Question from a Private Consultation concerning Procreation/Progeny
Description: Ex lamella 1312-1314
Date: ca. 400-350/TBD: pseudostoichedon; epsilon with shortened middle hasta; eta=H; nu with a slightly higher right hasta; rotundae of usual size. At least Attic post-reform script, not Ionian because of eta=H; hence terminus post quem a. 403 a.
Findspot: Sanctuary of Zeus, 1931
Original location: Dodona
Last recorded location: Museum of Ioannina, M494
Text constituted from: DVC (facsimile)
P. Cabanes, Etudes Epigraphiques 2. Corpus des inscriptions grecques d’Illyrie méridionale et d’Épire 2, Paris 2007, no. 77.
1: ἐξ[αιτεῖ]? DVC expect the name of the wife of Phidus after ἐξ. A female consultant – not necessarily the wife – is conceivable because of the fem. participle in l.2. Ἐξ- could also indicate the beginning of the consultant’s name.
2: DVC: The writer corrected εὐχομένης from εὐχομένος. The supplement needs to be as long as the expected name in l.1.
Au sujet des descendants de Phidus [demande]- – -. À quel dieu adresser des prières et sacrifier pour avoir une descendance?
About descendants for Phidus [asks] – – – . To which god shall she pray or offer in order to have children?
Wegen der Nachkommen für Fidus [fragt] – – -. Welchem der Götter soll sie beten oder opfern, damit Nachkommen geboren werden?
The inscription contains a private inquiry of an unknown woman, probably wife or another female member of the household of Fidus, concerning future descendants.
The woman interacts with the oracle by herself, which seems to be less familiar than the case of men asking questions about their wives [§§§]. The writer’s mistake εὐχομένος for εὐχομένης in the first instance and his correction seem to support this argument.
The inscription is given in Attic, the script seems also to be post-reform-Attic (Proto-Koine?), but the name of the husband, Fidus, manifests a NW-Greek origin at least for him. Also the form Φίδυι does not fit into the standardised appearence of the text, as the regular Dat. Sg. ending of an u-stem should be -ei. Mendez Dosuna 1985, 168 mentions the possibility of an ending -i for Dat. Sg. in Epirus, but he also considers ‘usual’ NW-Greek itacism for his example (see below). Anyway, the mixture between the standardised appearance of the text and the form Φίδυι is noteworthy.
Maybe the standardisation of the text could be a clue to the fact that the woman brought the inscription/question with her (at least from a professional writer)? A Dodonaean writer/ official of the sanctuary would be expected to use the local Dodonaean alphabet (Lhôte 2006, 232-234) and dialect. Also the consultant’s background seems to lie in NW-Greece.
Onomastic commentary: The name Φῖδυς seems to be a typical NW-Greek name: it shows the vocalism -i- for -ei- (Mendez Dosuna 1985, 51f.); on the other hand the name Φειδῦς is known only from Dodona and Bouthrotos (LGPN III.A, s.v. Φειδῦς; Cabanes 2007, Nr. 77). In the Dodonaean material “compound names are often shortened by completely or partially eliminating the second element and by adding a characteristic suffix” as -is, -ōn or -us (Curbera 2013, 4).