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Title: Aegean linear script(s) : rethinking the relationship between Linear A and Linear B
Author: Salgarella, Ester
ISNI:       0000 0004 7651 9722
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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When does a 'continuum' become a divide? My research investigates the genetic relationship between Linear A and Linear B (henceforth LA, LB), two Bronze Age scripts attested on Crete and Mainland Greece and understood to have developed one straight out of the other. By using an interdisciplinary methodology, I integrated linguistic, epigraphic, palaeographic and archaeological evidence, and placed the writing practice in its socio-historical setting. By challenging traditional views, my work has called into question widespread assumptions and interpretative schemes on this relationship. I carried out a systematic assessment of the structural characteristics underlying both systems and a palaeographic examination of their sign inventories. Built on these analyses, I put forward a more fluid model of script development, which takes LA and LB no longer as two separate scripts but as the very same one: the 'Aegean Linear Script'. Over time, this underwent only minimal adaptation when required to meet the needs of another language, arguably in view of the changing socio-political context. This new interpretation is in sharp contrast with the view traditionally held of a strong standardisation process having taken place, which sees LB as mere product of secondary script development. My conclusion has interesting implications not only for the history of the writing tradition on Crete, but also for our appreciation of the contemporary socio-historical context. This view, in turns, opens up new perspectives on the ideology associated with the retention of a script, matters of identity and how identity was negotiated at the very moment when Cretans and Greek-speaking Mainlanders came into closer contact in the Late Bronze Age. I have also noted that in this period the same scenario depicting soft adaptation of motives is witnessed on the side of material culture, displaying meaningful interplay and amalgamation of both Mainland and Cretan traditions.
Supervisor: Meissner, Torsten ; Galanakis, Yannis Sponsor: AHRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Linear B ; Mycenaean Epigraphy ; Linear A ; Bronze Age Aegean Scripts ; Aegean Archaeology