The second posting of our Virtual Seminar features a tantalizing fragment of fine, buff poros limestone coated with a layer of fine stucco, broken on all sides with the back missing. The inscription has register lines that are set 0.011 m apart. H.S. Robinson initially felt that “The face of this fragment has suffered from exposure to fire and has turned gray; the fine gray surface is probably not a stucco (too thin) but represents a calcining of the outer ‘skin’ of the stone by heat” (NB 521, p. 179). Later, however, he agreed with the view that it was a layer of fine stucco. Found 17 July, 1972 in Temple Hill Trench X, which lay north of Wall 2. Photo, squeeze, and autopsy of stone.
Height, 0.10 m. ; width, 0.095 m. ; thickness, 0.092 m.
Height of letters, 0.005 to 0.007 m. ; register lines, 0.011 m. apart.
Corinth inventory I-72-5 ; NB 521, p. 179 ; NB 566, p. 9, Object 219.
fin. IV – med. II a. NON-STOIX
[— — — — — — — — — —]
[— — — —]Χ̣ΑΙ[̣— — — —] 1
[— — — —]ΩΝ̣ΤΕ[— — —]
[— — —]ΑΙ[̣.]ΣΕΠΙΤ̣[— — —]
[— — —] δοκῇ αὐτο̣[ῖς — —]
[— — Κορι]νθίων τα[— — —] 5
[— — —] . σταμεν[— — — —]
[— — — —]Ε̣ΙΣΤΑΠ̣[— — —]
[— — — —]Λ̣ΕΤ[— — — —]
[— — — — — — — — — —]
Line 1: None of the stucco remains in this line but the letters are scratched deep enough to leave vestigia. At the beginning of the line only the bottom lower right serif of a diagonal-shaped letter is visible and the angle and placement suggest chi rather than kappa. At the end of the line only the lower portion of a hasta is visible.
Line 2: The letter after the omega is very difficult. The spacing suggests one wide letter, as is found on the rest of the fragment. We see the tip of the left apex of a letter. H.S. Robinson read a mu, but we believe there is only damage on the right side and so we read a nu. The spacing from the right side of the omega to the shaft of the tau in this line is 0.020 m. and in line 5 the three successive letters ΩΝΤ yield 0.019 m.
Line 3: At the beginning of the line after the alpha a hasta is visible and there may be the beginnings of two horizontal cross-strokes suggesting either a rho or epsilon. At the end of the line, the high elevation of the hasta and spacing indicate a tau.
Line 4: At the end of the line there is only the small trace of the lower left quadrant of a circular letter.
Line 5: Or possibly [συ]νθίωντα[ι —].
Line 6: At the beginning only a serif is visible. H.S. Robinson read the upper part of a vertical stroke, but it appears more likely that this cut is damage given that it has a slightly diagonal shape. We could also split up the words and read [—].στα μεν[—] or [—].ς τὰ μὲν [—], etc.
Line 7: The letter trace at the beginning of the line preserves a top horizontal and a left hasta, thus indicating epsilon. The final letter trace preserves a vertical and top horizontal of a gamma or pi. Pi seems more likely in scale.
Line 8: Only the apex of an alpha, delta, or lambda is visible that, given the preserved field, was preceded by a short letter.
The sense and purpose of this inscription remain obscure.
Update: I have corrected two errors in the date based upon A. D’Hautcourt’s comment (before I had mistakenly written fin. III – med. I a.).
My next post should be the week of 23 June.