Tita Vendia vase

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The Tita Vendia vase is a ceramic impasto pithos [1] (wine container [2] made around 620-600 BC, [3] most likely in Rome [4] ). The pithos, which exists only as an incomplete set of sherds, [5] carries one of two earliest known inscriptions in Latin language (the Vendia inscription) [2] and is usually, but not unanimously, interpreted as the earliest instance of a bipartite female Latin name with praenomen and gentilicum. [1]

The sherds of the vase were found by Raniero Mengarelli and deposited in the collection of Museo di Villa Giulia. [6] The exact location of the find is unknown but it probably occurred in Cerveteri [6] (ancient Caere). [7] The vase belongs to a type found in Southern Etruria. [6] In its original form, based on the collection of sherds found, it was likely to have been approximately 35 centimetres tall and 45 centimetres wide. [1] The letters, 15 to 25 millimetres tall, had been scratched near the bottom. [1] They were inscribed by a right handed artisan, using reversed letter S (Ƨ), and with letters VH instead of normal F (vhecet instead of fecit; according to Baccum, this rules out Faliscan origin of the vase). [1] The inscription reads:


The lacuna between MAMAR and EDVHE is ten to twelve letters wide. [1] Only part of it has been reliably filled by interpreters. The missing part probably contained the name of the second potter; the first potter is unanimously identified as Mamarcos or Mamarce. [6] With the lacuna partially filled the inscription is expanded into:


The most common English interpretation of this text is:

I am the urn of Tita Vendia. Mamar[cos had me made]. [2] [8]

In this interpretation, archaic eco is used where we would expect normative Latin ego , since Latin had not yet developed a separate symbol for the voiced velar [g]; the personal name Vendias uses archaic genitive declension (as in paterfamilias ) which is omitted in Tita, most likely due to a writing error. [2] There are also alternative interpretations:


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Baccum, p. 583.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Baldi, p. 126.),
  3. Baldi, p. 126. Blanck, p. 24, dates it 640-630 B.C.E.
  4. Baldi, p. 126: "It is probably from Rome, ca. 620-600 B.C.E.".
  5. See photograph in Blanck, p. 24.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Baccum, p. 584.
  7. Caerean origin is taken for granted, for example, by Vogt-Spira, p. 38.
  8. Clarkson and Horrocks, p. 29.
  9. Watkins, p. 129.

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