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.
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.
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.
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.
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.