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Reading in transliteration: pirạụịχeś
Reading in original script: Ś sE sΨ sI sU2 sA sR sI sP s

Object: TI·13 Giubiasco (bottle)
Position: shoulder, outside
Direction of writing: sinistroverse
Script: North Italic script (Lepontic alphabet)
Letter height: 1.3–1.9 cm0.512 in <br />0.748 in <br />
Number of letters: 9
Number of words: 1
Number of lines: 1
Workmanship: scratched after firing
Condition: complete

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

Type: unknown
Language: Celtic
Meaning: 'Pirauiχeś' (?)

Alternative sigla: Whatmough 1933 (PID): 261
Solinas 1995: 10
Motta 2000: 24
Morandi 2004: 14

Sources: Morandi 2004: 527 no. 14



First published in Herbig 1906: 188 f., no. 1. Examined for LexLep on 19th July 2021.

Images in Herbig 1906: 189, no. 1 (drawing), Rhŷs 1913: tav. III (photo), Crivelli 1973b: tav. 8.2 (drawing), Solinas 1995: tav. LXIIa (photo), Motta 2000: 213, fig. 21 (drawing), Morandi 1999: 164, no. 7 (drawing), Morandi 2004: 536, fig. 9.14 (drawing) and pl. VI.14 (photo), Pernet et al. 2006: 233, fig. 6.39 = Tori et al. 2010: pl. sub 21.9 (drawing).

Inscribed on the shoulder of the bottle (length ca. 9 cm). The scratches are faint after modern surface damage through cleaning (Herbig). Pi, iota and rho as well as chi, epsilon and san (though the lines are not touching in the bottom left corner) are clear. The sixth letter I s is bent to the left in the upper area and features a short horizontal scratch at the top which almost connects the bar of letter five and the right hasta of chi. Alpha is sometimes rendered as A6 s (Herbig, Whatmough, Morandi), but the lower bar of A s is faintly visible. Of the letter between alpha and iota, only the hasta and a bar in the upper area remain. No trace of a second bar can be made out, so that the letter could be upsilon U2 s (Herbig, Whatmough 1933: 78, no. 261; Crivelli 1943: 53; Solinas 1995: 324, no. 10; Morandi 1999: 163 f., no. 7; Morandi 2004; De Marinis & Biaggio Simona 2000: 462, no. 530), kappa K2 s (Herbig, Rhŷs 1913: 26 f., no. 4) or nu N s (Motta 2000: 213 f., no. 24 based on the drawing by C. Mangani above, followed by Pernet et al. 2006: 229, tab. 6.2).

Upsilon seems the best option epigraphically, as it requires only the assumption that the oblique hasta does not reach the bottom, while the addition of patently non-existent bars is necessary to form nu and kappa. pirauiχeś lends itself to analysis as a compound with first element bira- and second element u̯ik- (see the word page), though the archaic (?) spelling of /k/ with chi is irregular (cf. viχu). In Motta's piraniχeś, the base of the second element could be *nig- 'wash', thus chi for /g/, but the semantics are questionable ('?-washer' or '?-washing'; see Stifter 2010: 370). Rhŷs' pirakiχeś is attractive because of the commonness of Gaulish pirak-names, which are also attested in Cisalpine Celtic (s. pirakos), but the latter part of the form would be difficult to explain. In any case, final san appears to spell a cluster /ts/ or /nts/ rather than /d/ as in many younger inscriptions (connection with the employment of chi?); see further on the word page.

Corinna Salomon


Crivelli 1943 Aldo Crivelli, Atlante preistorico e storico della Svizzera Italiana. Vol. 1: Dalle origini alla civiltà romana, Bellinzona: Istituto Editoriale Ticinese 1943.
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.
De Marinis & Biaggio Simona 2000 Raffaele C. De Marinis, Simonetta Biaggio Simona (eds), I leponti tra mito e realtà. Raccolta di saggi in occasione della mostra Locarno, Castello Visconteo - Casorella, 20 maggio - 3 dicembre 2000, Verbania: Armando Dadò Editore 2000.