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Reading in transliteration: : pazros : pompeteχuaios / kaialoiso
Reading in original script: S dO2 sI sA14 sU sΧ4 sE sT sE sP4 sM sO sP4 sseparator sS dO sR sZ6 sA14 sP4 sseparator s
O sS sI sO sL sA19 sI sA19 sK4 s

Object: TV·1 Oderzo (gravel)
Position: front, back
Direction of writing: sinistroverse
Script: North Italic script
Letter height: 3.5–10 cm1.378 in <br />3.937 in <br />
Number of letters: 28
Number of words: 3
Number of lines: 2
Workmanship: carved
Condition: complete, damaged

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

Type: funerary
Language: Celtic
Meaning: 'Pazros of the five tongues, son of Kaialos' (?)

Alternative sigla: Morandi 2004: 271

Sources: Eska & Wallace 1999: 122–133



First published in Prosdocimi 1984c.

Images in Prosdocimi 1984c: 424 f. (drawings = Gambari & Colonna 1988: 136, fig. 10 [only side A] = Lejeune 1990: 71 [only side A] = Prosdocimi & Marinetti 1991: 419), Prosdocimi 1988: 304, fig. 287, 288, 289 (photos), Morandi 2004: 694, fig. 30.271 (drawing).

Inscribed on both flat sides of the ciottolone; the letters are damaged by erosion. Line 1 (length ca. 67 cm) is executed in a ellipsoid (19 x 30 cm) and line 2 (length 32.5 cm) in a straight line. Note that the side with line 1 is considered to be side B, and the one with line 2 to be side A, by Prosdocimi; the order as given above, already used by Pellegrini 1984, was established by Gambari & Colonna 1988: 136 based on the fact that B looks complete, while A seems to be an addition (see also Eska & Wallace 1999: 122, n. 4). See Prosdocimi 1984c: 424–429 and Pellegrini 1984: 443 f. for descriptions of the letters and the difficult, but not ultimately problematic reading (though Pellegrini read the second pi as waw and was uncertain about the first one); Prosdocimi determined that the ductus of the two sequences is the same and that they belong together as one inscription.

The document combines Venetic and Celtic features and is part of both the Venetic (as *Od 7) and the Cisalpine Celtic corpus (Morandi 2004 no. 71). Originally classified as Venetic with Celtic onomastic elements on strength of find place, support, alphabet and text formula – it was argued to be linguistically Celtic by Eska & Wallace 1999.

The alphabet used in the inscription cannot be securely classified, as it combines features which belong to different North Italic writing traditions, or are unique to the inscription. Pi has a curious shape with a broken hasta P4 s which is otherwise unattested, and zeta Z6 s features horizontal bars at the very ends of the hasta – there is only one doubtful occurrence of such a form in Raetic RN-1 (Prosdocimi 1984c: 428 f. also compares the "dumbbell" character in PD·1, but it is unlikely that this belongs here). Prosdocimi 1984 (also 1986e: 86 f., 1987: 577–579, 1988: 303 f.) as well as Lejeune 1990: 71 presuppose a Venetic writing tradition because of the document's provenance and support and, in a second step, the use of zeta for a dental stop in pazros according to the orthography of the Venetic Este alphabet. (The reading of zeta as /d/, going back to Prosdocimi 1984c: 427, appears to be widely accepted; to my knowledge, no analysis of the sequence pazros with a dental-sibilant cluster has been suggested.) Prosdocimi & Marinetti 1991: 421 explain the unusual features of the inscription's alphabet, both generally and from a Venetic perspective, as the conscious attempt of the foreigner to set his funerary monument apart. Eska & Wallace 1999: 122 f. are sceptical of the identification of the alphabet as Venetic, indicating (p. 123 f., n. 10) features which do not agree with a Venetic classification: the shapes of pi with a single bar, lambda with the bar at the bottom and tip-down upsilon are atypical for the Venetic alphabets, which usually have pi with two bars and inverted lambda and upsilon; zeta in the Este alphabet has the standardised shape Z11 s. The authors point out (p. 133 f., n. 35) that the non-inverted forms of lambda and upsilon are the standard forms of the Lepontic alphabet, that sporadic Lepontic zeta (e.g. Z5 s) is more similar to the *Od 7 form, and that word separation, which is unknown from Venetic inscriptions, occurs regularly in Lepontic texts. It must be said that the "traditional" forms of pi, lambda and upsilon are actually reasonably common on the cippi funerari from Este and in the archaic Venetic inscriptions. Zeta for /d/ is also an unambiguously Venetic (Atestine) feature, only occurring otherwise in Venetoid Raetic inscriptions (PU-1, ST-2). The inscription's alphabet is maybe best explained as the product of interference between writing Venetic and Celtic traditions that stands in some relation to the Celtic text and Venetic context of the document.

