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The language of the potteries:

communication in the production and
trade of gallo-roman terra sigillata
Alex Mullen

A unique corpus from La stamps has been published (NOTS), detailed analysis
is possible.
Graufesenque In addition to the stamps and signatures, around 250
The substantial corpus of texts from La Graufesenque, graffiti have been uncovered at the site, mostly dating
containing both Latin and an indigenous language, from the Neronian to late Flavian period and edited
Gaulish, is unparalleled in the West, and makes La most recently by Marichal (1988) and Lambert (2002).7
Graufesenque one of the most interesting sites in These are largely firing-lists inscribed onto pottery
the Empire for considering the function of Latin and which was fired in the kiln along with the pottery it
indigenous languages.1 Situated on the outskirts of recorded (the format usually included potter’s names,
Millau (ancient Condatomagos) in South-western France vessel types and quantities),8 though other inscriptions
(Aveyron, Midi-Pyrénées) at the confluence of the Tarn are attested, for instance the record of the purchase of
and the Dourbie, this site was first investigated at a slave (Marichal 1988, no. 211; see also King 1980). The
the end of the 18th century and has been the centre material falls loosely into three groups: inscriptions that
of scholarly interest ever since.2 Archaeologists have are mostly in Gaulish (the Celtic language of Gaul), those
uncovered a vast samian ware pottery of which only that are mostly in Latin, and many that are so mixed
a small proportion has been excavated, but so far it that they resist the binary linguistic classification.
has yielded a phenomenal number of finds (Schaad An interdisciplinary approach opens up considerable
2007b).3 Production of proto-sigillata ware began at the scope for research on the stamps and graffiti and can
site at the end of the 1st century BC, followed by the provide crucial information for analysing the linguistic
manufacture of genuine samian ware in the first decade choices, bilingual phenomena and naming practices of
AD.4 The pottery flourished in the second half of the a well-defined bilingual community.9
1st century AD, before production tailed off in the first
half of the 2nd century.5
The epigraphic material falls into two main categories: Language and community dynamics
the stamps and signatures on the vessels and the so- at La Graufesenque
called graffiti. The stamps and signatures are found on
vessels destined for external consumption.6 Debate has Two main interpretations concerning the linguistic
arisen over the exact function of these marks: they may composition of the graffiti are found in the traditional
have been multifunctional and those functions may philological literature. 10 One sees the texts as in
have varied over time, but both identification of work essence Latin but influenced, even ‘corrupted’, by
within the pottery and brand recognition outside the the Celtic language, Gaulish.11 Hermet (1923, 171), in
pottery seem likely components (Dannell 2002, 215–20; his publication of the early finds of graffiti, stated
Fülle 1997, 114–17; 2000b, 48). Now that the corpus of that ‘c’est du latin, mais un latin tout imprégné
98 alex mullen

d’influences gauloises’.12 Dottin (1924, 73) continued 3. morphology of personal names: Latin -us and
along this track when he likewise referred to ‘un latin Gaulish -os
imprégné d’influences gauloises’. Marichal (1988, 57), 4. different vocabulary: Latin summa, Gaulish
in his excellent edition of the entirety of the graffiti uxedia, both meaning ‘total’.
found before 1980, also took a similar stance arguing
In analysing each graffito in turn, Adams (2003, 715)
that: ‘Tout en gardant toujours présente à l’esprit la
asserts that ‘the difficulty then is not so much that of
distinction entre «gaulois» et «latins», il convient, je
identifying the language of each segment, but that of
crois, de considérer tous les bordereaux [firing-lists]
assigning a dominant language to the utterance as a
comme des textes en «latin vulgaire» sur un substrat
whole’. The main hurdles are the fragmentary nature
gaulois plus ou moins apparent’, though later in
of the texts and the complex mixture of diagnostic
his volume he states that the scribes of his Gaulish
features from both Gaulish and Latin within the same
examples ‘ne savent pas le latin’ (ibid. 101).13
texts (ibid. 687–724; Blom forthcoming). Adams analyses
The other view sees the evidence from La Graufes­
the graffiti as the bilingual output of individuals
enque as displaying a mixed language. This was
and interprets them with reference to the bilingual
an interpretation offered by Thurneysen (1927,
phenomena described by modern bilingualism theory,
304) as early as the 1920s: ‘Die Graffiti geben einen
namely code-switching, interference and borrowing.
wundervollen Einblick in die Mischung von Latein
Code-switching, for example, is illustrated by intra-
und Keltisch im Gallien des ersten Jahrhunderts’, and
sentential examples: e.g. a Latin preposition and Gaulish
supported by Hermet (1934, 294) in his 1934 edition of
dependent noun extra tuθ (Marichal 1988, no. 14) and
the graffiti: ‘c’est un mélange de latin et de gaulois où
morphological code-switching in personal names
le gaulois paraît dominer’. Whatmough (1970, 278) also
e.g. Masuetos, Masuetus and by inter-sentential code-
supports this view: ‘The potters of La Graufesenque
switching: e.g. Gaulish tuθos occurs as a heading to
at that date counted in Keltic, and talked a mixture
Latin text (Marichal, 1988 no. 30).17 Adams believes that
of Keltic and Latin’, as does Evans (1967, 33) who
we should not be surprised that different individuals
mentions that ‘the mixed character of the language
produced different texts; this is perfectly natural in a
of the graffiti is shown clearly by the potters’ names’.
highly bilingual environment.
Flobert (1992, 113) refers to the language of the lists as
Based on the fact that Latin alone is used as the
‘gallo-latin’14 which he describes as ‘une langue mixte et
language of the stamps (officina, fecit, manus), Adams
mouvante’ created through ‘créolisation’.15 Woolf (1998,
interprets the societal bilingualism at the site as being
96) also suggests that the graffiti might represent ‘the
suitable for a diglossic interpretation; he describes
written record of languages half way between Celtic
the ‘grading of the two languages in terms of their
and Latin’.16
status and function, with Latin treated more as an
The unique nature of this material from La
international or imperial language, but Gaulish as
Graufesenque and its importance for understanding
provincial and unsuited for use in the wider world.
language contact and related issues in the Empire
Here again is a trace of the polar diglossic opposition
encouraged Adams (2003) to devote a whole chapter
H-L’ (Adams 2003, 705–6, my italics). Diglossia, strictly
to La Graufesenque in his magnum opus on bilingualism
defined, refers to societal bilingualism in which the
and the Latin language. Flobert (1992) had repeatedly
linguistic varieties can be assigned ‘High’ and ‘Low’
stated the importance of bilingualism in interpreting
values and are functionally compartmentalised.
the language of the graffiti, but until Adams no one had
However, it seems that on several grounds diglossia is
looked at the graffiti in the context of the linguistic
unsuitable for describing bilingualism at the pottery.
interactions of the Empire and applied the insights of
It would be hard to find a corpus of material which
contemporary bilingualism theory. From his analysis he
alternates between languages more than the graffiti,
concludes that ‘there is not a single, mixed language in
which, in a diglossic community, would be in only one
evidence’ (Adams 2003, 693), no ‘institutionalised mixed
language (Gaulish), with the stamps in another (Latin).
language’, no ‘popular fusion’ (ibid. 694). The texts
Furthermore, since in situations of diglossia the two
are not in a mixed language but rather in a ‘mixture
varieties are kept strictly apart, bilingual phenomena
of languages’, a subtle, but important, difference. He
such as code-switching are unlikely. Whether we
argues that the languages can be differentiated and
agree with all of Adams’s exacting classification of the
that the potters were able to appreciate two separate
instances of bilingual phenomena in the graffiti or
languages at the site. The key differentiating features
not, the languages are clearly not kept strictly apart.
identified by Adams include:
In addition, it seems unwise to interpret the stamps
1. morphology of vessel names: Gaulish -i as containing ‘language’ as such; the non-onomastic
nominative plurals for Latin neuters material employed is formulaic and the flaunting
2. loss of final consonants: Gaulish sometimes of Latin grammar as seen in Paulus m(anu), of(ficina)
shows loss of -s, Latin does not Bassus suggests that sometimes the stamps were not
the language of the potteries 99

