The Scythian Phoenix This is a simple, printer-friendly version of the page.
Click here to go back to the original page.
Mellár Mihály :
Making Sense after Rudolf Wachter XII (Etruria, Achaian and Doric Colonies, Ionic and Doric Islands, Ionic Dodecapolis and Doric Hexapolis)



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.

14. Etruria


Four rf. vases, which are thought to be of local Etruscan fabric and attributed to one painter, bear painted inscriptions. It will be argued that the painter was a Greek, not an Etruscan.

~ @ ETR 1 ~

Rf. amphora from Vulci, by the same painter as ETR 2–4, probably named Praxias(March 1829). Paris, Cabinet des Médailles 913.

Scene: On one side a youth to l. (a) holding a baby to r. in his hands; on the other side a Centaur to l., labelled (c) behind his head, likewise holding a baby, (b), the name starting above the child’s head and leading downwards to the l. Inscr. (d) is painted on the edge of the lip on the Centaur’s side; on the other side there is nothing on the lip. (e) is painted on the handle next to the Centaur’s tail.

Date: c.480–460 (Dohrn, p. 80); mid-1st h. 5th cent. (LIMC i); 480–460 (LIMC iii, vii).

(a) Πελει > eBBE LEŰ' > ebbe leül (he sits on it)

(b) Αχιλες > ADJa Ű LE S > adja ű le s (he dropss it into and)

(c)* Χιρον > íGY ŰRÖN > így űrön ( this way over the void)

(d) Πραξιας > BáR A'KuSZI A SZ- > bár alkuszi a sz- (although the shit negotiates it)

(e) Arnθε > -AR öNTSE > -ar öntse (pour it out)

* (c) goes before (b) as it follows from the scene description.

Ebbe leül, így űrön adja ű le s bár alkuszi a szar, öntse! (He sits on it and drops it into this way over the void, and although the shit negotiates it, pour it out!)

Wachter's interpretation: (a)–(c) Chiron receiving the baby Achilleus (labels). (d) Probably painter’s (and donor’s?) name. (e) Probably (human) recipient’s name.

One can call it amphora but it is actually a potty and the child, whatever is his name, shits into it!

~ @ ETR 3 ~

Rf. amphora from Vulci, by the same painter as ETR 1 (1852 or earlier600); lost in World War II. Formerly Berlin, Antiquarium V. I. 3363.

Scene: A youth, wreathed, and a dog, both to l.; inscr. (a) starts near the boy’s head and leads down to the dog’s. On the other side a bearded man to l. talking to a dog to r. which is listening with attention; inscr. (b) starts above the dog’s head, rises above the man and falls down the latter’s back again. Date: c.480–460 (Dohrn, p. 80).

(a) Μεαιταιε > íME A' ITA' JE' > íme a' ital jel (look it is the drink sign)


(b) . ιο . κοροι. > Διος κοροιν > iDe JÖSSZ aKÓRÓ' INNi > ide jössz akóról inni (you come here to drink from the barrel)

Ime a' ital jel. Ide jössz akóról inni! (Look, it is the drink sign. You come here to drink from the barrel!)

Wachter's interpretation: Dedications to humans and gods (?), added to non-heroic domestic scenes with men and dogs.

~ @ ETR 4 ~

Rf. amphora from Vulci, by the same painter as ETR 1 (March 1829). Sévres, Mus. Nat. de Céramique 3114.

Scene: An Amazon rushing to l. (named), on the other side one to l. laying down or picking up her shield (obviously unnamed; the surface is badly worn).

Date: 1st h. 5th cent. (LIMC).

Ανδρομα χε > ANDa eRŐ MA üGYE' > Anda1 (szende) erő ma ügyel. (Gentle force is today on lookout.)

Wachter's interpretation: Unspecified scenes with Amazons (label).

15. Achaian Colonies

Introduction: A small number of vases from Achaian colonial contexts are grouped here, and one from a tomb at Nola (ACC 4), whose very likely production place in an Achaian colony has not been recognized until now.

~@ ACC 3 ~

Small jug (‘poseidoniate’ according to Pontrandolfo, p. 62) from Fratte di Salerno, t. 26/1963 (17 May 1963). Salerno, Mus. Provinciale inv. ?

