Los soportes de la epigrafía paleohispánica.
Since its publication in 2013, Los soportes de la epigrafía paleohispánica has become a must-have for those interested in fragmentary languages of ancient Spain. Its importance lies not only in the reliability of the text transcriptions, which have been accurately studied and analized; but also in its original scientific approach, constantly focused on underlining the importance of the epigraphical support for achieving a complete understanding of the inscription. This book results from I. Simón’s PhD dissertation, defended in the Universidad de Zaragoza and supervised by Prof. F. Beltrán Lloris. The high mark (sobresaliente cum laude) awarded by a commitee formed by three philologists and two historians shows that the author handles historical sciences (ancient history, epigraphy, archaeology) as well as linguistics, which is blatant once one leafs through this book.
This volume offers a complete and exhaustive analysis of the Iberian and Celtiberian inscriptions written on stone; the Celtiberian texts of the tesserae hospitalis and the Iberian and Celtiberian inscriptions written on stamps printed on ceramics. Unlike traditional corpora, normally structured in linguistic-epigraphic ensembles like Monumenta Linguarum Hispanicarum (except from its volume 1), I. Simón has organized the inscriptions after their support. This imposing book of almost 800 pages is divided in three parts: stone, bronze and ceramics. The selection of specific ensembles (excluding, for example, Southwestern stelae, Lusitanian rock inscriptions) and supports (excluding mosaics, lead tablets, bone, etc.) permits an editio maior of each text and gives the book a coherent appearance. However, Simón takes into account the rest of Palaeohispanic inscriptions, which show up along the introductory chapters that every part has.
In fact, these introductions consist of an updated and complete historical synthesis of the Palaeohispanic epigraphy, including the most recent inscriptions, which is besides illustrated with useful comparative tables. These elements offer the reader a panoramic view of the most relevant information of each ensemble, which is structured depending on the needs of each of them. Thus, in the first one, regarding stone inscriptions, Simón deals with the specificity (or not) of the support, identifies the main stone ensembles and reflects on its functionality and on technical aspects. Concerning the second chapter, Simón has devoted it to a difficult epigraphical type he obviously masters, i. e., Celtiberian tesserae hospitales; and, finally, the last chapter deals with epigraphy on ceramics, basically on stamps; although he offers a suggestive and interesting introduction to ante and post cocturam graffiti and to the role of stamps within pottery production. Apart from that, it is really relevant that the author bravely faces chronology issues, a task which requires a great struggle at managing bibliography and at synthesising it.
As far as the corpora are concerned, I. Simón follows the same structure at presenting the contents in each file, so as the reader can find quickly what he is looking for. These complete files often contain precious information, since the author has carried out autopsies in a very sistematic way, which is one of the many strengths of this work. As a consequence of this methodology, the readings, interpretations and the archaeological contexts are really reliable ; not to mention the abundant pictures derived from it. The pictures are included in tables as well, in a way that the reader can obtain precise information very easily. This book finishes with useful indexes of bibliographical equivalences, Palaeohispanic terms and Names.
I. Simón recognises that the main inspiration for his book are J. Untermann’s Monumenta Linguarum Hispanicarum, which is evident in the accuracy and care he devotes every inscription and infers conclusions. Simón’s book really is an updated version of MLH regarding Iberian and Celtiberian inscriptions on stone, bronze and ceramics; not only because of the new data one can find ; but also because of the multidisciplinar approach with which he faces Palaeohispanic epigraphy.