Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Greek Inscriptions from Israel 4 Revisited

The transcription and translation below of inscription #4 is based on Charis's proposal, which beat out Danny's for a free coffee:Transcription:
επι φλ-
παλλαδιου
πορφυρου
του μεγαλοπρε
R ηγεμονος
το εργον της στοας
μετα και της
ψηφωσεως
εγενετο

Translation (updated): "The work of the stoa along with the mosaic was done (sponsored?) in the time of Flavius Palladius son of Porforius the magnificent leader."

The inscription commemorates the building of a marble sidewalk along a major street in Scythopolis, coined the 'Palladius street' by excavators (or in the Byzantine period?). This is what Jerome Murphy-O'Connor has to say: "Palladius street takes its name from a C4 [so is my date right?] AD circular inscription in the mosaic sidewalk, which reads, 'In the time of Palladius son of Porphyrius, the most magnificent governor, the work of the stoa together with the mosaic pavement'" (The Holy Land, 223). I'm not sure why O'Connor left out the date and the verb.

Comments on the Greek (updated):
  • I wasn't sure what to do with φλ. Charis suggested a date, which I at first thought was correct. But when you convert the letters to arabic numerals (here, here or here), you get 530, which is a little strange for a 4th century inscription. In a comment, Stephen Carlson proposed the more likely alternative that φλ. is an abbreviation for Φλαβιος. This abbreviation is in fact common (e.g., here and here).
  • I treat το εργον as the subject of εγενετο, since the name παλλαδιου is in the genitive case as the object of the preposition ἐπί, functioning temporally.
  • μεγαλοπρε must be short for the adjective μεγαλοπρεπής (magnificent), whose genitive singular form would be μεγαλοπρεποῦς (on the analogy of ἀληθής).
  • I don't know what the R is doing at the beginning of line 5. Charis read it as a rho, which Wikipedia says is possible in some Western Greek forms of the letter. Is it a sign of the rough breathing? Is it a ligature for the missing ending of μεγαλοπρε?
  • ἡ ψηφωσίς means to work in or adorn with mosaics according to LSJ.
Other posts in this series:
Greek Inscriptions from Israel 1
Greek Inscriptions from Israel 1 Revisited
Greek Inscriptions from Israel 2
Greek Inscriptions from Israel 2 Revisited
Greek Inscriptions from Israel 3
Greek Inscriptions from Israel 4

3 comments:

Stephen C. Carlson said...

I think that ΦΛ is not a date, but an abbreviation for Φλαβιος (Flavius).

d. miller said...

Thanks, Stephen. I'm sure you are right.

Achaean said...

The inscription, full style, is as follows: ΕΠΙ ΦΛΑΒΙΟΥ ΠΑΛΛΑΔΙΟΥ ΠΟΡΦΥΡΟΥ (FLAVIVS PALLADIVS PORPHYRVS), ΤΟΥ ΜΕΓΑΛΟΠΡΕΠΟΥΣ ΗΓΕΜΟΝΟΣ, ΤΟ ΕΡΓΟΝ ΤΗΣ ΣΤΟΑΣ ΜΕΤΑ ΚΑΙ ΤΗΣ ΨΗΦΩΣΕΩΣ ΕΓΕΝΕΤΟ.