Ancient Tunisian inscriptions

Offline lorenz_79

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Hi all,

Would someone help me to translate the following ancient letters into English  ?







Thanks in Advace .
« Last Edit: 30 Apr, 2008, 06:33:44 by billberg23 »


Online billberg23

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All I can tell you for sure about these inscriptions is that they're much more likely to be Latin than Greek.  The letters S and D, for instance, never occur in Greek.  And nouns or names ending in -us and -ius are definitely Roman, not Greek.  And in the fourth line of the first inscription, I'm pretty sure I read "vix," (Latin for "almost," "scarcely").
In fact, the only Greek letter there is Λ, which could easily be a mis-transcription of A.

That said, I still can't make heads or tails of your inscriptions, Lorenz.  Can you give us some background on them, e.g., where they were found?  A ruin?  A cemetery?  A sanctuary?  A farmer's field?  A museum?  A wall?  That might help.

Do I have your permission to transfer this thread to the Latin forum?



Offline lorenz_79

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Dear Mr.Bill,


Thanks for your quick respond , hope others can participate too !

Those inscriptions were found in a very old ancient cemetery, i really indeed have to know what do they mean ? or How to translate them accurately into English ?


If transferring this thread into Latin forum helps, please do so .


Best Regards .


Online billberg23

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It would also be helpful if you could tell us in what town and/or country the cemetery was located.




Online billberg23

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These may well be inscriptions from the new colony of Carthage, founded in the first century on the site of the ancient Punic city (destroyed by the Romans in 146 B.C.).  Many veterans were settled here, with land grants as a reward for their years of military service.  We may be looking at the tombstones of such men.  The three figures at the top of the first inscription seem to be in their burial wrappings.

I gather that reading these inscriptions is an urgent matter for you, Lorenz.  Unfortunately, the transcriptions you provide are too rough to permit easy knowledge of the stones’ content.  Is there any chance that we can see photos of the actual stones?  They are undoubtedly published somewhere:  do you have access to a library that might have, e.g., Alfred Merlin, Inscriptions Latines de la Tunisie


Offline Philip

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They could be Punic rather than Latin.  Haven't time to check right now, but they look similar to Punic inscritions in Western Libya.
But how shall men meditate in that, which they cannot understand? How shall they understand that which is kept close in an unknown tongue?

THE TRANSLATORS TO THE READER
Preface to the King James Version 1611


Online billberg23

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Bravo, Philip!  This explains why we’re looking at Roman script without being able to read it.  According to J. N. Adams, Bilingualism and the Latin Language   (Cambridge 2005) pp. 230ff., inscriptions in “Latino-Punic” from the third to fifth centuries used the Roman alphabet to write the Neo-Punic language.  True Latin formulas were liberally mixed in, so it’s tempting to see, for example, DI (S)  M [ANIBUS]  S [ACRUM] (“sacred to the spirits of the departed”) in the first line of the second inscription, and a possible  VIX [IT] ANNIS (“lived … years”) toward the end of both inscriptions.

Cf. http://books.google.com/books?id=AMc1WQAnRTkC&pg=PA230&lpg=PA230&dq=Punic+inscriptions&source=web&ots=z9yPu3pLxU&sig=SaExZxvctwnNI9tCV3zJAUJNvX0&hl=en

« Last Edit: 30 Apr, 2008, 19:23:04 by billberg23 »


Offline Philip

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I remember similar inscriptions from Leptis Magna, near Tripoli, Libya (was there in 1968, when it was still the Kingdom of L.)  It is a magnificent site, & well worth a visit if possible.  I believe Punic has been deciphered and inscriptions translated, but have no special knowledge of this myself.
But how shall men meditate in that, which they cannot understand? How shall they understand that which is kept close in an unknown tongue?

THE TRANSLATORS TO THE READER
Preface to the King James Version 1611


Offline vbd.

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I remember similar inscriptions from Leptis Magna, near Tripoli, Libya (was there in 1968, when it was still the Kingdom of L.)  It is a magnificent site, & well worth a visit if possible.  I believe Punic has been deciphered and inscriptions translated, but have no special knowledge of this myself.

Punic has in fact been deciphered and inscriptions have been translated.
About the inscriptions in the Leptis Magna theatre (I assume you are talking about these); they are bilingual: A text written in the latin language followed by the punic version of the same text.

billberg23's suggestions seem to be on point.

I want to recognize numerals in this text (the Z-shaped characters are potential "20"s [twenties]), but I really can't be sure, and I don't want to make assumptions without seeing and examining the original. Either way, this is not my area of expertise.
At last, I have peace.


 

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