necessarily created with a living language in mind munities that Strobel and Fülle allege or the strict
(NOTS 1, 10). Indeed, it has been suggested that dies for division of labour between the languages as required
stamping may have been made by specialists (Bémont under diglossia. The community at La Graufesenque
2004, 109),18 who may not have been part of the resident was doubtless bilingual, to the extent that both Latin
potting community at all, in which case their utility in and Gaulish could be used alternately and in tandem
making assumptions about the linguistic composition in the internal bureaucracy. The majority of the potters
of the community is further restricted. were no doubt Gaulish-speaking, and would have picked
Despite Adams’s excellent discussion of the com­ up linguistic competency in Latin at levels varying from
plexities of the interactions between the languages, a smattering (vessel names, sizes etc.) to fluency; those
which represents the best interpretation of the lin­guistic workers who joined the potters from Italy, whether
evidence thus far, his suggestion of diglossia as a valid Latin- or Greek- and Latin-speaking, would no doubt
characterisation of language use at La Graufesenque also have learnt anything from a low-level Gaulish to
seems problematic. Two other scholars, Strobel (1992) fluency in order to communicate widely at the site and
and Fülle (1997; 2000a; 2000b), writing on the nature perhaps beyond. It is relatively likely that levels of
of the community at La Graufesenque using linguistic proficiency in Latin at the site may have increased over
evidence, have offered a no more likely scenario. They its history, though it seems impossible to demonstrate
have ignored the clear signs from the philologists that, this through an analysis of the graffiti.21
whatever the exact nature of the written language of
the graffiti, i.e. it may be Latin heavily influenced by
Gaulish or vice versa, a mixed language or the result of ‘Notes et bordereaux partiels’:
the complexity of bilingual negotiations, the languages a problem for the linguistic analysis
at the site are very unlikely to have been kept apart.
Using the suggestion (by Marichal and others) that We need to think about the site in terms of non-
the graffiti can be loosely, for convenience, split into diglossic, non-ghettoised bilingualism, but our best
two linguistic groups, those predominately Gaulish analysis of the bilingual negotiations at the site, Adams
and those predominately Latin, Strobel and Fülle have 2003, overlooks a key aspect of the formulation of the
also split the potting community into two, asserting graffiti. Adams discusses reasons motivating a switch
‘dass wir hier zwei sprachlich unterschiedlich geprägte in language in the graffiti and describes the texts as if
Werkstattmilieus vor uns haben, eines in Terminologie, they represent the direct written record of bilingual
Fachsprache und Buchführungspraxis lateinisch-italisch individuals.22 However, he has neglected the important
geprägtes, das zweite mit Fortführung der keltischen technical point that Marichal (1988, 104–5) explains
Töpferfachsprache und mit gallischer Prägung’ (Strobel in his discussion of the ‘coutume ouvrière’, namely,
1992, 39; see also Fülle 2000a, 69). This hypothesis might that the firing-lists were probably created through
have elicited support if the more Gaulish-influenced an amalgamation of notes and dockets.23 Three pieces
versus the more Latin-influenced material had been of evidence are offered by Marichal in support of his
found exclusively in different areas of the site or at suggestion. First, Marichal presents a series of six
clearly different periods, which is demonstrably not graffiti (Marichal 1988, nos 163–168) which he refers to
the case.19 Dannell has rightly rejected the ghettoising as ‘notes et bordereaux partiels’.24 These include lists of
of the community of potters, though his important vessel names and numbers without potters’ names (165,
comments are relegated to a footnote at the end of 166, 168), one note with a potter’s name and number
his article on the organisation of the pottery at La (168) and two intriguing examples: 163 with the potter’s
Graufesenque. He states: ‘The concept of two separate name in the genitive, Secundini, followed by a list of
potting communities, one Gallic-speaking, and the vessel names and numbers and 164 Priuat[u]s dat ca[ |
other Latin-speaking (Strobel 1992, 39, quoting K. H. Reginus dat ca[. It could be argued that perhaps we have
Schmidt)20 seems extreme’ (Dannell 2002, 239, note found fewer of these partial lists than we might have
131). He also reminds us that the graffiti are likely the expected had they been in widespread use,25 but perhaps
product of scribes and that the language used should some of the fragmentary firing-lists could actually
not be incautiously assigned to the potters, who may, be analysed as notes, some notes may not have been
or may not, be one and the same. written on pottery and future finds may turn up more.26
Whilst we must not view the graffiti and stamps as Indeed, in his presentation of additional graffiti found
directly representing the language spoken at La since Marichal’s edition, Lambert (2002, 83–146) points
Graufesenque, no other site in the Western Empire to those perhaps constituting ‘bordereaux partiels’, for
provides better evidence for exploring the interaction example, L-30l to L-30o and L-35.5. Marichal’s second
of languages and bilingualism. The code-switching, piece of evidence is that the partial lists may explain
interference, borrowing, translations of names, and the occasional occurrence of genitive potters’ names
mixtures of names and languages indicate the exact in the firing-lists. He notes in particular that lines
opposite of the ghettoising of languages and com­ 3–10 of 19 may be ‘la copie servile d’un bordereau
100 alex mullen

