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Reading in transliteration: arimai
Reading in original script: I sA3 sM5 sI sR sA3 s
Variant reading: ariśai
I sA3 sŚ2 sI sR sA3 s

Object: TI·5 Giubiasco (plate)
Position: bottom, outside
Orientation: 180°
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: 6
Number of words: 1
Number of lines: 1
Workmanship: scratched after firing
Condition: complete, damaged

Archaeological culture: La Tène D [from object]
Date of inscription: 150–25 BC [from object]

Type: unknown
Language: Celtic
Meaning: 'to/for Arima' (?)

Alternative sigla: Whatmough 1933 (PID): 262
Solinas 1995: 11
Morandi 2004: 6

Sources: Morandi 2004: 522 no. 6



First published in Herbig 1906: 191, no. 8. Examined for LexLep on 20th July 2021.

Images in Herbig 1906: 191, no. 8 (drawing), Rhŷs 1913: tav. III (photo), Morandi 1999: 162, no. 2 (drawing) and pl. III.1 (photo), Morandi 2004: 525, fig. 8.6 (drawing).

Inscribed upside-down on the bottom of the patera (length 5 cm). The letters are untidy, the scratches are rendered faint by surface damage and partly disturbed by a crack; the reading is accordingly difficult and uncertain. Herbig proposed aśimei, Rhŷs 1913: 27 f., no. 5 suggested axim(i)ai (cf. Crivelli 1943: 53 aximei), Whatmough 1933: 78, no. 262 erimia·i·, all with reservations and descriptions of the letters. Without further discussions of the forms, Solinas 1995: 324, n. 11 opts for arimiai, Morandi 1999: 162, no. 4 (also 2004) for ariśai. Cf. also Tibiletti Bruno 1965b: 567, n. 40; Tibiletti Bruno 1975b: 54; Tibiletti Bruno 1978: 143.

Initial alpha A3 s seems clear. The second letter features a superfluous oblique line to form an O5 s-like shape, but Whatmough is right in pointing out that a hasta on the right is visible, and that rho R s is the most likely reading. Iota I s, again, is clear. Then follows a group of scratches as shown in the drawing, some of which must be superfluous. A reading as Latinoid mu M5 s or san Ś2 s disregards the short scratches in the middle. Solinas' arimiai appears to assume a wonky North Italic mu M4 s with the left hasta as a separate iota, but this is unlikely both because the Lepontic alphabet has mu with four bars, and the left hasta is clearly connected at the top. It is unclear why the otherwise thin line of the crack which damages the letters on top and follows the rightmost bar of M5 s (?) looks like it is following a longer scratch all the way to where it partly coincides with the upper bar of the second-to-last letter alpha (hence the inclusion of this section in Morandi's drawing). Perhaps some writing mistake and subsequent corrections have rendered this part of the inscription difficult to interpret; the reading as M5 s must be considered uncertain. M5 s, which occurs three times in inscriptions (potentially) from Giubiasco (TI·7 amu?, TI·9 remu), is more likely to be Latin mu than a form of san which is otherwise unattested in the Lepontic alphabet (see Ś for a detailed discussion). The second-to-last letter is a smallish alpha A3 s; the trace below the second bar by the hasta which lead Herbig to read epsilon seems to be damage. The final letter, generally read iota, clearly consists of two equally deep scratches, the left one slightly rounded.

With regard to the commonness of dative forms at Giubiasco, a reading with final iota and hence a personal name in the dative arimai seems most plausible, though neither this nor ariśai finds comparanda (see the word pages). Whether the inscription stands in connection with a burial or whether the patera was a secular gift cannot be decided.

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.