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Mihaly Mellar :
Making Sense after Rudolf Wachter VII. (Corinth 5.)


As the Corinthian vase-inscripti

The transliteration into modern Greek from the different ancient handwritings is done by H. R. Immerwahr and others, which in turn is transcribed by me, using this simple ABC table, at the same time backfilling the left out vowels, to reconstruct the inscriptions in today's spelling.

As the Corinthian vase-inscriptions make up quite a large part of Wachter's book, I did break this part up into five subheadings, plus a separate blog for the Kypselos chest, which actually COR 66 in Wächter's book.

In this part COR 107 is interesting for its anti-war sentiment. COR 113 questions the love of the slipping out, “faithful” lover. COR 128 is a clever saying, while COR 131 is a very picturesque prove for the readings I propose here.

~ @ COR 105 ~

Krater (of ‘Chalcidian’ shape, Amyx) from Italy, Andromeda Group (see Amyx) (1896 or earlier). Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Albertinum ZV 1604.

Scene: Pairs of padded men and nude women dancing, namely two men (a) and (b), a woman (c) and a man (d), a man (e) and a woman ( f ), two men (g) and (h), and again two men whose names, if there were any, would have been in the now broken-off area next to the handle. On the other side three horsemen, (i)–(k).

Date: LC (Lorber); c.570–550 (LIMC iii).

(a) Σ.ϙος > SÍKOS > síkos (slippery)

(b) Μυρος > Mi VéRÖS > mi vérös (what is bloody)

(c) Σιμα > SIMA > sima (smooth)

(d) Διον > De JÓ Nő > de jó nő (but a good woman)

(e) Ϝαρις > VÁR IS > vár is (also waits)

(f) .[.]ḷḷις > Η[φ]ḷις > Ha FaRoL IS > ha farol is (even if he uses backside)

(g) Διον > De áJJON > de álljon (he should stop)

(h) Μυρις > íM ÚR IS > ím úr is (a gentleman too)

(i) Λαιδας > áLL AJJaDÁS > áll aljadás (baseness stops)

(j) Ϝαṛịṣ > VÁR IS > vár is (even waits)

(k) Δịοṇ > De JÖN > de jön (but it comes)

Síkos mi vérös, sima, de jó nő vár is. Ha farol is, de álljon ím úr is. Áll aljadás, vár is, de jön. (Slippery is what is bloody, it is smooth, but a good woman would wait. Even if he uses backside, a gentleman should stop too. Baseness stops even waits, but it comes.)

Wachter's interpretation: Non-heroic dancing and riding scenes (labels).

~ @ COR 107 ~

Good evokes good, bad evokes badFrs. of a krater (of ‘Chalcidian’ shape, Amyx) from Caere (found ?). Leipzig, Antikenmus. der Univ. T 4849.

Scene: A warrior (a) to r., fighting another one who is on one knee, labelled (b) between his legs. Beyond a quadriga to r., there is a warrior to r., of whom one leg survives; his name (c) is written on the front horse’s - no doubt (e) oeρο,πιος - croup. He is fighting his opponent (d). The other horses have no names. At the r. end a warrior (f) is falling to the ground.

Date: LC (Lorber); c.570–550 (LIMC iii).

(a) Ευρυτιον > E VéRVeTő JÖN > e vérvető jön (comes this blood sower)

(b) Ϝιφ(ι)τος > VÍ FűTI ŐS > ví fűti ős (fights ancestry drives him)

(c) [...].δας > [ZúGoLó]DÁS/[SZÁMA]DÁS/[ACSaRKo]DÁS > zúgolódás/számadás/acsarkodás (grumbling/reckoning/grudging)

(d) Δαιπυλος > De AJJáBÚ'/A JóBÚ' LÖSZ > de aljábúl/a jóbúl lösz (but from refuse/good becomes)

(e) Ϙρουπιος > KaRO'Va/KaRÓVa' BáJOS/BaJOS > karolva/karóval bájos/bajos (with embracing/with stick charming/troublesome)

(f) Δαιπυλος > DA' JoBBULÓ SZó > dal jobbuló szó (song is improving word)

E vérvető jön, ví(v), fűti ős zúgolódás/számadás/acsarkodás. De aljából lesz karolva bájos / De a jóból lesz karóval bajos. Dal jobbuló szó. (This blood sower comes, fights, ancestry drives him grumbling/reckoning/grudging. But from refuse with embracing comes charming. / But from good with stick comes troublesome. Song is improving word.)