partiel semblable au no 163’. Thirdly, there are hints access to the intentionality of naming is restricted
in the firing-lists that stamps, perhaps from the top (Häussler 2002, 66–7).
of a stack of vessels to be added to the list, may have A further complicating issue is that names can cross
been copied directly into the composite documents. linguistic boundaries, whether bleached of semantic
We find, for example, ‘dans les nos 46 et 74, au lieu content or not, and their linguistic origins may become
d’Aper et de Modestus, Apriman et Moes qui ne peuvent, immaterial. This is a particular problem, of course, with
à mon sens, s’expliquer que par la copie servile de deux Greek and Latin names: when the cultures are so deeply
estampilles’ (Marichal 1988, 104). I wonder whether the intertwined and so many Greek names have become
occurrence of par]axides and paraxidi in consecutive part of the Latin stock, it is difficult to know where to
lines in 34, might also be the result of a mechanical draw the lines. We might consider, for example, the
mixing of notes. name Atticos in the firing-lists and Atticus in the stamps.
Marichal’s repeated reference to ‘slavish copying’ Clearly this name was in origin Greek, but became so
undermines the fine analysis presented by Adams. If the popular amongst Romans that it would be perverse to
lists are created through a collection of written notes consider it Greek in Roman contexts without question.
in either Gaulish or Latin or both, stamps on vessels, The fact that the name occurs twice in the graffiti from
or indeed verbal information from a range of different La Graufesenque (Marichal 1988, nos 28, 212), but in the
people arriving with items to be fired in the kiln, the form Atticos, namely the Greek form, might lead us to
bilingual phenomena and language mixture attested in wonder whether we are in fact dealing with a Greek
the composite documents will not necessarily reflect the name, though of course the standard interpretation of
scribe’s, or anyone else’s, language. What the bilingual -os endings in the names of the graffiti is that it is a
documents clearly demonstrate, however, is that the Gaulish feature. Marichal does not list Atticos as Graeco-
site should be viewed in terms of language contact and Latin, but does list Carilos, Elenos, Stepanos. He counts
interaction. There would be little point in operating a as Greek: Celados, Coros, Diogenes, Diomedes, Maccarius,
bilingual internal bureaucracy if the community were Murtijos, Polos, Stamulos, Summacos, but adds the caveat
not, at least in part, bilingual.27 that ‘pour plusieurs entre eux, il a été proposé aussi une
origine celtique’ (Marichal 1988, 93 note 132).
Despite these caveats, La Graufesenque provides a
The names on stamps and graffiti much better than average stock of naming evidence
from the ancient world. The context is well known
from La Graufesenque and restricted, and dating is often within decades
The names of the personnel at La Graufesenque attested rather than centuries. Indeed, I have previously
in both the firing-lists and the stamps are potentially used La Graufesenque as paradigmatic of modes of
extremely useful for trying to understand the nature adoption of naming.30 Whilst the material should
of the bilingual community at the site. Now that the be used with the attendant issues firmly in mind, it
corpus of NOTS has been published and once the online should nevertheless be exploited, in broad terms at
database is fully operational, scholars can undertake least, to illuminate the naming practices at the site
in depth onomastic studies, comparing sites, change and possible group origins and cultural contacts. In
over time and the output of certain potters — studies 2009, I made a preliminary analysis of the names in the
which were previously virtually impossible. However, stamps from La Graufesenque, by creating a database
we need to proceed with caution, especially with the of the then available material from NOTS (names A-
‘etymological approach’ of linguistic analysis.28 Many I) and supplemented by material gleaned from the
names resist such analysis; for example, is a name such catalogue by Genin and Schenck-David (2007, 169–272).
as Senica Latin or Celtic or both? Even when it is possible A sample of my database is available in Table 7.1. The
to assign linguistic origins to a name, the origins of full database includes a total of 763 names. Of these,
names may not have been significant to the bearers, 179 were excluded with the designations ‘n/a’, when
particularly if semantic bleaching has occurred (that the name was too short to be analysed, or ‘?’, when
is if the names had semantic value in the first place, the name resisted classification. The remaining names
which is not always the case), and at any rate may tell us were categorised into 15 groups, which are shown in
little about the ethnicity and/or linguistic competence Table 7.2 along with the frequency of their attestation.
of the bearer. As a salutary example we might consider This tentative analysis provided some rough figures
that not all those named Kevin speak Irish, or indeed concerning the origins of names in the stamps which
have any sense of an Irish-based identity, ‘ethnic’ or could then be compared with the figures relating to
otherwise. The strategies implicated in adopting names the names in the graffiti presented by Marichal (Table
from another language may be impossible to recover,29 7.2).
and changes in nomenclature are easily masked if Two key findings emerged. First, the levels of Gaulish
earlier phases are unavailable. Even when changes are and Latin names are roughly similar across the two
visible, we may not interpret these appropriately. Our types of material, the stamps and graffiti, particularly
the language of the potteries 101

Table 7.1. Sample of the database of names on stamps showing ‘origins’ based on an analysis which included checking various
corpora (LC = Kajanto 1965, NPC = Delamarre 2007, GPN = Evans 1967, KGPN = Schmidt 1957).

Production site Name ‘Origin’ LC NPC GPN KGPN Forms attested Date

La Graufesenque Celsus ii Latin • x x x OI AD 85–110

La Graufesenque Cennatus Celtic x • • • CIIT AD 40–65
La Graufesenque Censor i Latin • x x x  AD 70–90
La Graufesenque Censorinus i Latin • x x x CNSORIN¬ AD 70–110?
La Graufesenque? Cerialis vi Latin • x x x CIIRIL[¬ AD 55–80
La Graufesenque Cervesa Celtic x • • x CRE[ AD 15–35

Table 7.2. Percentages of names of different linguistic or perceived origin in the stamps and graffiti.

Classification of the linguistic Frequency Percentage of total Percentage in graffiti

or perceived origin of the name in stamps classified in stamps (based on figures from

Latin 246 42.12 48.46

?Latin 19 3.25
Celtic 149 25.51 33.85
?Celtic 68 11.64
Latin/Celtic 63 10.79 8.46
?Latin/Celtic 15 2.57
(Latin?)/Celtic 5 0.86
Greek 6 1.03 6.92 or 9.23
?Greek 4 0.68
Greek/Celtic 4 0.68
?Greek/Celtic 1 0.17
Greek / ?Latin 1 0.17
Graeco-Latin/Celtic 1 0.17
?Graeco-Latin/Celtic 1 0.17
?Greek/Latin/Celtic 1 0.17

if many of the ‘?Celtic’ names found in the stamps can known on contemporary stamps (53 per cent), and
in fact be classified as Celtic. I was highly cautious in the remaining 22 names (14 per cent) are unlikely
my positive assignations. At any rate, it is demonstrably on the whole to be related to contemporary stamps’.
not the case, as Adams states with regard to the names At least some of the individuals listed in the firing-
on the stamps, that ‘not only is the -us ending almost lists may not be potters at all. For example, some
universal,31 but Celtic names themselves are virtually may have been ‘agents’ for the potters (G.B. Dannell
eliminated. […] The language choice is determined by pers. comm.) or ‘removal men’ employed to transport
the expected readership’ (Adams 2003, 705; also Blom material, including vessels, around the site. We are also
forthcoming). This fallacy may have been based on the plagued, of course, by the eternal problem of trying to
comment by Marichal (1988, 93) that ‘tous les noms distinguish individuals with homonyms.
latins et celto-latins ont reçu des désinences en -us, mais The other important point arising from a comparison
encore beaucoup de noms indigènes ont été éliminés’ of both sets of names (from stamps and firing-lists) is
and was one of the reasons why Adams thought diglossia that there appears to be a small, but perhaps significant,
might be relevant in the classification of the site. It difference in the percentages of names of Greek origin
should be clarified that Marichal’s comment must refer in the two different sources. It appears that, whereas
specifically to the fact that many of the names in the only 1 per cent of the names on the stamps may be
firing-lists are simply not found on the stamps and it Greek, up to 9 per cent of the names on graffiti may be.
does not imply a desire to eliminate specifically Celtic The significance of this is yet to be debated, though the
names from the stamps. Indeed, as the introduction reason may be related to the role of the individuals in
to NOTS 1 (23) states, ‘of 163 names on the firing-lists the firing-lists, which, as we have just seen, has not as
only 54 are the same as those of contemporary potters yet been established for certain. Whilst it is extremely
who stamped samian (33 per cent), 87 names are not common for Gaulish-speaking communities to take
102 alex mullen

