Persistant Puzzle


Book Details

Author  M. B. Manning
Publisher  M. B. Manning
Publication Date   November 14, 2009
Pages  498


An Investigation into the Writing System of Bronze Age Crete and the
Language of the Linear A Script.

This manuscript illustrates the relationship between the Cretan Hieroglyphic Script, Linear A and the Phaistos Disk Script of Minoan Crete. Those with an interest in the Minoan civilization will find that this work provides a deeper insight into the character and nature of the elegant and exceptional civilization of Bronze Age Crete. The reader will find that this work is an exhaustive and detailed analysis of the Cretan Scripts and the language represented by these scripts. The ancient writing system of Bronze Age Crete need no longer be an esoteric subject, accessible to only a few specialized scholars. 'The Persistent Puzzle' allows the interested student of Bronze Age history to explore this topic with a greater degree of confidence and understanding.
This work is a detailed and comprehensive examination of the syllabic signs of both the Cretan Hieroglyphic Script and the Phaistos Disk Script and their relationship to the signs of the better understood Minoan Linear A Script. Based on the largely verified syllabic values assigned to the symbols of the Mycenaean Linear B Script, most of the signs of the Linear A Script have been assigned corresponding values. Since it does appear that most of the signs of the Linear A Script were derived from the symbols of the Cretan Hieroglyphic Script (CHS), this work thoroughly explores the relationship between the symbols of these two scripts. The developmental process revealed herein was one of simplifying the signs of an older script in order to create a writing system that was more convenient to use. This approach of streamlining the symbols of an established script can be compared to the transformation of the characters of the Chinese script into the Japanese hiragana and katakana scripts or the transition of the Egyptian Hieroglyphic Script into the Hieratic Script.
The academic community that concerns itself with the Cretan Writing System and the relationship between Linear A and the CHS, seems reluctant to approach this problem for a variety of reasons, both technical and academic. Those who have attempted to equate the signs of the two scripts have met with little success and even less acceptance from their fellow scholars. Presently it is fair to say that those academics who study the Cretan Writing System appear to be reluctant to consider solutions to this problem, no matter how promising the results of some scholar's efforts may be. One result of this situation is that only brief and tentative discussions dealing with the relationship between Linear A and the CHS are published and considered by the world’s Bronze Age scholars. The inescapable reality is that only a comprehensive set of correct value assignments for the well represented signs of the CHS, will provide the type of results that can be adequately tested and evaluated. The speculative syllabic values given to the signs of the CHS in the 2-2 Catalog of Cretan Glyphic Signs are the result of a careful scientific examination of all of the relevant evidence available, (see page 30 for a discussion of the criteria used to determine the value assignments suggested herein for the signs of the CHS). This collection of suggested value assignments produces a sizable list of more than 200 corresponding sign groups for the CHS and Linear A Script. These results appear to verify the approach utilized in Part Two of this work toward establishing a better understanding of the relationship between the symbols these two scripts, along with illustrating the place of the two scripts within the history of the writing system of Bronze Age Crete.

-M. B. Manning

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