Scene: None. Date: 480–470 (Pontrandolfo, p. 58).

(a) Απολ:λοδορος : ξυλλας : εραται > ABBÓL : iLLÓ DŐ' eRŐS : KéSZÜL LASS : ÉR ÁT A Jó > abból illó dől erős készül lass ér át a jó (volatile pours from it hot/heady is in making the good ripens slowly trough)

(b) Ϝολχας : απυγιζε : απολλοδορον > óVa OLDJA S : A PÜGe ÍZE : ABBÓL iLLŐ iDŐRe ÖNNi > óva oldja s a püge íze abból illő időre önni (carefully dissolves it and the taste of figs comes from it is suitable to eat on time)

(c) Ονατας : νιξδς : εραται > ONNA' iTASS : iNNI íGY DúS : ÉR ÁT A Jó > onnan itass inni így dús ér át a jó (from there thirsty to drink this way the good comes trough rich)

(d) Ηυβριχος : παρμυνιος : ηραται > Ha ÜBöR ÍGY OSSZa : BÁR MŰN JÓ SZó : Ha RÁ uTA' Ű > ha übör így ossza bár műn jó szó ha rá utal ű (if the jug distributes it this way albeit good word is due to the work if refers to it)

Abból illó dől, erős készül, lass ér át a jó, óva oldja s a püge (füge) íze abból. Illő időre önni onnan, – itass inni, – így dús ér át a jó, ha übör (korsó) így ossza, bár műn jó szó, ha rá utal ű. (Volatile (liquid) pours from it, (something) hot/heady is in making, the good ripens slowly trough, carefully dissolves it and the taste of figs comes from it. It is suitable to eat on time from there, – the thirsty to drink, – this way the good comes trough rich, if the jug distributes it this way, albeit good word is due to the work if refers to it.)

Epigraphy: (a) What looks like a dot after the first lambda is hardly deliberate; not only is it too high up, but there is also a break going right through it. (c) The penultimate letter in the middle

word is not a normal omicron, it looks more like the deltas. (Both observations are accepted!)

Wachter's interpretation: Love statements.

For the overall meaning of the inscription, to which Cerri contributed a wider context, see §§308, 310 : “But what is the meaning of the other two statements, (c) and (d)? At first sight, they come as a disappointment, since they simply refer to four different people – two lovers and their sweethearts. There might, however, be some excitement in them if we imagined, for example, that Nixo, with whom Onatas is said to be in love, was in fact the girl-friend of Parmynis, who in turn was being pursued by Hybrichos . . .” (If this is science, than I don't want to be involved in it!)

~ @ ACC ~

Bf. belly-amphora from Nola (ex Torrusio; 1829?). Munich, Staatliche Antikensammlung SH 834 Scene: A man to r. (unnamed) greeting a naked youth to l. (named), between them a cock to r. The youth is being crowned by one of two women to l. (both unnamed and variously identified). On the other side Herakles is chasing Nessos, who is carrying Deianeira (no labels).

Date: c.500–480 (LIMC).

Γανυμεδες > áGÁN Ű Mi ÉDES > Ágán ű mi édes' (On his stem how sweet he is!)

Wachter's interpretation: Zeus and Ganymedes (label).

16. Doric Colonies

Introduction: Seven vases from different Doric places in southern Italy and Sicily are grouped here. Only the first shows a labelled scene.

~ @ DOC 1 ~

Messapian trozzella from near Grottaglie (Taranto) (shortly before 8 Aug. 1969). Copenhagen, NY Carlberg Glyptoteket 3417.

Scene: Athena (unnamed or at least no name preserved) seconding a warrior (Diomedes, unnamed or at least no name preserved) in an attack with his spear on an opponent (a), behind whom a woman (b) is approaching. In an independent scene Zeus (unnamed) is slaying a man (c) with his thunderbolt.

Date: 1st h. 5th cent. (Tiverios, p. 520 with n. 46); c.460 (LIMC i); c. mid-5th cent. (LIMC v).

