|AV-1 ring (silver)
|Direction of writing:
|Number of lines:
|Hallstatt D [from object]
|Date of inscription:
|5th century BC [from object]
|Date derived from:
|archaeological context [from object]
|'X of Lavise' / 'the son of Tipruχnu, Lavise' (?)
|MLR sub iudice nr. 4
|Schumacher 2004: 328
First published in Ziegaus & Rix 1998: 297–303.
Engraved, probably with an etcher's needle, all around the outside of the ring. The appearance of the lines varies considerably: Some have quite smooth edges, in others the shape of the instrument is betrayed by a succession of tiny angles. The smallness of the surface available can be made responsible for the irregularities in the execution of the characters, if they are indeed such – our reading follows that of Rix in the original publication, who argues that, apart from the sequence of straight strokes and zig-zag-line, the engraving is not regular or symmetrical enough to be merely decorative (p. 298). He suggests that due to the lack of space vertically, the writer expanded the characters in breadth, leading to some unusual shapes (p. 300 f.).
Rix discerns the following letters (sigla refer to Camunic inscriptions in Mancini 1980):
- St. Andrew's cross as in a handful of rock inscriptions, mainly from Crap di Luine; the denotation of the form and generally the writing of t in Camunic are problematic.
- Iota "a tratto ortogonale" as in some rock inscriptions: Sc 6 and Na 16, with the bar pointing in writing direction in Na 19, Se 1, Se 2, and apparently on BS·22. The squiggle on the right must then be a writer's mistake. The form does not occur in alphabetaria.
- Greek-style pi , which, in the Val Camonica inscriptions, occurs exclusively as inverted , but in most alphabetaria opening sideways in writing direction or .
- Rho , a standard Val Camonica shape, stretched out and carved with a rectangular body to avoid the execution of a curve.
- Upsilon , not unusual in the Val Camonica, though the orientation of the inscriptions is often indeterminable.
- Chi as occurring in Sc 6 and BS·22 in contrast to more common . Various trident-shapes appear inconsistently in the alphabetaria in the places of zeta, ksi and possibly chi; their denotation in inscriptions is uncertain.
- A contorted nu ; Rix suspects that the small upper bar is a correction of the lower one. The standard shape in the Val Camonica is , but an inversion of the bars is not unusual.
- Upsilon as above.
- Lambda as in Sc 1, at Piancogno and in most alphabetaria. is the prevalent form in the rock inscriptions. Although the bar extends very far beyond the hasta, Rix counts out because of the presence of .
- Alpha with the bar not touching the chevron, inclined to the left. While inverted forms appear to be frequent in the Val Camonica (usually congruent with the orientation of upsilon), the short bar, pace Rix, is usually attached to one of the hastae.
- Waw , which does not appear in the Camunic inscriptions, where the glide is written with the character for the vowel. A form appears in the place of waw in some alphabetaria.
- Iota as above.
- Sigma with pointed angles, probably due to lack of space vertically. The letter, pace Rix, does occur in the Sondrio alphabet, but its use seems to be limited to Piancogno and the non-rock inscriptions: with the upper angle opened in writing direction occurs on the stela from Montagna (PID 252), against writing direction on BS·22; occurs on the stela from Tresivio (PID 253) and on the Castaneda flagon, both times opened in writing direction. s seems to have been normally written (see below).
- Epsilon written without a hasta – no comparanda in any of the Transpadanian inscriptions.
- Sigma with straight bars as opposed to common Camunic (orientation usually congruent with that of alpha and upsilon). , long assumed to be a variant of zeta used for writing s, appears in the place of sigma in all the alphabetaria, while the place of zeta is occupied by a trident-shape, usually or . The situation is further complicated by the fact that, where does occur, it frequently does so in inscriptions which also contain .
- The group of vertical and oblique scratches left of is interpreted as a line filler by Rix.