Wachter's interpretation: Pseudo-heroic battle scene (labels).

~ COR 112 ~

Lekythos (of ‘Attic’ shape) from ?, by the Tydeus P. (see Amyx) (1884 or earlier). London, British Mus. 1884. 8-4. 8.

Scene: Warrior (named) stabbing another in his thigh (unnamed). More warriors fighting are all unnamed. Date: LC (Lorber); c.560 (LIMC).

Χαρον > Καρον/Ξαρον > KÁR Ö'Ni/KiZÁR Ö'Ni > Kár ölni./Kizár ölni (It is wrong to kill. /It locks you out from killing.)

Wachter's interpretation: Non-heroic battle scene (label).

With both readings the killing stops by setting a good example. Both reading are perfectly fitting the picture, and they both are epigraphically plausible, while X gains no acceptable reading.

~ @ COR 113 ~

Neck-amphora from Caere, by the Tydeus P. (see Amyx)374 (ex Campana inv. 53 (sic); 1857 or earlier). Paris, Louvre E 640.

Tydeus killing IsmeneScene: While a horseman to r. (a) is waiting, a naked man to l. (b), painted in white, his head turned back, runs out from where a man (c) to r. is stabbing a woman (d) on a bed.

Date: c.560 (Schefold; LIMC); LC (Lorber); 560–550 (Arias–Hirmer–Shefton).

(a) Ϙλυτος > KeLLő óVaTOS > kellő óvatos (duly cautious)

(b) Περιϙλυμενος > BeÉRI oKuLóVa' íM E NŐS > beéri okulóval ím e nős (satisfied with lesson look this married)

(c) Τυδευς > TéVeD E VeSZő > téved e vesző (this looser does make mistake)

(d) Ηυσμενα > HŰ SZű íM E'iNA' > hű szű ím elinal (faithful heart look he runs away)


Kellő óvatos, beéri okulóval, ím, e nős. Téved e vesző? Hű szű, ím, elinal! (The duly cautious, this married is, look, satisfied with lesson. Does this looser make mistake? Faithful heart, look, he runs away!)


Wachter's interpretation: Tydeus killing Ismene (labels).

~ @ COR 114 ~

Neck-amphora from ?, by the Tydeus P. (see Amyx) (from the market, acquired 1955). Copenhagen, Nat. Mus. 13531.

Scene: Two similar groups of three warriors, one each to r., (a) and (d), stabbing another lying on the ground, (b) and (e), who is being defended by a third to l., (c) and ( f ). Date: —.

(a) Δορον > aD Ő áRON > ad ő áron (he gives on price)

(b) Μιϙοθιον > MI KÓTYa JÖN > mi kótya jön (what is junk, comes)

(c) Μιμον > MI MÖNNe > mi mönne (what should go)

(d) Ευφαμος > E VőFé Á'MOS > e vőfé (vőfély) álmos (this best man is drowsy)

(e) Δοριμαχος > iDŐRe Ma ADJa ÖSSZe > időre ma adja össze (wed them today on time)

(f) Μελανας > MÉLA NÁSZ > méla nász (dreamy wedding)

Ad ő áron mi kótya(vetye). Jön mi mönne. E vőfé (vőfély) álmos, időre ma adja össze méla nász. (He gives on price what is junk. Comes what should go. This best man is drowsy, dreamy wedding weds them today on time.)

Wachter's interpretation: Non-heroic battle scene (labels).

