Recently, someone in Bessus Nouiogalation brought up the subject of the Gallo-Latin text on the Lezoux Plate. Probably an example of Central Gaulish samian ware and discovered in 1970 at Lezoux (where one of the principal Central Gaulish samian potteries was located), it contains one of the longest texts in the Gaulish language discovered to date.
In the works of few prominent French linguists, readings and interpretations have been offered of the text found on the plate. You can find those listed here, at L’Arbre Celtique.
As I read through the raw text lines listed from the plate on L’Arbre Celtique, I spotted a few words that jumped out at me, and reminded me of something you’d perhaps gift newlyweds, imparting upon them marital or family advice.
I am calling this exercise an interpolation, as interpolation is an estimation of approximate values using known values. We have what we have to work with on this plate, and we will never be able to know what the full message of the plate is. While interpretations have read this plate’s message as relating to hunger, those interpretations were also made almost 20 years ago, and it’s an interesting exercise to revisit this inscription to see if it has anything to offer Gaulish traditions or customs today.
Full disclaimer: I am by no means a professional linguist (knowing what tenses to use are an extreme weakness of mine). However, I am always looking for ways to improve my understanding of what Gaulish language we have attested and Gaulish language reconstruction, and I’m a firm believer in learning by doing.
Without further ado, please enjoy seeing if you can follow along with what I’ve pulled out of this inscription.
The lines of texts, as listed on L’Arbre Celtique:
- Nregvna [?
- Extinconpapicoriosedexao [?
My direct interpolation:
- Ne regus, na – Not straight, not…
- Gandos (be) inte nouiios – Uncommon manner new…
- Ex in con papi corios dexsouâ – But inside every war-band of the favorable…
- Messamos imon latus, certiognos [ueticon] – the worst of mine ardor, just-son [???]…
- Papi boudimarâ carni, papi maros– Every conferred blessing horn, every large…
- Ne deuos (rb) uidet loncât – No god experiences you devour…
- Nu gnatos, enatât magus [ous] – Now son/daughter, to produce children [???]…
- Uerus [curri] ne papi [cos] – Generous [???] not everyone [???]…
- Papi ambitus, papi boudion [tetv]– Every circumambulation, every opportunity [???]…
- Batoros ueiâ suebretos – Champion’s vigor and good judgement…
- Citbios ledgamos, berto – Partner in life tired and weary, the load and burden…
My prose interpolation:
I am not straight (referring perhaps to the curve of the plate itself).
This is scarcely a message new or freshly born,
for inside each favored warrior,
there is the worst of my ardor, oh just-son!
May every blessing come upon your horn large and full.
No god can experience your devouring.
Now, son and daughter, to conceive children
is a blessing, though not every family grows.
But with every passing day, there is every opportunity
for your vigor and good judgement, champions.
Your partner-in-life, though they may be tired and weary, bears your burdens with you.
This interpolation in today’s Gaulish praxis:
For any Gaulish tradition or custom looking to add to Gaulish marriage rites, an engraved plate with up-to-date advice for newlyweds regarding blessings and abundance in their marriage and staying by each other’s sides through times of hardship could be a great gift in a new marriage. By gifting a plate specifically, one could be wishing the new couple that their table never be empty, something that every person aspires to. One is always using plates, so this could also symbolize the constancy of this advice and these well-wishes to the marriage for its duration.
Discernment of interpolation:
Prinni pull: Nemetos, Iugon, Sonnos, Epos
A lot of higher-realm energy to this reading in Nemetos and Sonnos, with emphasis on the sacred and consecrated. Nemetos speaks to the vulnerability of initiation and into mysteries. This could relate to the vulnerability of entering a consecrated and avowed relationship with another human, like in a marriage. Sonnos is a prinnos of guardianship of people and resources, and accepted sacrifice – again, entering into a marriage can contain sacrifice for each party, and the guardianship over each other and your resources you are bringing together.
Epos is a spiritual vehicle between us and the heroic ancestors. Iugon shows the cycles of time, and the passing of knowledge from the old to the young. Reaching back into the annals of time to see this plate, acknowledge the script and what we can discern from it, as well as the makers and original recipients of this plate, we can see these two prinni as the echoes from the ancestors coming forward to us, to help us form an interpretation of the inscription that we can bring into our Gaulish praxis today.