Talk:Duenos Inscription

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Whose reading or translation is this? I myself am aware of quite a different one which makes some sense actually as well:

A: io uei sat deiuos qoi med mitat nei ted endo cosmis uirco sied

  "May the Gods, Jove, Vejove, and Saturn (grant) that Proserpine to whom they suffer this vase to be despatched, show thee no favor"

B: asted noisi ope toitesiai pacari uois

  "unless thou art indeed willing to make thy peace with Ops Toitesia".

C: duenos med feced en manom einom duenoi ne med malo statod

  "Duenos made me (as a curse) against Manus and let no evil fall to Duenos from me".

It is found in an old article by R. Seymour Conway in AJPh 10 (1889), 445-459. I know my Latin and my training in comparative linguistics does not lag far behind either, but I am no expert to tell really on matters of inscriptions; Conway's scholarship as presented does not seem flawed to me at least. Does the version presented here refute Conway's, does it update it, does it take at all into account? Also I would like to point out that "Duenos" cannot be "bene" (an adverb) it could at best be taken as "Benus", which is meaningless in Classical Latin Lucius Domitius 02:58, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Wow, that 1889 reading seems terribly speculative to me... and a little, um, overcreative. Also, my understanding is that Duenos is ancestral to Bonus, but don't beat me if I'm wrong; the Archaic Latin is ouside my expertise. On second thought, the 1889 reading seems no less speculative than the one in the article, if perhaps too florid. I mean, really, "(grant) that Proserpine to whom they suffer this vase to be despatched" for qoi med mitat.... uirco? That's pushing it. Ddama 09:18, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
Well, yes the "to whom they suffer etc" part is rather florid and overcreative (it is more commentary than translation", but I find no fault in the rest. I will check a few other articles and get back to it, though I would really prefer that this be done by an expert on inscriptions. Lucius Domitius 12:12, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

"Jove, Vejove, and Saturn" is definitely a fabrication. It's unfortunate that the Romans had that habit of abbreviating nearly every word they wrote-- you can basically read anything into the inscription. Ashibaka tock 03:59, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

The listed translation/interpretation is by H. Eichner. An interesting article on it can be found here: (simple google search). This may not be the best representation that could be offered to an individual interested in this topic if nothing further is offered regarding the translation. A more complete translation would be more appropriate, especially considering that the historical community has not yet decided upon any specific translation (and likely never will...).Pheonix2og 11:30, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Second line[edit]

There's no translation at all, however speculative, of the second line in the main article. Anyone? Benet Allen 19:18, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

My German is not very good and the Babel/Google translations are horrible. If someone speaks German, please read the German translation at the (German) link and reword what is in line two as this seems a poor translation (and I cannot find that Eichner, from whom the translation comes, actually offered any meaning for this second line).Pheonix2og 11:30, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

When (and how and by whom) was it found on the Quirinal Hill?[edit]

Two weeks after it was written? Last week? Michael Hardy 21:25, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

It was found in 1880; looking for more information on the other two questions, but my guess is that Heinrich Dressel found it during an archaeological dig. —Charles P._(Mirv) 21:54, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
confirmation for the first guess. can't find anything for the second, but since Dressel was a well-known archaeologist and published his account of the inscription in an Italian journal of archaeology, it seems reasonable to guess that he found it during a dig. —Charles P._(Mirv) 22:32, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Confusing sentence[edit]

...and the Romans inscriptions were used to be abbreviated, no one can be certain exactly what it says.'

What is trying to be conveyed by this sentence? Are the Romans "used to" writing in an abbreviated fashion? If that's the case, that sentence needs cleaning up. I would edit it, but I'd like to know what's being said. Joemaza 23:49, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

I've edited this (see newest addition -> "Cleanup / Edits").Pheonix2og 11:30, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Possible Hyperlink Error?[edit]

At the bottom of this article is a link to the Praenestine fibula, which in turn has a link to the Viminal vessel, which in turn leads back to this article of Duenos Inscription. Was this article originaly called Viminal vessel, or something like that, or is this possible just a hyperlink screwup? And if this was originaly called Viminal vessel, shouldn't something like that be in the article? 09:47, 25 January 2007 (UTC)NTF

