Noric language

Native to Austria, Slovenia
Era attested 2nd century AD
Language codes
ISO 639-3 nrc
Linguist list
Glottolog nori1240[1]

The Noric language, or Eastern Celtic, is an unclassified Continental Celtic language. It is attested in only two fragmentary inscriptions from the Roman province of Noricum (one in Grafenstein, Austria, the other in Ptuj, Slovenia), which do not provide enough information for any conclusions about the nature of the language to be drawn. However, the language was probably similar to the other Celtic languages near to it, such as Gaulish. Due to the scanty evidence it is unknown when it became extinct.

Ptuj inscription

ARTEBUDZBROGDUI (a facsimile of the original inscription, written right to left)

The Ptuj inscription, discovered in 1894, is written right to left in a northern Italic alphabet[2] and reads:


This is interpreted as two personal names: Artebudz [son] of Brogduos.[3] The name Artebudz may mean "bear penis"[4] (compare Welsh arth "bear" and Irish bod "penis"), while Brogduos may contain the element brog-, mrog- "country"[5] (compare Welsh bro "region, country"). Alternatively, the inscription may be interpreted as Artebudz [made this] for Brogdos, with the second name in the dative case.[6]

Grafenstein inscription

Grafenstein inscription & facsimile

The Grafenstein inscription, on a tile from the 2nd century AD that was discovered in a gravel pit in 1977, is incomplete, but the extant part has been transcribed as follows:[2]


P· II- LAV · EX[
ỌNẠ C[…]

OLLO · SO · ? [

Here, Moge seems to be a personal name or an abbreviation of one, P· II- lav a Latin abbreviation indicating a weight, ne sadiíes a verbal form possibly meaning "you (singular) do not set", ollo so perhaps "this amount", and Lugnu another personal name. The text may therefore be a record of some sort of financial transaction.[2]

Other readings of the inscription have also been proposed, including:

MOGE · ES+[---]

PET(?) LAV · EX[---]
NE · SAMES[---]
OLLO · SO · VILO ·[---]
ONA O(?) + ++

OLLO · SO ·+
+ LVGNI · SI[7]


MOGV · CISS [---

OLLO · SO · VILO ·[---

OLLO · SO · VIA .[


  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Noric". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. 1 2 3 David Stifter, 2007-10-12, Keltisch in Österreich (Powerpoint document), (PDF of lecture). Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  3. Encyclopédie de l'arbre celtique, Vase de Ptuj. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  4. Il Vocabolario Celtico, p. 87, p. 89. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  5. A. Falileyev, Dictionary of Continental Celtic Place-Names. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  6. Indogermanistik Wien, University of Vienna, Quellentexte: Ptuj. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  7. Indogermanistik Wien, University of Vienna, Quellentexte: Grafenstein. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  8. Encyclopédie de l'arbre celtique, Tuile de Grafenstein. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
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