from PD·1, in which case PD·1 must be the older inscription. On the other hand, it may be observed that PD·1 is the only inscription on the helmet which is written upside-down (like the inscription on the Negau helmet B), which might be explained by its being applied specially for the deposition, where the helmets were stacked calotte-down. The upside-down application, could, however, also be merely due to convenience; cf. the direction of scratches in SL-2.1. See TIR for a comparative discussion of all Negau helmet inscriptions.

Further references: Giovanelli 1845: 43 ff., Weber 1861: 35, Sacken & Kenner 1866: 292, no. 1089, Fabretti 1867: no. 59, Corssen 1874: 949 (note), Pichler 1880: 43 f., Egg 1986: 227 (Nr. 324), Nedoma 1995: 19 f. (Ic), Markey 2001: 113 f., Urban & Nedoma 2002: 57.

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.
Corssen 1874 Wilhelm Paul Corssen, Ueber die Sprache der Etrusker. Band 1, Leipzig: 1874.
Egg 1986 Markus Egg, Italische Helme. Studien zu den ältereisenzeitlichen Helmen Italiens und der Alpen. Teil 1: Text, Teil 2: Tafeln, Mainz: Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum 1986.
Eska & Wallace 1999 Joseph Francis Eska, Rex E. Wallace, "The linguistic milieu of *Oderzo 7", Historische Sprachforschung 112 (1999), 122-136.
Giovanelli 1845 Benedetto Giovanelli, Le antichità rezio-etrusche scoperte presso Matrai nel Maggio 1845, Trento: Monauni 1845.
Giovanelli 1876 Benedetto Giovanelli, "Die Rhätisch-Etruskischen Alterthümer entdeckt bei Matrei im Mai 1845", Zeitschrift des Ferdinandeums für Tirol und Vorarlberg 3/20 (1876), 45–99.