A.D. Fraser, in 1932, describes the "vessel" as having been found between the Viminal and Quirinal Hills in Rome. The actual object is three vases/bowls that are situated in a triangular form as portrayed in the image in the main article. I presume someone did not know the proper name and simply referred to it as the Viminal vessel following some early historian/archeologist's naming scheme as the entire object is a vessel and not simply an inscription - the inscription seems to be the more important part of the discovery and "The Duenos Inscription" is the title of MANY articles detailing its inscription and importance. Hope this helps. It is probably best to change the listing on the Praenestine fibula page to "The Duenos Inscription." I have, thus, changed it - and assuming some response is offered to my alterations/feedback, I will add info to the article regarding Viminal vessel/Hills nomenclature.Pheonix2og 11:30, 10 February 2007 (UTC)


The article should mention which alphabet is used? Etruscan alphabet? -- 12:14, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

I am not 100% certain as to the alphabet used, but it appears to be classical Etruscan, and I believe I remember having read this in an article tonight... Can anyone else elaborate?Pheonix2og 11:30, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Cleanup / Edits[edit]

I have made some grammatical changes and general clean up work to make this article more closely resemble the Wikipedia format - I admit that I'm not completely familiar with it, so please re-edit as necessary. I made these changes, mostly, because I felt that this article was a little too familiar with the audience/reader and not so much an objective or encyclopedic entry. Please revert if you feel I was wrong - or simply edit what I may have edited incorrectly.

Beyond the grammatical/format entries, I did have a couple of questions:

Could someone elaborate on who proposed this translation - give some information or an argument at least as to why this is the translation currently accepted enough to be listed here? Or should we include as many (all....?) translations that we can find? I have several that I could include (this would eventually not be very viable as there are around 50 that I know of - some very similar), with working source links to articles stored on JSTOR. Please give me some feedback on this, it would be greatly appreciated.

Next; One edit I made was to add "sections." The "Notes" section (I could not derive a better title), seems like random bits of trivia that could better be incorporated into this article elsewhere. I would gladly do this (as I do have some direction as provided by the research sources I've found on JSTOR) assuming those involved with the creation and maintenance of this page would be interested. I realize that this is a completely community edited "encyclopedia," however, some people tend to get territorial about articles and cite changes or removals as vandalism. Does anyone else have anything further to add to this "Notes" section to expand it or should I incorporate it into another section or remove the "notes" altogether?

Lastly, I've offered several responses to many of the questions/problems posed here in this discussion, please note these and respond as necessary (most of my arguments are summarized in the above three paragraphs).

Again, any/all input would be greatly appreciated. I won't make any further changes until I receive some feedback. Thanks.Pheonix2og 11:30, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Picture is back to front?[edit]

Is the graphic a mirror image of the inscription? Should it be? Needs some explanation anyway.

What are the circles?[edit]

How and why are there circles in the picture?

Correct category?[edit]

Please see Category talk:Earliest known manuscripts by language. Enaidmawr (talk) 01:02, 29 November 2007 (UTC)


O. Sacchi wrote a detailed paper containing an overview of the interpretations and some additional remarks of his own, appeared on RIDA 2001. As there are problems in presenting the material in the context of the present article I shall refrain from editing directly.

However I shall present here the gist of the research done as presented by Sacchi.

E. Peruzzi was the first to identify the object as an ex-voto as it was found in a votive deposit of a temple.

G. Dumezil elaborated it should be a formula of matrimonial promise (obligation, monologic sponsio) on the grounds that the solemn opening words: "Iovesat deivos qoi med mitat..." "Swears for the gods he who gives me" do not allow the interpretation that was previously given by Peruzzi, Prat and Gjerstad as a love filter container or as an erotic luring formula.

Coarelli linked it to the cult of the Fortuna Virgo i.e. the goddess who presides to the passage of girls into adulthood and matrimonial life. There were three temples of goddess Fortuna on the Quirinal hill: Coarelli speculates the votive deposit where the vase was found might belong to that of Fortuna Citerior (Nearer) who had a temple on the South slope of the Quirinal, i.e. more or less the location of the find.

Pennisi first and later Simon and Elboj proposed to read it as a marriage compact between two parties and the vase as a token of the betrothal pledge.

