Duenos inscription is one of the earliest known
Old Latin texts,
variously dated from the 7th to the 5th century BC. It is inscribed
on the sides of a kernos, in this case a trio of small globular vases
adjoined by three clay struts. It was found by
Heinrich Dressel in
1880 on the
Quirinal Hill in Rome. The kernos belongs to the
Staatliche Museen in
Berlin (inventory no. 30894,3).
The inscription is written right to left in three units, without
spaces to separate words. It is difficult to translate, as some
letters are hard to distinguish, particularly since they cannot always
be deduced by context. The absence of spaces causes additional
difficulty in assigning the letters to the respective words.
1 Text and translations
3 Epigraphic note
4 Site of the find
5 Overview of the linguistic research
5.1 First section
5.2 Juridical note on the matrimonial sponsio
5.3 The second section
7 Further reading
Text and translations
There have been many proposed translations advanced by scholars since
the discovery of the kernos; by 1983, more than fifty different
explanations of the meaning had been put forward. Due to the lack
of a large body of archaic Latin, and the method by which Romans
abbreviated their inscriptions, scholars have not been able to produce
a singular translation that has been accepted by historians as
accurate. However thanks to Arthur E. Gordon's work the reading of the
text can be now considered certain.[contradictory]
Below is the transcription and one of many possible
a. The direct unicase transcription
b. Direct transcription, in lowercase, with possible macrons and word
c. A speculative interpretation and translation into Classical Latin
d. An English gloss (approximate translation/interpretation) of the
Classical Latin rendering
b. iouesāt deivos qoi mēd mitāt, nei tēd endō cosmis vircō siēd
c. Iurat deos qui me mittit, ni in te [= erga te] comis virgo sit
d. 'The person who sends me prays to the gods, lest the girl be not
kind towards thee'
b. as(t) tēd noisi o(p)petoit esiāi pākā riuois
c. at te [... uncertain ...] paca rivis
d. 'without thee [...] calm with [these] rivers'
b. duenos mēd fēced en mānōm einom duenōi nē mēd malo(s)
c. Bonus me fecit in manum einom bono, ne me malus [tollito, clepito]
d. 'A good man made me in his own[?] hands for a good man, in case an
evil man take me.'
An interpretation set out by Warmington and Eichner, renders the
complete translation as follows, though not with certainty:
It is sworn with the gods, whence I'm issued:
If a maiden does not smile at you,
nor is strongly attracted to you,
then soothe her with this fragrance!
Someone good has filled me for someone good and well-mannered,
and not shall I be obtained by someone bad.
Duenos is an older form of
Classical Latin bonus ('good'), just as
Classical bellum ('war') is from
Old Latin duellum. Some scholars
posit Duenos as a proper name, instead of merely an adjective.
The Praenestine fibula is thought by some to be the earliest surviving
evidence of the Latin language dating to the 7th century BC, but has
been alleged by
Margherita Guarducci to have been a well-informed
hoax; however, the evidence is only circumstantial and there are no
clear indications pointing to a forgery. Although these claims have
been disproven, as a new analysis performed in 2011 declared it to be
genuine "beyond any reasonable doubt".
The inscription (CIL I 2nd 2, 4) is scratched along the side of the
body of three vases made of dark brown bucchero, connected with each
other by short cylindric arms. It is written from right to left
spiralling downwards about 1 1⁄2 times. The letters are
written upside-down for a reader who looks at the inscription from a
level position; this has been explained by Aldo Luigi Prosdocimi as
due to the fact that the inscription was meant to be read from above,
not from a sideways position. Some letters are written in an archaic
fashion that appears influenced by the Greek alphabet. There are
signs of corrections in the two C or K of PAKARI and FECED and in the
L of MALOS. Three distinct sections are individuated by spaces after
SIED and VOIS. There are neither spaces delimiting words nor signs of
interpunction. The earliest interpunction to appear was syllabic. As
it appeared only in the 7th century BC, the inscription should be more
The inscription is made up by two distinct parts or sections, the
second one beginning with the word DUENOS. It was found in a votive
deposit (favissa). It belongs to the kind known as speaking
inscriptions, widely in use in the Archaic period. Some scholars
consider the object to be of good quality and reflecting the high
social status of the owner. Other consider it common.
Site of the find
The following sections are mainly based on Osvaldo Sacchi's 2001
article "Il trivaso del Quirinale".
