A Balkan Find!
Major Roger Mott has written from “somewhere in Macedonia,” where he has indulged in some archaeological digging alongside his military duties.
“At ******** we have for some time been digging trenches and, being situated in a country of such classical associations, you may imagine that quite a number of interesting ‘finds’ have come to light – for instance, a tour of the trenches would reveal several old stone coffins, which make excellent ammunition or grenade stores; whilst for the storage of water you would, here and there, come across an amphora.
But the particular ‘find’ I refer to is a memorial tablet in white marble, in practically perfect condition and believed to date from the first or second century.
So I bethought me to have a copy made and sent to you. Maybe it will interest the modern Dragon, for I think ingenuity and a ‘Liddell & Scott’** will be able to unravel the hidden meaning thereof.
Alas, the early instruction in those class-rooms in Crick Road has been allowed to rust within my brain, so that my attempts to decipher the thing have not been altogether a success.
I got it reproduced somehow in small Greek characters, then tried to split it up into separate words, then searched a modern Graeco-French dictionary and finally a French-English one, with the result that I gather the city was extremely grateful to the gentlemen who bust up a ring of evil merchants. But you never taught me the last letter of the last line but one, which is annoying!”
I am sure readers would like to have the opportunity to exercise of their brains over this Easter holiday to work this out. To help, Hugh Sidgwick has transliterated thus:
** This capital text book has a close link with the OPS. Dragons will know the rhyme:
Liddell and Scott, Liddell and Scott:
Some of it’s riddle, and some of it’s rot.
That which is riddle was written by Liddell,
That which is rot was written by Scott
Whereas Mr Scott (and his rot) has no connection with us, the riddle-some Dean Liddell (of Christ Church) is one of our founders.
(I am tempted, by the way, to add an extra line: “And little or none of it learnt by Mott!”)