Greek Writing from Knossos to Homer: A Linguistic Interpretation of the Origin of the Greek Alphabet and the Continuity of Ancient Greek Literacy

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Oxford University Press, Jun 12, 1997 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 304 pages
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Greek Writing from Knossos to Homer examines the origin of the Greek alphabet. Departing from previous accounts, Roger Woodard places the advent of the alphabet within an unbroken continuum of Greek literacy beginning in the Mycenean era. He argues that the creators of the Greek alphabet, who adapted the Phoenician consonantal script, were scribes accustomed to writing Greek with the syllabic script of Cyprus. Certain characteristic features of the Cypriot script--for example, its strategy for representing consonant sequences and elements of Cypriot Greek phonology--were transferred to the new alphabetic script. Proposing a Cypriot origin of the alphabet at the hands of previously literate adapters brings clarity to various problems of the alphabet, such as the Greek use of the Phoenician sibilant letters. The alphabet, rejected by the post- Bronze Age "Mycenaean" culture of Cyprus, was exported west to the Aegean, where it gained a foothold among a then illiterate Greek people emerging from the Dark Age.
 

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Contents

1 Introduction
3
2 The Syllabaries
8
3 SyllableDependent Approaches
19
4 NonSyllableDependent Approaches
58
5 The Hierarchy of Orthographic Strength
112
6 The Alphabet
133
7 Cyprus and Beyond
205
8 Conclusions
246
Phonetic Glossary
263
Symbols
267
References
268
Index
279
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About the author (1997)

Roger D. Woodard is Andrew van Vranken Raymond Professor of Classics and Professor of Linguistics at the University of Buffalo, the State University of New York. His visiting appointments have included the American Academy at Rome, the University of Oxford, the Centro di Antropologia e Mondo Antico dell' Universita di Siena, the Max-Planck-Institut fur Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin, and the Max-Planck-Institut fur evolutionare Anthropologie, Leipzig. He is author or editor of many books, including Myth, Ritual, and the Warrior in Roman and Indo-European Antiquity; The Cambridge Companion to Greek Mythology; Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cu

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