~ @ COR 114A ~

Hydria from ?, by the Tydeus P. (LIMC) (found ?). Market (Zurich).

Scene: Between two chariots two warriors (a) and (b) are fighting over the dead body of a third (head to the r., unnamed). Date: c.560 (LIMC).

(a) Αχιλ[λευς] > A GYŰLö[Lő E'VeSZi] > a gyűlölő elveszi (the spiteful takes)

(b) Μεμνον > Mi E'MeNŐN > mi elmenőn (what already goes away)

A gyűlölő elveszi mi elmenőn. (The spiteful takes what already goes away.)

Wachter's interpretation: Achilleus and Memnon fighting over the dead Antilochos (labels).

~ @ COR 117 ~

Amphora from ?, perhaps by the Tydeus P. (see Amyx) (1877 or earlier). Florence, Mus. Arch. Etr. 3766.

Scene: Two pairs of warriors fighting, (a) and (b), (c) and (d).

Date: LC, after COR 113, but by the same painter (Lorber, p. 69); c.570–550 (LIMC).

(a) Αιƒας > ÁJJ iVÁS > állj ivás (stop drinking)

(b) Δολον > iDő-ÖLŐN > idő-ölőn (on time-killing)

(c) Πυλιος > BULaJOS (SZó) > bulajos (bepólyázott) (szó) (bandaged (word))

(d) Ταρας > TÁRÁS > tárás (discloser)

Állj, ivás idő-ölőn bulajos (bepólyázott) (szó)tárása! (Stop, drinking is bandaged (word) discloser on time-killing.)

Wachter's interpretation: Pseudo-heroic battle scene (labels).

~ @ COR 119 ~


Column krater from ?, by the Tydeus P. (?) (see Amyx) (1956 or earlier). Berlin, Antikensammlung 1959. I.

Scene: An old man, (a), and two women, (b) and nameless, all to r., take leave of a warrior to r., (c) or nameless, who, touched on the chin by a boy to l., nameless or (c), is striding towards a quadriga to l. Beyond the horses there is a woman to l. (d), who is pointing to the others but looking back at the charioteer (e). The latter is waiting in the chariot, while a warrior ( f ), the name written on his shield, is climbing up.

Date: LC (Lorber); 1st h. 6th cent. (LIMC i); c.570–550 (LIMC iii, ‘Dion’); c.560 (Schefold).

(a) Ϝαχυς > VÁGY ŰZi > vágy űzi (desire drives him)

(b) Διοι > De JÓ Ű > de jó ű (but he is good)

(c) Ϝιον > VÍON > ví(v)ón (víváson) (on fencing)

(d) Ϝιοι > é'Ve JÖJJ > élve jöjj (come back alive)

(e) Διον > iDe JÖN > ide jön (he comes here)

(f) Αντιμαχ()ιδας > A NőT IMÁDJa | Ű De A SZó & ÜDe ASZó1 > a nőt imádja ű, de a szó üde aszó (he adores the woman but the word is fresh drying out)

The bubble words spoken by the

old couple: Vágy űzi, de jó ű ví(v)ón (víváson). (Desire drives him, but he is good in fencing.)

woman: – Élve jöjj! (Come back alive!)

charioteer: Ide jön, a nőt imádja ű, de a szó üde aszó. (He comes here, he adores the woman, but the word is fresh drying out.)

Wachter's interpretation: Non-heroic departure scene (labels).

~ @ COR 126 ~

Pyxis from CorinthFr. of a pyxis from Corinth (c.1929–31). Corinth, Arch. Mus. KP – 158.

Scene: None. Date: ‘Conventionalizing style, later sixth century BC?’ (Amyx).

Τασεροσασ .[...] > iTTAS E RÓZSÁS … > Ittas e rózsás … (This rosy … is drunk.)

Wachter's interpretation: Probably a dedication to a human (property formula).

