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Linear A

(472 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Günter (Würzburg)
[German version] Linear script with mostly simple character shapes, predominantly attested on Crete: in Hagia Triada (archive with c.150 clay tablets), Knossos, Phaestus, Mallia, Arkhanes, Khania, Zakros and a sanctuary on Mount Iuktas; further in Tiryns, on Cythera, the Cyclades (Melos, Keos, Thera), in Miletus, Troy, Samothrace, Lachish, etc., overall on more than 25 sites. Today, the corpus comprises over 1,400 texts with about 700 word entities (including names), overall 7,300 characters. Linear A is written …


(172 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Günter (Würzburg)
[German version] In Hom. Od. 19, 176 the Ἐτεόκρητες ( Eteókrētes) are described as the ‘real, true Cretans’ of the five peoples inhabiting Crete. That may well have been the situation in the poet's time (8th cent BC.) but not that of the 2nd millennium. In a commentary on that point Str. 10,4,6 names the πολίχνιον Πρᾶσος ( políchnion Prâsos; ‘the small town Prā́sos’) in the east of the island as the area occupied by the Eteo-Cretans (EC). That is suggestive of an area to which they had retreated. Diod. Sic. 5,64,1 describes the EC as αὐτόχθονες ( autóchthones; ‘autonomous’). Texts (without ex…

Trilingual inscriptions

(757 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Günter (Würzburg) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] I. General Inscriptions in three languages on a single object that refer to the same facts exist in Antiquity, albeit rather rarely on the whole, ordered by official as well as private sponsors. The different versions were usually tailored to the cultural requirements and interests of the respective audiences so that their messages (and length) are not always completely congruous (cf. [4]). Most of the trilingual inscriptions (TI) originated in the east. They reflect the multi-lingu…

Hieroglyphic scripts

(1,124 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Günter (Würzburg) | Starke, Frank (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Crete A script that was formerly also described as ‘pictographic’ (but is still undeciphered) with many image-like symbols (human and animal body parts, plants, fruit, vessels, weapons, musical instruments, etc.) was created by the Minoan culture in Crete and especially used during the First Palace Period (1900-1700 BC). However, its origins are much older. The inspiration may have come from Egypt or the Levant, but the ‘Anatolian hieroglyphs’ are later. The evidence comes from 3…


(1,259 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Günter (Würzburg)
[German version] A proper name (ὄνομα κύριον/ ónoma kýrion, Lat. nomen proprium) refers to an individual, while an appellative refers to a member of a group. Thus, for instance, Greek Bouképhalos refers to a particular horse, i.e. the favorite horse of Alexander [4] the Great. H íppos, however, refers to an animal that belongs to a particular category of ungulates. Not only do all kinds of living beings (including gods, demons, satyrs, nereids etc.) have proper names, but so do countries, islands, places, streets, rivers, fountains, mountai…

Discus of Phaestus

(200 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Günter (Würzburg)
[German version] The discus of Phaestus is a round disc of fired clay ( c. 16 cm in diameter, 2 cm thick); it was found in the palace of  Phaestus and stratigraphically dated to the 16th cent. BC. Both sides display a linear spiral of stamped signs (242 in total). 45 different letters can be distinguished, several of them bearing images from the Minoan cultural sphere. Side A has 31 groups of signs, separated by lines, side B 30. Undoubtedly, this is some kind of script. It was probably read from the outside …