on Latin names in the Roman period, there is much before the firing, which is when these lists are drawn
less evidence that Greek names (other than those that up. However, the attestation in Pliny might cause us to
were common within the Latin stock) were taken on think specifically about the use of designs from cut-glass
by indigenous groups and it is therefore quite possible in the decoration of samian ware, and whether this was
that some of these Greek names are perhaps those of a designation of a vessel with such designs. Dannell
Greek-speaking individuals.32 (pers. comm.) has suggested that such an adjective
may perhaps distinguish rouletted vessels from non-
rouletted. It is possible that this term reoccurs in the
graffiti from Chémery (Appendix 7.1, no. 8.6), though
The nature and possible significance Hoerner and Scholz (2000, 48) take the form ematini to be
of Greek in the firing-lists from La a potter’s name Ematinus rather than aematini showing
the typical non-standard monophthongisation of ae.
Whilst those named in the firing-lists may in fact have a]palani  (Marichal 96.4)
no relationship with those scribes writing the lists, This could be associated with the Greek adjective ἁπαλός
the possible occurrence of Greek language within the ‘soft’ (Marichal 1988, 84). Considering the beginning of
firing-lists also requires investigation, as it suggests this word is missing and the p is very uncertain, it is
that there may have been at least a handful of Greek- sensible to consider this suggestion extremely tentative.
speaking individuals at the site. It is an aspect of the Due to its position this word should be equivalent to
lists that has not been subject to any rigorous analysis the vessel names in the rest of the fragment and it is
in the literature and indeed the Greek seems to have unclear how the meaning ‘soft’ might be relevant.
been either ignored by the linguists and/or simply
regarded as part of the Latin content of the lists (e.g. broci / brocio  (Marichal 12.4; Lambert 2002, L30c)
Adams 2003; Blom forthcoming). Marichal (1988, 84) seems to follow Vendryes’s (1924–
The following sets out the possible examples of Greek 1925, 40) suggestion that broci may be related to Greek
from the lists published to date. This represents an βροχίς ‘ink pot’. Ink-pots were produced at the site
initial tentative analysis, which will need to be reviewed (vessel form Hermet 18), however, there is a substantial
in the light of future finds and interpretations. problem with this analysis in that βροχίς in Greek
normally seems to mean a small noose, and only once
aematini  (Marichal 154.6; 165.2) may mean ‘ink pot’ (Anth. Pal. 6.295), and even there the
Marichal is probably correct in suggesting that this meaning is extremely murky. The association made with
should be associated with the adjective haematinus the verb βρέχω ‘I wet, sprinkle’ to support the ink-pot
found in Pliny’s haematinum uitrum (HN 36.198) referring hypothesis seems questionable, and it is possible that
to an opaque, red glass.33 instead the word broci may designate vessels with strap
handles (i.e. a pot described as being ready for a little
fit et tincturae genere obsianum ad escaria vasa et totum rubens
vitrum atque non tralucens, haematinum appellatum. noose),34 for instance some examples of Drag. 37.
Various authors have instead attempted to relate
‘Obsidian’ glass used for tableware is made by artificial
the term broci(o) to Irish brocc, Welsh broch ‘badger’,35
colouring and there is also a glass that is red all through,
and opaque, known as ‘hæmatinum’. and though the badger etymology on the face of it
seems very unlikely, the problem with the semantics
This clearly derives from Greek αἱμάτινος ‘blood-red’, has been swept away with a suggestion that the vessel
though whether the word at La Graufesenque has may be the same shape as the muzzle of a badger (Loth
been transferred directly from Greek or via Latin is 1924, 49; Whatmough 1970, 444). Indeed, whilst this
unclear. The loss of aspiration in this word can be seems an unlikely semantic shift,36 we find a plausible
Latin or Gaulish, and is also seen in the name Elenos association with Latin broccus ‘having protruding teeth’
above and in the alternations between Abitus and (for attestations, see Whatmough 1970, 444) which
Habitus in the stamps (the form found in the firing- might have been used to refer to certain shapes of vessel
lists is Abitos (Marichal 67.5)). At 154.6 aematin[i is and may have its origins in the Celtic ‘badger’ word.
used in the adjectival position after the vessel name However, there is a possibility that broci(o) may simply
parabs]idi and at 165.2, in one of the so-called ‘notes et be a personal name, originally derived from ‘badger’
bordereaux partiels’, aematini appears in a left-hand (Brocchus/ius, Broccus, Broccilla, Brocina, Brocio, Brocus are
column containing a mixture of adjectives and vessel all listed in Delamarre’s Noms de personnes celtiques).37
names followed by a right-hand column of numerals. In the case of Marichal 12, the word follows under two
The use of an adjective meaning ‘blood-red’ might be personal names and sigla (POLOS S = CCC and CASTOS =
deemed superfluous for the designation of terra sigillata = CC) and is followed by the numeral designation XXX,
(Bémont 2004, 122), and, of course, the potters will not and so is quite likely a name, though it could equally
be sure what shade of red their vessels will turn out designate an output of Castos. For the other attestation:
the language of the potteries 103

Ciratos Brocio canasrus CC[, Lambert (2002, 113) claims the lists which is likely to have been borrowed directly
that the form ‘ne peut être qu’un nom propre, d’après from Greek (κάναστρον ‘basket’) rather than through
le contexte’. the medium of Latin (canistrum). As Marichal (1988,
Whatever the exact nature of broci(o) (and it may be 85) clearly states: ‘Les potiers en auraient emprunté
a personal name in one instance but not the other), we directement le nom au grec, seul le no 184, où cani ne
are probably dealing with either a Latin word of Celtic peut guère se résoudre autrement, suppose la forme
origins or a Celtic word, rather than a Greek offering. latine’. Adams (2007) has discussed this term in the
context of the regional variety of Latin in Gaul and we
buxe[  (Marichal 88.2; 90.2)38 shall return to consider his comments below.
The first example of buxe is found in the right hand
column of fragment 88, following the sigla indicating c]roax  (Marichal 11 verso)
two sextans. The second example appears in the second Marichal makes the suggestion that this word may
line of a graffito headed with the name Carilos (90): represent Greek κόραξ ‘crow’ with metathesis. This
paroxed · brina · buxe[. An association for this term has seems daring considering the first letter of the word is
been made with both Greek πύξις / πύξος ‘box’ and missing and this form of metathesis is not a particularly
Latin derivative forms (Loth 1924, 48). It is impossible common phenomenon. The claim finds inspiration in
to say whether the word has been borrowed directly that the word is written within the scratched image of
from Greek or via Latin, as the change p > b is perfectly a bird. But bird names are notoriously numerous and
well attested in Celtic languages. Marichal (1988, 91) often onomatopoeic and it seems possible that this may
excludes Latin buxeus ‘wooden’ as an origin, but Lambert equally be the Gaulish designation of a bird, though a
(2002, 114) restores it as an option. Marichal (1988, 91) direct equivalent is not known to us from Insular or
states that ‘le rapport avec paroxed reste énigmatique Continental Celtic sources.
tant qu’on n’aura pas élucidé brina’. Lambert (2002, 114)
has suggested that it might be possible to relate brina cuibalini  (Marichal 90.4)
(found also at 90.5) to the Gaulish term prinas, found Considering the position of this word in the text, it
in Marichal 46b.24 (the reverse of a firing-list), which is likely to be either a vessel name or an adjective
might be the ‘buying’ verb related to Welsh prynu, Old referring to the paroxed of line 2. Lambert (2002, 114)
Irish crenaid, and perhaps also to Gaulish rinati (165). If suggests that we should see it as cui(m)balini and
so, again, the word would show the above-mentioned therefore a borrowing from Greek κύμβαλον ‘cymbal’
fluctuation between p and b. Lambert has also suggested with a well attested development κυ > cui, and meaning
that prinas might even be a verb meaning ‘fournir en ‘vases en forme de cymbale’, which might designate
bois’, analysing the whole phrase (Marichal 46b) prinas gourds.39
sibu[… [[ta]] tuddud [… as ‘Sibu[…] a fourni en bois n
cuissons’ (Lambert 2002, 119). He later backs away duprosopi / d]ipruso[pi / bibrosopi etc  (multiple
from this option, however, on the grounds that such occurrences, see Marichal (1988, 273) for a list, also
a note would be unlikely to have been mixed into the Lambert 2002, L-30 g and p)
potters’ accounts and has stated that it would be ‘plus An early interpretation by Loth (1924, 49) and Vendryes
prudent’ to analyse prinas as a adjective describing a (1924–1925, 42–3) considered the word to be a Celtic
type of ceramic (2003, 135). But the ‘fournir en bois’ formation < *dubrosoipi ‘vases à verser de l’eau’. This
analysis is not entirely implausible: details of the was rejected by Marichal (1988, 87) on several grounds
origins or supplier of fuel for a kiln may occasionally and the form was instead linked to Greek διπρόσωπος
have been noted, for example if the usual arrangements ‘two-faced’: ‘il s’agit donc d’un emprunt direct au grec
had changed in some way, and then either deliberately dont les gaulois connaissaient fort bien le sens, que les
noted in the main firing-lists, or accidently included by plus instruits, qui sont les plus “latins”, ont conservé
a scribe who was not reading what he was compiling. intact ou transposé en bipros, tandis que les “gaulois”
Whether this assessment for prinas is correct or not, it l’ont maladroitement “latinisé” en dupros- par analogie
need not necessarily apply to brina in 90.2, though if it de duo’ (see also Bohn (1924, 25); Fraser (1925, 93–4)
were to apply, the suggestion that buxe[ represents some and Hilgers (1969, 176–7)). Lambert partially revitalizes
kind of term related to wood or boxes might become the original Celtic interpretation by suggesting ‘un
more plausible. Indeed, it is possible that some vessels remodelage proche de l’étymologie populaire’ whereby
may have been placed inside the kiln in non-wooden ‘diprosopon “vase à double face” devient duprosopi, sous
boxes, or sometimes the need to box up the vessels l’influence du gaulois dubro- “eau”’ (also suggested by
immediately after firing might have been noted. Vendryes (1924, 494)). The analyses linking the form
to dubro- ‘water’ do not easily account for the form
canastri  (multiple occurrences, see Marichal (1988, bibrosopi and the suggestion of a Greek origin with some
273) for a list) transposition seems the most plausible.
This is undoubtedly the clearest example of a term in
104 alex mullen