The vase was bought from an antiquarian by
Heinrich Dressel shortly
after its find. It was discovered in 1880 by workers who were digging
to lay the foundation of a building near the newly opened Via
Nazionale, in the valley between the
Quirinal Hill and the Viminal
Hill. More precisely it was found on the south slope of the Quirinal,
near the church of San Vitale, Rome. Dressel was told the place was
supposed to have been a burial site.
Filippo Coarelli has advanced the hypothesis that the
object might have been placed in the votive deposit of one of the
temples of goddess
Fortuna dedicated by king
Servius Tullius, perhaps
the one known as
Fortuna Publica or Citerior, i.e. located on the side
of the Quirinal near to Rome. Her festival recurred on the nonae of
April (April 5). However June 11, the festival day of the
Matralia, which was originally devoted to Mater Matuta, was also the
day of the
Fortuna Virgo, ritually associated with the passage of
girls from adolescence into adulthood and married life.
Overview of the linguistic research
The antiquity of the document is generally acknowledged. The language
shows archaic characters in morphology, phonetics and syntax. The
absence of u after q would testify to its greater antiquity
comparatively to the inscription of the cippus of the Forum, also
Lapis Niger (CIL I 1).
For the sake of convenience of interpretation, the text is usually
divided into two sections, the first one containing the first two
units and ending with PAKARIVOIS. The two sections show a relative
syntactic and semantic independence.
Many attempts have been made at deciphering the text.
In the 1950s the inscription had been interpreted mainly on the basis
of (and in relation to) the supposed function of the vases, considered
either as containers for a love philter or of beauty products: the
text would then mockingly threaten the owner about his behaviour
towards the vase itself or try to attract a potential buyer. This
is the so-called erotic line of interpretation which found supporters
until the eighties.
During the 1960s
Georges Dumézil proposed a new line of thought in
the interpreting of the text. He remarked the inconsistency of the
previous interpretations both with the solemnity of the opening
formula ("Iovesat deivos qoi med mitat": 'He swears for the gods who
sends /delivers me') and with the site of the find. Dumézil's
interpretation was: "If it happens that the girl is not nice to you/
has no easy relationship with you ("nei ted endo cosmis virco sied" =
"ne in te (=erga te) cosmis virgo sit"), we shall have the obligation
of bringing her and you into good harmony, accord, agreement ("asted
noisi ... pakari vois"="at sit nobis ... pacari vobis"). The
transmission of the object would be expressed by the words qoi med
mitat. The story mirrored in the text would thus depict a custom
deeply rooted in Roman society that is described by
Plautus in the
scene of the
Menaechmi in which the tutor of the virgo or his
representatives formally give a suretyship about her attitude towards
Dumézil's interpretation though was fraught with linguistic problems.
Apart from the value of the I before OPE, which he considered
meaningless or an error of the incisor, the only possible meaning of
ope in Latin is 'by the power or force of', and it governs a word in
the genitive case. Thence the only governing word could be the group
TOITESIAI: this would then be an exception to the rule of the genitive
of the themes in -a, which does not end in -as as expected, an
archaism perhaps in Dumézil's view. TOITEISIAI would then denote the
means by which the nois(i), 'we', would have the authority of
establishing peace between the 'vois' 'you' (the couple) of the main
relationship justifying the delivery of the vase. Dumézil thinks
of the involvement of more than one tutor for each party in order to
explain the two plurals nois(i) and vois. Lastly the ending ESIAI
presents difficulties. It might derive from an archaic -e-s-la as
proposed by H. Osthoff in the formation of Latin abstract names
with an assimilation of the liquid into an i. Another possibility
would be to interpret the suffix -ela as -e-la, i.e. as a female
derivation of an ancient neuter -el attested in Hittite. This
would entail admitting the incisor made two errors.
Antonino Pagliaro understood the word TOITESIAI as an adjective from
noun tutela, ope tuteria, i.e. ope tutoria in classical Latin: the
word would thence be an attribute in the ablative.
Dumézil's contribution and the location of the find gave researchers
grounds to pursue their work of interpretation in the same direction,
i.e. of its significance as a token of legal obligation. The efforts
have centred on deciphering of the last segment of the first section,
As already mentioned above, the cult of
Fortuna Virgo, celebrated on
the day of the Matralia, was related to the role of girls who became
married women. The passage saw girls as completely passive subjects
both during the archaic period and great part of the republican: the
matrimonial exchange was conducted, as far as legally relevant
profiles were concerned, by the subjects who had potestas on the woman
and by the future husband (or he/those who had potestas over him).
