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Reading in transliteration: pi·rị·χio
Reading in original script: P3 dI dpunctuation dR4 dI dpunctuation dΨ4 dI dO2 d

Object: UD·1 Verzegnis (knife)
Position: handle
Direction of writing: dextroverse
Script: North Italic script (prob. Venetic alphabet)
adapted to: Latin script
Number of letters: 7
Number of words: 1
Number of lines: 1
Workmanship: unknown
Condition: unknown

Archaeological culture: unknown [from object]
Date of inscription: 2nd–1st century BC (?) [from object]

Type: unknown
Language: prob. Celtic
Meaning: 'Piriχio'

Alternative sigla: Morandi 2004: 299

Sources: Morandi 2004: 717



First published in Crevatin 2001: 117.

Image in Vannacci Lunazzi 2001: 165, fig. 5.2 (drawing = Crevatin 2001: 117 = Vannacci Lunazzi 2013: 66, fig. 4,2).

The reading is based on the only existant drawing of the inscribed side of the lost object. Pi and rho are clearly Latin, but chi and rhomboid omicron indicate the influence of vernacular literacy. The document is dated to the period of Romanisation by Crevatin 2001: 117, presumably mainly based on the Latin letter forms. The inscription is filed as being written in a Venetic alphabet because of the find place in combination with the two short strokes between the second and third and the fourth and fifth letter, which are reminiscent of Venetic syllabic punctuation. If they are intended as syllabic puncts, they are misplaced; in fact, the writer appears to have profoundly misunderstood the rules of syllabic punctuation and separated CV-syllables instead of marking non-CV-elements. The mix of Latin and North Italic letter forms also points to a writer who was not intimately familiar with traditional Venetic orthography.

Whether the reading as given above, which is the one proposed by Morandi, is correct is not entirely certain. While it seems fairly obvious from the drawing, which appears to have been made by an unauthorised detectorist of questionable competence, Crevatin in the original publication reads ??r?(·)i·χio, the uncertainty of the section after rho conceivably due to the gap which is visible in the drawing.

The document was published as a Venetic inscription by Crevatin; its ascription to the Cisalpine Celtic corpus was suggested by Morandi, who interprets the sequence as an o-stem PN with loss of final -s and compares Celtic pirakos and pirauiχeś, as well as piricatius (CIL X 899, Pompei), which is listed as Celtic in Holder 1896–1907 II: 1007. The latter example serves as marginal evidence for the use of the suffix -ik- with bir(r)- rather than the well-attested -āk- (see pirakos), but with regard to the gap between rho and oblique iota in the drawing, maybe piraχio is possible – cf. biracius (CIL XIII 6776, Mainz).

Corinna Salomon


AcS Alfred Holder, Alt-celtischer Sprachschatz, Leipzig: Teubner 1896–1907.
Crevatin 2001 Franco Crevatin, "Le inscrizioni Venetiche del Friuli", in: Gino Bandelli, Federica Fontana (eds), Iulium Carnicum. Centro alpino tra Italia e Norico dalla protostoria all'età imperiale. Atti del Convegno, Arta Terme – Cividale, 29–30 settembre 1995 [= Studi e Ricerche sulla Gallia Cisalpina 13], Roma: Quasar 2001, 115-125.