duisom[  (Marichal 30.13) such a manner, it does not seem obvious how this would
Marichal (1988, 84, also Lambert 2002, 114) suggests be relevant since muffle technology would presumably
that this form may be related to Greek δίσωμος, but have been used throughout the site in the period to
this seems rather unlikely considering a change di > dui which the graffiti have been dated.
which is different from the du / di alternation found in
the previous example and is further weakened by the Seven of the above terms attested in the graffiti have
fact that some of the word is missing. The argument plausible Greek origins: aematini, buxe, canastri, cuibalini,
would be that the lexeme meant ‘double-bodied’ in duprosopi, strogia, trocliati, and Marichal (1988, 83) even
parallel to the ‘double-faced’ designation. But a perhaps goes so far as to say that: ‘l’emploi d’un adjectif tel
fatal problem with the Greek origin hypothesis is that qu’aematinus qui n’est ici, ni savant, ni technique, mais
the Greek term δίσωμος is only found in astronomical expressif, dénote chez son auteur une connaissance du
literature. grec évidemment plus étendue que celle de quelques
noms de vases, certains d’entre eux n’appelaient-ils pas
strogia  (Marichal 89.8) d’ailleurs le corbeau, volatile commun à la Graufesenque
This term is in the adjectival position following acitabli. et connu des celtes depuis plusieurs siècles, non pas
An association with Greek στρογγύλος ‘spherical’ was bran, ni coruus, mais corax’. Marichal has picked up a
proposed by Hermet (1923, 102). The loss of the nasal significant point here. If Greek origins were only to be
notated by Greek <γγ> (if this is what is represented found in the standard Graeco-Latin vessel name stock,
in the form strogia) is quite normal and not diagnostic we would have nothing to discuss. Yet several of the
(Marichal 1988, 66). The loss of the -ull- segment is words cited here appear to be adjectival and, with
noted, but not explained, by Marichal (ibid.). It is the exception of canastri, not otherwise known from
possible that the potters of La Graufesenque may ancient sources discussing pottery. These words do not
have analysed this segment as a diminutive (as in represent the standard stock vocabulary for Graeco-
Latin) and then subsequently removed this segment Roman pottery, as far as we know it, and therefore
when referring to large vessels.40 There is no obvious might be a reflection of more ad hoc influence from
alternative from Latin or Gaulish. Greek-speaking individuals on the ground.42
However, we should exercise caution. Several of the
trocliati  (Marichal 30.12) words have alternative explanations in Gaulish and/or
The position of this word in the text seems to suggest an Latin; and the Greek is by no means assured in every
adjective, perhaps related to Greek τροχήλατος ‘turned instance. A major problem with interpreting these
on a potter’s wheel’ as Marichal proposes, though he words as evidence of knowledge of Greek amongst the
cites Welsh treiglo ‘turn’ as being from the same root. scribes involved in the internal bureaucracy at the
The problem, as Marichal (1988, 91) recognizes, is that site is the possibility that some of these terms have
this interpretation would be ideal as long as some of arrived via the medium of Latin from production sites
the paraxides, which the adjective modifies, could have in Italy and do not necessarily imply the movement
been ‘moulés et décorés’ rather than wheel-made. or influence of Greek-speaking individuals. However,
It is, however, very difficult to be sure which vessels at least one of the words, canastrum, is very likely to
the term paraxides actually designates. Dannell (2006, have come directly from Greek,43 as the Latin form
149) reminds us that trying to align modern vessel is widely attested elsewhere as canistrum: ‘the word
terminology with the scribal descriptions is ‘rather like cannot have been introduced to the pottery by native
trying to squeeze the proverbial quart into a pint pot’. In speakers of Latin from outside Gaul; it must have
his opinion, paraxides were possibly Drag. 24/5, perhaps been borrowed from Gallic Greek. Here is evidence
Ritt. 8, and Drag. 35, plus related forms (2006, 162). that, though Italian potters might have moved to the
In the absence of any certainty as to the exact forms site, they did not impose Italian Latin technical terms
involved and given our incomplete knowledge of the on the pottery to the exclusion of local terminology’
totality of the production from the site, it is extremely (Adams 2007, 281–2). I would query, however, whether
difficult to discount the possibility of paraxides which the term must have come via Gallic Greek, by which
were ‘moulés et décorés’, though it seems relatively Adams means the Greek of the colonies of Gaul. No
unlikely. It is possible that the wheel designated by Greek colony is situated near La Graufesenque and
trocliati may be a specific type of wheel, perhaps of Greek colonial Greek does not seem to have taken root beyond
type, though we are firmly in the realms of conjecture the colonies of Gaul except in restricted circumstances
here. Flobert (1992, 112) suggests linking trocliati with (Mullen forthcoming). It appears more likely that, if we
Latin trochlea, which he translates as ‘muffle’. This Latin can establish traces of Greek in the bureaucracy at the
term is not attested in the context of kilns41 (the Oxford site, these come with Greek-speaking individuals from
Latin Dictionary’s definition is ‘a mechanical contrivance Italian production centres. If this is the case, we might
for raising weights, a case or sheaf containing one or wonder whether the proposed development of this
more pulleys, a block’), and, even if it had been used in form of pottery, from so-called ‘Eastern sigillata’ from
the language of the potteries 105