This is testified by the fact the virgo had no right of pronouncing
the nupta verba.
The passage which presents the greatest difficulties is the central
group of letters IOPETOITESIAI in the string ASTED...VOIS. Proposed
interpretations include: iubet orders for IOPET; futuitioni sexual
intercourse for IOPETOI, the cut TOI/TESIAI or OITES/IAI so that
OPE would be the only recognisable Latin word.
Dumézil attributes a peculiar semantic value to the syllabic group
TOITESIAI: a moral instrument that is nothing else than a form of the
power the males of a family group (father, tutors) exercised on a
girl, i.e. a variant or alteration of the word tutelae, similar to
tu(i)tela. Since this interpretation has been proposed no critic has
been able to disprove it. Authoritative scholars on the grounds of the
lexeme toitesiai have proposed a theonym (Coarelli), a feminine proper
name Tuteria (Peruzzi, Bolelli), or even a gentilicium, the gens
Titur(n)ia (Simon and Elboj) mentioned by Cicero.
In the 1990s, two further contributions have discussed once again the
interpretation of the second part of the first grapheme, particularly
morpheme toitesiai. Even though doubts have been cast over its
correspondence with the technical Roman legal word tutela, Dumézil
intuition of recognising in the destination of the vase a juridical
function, namely a matrimonial sponsio, was accepted and taken on.
G. Pennisi  reconstructs the text as follows: "Iovesat deivos qoi
med mitat: nei ted cosmis virgo sied ast ednoisi opetoi pakari vois.
Duenos med feced en manom einom duenoi ne med malos tatod". Segment
EDNOISI is deciphered recurring to Homeric έεδνα in the meaning
of nuptial gifts and the speaking token would be a marriage compact or
promise by a young man in love to a girl to whom the vase is presented
as a gift. The inscription would thence exhibit an oath structure
consisting in an archaic form of coemptio: "Swears for the gods he who
buys me": mitat = *emitat (the future bridegroom would be speaking in
the third person). Then passing to the second person the compact would
be set out in the second line by the offering of the nuptial gifts as
a guarantee. The third line would complete the legal formula of the
compact (Duenos / ne med malos tatod). Leo Peppe has proposed to
interpret the inscription as a primitive form of matrimonial coemptio
different from that presented in Gaius, consisting in a cumulative
acceptance that included both the legal aspects concerning the
transmission of the dotal assets and the religious ones inherent in
the matrimonial cults and rites.
F. Marco Simon and G. Fontana Elboj (autopsy) confirmed the
interpretation of the previous proposals that see in the vase the
symbol of a marriage compact. The authors ground their interpretation
on the segment OITESIAI instead of TOITESIAI. They therefore
identified a root *o-it (composed by prefix *o and lexeme *i-, cf.
Latin eo) related to classic Latin utor, and suffix -esios/a (cf.
Valesios of the
Lapis Satricanus and Leucesie of the carmen Saliare).
The substantive oitesiai would be thus related to the semantic field
of utor i.e. the concept of utilitas. Therefore, the text should be
divided as: asted noisi; opet otesiai pakari vois. Opet would be an
articulatory fusion between the dative opi and conjunction et. The
whole text should thus be understood as: Ni erga te virgo comis sit,
asted nobis; (iurat) opi et utilitati pangi vois, 'if the girl is not
to your taste/agreeable to you, let her go back to us; (he swears) to
give you guarantee about your disturb and your interest'. The segment
oitesiai could be also understood as utensilium referred to the vase
itself as a token of suretiship or usus in the technical legal sense
of Roman marriage as a way of providing a guarantee. The last two
hypotheses are, however, considered unacceptable by the authors on the
grounds that no genitive marker is to be found in the segment
oitesiai. The proposed interpretation would find support in its
strict analogy with a passage of Terentius's
Hecyra (vv. 136–151),
in which a story similar to that supposedly recorded on the vase is
described. The text would thus be the undertaking of an obligation
concerning the eventuality that the girl go back to her family of
origin, should she be not liked by the bridegroom (asted endo cosmis
virco sied, asted noisi).
Even after the last two contributions related above, Sacchi
acknowledges that all attempts at interpreting the segment AST...VOIS
Dumézil's hypothesis of a protoform of tutela, though attractive and
plausible, remains unconfirmed.
