Sinaia lead plates


Sinaia lead plates

The Sinaia lead plates are a set of lead plates written in an unknown language or constructed language. They are alleged to be a chronicle of the Dacians, but historians and linguists widely considered them to be a 19th century fake. The plates were written in the Greek alphabet, the connection with the Dacian civilization being quite obvious from the names of Dacian kings and placenames.

History

The origin of the Sinaia lead plates is obscure. The first known mention of them was when the 200 lead plates were discovered in the warehouse of the Bucharest Museum of Antiquities in the 19th century. Of the 200 pieces originally in the collection of plates, only 35 are known to remain today, but there are some photos of some of the rest.Petan, Aurora, [http://antiquity.ac.uk/ProjGall/petan/ A possible Dacian royal archive on lead plates] , "Antiquity Journal", Vol 79 No 303, March 2005]

They were widely ignored and considered fake because they looked new, as they showed no traces of corrosion. They were not considered valuable enough to be saved with the rest of the Romanian Treasure to Russia in 1916. However, renewed interest in the plates has been shown more than a century later, following the publication of a report about them by Dan Romalo in 2003.

There is a legend that the lead plates are in fact copies made at the Nail Factory of Sinaia in 1875 from the originals, which were made of gold and that they were kept for a while at the Sinaia Monastery. Allegedly, the gold was used either in the building of Peleş Castle, or the plates were part of the Romanian Treasure which was never returned by Russia after World War I.Fact|date=December 2007

An analysis made at the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Bucharest confirmed that the composition of the plates is very similar to lead manufactured in the 19th century.

Another argument in favour of the hypothesis that the plates are fake is that the plates use the Greek name of a town, Comidava, as used by Ptolemy, the author not knowing that the actual name of the town was Cumidava, the true name being discovered only recently in 1942.

Description

Most of the plates are roughly rectangular, with the exception of one round plate. They have dimensions between 93mm x 98mm and 354mm x 255mm. Most are written using scriptio continua in the Greek alphabet, with a few additional signs; the text includes "V" from the Latin alphabet and signs for palatal "c" and "g" resembling those of the Cyrillic alphabet.

They also include text written in some unknown scripts that do not resemble any known written alphabet. In addition to the text, the plates also contain many complex illustrations, including those of armies, kings, cities, temples and buildings.

Language

The language appears to have some Indo-European traits, but it has nothing in common with what linguists expect to be Dacian language, as no correlation with the Romanian language substrate can be found.

Also, unlike any known Indo-European language, it appears to have almost no inflections, nor declinations. In addition, almost all nouns end in "-o", including names which had other endings in Latin and Greek, e.g. "Boerobiseto", "Dacibalo", "Napoko" and "Sarmigetuzo".

There are some words borrowed from Greek ("basileo" from "basileus", "chiliarcho", from "chiliarchos") and Latin, but some important words such as the word for "king" ("mato") and "priest" ("kotopolo") do not appear to have any known Indo-European cognates.

Debate and author

The archaeologists' consensus is that they are modern forgeries. According to the director of the Institute of Archaeology, Alexandru Vulpe, it is obvious they were made in 19th century and this was the opinion of both Vasile Pârvan and the archaeologists who studied them after him, the overall belief being that they were created by Bogdan Petriceicu-Hasdeu, who is known to have made other forgeries as well. [http://www.formula-as.ro/2005/649/societate-37/din-tainele-istoriei-5669 Din tainele istoriei - Misterul tablitelor de plumb] , "Formula As", n. 649; 2005]

According to Vulpe, the tablets include only what was known before 1900, for example, it uses the spelling "Comidava" for a Dacian town, although now it's known that the correct spelling is "Cumidava", as found in 1942 in an inscription.

References


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