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Pregled bibliografske jedinice broj: 826996

Orality of Linear B, scriptuality of Linear B

Tomas, Helena
Orality of Linear B, scriptuality of Linear B // Visualizing knowledge and creating meaning in ancient writing systems
Berlin, Njemačka, 2010. (predavanje, međunarodna recenzija, cjeloviti rad (in extenso), znanstveni)

Orality of Linear B, scriptuality of Linear B

Tomas, Helena

Vrsta, podvrsta i kategorija rada
Radovi u zbornicima skupova, cjeloviti rad (in extenso), znanstveni

Visualizing knowledge and creating meaning in ancient writing systems

Mjesto i datum
Berlin, Njemačka, 24-25. 9. 2010

Vrsta sudjelovanja

Vrsta recenzije
Međunarodna recenzija

Ključne riječi
Linear A; Linear B; writing; literacy; clay tablets

Much has been written about the extent of literacy in the Bronze Age Aegean. Syllabic scripts from that period have been typically contrasted for that purpose: earlier and undeciphered Minoan Linear A, and later and deciphered Mycenaean Linear B. Two aspects have usually been taken into consideration in determining the levels of literacy in Minoan and Mycenaean societies: the total amount of inscriptions, in which Linear B definitely comes first, and the variety of inscriptions, where Linear A takes the leading role. The latter aspect is more thought provoking, since it explores the nature of inscriptions and inscribed objects. Thus, Linear B is almost exclusively limited to inscriptions of an administrative nature, and is consequently mostly inscribed on clay tablets and sealings. While Linear A has those as well (albeit in much smaller quantities), its corpus is enriched by inscriptions on objects of a non- administrative nature, such as libation tables, votive axes, jewellery items, etc. This paper brings a third aspect into the picture: the visual appearance of inscriptions, since methods of organising text also contribute to determining the level of literacy. It has been observed that Linear B clay tablets are much more advanced in how the text is laid out: they are better organised, handwriting is neat, the arrangement of the text is careful and orderly. Most Linear A tablets, by contrast, are messy and disorganised. Whereas some scholars understand this as an advantage of Linear B, others take it as a sign of limited literacy: a Linear B scribe wrote in a neat manner to make sure that the other party would have no difficulties in reading the text, whereas a Linear A scribe even when messy would encounter no trouble in being understood, since people around may have been more acquainted with reading. This contrast in neatness, however, provides grounds for a different explanation. Linear B clay tablets are neat because, as has been confirmed, they were summarising records of previously written data (on sealings, and primary records on smaller tablets). In Linear A, on the other hand, we have no evidence of a similar process, and it appears that they were being composed on the basis of oral data (perhaps a dictation to a scribe), not written ; hence their messiness. It will be suggested that the visual organisation of Linear A and Linear B tablets is therefore not just a matter of aesthetics, but that it reveals much more about the process of composing clay tablets in Minoan and Mycenaean societies, with the tradition of orality standing behind the former, and the tradition of scriptuality behind the latter.

Izvorni jezik

Znanstvena područja


Filozofski fakultet, Zagreb

Autor s matičnim brojem:
Helena Tomas Bakota, (249756)