Early Greek Alphabetic Writing: A Linguistic Approach [Hardback]

Natalia Elvira Astoreca (Author)

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ISBN: 9781789257434 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: Contexts of and Relations Between Early Writing Systems | Volume: 5 | Publication: August 2021 | Language: English 144p, H240 x W170 (mm) Colour and b/w
Status: Not yet published - advance orders taken

Early Greek Alphabetic Writing


Most scholarship on early Greek alphabetic writing has focused on the questions around the origin of 'the Greek alphabet', instead of acknowledging the diversity of alphabetic systems that emerged in Geometric and Archaic Greece. The research concerning the so-called epichoric scripts was introduced by Kirchhoff in the 19th century and saw its highest point in the 1960s with the works of Jeffery and Guarducci. Nevertheless, recent epigraphical finds and new possibilities offered by digital tools call for a revised, comprehensive study of these alphabets. Unlike previous research, which was mostly concerned with palaeography, this book presents a linguistic analysis of the epichoric alphabets that follows the latest trends in grapholinguistics and the methodology of comparative graphematics. The latter is a branch of writing systems research focused on the relationship between graphemes and the values that they represent and compares them across writing systems. This study compares the different Greek alphabets in their earliest stages, i.e. 8th and 7th centuries BC, also taking into account other contemporaneous alphabets, like those for Phrygian, Eteocretan and the Italic languages.

Through the analysis of the data provided by the epigraphic texts dated within the chronological framework of this thesis, it is possible to identify the different notation systems that Greek-speakers devised to represent their dialects in writing. This brings new insights on the innovations created by these communities and the different alphabetic traditions present in Greece and across the Mediterranean. The conclusion of the book emphasizes the need to study these regional alphabets independently, rather than considering them as part of a unified entity - 'the Greek alphabet' - which did not exist at the time, and creates a new line for future research that intends to frame them individually within the ecology of ancient Mediterranean alphabets.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The advent of alphabetic writing in Greece
Chapter 2: A linguistic analysis of the early Greek alphabets
Chapter 3: Greek alphabetic scripts
Chapter 4: Vocalic notation in the epichoric alphabets
Chapter 5: Consonantal notation in the epichoric alphabets
Chapter 6: Conclusions

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