(a) Αινιας > Á' INNi ÍjAS/JÁSZ > állj inni íjas (Stop for drinkig, bowman/Jazigian)

(b) Αφροδιτα > A VéRÖD ITA' > a véröd ital (Your blood is drink)

(c) Καπαν[εuς] > KAP A N[EVeS] > kap a n[eves] (The named gets it)

Állj inni íjas! A véröd ital. Kap a n[eves]! (Stop for drinkig, bowman/Jazigian! Your blood is drink. The named gets it!)

Wachter's interpretation: Diomedes and Aineias (labels). Punishment of Kapaneus (label).

~@ DOC 2 ~

Siculan’ hydria from Montagna di Marzo (Ερβησσος) (shortly before 1968). Syracuse, Mus. Arch. Regionale 'P. Orsi' (?)

Scene: None. Date: late 6th to early 5th cent. (Manganaro); c.500 ( Johnston).

(a) Γελοιοsακασεραται

(b) Γελοιοσακασεραται

The two inscriptions are identical only in the scientists' imagination! What one could see is the following:

(a) Γελοιο ακασεραται > éGGEL Ő JÓ A KASÉ' áRAT ÁLLJa > éggel ő jó a kasé(rt) árat állja (s/he is good with heaven s/he stands up for the price of the cage)

(b) Γελοιο σακασ ρατ > éGGEL Ő JÓ SZAKASSZa áRÁT > éggel ő jó szakassza árát (with heaven s/he casts a good deal)

(c) [Ε]υμαχοσδεμισφοt[. . .] > [E]VVe' MA íGY SZeDi E' MI őSi FÓ'T [VÓ'T] > [e]vvel ma így szedi el mi ősi folt [volt] (with this s/he takes away what an ancient blame was)

Éggel ő jó, a kasé(rt) árat állja, éggel ő jó szakassza árát. [E]vvel ma így szedi el mi ősi folt [volt]. (S/he is good with heaven, s/he stands up for the price of the cage with heaven by casting a good deal. With this s/he takes away what an ancient blame was.)

Wachter's interpretation: Love statements (with added specification).

~ @ DOC 3 ~

Fr. of a local plate in Corinthian style, from Megara Hyblaia, colony of Megara (1949–61).

Scene: Dogs chasing a hare (see PCO 1). The inscr. (on the rim) is not related.

Date: 625–600 (Manni Piraino; Cordano; SEG; Johnston).

[...]αλμαhοϙορυνθιοσ....[...?] > … ÁLMA HO' KÖRŰ' NiCS JÓ SZó … > … álma, hol körül nics (nincs) jó szó … (one's dream, where around there isn't a good word ...)

Interpretation: Probably a dedication (metrical?).

~ @ DOC 4 ~

Frs. of a ‘Melian’ (Parian?), or rather local, amphora from Selinus, colony of Megara Hyblaia (probably 1874–1915: see Gàbrici, pp. 8–12). Palermo, Mus. Arch. Reg. N. I. 1693.

Scene: Two women walking to r. (not related to the inscr.).

Date: 7th/6th cent. (Gàbrici, taking the vase for Melian); 7th cent.? ( Jeffery); corresponding in style to MPC II (down to c.650), with a possible ‘attardement provinciel’ (Vallet–Villard, p. 21, who consider the clay and fabric to be Sicilian rather than Cycladic Melian; see also Amyx (1988), 408 f., 418); therefore probably 2nd h. 7th cent.

[...]. : μεεποιεσε > … íME ÉPP OLY ÉSSZE' > … íme, épp oly ésszel. (… look, with exactly such mindset.)

Epigraphy: The end is complete. At the beginning, Gàbrici hesitates between -ας and -ις, but neither can be correct, since what he interpreted as a sigma is a colon, and the only tiny trace of a letter before that may be anything (of course a sigma is most likely).

Wachter's interpretation: Potter’s signature.

~ @ DOC 5 ~

Local lekanis from Selinus, Manicalunga, tomba 138 (‘negli anni sessanta’ according to Heldring, p. 29). Palermo, Banco di Sicilia, 'Collezione Moramino' 2239.

Scene: None. Date: early 5th cent. (to be concluded from Heldring, p. 31); 2nd q. 5th cent. (SEG).

