PU-1

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Inscription
Transliteration: χa?φelzurieskalahepruśiahil(?) / klu?θurus
Original script: Χ dA13 d?Φ dE dL dZ4 dU5 dR2 dI dE dS2 sK dA13 dL dA13 dH3 dE dP dR2 dU5 dŚ2 dI dA13 dH3 dI dL d(?)
K dL dU5 d?Θ dU5 dR dU5 dS2 d

Object: PU-1 girdle plate (bronze)
Position: back
Orientation: 180°
Script: North Italic script (Magrè alphabet)
Direction of writing: dextroverse
Letter height: 22 cm
– 3.7 cm
Number of letters: 36
Number of lines: 2
Craftsmanship: engraved
Current condition: complete, damaged
Date of inscription: beginning of the 5th century BC [from object]
Date derived from: typology [from object]

Language: Raetic
Meaning: unknown

Alternative sigla: IR 99
LIR SLO-1
MLR 22
TM 218543
Sources: Schumacher 2004: 186

Images

Commentary

First published in Pellegrini 1951b: 11–15. Autopsied by TIR in June 2015.

Images in Pellegrini 1951b: 11 (drawing), Pellegrini 1952: 542 (drawing = Pellegrini 1959: 194), Mayr 1960g (drawing), Lunz 1981: Taf. 86 (drawing) and LIR (drawing), MLR (photo and drawing).

Written in two lines on the back of a girdle plate (upside-down when the plate is worn). The inscription is in very bad condition; according to Pellegrini 1959: 194 the object had been polished since his original publication, which led to the characters being "quasi svanite" – while the situation is not quite that bad, a reading is difficult without the help of the drawings made before the cleaning, provided by Pellegrini. Note that his 1952 facsimile is truer than the original drawing by G.B. Frescura, which features some curiously angular letters; the overall best representation, however, is the one by Lunz. The letters are uniformly tall and slender, bars tending to be applied close to the top, with prolonged hastae towards the bottom. They are slightly inclined to the right, but tidily scratched.

Line 1: Length about 26.5 cm. Written along the upper edge (which is the lower one going by the figural decorations on the front), with a distance of 0.5–1 cm from it. Χ d is very faint, but clear; A13 d is rather broad and comparatively well visible. The following character is not as tall as the others, being written in the upper part of the line: a short hasta, two parallel lines slanting down, another two slanting upwards again, intercrossing with the first pair. Pellegrini originally read M d, misinterpreting the upper one of the first pair of bars as a third bar. If anything, N d is more likely, and no other letter suggests itself, but there is no reason for the shortened hasta, and lines crossing or being repeated do not occur anywhere else in the inscription. After a comparatively wide gap (0.8 cm) Φ dE d; L d is all but vanished, but may be seen with the right light. The next letter can be confirmed to look as Pellegrini drew it (Z4d s), but the identification as Sigma is not plausible: The central vertical is full-length and perfectly straight, the two bars – not meeting in the centre – reach neatly up to it. The letter looks too neat to be a ramshackle S s, quite apart from the fact that Sigma appears in its four-stroke variant twice in the inscription. As already observed by Schürr 2001: 214 (note 30), an identification of the letter as an otherwise unattested variant of Zeta is much more likely. U5 dR2 dI dE dS2 s is clear. Pellegrini saw a punctuation mark line d 01 s at the bottom of the line, parallel to the lowest bar of S2 s; it could not be certainly confirmed in autopsy. The distance between S2 s and K d is not bigger than average. K d is damaged by a vertical crack, but unambiguous, as are the following letters.

From the first Heta on the letters get thinner and slightly shorter – the writer obviously got into difficulties with the remaining space. This begs the question of whether more letters might not be found after L d: Pellegrini saw the trace of another hasta, opting to read Sigma (Pellegrini 1952: 542 ff.); no opinions can be offered today, as the area appears to have been polished particularly scrupulously. In any case, the group of scratches right below the last letters of line 1 is not a continuation of the line (pace Mayr 1960g: 495), but an independent character, probably non-script (cp. Vetter 1954: 79). It has two almost identical counterparts, situated at the centre of the other short side and in the centre of the plaque, respectively. Pellegrini interprets them as the Etruscan numeral 50 s1 s (inverted) '51' (or '53', due to the varying number of small scratches in the chevron: two in the central character, one in the left-side one, none in the right-side one), and compares the last group of strokes in SZ-15.2. Ribezzo 1952–53b: 470, Mayr 1960g and Mancini read them as (various) letters.

