Ancient writing systems in the Mediterranean

A critical guide to electronic resources


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    The Scribe in the Biblical World. A Bridge Between Scripts, Languages and Cultures, Edited by Esther Eshel and Michael Langlois, Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter 2023.

    This book offers a fresh look at the status of the scribe in society, his training, practices, and work in the biblical world.
    What was the scribe’s role in these societies? Were there rival scribal schools? What was their role in daily life? How many scripts and languages did they grasp? Did they master political and religious rhetoric? Did they travel or share foreign traditions, cultures, and beliefs? Were scribes redactors, or simply copyists? What was their influence on the redaction of the Bible? How did they relate to the political and religious powers of their day? Did they possess any authority themselves? These are the questions that were tackled during an international conference held at the University of Strasbourg on June 17–19, 2019. The conference served as the basis for this publication, which includes fifteen articles covering a wide geographical and chronological range, from Late Bronze Age royal scribes to refugees in Masada at the end of the Second Temple period.

    More information here
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    Universal Hieroglyph Translator

    IOS app that translates hieroglyphs into 59 modern languages using the internal 50,000 entries dictionary. Glyph input uses Gardiner codes and MoC encoding in any combination. The translations are vetted against R. Hannig's Großes Handwörterbuch (1995).
    More information and examples here:
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    First complete sentence in Proto-Canaanite

    The oldest complete sentence in Proto-Canaanite includes 7 words and is an invocation to the gods on an ivory comb for removing lice unearthed at the Lachish site.

    More information

    Related scientific paper

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    Mnamon Seminars

    On Thursday December 1st at 3 p.m. the following seminar will be held online:

    Francesca Maltomini (Direttrice Istituto Papirologico "Girolamo Vitelli" - Università di Firenze)

    "La scrittura dei testi magici nell’Egitto greco-romano"

    Abstract. La stesura di un testo (spesso attraverso l’uso di materiali scrittori specifici) era, nel ‘sistema magico’ antico, parte integrante, e centrale, della maggior parte degli incantesimi. I prodotti scritti del rito magico presentano particolarità sia sul piano linguistico, sia su quello della disposizione e della funzione della scrittura, che spesso si assimila ad elementi grafici di altro tipo. Le testimonianze di ambito papirologico conservano sia un numero elevato di questi testi, sia alcuni corposi ricettari magici che forniscono istruzioni su come scriverli. Il seminario proporrà un’analisi delle caratteristiche dell’insieme queste testimonianze, volta a individuare in esse elementi di normatività, idiosincrasie e indizi sulle competenze e le scelte degli scriventi.

    Live video streaming here.
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    Mnamon Seminars

    On Wednesday September 21st at 3 p.m. the following seminar will be held online:

    Emiliano Fiori (Università di Venezia)

    "Da Edessa a internet: venti secoli (e mezzo) di scrittura siriaca"

    Abstract La scrittura siriaca è ininterrottamente attestata dal I secolo dell’era cristiana e probabilmente vide la luce, come la lingua che essa esprime, nell’area di Edessa, la moderna Şanlıurfa . In questo incontro ne ripercorreremo la storia, soffermandoci in particolare sui ricchissimi sviluppi dell’ultimo decennio nell’ambito delle risorse elettroniche per lo studio della cultura e della scrittura siriache.

    Live video streaming here.
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    Hieroglyph FlashCards

    iOS app just released by Aviametrix with almost 200 glyphs from the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom. Glyph shapes are based on Georg Möller's "Hieratische Paläographie" and Joshua Aaron Roberson's "A Very Brief Introduction to Hieratic”. More information here.
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    Mnamon update

    The Mnamon sections for Celtiberian, Gaulish, Celtic writing systems, Iberian, Akkadian Cuneiform, Sumerian Cuneiform, Elamite, Linear Elamite and Proto-Elamite were carefully reviewed and enriched by the specialists.

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    The beta version of the digital paleography portal AKU-PAL: Paläographie des Hieratischen und der Kursivhieroglyphen, part of the Ancient Egyptian Cursive Scripts (AKU), has recently been put online by the Mainz Academy of Sciences and Literature at the address:
    (D. Salvoldi)

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    Mnamon update

    The Mnamon sections for Greek alphabets, Cretan Hieroglyphic, Linear A, Linear B and Phaistos Disc were carefully reviewed and enriched by the specialists.

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    G. Torri,The “Haus am Hang” at Ḫattuša. A Late Hittite State Scriptorium and Its Tablet Collections, Studien zu den Bogazköy-Texten 67 (2022).

    Giulia Torri’s research focuses on a collection of Hittite texts discovered during the first excavations in Lower City of Ḫattuša when, in 1907, a palace, later named Haus am Hang (House on the Slope), was discovered. The research reconstructs the archaeological context and provides a new approach in outlining the cultural environment in which the Hittite texts were produced. The texts, classified according to their content as administrative texts, chancellery texts, and texts of the scribal tradition, are collected, studied, and compared with their duplicate versions from other locations, with the aim of showing how the Hittite scribes composed and preserved them.

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