Translation of the Lemnos Stele

by Alexander Grant (Aleksandras Pridatkas) ©

28 North Feus, Upper Largo, Fife KlB 6ER Scotland

From notes compiled during 1973–1976. This version finally typed January 1982.

(Editing and design layout by Alan Craig, Brisbane, Australia, 2015)
ALSO SEE: Translation of the PHAESTOS DISC.

Ever since its discovery in 1885, the Lemnos Stele has intrigued and perplexed archaeologists and philologists alike. On the one hand, it seems to have some connection with Asia Minor, especially Phrygia and Lydia, while, on the other hand, the language, vocabulary, style, and formula point unerringly to the Etruscans. Thus, the reading of the Stele is an important step in the controversy concerning the possible origins of the Etruscans.

The Stele, or funerary tablet, is dedicated to a dead warrior buried on the Greek Island of Lemnos. It shows his head in profile, and carries two inscriptions incised in characters which resemble those of Old Phrygian of about the 7th century BC.

According to most philologists, the language is a pre-Hellenic ‘non-Indo-European’ dialect resembling Etruscan in morphology and vocabulary. The relationship with Etruscan I do not dispute; but, according to my own research, the inscriptions are in the all-pervasive Indo-European language which was spoken throughout the Central and Eastern Mediterranean, and elsewhere, for a large part of the 1st and 2nd millennia BC. This language, akin to Sanskrit, closely resembles Lithuanian. There are historical reasons, both for the presence of this language in this area at this time, and for its continued existence as a linking living-fossil at the present day. I hope to elucidate these points in future papers.

Transcription and Translation

English Version

1. This is   2. a mariner (who has) passed away   3. an explorer on behalf of his country,   4. a prince of Ephessos (?).   5. He was   6. Naphoth of Aolis.   7. O, man cut-down!   8. Let there be (fulfilled) in Elysium (your) princely desires.   9. He was an explorer for his country, a sea-rover for Ionia (?) …   10. … ‘chasseur of chasseurs’,  He was the Einasiu war-eagle in Phokaea …   11. … of most distant Phokaea in Asia. Prince of Ephessos. Lord …

Vocabulary and Notes