Juridical note on the matrimonial sponsio
Although there are still obscure points in the interpretation of line
two, it is generally accepted that the text contains the formula of an
oath. On the archaic oath and its juridical value there is large
agreement among scholars. It looks also probable that the object
should have a religious implication: an instrument permeated by
religious ritualism, as the oath could well be employed in legal
practice at the time of the object, as seems supported by linguistic
analysis. The usage of the oath in archaic times as an instrument
of private civil law could have been widespread, even though the issue
has not yet been thoroughly analysed. Even though in the
inscription there is no segment directly reminiscent of the dialogic
formula of the sponsio, i.e. "spondes tu ...?", "spondeo!", internal
and external evidence allow the assumption of the enactment of a
matrimonial sponsio. Such a usage of oaths is attested in later
Besides the trace of a sponsio as the legal function of the object,
Dumézil would also see that of providing a piece evidence, i.e. a
Servius in his commentary to the Aeneid writes
that, before the introduction of the matrimonial tablets, in Latium
the parties used to exchange tokens of pledge (symbola) on which they
stated as a promise that they agreed to the marriage and nominated
guarantors (sponsores). To the same time of the regal period is
ascribed the introduction of the Greek use of double scriptures,
The sponsio is one of the most ancient forms of verbal undertaking of
obligation and its religious nature is acknowledged, as well as its
connection with betrothal. The ancient sources are in agreement
that the archaic sponsalia had a religious nature.
Brent Vine's study which focuses on the linguistic analysis of the
word MITAT of the first sentence and of the segment EN()MANOMEINOM of
the third lends support to such an interpretation: he argues that
mitat would be a form of a frequentative verb mitare based on a past
participle in -to of an IE root *meɨ̯, with the meaning of
'exchange'. Semantically this frequentative should be considered
factitive, thence arriving at a verb that would mean 'to cause to be
given in exchange', hence 'to give (in exchange)'. Vine's analysis of
the segment EN()MANOMEINOM fits the hypothesis of an exchange of
symbola equally well. He argues that a word [M]EINOM could be isolated
on the grounds of the single spelling of geminates which is considered
normal by linguists for the archaic period. This he proposes to
understand as reflecting a substantivised *méi̯-no-, meaning
'something given in exchange, gift' from the same root *mei̯ as in
MITAT. This form would be a -no substantive, a widely attested
formation and may be presupposed by Latin mūnus, mūneris 'duty,
service, office, offering', from immediate antecedent *mói̯-n-es-.
The appearance of mitat and [m]einom show a semantic contiguity and
may constitute a figura etymologica. This alliterative form would be
analogous to the
Old Latin phrase donum do, donum being formed exactly
in the same way as supposed for [m]einom (*déh3-no-). *Meinom mito
would have existed beside donum do, both referring to similar but
culturally distinct behaviours, the first one perhaps "specifically
involving exchange/reciprocity".[this quote needs a citation]
The document raises also the question of the kind of the marriage in
question, and specifically of whether it was with or without manus.
Dumézil supported the thesis of a marriage without loss the
independent status of the woman (sine capitis deminutio). In the last
case it should be admitted that in archaic times a form of marriage
existed in which the sponsio was directly linked to the nuptiae,
independently from the initial constitution of the manus. The
sponsalia would then be the occasion upon which the legal subjects
defined the compacts concerning the juridical and economic aspects of
the marriage: the dowry, the future legal status of the woman who
could be put under the potestas/tutela of one or more persons, the
compensations for a passage of status of the woman and the guarantees
for breach of promise. Two strata were perhaps present as testified by
the expression more atque iure of Gellius.
Then the object in question could well have been deposited in a temple
upon the occasion of a marriage ritual as a probatory document of an
engagement undertaken not by the girl but by her sponsor. The compact
would be also a legal guarantee of the rights of the future
The second section
The most relevant issue for the interpretation of the document in
Sacchi's view is the meaning the lexical couple DUENOS/DUENOI. The
meaning of Duenos has been often considered to be the name of the
craftsman who made the object. Such an interpretation meets with the
difficulty of how to explain the second occurrence of the word and
with the problem of how to interpret MANOM, since if Duenos is a name
identifying a person and qualifying him as 'good' then it would
difficult to understand the use of manom in the same sense of 'good'.
It should be easier to understand manom as manum ('hand'), i.e.
reading: "Duenos made me with his own hands".