The lines can be distinguished quite easily despite their smallness, though the unevenness caused by the bending of the ring does at times impede the reading. It is the segmentation which is problematic. Conveniently enough, the inscription starts to the left of the widest space (about 1 mm). While St. Andrew's cross is tidily scratched with smooth lines, the following cluster of scratches – apart form the squiggle mentioned above, some slighter scratches above and below the dominating horizontal one – is highly doubtful. It cannot be securely determined which of the traces are intentional; the alleged hasta is merely a wedge in the lower area. The next three characters are at least well segmentable: alleged pi, scratched much less smoothly than the lines before and featuring curious small bars extending towards the left from the lower end of each hasta, seems to stand alone, as does the following rectangle read as rho, very slightly converging towards the left, with the lines intersecting at the corners, and the -shape, scratched fairly smoothly again. The sequence of vertical and oblique scratches read by Rix is not unambiguously segmentable: the the zig-zag-line assumed to represent nu is in fact more of an , with an additional chevron attached to the bottom of the leftmost bar. Rix' would have a strangely crooked left hasta. The long bar of alleged , not touching the very short hasta, is connected to the left hasta of this . The space between and the following group of lines read alpha is comparatively broad (again 1 mm), but features a small but fairly deep scratch in the upper area. Alleged alpha and upsilon are pretty clear, is particularly neat. is really just two discrete chevrons, followed by a small horizontal scratch of questionable relevance. The three bars of alleged epsilon do indeed seem to lack a hasta, though the two lower ones almost converge, suggesting the trace of a hasta. The group of scratches between epsilon and the zig-zag-line appears very homogeneous: the verticals, all of the same height and spaced out evenly, are made up of tiny angles, the first three are encased by thinner vertical bars top and bottom. While it is true that the latter are made up of two scratches each, intersecting the first and third vertical lines, an isolation of the first group as from the rest cannot be justified epigraphically – it is due to the interpretation (see below). The zig-zag-line is much tidier than alleged nu in the inscription. It is followed by three more verticals which are more spaced out than the ones before.
All in all, Rix' reading is indeed "nicht unplausibel" (p. 302), but an idea of what might be read does appear to have informed the identification of some of the characters. Rix acknowledges that many problems remain, but points out that no compelling interpretation can be expected for isolated documents, which is true especially for Camunic: all of the inscriptions found beyond the Val Camonica show idiosyncrasies compared to the alphabets of the rock inscriptions. The viability of his reading is not qualified by the fact that he seems to have worked solely with Mancini's corpus, and not taken into consideration the consequences of the finding of Camunic alphabetaria, as the main reasons cited by him for assigning the inscription to the Sondrio group – the shapes of iota with a bar, , inverted alpha, and a zeta-like shape for s – still hold true. His conclusion concerning the development of the Camunic script, however, is: referring to the tentative dating of the object inferred from context (p. 297), Rix concludes that the inscription is written in a Sondrio "Uralphabet" based on the Venetic one, which still shows some archaic letters / letter forms (, , ) that are more similar to those of Venetic/Etruscan script than the later standard Sondrio shapes. The alphabetaria demonstrate the Camunic script to be borrowed directly from an archaic Etruscan, if not directly from a Greek source (see Script).
If Rix' reading is correct, the Raetic individual name lavise stands out quite clearly. If the first -shape does belong to the inscription, as Rix assumes, the name appears in the genitive case, s in the suffix -s and in the name being written with different characters. The sequence tipruχnu seems to end in the patronymic suffix -nu. Rix observes that patronyms usually follow the individual name, and that concord with the case of the individual name should be expected, and therefore prefers to interpret tipruχnu as a noun denoting the object: 'X of Lavise'. A reading including the first after tipruχnu lavise-si in the pertinentive with only the individual name being marked (see Schumacher 1998: 109 f., 112) is unlikely because i is written twice in the inscription (compare, however, BS·22 with both forms). A two-part name in the nominative tipruχnu lavise, with the first -shape part of the line filler, should not be excluded despite the unusual order. See Raetic onomastics for further considerations.
|Alberto Mancini, "Le iscrizioni della Valcamonica. Parte 1: Status della questione. Criteri per un'edizione dei materiali", Studi Urbinati di storia, filosofia e letteratura Supplemento linguistico 2 (1990), 75–167.