Αρχε..(?)οειμιτοευκεος > Αρχενιοειμιτοευκλεος > A RaGYa ENNi JÓ-E IMITTŐ' KüLE ÖSSZe > A ragya enni jó-e? Imittől küle össze. (Is the pock-marked good to eat? Its outside is full of it.)

Wachter's interpretation: Owner’s inscription or dedication to a human.

~ @ DOC 7 ~

Krater of local fabric from Monte Sannace (1957).

Scene: Back of a deer; above it the inscr. Date: similar to a krater in tomb 5, which is mid-4th cent. (Scarfì, p. 255); therefore early 4th cent.?

Γνοθι > áGáN-ÖCS Ű > Ágán öcs ű! (szójátékként egybeírva: agancs öcs/ócs ű!) (Wordplay: “younger brother on his branches” instead of “They are small/cheap antlers”.)

Wachter's interpretation: Address to the reader (?).

17. Ionic Islands

A few painted inscriptions have been found on vases of local production on Ionic Aegean islands. Grouped with these is a vase of probably Attic fabric but with non-Attic inscriptions, which point to an Aegean-Ionic provenance of the painter (IOI 2).

~ @ IOI 2 ~

Bf. neck-amphora from Caere (ex Campana inv. Cp 105; 1857 or earlier).

Scene: Two warriors (a) and (b) fighting Zeus (d), while their companion (c) is already lying on the ground. To the r. a woman, labelled (e) in front of her mouth, is stabbing a warrior; his label ( f ) is far away from him, above (e)’s helmet. On the other side a warrior (g) is being stabbed by Hermes (h), a woman (i) is slaying a warrior ( j), and Poseidon (no name preserved) is stabbing another warrior (k).

Date: c. mid-6th cent. (Hanfmann); c.570 ( Jeffery); late 6th cent. (LIMC ii); 2nd q. 6th cent. (LIMC iii, ‘Ephialtes’; iv, ‘Gigantes’); c.550 (LIMC iv, ‘Hera’); c.540 (LIMC v, ‘Hermes’); c.560–550 (LIMC v, ‘Hyperbios’).

(a) ΥπΗρβιος > Ű PoHáRBa JÓS > ű pohárba jós (he is a seer in glasses)

(b) Ηιπιαλτες > HIBáJA éLTESSe > hibája éltesse (let him his mistake keep alive)

(c) Αγασθευ[...] > Αγασθεν[δς] > AGGÁS CSEN[DeS] > aggás csen[des] (grief is peaceful)

(d) ΖΗυς > ZÉUSZ > Zéusz (Zeus)

(e) Ηε.[...] > Ηερ[ε] > HER[E] > Her[e] (Hera)

(f) Αρπο.[...] > Αρπονυ[κος] > A RaBON Ű [oKOS] > a rabon ű [okos] (He is clever on a slave)

(g) .[...]βιος > Υ[πΗρ]βιος > Ű [PoHáR]Ba JÓS > ű [pohár]ba jós (he is a seer in glasses)

(h) ΗερμεΗς > HERMa ÉHeS > herma éhes (the herma is hungry)

(i) ΑθεναΗ > ΑθενδΗ > A CSEND Hí > a csend hí (the stillness calls)

(j) ΗεκΗελαδος > Ha E KeHEL Á'DÓS > ha e kehel áldós (if this chalice beneficent)

(k) Πολυβοτες > aBBÓL Ű BŐ íTÉSZ > abból ű bő ítész (from it he is a full judge)

Ű pohárba jós (iszákos), hibája éltesse! Aggás csen[des], Zéusz . Her[e] (Héra): A rabon ű [okos]. Ű [pohár]ba jós. Herma éhes, a csend hí, ha e kehel áldós, abból ű bő ítész. (He is a seer in glasses (drunkard), let him his mistake keep alive! Grief is peaceful, Zeus. Hera: He is clever on a slave. He is a seer in glasses. The herma (a sculpture with a head) is hungry, the stillness calls, if this chalice beneficent from it he is a full judge.)

Wachter's interpretation: Gigantomachy (labels).