Sacchi, following Palmer and Colonna, proposes to interpret the
couple as conveying a specifically technical religious and legal
meaning as is testified in ancient sources. Duenos has given classic
Latin bonus, 'good', but originally the adjective had certainly
religious and sacral implications: in the oldest sacral formulae it
had a more technical acception and the repetition had other
implications than just eurythmy. Colonna refers to the formula optumus
duonorum of the mid republic which was a qualificative formula with
sacral implication reserved to the upper classes. Correspondences are
the opposition of the epithets Optimus and Maximus of Capitoline
Jupiter, the early Faliscan Titia inscription "Eco quton euotenosio
titias duenom duenas. Salu[...]voltene" interpreted as 'good among
the good', the epitaph of Lucius Cornelius Scipio, the consul of 259
BC, duonoro[m] optumo[m]... viro[m] in which clearly the adjective
duonus is not the synonym of optumus, that as derived from ops,
plenty, has different semantic connotations. Colonna also reminds that
"in the carmen Saliare (similarly to the Duenos vase) bonus (duonus)
and manus occur together, both referred to the same character, the god
Cerus, fact that makes their synonymity implausible". In order to
further clarify the use of the adjective in the text, Sacchi makes
reference also to a well-known passage of Cicero's De Legibus II 9,
22: Deorum Manium iura sancta sunto. (B)onos leto datos divos habento
.... Here too as in the above two instances "one can remark the
opposition between Manium, that, as shown in Paulus exc. Festi,
originally meant 'the good ones' and the qualificative (B)onos =
Duenos as referred to the deified dead (= divos). Cicero here relates
a pontifical prescription of high antiquity consciously preserving the
original wise of expression and lexic". In other words one could
argue that it is not meant that the dii
Manes become 'good' in the
ethic sense, but rather that the dead consecrated to death according
to the pontifical prescriptions (leto datos) do become gods (=
divos). The epithet duenos would then design that which has been
given in homage, consecrated correctly according to the pontifical
Sacchi opines that in the case of the
Duenos inscription the speaker
is acting according to the religious legal ritual, presumably enacting
a private consecratio: the formula of the dedication is then a case of
private dedicatio dis, dedication to the gods. The epithet duenos
should therefore be interpreted as used in its original technical
sense. The restitution of the text should thus be: "A party acting in
the way sanctioned by religious law made/consecrated me for a good
end. That no harm/fraud be done to me and to one who is a party
(equally) religiously sanctioned by the gods". The vase is a
speaking token that after the celebration of the ritual consecrates
the content of the action, of which it is "the form in its probatory
function and the matter as a constituent element".
Vine quotes German authors who still follow the erotic thread of
interpretation. They think of the vase as a container for beauty
products and interpret the last phrase NEMEDMALOSTATOD as 'let no evil
person steal me'. "STATOD would be a form of a Latin verb *stare that
failed to survive for its homonymie fâcheuse [unfortunate homonymy]
with the ordinary verb for 'stand'", as found in Hittite tāyezzi
'steals', Vedic stená-stāyú 'thief'.
Both Sacchi and Vine remark the striking parallelism between the
formula of the Duenos inscription: QOIMED MITAT and the inscription on
a pedestal (probably of a votive statue) from Tibur:
HOI()MED()MITAT...D[O]NOM()PRO()FILEOD. Vine finds in it support
for his interpreting of [M]EINOM as meaning munus.
Sacchi rejects the interpretation of cosmis as agreeable in the first
section that is traditionally accepted in the scholarly literature, on
the grounds of considerations of history of the language and
semantics. He proposes to interpret the term as referring to the
peculiar style of hairdressing of brides, known as seni crines which
would find support in Festus: "Comptus id est ornatus ... qui apud
nos comis: et comae dicuntur capilli cum aliqua cura compositi",
'Comptus, that is adorned, ... what we call comis; and comae is named
the hair dressed with a certain care'. In the inscription the use of
this word would be an explicit allusion to the fact that the girl
shall be ready to marry. Festus gives it as a most ancient custom for
marriage ceremonies. An analogous usage of the word comis is to be
found in Gellius while relating the custom of flaminica dialis on the
occasion of the Argei.
^ Osvaldo Sacchi, "Il trivaso del Quirinale", in Revue Interantionale
de Droit de l'Antiquité, 2001, p. 277; citing: Attilio Degrassi,
Inscriptiones Latinae Liberae Rei Publicae, 1, 1957; Arthur Gordon,
"Notes on the Duenos-Vase Inscription in Berlin", California Studies
in Classical Antiquity, Vol. 8, 1975, pp. 53–72; Giovanni
Colonna, "Duenos", in Studi Etruschi, 47, 1979, pp. 163–172; Brent
Vine, "A Note on the Duenos Inscription", University of California at
^ Arthur E. Gordon, Illustrated Introduction to Latin Epigraphy, 1983,
^ Arthur E. Gordon, "Note on the Duenos Vase inscription in Berlin",
in California Studies in Classical Antiquity, 8, 1976, pp. 53 ff.
