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CYPRIOTE INSCRIPTIONS OF THE DI CESNOLA COLLECTION
IN THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART,
IN NEW YORK CITY.
BY ISAAC H. HALL.
Presented to the Society October 28th, 1874.
[As read before the Society, this article contained, in addition to the matter indicated in the title, a general account of the known Cypriote Inscriptions, their discovery and location, with a detailed history of the progress made in their decipherment. It also contained a statement of the principles of the Cypriote writing, with the more prominent grammatical and dialectic peculiarities. But as those matters would greatly swell the bulk of this contribution, besides the fact of their not being entirely new, they are omitted here, with a few exceptions, which seem necessary to be stated.
Since the reading of the article, also, the excellent work of Deecke and Siegismund has appeared, and anticipated me in the publication of a few new points. Of these, I need only mention that the reason given at the time of reading my article for the value of the longer numeral on the Bronze Tablet, was that its first character was identical with the syllable pe, and was probably an abbreviation for EVTε. In one respect I differ: in the Bronze Tablet, I prefer the reading Kntieres to KetiEFE5, as there is manuscript authority for Κητιον. Also έμι (inscriptions) or έμμι (Homeric, &c.), to nui, as a transliteration of the e.mi. of the Bi-Lingual of De Vogüé.]
THE valuable collection of Cypriote Antiquities discovered by Gen. Luigi Palma di Cesnola, on the site of ancient Citium, Idalium, Golgos and elsewhere, and now deposited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, contains nearly thirty inscriptions in the Cypriote character. The following pages and plates contain all the inscriptions now in the mu
*together with three others from copies communicated by Gen. Di Cesnola, of which the originals have not come to this country. Two inscriptions figured by Moriz Schmidt in "Die Inschrift von Idalion und das Kyprische Syliabar," viz: No. 7, p. 98, and No. 13, p. 100, I have not found in the collection. Copies of the inscriptions were taken for the British Museum before the collection came to this country, from which an incomplete set of photographs were taken and published by Mansell in London, in 1872-3; but these, to judge from citations, cannot be entirely reliable. A catalogue of the collection, with some of the inscriptions inaccurately figured, was published by the St. Petersburg Academy, in its Memoires of 1873. This was made by Johannes Doell, and entitled "Die Sammlung Cesuola." A few more or less perfect, copies have also been given in the various works of those engaged in deciphering. It is proper here to express my acknowledgments to the various officers of the museum for their efficient courtesy ; especially to John Taylor Johnston, Esq., the president, for permission to examine and study the inscriptions, kindly extended to me while he was private owner of the collection, and to Mr. Thomas Bland, assistant secretary, and Mr. H. G. Hutchins, curator, for their continual assistance, and for making the objects of study more readily accessible.
The principal works on the Cypriote writing are the following (1) Numismatique et Inscriptions Cypriotes, pur H. De Luynes, Paris, 1872; (2) On the Discovery of some Cypriote Inscriptions. by R. Hamilton Lang, Part I., Vol. I., Transactions of Soc. of Bibl. Archaeology: (3) On the Reading of the Cypriote Inscriptions, by George Smith, and a Supplementary Article by the same, both published in same volume as the paper of Lang; (4) Cypriote Inscriptions. On the Reading of the Bronze Plate of Dali, by Dr. Samuel Birch, Part II. of last mentioned volume; (5) Versuch zur Entzifferung der Kyprischen Schrift, von Johannes Brandis, Monatsbericht of the Berlin Royal Academy of Sciences, 1873; (a posthumous work, edited by Ernst Curtius;) (6) Anzeige (der Brandis'schen Schrift) by Moriz Schmidt, No. 85, Jenaer Litteratur Zeitung, 1874, and Nachtrag by same author; (7) Die Inschrift von Idalion und das Kyprische Syllabar, by Moriz Schmidt, Jena, 1874; (8) Die wichtigsten kyprischen Inschriften umschrieben und erläutert, by Wilhelm Deecke and Justus Siegismund, G. Curtius' Studien zur griechischen u. lateinischen Grammatik, Band VII., 1875. For other minor articles published, see the work of Moriz Schmidt, (No. 7,) above mentioned. Two noted and amusing failures should
* Since writing the above, I learn that a new collection has arrived in New York. The cases are not yet opened, and I have no means of ascertaining the number or matter of their new inscriptions.
here be mentioned, to wit: (1) Die Proklamation des Amasis, by Prof. E. M. Röth, Heidelberg and Paris, 1855; (2) Die Phoenizisch-Cyprishe Forschung, by A. Helfferick, Frankfurt A. M.,
The language of the inscriptions is Greek, but not easy to read. It contains some new words, and has some striking grammatical and dialectic peculiarities. In dialect it seems nearest to the Doric and Arcadian. Only a brief mention of peculiarities is given here, in order to enable the reader to follow intelligibly the transliterations.
The characters are syllabic. There is one character for each vowel, a, e, i, o, u, and perhaps an extra one for o, but no distinction between long and short. The other characters represent open syllables, i. e., beginning with a consonant and ending with a vowel. The whole theoretic syllabary appears tolerably complete, as the number of unknown characters is about enough to fill out the number of syllables that may be said to be wanting.
No distinction is made between smooth, middle and rough mutes of the same organ. The same character stands for va in Tas, da in 'Edaλior and 9a in 'A9ava. The same character may stand for κε, κη, γε, γη, χε, χη. This fact constitutes the greatest difficulty in reading Cypriote.
