Friday, July 3, 2009

Greek Inscriptions from Israel 5

Today's inscription comes from a mosaic that lined the floor of the 6th century Beit Alpha Synagogue:
The design is not nearly as professional as the mosaics in urban Sepphoris--or perhaps it simply anticipates modern art:
Here is a close up of the inscription:
As usual, kudos and coffee to the first person who correctly transcribes and translates the Greek inscription in the comments. Bonus kudos if you translate the Aramaic too.
You can probably find a translation of the inscription online somewhere. Don't spoil the fun!

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
Greek Inscriptions from Israel 4 Revisited

And now for something completely different, check out these pictures of the demolition of our WWII era hangar/hockey rink: Sparrow Gardens r.i.p.


Tyler Smith said...

I didn’t mean to spend all morning on this, but once I started I couldn’t give up! Here’s my best guess. I would have been lost without Buth’s “notes on the pronunciation” referred to in the comments on one of your previous posts.

Μνισθουσιν υ τεκνιτε υ καμνοντες τω εργον τουτω μαριανος και ανινας υος

Taking into account vocalic interchanges discussed in Buth’s article:

Μνισθουσιν οι τεκνιται οι καμνοντες το εργον τουτο μαριανος και ανινας υος

The first letter is hard to read, but I think mu works.

In the first word I guessed a 3 pl passive imperative ending -σθωσαν

In the last word I read υ as υι, perhaps defective?

Wooden: May they be remembered, the builders, the labouring ones, this work, Marianos and Aninas (his) son.

Better: May the builders who laboured on this work, Marianos and his son Aninas, be remembered.

d. miller said...

Fantastic, Tyler! For the record, here's what I came up with:
μνισθουσιν υτεχνιτευ καμνοντες τω εργον τουτω μαριανος και ανινας υος

As you can see, I wasn't sure what to do with the stray upsilons or with the first word, and I was trying to make υτεχνιτευ a verb. Your use of Buth's reconstructed Koine is really helpful.

μνισθουσιν must be from the aorist passive of μιμνήσκω. Imperative works nicely.

υος must be a defective form of υιος, as you suggest. An understandable mistake once rough breathings are no longer in use.

Apparently the Aramaic part of the inscription dates the mosaic to the reign of Justinian in the early 6th century CE.

Any chance you'll be in Caronport or New Orleans sometime this year so I can buy you coffee?