^ S. Warmington, 54 ff.; and H. Eichner, in: Die Sprache, 34,
1988-1990, 207 ff.
^ Maras, Daniele F. (Winter 2012). "Scientists declare the Fibula
Praenestina and its inscription to be genuine 'beyond any reasonable
doubt'" (PDF). Etruscan News. 14. Archived from the original (PDF) on
24 February 2012.
^ Aldo Luigi Prosdocimi, "Studi sul latino arcaico", in Studi
Etruschi, 47, 1979, pp. 173–221.
^ J. E. Sandys, S. G. Campbell, Latin Epigraphy: an Introduction to
the study of Latin Inscriptions 1974, p. 40–41.
^ Giuliano and Larissa Bonfante Lingua e cultura degli Etruschi
Torino, 1985, p. 63.
^ E. Dressel "Di una antichissima iscrizione latina graffita sopra un
vaso votivo rinvenuta a Roma" in Annali dell' Istituto di
Corrispondenza Archeologica 52, 1880, p. 180.
^ Osvaldo Sacchi, "Il trivaso del Quirinale", in Revue Interantionale
de Droit de l'Antiquité, 2001, pp. 277–344.
^ Bréal; Gordon.
Filippo Coarelli Il Foro Boario p. 289 ff.; Plutarch Quaest. Romanae
74 and De
Fortuna Romana 10
^ Arnobius Adversus Nationes II 67; Aurelius Augustinus De Civitate
Dei IV 11; Ovid Fasti VI 221;
Mario Torelli Lavinio e Roma. Riti
iniziatici tra archeologia e storia 1984, p. 53 ff. and 117 ff.;
Giovanni Colonna "Duenos" in Studi Etruschi 47 (1979) p. 168; Robert
E. A. Palmer "Roman shrines of female chastity from the struggle of
chastity to the papacy of Innocent I" in Rivista Storica
dell'Antichità 4 (1974) p. 129 ff. (also available as a monograph
from the publisher Pàtron) who thinks the sanctuary of the votive
deposit should be that of a
Bona Dea much more ancient than
the Εύελπις and of purely Roman tradition.
Kurt Latte Römische
Religionsgeschichte Munich, 1960, p. 228 ff. excludes the name of Bona
Dea as a translation of a Greek theonym.
^ G. Pennisi "Il tri-vaso di Duenos" in Studi Latini e Italiani 1992
^ Emilio Peruzzi "L'iscrizione di Duenos " in La Parola del Passato 13
(1958) p. 328 ff.: the author supposes the object is a love toy and
the inscription would be a playful warning to the owner not turn down
the object itself, i.e. "he who turns me upside down (mitat) prays the
gods that the girl should not give you her favours lest you want to be
satisfied through the workings of Tuteria": Tuteria would then be a
proper name and the object the work of an enchantress that exercised
her magic art to get the lost lover back for a female customer of
hers; E. Gjerstad "The Duenos vase" in Kung. Vitt. och Antikvitets
Akademiens Handlingen (1959) pp. 133–143 supposed the object were a
container for beauty products and interpreted the text as: "Iurat deos
qui me mittit: 'Ne in te comis virgo sit asted, nisi ope utens ei
pacari vis'. Bonus me fecit in bonum atque bono, ne me malus dato!" ,
i.e. " 'Thy girl shall not be amiable to thee, unless thou befriend
her by using (my) assistance' Good man has made me for a good purpose
and for the benefit of a good man; may not a bad man present me!"
^ Filippo Coarelli, Il Foro Boario, 1988, p. 289 ff. Tuteria = Tutela
would be a theonym, i.e. one of the many personifications of Fortuna,
perhaps the Τύχη Εύελπις of the vicus Longus: the meaning
of the text would be that of a girl forced to be complacent for the
effect of the moderating intervention of a deity in whose sanctuary
the vase was dedicated. T. Bolelli. "De antiquissima inscriptione quae
Dueni nuncupatur annotationes", in Cipriano, Di Giovine, and Mancini
(eds.) Miscellanea di studi linguistici in onore di W. Belardi. 1
(1984) pp. 207–214: "Swears for the gods he who sells me that, if
the girl is not nice towards you, at least she shall remain with you
(i.e. you shall not lose her) lest you want make peace (with her)
through the workings of Tuteria (an enchantress)."