Asia Minor to Italy to Gaul,44 might have involved the language in the potteries at Arezzo at the turn of our era,
transmission of knowledge by skilled Greek-speaking being spoken at least by some of those slaves who were
individuals. Perhaps Greek-named individuals attested members of this particular Society, whether they had
at these sites should not be dismissed as slaves without Greek names or no’. Kenrick (2006, 205) is more cautious:
further discussion of their possible roles, which may ‘On its own, this item is tantalizing but tells us little. It
have included scribal activity.45 At the earliest known shows that Greek script (and language?) were current
production site of genuine terra sigillata in Gaul, La at Arezzo in the Augustan period’. This material, of
Muette (Lyon), links have been clearly established course, does not prove that Greek-speaking individuals
around 10 BC with Arezzo and Pisa (Polak 2000, 33),46 were involved in the bureaucracy at La Graufesenque,
and for La Graufesenque the association is most clear but it provides evidence, however meagre, of possible
with Arezzo, perhaps partly via La Muette, though this Greek speakers involved in the internal bureaucracy
is not assured (ibid. 22–3 and 34). at Arezzo, a site that we know had close links with La
We might look beyond Italy for evidence for graffiti
related to the production of samian ware (and other
Comparanda: possible firing-lists pottery) to see whether we can make advances in the
and related material from outside La reconstruction of the bureaucratic practice at the
potteries and its scribes (Appendix 7.1). Unfortunately,
Graufesenque the evidence does not become any more copious,
In order to lift this suggestion out of the realm of pure though thirteen sites offer anything from one to a
hypothesis, we would need supporting epigraphic handful of possible firing-lists. This material, as Dannell
information from the production sites of Eastern (2002, 213) has rightly pointed out, is ‘certainly not
sigillata and Italian sigillata to help us trace the roles of available for meaningful statistical comparison’, and
Greek-speaking individuals, but this has so far proven it is striking that even those sites with large outputs,
absent for the former and very scanty for the latter such as Lezoux or Arezzo, have offered far less graffiti
(see Appendix 7.1). Sadly, to date none of the Italian than La Graufesenque (ibid. 227).47 It is possible, of
production sites has yielded a rich series of graffiti as course, to posit the use of perishable material such as
found at La Graufesenque. However, despite the small wood for the documents at these other sites, though
volume of evidence from Italian production centres this cannot be proven.
(beyond the copious stamps which do contain Greek It is apparent that the knowledge and need to write
names) we have a graffito on Arretine ware (CIL XI, 6702, these lists had spread over a large area, but it also seems
1) in Latin and Greek in Greek script with numerous likely, based on the evidence from all the sites, including
Greek names (Figs 7.1 and 7.2), apparently from ‘about La Graufesenque, that no manuals existed to help the
the turn of our era’ (Johnston 1985, 121). This text (side scribes.48 At La Graufesenque the alternating endings and
‘A’ of two, side ‘B’ is obscure) mentions an otherwise spellings for vessel names and the appearance of Gaulish,
unattested ορδω κατιλαριων ‘Society of Dishmakers’ and even Greek, in the internal bureaucracy suggest that
(ibid. 122; Latin lexemes, but Greek morphology on the there was no model from which to copy. This also appears
second) and a ουερνα (uerna) ‘a household-born slave’. to be the case at the other sites where, when we have
Johnston (ibid.) concludes that ‘Greek was a living enough evidence to investigate, for example at Montans,

]ατω· .[ c.3].[
ο]ρδω κατιλαριω[ν
].νν Διοκλης· Απολλωνιος·
Αντερως· Γεμελλος·νν.[
].υις ουερνα· Ερως·
]το.[ ]ρμαν[

Fig. 7.1. Graffito on sherd of Arretine ware found in Arezzo Fig. 7.2. Latin and Greek graffito in Greek script on Arretine
(© The Trustees of the British Museum. Accession number ware (Johnston 1985).
106 alex mullen

we find alternation between terms such as parapsidi Acknowledgments

and parabsides. Similarly, the representation of personal I am extremely grateful for the generous advice and
names across the sites shows considerable differences. encouragement from James Clackson, Brenda Dickinson,
For example, potters’ names seem to be presented in Geoff Dannell, Pierre-Yves Lambert, Allard Mees, Paul
the genitive at Blickweiler (Bohn 1923, 65), whereas Russell and Andrew Wilson. I am particularly grateful
the nominative seems normal at La Graufesenque and to Jim Adams for setting me on the trail of the Greek
Montans, and in the list from Vayres the names of potters of the graffiti and to Alderik Blom for sharing his
are consistently found with -o endings rather than -os. forthcoming article with me.
Indeed, at least one other pottery production centre
may display Greek in its accounts (Appendix, 7.1, no. 10,
Vichy). And yet, the written material from the sites is
relatively homogenous in terms of layout, its use of Latin
symbols for numerals, which are a recurrent feature
in even the most fragmentary documents and, most Appendix 7.1
significantly, its frequent use of cursive Latin. Cursive
Latin is not an easy script to manage and a survey of Published Graffiti relating to pottery
the longest documents from outside La Graufesenque from sites other than La Graufesenque
(Montans, Blickweiler and Vayres) demonstrates no clear
signs of lack of skill. It appears that the scribal literacy This section provides a compilation of the published
at all these sites is most likely the result of movement graffiti probably related to the production of pottery
of skilled scribes and of training on the job. The theory found from sites other than La Graufesenque. It is
that the scribes at La Graufesenque attended schools in intended as a rough guide for ease of reference; it does
the Gallo-Roman countryside is unconvincing (Flobert not claim to be complete and I have not attempted to
1992, 106); their scribal training was unregulated, not re-edit the inscriptions but cite them as they appear in
centrally organised and involved movement of skilled print. Dates are offered where these have been given
personnel. Hoerner and Scholz (2000, 57) conclude in the publications.
in their survey of possible links between the scribal
practices at Chémery and elsewhere that, whilst we
probably cannot reconstruct the exact transmission of Italy:
know-how between the sites, ‘die häufig nachweisbaren a) Arezzo (CIL XI 6702 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 10; Camodeca 2006)
Standortwechsel der Töpfer waren ja ein wesentlicher A series of graffiti on Arretine vessels, according to
Faktor bei der Verbreitung technischen Wissens und Marichal (1988, 16) ‘mal déchiffrés’.
bewährter Praktiken’. The mobility of those with CIL XI 6702 1 (Greek names?), 2 (mostly numerals), 3
specialist skills is, of course, a well-attested feature for (fornax?),
both the modern and ancient world.
5 cursive
?Meti | acet | pul | cim

Final remarks 9, 10 (not included by Marichal, but possibly to be

We have discussed the linguistic composition of La acet | acat[
Graufesenque, finding that societal bilingualism is the
best way of understanding the site, but a bilingualism
b) Horta (CIL XI 6702 23a)
of interaction and fluidity rather than of diglossia
‘in frusto paterae’
and/or separate linguistic communities. We saw that,
despite excellent attempts, the mechanical composition Very fragmentary, it is only really possible to make out
of documents means that we cannot directly reach the the numerals.
spoken bilingualism of the site. In fact, the evidence
of the names and graffiti demonstrated that a third c) Pisa (CIL XI 6702 15)
language, Greek, may need to be taken into account, Cursive Latin ‘in fragmento vasis Arretini Pisis rep.’
and that Greek-speaking scribes may have been at work,
alongside others, at La Graufesenque. Using Italian XIIII k(alendas) Iun(ias)
and provincial comparanda the existence of manuals Principis
was rejected and the possibility of the movement of Ti…
skilled scribes put forward. Once again this material
has demonstrated very clearly the importance of d) Pisa (Isola di Migliarino) (Camodeca 2006; Oxé et al.
production, trade and commerce in the spread of 2000, 31) Date: late 1st century to early 2nd century
languages and literacy. AD.
the language of the potteries 107

XII k. Augu(stas) 3) Montans (Marichal 1988 appendix; Whatmough 1970,

fornax minor one- no. 88 (1); Martin 2006, 329) Date: ?AD 1–175.
Cretici cat(illi) cccl 1.
Nonian[i] cat(illi) dcccl ]. CC parapsidi[
Saturn[ini] cat(illi) cccxl c]atilli DC (X)(X)(X) DCC
Lu+++ui? par(opsides) ccc ]ES pannas S = D cruminis[
Coniunc.? ace(tabula) cxc ]li DCC acitabli CCCCL par[apsidi
Thiodori ace(tabula) dc (X)(X)(X)DCCCLXXV
]IUS et Dercillus
Extra Italy: XXX
1) Toulon-sur-Allier (Unpublished, mention in Lambert ]pannas S = .[
2002, 114) 2.
Lambert kindly sent me a scan of photographs (attached parab]sides
to a letter from Hugues Vertet to Paul Marie Duval) ac]itabla
and reads the fragmentary inscription as follows. Mo]ntanus Sensilio[
Unfortunately the letter does not comment on the type pannas semisses[
of ceramic used. ]Regalis catilli[
]s. satla XX parabsides [
] XXXV[ acitabla [
salari [
Marichal (1988, 90) knew of this graffito and noted: ‘un ]. Colus pa[
nouvel exemplaire [of sat(t)l(l)a] vient d’en être trouvé
à Toulon-sur-Allier, le mot n’est donc pas propre aux 4) Blickweiler (Marichal 1988 appendix; Whatmough
Rutènes, c’est semble-t-il, le seul enseignement qu’on 1970, no. 229 (very different reading)) Date: ‘vers A.D.
puisse tirer de cette trouvaille’. 140’ (Marichal 1988, 261)

