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Mycenaean Script and Language

(4,610 words)

Author(s): Yves Duhoux
Abstract ‘Mycenaean’ is the modern name given to the language of the oldest Greek texts known to date. Their script, Linear B, a syllabary of 88 signs, was deciphered in 1952. Most of the Mycenaean records are bookkeeping documents written by the clerks who managed the Greek kingdoms. Although their content does not seem promising, they have provided crucial evidence for the linguistic situation of Greece in the second half of the second millennium BCE, at least 400 years before the earliest alphabetic Greek records. 1. Introduction ‘Mycenaean’ and ‘Mycenaean Greek’ are modern nam…
Date: 2013-11-01

Lemnian

(695 words)

Author(s): Yves Duhoux
Abstract A few inscriptions dated to the 6th c. BCE show that non-Hellenic people lived on the island of Lemnos, in the northern Aegean Sea. These texts exhibit a distinct Etruscan flavor (phonological system, vocabulary, morphology), but Lemnian differs in several ways from the Etruscan written in Italy. The spelling rules and the archaeological data suggest that the Etruscans of Tuscany and those of Lemnos could have been separated quite early. Ancient authors inform us that before the Athenian conquest about 510 BCE, non-Hellenic people dwelled in Lemnos, an island in the northern Ae…
Date: 2013-11-01

Eteocretan

(653 words)

Author(s): Yves Duhoux
Abstract Eteocretans, literally ‘true Cretans’, is the ancient name given to a group of Cretan people speaking a non-Greek tongue. The six undisputed Eteocretan inscriptions (ca 650 (?) - 3rd or 2nd c. BCE) are written in the Greek alphabet but total 422 letters only. Moreover, we are able to isolate only a few of their ‘words’. This explains that their interpretation is difficult and that their linguistic relationship remains unknown despite several tentative identifications. ‘Eteocretans’, Eteókrētes, is the name given by the ancient Greeks to a group of Cretan people…
Date: 2013-11-01

Cypro-Minoan Syllabary

(700 words)

Author(s): Yves Duhoux
Abstract Cypro-Minoan is the modern name given to four different but related Cypriot syllabic scripts used in the second millennium BCE. The Cypro-Minoan syllabaries have ca 14 syllabograms in common with the Cypriot ‘Greek’ (or ‘classic’) syllabaries which have been deciphered. This allows some phonetic readings. However, no bilingual document has been found till now and none of the tentative decipherments proposed so far has gained scholarly approval. Cypro-Minoan is the modern name given to several different but related Cypriot syllabic scripts of the second …
Date: 2013-11-01

Gerund (Verbal Noun)

(2,008 words)

Author(s): Yves Duhoux
Abstract The gerund, or better the articular infinitive or verbal noun, is the name given to the combination of an article followed by an infinitive, e.g. tò drân, lit. ‘the (action of) doing’. The use of the article makes the gerund’s role as substantive more obvious than the bare infinitive does. The articular infinitive appears after Homer and reaches its most developed state in the 5th c. The peak of its popularity comes at the beginning of the Koiné, ca 400 BCE, but a decline follows in the Roman period, and it eventually disappears.   The gerund, or better the articular/substantiviz…
Date: 2013-11-01

Eteocypriot

(667 words)

Author(s): Yves Duhoux
Abstract Eteocypriot is the modern name given to a non-Greek language found mainly in Cyprus but also in Egypt. Its ca 20 inscriptions are written in the Cypriot ‘Greek’ (or ‘classic’) syllabary, which was deciphered at the end of the 19th c. Although the texts can be read, they are badly understood. Despite a good number of tentative identifications of Eteocypriot, its linguistic relationship still remains unknown. Eteocypriot is the modern name given to a non-Greek language found mainly in Cyprus but also in Egypt. The main source of its inscriptions is the kingdom of Amathus, on the So…
Date: 2013-11-01

Gerundive (Verbal Adjective)

(1,640 words)

Author(s): Yves Duhoux
Abstract The gerundive, or better the verbal adjective of obligation, is an adjective consisting of a verbal root and the suffix -téos. It expresses that the verbal action must or should be performed: ōphelētéā soi h ē pólis estí  ‘the city must be helped by you’ (Xen. Mem. 3.6.3). The verbal adjective of obligation seems to occur in the Linear B bookkeeping texts, but then disappears for ca 700 years. It reappears in the 5th c. BCE and there is mainly used in plays and literary prose. After the Classical period, the verbal adjective of obli…
Date: 2013-11-01