^ Georges Dumézil, "La deuxième ligne de l' "inscription de Duenos"
in Latomus 102 1969, pp. 244-255; id. Idées romaines, Paris, 1969,
pp. 12–28; It. tr. p. 25.
^ In fact this line of interpretation, based on the reading of
toiteisai as related to tutela (ward, guardianship) either as a noun
(ope tutelae) or an adjective tuteria (ope tuteria = ope tutoria), had
already been proposed in 1934 by philologist and literary critic
Antonino Pagliaro, who interpreted the segment ASTEDNOISI...PAKARIVOIS
as meaning: 'unless [noisi = nisi] you will [vois from volo 'I want']
consider yourself satisfied by the exercise of the marital potestas'.
He understood ope tuteria as referring to the potestas exercised by
the husband through the manus maritalis, which would be equated to a
sort of ward, tutela. Cf. "La cosiddetta iscrizione di Dueno" in Atene
e Roma 3:2, 1934, pp. 162–175.
^ Cf. Georges Dumézil, Idées romaines p. 15.
^ H. Osthoff, "Die Suffixform -sla- vornehmlich im Germanischen", in
Paul und Braunes Beitrage 3, (1876) pp. 335–347, partic. p. 336.
^ Cf. Émile Benveniste, Origine de la formation de noms en
indoeuropéen, Paris, 1962–1966, p. 325.
^ Antonino Pagliaro, above, pp. 162 ff.; cf. above note.
^ Festus s.v. Nupta verba, p. 174 L; Paulus exc. Festi s.v. Nupta
verba, p. 175 L.
^ G. Colonna, Duenos, in SE 1979, p. 168; R. E. A. Palmer, 1974, p.
129 ff.; K. Latte, p. 228 ff.
^ Vittore Pisani Manuale storico della lingua latina Torino,
1948-1950, p. 9: the tutors would guarantee the sexual
disponibility/acquiescence of the girl.
^ Cicero Ad Famil. XIII 39.
^ G. Pennisi, "Il tri-vaso di Duenos", in Studi Latini e Italiani,
1992, p. 7–44.
^ Leo Peppe, "Storie di parole, storie di istituti sul diritto
matrimoniale arcaico", in Studia et Documenta Historiae et Iuris 1997,
pp. 123 ff.
^ F. Marco Simon and G. Fontana Elboj, "Sponsio matrimonial en la Roma
arcaica", in Revue International de Droit de l'Antiquité 43, 1996,
^ Emil Benveniste, Le vocabulaire des institutions indoeuropeennes,
Italian translation, 1976, vol. II, pp. 367–375; Giacomo Devoto,
"Parole giuridiche", in Scritti minori I, 1958, p. 100; Osvaldo
Sacchi, "Il trivaso del Quirinale", in Revue Interantionale de Droit
de l'Antiquité, 2001, p. 301
^ O. Sacchi, above, p. 302-303; Salvatore Tondo "La semantica di
sacramentum nella sfera giudiziale" in Studia et Documenta Historiae
et iuris 35, 1969 p. 305 and 337; Francesco Sini Documenti sacerdotali
di Roma antica I. Libri e commentari Sassari, 1983, p.164; Antonello
Calore, Per Iovem lapidem, 2000, p.146; Filippo Cancelli, La
giuriprudenza unica dei pontefici, Milano, 1996, p. 36.
^ Res sacrae were the straight tunica and the yellow network worn by
the bride. Festus s. v. spondere, p. 440 L, derives sponsio from Greek
σπονδάς, i.e. the sacred libation the bride and bridegroom
dedicated to the gods.
^ Pliny, Naturalis Historia, XXVIII 27; Servius, Ad Georgicas, I 21;
Plautus, Cistellaria 98; Ovid, Epodes, XXI 133-144; O. Sacchi, above,
^ Servius, Aeneis, X 79: Legere furari ... Gremiis abducere pactas id
est sponsas: nam ante usum tabularum matrimonii cautiones sibi invicem
emittebant, et fideiussores dabant: unde admissum est ut sponsum
dicamus virum a spondendo, et sponsam promissam. Ceterum proprie
sponderi puallae est: ergo sponsus non quia promittitur, sed quia
spondet et sponsores dat. Sane exaggeratio est nimia in quod ait
'gremiis abducere', tamquam iam uxores.: the allusion to the simulated
abduction of the girl reflects a practice attested in rural Latium til
the time of the social war according to Gellius: cf. Paulus ex Festus
s.v. rapi, p. 365 L; Simon and Elboj, above, p. 267; Georges Dumézil,
Idées romaines, p. 23; G. Colonna, above, p. 168, n. 4; O. Sacchi,
above, p. 325.
