• peter clings

Using Greek alphabet for Romanian words and names

Some of the reviewers of my proposed translation of the Boyla inscription raised the observation that no other inscription is known that represented Romanian phonon with Greek letters, as the practice was not known in the 10-11th century yet. In this blog post I provide a known example of an artifact with inscription that had a Romanian name inscribed. The artifact was date precisely to the end of the 10th century, and it was found in the perimeter of the the ancient Capidava which was in use at the time of the Byzantine rule of the Paraistrion

An image of the artifact is depicted below (more images at Capodopere)

The ceramic vessel was made in the local style, on a potter's weal in a late Roman style. It seems to have captured a stage in the training of a local scribe by the name Petre, which is the name Peter in the Romanian language

At the upper section, the vessel is inscribed by a big median cross followed by four boxes. In the first box it has the letters Μ over Θ, in the second the letters ΝΗ, in the third the letters ΚΟ and in the fourth there is an unknown symbol, maybe a monogram. I see the monogram as a stylized duck. In that way the upper text transliterated to Latin alphabet could read "Maica Fecioara NE CO(rață)" (Eng. 'Virgin mother clense us"). That makes sense given that the content of the ceramic vessel might have been holly water in a local church

The lower section has the upper case letters of the Greek alphabet spiralling around, in the inverse order.

ω Ψ Χ Φ Υ Τ Σ Ρ Π Ο Ξ Ν Μ Λ Κ Ι Θ Η Ζ Ε Δ Γ Β Α

delimited by the signature of the potter:

' Π Ε Τ Ρ Ε

Note that the last letter of the alphabet is written with the lower case letter ω Ω giving in the stage of training in which the potter was at the time of making the vessel

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