|Discovery:||arch excav, 1987 Guigon, P.|
|History:||Davies et al/2000, 258--259: `This inscribed slate comes from a cemetery at Bourg Saint-Pair (Bais), identified prior to building construction thanks to a rescue excavation directed between September 1986 and May 1987 by Philippe Guigon, who was not however given access to supervise the dismantling of cist-graves found there. The slate was discovered during excavation, in situ, within a slate cist-grave (grave 95). This grave was stratigraphically the earliest of a group of four (graves 95-97 and 106), itself forming part of the excavator's `Group 12'; the cist-grave measured 170 x 53 x 33cm, at a depth of 28cm, and was oriented north-south.|
A large slab covered almost the whole of the grave. The inscribed stone was one of three slates underneath this cover, apparently one piece broken in three, face up, directly across the feet of the skeleton, which was undisturbed. The skeleton was that of a female. On either side of the skull were two rings of heavily oxidized, tinned bronze (estimated diameter 2.8cm) which appear to have been earrings. No other grave goods were found in the group.
The slate was examined by members of the CISP team in May 1997 and June 1999, and the site was visited at the latter date'.
|Geology:||Davies et al/2000, 259: `very dark grey slate'.|
|Dimensions:||0.23 x 0.14 x 0.02 (Davies/etal/2000)|
|Location:||Musee de Vitre (Cat: Ref. D.184.108.40.206)|
Davies et al/2000, 259: `The inscription is carved on a slab of very dark grey slate, 22.5cm long, 14cm wide, with an average thickness of about 1.5cm'.
|Condition:||incomplete , good|
Davies et al/2000, 259: `The top edge of the slab may be intact but part of the left-hand edge and the other edges are broken'.
|Decorations:||no other decoration|
|Guigon, P. (1994):||BELADORE[--]|
Belado(PN) (here) rests
Guigon/1994 97 reading only
|Davies, W. et al. (1999):||BELADORE|
Belado(PN) rests (here).
Davies/etal/2000 261 reading only
|Position:||n/a ; broad ; n/a ; undecorated|
Davies et al/2000, 261: `The inscription consists of a single line of text arranged along the long axis of the stone, closer to the lower than to the upper edge. … It is unlikely that anything preceeded the B, but the right edge is too disrupted to tell whether or note there were any letters after the final character'.
Davies et al/2000, 261: `Except for the O, the letters are fairly regular, varying in height from 3cm (A) to 3.8cm (R), and in width from 1.1cm (E) to 2.1cm (R). Their most distinctive feature is the round hole, 0.3-0.4cm in diameter, at the ends of each vertical and oblique stroke. These holes, much deeper than the well formed strokes which join them, have been drilled. Their purpose was presumably to stop the very friable stone fracturing when the strokes were incised. That this was a problem is evident from the small pieces of slate which have dropped out of the A and the D. That this flaking took place during the actual carving of the inscription is shown by the cross-bar of the A, which was carved within the area of flaking'.
|Date:||500 - 699 (Davies/etal/2000)|
Davies et al/2000, 266: `The inscription, both on grounds of context and of palaeography, dates from the 6th or 7th century'.
|Language:||name only (rcaps)|
|Palaeography:||Davies et al/2000, 262: `The inscription is in capitals. The initial B has a lower bow which is larger than the upper. The E has an ascender that extends above and below the horizontal strokes. All the other letters have a distinct lean to the left, only this E having a vertical ascender. The L has an oblique `foot'. The D/O are ligatured, with the O carved as a three-sided square attached to the bow of the D. Other square Os are known from Breton inscriptions, at Plouagat and Saint-Michel-en-Grève [PLAGT/1, SMGRV/1]. The R is open-bowed and has a raised `foot' similar to the examples on [BAIS/3], also from Bais, as well as from Crac'h and Guer [CRACH/1 and GUER/1]. The forms of the L, E, and O support the Merovingian dating suggested by Guigon/1994, 97, with a likely date of carving in the 6th or 7th century'.|
Davies et al/2000, 261: `The letters that survive are clear and legible'.
There is a Latin common noun bellator `warrior', and bellator deus is used for Mars by Vergil (Aeneid 9, 721). Nonetheless, Kajanto argues that the personal name Bel(l)ator is `Celtic'.
An Old Celtic name element belatu- (always first in compounds) is well attested: for example, masc. Belatu-dunum-, Belatullus; fem. belatulla, Belatumara. The Pannonian Beladius, whose epitaph was found at Boulogne-sur-Mer, probably bore a Celtic name based on this same root. In Roman Britain, the theonym Belatucadrus, developing to Belatucairus and Belatucaurus is abundantly attested, clustering in the northern military zone about Hadrian's Wall in Cumbria. This god is very often equated with Mars.
The fluctuation between Belator and Bellator and the regular identification of Romano-British Belatucadrus with Mars suggest the following explanation: a Romano-Celtic *Belato-rix, *Belato-rigis was Latinized as 3rd-declension Belator, Belatoris and then naturally taken by Latin speakers as Bellator, -is `warrior' (with double -ll-), as if derived from bellum `war'. Belatu- and its compounds do not appear otherwise as Breton or Welsh personal names.
In the present inscription, therefore, a single-element name Belado (< Celtic *Belatu) is not impossible, but would lack exact parallels.
Bernier (apud Guigon) is probably correct that Beladore here, if that be the correct reading, is neither Latin nor Germanic but Celtic (Guigon/1994, 97). Therefore, Beladore could be either Brittonic or Gallo-Latin. The forms with single -l- seem to be confined to areas which were, or had been, Celtic-speaking. In this case, if a woman's name, the analogical pressure to identify the root with `war' and Mars, and thus double the -l-, would have been weak. The inflexion has probably been assimilated to that of the Latin (from Greek) Theodora, which would also help to explain the -d- in place of more common -t-. The final syllable of Beladore, if that be the correct reading, is probably the Latin case ending, classical feminine first declension -ae. That ending might also have fortuitously converged with the reduced final syllable of a Celtic -rix name. -Rix names are known for females elsewhere, e.g. Romano-British Tanco-rix [Collingwood/Wright/1965, no. 908] and AVITORIA FILIA CVNIGNI, ogham INIGENA CUNIGNI AVITTORIGES (EGLWC/1], where Celtic *Awito-rix has been treated as a Latinized feminine in the Latin text. Latinized genitive Belador(a)e from Celtic *Belatu-rix would be directly comparable to Avitoria'.