New Punic Punditry.

Author:Kerr, Robert
Position:Critical essay
 
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The volume under review is the first of an intended total of three. It largely contains texts found during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The envisaged second volume is to present the hitherto unpublished "plusieurs douzaines" of texts found in 1969 reused as a foundation for the city's Roman triumphal arch. The third will contain the inscriptions from monuments now lost, based on old photographs and casts. While many of the texts here have been previously published in a preliminary fashion (starting with Chabot 1918; now HNPI), this volume must be formally considered their long-awaited editio princeps. This, as described in the opening chapter ("L'historique de la decouverte des inscriptions"), was originally to have been undertaken by J.-B. Chabot; later this task was given to J. Fevrier, and later still to M. Sznycer and M. Fantar. After the death of the former in 2011, it was finally F. Bron who completed the edition for publication. (1)

The volume contains some ninty-eight texts arranged by genre: votive texts, largely relating to sacrifices at the Tophet (1-69); epitaphs (69-88); two inscriptions from the "Temple of Apollo" (89-90); fragmentary texts (91-97); and finally a text from Mididi (Hr Medid) (98). The last chapter is a compendious iconographic study of the steles by the late C. Picard. The volume concludes with concordances, glossaries, and quite legible black-and-white photographs. The discussion of the inscriptions includes material data such as the dimensions of each stone, its decoration, letter height, and the dimensions of the champ epigraphique. The texts themselves are presented in transcription and translation along with a summary commentary. The majority of the texts can be found in HNPI (except 9, 13, 18, 24f., 27, 34f., 48-50, 57, 59, 65, 70-72, 76-79, 81-84, 88, and fragmentary texts 91-97). The major importance of this edition lies in the photographs.

The commentary is somewhat superficial. The first texts receive more discussion than do later ones; ergo this information might have been better placed in a general chapter on palaeographical and grammatical matters. Generally speaking, references to the standard reference grammar (Friedrich-Rollig 1999) and relevant onomastical literature are absent. (2) Unfortunately, there is no analytical discussion of neo-Punic phonetic orthography. (3) In the following we will comment on significant features of the individual texts.

No. 1: The conjunction kh in 1. 1--in the drawing HNPI 138 k', although omitted in both Jongeling's transcription and translation--is confirmed by the photo. The discussion of this particle (pp. 22-23) misses the point, an error which could have been avoided by reference to Jongeling 1986. (4) The PN in 1. 2 is read here correctly as b's' following Chabot, interpreted as the Latin name Bassus vs HNPI b's' "Basso" (though note discussion pp. 324f.). The note (p. 23) that "la terminaison -us etant rendue, comme c'est l'usage, par un aleph (')" is only partially correct, since aleph here (not a vowel letter, but a vowel indicator) actually renders, as is confirmed by Latino-Punic, the Latin vocative! (5) The final PN in 1. 3, as confirmed by the photograph, is read m'sgry'n, as is the drawing in HNPI (not the transcription however!).

On p. 22 it is briefly noted that the Maktar texts "utilisent la graphie neopunique habituelle, ou les laryngales, qui ne se prononcaient plus, servent de matres lectionis pour noter les voyelles" and that, e.g., b'l hmn (i.e., Baal Hammon) "est ecrit de differentes manieres," e.g., b'l hmn, bhl 'mn, b'l mn (the latter spelling is the norm at Guelma), etc. (see list HNPI 322 s.v.). However, the remark in the next sentence mentioning "la graphie punique traditionelle et correcte b'l hmn" is de trop, as the puniphone Maktarians were not trying to realize (or probably were not even aware of) traditional PhP orthography. While Baal is the recognized French spelling of this deity, it is unclear why in translations it is rendered consistently as if it were a Hebrew lexeme here, scil. Ba'al--there was no segholization in PhP and, with the loss of the laryngeal, one is left with /bal/. Similar applies to other transcriptions, such as brkb'l, transcribed p. 22 as Birikba'al, p. 23 described as "nom punique frequent" with reference only to Benz 1972. As here, in the collocation b's' bn brkb'l bn m'sgry'n, brkb'l must be a male. As Jongeling 1988 noted, in PhP the female name is construed on the basis of the D-stem, the male on that of the G, as, e.g., Latin epigraphical attestations show. (6) Thus this vocalization is gender incongruent; Barikbal would have been accurate.

No. 2: Punic spellings with ['w] and [ 'y] for Libyco-Berber names probably render a diphthong (Kerr 2010: 59, 61f.). The French translation of the standard votive formula l'dn b'l hmn kh sm' ql' brk' [PN.sub.1] bn [PN.sub.2] (bn [PN.sub.3], etc.) as two sentences "Au Seigneur Ba'al hammon, parce qu'il a entendu sa...

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