Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


28 January 2012

The Value of Sign AB 53 ri for Paleographical Studies of Linear B and Linear A

Christina Skelton Kadmos 47 (2009): 67-72.

From the Introduction

Paleography has always played an important role in the study of the Linear A and Linear B writing systems. Changes in the way that different signs are written over time provide a means of tracing the evolution of the two scripts and analyzing the relationship between them. Handwriting analysis also provides the only means of distinguishing which Linear A or Linear B documents were written by which individual, because no Linear A or Linear B scribes signed their work in any way. As a result, Linear A and Linear B paleographers have devoted a great deal of thought to the significance of variations in the forms of signs. Variations in certain signs can be very good indicators of the scribal hand or the evolution of the script as a whole. One sign that has been largely ignored in this respect is AB 53, ri. This is in part because the resemblance of the Linear A to the Linear B form of the sign appears “superficial”, and in part because the range of variation is so wide. In fact, the Linear A version of the sign has been thought by some to represent two different signs. In this paper, I argue that the variations in the form and construction of Linear B sign *53 are systematic. They reflect known paleographical divisions in Linear B, and certain variations correspond to Linear A variants of the sign.


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