~ @ COR 128 ~

Fr. of a large vase from Perachora (1930–3). Athens, Nat. Mus., Perachora 3434.

Scene: None. Date: 6th cent. (Lazzarini).

[...]ṣτασλιμενιασεμι > [KoLDú]S úTTA' éSZLI MeNNYI A SEMMI > [Koldú]s úttal észli (észleli) mennyi a semmi. (Beggar with the (covered) road observes how much is nothing.)

Wachter's interpretation: Dedication (property formula).

~ @ COR 131 ~

Two boxersSmall cup from Corinth (1883 or earlier). Paris, Louvre MNC 332.

Scene: Two boxers to r., labelled (b) in between. The one who has the upper hand is in pursuit (a). The other, with bleeding nose, is running away (c), looking back and making a gesture of defence. Date: late 6th cent. (Payne).

(a) Ϝιοκε > VÍjÓ Ki E'- > víjó (vívó) ki el- (the fighter who)

(b) Πυκτα > -BUKTA > -bukta (lost it)

(c) Φευγε > FÉ' VéGE > fél vége (afraid end)

Víjó (vívó), ki elbukta, fél (hogy) vége. (The fighter, who lost it, fears his end.)

Wachter's interpretation: Non-heroic sporting scene (labels, partly verb-forms).


Some Corinthian Graffiti


~ @ COR GR 2 ~


Fr. cup from Corinth (1965). Corinth, Arch. Mus. C-65-471.

Scene: None. Date: ‘perhaps no later than the middle of the seventh century’ (Amyx).


Χοιρασου ηα κοτυλ[κα ενι ...] > GYÓ ÍR A Só ÓV HA KOTULé[K Á' ENNI … ] > Gyó ír a só, óv ha kotulék (kotyvalék) áll (sokáig) enni … (Good medicine is the salt when concoction stands (for long) to eat ...)


Wachter's interpretation: Owner’s inscription or dedication to a human (perhaps metrical).


~ @ COR GR 6 ~


Aryballos from Corinth (1884 or earlier). Paris, Louvre MNC 669 (incised).

Scene: An even fight between two warriors (a) and (b).

Date: EC (i.e. 620/615–595/590) (LIMC; Amyx); c.610 (Schefold).


(a) Αιϝας > A' IVÁS > a' ivás (The drinking)

(b) Ετρορ > ÉTRe OR > étre or (orv, tolvaj) (on meal is a thief)


A' ivás étre or (orv, tolvaj). (The drinking on meal is a thief.)


Wachter's interpretation: Fight between Aias and Hektor (labels).


~ @ COR GR 9 ~


Fr. of an alabastron from Thebes (purchased Oct. 1890: U. Kästner, per litt.). Berlin, Antikensammlung V. I. 3182 (incised).

Scene: Aias (named) over his sword.

Date: MC (Lorber, p. 50 n. 309); c.600–575 (LIMC); c.600 (Schefold).

Αιϝας > ÁJJ iVÁS/VAS > Állj ivás! / Állj vas! (Stop drinking! / Stop the steel!)


Wachter's interpretation: Suicide of Aias (label).


~ @ COR GR 15 ~


Pyxis from Corinth (the lid, added by D. von Bothmer, is 74. 51. 433) (1874 or earlier). New York, Metropolitan Mus. of Art 74. 51. 364 (incised).

Scene: Three plastic heads between lip and body of the vase, each inscribed underneath.

Date: c.550 (Milne (1942b) ).


(a) Ϝιοπα > VÍjÓBA > víjóba (vívóba) (into fight)

(b) Ηιμεροι > HÍ MERŐJe > hí merője (calls you who dips it)

(c) Χαριτα > aGYAR ITA' > agyar ital (its a spiteful drink)


Víjóba (vívóba) hí merője: agyar ital! (The one who dips it calls you to fight: its a spiteful drink!)


Wachter's interpretation: Hetairai (labels).


1 The separate and retrograde written ιδας makes better sense when read twice over.