2) Lezoux (Bet & Delage 1993) Date: Tiberian Column 1

‘La constitution de ce corpus [graffiti from Lezoux] a ]. I
permis, cependant, d’en trouver deux exemplaires [of ]n(umero) LXX uass(a) n(umero) CCXXXX
‘comptes de poteries’] avec certitude.’ Texts are dated to Pet]rulli
the Tiberian period and are therefore older than those p]annias n(umero) DCCC uass(a) n(umero) (X)DC
at La Graufesenque. Unlike those at La Graufesenque, Column 2
they are inscribed after firing. Bituni
a) Bet & Delage 1993, 325, inv. GI011 parusp(idi) remat(i) n(umero)[
- - - III (I)CCCC | catilli (I)CCCC[D] - - - | [R] ILNAS (I) - - - Carietistani
catilli justi[
Lambert (2002, 183) suggests b]r[in]ituas? for the final SACIANTRI
line, and more recently (pers. comm.): catilli carnuat(i) n(umero)[
paruspi(di) pullati n(umero) II
actari MCCCC
] catilli. MCCCC…
]r[.l/c]itiuas C..[ 5) Vayres (Lambert 2002, L-27) Date: c.AD 150
cesido urciu CXXI
b) Bet & Delage 1993, 325, inv. GI008 congialidi XXV
- - - I CCCCC - - - | - - - XX melauso urciu LVI
souxtu CC
c) Bet & Delage 1993, 326, inv. GI038 scutra V
This example is described by Bet and Delage (1993, 326) atticco trisextia LXX
as of ‘usage indéterminé’, but Lambert (2002, 183) states congialidi XXV
that it is ‘certainement un bordereau partiel’. souxtu CXXV
ueriđuco congialidi XIIII
- - - I CAVTILLI [III] trisextia XXX
Lambert (2002, 183) reads this ‘bordereau partiel’: ]u suxtu C
| Toutilli par[absides], though he now prefers Tautilli cintumo souxtu CXXX
(pers. comm.).
108 alex mullen

6) Rheinzabern (Oxé 1925, 52; Whatmough 1970, no. 230) 14. [–]
a) X
[aci]tabla(?) 15. [–]
]xxx ALBIN[us]
]ria(?) lxxv
]xxv 9) ‘Inscriptions of the Santones’ (Whatmough 1970,
………. 387)
]tata ‘In Bull. Soc. arch. et hist. Charente 1926, xlix, J. Marveau
gives from a piece of terra sigillata, as a continuous line
b) of text, what is probably to be read dometio m crumin
]xl and therefore to be compared with the graffiti of La
]ccc Graufesenque.’
………. 10) Vichy (Allier) (Bémont 1972, 161–4; Lambert 2002,
[cer]uesa(ri)? cl L-72) Date: 1st century AD?
]cccc Described as a ‘compte sur terra nigra’ (according to the
discrepancies between this example and some notes
7) Bavay (Whatmough 1970, 280; AE 1928, 138) concerning ‘the same’ graffito from 1880, Bémont
]acit | catill(i) II | san[ suggests that there may have been more than one). No
interpretation of the text is given by Bémont. Lambert
8) Chémery (Hoerner & Scholz 2000; Whatmough 1970, (2002, 193) seems to think the language is Greek: ‘Il n’est
280) Date: c.AD 60–150 pas rare de trouver des documents de langue grecque
15 inscriptions are presented in Hoerner & Scholz. et d’alphabet latin (ainsi à Pompéi). Cela est peut-être
2–4, 9 contain only symbols for numerals. The other en relation avec l’habitude gauloise, signalée chez les
graffiti are listed below. It should be noted that the Helvètes par César, de tenir les comptes en grec.’
translations in Hoerner & Scholz have been misplaced, Lambert’s reading:
the translation for 3 should be for 5, that for 5 for 6, [ ]atelus . tisincser u
that for 6 for 7. [.]s (denier) V
1. [– con?]STATA (denier) X
[–]LVIII VAS(a) (I)(I)DCCCVIII ]ire ]mar[
[–]VAS(a) (I)C ]riston[ ]…[
[–O]LLA CCLXXII VAS(a) (I)(I)DCCXXX In its fragmentary state it is hard to be sure which
[–]CCLIIII language the graffito represents, though the signs taken
[–]LXXX[–?] to represent ‘denier’ suggest that it is some form of
5. [–i]DVS DIICIIMBRIIS account rather than a firing-list.
[–? pan]NAS CCC 11) Les Martres-de-Veyre (Puy-de-Dôme) (Lambert 2002,
[–]S X VX CCL L-71) Date: 1st to 2nd century AD
[–]VI VX LX One example cited in Lambert, not a firing-list. Lambert
notes that ‘graffites latins’ have been found, stating that
6. [–]S XIIII K(alendas) IVLIAS A.-M. Romeuf is in charge of their publication. None
[–]RIIS IIMATINI? of the grafitti presorted in Romeuf 2000 seems to be a
[–]X) BRACIS(?) firing-list. Many appear to be potters’ signatures.
7. [–ma?]CIDA[–] 12) Saint-Bonnet à Yzeure (Allier) (Lambert 2002 L-73)
[–]S VINA[ri?–] Date: 1st century AD
[–]CX[–?] List of names on first century céramique blanche, from
a workshop of Gallo-Belgic wares. Exact purpose
8. [–?]MI[–] unknown.
MA[–] 13) Haute-Yutz (Moselle) (Hatt 1962, 491–2; Duval &
10–13. Very fragmentary. Marichal 1966, 1341 note 3) Date: pottery in operation
c.AD 150 to 3rd century.
the language of the potteries 109