^ Arangio-Ruiz, Instituciones, p. 446; W. H. Buckler, Obligation in
Roman Law, New York, 1893.
^ F. Fabbrini, Novissimo Digesto Italiano, 15, 1968, p.510, s.v. Res
divini iuris for a review; Festus s.v. spondere, p. 440 L.
^ A Note on the Duenos Inscription 1997
^ Varro, Lingua Latina, VI 70-71; Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae, IV 4,
1; Ulpian apud Digesta, XXIII 1, 2: "Sponsalia dicta sunt a spondendo:
nam moris fuit veteribus stipulari et spondere sibi uxores futuras".
Plautus Curc. 672.
^ R. E. A. Palmer above; G. Colonna above.
^ Paulus ex Festo s. v. Matrem Matutam, p. 109 L; Varro, LL VI 4;
Varro, VII 26 "Ian cusianes duonus ceruses duonus Ianusve": Macrobius,
Saturnalia I 3, 13.
^ To be read as: "Eco quto*e votenosio titias duenom duenas
salve[...]d voltene" according to Bakkum, The Latin Dialect of the
Ager Faliscus: 150 Years of Scholarsahip, Amsterdam, 2009, p. 409.
^ Cf. Festus s.v. Matrem Matutam: "... et in carmine Saliari Cerus
manus intelligitur creator bonus" p. 109 L; also s. v. mane p. 112 L;
Varro Lingua Latina VII 26: "ian cusianes duonus ceruses du(o)nus
ianusve"; Colonna, above, p. 168.
^ Cicero De Legibus II 7, 18.
^ O. Sacchi, above, p. 333; also citing Georges Dumézil, Idées
romaines, pp. 24-25: dueno- from dúvas 'cult, offering to a god',
"later bonus used alone shall take up all other values"; A. Ernout and
A. Meillet, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue latine, Paris,
1967, p. 73: "*dwenos from root *du-, technical religious term,
Sanskrit dúvah = 'hommage' ... in Latin religious language di boni"
^ A better rendering might be: "... that no harm/fraud be done through
me to one who is a party sanctioned by the gods".
^ Taking into account Brent Vine's hypothesis about the interpretation
of [m]einom as munus though the rendering of the text should be
somewhat altered and interpreted as: "A 'DUENOS' (as above) made me as
a good (legal etc.) gift/offering/token, that no evil/harm be done
through me to a 'DUENOS'" or "that no evil party lay me to a
^ H. Rix, "Das letzte Wort der Duenos-Inschrif", MSS, 46, 1985, pp.
193 ff.; H. Eichner, "Reklameniamben aus Roms Königszeit", Die
Sprache, 34, 1988-90, p. 216.
^ R. Wachter, Altlateinische Inschriften, Bern / Frankfurt am Mein /
New York / Paris, 1987; M. Cristofani (ed.), La Grande Roma dei
Tarquini (Catalogue of the Exhibition, Roma, 12 June to 30 September
1990), Rome: L'Erma di Bretscheider, 1990, ISBN 88-7062-684-9, p.
^ Festus s.v. Comptus, p. 55 L.
^ Festus s. v. Senis crinibus, p. 454 L: "Senis crinibus nubentes
ornantur, quod [h]is ornatus vestustissimus fuit".
^ Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att., X 15, 30: "... cum it ad Argeos, quod
neque comit caput neque capillum depictit".
"Die DUENOS-Inschrift" (in German): transcription and interpretation
of the DUENOS inscription
Larissa Bonfante, "Etruscan Life and Afterlife: A Handbook of Etruscan
Studies", Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 1986
Arthur Gordon, "Notes on the Duenos-Vase Inscription in Berlin",
California Studies in Classical Antiquity, Vol. 8, 1975,
pp. 53–72 (available online)
Arthur E. Gordon, Illustrated Introduction to Latin Epigraphy.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983 (Google Books preview).
Vine, Brent. "A Note on the Duenos Inscription" (PDF). Retrieved 20