Laconia Survey Inscription No. 22

Fragments of vase dedicated to to Zeus Messapeus, from Tsakona

Fragments of vase dedicated to Messapeus, from below the Tsakona ridge, where stood the sanctuary of Zeus Messapeus (site N413), now excavated by H. W. Catling. Ed. pr. R. W. V. Catling and D. G. J. Shipley, 'Messapian Zeus: an early sixth-century inscribed cup from Lakonia', BSA 84 (1989), 187-200 and pl. 37 a-b (drawings at p. 189 fig. 1 a-c); SEG 39. 376; 40. 358; summary, LS ii. 225 and pl. 22 a (different photograph from that in BSA); SEG 47. 379.
Four fragments of a Laconian cup. Rim diameter 0.27, preserved H. 0.07, max diameter of bowl 0.25. Estimated H. of bowl 0.09.
c.600-550 BC.
Images: two unpublished photographs (no. 24; no. 6).

Digitised photograph of inscription no. 22

Digitised photograph of inscription no. 22 (close-up)


". . . Mesapeus."

Graham Shipley recognized the sherd as containing the cult epithet of Zeus which is also mentioned by Pausanias (iii. 20. 3). Pausanias's shrine, however, is on the other side of the Spartan plain (see SEG 26. 460 = 39. 373, tile-stamp from Anthochori). Our sherd was the first evidence of a second sanctuary of Messapian Zeus in Laconia. The identity of the Tsakona cult has been confirmed by stamped tiles from the excavation (H. W. Catling, BSA 85 (1990), 32; SEG 40. 358). On the Laconian character of the cult, see L. Dubois, Bull. ép. 1991. 297.

The viewer will be able to judge from the images whether Stroud's comments at SEG 39. 376, suggesting that the last letter has a cross-bar and is an upside-down alpha, are cogent. In the view of the edd. prr. the apparent cross-bar was no more than a light scratch.

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