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Writing in Ancient Crete ➔ Stone plaque with Archaic boustrophedon inscription

Stone (Poros stone)
Almost intact, mended from two pieces. Three large chips on left side and front edge of corresponding upper side. Worn in places, preserves red paint in incisions of letters.
Height: 49 cm. Width: 36.3 cm. Thickness: 11.5 cm. Height of letters: 2.5-3.2 cm.
Near village of Mitropolis
Archaic period:
600-550 BC:
Not in case
Exhibition thematic unit:
Geometric - Archaic period (10th-6th c. BC). The cemetery of the city of Prinias
The creation of the Greek alphabet and the earliest inscriptions
Stone block from the wall of an unknown public building, with the text of a sacred decree which must have continued to the right and on the slab below, as indicated by the partially preserved text and the anathyrosis (chiselled edges) on the narrow sides. The 14-line inscription is written in Archaic characters using the boustrophedon “ox-plough turn” system. It contains part of a regulation of sacrifices and bloodless offerings in honour of Zeus, Helios and other gods at Gortyn: 1 →  [θι]οί· → τ̣õι Ζνὶ τ̣õι [---] ← [--]οιις θλεια → λευκά, τὸ δὲ κο[---] 5 ← [--] ἀμμνά, τὰ{τα}ν δ- → ὲ βοΐαν ὀ ἰαρε[ὺς ---] ← [--] κριὸν· τ̣õι Ἀλί- → ι οιιν ἔρσεν[α---] ← [--]α ταδε παρθυμ̣- 10 → αται περιϝοι[--] ← [---]τε τρίινς κ’ ἀμ- → ν̣άν, τõν δ’ ἄλλ[ν---] ← [---]μεδιμνιαία[ν?] → καὶ τυρõ μιπ̣[---] 15 ← [-----------------------] Free translation: Gods. To Zeus the [epithet, an ox, to Hera (?)] a white ewe. The lambskins and the oxhide to the priest. To [name of a deity] a ram. To Helios a male lamb. The following offerings [will be provided by] those dwelling nearby: three (...) and a ewe, and the rest, a measure [of wheat?] of one medimnos and of cheese half-(hard?) the…
F. Halbherr, "Cretan Expedition III. Epigraphical Researches in Gortyna", American Journal of Archaeology 1, 3 (1897), 162-166 no. 1. Inscriptiones Creticae IV,65. M. Gagarin - P. Perlman, The Laws of Ancient Crete, c. 650-450 BCE, Oxford 2016, G65. Collection of Greek Ritual Norms 14 (contribution by J.-Μ. Carbon - S. Peels in http://cgrn.ulg.ac.be/ accessed 20.12.2019).
K. S.

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