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Transliteration:  a[ / kakaka[(?) / θarani[? / saφ̣ạṇa / θ̣]arani[?
Original script: S dA8 d[
K dA7 sK dA14 dK dA7 s[
Θ dA7 sR dA7 sN2 dI d[
S sA3 sΦ2 dA7 sN2 dA7 s
Θ dA4 dR2 sA4 dN2 dI d[

Object: FI-1 antler (antler)
Position: outside
Script: North Italic script
Direction of writing: ambiguous
Letter height: 1.61.6 cm <br /> – 2.5 cm
Number of letters: 20
Number of lines: 5
Craftsmanship: engraved
Current condition: damaged, fragmentary
Archaeological culture: Fritzens-Sanzeno B (Retico B) [from object]
Date of inscription: half of the 5th–beginning of the 4th centuries BC [from object]
Date derived from: archaeological context [from object]

Type: prob. invocatory
Language: unknown
Meaning: unknown

Alternative sigla: LIR TES-1
MLR 275
TM 218457
Sources: Schumacher 2004: 154, 204 ff.



First published in Sebesta 1981: 197 ff. Autopsied by TIR in October 2014.

Images in Sebesta 1981: Fig. 1 and 3 (photos) and 2 and 3a (drawings; 3a = Schumacher 2004: Taf. 2,2), LIR (drawings), Marchesini 2012 (photos and drawing = MLR).

Five irregular lines inscribed along a blackened and fragmented handle, starting at the outer end. The lines are consequently complete in the beginning; the original length of object and lines is hard to determine. The handle is broken into numerous fragments and restored; while the assembly of the pieces has been well executed and does not distort the characters, the reading is impeded by the breaks. While the three well legible ones of the five lines do definitely start at the preserved end, it is not clear which way the characters ought to be looked at. Option 1 (end of handle to the right, sinistroverse) means inverted Alpha in three lines; option 2 (end of handle to the left, dextroverse) means inverted Nu. Rho is once written against writing direction in either case. The lines being repeatedly scratched, the position of the writer can be inferred from their shape in only about seven contradictory cases. Considering this together with the inconsistencies in letter orientation, the wryness of lines and size of the object, it is likely that the writer repeatedly turned the object in his hand while applying the inscription (cp. Mancini, who however determines a consistent writing direction for each separate line), maybe even held it vertically. A determination of writing direction may here be meaningless. Our representation (option 2) and counting of lines follows the literature and cannot be argued (cp. Sebesta p. 198: "Tale bordo si fissa convenzionalmente essere quello di sinistra" without giving reasons).

Line 1: A single Alpha right before the breaking edge, hardly damaged and well legible. No traces of characters after it. The Sigma (S d) seen by Sebesta at the beginning of the line (at the end of the object, 4.4 cm from Alpha) has very flat angles; its lines are more faint than those of the other characters, they might be unintentional. Possibly an aborted attempt at another line? The character is not included in the reading by Marchesini 2012.
Line 2 (5.7 cm): Almost undamaged and well legible; inscribed on the convex side, the most prominent part of the handle. A short vertical scratch inside of the second Alpha, crossing the bar. Possibly the remains of another hasta along the breaking edge after the last Alpha.
Line 3 (5.5 cm): Well legible. The line slopes downward, the tips of Iota and the following letter are visible on another fragment beyond a broad crack. The letter after Iota consists of a hasta plus bar line v 1 sline d 2000 s; Schumacher (p. 205) suggested R d, but remarked the lack of traces of a bar on the lower end of the hasta. Rather Lambda (or possibly Pi) L d (also Marchesini 2012). Sigma (see below) must be excluded.
Line 4 (5 cm): On the concave side of the object. After tall and reasonably well legible S sA3 s, the characters are damaged by the abovementioned crack and become smaller. A triangle R s might be identified as Rho, or combined with the following lines to form Φ2 s (so Sebesta etc.). After this, a group of scratches crossing the crack appear to align to form A7 s. Then, below the crack, possibly N2 d and another lopsided A7 s. The San (inverted Ś3 s) seen by Sebesta, with a right hasta almost coinciding with the left hasta of Alpha, is unlikely, the form being otherwise unattested in Raetic (language-encoding inscriptions). The line appears to have been squeezed in between the next one and skew line 3 – possibly an indication that it was applied last? There is no compelling reason to read this line in opposite direction to the others (pace Sebesta p. 200 and Marchesini 2012; cp. LIR: 215).
Line 5 (6 cm): Initial Θ s may be inferred from the presence of two tips of oblique lines and comparison with line 3. After Iota, the remains of a hasta along the breaking edge.

The word repeated in lines 3 and 5 is connected with the Celtic theonym Taranis (see θarani(), but note that in line 3 surely, in line 5 probably, i is not followed by s. Marchesini 2012: 183 suggests that the loss of -s indicates an adaption to Raetic onomastics, where vocalic auslauts in the nominative are typical. The presence of at least one letter after i remains to be explained – l (or p) in line 3 cannot be part of an inflectional ending (either Raetic of Celtic) and would have to be the beginning of another word. The sequence kakaka is interpreted by Marchesini (p. 181 f.) as a repetition of alleged Raetic ka 'here' (Etr. eca/ca). saφana (Marchesini: sinistroverse an/śaφ/tras) she suggests to be a "magic word" (like abracadabra; p. 182). Her interpretation (p. 183) of the whole inscription as an invocation (rather than the more usual dedication) is likely, considering the unusual form, esp. the lack of a dedicant. The existence of a Raetic deictic pronoun ka is yet to be clearly established; the sequence in line 4 remains obscure.


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)
Marchesini 2012 Simona Marchesini, "La ricezione di elementi culturali allogeni in ambito retico: Taranis in Val di Fiemme (TN)", in: –, Mode e modelli. Fortuna e insuccesso nella circolazione di cose e idee [= Officina Etruscologia 7], Roma: 2012, 177–190.