Hatt (1962) remarks: ‘Il s’agit probablement d’un 14 This seems an inappropriate term to use considering the
bordereau d’enfournement portant mention de trois possible confusion with ‘Gallo-Latin’, which is used to refer
to Gaulish written in Roman script.
séries de trente vases, distingués par leur contenu : 15 Creolisation is also an inappropriate term when we are
medimni, vicenarii? cotyli. On remarquera que les mesures dealing with two closely related languages and high levels
de médimnes, de cotyles sont des mesures grecques, of bilingualism, see Mullen 2012.
utilisées surtout dans l’Orient hellénique’. 16 See Meid 1983 for Gaulish-Latin bilingual texts.
17 The classification of all these examples as code-switches
ME XXX CO XXX could be questioned: extra may well be Gaulish and not Latin
VIC XXX TILI (Lambert 2008, 106); Blom (forthcoming) discusses various
problems with the code-switching analysis of -os versus -us
endings in personal names and the tuθos heading followed
by Latin is fragmentary and poses several problems of
Notes interpretation.
18 For an argument against, see Polak 2000, 39.
  1 See, for example, discussions by Adams 2003, 687–724 and 19 See Blom (forthcoming) for an important discussion of
Blom forthcoming. the issues in dating the material and in creating potting
  2 See Schaad 2007b, 61–215 for a comprehensive survey of all ‘clienteles’.
the excavations undertaken at the site. 20 The quotation can be found at Schmidt 1990, 743.
  3 Dannell (2002, 214) remarks that ‘these excavations have 21 Dannell (2002, 239 note 131) remarks that ‘Polak (2000,
examined, at the most, some 3 per cent of the area which is tables 7.1, 7.2 and fig 7.1) offers slight evidence where it
known to have been involved in pottery production’. The site can be seen that the later group there (admittedly only four
has already yielded an ‘aire cultuelle’, comprising a temple, graffiti) are ‘Latin’, while the earliest graffiti are found among
two fana and a well, first fully published in Schaad (2007b, the ‘Gaulish’ or mixed group. The Flavian ‘Atelia’ day-book
85–133). is Latin.’ Bémont (2004, 115) notes that Gaulish is spread
  4 See Brulet et al. 2010 for discussion of Roman ceramic types throughout the graffiti.
in Gaul and Bémont & Jacob 1986 for an overview of Gallo- 22 Blom (forthcoming) also takes issue with Adams on this point.
Roman terra sigillata. 23 Fülle (2000a, 69) works this into his model.
  5 See Polak 2000, 15–38 for an admirably clear overview of the 24 Marichal (1988, 225) also refers to 77, 82, 90 and possibly 53
South Gaulish production centres and the reasons for their as ‘bordereaux partiels’. These are all fragmentary to the
rise and fall; on the latter subject, see also Middleton 1980. extent that it seems impossible to be sure of their difference
  6 ‘It is known that throughout the production period by far from the main firing-lists. They are included by Marichal with
the majority of vessels produced at La Graufesenque were the main lists as they are in the same hands. I am curious to
stamped’ (Dannell 2002, 220); though see Bémont 2004, 130–1 discover whether any of these proposed notes are unfired or
for changes over time in stamping. During the main period incised post cocturam.
of production, when stamps are usually on one line, potters’ 25 Dannell 2002, 220 note 67: ‘These inscriptions may have
names are found in the nominative or genitive and may be been the basis for compiling the graffiti, but one might
abbreviated. Officina is common at La Graufesenque and Le expect more to have survived (at least one to a line). On
Rozier (scarce elsewhere), fecit occurs everywhere in Gaul the other hand, they might be part of a different recording
and manu(s) is used by c.45 potters at La Graufesenque. The system, required to document the relationships between the
earliest stamps at La Graufesenque are on two lines, following non-stamping potters and their workshops. However, it is
the practice at Arezzo, sometimes with the qualification admitted that in both cases they rank as ephemera’.
ar(r)etinum (90 per cent of Arretine ware is stamped). See 26 Lisa Bendall (pers. comm.) suggests from her knowledge of
Dannell 2002, 215–19, Genin & Schenck-David 2007, 275–82 the Linear B clay tablets, that perhaps notes may have been
and NOTS 1, 18–22 for discussion of the details of the stamps. incised on dry, unfired clay, and after use could have been
For a discussion of both the stamps and signatures, see disposed of in piles of clay.
Bémont 2004, 104–14. 27 Whilst I concur with many of Blom’s comments in his
  7 To which should be added two further graffiti, Bémont & forthcoming article, his insistence on the distance of the
Vernhet 1990–1991 and Vernhet & Bémont 1992–1993. language of the graffiti from the languages spoken at the site
  8 Originally it was thought that the graffiti had been inscribed may have been pushed too far, particularly since he himself
post cocturam, but close analysis of the material has proven repeatedly discusses the features of the texts in relation to
the inscription to be ante cocturam, see Bémont 2004, 114 note spoken languages. Similarly, his attacks on Adams (2003)
202. sometimes suggest a reductive reading of Adams’s complex
  9 Dannell (2002, 215) urges that we should not treat the stamps analysis.
and graffiti separately. 28 For an introduction to onomastics, see Mullen 2007; forth­
10 See Blom (forthcoming) for a detailed overview of the coming.
development of scholarship and information on the dating, 29 For a ‘hierarchy of adoption’ of names, see Mullen 2007. See
groupings and language of the graffiti. I highlight some key Delamarre 2003, 347–50 for lists of Gaulish-Latin cover names
points here. and translation names. The fact that I found it difficult to
11 Loth’s 1924 discussion of the graffiti focuses on Gaulish (as do classify so many names from La Graufesenque as either Latin
others), in his opinion the language of the potters, but does or Celtic is testament to the fact that cover names were
not explicitly describe the overall linguistic composition of particularly popular. This representation of a double identity
the graffiti. is of course important for our understanding of the cultural
12 Also, earlier in the text, ‘c’est du latin, mais du latin déformé, contacts at the site.
abâtardi’ (Hermet 1923, ix). 30 Mullen 2007 contains many examples from La Graufes­
13 Schmidt’s review of Marichal’s edition (1990, 743) takes issue enque.
with the inconsistency of some of Marichal’s summarizing 31 For examples of -os endings in the stamps, see Bémont 2004,
statements as to the linguistic composition of the graffiti. 105.
110 alex mullen

32 Marichal (1988, 93), conversely, thinks that all the names in language rather than the isolated lexemes discussed above:
the firing-lists ‘peuvent être dits “indigènes”’. Lambert 2002, L-47.3. However, the linguistic analysis of
33 An alternative, a designation for a container for blood-garum this fragment remains extremely tentative and at any rate
(αἱμάτιον), has recently been suggested by Susan Weingarten, the text has been described by Lambert (2002, 146) as a
cited in Dannell (2006, 166 note 46). glossary and perhaps an ‘exercice d’écolier’ and might not
34 I am grateful to Martin West and Patrick James for their be relevant for understanding the internal bureaucracy of
advice on this. the potteries.
35 Celtic apparently has two words for badger, one from *brokko 43 It is possible that it has come via Latin canistrum and then
and the other from *taSKo, see Katz 1998. undergone vocalic assimilation (a - i > a - a) (Paul Russell,
36 Loth 1924, 49 cites a possibly analogous development in hog pers. comm.), but a borrowing from Greek seems the simpler
and hogshead ‘large cask of liquid’, though there are doubts explanation.
over the origins of this term. 44 ‘The derivative Gaulish productions involving potters attested
37 Broc(c)(h)- is not listed as a key name element in either of the at Arezzo, which appear at Lyon from 10 BC and then at La
major corpora Evans (1967) or Schmidt (1957); Evans (1967, Graufesenque in Southern Gaul, are now thought to reflect
159 note 5) simply makes a note under his entry for Brog- migration of expert potters rather than the establishment
‘border, territory, land’ that despite the alternation of c / g of branch workshops’ (Wilson 2008, 398). See Hartley 1977
in Gaulish, this element is ‘not to be connected with PNN in for an early statement on ‘wandering potters’.
broc(c)-’. 45 Slaves are attested at La Graufesenque, for example Marichal
38 I briefly considered the possibility that this word might 1988, nos 169 and 211, but it is impossible to extrapolate their
be related to the Italian settlement Buxentum, perhaps the roles and numbers from these documents, see Bémont 2004,
adjective Buxentinus and referring to a distinctive style of 129.
vessel typical of that site. However, it seems that Buxentum is 46 For the Lyon potteries, see the dossiers in Gallia 1996 and
not known to be a production centre. I am grateful to Geoff 1997.
Dannell, Brenda Dickinson and Emanuele Vaccaro for their 47 Bet & Delage (1993) consider why so few lists relating to
advice on this. the pottery have been found at Lezoux. They suggest that
39 Bohn (1924, 25) had already suggested a link with the perhaps wooden tablets had been used, though I think that
diminutive form κυμβάλιον. this is probably unlikely given the abundance of clay.
40 I am grateful to Paul Russell for this suggestion. 48 As for the overall nature of the linguistic composition
41 I am grateful to John Blundell for checking the slips of the lists and whether any patterns can be seen either
concerning trochlea at the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae in geographically or chronologically, which might help us to
Munich. reconstruct the origins of these ‘comptables’, the material
42 Only one text from La Graufesenque shows any hint of Greek is simply too partial to be submitted to such an analysis.