Ancient writing systems in the Mediterranean

A critical guide to electronic resources


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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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    Seal impression found in Jerusalem

    Governor of the City's seal impression (7th-6th century BCE) unearthed for the first time in situ in Jerusalem. The "governor of the city" is mentioned twice in the Hebrew Bible (2 Kings 23:7; 2 Chronicles 34:8).
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    Mnamon seminars

    On October 24th starting at 11.30 a.m. in Scuola Normale Superiore, Bianchi conference room, Palazzo della Carovana, the following seminar will be held:

    Giulia Torri (University of Florence)
    "Alla corte del re di Hatti. I funzionari dell’amministrazione ittita nel XIII sec. a.C.".

    Live video streaming on YouTube
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    The volume "Textile Terminologies from the Orient to the Mediterranean and Europe, 1000 BC to 1000 AD", edited by Salvatore Gaspa (University of Copenhagen/Università di Padova), Cécile Michel (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Nanterre) and Marie-Louise Nosch (University of Copenhagen) and published by Zea Books (Lincoln, Nebraska 2017, ISBN 978-1-60962-112-4), aims at illustrating current trends in research on ancient textiles. The book is the major result of current international and interdisciplinary research framed in the research programmes "Ancient Textiles from the Orient to the Mediterranean 2015-2018" (C. Michel), "Marie-Curie Intra-European Fellowship Programme 2013-2015" of the European Commission (S. Gaspa) and "Textile Economies of the Mediterranean Area" (M.L. Nosch). It includes contributions from archaeologists, historians, linguists and museum curators from different disciplinary sectors. The main objective of this anthology is to provide scholars with an up-to-date tool for the understanding of textile terminology of various languages of the ancient world, from those of the Semitic group (Akkadian, Hebrew, Aramaic) to those of the Indoeuropean group (Greek, Latin, Sabellic, Old German, Armenian). The evidence of textile terms in Chinese and Japanese is also discussed in this book.
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    The National Workshop on Oriental Studies «Egitto e Vicino Oriente antichi: tra passato e futuro», will take place in Pisa, Polo Carmignani, room 2, from June 5th to 6th 2016. Program and subscription information can be found here; abstracts can be downloaded here.

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    Found 12th Dead Sea scrolls cave

    An archeological expedition from the University of Jerusalem announced the discovery of a new cave (the 12th?) containing scrolls at Qumran. Broken jars holding parchments - already looted in the 50s or 60s - were found in the cave. Only one scroll fragment was discovered. It cannot be excluded a priori that a number of scrolls that have ended up in the antiques market and have already been published, originated from this cave.
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    The workshop «Epigrammata 4. L'uso dei numeri greci nelle iscrizioni», will take place in Rome, Università di Roma Tor Vergata, "Roberto Pretagostini" conference room, from December 16th to 17th 2016.
    Program available here.

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    Manuale di epigrafia micenea. Introduzione allo studio dei testi in lineare Bndbook, 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.
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    Mnamon seminars

    On November 28th starting at 11.30 a.m. in Scuola Normale Superiore, Bianchi-scienze conference room, Palazzo della Carovana, the following seminar will be held:

    Alessia Prioletta (CNRS - UMR 8167 Orient & Méditerranée) "Tra iscrizioni e graffiti, tra oasi e deserto: la pratica della scrittura in Arabia centro-settentrionale prima dell’Islam".
    Live video streaming on YouTube

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