Line 2: Length about 9.5 cm, written along the lower edge. The letters start approximately at the centre of the line, right behind the latter of the abovementioned symbols (?) – possibly to avoid it, assuming that they preceded the application of the inscription. The lower bar of K d is very faint. The third letter is definitely U5 d, not A14 d as originally read by Pellegrini – the bar, even if it could be detected, would have the wrong orientation. The following letter is another eccentric assembly of lines (see drawing). Pellegrini again read N d, for the sake of obtaining a sequence klan to compare with Etruscan clan 'son', but as with the two instances mentioned above, the identification of the character is far from certain (unless one opts to assume that the writer just couldn't master the letter Nu). The rest of the line is unambiguous; S2 d is turned against writing direction in opposition to S2 s in line 1.

The alphabet of PU-1 is that of Magrè with "inverted" Upsilon and Lambda and angled Pi. The peculiarities in ductus – the forms of Sigma, Heta and San – are assumed to be archaic by Pellegrini and Vetter 1954: 78. Four-stroked S2 s occurs elsewhere only the more peculiar type of prevalently dextroverse Raetic rock inscriptions (see Script). It is very rare in Venetic, only occurring in the South, but less so in the Lugano alphabet; Pellegrini considers it an Etruscan feature. Heta H3 d with three bars is archaic only in Venetic terms; in Raetic context, without regard to its comparative rareness, it is the variety typical for the Magrè alphabet (in contrast to H2 s in the Sanzeno alphabet). Double-pennon San Ś2 s, on the other hand, is isolated in the Raetic corpus (the parallels from Magrè and Verona mentioned by Pellegrini are non-existent); it does, however, parallel the development of San in the Lugano alphabet (see Lexicon Leponticum: Ś). Pellegrini's assessment that the alphabet used was particularly close to the Etruscan cannot be confirmed, but the inscription does display some unusual features.

This also pertains to the linguistic content, which is mostly obscure. (Pellegrini's complete, though tentative, interpretation of the text as an Etruscoid sepulchral inscription certainly goes too far.) Assuming that the separator in line 1 does exist, we have auslauting -s twice in the text, possibly marking genitives. klunθuru with auslauting -u might well be an individual name (cp. laθuru, χaisuru). The only sequence which can be readily compared to other Raetic material is φelzuries ('of/for Φelzurie'?), which cannot but belong with φel(i)turie. The dental stop being written with rare Zeta is yet another peculiarity of this inscription – see Script for a discussion of the writing of dentals. The ending of line 1 might be compared to that of PA-1 akvil· – even if ahil is not the same word, the ending suggests a noun; Mancini identifies the trace after L d as a punctuation mark on the basis of this parallel. Pellegrini suggests etr. avil 'year' (going with his numerals).

PU-1 is one of the few lengthy Raetic inscriptions not containing a pertinentive construction with a form in -u. On a girdle plate, a votive or sepulchral inscription is not primarily to be expected (a profane gift?), but cannot be excluded (secondary use).

Further references: Tibiletti Bruno 1978: 230 f., Mancini 1999: 302.

Bibliography

IR Alberto Mancini, "Iscrizioni retiche", Studi Etruschi 43 (1975), 249–306.
Lexicon Leponticum David Stifter, Martin Braun, Michela Vignoli et al., Lexicon Leponticum. URL: http://www.univie.ac.at/lexlep/
LIR Alberto Mancini, Le Iscrizioni Retiche [= Quaderni del dipartimento di linguistica, Università degli studi di Firenze Studi 8–9], Padova: Unipress 2009–10. (2 volumes)
Lunz 1981 Reimo Lunz, Archäologie Südtirols. Von den Jägern des Mesolithikums (um 7000 v. Chr.) bis zum Ende des Weströmischen Reiches (476 n. Chr.) [= Archäologische Forschungen in Tirol 7], Calliano (Trento): 1981.
Mancini 1999 Alberto Mancini, "Iscrizioni retiche: aspetti epigrafici", in: Gianni Ciurletti, Franco Marzatico, I Reti / Die Räter [= Archeologia delle Alpi 5], Trento: Artigianelli 1999. (2 volumes), 297–333.