Peppe proposed a form of matrimonial obligation without manus, although religiously sanctioned.

Sacchi agrees with this last interpretation. His own additions: cosmis would not mean agreeable, well disposed, but with the hair combed/adorned for marriage (i.e. with the seni crines), synonymous of accepting to marry.

Duenos would not mean good, honest but formally and religiously correct, sanctioned.

His proposed meaning is:

Swears for the gods he who gives/sends me: if the girl shall not marry you

it will be our legal liability (opetoitesiai= ops et tutela or ope tutoria) to give you satisfaction (pakari vois).

Somebody acting in a religiouly correct(consacrated) wise made me for a good end for an equally acting (consacrated) party, neither there shall be any fraud through/by me (the vase is speaking as every scholar agrees).Aldrasto11 (talk) 05:59, 25 October 2010 (UTC)


Alrasto has done a great deal of work here, and has asked me to comment. So, in a collegial spirit, and knowing little of the subject itself, here goes.

First off, I recognise and applaud your committment here. However, the article has problems in structure, expression and balance. Here's what I mean. From the introduction to "Site of the find", the material's fairly sparse but reasonably well organised, and clear. We've a narrative there, of a sort. A structure. After that, we've a summary or overview of the scholarship. It's probably too long, and too detailed, technical and complex - or at least, it seems to be dealing with complex matters, but I'm not clear what they are, and why or whether they're quite as complex as they seem; there's just too much going on. I've a personal editing-mantra: "Complex issues are best presented in the simplest possible way". Of course, this is merely my opinion. You might ask for others. In fact, that might prove helpful.

To judge from the editing history, this article has been very intensively edited over a long period by a single editor (Aldrasto), with little if any feedback from others. It has therefore "just growed", as it were. That's fine, it happens; but Aldrasto, I suspect you've been reluctant to add to the pre-existing structure partly because it seemed somehow disrespectful to change what others had written, and partly because what others had already written seemed not to offer hooks for your own material. If that's the case, I urge you not to worry. Be bold. But let me also suggest that you leave off editing or even reading what you've written, maybe for a couple of weeks. Work on something else. If you take a holiday from the article, its problems - and maybe their solutions - are likely to leap out at you. That generally works for me... OK, sometimes it does.