18. Doric Islands

A single piece with painted inscriptions is from a Doric Aegean island. It is not even a vase proper.

~ @ DOI 1 ~

Megaron naiskos from Thera (1982?). Thera, Mus. inv. ?

Scene: None. Date: 2nd h. 7th cent. (Guarducci); c.650–625 ( Johnston).

(a) Ανδριασμε:εποιε > ANDáRa Ű A SZeME E BŐ JE' > andára ű a szeme e bő jel (for the day-dreamer it is the eye, an immense sign)

(b) Αρκh ιδικας ημι εγο > ÁRoK HÍD (L)IKAS E MŰ ÉGŐ > árok híd (l)ikas e mű égő (the bridge on the ditch/trench is with holes this work burns/glows)

Andára ű a szeme, e bő jel: árok híd (l)ikas! E mű égő. (For the day-dreamer it is the eye, an immense sign: the bridge on the ditch/trench is with holes! This work burns/glows.)

Wachter's interpretation: Potter’s signature. Owner’s inscription or dedication to a human.

19. Ionic Dodekapolis

A good number of pieces from the Ionic cities in Asia Minor or their colonies bear painted inscriptions. They are partly taken together under one number.

~ @ IOD 1 ~

Fr. of a dinos from Old Smyrna (1948–51). Izmir, Arch. Mus. Inv. ?

Scene: None. Date: 1st h. 7th cent. (Akurgal); mid-7th or 3rd q. 7th cent. ( Jeffery); c. mid-7th cent. (Guarducci); c.650 ( Johnston).

Ιστροκλεησμε.[...] > ÜSTRe ÖKLE-HúS íME … > Üstre ökle-hús , íme … (Fish (epertanus/alburnus variety) meat for the kettle, look ...)


Wachter's interpretation: Probably a potter’s or painter’s signature, perhaps with a dedication.

20. Naukratis

Very many fragments, prevailingly of modest stylistic quality but very often with painted dedicatory inscriptions, have been found in the trading settlement of Naukratis in Egypt. Their dialect and local script is East Ionic (see the preceding chapter).

21. ‘Caeretan’

A single piece among the fifty or so figure-decorated vases which are thought to be of a local fabric of Caere in Etruria bears inscriptions. Their dialect is probably East Greek.

22. Doric Hexapolis

The Doric south-west of Asia Minor with Rhodes and some other islands provides three pieces with painted inscriptions, one of them figure-decorated and labelled.

~ @ DOH 3 ~

Pattern-decorated jar, said to have come from Rhodes (Siana, according to Hiller) (1906 or earlier). New York, Metropolitan Mus. of Art 06. 1116.

Scene: None. Date: no later than 450 ( Jeffery, p. 350).

(a) Καλλισταγασhαβρασια | hωσεμιν δοκει > Ki ALuL IS TÁGAS HABáR A SúLYA iHÓ' SEMMI NO DE Ő KELL > ki alul is tágas habár a súlya ihol semmi no de ő kell (What is wide at the bottom, even though its weight is nothing, now this is what needed.)

(b) Δευς Ηερμας | Αρταμις Αθαναια > iDE VéSSe Ha ÉR MÁS ÁRuT AMI úSZATJÁN ÁLLJA > ide vésse ha ér más árut ami úszatján állja (Do incise it here if you find another ware which stands to this on its float.)

Ki alul is tágas, habár a súlya ihol semmi, no de ő kell. Ide vésse, ha ér más árut, ami úszatján (úsztatóján) állja. (What is wide at the bottom, even though its weight is nothing, now this is what needed. Do incise it here if you find another ware which stands to this on its float.)

Wachter's interpretation: (a) Kalos-inscription, approximately ‘Brasia / Asia is the most beautiful on earth, I think’ (metrical). (b) Not clear (list of gods).





1 anda: Jelent gyöngéden merengőt, kinek gondolatai csak a dolgok szinén lebegnek, de némi kedves lágy érzelemmel. Anda kis lány. Anda képzelgés. Anda örömérzet. Anda gondolatok között mélázni. Képzésre hasonló hozzá a szintén kedélyi tulajdonságra vonatkozó, újabb alkotásu: szende. CzF