Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory

BOOKS | 2012

8 February 2013

Cypro-Minoan Inscriptions volume 1: Analysis

Silvia Ferrara

Cypro-Minoan Inscriptions volume 1: Analysis

City: Oxford/New York

Year: 2012

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Description: Hardback, 336 p., 40 illustrations, 23.3x15.4 cm


This volume offers the first comprehensive examination of an ancient writing system from Cyprus and Syria known as Cypro-Minoan. After Linear B was deciphered by Michael Ventris in 1952, other un-deciphered scripts of the second millennium B.C. from the Aegean world (Linear A) and the Eastern Mediterranean (Cypro-Minoan) became the focus of those trying to crack this ancient and historical code. Despite several attempts for both syllabaries, this prospect has remained unrealized. This is especially true for Cypro-Minoan, the script of Late Bronze Age Cyprus found also at Ugarit in Syria, which, counting no more than 250 inscriptions, remains not only poorly documented, but also insufficiently explored in previous scholarship.

Today progress in the study of this enigmatic script demands that we direct our attention to gaining new insight through a contextual analysis of Cypro-Minoan by tracing its life in the archaeological record and investigating its purpose and significance in the Cypriot and Syrian settlements that created and used it.

With a new methodology concentrating on a groundbreaking contextual approach, Ferrara presents the first large-scale study of Cypro-Minoan with an analysis of all the inscriptions through a multidisciplinary perspective that embraces aspects of archaeology, epigraphy, and palaeography. 


Illustrations [ix]
Tables [xii]
Charts [xiii]
Abbreviations [xiv]
Introduction [1]

Part I: Function, Object, and Context [7]

1. Literacy in Late Bronze Age Cyprus [9]

1.1 Introducing Writing on Cyprus [9]
1.2 The History of Scholarship [9]
1.3 Broadening the Picture: A Comprehensive Analysis [17]
1.4 Geographical Distribution [17]
1.5 Political Geography [22]
1.6 Writing as Part of the Material Record [27]
1.7 The Functions of the Inscribed Objects [32]
1.8 Script as Ideological Symbol [37]
1.9 Cypro-Minoan as ex novo Creation

2. The Archaeological Setting: Writing in the LCI-LCIII Periods [43]

2.1 Framing the Script in Time and Place [43]
2.2 Distribution: Diachronic and Synchronic Perspectives [44]
2.3 The MCIII-LCI Period [50]
2.4 The Beginning of the LCII Period [64]
2.5 The LCIIC Period [72]
2.6 The Script in the LCIIC Period [74]
2.7 The LCIIC-LCIIIA Transition

3. Writing in LCIIIA: The Cypro-Minoan Floruit [90]

3.1 The Clay Boules [90]
3.2 The Geographical and Typological Diffusion of Writing in LCIIIA [124]
3.3 The Cypro-Minoan Script at Ugarit [132]
3.4 A Multi-Purpose Script

Part II: Inscription and Signary [149]

4. The Epigraphic Presentation of the Inscriptions [151]

4.1 Macro-Level Analysis: Problems of Classification [151]
4.2 Typologies of Objects: Medium Variety [159]
4.3 Techniques of Epigraphic Writing [160]
4.4 Styles on Clay: Intra-Medium Variety [176]
4.5 Manufacturing and Inscribing Tablets [188]
4.6 Epigraphic and Sematographic Instability [208]
4.7 Macro-Level Analysis: Cypriot Scribal Traditions [211]

5. The Palaeography of the Cypro-Minoan Script [214]

5.1 The Signary [215]
5.2 The Size of the Sign Repertoire [220]
5.3 The Analysis of Sign Variations [234]
5.4 A Critique of Linguistic Analyses [256]
5.5 Cypro-Minoan as One Script [261]

Part III: Beyord Decipherment [265]

6. Cypro-Minoan and its Context [267]

6.1 Contextualizing the History of Cypro-Minoan [267]
6.2 Contextualizing the Archaeology of Cypro-Minoan [268]
6.3 Problems of Palaeography [269]
6.4 Problems of Palaeographical Classification: The Role of Epigraphy [270]
6.5 The Future of Cypro-Minoan [271]

Appendices 1-8 [275]
References [296]
Index [321]


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