In a recent issue of this Journal (XCV, 1975, pp. 231–2), R. F. Willetts reviews the excellent publication of J. N. Coldstream, Knossos, the Sanctuary of Demeter (BSA, Suppl. Pap. 8, 1973). He draws attention to a boustrophedon inscription on a silver ring bezel, which he transcribes, after Coldstream:
The reading seems to support Willetts' own views on the cult of Demeter as a Mother-Goddess in Crete.
May I express some doubts about the actual reading of the dedication? I recently had the opportunity of examining the Knossos ring in the Heraklion Museum, by courtesy of the Director, Dr Alexiou, and of his Assistant, A. Lebesi. Magnifying techniques and contrasted lighting were available in the now well-equipped laboratory of the Museum. It appears that the lettering of the inscription is not exactly what Coldstream believed, although his photograph and facsimile are fairly accurate. First, the supposed digamma is a true alpha, with parallel strokes, as often occurs on archaic stones: the figure is quite similar to the other alphas of the text if you read it in the proper sense, i.e. as the first letter of the second direct line. Secondly, the last sigma of the retrograde line, with its two short angular strokes at sharp angles at each end of the hasta, seems most unlikely. There is actually a kind of cross-hatching on the surface, which is rather deceiving, but upon it you can distinguish the three bars of a delta, a very clear, although small and slightly debased one. The hasta forms one of these bars, and one other is the upper stroke of the so-called sigma.