EJaBibDWwAA0g3pUnderstanding Relations Between Scripts II: Early Alphabets (Oxbow Books, 2020) brings together ten experts on ancient writing, languages and archaeology to present a set of diverse studies on the early development of alphabetic writing systems and their spread across the Levant and Mediterranean during the second and first millennia BC. By taking an interdisciplinary perspective, it sheds new light on alphabetic writing not just as a tool for recording language but also as an element of culture.

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Figure 5.3. Facsimile-drawing of the Azarbaʿal arrowhead (TSSI 3,1). Drawing by Reinhard Lehmann.

Understanding Relations Between Scripts II: Early Alphabets

Edited by Philip J. Boyes and Philippa M. Steele


Frontmatter and acknowledgements

1. Introduction: Issues in studying early alphabets (Philip J. Boyes and Philippa M. Steele)

Fig 2.4
Figure 2.4. Tablet RS 88.2215 from Ugarit, registering the halaḥam sequence (courtesy of D. Pardee, all rights reserved).

2. A ʽtop-downʼ re-invention of an old form: Cuneiform alphabets in context (Silvia Ferrara)

3. Variation in alphabetic cuneiform: Rethinking the ‘Phoenician’ inscription from Sarepta (Philip J. Boyes)

4. Ancient Egypt and the earliest known stages of alphabetic writing (Ben Haring)

5. Much ado about an implement! – the Phoenicianising of Early Alphabetic (Reinhard G. Lehmann)

6. Vowel representation in the Archaic Greek and Old Aramaic scripts: A comparative orthographic and phonological examination (Roger D. Woodard)

7. Mother or sister? Rethinking the origins of the Greek alphabet and its relation to the other ‘western’ alphabets (Willemijn Waal)

Figure 8.8b
Figure 8.8.b. Boustrophedon Cretan alphabetic inscription on a bronze mitra (M1). New York Metropolitan Museum (www.metmuseum.org), Gift of Norbert Schimmel Trust, 1989. Public Domain Image.

8. The development of Greek alphabets: Fluctuations and standardisations (Philippa M. Steele)

9. Between scripts and languages: Inscribed intricacies from geometric and archaic Greek contexts (Giorgos Bourogiannis)

10. The matter of voice – the Umbrian perspective (Karin W. Tikkanen)

11. Writings in network? The case of Palaeohispanic scripts (Coline Ruiz Darasse)


Whole book:

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360 Spin Series 36 columns X 11rows
Figure 8.3. Abecedarium written around the belly of an Etruscan cockerel-shaped bucchero ware vase. New York Metropolitan Museum (www.metmuseum.org), Fletcher Fund, 1924. Public Domain Image.

This volume comprises the proceedings of a conference held at the Faculty of Classics in Cambridge on the 21 and 22 March 2017 as part of the Contexts of and Relations between Early Writing Systems (CREWS) project, which aims to explore new and revisit old ways of studying writing.

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 677758).

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