October 12, 2011

An Ugaritic Inscription From Tiryns(?)

Now this is abnormally interesting! I hadn’t seen this. Chaim Cohen, Josheph Maran and Melissa Vetters published the remains of a cuneiform inscription from the lower Citadel of Tiryns. In case you are wondering, Tiryns is a Mycenaean site on the Peloponnese. The remains of the inscription are on a broken cylindrical rod make of hippopotamus ivory. The authors suggest two reconstructions and further suggest that the language is Ugaritic. They see the inscription as in a hybrid alphabetical / syllabary script with Akkadian like numerals and read “[X me-a]t 60+10+10 {+10?} ṯ” or read “[X me-a]t 60+10+10 k?ṯ.” You can read their arguments. Here’s a picture of the inscription from their paper.

Alphabetic inscription from Tiryns

Despite Cohen et al’s, 12, claim that this is “without doubt” written from left to right, I wonder, and this is just a wonder, if they are reading the inscription in the wrong direction. If I read this inscription as in the short alphabetic cuneiform script and read it from right to left, I get m c(?) ’ l[ . . . and see the last four letters of a possible personal name ending with the theophoric element el. The letter I read as m and Cohen, Maran and Vetters read as has the same general morphology as the m in KTU 1.77 and a similar c and ‘ also appear in KTU 1.77. In addition, the general orientation of the horizontal wedges seems to imply a right to left reading. This is particularly true of the top wedge on the first symbol on the right. I need to do a lot more work and look a several attentional texts to fully convince myself on this but, if anyone cares, this is the direction I’m heading on it for now. Also, since this was actually published last year, there may be some addition discussion in the literature or the blogosphere that I have not seen. Off to Google. I’ll let you know if I find anything worth mentioning.

Whatever this inscription may say, its find spot will provide lots of fodder for discussion and debate.

Update (October 16, 2011):
I’ve addressed this inscription more fully in a second post.

Via Ancient World on Line

Reference:

Cohen, Chaim, Josheph Maran and Melissa Vetters, “An Ivory Rod with a Cuneiform Inscription, Most Probably Ugaritic, from a Final Palatial Workshop in the Lower Citadel of Tiryns,” Archäologischer Anzeiger, 2, 2010, 1022.

Posted by Duane Smith at October 12, 2011 12:37 PM | Read more on Ugarit |

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