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Phaistos disk (was: boustrophedon)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Monday, July 15, 2002, 6:36
On Saturday, July 13, 2002, at 11:50 , Barbara Barrett wrote:

>> Mike mentioned; >> Seen some writing done in that way, a circular fashion. I forget if it >> was Linear B or .. Yes it is quite interesting.. Would be good for bowls >> and like? > > Barbara Babbles; > Ah yes, that's the Cretan Phaistos Disk. Undeciphered. Although Stenven > Roger Fisher claims it's a hieroglyphic form of Linear A,
Except that there actually was a 'pictographic' or 'hieroglyphic' Cretan script, and the script of Phaistos disk is not written it. The pictographic (to use Arthur Evans' term) is the earliest form of Cretan writing, dating from c. 2000 to 1500 BC. Evans identified some 140 'hieroglyphs'. Evans coined the term 'linear' to distinguish the two later scripts from this earlier script. Linear A, presumably expressing the same language as the pictographic, appears to take over around 1750 - 1500 BC and was, one guesses, developed from the earlier pictographic script.
> and his > methodology and (contested) dechiperment are all in his boo "Glyph > Breaker" [ISBN 0-387-98241-8]
Certainly contested, since there has been no generally accepted decipherment of Linear A. As the script of the Phaistos disk, which dates from around 1600 BC, is an isolate and appears to have no obvious connexion with other Cretan scripts, some have supposed the disk to be an import from Asia Minor, or the Levant or Egypt. The only problems are: - there is no evidence that it is an import - there is no obviously related script in any of these areas. Unless there is clear evidence to the contrary, one ought IMO to assume that it is of Cretan origin. The script could be a parallel development from the older pictographic script. BTW the pictographic script could be written right-to-left, left-to-right or boustrophedon. Linear A (and Linear B) were always written left-to-right. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- On Saturday, July 13, 2002, at 11:58 , Abrigon Gusiq wrote:
> Phaistos disk, odd that a number of languages used a like writting form,
Like? You mean pictographic symbols? But AFAIK _all_ writing systems began that way, whether in Egypt, Crete, Sumeria, China or central America - or anywhere else for that matter. I don't understand what's odd about it. Or are you referring to the use of wooden fonts being impressed on clay? AFAIK the Phaistos disk is pretty unique in this respect.
> but I suspect many have done comparisons between Phaistos disk script, > early sumerian (before cuniform) and the script (or as mentioned seals) > of the Indus/Harrapan civilization.
You suspect correctly. Isolates are certain to have comparisons made between them and every other system under the sun; after all, the language isolate Basque has been connected by some one or other to practically every language that is or has been spoken on this planet. Likewise some one will have 'found a connexion' between the Phaistos script and any other ancient script you like to name. But I see hardly anything in common between the Phaistos script and either archaic Sumerian or the Indus Valley script, other than the use of 'pictographic' symbols. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- On Sunday, July 14, 2002, at 01:17 , John Cowan wrote:
> Ray Brown scripsit: > >> Yep - and as Matthew says, that's probably how the Phaistos disk is >> written, tho some claim it goes round & round in a spiral from the >> inside outwards. The majority opinion AFAIK however holds that it is >> from outside inwards just like an Aussie farmer :) > > My opinion is that it's a game board.
With a different game printed on each side? Well, until such time as the symbols are understood, I guess your opinion is as good as anyone else's. Indeed, I can more readily believe it than I can the interpretation of the guy who 'read it' as a lamentation over the destruction of Atlantis. Ray.


John Cowan <jcowan@...>