Understanding Relations Between Scripts: The Aegean Writing Systems [Paperback]

Philippa Steele (Editor)

ISBN: 9781785706448 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2017 | Language: English 176p,

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Understanding Relations Between Scripts


Understanding Relations Between Scripts: The Aegean Writing Systems arises from a conference held in Cambridge in 2015. The question of how writing systems are related to each other, and how we can study those relationships, has not been studied in detail and this volume aims to fill a gap in scholarship by presenting a number of case studies focused on the writing systems of the Bronze Age Aegean. These include Cretan Hieroglyphic, Linear A and Linear B, used predominantly in Crete and mainland Greece, as well as the Cypro-Minoan script of Cyprus. Most of these systems (the only major exception being Linear B) remain undeciphered to some degree but we nevertheless have considerable evidence for their development and use.

Each contributor focuses on a different theoretical problem and/or set of scripts. Important questions include: How and why did writing emerge in Crete in the Middle Bronze Age? What is the relationship between writing and art? Why did different writing systems co-exist with each other? What changes were made when a new system was developed from an old one? Can our understanding of how different systems are related to each other help us to reconstruct the values of script signs? The contributors tackle such questions by employing a variety of methods, from epigraphic and palaeographic analysis to typological comparison and contextual study.

The result is a coherent volume that will not only enrich our understanding of the ancient Aegean writing systems in particular, but will also provide an important example for future studies of writing across the world.

Table of Contents

List of figures
Chapter 1. Introduction: the Aegean writing systems
Philippa M. Steele
Chapter 2. Another beginning’s end: secondary script formation in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean
Silvia Ferrara
Chapter 3. Cretan ‘Hieroglyphic’ and the nature of script
Roeland P.-J.E. Decorte
Chapter 4. Linear B script and Linear B administrative system – different patterns in their development
Helena Tomas
Chapter 5. Reconstructing the matrix of the ‘Mycenaean’ literate administrations
Vassilis Petrakis
Chapter 6. From Linear B to Linear A: the problem of the backward projection of sound values
Philippa M. Steele and Torsten Meißner
Chapter 7. Processes of script adaptation and creation in Linear B: the evidence of the ‘extra’ signs
Anna P. Judson
Chapter 8. Script comparison in the investigation of Cypro-Minoan
Miguel Valério
Chapter 9. Is there anything like a Cypro-Minoan 3 script?
Yves Duhoux
Chapter 10. Script and language on Cyprus during the Geometric Period: an overview on the occasion of two new inscriptions
Markus Egetmeyer

Reviews & Quotes

"...all [chapters] lead to conclusions that are important for our understanding of the development of writing in the Aegean […] a collection that provides much food for thought."
Oliver Dickinson
Journal of Greek Archaeology

"With its wide-ranging topics and methodologies, this volume makes an outstanding contribution to the current state of research. It is a pioneering undertaking encouraging further future collaborations. These studies have definitely paved the way for turning this ‘no man’s land’ that is the study of writing systems into a promising autonomous discipline in its own right, while being connected to neighbouring fields of research through interdisciplinary bridges"
Reviews Editor
Tijdschrift voor Mediterrane Archeologie (01/03/2018)

"All of the essays contain contributions of real interest and value […]"
Stephen Colvin
Journal of Hellenic Studies (18/09/2020)

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