Anyhow, I suggest you marry the sections below "Site of the find" into those above. At the moment, we've a short and simple article followed by a sort of impressively overloaded scholarly notebook; or an oversized annexe, stuck to a small, simple building. When approaching a new, complex or perplexing subject, 'tis ever thus; the temptation (or so I find) is to add detail, until eventually (or so I hope) the meaning becomes clear. Then one can strip back, with confidence in one's understanding of the core issues. In the main body of text, interested readers should be able to read and understand the essentials, without having to sweat over specialised linguistic terms or grasp the arcane details of scholarly arguments. If they're interested, they can find all that in the footnotes. I suppose I'm also asking "do we really need a linguistic overview of scholarly developments?", and in one sense, yes we do. But that material, if judiciously trimmed (with scholarly identities and arguments simplified and placed in footnotes, sans jargon if possible), can be used to support the subject and its history. It need not be presented as a lengthy addendum. I hope this is helpful. I might have a go at one of the longer or more obscure passages, just to show you what I mean. Let me know if that's what you want. And my apologies for the length of this screed. Haploidavey (talk) 17:51, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for your feedback. In editing I used only three sources: what would have happened if I used more? One is an (incomplete) overview of literature of 70 pages. It is highly technical as Sacchi is a jurist and as such very interested in the juridical and social aspects involved in our object-text. I think readers may find the issues related to this thread of interpretation interesting as they deal with early Latin marriage customs. You lament it is too long and technical: I simplified it to the utmost, Sacchi deals with one of the most disputed issues in Roman law, i.e. matrimonial law in early Rome for 70 extremely dense pages. To present the material more simply would be quite impossible, or require even more space. Let alone the fact that for the sake of completness one should also relate the views of other scholars who think the vase had a different end: container for perfumes, for a love filter, tabula defixionis (Conway) etc. I shall see what I can do...Aldrasto11 (talk) 12:59, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Less length than disproportion; not the number of sources but how tersely they're summarised. I definitely don't suggest that you omit essential or significant views on the inscription, the object or its possible (and disputed) purpose/s. But your remarks on Sacchi's work suggest several opportunities for adding relevant, interesting material and scholarly insight to other articles, which can thus be linked to this one. Most obviously (given at least one purported function) Marriage in ancient Rome. There are others: we've no article on love philtres per se but there's the rather sketchy Aphrodisiac, something on defixiones (currently re-directing to Curse tablet - I'm not at all sure that it should) and a general article on Magic in the Greco-Roman world, which is certainly not everything it could be. It's not a case of cutting down here, as such; just compression here and expansion elsewhere. Haploidavey (talk) 18:36, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
One has to make choices and I think the interpretation proposed by this thread (Pagliaro, Dumezil, Pisani, Pennisi, Simon Elboj etc.) i.e. matrimonial sponsio is the most sensible, promising one. The other sound dated as not adhering to the linguistic detail of the text, this is the main critic Dumezil and Sacchi moved to Gjerstad. Peruzzi and Coarelli. If you read Vine's article it looks German scholars have remained impregnable and go on on that older line of a container for beauty products (Eichner, Rix), with somewhat awkward results as Vine himself remarks.
Originally Conway thought of a tabula defixionis i.e. a curse that somebody cast on someone on the grounds of the guess virco as Proserpina, but the rest of the text does not match with this idea. Ted endo means in te, erga te towards you so "if the virco is not cosmis to you ".
Toitesiai could in theory indeed be a theonym as supposed by Coarelli, but not Fortuna: Tutela is a name related to Iuno Caprotina, that of the chief slave woman of the story - legend of the Roman slaves during the siege of Rome by the Latins after the Gallic sack, that gave origin to the nonae caprotinae. However the historical fact is much later than the vase. But it could have a grounding in myth. This could support Coarelli's idea that the vase implies the intervention of a deity to make the girl accept the man or future husband. But this is OR.Aldrasto11 (talk) 01:34, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Just got your note at my talk-page. Is this the work you were thinking of? The link should yield all results of an internal search for "Duenos". If you've particular pages in mind, please say, and I'll refine the link accordingly. I couldn't preview the work outside the googlebook system. Did you perhaps find it at Persee? Haploidavey (talk) 15:50, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Damn. Hurriedly correcting self - you asked for Gordon, didn't you? I can find only this - an entirely different, older work, written only 9 or so years into "Duenos inscription" scholarship; does it ring any bells? I've no further access - but doesn't your browser cache still have the link in its history-search? Haploidavey (talk) 16:45, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Ah, silly me. Here's the link - [1]. I'll paste it into the references section. Haploidavey (talk) 11:40, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
I've checked the authorship - all these seem to be the same Arthur E. Gordon, whose work on the Duenos inscription was first published 1889. Haploidavey (talk) 11:52, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it's dated 1975; but like all the others linked, it seems an update of an original "Arthur E. Gordon"'s various works in the field, starting 1889 or so. Surely, there can't be three different Arthur E. Gordons, all specialists in the Duenos vessel and its inscription? Not that it matters desperately... Haploidavey (talk) 15:17, 12 February 2011 (UTC) Well, the text shows you're quite right. Father and son? Grandfather and grandson? Haploidavey (talk) 15:26, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
Oh, shame on me. The 1889 work is Conway's, not Gordon's. (Vainly attempts to wipe egg off face, retires to recover under close medical supervision). Haploidavey (talk) 14:06, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Comments welcome[edit]

I have finished editing. I hope to receive comments and suggestions.Aldrasto11 (talk) 15:13, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

How about posting your request to Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome? Haploidavey (talk) 18:42, 10 February 2011 (UTC)


Is that even a word in English? (I'm only familiar with grapheme, which has a completely different meaning.) That section seems to contain some strange English usage... AnonMoos (talk) 15:13, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Indeed, "graphem" seems to be German. I'm not at all sure what it means in that language; nor whence it came - possibly from a German Wikipedia source, which is linked as a pdf in this article's notes and references. Just to complicate matters, it might have been added by an editor whose first language is Italian; thus the somewhat unorthodox usage of English in places. Anyway, we could certainly be more reader-friendly; we might even simply call a line of text a "line of text". Haploidavey (talk) 16:06, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Sorry for not replying: if English orthography is grapheme it should be corrected. The meaning is a group of words which stand by themselves because of semantic considerations. More or less a period.Aldrasto11 (talk) 10:53, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

