Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory

BOOKS | 2013

2 April 2014

A Linguistic History of Ancient Cyprus. The Non-Greek Languages and their Relations with Greek, c.1600–300 BC

Philippa M. Steele

A Linguistic History of Ancient Cyprus. The Non-Greek Languages and their Relations with Greek, c.1600–300 BC

City: Cambridge/New York

Year: 2013

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Series: Cambridge Classical Studies

Description: Hardback, 296 p.,1 b/w illustration, 3 maps, 9 tables, 22.4x14.7 cm


This pioneering volume approaches the languages and scripts of ancient Cyprus from an interdisciplinary point of view, with a primarily linguistic and epigraphic approach supplemented by a consideration of their historical and cultural context. The focus is on furthering our knowledge of the non-Greek languages/scripts, as well as appreciating their place in relation to the much better understood Greek language on the island. Following on from recent advances in Cypro-Minoan studies, these difficult, mostly Late Bronze Age inscriptions are reassessed from first principles. The same approach is taken for non-Greek languages written in the Cypriot Syllabic script during the first millennium BC, chiefly the one usually referred to as Eteocypriot. The final section is then dedicated to the Phoenician language, which was in use on Cyprus for some hundreds of years. The result is a careful reappraisal of these languages/scripts after more than a century of sometimes controversial scholarship.


List of illustrations [xi]
List of tables [xii]
Acknowledgements [xiii]
Concordance of Eteocypriot and Cypriot Phoenician inscriptions cited [xv]
List of abbreviations [xix]

Introduction [1]

I. Cypro-Minoan [9]

I.1 The Cypro-Minoan corpus [9]
I.2 The language(s) of the Cypro-Minoan inscriptions [60]
I.3 Cypro-Minoan in context [80]
I.4 Cypro-Minoan case study: the Opheltau inscription [90]

II. Eteocypriot [99]

II.1 The Eteocypriot corpus [101]
II.2 The Eteocypriot language [122]
II.3 Eteocypriot in context: Eteocypriot at Amathus [160]
II.4 Eteocypriot case study: The Amathus bilingual [167]

III. Phoenician [173]

III.1 The Cypriot Phoenician corpus [173]
III.2 Phoenician in contact [201]
III.3 Phoenician in context: Phoenician at Kition [225]
III.4 Phoenician case study: Baal of Lebanon bronze bowl inscriptions [231]

Conclusion [235]

Bibliography [251]
Index of inscriptions cited [269]
Index of syllabic signs discussed [272]
General index [274]


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