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Attestation: VS·2 (poenino/ieureu) (1)
Language: Celtic
adapted to: Latin
Word Type: proper noun

Grammatical Categories: dat. sg. masc.
Stem Class: o

Morphemic Analysis: penn-ī̆n
Phonemic Analysis: /poenīnō/
Meaning: 'to/for Poeninos'


Also attested at Carona (poininos, poinunei, penini) and in Latin inscriptions at the pass sanctuary on the Great St. Bernard; see poininos for a discussion of the name's etymology.

poenino appears in the same form as in two of the oldest inscriptions from the sanctuary (dat. poenino, no.s 18 and 29 in Walser 1984; Wiblé 2008: 94). The diphthong ⟨oe⟩ in the stem is thought to be due to a Roman folk etymology following the association with the name of the poenī (Carthaginians) via Hannibal's crossing of the Alps (Motta 2010: 401 f., Eska & Eska 2022: 163 f.). In light of the Latinised shape of the base, the ending -o is best explained as the Latin dative ending, though a Gaulish dialectal variant of the o-stem dative ending cannot be excluded, in light of a handful of (potential) attestations of dative -⟨o⟩ in Gaulish inscriptions (RIIG BDR-10-01 (RIG G-28) βελεινο, GAR-13-01 (G-216) αδρετ̣ιο̣, GAR-15-01 (G-219) αϐρω̣, and especially L-106 δοβνορηδο and γοβανο from Bern); see the discussion in Eska & Eska 2022: 168–171 (also Aberson et al. 2021: 314 f.). The interpretation of the form as a nominative with loss of final -s (Rubat Borel 2011: 93, Andenmatten & Paccolat 2012: 92, Casini et al. 2013: 161) is possible in principle, but makes no sense in the context of the inscription (cf. Aberson et al. 2021: 314 f.).

Corinna Salomon


Aberson et al. 2021 Michel Aberson, Romain Andenmatten, Stefania Casini, Angelo E. Fossati, Rudolf Wachter, "Entre Celtes et Romains : la dédicace à Poeninos du Mur (dit) d'Hannibal", in: María José Estarán Tolosa, Emmanuel Dupraz, Michel Aberson (eds), Des mots pour les dieux. Dédicaces cultuelles dans les langues indigènes de la méditerranée occidentale, Berne: Peter Lang 2021, 309–332.
Andenmatten & Paccolat 2012 Romain Andenmatten, Olivier Paccolat, "Le mur (dit) d'Hannibal: une site de haute montagne de la fin de l'âge de Fer. Avec les contributions d'Olivier Mermod, Angela Schlumbaum et Jacqueline Studer", Jahrbuch Archäologie Schweiz 95 (2012), 77-95.
Casini et al. 2013 Stefania Casini, Angelo E. Fossati, Filippo Motta, "L'iscrizione in alfabeto di Lugano al Mur d'Hannibal (Liddes, Valais)", Notizie Archeologiche Bergomensi 21 (2013), 157–165.
Eska & Eska 2022 Joseph F. Eska, Charlene M. Eska, "Epigraphic and linguistic observations on the inscription at the so-called Mur d'Hannibal (Liddes, Valais)", Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 69/1 (2022), 159–182.