“Point Lobos Trees,” Guy Rose, 1919, WikiArt.

Part 2: Inscriptions Deciphered

Living tree, languages project branches and
Roots, dialects withering, blossoming, across
Ægean Seas, flourishing in ancient Cypriot
Script, lost written hand, as many letters and
Words as ideographs, inscribed on stone
Pedestal, seated woman statuette, entrance
To temple of Hekate. Yet, none of assembled
Elders, Cosimia, or myself, Iliona, deciphered
Ancient scripts, or discerned reading direction.
Familiar we were with oxen heads, wheels,
And eye circles, though curious single marks
We gleaned between letter groups, one amongst
Us, Dolius, stated, “These are single words.”

Transcribed inscriptions we pondered, Cosimia
Slept, relying on dream images, ancient voices
Death returning. Alas! We struggled until stark
Realization, abbreviations were used, “Kyree”
Was “Kyrenia.” By week’s end, ãleph became
Alpha; bēth, beta, gīme, gamma. Thus, sounds
We knew, but not their meaning, unless within
Temple, such secrets were revealed. Resting
On outer pediments, Cosimia discovered large
Cypriot stone, inscribed in three languages.
“Mother!” she exclaimed. “Statue pedestal
Ancient warnings contains, priestess named
Medea, curse from darkest ages resurrected.”

Statue inscription translated, “Bones of priestess
Interred, murderess of her children, cunning
Equal to gods, soul man-woman entwined, all
Who enter beware.” Nothing of golden fleece,
Cosimia’s notions, fancies of young woman,
Single fleck of golden paint. “O! Mother, more
There is language glyph, center of knee-high
Ring of stones, placement northward pointed,
Mystical religion at Hekate’s temple, planets,
Stars revered. “Sacrilege all round, I perceive,
To Chalcis we shall return.” Descent at summit
Heights, voices of Cosimia heard, words she
Whispered, “Dead beckon me, those who enter
Go mad.” At my feet, she collapsed.

“Portrait of a Woman,” Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1902, WikiArt.

Hammers rapping chisels on temple doors,
Cosimia awakened, daughter’s words shared
With stone-releasing elders, except for Dolius,
Who stood afar with us. “Cosimia’s voices I
Believe,” his trepidations about Hekate, he
Explained, “Goddess will have her will upon
Those who trespass, stone blocks resin-sealed
Bespeak of ancient curse.” As far-eyed Hekate,
We observed from distance. Hammering,
Praying, songs of praise, pilgrims’ expecta-
Tions fathomed not, divine portal bore
Name of Hekate. What malevolent forces
Lurked within, afflictions of body, soul?

In Part 3, elders and attending pilgrims, open resin-sealed temple doors,
with deleterious effect. For more on understanding and deciphering,
consider this “Writing and Civilization” online course:
https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/writing-and-civilization-from-ancient-worlds-to-modernity.html
Thanks for reading.

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