Ancient writing systems in the Mediterranean

A critical guide to electronic resources


all years | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

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    B. Montecchi, Contare a Haghia Triada. Le tavolette in lineare A, i documenti sigillati e il sistema economico-amministrativo nel TM IB, Roma, CNR Edizioni, 2019 (Incunabula Graeca, CVII), X+434 pp., ISBN 978-88-8080-349-2.

    The volume, which has been published with the generous financial support of the Institute for Aegean Prehistory (INSTAP), Philadelphia, offers the first comprehensive study of the Linear A archival documents from the Cretan site of Hagia Triada. The 147 clay tablets and the more than 1,000 sealings found in the excavation at the beginning of the last century and dating approximately to the 15th century BC still constitute the largest assemblage of archival documents of the Neopalatial period and represent the fundamental starting point for any attempt of interpretation of the Minoan economy. Through a careful analysis of their textual, palaeographic and sphragistic features, as well as their respective archaeological contexts and patterns of distribution, the author tries to reconstruct the contents and functions of the individual archival deposits found both in the Villa and the rest of the settlement. A special attention in this process is paid to the roles and status of the people involved in sealing and writing practices, in an attempt to understand how much the individuals responsible for accounting also “counted” in an economic, political and social sense. Finally, the results of this analysis are compared with the Messara archaeological data, in order to draw an updated picture of the settlement dynamics in the region, with a special attention to the relationship between Hagia Triada and the Phaistos palace.
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    Manuale di epigrafia micenea. Introduzione allo studio dei testi in lineare B, Seconda edizione aggiornata, a cura di Maurizio Del Freo e Massimo Perna, 2 voll., Padova, edizioni, 2019, ISBN 978-88-3359-164-3.

    The handbook, which is the fruit of the collaboration of a group of specialists from various universities and research centres in Italy and abroad, aims to provide an updated overview about Mycenaean epigraphy. It contains an introduction to the writing and language of the Mycenaean texts and a detailed analysis of the main Linear B documents divided by topic. In the first volume the Linear B writing system and the Mycenaean scribal and administrative practices are analyzed and compared with their Minoan antecedents (Cretan Hieroglyphics and Linear A). The second volume contains a detailed description of the different production sectors as they can be reconstructed from the Linear B texts as well as a synthesis of some major topics relating to the Mycenaean world, such as geography, society, economy and religion. Each chapter is provided with an essential bibliography. The book ends with a glossary of the Mycenaean words.
    The second edition of the handbook contains bibliographic updates and comments both on new inscriptions and the most significant epigraphic, philological and paleographic contributions appeared after 2016.
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    Mnamon Seminars

    On April 16th starting at 11,30 a.m. in Scuola Normale Superiore, Sala Azzurra conference room, Palazzo della Carovana, the following seminar will be held:

    Anna Cannavò (HISOMA CNRS)
    “L’eteocipriota: stato dell’arte e novità recenti”.

    Diretta video streaming sul canale YouTube SNS
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    On March 4th, the seminar “The Susa funerary texts & the question of psychostasia in Ancient Mesopotamia: a case of cultural contamination?” will be held by Nathan Wasserman (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) at 3 p.m. at the Dipartimento di Storia, Archeologia, Geografia, Arte e Spettacolo, Aula Magna, Palazzo Fenzi, Via San Gallo in Florence.

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    The workshop "Epigrammata 5. Dinamiche politiche e istituzionali nell'epigrafia delle Cicladi" will take place in Rome, Università di Roma Tor Vergata, "Roberto Pretagostini" conference room, from January 31st to February 1th 2019.

    Program available here.

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    Mnamon seminars

    On October 19th starting at 11.30 a.m. in Scuola Normale Superiore, Sala Azzurra conference room, Palazzo della Carovana, the following seminar will be held:

    Daniele Maras (Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio per l'area metropolitana di Roma, la provincia di Viterbo e l'Etruria Meridionale)
    "Scritture d'Etruria: modelli alfabetici e particolarismi grafici dalle 'corti' orientalizzanti ai santuari arcaici".