I think my contribution answered to most questions archived in the peer review.Aldrasto11 (talk) 13:26, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Isn't that rather a phraseme or perhaps syntagma or semantic unit? Graphem makes no sense in this context, and I've never seen the word used in this sense in any language. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 02:04, 19 December 2013 (UTC)


There is somebody who has altered the translation in the first part of the article. Since I have not edited this part I will not correct it. However the translation now is clearly wrong.

The text says : "Iovesat deivos qoi med mitat nei ted endo virco cosmis sied...", now this can only be interpreted (as has been agreed about by everybody): "He who gives/delivers me swears by the gods: if the maiden shall not be nice to thee...", i.e. the vase is speaking.Aldrasto11 (talk) 12:19, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Good point; I've corrected the translation. I've simply deleted the "thee to" part, but why not supply your own translation, especially if you can provide a citation? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:21, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
Thank you. In the first sentence the meaning is clear enough and agreed upon by everybody: see for instance Brent Vine's article at the beginning. The second is the most debated, my favourite interpretation is : "It shall be our obligation to give you satisfaction in force of our tutorial position". It is based on Dumezil's but overcomes its problems, discussed in the article. OR I am afraid.Aldrasto11 (talk) 11:52, 30 November 2011 (UTC)


Don't remove references to articles containing different opinions. I don't require that their content should be accepted in the encyclopedic entry, but the reference certainly should. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Arvus (talkcontribs) 13:06, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

We do not include every piece of information available. There are certain issues that need to be addressed, per WP:FRINGE and WP:RECENTISM. As well, all sources need to be reliable and verifiable. As the reference is not in English, explaining here on the talk page why this information is useful and why the source is valid would be helpful, rather than simply re-adding the contested information, leading to you edit warring. You should leave the information out of the article and discuss it here and wait for other editors to weigh in. freshacconci talk to me 13:55, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

So we discuss the article — Preceding unsigned comment added by Arvus (talkcontribs) 11:10, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

I wonder whether you are certain that

ne me malus tollito (clepito resp.)

accepted by you is a correct Latin negative or prohibitive imperative. So far I am informed, negative imperative didn't exist in Latin, and was replaced either with periphrastic noli tollere in second person and prohibitive conjunctive in other persons. I may be wrongly informed of course. In contrast, in

ne "emat" (= capiat) malus de stato

prohibitive conjuntive is used as should be. And if SIED was identified as conjunctive or optative by several authors, FEIGED (??? FECED) and EMED are conjunctives or optatives too. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Arvus (talkcontribs) 09:39, 16 September 2013 (UTC)


DVONOS = bonus

as you can check for example in the elogium of filios Barbati, namely

Honc oino ploirume cosentiont Romai
duonoro optumo fuise viro
Luciom Scipione. Filios Barbati
consol censor aidilis hic fuet apud vos,
hec cepit Corsica Aleriaque urbe,
dedet Tempestatebus aide meretod votam.

I wonder whether you are certain that


as was accepted by you. In my humble personal opinion, DVENOS, DVENA, DVENOM might be a passive participle of the verb

DVEASE = beare

analogously to

plenus, plena, plenum belonging to plere

and hundreds of substantivized ones, for instance

donum, regnum. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Arvus (talkcontribs) 11:06, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

In my opinion, the two issues discussed above are sufficient for including the citation. Arvus (talk) 09:42, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

I wrote the above message on 13 and 16 September in the hours in which I had access to internet and signed at the end. The automat added dates of my edits of its parts. Arvus (talk) 10:19, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Dear Friend, thank you for your interest in the article. What you write here above may have merit, it is not up to me to judge. The problem is that you should provide a reliable scholarly source for what you write. The PDF you linked is certainly not one. But I do encourage you to find one.Aldrasto11 (talk) 05:41, 23 September 2013 (UTC)