Ancient writing systems in the Mediterranean

A critical guide to electronic resources


  1. 2016-11-28

    Tra iscrizioni e graffiti, tra oasi e deserto: la pratica della scrittura in Arabia centro-settentrionale prima dell’Islam

    Alessia Prioletta

    Grazie a più di 65.000 iscrizioni e graffiti scoperti nei diversi paesi della penisola, l’Arabia preislamica è una delle regioni più favolose del mondo antico per ciò che riguarda l’alfabetizzazione. In Arabia nord-occidentale sono attestate una serie scritture alfabetiche consonantiche, raggruppate sotto l’etichetta di nordarabico antico, appartenenti alla tradizione araba o del semitico meridionale e attestate in un’ampia area che va dalla Siria meridionale allo Yemen settentrionale, includendo la Giordania e l’Arabia saudita. Documenti in nordarabico antico sono stati trovati anche in Israele/Palestina, Egitto e Iraq. La durata cronologica dei singoli alfabeti non è ancora saldamente stabilita, ma i più antichi documenti risalgono almeno al VI secolo a. C. e i più recenti arrivano intorno al IV secolo d. C. Questi alfabeti sono stati utilizzati sia dagli abitanti delle grandi oasi dell’Arabia del nord, come Dadan, Taymāʾ e Dūmā, che dai nomadi e seminomadi che abitavano i dintorni delle oasi, le montagne dello Ḥijāz e i grandi deserti dell’Arabia: Ḥarra, Ḥismā, Nafūd, Najd e al-Rubʿ al-Khālī. Se le culture sedentarie hanno prodotto sia inscrizioni in scrittura formale che graffiti in scrittura informale, i nomadi e semi-nomadi hanno lasciato esclusivamente graffiti, incisi a migliaia sulle rocce che percorrono i grandi deserti arabi e i dintorni delle oasi.

  2. 2015-12-21

    From Signs to Writing: Human and Divine Languages in the Gospel of Truth (NHC I,3 / XII,2)

    Daniele Tripaldi

    Since two Coptic versions were re-discovered in the Nag Hammadi fund (NHC I,3/XII,2 ), the Gospel of Truth has never ceased to fuel discussions: as a matter of fact, virtually no scholarly consensus has been reached yet about relevant issues such as author, dating, original language, and the correct translation itself of some Coptic hapax legomena. Working on the text and its language, I will attempt first to get into the translator's "lab", and then to take a closer and possibly new look at the socio-cultural imagination of its author.

  3. 2015-06-19

    LiBER: a project for the digitalization of Linear B texts

    Maurizio Del Freo Francesco Di Filippo

    LiBER (Linear B Electronic Resources) is a document management system which is currently developed at the CNR Institute for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean. The system has been designed to sort, filter and combine the Linear B texts on the basis of textual, archaeological, paleographic and topographic criteria. The purpose of this seminar is to illustrate the general philosophy which lies behind the LiBER project as well as the solutions adopted for the encoding of texts and for the representation of data through dynamic maps.

  4. 2014-10-03

    The Paleography and the Syllabary of the Ebla Cuneiform Texts

    Amalia Catagnoti

    Since 1974 at Tell Mardikh in Syria -- the ancient Ebla -- many Early-Syrian cuneiform texts belonging to all main textual typologies have been found, with the exception of royal inscriptions. The majority of these texts dates back to the 24th century B.C. and documents the local Semitic language, written according to the conventions of the Semitophone scribes of the royal palace (Palace G). In order to interpret such a large number of documents (approximately 4000 tablets) it has been necessary to recognize the rules that the scribes applied to their language. Therefore, the study of the paleography and of the syllabary is of fundamental importance.  

  5. 2014-10-03

    Alphabetic Writing Systems of Anatolia in the first Millennium BC

    Giulia Torri

    In the first millennium B.C. the Anatolian territory was characterized by the presence of Indo-European populations, Lycians, Phrygians, Lydians and Carians, who developed indigenous writing systems. These are systems very close to the Greek alphabet from which they descend or with which they share a common origin. In this seminar I will trace the historical moment in which these writing systems were developed and present the main sources for their reconstruction.

  6. 2014-04-11

    Scrivere in Mesopotamia e Elam: risorse on-line per lo studio delle iscrizioni sumeriche, proto-elamiche, ed elamiche

    Salvatore Gaspa

    The seminar lecture will give an introduction to the languages and writing systems of Sumer and Elam, two regions of the Ancient Near East characterized by an intense sperimental activity of writing. The lecture will offer a description of the main peculiarities of the Sumerian cuneiform script and of the writing systems of Elam. In Elam, a rich documentation about cuneiform script as well as two still undeciphered different writing systems is attested. The lecture will also present the main international projects and the relevant online resources concerning the writing systems and the texts from these Ancient Near Eastern regions.

  7. 2014-04-11

    Scritture alfabetico-lineari semitiche del II millennio a.C. Sintesi dei dati e scoperte recenti

    Paolo Merlo

    The first part of the seminar focuses on the so called “Proto-sinaitic” and “Proto-canaanite” writing systems. Then I will offer a concise survey of some recent epigraphic discoveries of Proto-canaanite inscriptions that have in some ways open a new debate about the early time of the Hebrew scripture.

  8. 2014-03-31

    Scrittura, documenti e pratiche scrittorie in Arabia meridionale prima dell’Islam

    Alessia Prioletta


  9. 2014-03-31

    Étranges étrangers Quelques exemples d’adaptations onomastiques dans les inscriptions préromaines du Nord de l’Espagne et du Sud de la Gaule

    Coline Ruiz Darasse

    A number of inscriptions found in southern Gaul and northern Spain, dating from the second Iron Age, indicate that there were linguistic contacts among local populations. In this talk, we will study some Celtic names found in Greek, Gallo-Greek and Palaeohispanic inscriptions in order to understand how a foreign name may be adapted in scripts.

  10. 2013-10-29

    The Deeds of Shuppiluliuma and the Amarna letters as sources for the end of the 18th dynasty: an Egyptological perspective

    Daniele Salvoldi

    The period between the death of Akhenaten (1351-1334 BC) and the accession of Horemheb (1306-1292 BC) is one of the most obscure of ancient Egyptian history, characterized by a series of co-regencies, short reigns, a female sovereign, a murdered Hittite prince, the apparent collapse of the Egyptian empire in the Near East and a plague. Egyptian sources, which are disturbed by the damnatio memoriae that affected the kings of the Amarna period, are integrated by some non-Egyptian documents of exceptional historical value: The Deeds of Shuppiluliuma, written in Hittite by king Murshili II in memory of his father, and the Amarna letters, the diplomatic correspondence in Accadian between the Egyptian pharaohs and the great kings of the Near East and the small principalities of Syria-Palestine.

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