Lapis Satricanus

The Lapis Satricanus, or, "stone of Satricum", is a yellow stone found in the ruins of the ancient Satricum, near Borgo Montello (41°31′N 12°47′E / 41.517°N 12.783°E / 41.517; 12.783), a village of southern Lazio, dated late 6th to early 5th centuries BC. It was found in 1977 during excavations by C.M. Stibbe.[1][2]

It reads:


("The (?) dedicated this, as companions of Publius Valerius, to Mars")

The inscription is in Archaic Latin or a closely related dialect.[3] It is important for comparative Indo-European grammar as it is the only Latin inscription to show the ending -osio for the genitive singular of the thematic noun declension. Later Latin has as the ending for this case, but by comparison with Linear B and Homeric Greek and other languages it becomes clear that -osio is a far earlier form.

The Lapis Satricanus has received significant attention from historians and archaeologists of early Latium not merely because of its obvious antiquity and linguistic value, but also because of the name preserved on the inscription. The archaic name of Poplios Valesios is rendered in Classical Latin as "Publius Valerius," which has inevitably led to speculation that the inscription refers to none other than the famous Publius Valerius Publicola, the patrician ally of Lucius Junius Brutus who dominates the list of early consuls recorded by the Fasti Capitolini and is credited in traditional accounts as one of the primary founders of the Roman Republic. Positive identification is at least somewhat problematic because the town of Satricum was not part of Roman territory during the years P. Valerius was consul. However, the "lapis" itself may not have been dedicated in Satricum in the first place, since it was found as part of a collection of recycled material used in the construction of a temple in the town, and could well have been imported from elsewhere.


  1. see the Dutch lemma on C.M. Stibbe.
  2. C. M. Stibbe (1980). Lapis Satricanus. Ministerie van Cultuur, Recreatie en Maatschappelijk Werk. ISBN 978-90-12-02951-3.
  3. Philip Baldi (January 2002). The Foundations of Latin. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 204–. ISBN 978-3-11-017208-9.

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