Reviews: Celtic Personal Names; Epigraphika Thessalonikeia

Two reviews from BMCR that I’ve been sitting on for a while, far too busy with the EpiDoc Summer School to read and report on here:

(1) BMCR 2008.07.09: Marilynne E. Raybould, Patrick Sims-Williams, A Corpus of Latin Inscriptions of the Roman Empire Containing Celtic Personal Names. Aberystwyth: CMCS Publications, 2007. Pp. vi, 283; b/w ills. 2. ISBN 978-0-9527478-7-1. £18.00 and Marilynne E. Raybould , Patrick Sims-Williams, The Geography of Celtic Personal Names in the Latin Inscriptions of the Roman Empire. Aberystwyth: CMCS Publications, 2007. Pp. i, 210; b/w ills. 3. ISBN 978-0-9527478-6-4. £19.99. Reviewed by Philip Freeman, Luther College.

Freeman offers a very brief, summary review of these texts (the first a corpus of 800+ inscriptions, the second a geographical companion volume), partly justifying his brevity with the final comment:

Since it is not the intention of either of these volumes to offer a linguistic analysis of, an argument about, or any discussion of the Celtic names they contain, there is little to debate in them aside from whether or not a particular name is genuinely Celtic. I believe Raybould and Sims-Williams on the whole have adopted an admirably minimalist standard in rejecting questionable names and including only those with a defensible Celtic etymology. Scholars without a background in Celtic linguistics may find the volumes frustrating in their lack of explanation of name meanings and cognates, such as brog (“territory” — Old Irish mruig, Welsh bro, Latin margo) and mara (“great” — Old Irish mór, Welsh mawr), but these are easily available in standard etymological dictionaries. Others whose interests include the Celtic lands to the east of the Bosporus will lament the exclusion of many revealing Galatian names from these works. Nevertheless, the authors have provided scholars of the ethnic makeup of the Roman Empire an admirable and much-needed tool for exploring the distribution of Celtic names throughout Roman Europe.

(2) BMCR 2008.07.25: Pantelis Nigdelis, Epigraphika Thessalonikeia, Symvole sten politike kai koinonike historia tes archaias Thessalonikes. Thessaloniki: University Studio Press, 2006. Pp. 646. ISBN 960-12-1550-6. €40.00. Reviewed by Paraskevi Martzavou, École Pratique des Hautes Études, IVème Section, Paris.

Martzavou gives a detailed and engaged summary of this volume of 140 inscriptions, a selection of those of most historical and geographical interest from the forthcoming IG volume on Thessalonika, particularly the more recent discoveries. As a final summary M. notes:

N. écrit dans un grec moderne extrêmement précis et clair, les références sont fouillées et à jour. Signalons seulement une petite inadvertence: à la p. 478, le donateur de l’inscription IG X, 2, 1 no 259 n’est pas une prêtresse de Dionysos mais un certain Iulius Bessartes. Il convient aussi de dire au passsage que cet ouvrage est caractérisé par la clémence des jugements sur les tentatives malheureuses de suppléer aux lacunes du matériel épigraphique. Ce volume ne sera pas intéressant seulement pour quelques spécialistes mais sera précieux pour les historiens de l’empire romain plus généralement.

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