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Reading in transliteration: kuaśoni : pala : telialui
Reading in original script: I sU12 sL sA14 sI sL sE sT sseparator3 sA14 sL sA14 sP sseparator3 sI sN sO sŚ sA14 sU12 sK4 s
Variant reading: kuaśoni : pala : terialui
I sU12 sL sA14 sI sR sE sT sseparator3 sA14 sL sA14 sP sseparator3 sI sN sO sŚ sA14 sU12 sK4 s

Object: TI·27 Mezzovico-Vira (stela)
(Inscriptions: TI·27.1, TI·27.2)
Position: left-hand side
Orientation: 270°
Frame: circletop and bottomtop and bottomstraight  (left: circle, middle: top and bottom, right: straight)
Direction of writing: sinistroverse
Script: North Italic script (Lepontic alphabet)
Letter height: 7.5–12.5 cm2.953 in <br />4.921 in <br />
Number of letters: 19
Number of words: 3
Number of lines: 1
Workmanship: carved
Condition: complete

Archaeological culture: Golasecca III A
Date of inscription: 5th–early 4th c. BC

Type: funerary
Language: Celtic
Meaning: 'pala for Kuaśu, son of Telios'

Alternative sigla: Solinas 1995: 20
Motta 2000: 3
Morandi 2004: 26

Sources: Morandi 2004: 533 f. no. 26



First published in De Marinis & Motta 1991.

Images in Donati 1985: 231, fig. 31 (photo), De Marinis & Motta 1991: 203, fig. 1 (photo and drawing = 219), Tibiletti Bruno 1997: fig. 1 (drawing) and fig. 2 (photo of upper part), Motta 2000: 198, fig. 2 (photo), Morandi 2004: 784, tav. XII.26 (photo).

Inscribed in a single line within a frame running from bottom to top; the letters of the third word had to be squeezed more tightly than the rest of the inscription to fit underneath the circular head of the anthropomorphic frame (cf. De Marinis & Motta 1991: 202, 220). The letters are well preserved and easily legible, with the exception of the third letter in the third word: according to De Marinis & Motta 1991: 202, 220 f., both bars for rho R s/R3 s are visible, but do not meet due to a mistake on the part of the engraver: terialui could be formed from the same base as TI·26 teromui (also Motta 2000: 199, no. 3; see the word page). Motta also considers, doubtfully, the possibility that the engraver applied either pi P s for lambda L s or the other war around (distracted by the appearance of both letters in the preceding word pala; cf. lambda for pi in TI·39 lala and maybe pi for lambda (unless inverted lambda) in TI·36.3 metalui), thus either telialui (cf. Solinas 1995, Markey & Mees 2003: 139) or tepialui. Tibiletti Bruno 1997: 1013 suggests kappa, the engraver having committed an error of dittography by applying an upper bar as in preceding epsilon E s, then decided to treat this as the lower bar of kappa and added the correct upper bar in the lower area: tekialui as in TI·39. Since the bars not meeting in rho would have been an easy mistake to correct, and a rendering of kappa as proposed by Tibiletti Bruno does not seem quite probable, we are inclined to prefer a reading of the letter as lambda.

pala is irregularly located between individual name and patronym rather than at the end of the clause, cf. De Marinis & Motta 1991: 221–224 with examples for elements of a name formula being separated by another word in Venetic, Etruscan and Greek inscriptions, Tibiletti Bruno 1997: 1014; an alternative analysis with kuaśoni as a genitive naming the curator of the burial (already mentioned as theoretically possible in De Marinis & Motta 1991: 224 f.) in Solinas 1997 (also Morandi 2004); cf. the critique in Eska & Wallace 2001.

Dating according to De Marinis & Motta 1991: 206, 220, who ascribe the document to their type B (anthropomorphic frame with simple head and closed at the bottom); differently Tibiletti Bruno 1997: 1003–1005, who dates the stela to a later phase, arguing that the depiction of the head as a full circle indicates a crude imitation of the archaic motif. Considering that the inscription is written on one of the stela's narrow sides, it may indeed post-date TI·27.2 on one of the large faces; see there for further discussion and references.

See also Donati 1985, Motta 1992: 315.

Corinna Salomon


De Marinis & Motta 1991 Raffaele C. De Marinis, Filippo Motta, "Una nuova iscrizione lepontica su pietra da Mezzovico (Lugano)", Sibrium 21 (1990–1991), 201–225.
Donati 1985 Pierangelo Donati, "Mezzovico-Vira, distr. di Lugano, TI", Jahrbuch der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Ur- und Frühgeschichte 68 (1985), 231.
Eska & Wallace 2001 Joseph F. Eska, Rex E. Wallace, "A syncretism in fieri in early Celtic", Indogermanische Forschungen 106 (2001), 229–240.