    Live video streaming on YouTube SNS
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    Mnamon seminars

    On June 7th starting at 11.30 a.m. in Scuola Normale Superiore, Bianchi-scienze conference room, Palazzo della Carovana, the following seminar will be held:

    Salvatore Gaspa (Humboldt Senior Research Fellow Seminar für Sprachen und Kulturen des Vorderen Orients – Assyriologie Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)
    "Le tavolette “greco-babilonesi”: problemi, interpretazioni e prospettive di ricerca".

    Live video streaming on YouTube
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    The new book by Salvatore Gaspa “Textiles in the Neo-Assyrian Empire. A Study of Terminology” (Studies in Ancient Near Eastern Records 19), Boston-Berlin: De Gruyter 2018, Pp. 443, 22 figs., 4 tables, ISBN 978-1-5015-1074-8, presents for the first time a systematic and interdisciplinary study on production and consumption of textiles in the Neo-Assyrian Empire and, more importantly, collects and discusses the lexicon of textiles (fibres, manufacturing processes, professions, tools, decorations and finished products) from the entire documentation of the Neo-Assyrian archives. The study is completed by an analysis of the administrative management of textile production and distribution by the Assyrian State and of the role played by these products in economy, palatine culture, cultic and military activities of the first empire of the ancient world. The book also includes a new edition of some administrative documents dealing with textiles kept at the British Museum.
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    Aegean Scripts. Proceedings of the 14th International Colloquium on Mycenaean Studies, Copenhagen, 2-5 September 2015 (Incunabula Graeca CV:1-2), M.-L. Nosch, H. Landenius Enegren (edd.), 2 voll., Roma, CNR edizioni, 2017 (ISBN 978-88-8080-275-4).

    The book contains the Proceedings of the 14th International Colloquium on Mycenaean Studies, held in Copenhagen from 2 to 5 September 2015. The authors of the 44 contributions are among the major specialists in Aegean and Cypriot texts of the 2nd and 1st millennia BC. The book is divided into two volumes and five sections: 1) Scripts, Palaeography and Research Tools, 2) Interpretations and Contexts, 3) Philology and Linguistics, 4) Comparative Studies between the Aegean, the Levant and the Ancient Near East, and 5) Historiography. The publication has been funded by the Lillian and Dan Fink Foundation, the Carlsberg Foundation, the Danish National Research Foundation, the Institute for Aegean Prehistory, the R. K. Rasks Legat Foundation and the University of Copenhagen. The book, edited by M.-L. Nosch and H. Landenius Enegren, has been published by the Institute for the Study on Ancient Mediterranean of the Italian National Research Council in the Incunabula Graeca series, directed by M. Bettelli e M. Del Freo.
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    Isaiah’s seal impression from Ophel excavation

    A fragment of a seal impression that bears the name of Isaiah was discovered during the 2009 season of the Ophel excavations in Jerusalem (cfr. Biblical Archaeology Review, March-May 2018). This seal impression (Bulla B12) is divided into three registers: the first register is almost completely missing, in the middle register the name lyš‘yh[w] «(belonging) to Isaiah» is impressed, and in the third register we find the word nby.
    As the left side is slightly damaged, Eilat Mazar suggests that a letter aleph could have been written at the end of the line, forming the word nby[’] «prophet». If this conjecture was correct, it would be a reference to the biblical prophet Isaiah.
    However, there are many problems with this conjecture (cfr. the critical notes of C. Rollston in Two are the main problems. First, without the aleph at the end of the line, the word nby cannot mean «prophet», and, as there are no traces of this letter, it is not possible to draw any conclusion. Second, the Hebrew word nby is well known in other Hebrew seal impressions. It is either the patronym «Nobai», or the nisbe-ethnicon «Nobite», i.e. «from Nob» (cfr. W. Röllig, Siegel und Gewichte, in J. Renz – W. Röllig, Handbuch der Althebräischen Epigraphik, Bd. II/2, Darmstadt 2003, testi nn. 10.83; 13.10; 16.66; 21.82).
    In sum, I do not think there is any evidence that this bulla can be associated with the «prophet» Isaiah whose father was Amoz.
    (Paolo Merlo Pontificia Università Lateranense)

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