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Transliteration: ]???(?)ṇe spirkuva
Original script: A7 dV sU3 sK sR2 sI sP6 sS sspace sE sN s(?)???[

Object: FP-1 miniature shield (bronze)
Position: back
Script: North Italic script (Magrè alphabet)
Direction of writing: sinistroverse
Letter height: 1.2 cm – 1.5 cm
Number of letters: 13
Number of lines: 1
Craftsmanship: embossed
Current condition: fragmentary
Date of inscription: probably 5th century [from object]
Date derived from: typology, cultural context [from object]

Type: votive, dedicatory
Language: Raetic
Meaning: '(...) of/for Spirku' (?)

Alternative sigla: TM 968568


First published in Kirchmayr & Schumacher 2019: 264f. Examined by Stefan Schumacher in September 2018.

Images in Kirchmayr & Schumacher 2019: 259, Abb. 2 and 260, Abb. 3 (photos and drawings).

Length of the remains ca. 13 cm. The letters are embossed with at least two different tools (p. 257) from the back of the miniature shield, running along the lower rim. The inscription's original length is uncertain, as the entire left rim of the shield is missing; the upper parts of letters are visible on the lower end. Cf. NO-2 on a similar object, where the inscription, save for one offset word, symmetrically takes up the lower half of the shield. The inscription is dextroverse on the object's face side, and was thus inscribed sinistroverse on the back. Whether the writer meant for the text to be read dextroverse, did not think of the mirror effect, or did not consider the direction important, cannot be judged; the inscription is treated as sinistroverse here.

See Schumacher's publication for a detailed description of the letters, including the fragmentary ones. The first trace is the upper end of a hasta, separated from the next trace by a space which could fit two or three letters. The next trace, the upper ends of two oblique lines, are most probably the remains of nu. The remaining letters are very well legible. The pocket of rho is made up of at least four chisel marks, intending a curve. Epsilon is followed by a clear space which must be interpreted as a separator.

Typically Raetic features of the letters are the orientation of sigma and alpha. The form of pi is surprising insofar as it is attested for the first time in Raetic context, being more common in Venetic inscriptions. It is, however, related to the subtype of Magrè-type two-bar pi which we would expect in North Tyrol, viz. P3 s/P4 s (see P. Upsilon appears with one straight hasta and the second, oblique hasta shortened to a bar. This shortened second element does find comparanda in other Raetic inscriptions (e.g., MA-12), but has usually a more accidental look to it. Whether this form should be considered a graphic variant of upsilon will only be determined by further finds. In any case, the letter must be upsilon, not lambda, for phonotactic reasons as well as the relative length of the oblique stroke.

The inscription on a votive miniature shield must certainly be votive in nature as well. The only complete word spirkuva is best interpreted as a form spirku- with a (genitive?) ending -a, with [w] written in hiatus – cf. especially (putative) ratasuva. If we are dealing with a benefactive genitive, this makes spirku- a candidate for a theonym ('for Spirku'; see Onomastics). Otherwise, no interpretation can be offered.


Kirchmayr & Schumacher 2019 Margarethe Kirchmayr, Stefan Schumacher, "Ein Miniaturschild mit rätischer Inschrift vom Fernpass", in: Simon Hye, Ulrike Töchterle (eds), UPIKU:TAUKE. Festschrift für Gerhard Tomedi zum 65. Geburtstag [= Universitätsforschungen zur prähistorischen Archäologie 339], Bonn: 2019, 257–268.