There are three digamma syllables, wa, we, wo; but the digamma must have been disappearing, as, for instance, the genitive of βασιλευς is written indifferently βασιλειος and Baoles. I think there is reason also to suspect a further use of the digamma syllables than that appearing in words known to have been originally digammated, analogous to that of the Hebrew waw both silent and sounded; but am not prepared to state it fully yet.
Three syllables begin with i as consonant, like the Semitic jod mobile, German j or English y. These are ia, ie and . In
English we have io, as in union, etc.
Iota subscript (adscript) is regularly written, but is frequently omitted where it can be supplied from one of a number of words in the same case.
A consonant appears never to be doubled-as is the case in unpointed Hebrew, etc. E. g., a.po.lo.ni. stands for 'AzolAvi; though this particular case has a parallel in Greek in the inscription on the Delphic brazen-serpent column.
Double consonants appear to be resolved into their constituent syllables; the words being determined by laws presently to be shown, e. g., ki.si. stands for 1. The one exception known is the syllable xe, which is expressed by a single char
The vowels (and e) and
frequently change places, as
sometimes in Greek inscriptions-showing that the Cypriotes probably had Iotacists among them. Compare also the continual Hebrew and Syriac transliteration of n by jod, and the use of the Greek ancient uncial H as the vowel sign for jod.
In certain cases n is systematically omitted. Thus pa.to. stands for TavTшv; άvdрwnоs is written a.to.ro.po.se. The preposition ev is written 2.
Final s, and final n when written, are the syllables for se and ne respectively; like Hebrew shewa with final consonant, or silent final e in French and English. I suspect it to be the universal rule, that where a word ends with a consonant, its e-syllable is used.
Diphthongs are written in full. Thus a.ne.u. stands for ἀνευ.
There is no sign to mark the breathings.
Sometimes a division between two words occurs in the midst of a character. Thus ta.na.ta.na.ne. stands for tav 'A9avav. Besides the foregoing, it is requisite to know the rules for joining together two consonants in one syllable. The most comprehensive rule is that when two compatible consonants come together, with the same vowel, they may be joined in one syllable. Thus po.to.li.se. stands for Tolis; ko.lo.ki.a.i. for Folyta. Yet the facts may be grouped a little more definitely in the three rules following, which are substantially those given by Deecke and Siegismund.
1. When a word begins with two consonants, or when a syllable begins with a mute followed by a liquid, the first consonant is represented by a character having the same vowel as the second. Thus a.ti.ri.a.ta.ne. stands for a(v)Spia(v)τav; se.pe.o.se. for σπηо5.
2. In other cases in the body of a word, including cases where a syllable ends with a consonant, the characters for the second consonant is that which has the vowel of the first. Thus ta.sa.ke., stands for Taoye; a.ra.ku.ro., for apуvpw. This rule, however, appears to have exceptions, or quasi exceptions.
3. Perhaps also the rule existed that when three consonants occur together in a syllable, the character of the first is that having the vowel of the preceding syllable, and the second, that of the following. Thus te.re.ki.ni.ia., a new word, may be read τερχνια; and yet the reading τρεχνια is allowable, under the preceding rules.
It will thus be seen that after the difficulty of making out the reading is surmounted-which is considerable, owing to the imperfect state of the ancient objects on which they occur, to the similarity of different characters, and to the carelessness or ignorance of the scribe or engraver-the real difficulty has only
begun. Every character of an inscription may be known, and yet the inscription be unintelligible, even when composed of familiar words. A single pair of syllables may sometimes be transliterated in nearly thirty different ways; and now and then the difficulties increase almost in accordance with the arithmetical rules governing combinations.
For information respecting the grammatical and dialectic peculiarities, the reader is referred to the works of Schmidt, and of Deecke and Siegismund, above mentioned.
A discussion of the origin of this style of writing would be very tempting, but hardly in place here. Just one point not noticed elsewhere may be mentioned: one form of the character for digamma-a (wa) appears to be identical with the Lycian w.
We will now proceed to the inscriptions themselves, taking them in the order in which they occur on the accompanying plates. They are arranged solely with a view to economy of space: not to follow any system. It should be noted here that No. 24 on Plate VI., and No. 30 on Plate VII., are invertedwrong side up. The short time at my disposal, (being soon to leave the country,) and the fact that otherwise those inscriptions are very faithfully figured, have induced me to leave them as they are, without alteration. As no one in the country knows from what locality each particular object was procured, I am obliged, for the most part, to leave that point in doubt. The plates represent the inscriptions of the same size as the originals, except where otherwise stated.
PLATE I., No. 1. (No. 247 in the Cesnola collection.) On a soft stone about 9 inches high, and a trifle longer than the inscription. Above the inscription, on the left, is a sitting figure, facing the right; an object like a pine-cone in its left hand in the raised right hand a tall stout staff or scepter, whose lower end rests on the ground. In front is a block (altar?) with sides slightly curved so that the base is a little wider than the top. The top is hollowed out a little, and on it rests a ball. Behind this block is the thick trunk of a tree, whose three (broken) branches overshadow the sitting figure, as well as four other figures who approach in procession from the right, having each his right fore arm raised from the elbow. The sculpture is too much worn to allow further details to be given. A deep groove of the carving cuts into some of the characters under the block; and at the right there was doubtless more of the inscription in the upper (if not in the lower) line, which is now worn away. One leg of the chair or throne of the sitting figure descends into the upper line of the inscription, separating the last two characters from the rest. The