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Cypriote writing

Subject Linguistics

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631214816.1999.x


Three different ancient writings are known from Cyprus. The oldest one is documented on a single clay tablet bearing a short inscription of three lines with 20 different signs dating from approximately 1500 bce . Although some of the signs are reminiscent of Minoan linear A, this script cannot be derived from Cretan writing. It also has no apparent relationship with the next Cypriote writing, which is documented on a small number of clay tablets excavated in Enkomi. Because of its non-figurative appearance and because, much as in Babylonian cuneiform, the individual signs are broken down into wedgelike parts reflecting the plastic nature of the surface on which they were written, it is called ‘Cypriote cuneiform’ ( table 20 ). This writing dates from around 1200 bce . Its origin remains obscure, although a connection with the cuneiform alphabet from Ugarit at the Syrian coast opposite the most easterly cape of Cyprus has been suggested (U garitic alphabet ). Table 20 Sign inventory of Cypriote cuneiform writing (undeciphered) Finally, there is the Cypriote syllabic writing, also known as ‘Cypro-Minoan’ writing because it is thought to be derived from the Linear A script of Crete. However, its exact genealogy is still uncertain, if only because it is separated from the Minoan script by about half a millennium. Cypriote syllabic writing appeared around 700 bce , at a time, that ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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