Prosdocimi 1984c (also 1986e: 86 f., 1987: 577–579, 1988: 303–307) analysed the two sequences on side 1 as Celtic names: pompe-teχua as a compound 'five languages', and padros as derived from the numeral 'four' – though these analyses are problematic in detail, the Celticity of the names is still accepted (see the word pages). Expecting a Venetic text, however, Prosdocimi interpreted pazros pompeteχuaios as a Venetic onomastic formula with a patronym in -i̯o 'Pazros son of Pompeteχua'; uncertain about the identification of kaialoiso as a genitive form, he (1984c: 430) left it aside in his interpretation. Gambari & Colonna 1986: 136 and Lejeune 1990: 71 accepted that -oiso is the genitive ending, but considered kaialoiso evidence for this ending also in (archaic) Venetic (the existence of PIE *-osi̯o in Italic being attested in Faliscan and archaic Latin, see the morpheme page). While Lejeune interpreted the two elements in the nominative like Prosdocimi as a Venetic onomastic formula naming the deceased, and the name in the genitive as referring to the "curateur" of the monument (but see Eska & Wallace 1999: 125), Gambari and Colonna interpreted the entire text as a three-name formula in which the third member kaialoiso represents the patronym expressed with a genitive of appurtenance instead of the usual adjectival patronym ('Pazros Pompeteχuaios son of Kaialos').

Doubts about Venetic -oiso are voiced by Solinas 1995: 352 as well as by Prosdocimi 1991: 154 once the identification of kaialoiso as a genitive was certain. Prosdocimi & Marinetti 1991: 423 state that the text in its entirety – names, inflection and onomastic formula (-ii̯o being attested as forming patronyms in Cisalpine Celtic inscriptions) – could be Celtic. Eska 1995: 42 shows that *-osi̯o > -oiso is an irregular morphonological development which is unlikely to have happened independently in Lepontic and Venetic, so that -oiso in the present inscription is either a loan from Lepontic to Venetic, or – altogether more plausible – simply Lepontic (Eska & Wallace 1999: 126–128). Eska & Wallace interpret pompeteχuaios as an epithet rather than the patronym, like Prosdocimi and Lejeune, and kaialoiso as the genitival patronym (p. 132). (I think that this is the interpretation suggested by Colonna as mentioned above, but Eska & Wallace understood him to mean something else; the passage is not quite clear.) See also Meid 1999: 15, n. 23, Eska & Evans 2009: 35. Markey & Mees 2003: 141 interpret kaialoiso as a nomen supplementing the patronym pompeteχuaios ('Padros son of Pompeteχuaios of the Kai family').

The palaeographic dating to the 6th–5th c. given by Morandi 2004: 693 is based on the assumption that the alphabet is Venetic: according to Prosdocimi's chronology of Venetic writing, the Este alphabet is a phase-2 alphabet of which syllabic punctuation is a defining feature, while in the archaic Venetic alphabet, which lacked syllabic punctuation, zeta for /d/ did not exist. Prosdocimi 1987: 577 appears to think of an orthographically Este-type alphabet with archaic characteristics and gives the 5th c., Lejeune 1990: 71 the mid-5th c. as terminus ante quem. If the lack of syllabic punctuation is not an archaic Venetic, but one of the non-Venetic features of the alphabet, this dating is obsolete (cf. Eska & Wallace 1999: 122 f.). A linguistic dating possibility is brought in by Eska & Wallace's analysis of pazros as a loan from Latin (see the word page). Eska & Wallace 1999: 128 f. argue that pazros was borrowed from Latin during or shortly after the time when the P-Celtic sound change /k/ > /p/ was active, which would be some time after 500 BC according to Eska's chronology (p. 129, n. 21). The exclusion of a pre-sound change borrowing is presumably excluded due to the unlikelyhood of close contacts between Celtic and Latin before the 5th c. BC, though why the borrowing could not have happened considerably later – in the 2nd or 1st c., when contact with Latin was well established – is not clear. (G-106 κουαδρουνια provides evidence for a loan phoneme /k/ in the 1st c. BC, but what is true for Transalpine Gaul must not necessarily be for a stray Celt in Northern Italy.) A related open question concerns the Celtic filum that these names belong to – as an isolated case and without reliable dating, Padros could have come to Oderzo from Carnia (cf. Lejeune 1990: 71) or Central Italy as well as north-western Italy (cf. Eska & Wallace 1999 133). */n̥C/ > /en/ in pompeteχuaios and the ending -oiso may identify the language of the text as Lepontic, always provided that -oiso is indeed exclusive to that language.

Corinna Salomon


Eska & Evans 2009 Joseph Francis Eska, David Ellis Evans, "Continental Celtic", in: Martin J. Ball, Nicole Müller (eds), The Celtic Languages, 2nd edition, London – New York: Routledge 2009.
Eska & Wallace 1999 Joseph Francis Eska, Rex E. Wallace, "The linguistic milieu of *Oderzo 7", Historische Sprachforschung 112 (1999), 122-136.
Eska 1995 Joseph F. Eska, "Observations on the thematic genitive singular in Lepontic and Hispano-Celtic", in: Joseph F. Eska, R. Geraint Gruffydd, Nicolas Jacobs (eds), Hispano-Gallo-Brittonica. Essays in honour of Professor D. Ellis Evans on the occasion of his sixty-fifth birthday, Cardiff: University of Wales Press 1995, 33–46.
Gambari & Colonna 1988 Filippo Maria Gambari, Giovanni Colonna, "Il bicchiere con iscrizione arcaica da Castelletto Ticino e l'adozione della scrittura nell'Italia nord-occidentale", Studi Etruschi 54 (1986 [1988]), 119–164.