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Writing and Society in Ancient Cyprus


Part of Cambridge Classical Studies

  • Date Published: May 2022
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316620915

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About the Authors
  • From its first adoption of writing at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age, ancient Cyprus was home to distinctive scripts and writing habits, often setting it apart from other areas of the Mediterranean and Near East. This well-illustrated volume is the first to explore the development and importance of Cypriot writing over a period of more than 1,500 years in the second and first millennia BC. Five themed chapters deal with issues ranging from the acquisition of literacy and the adaptation of new writing systems to the visibility of writing and its role in the marking of identities. The agency of Cypriots in shaping the island's literate landscape is given prominence, and an extended consideration of the social context of writing leads to new insights on Cypriot scripts and their users. Cyprus provides a stimulating case to demonstrate the importance of contextualised approaches to the development of writing systems.

    • Provides a comprehensive account of writing and literacy in Cyprus in the second and first millennia BC
    • Considers the context of writing through interdisciplinary research involving epigraphic, linguistic, archaeological and historical information and approaches
    • This book is well illustrated with over seventy figures
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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2022
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316620915
    • length: 290 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.469kg
    • contains: 74 b/w illus. 3 maps 11 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The advent of literacy on Cyprus
    2. Scripts and languages in geometric cyprus
    3. 'Understanding' undeciphered scripts and unidentified languages
    4. Visible languages and Cypriot identities
    5. Cypriot writing at home and abroad.

  • Author

    Philippa M. Steele, Magdalene College, Cambridge
    Philippa M. Steele is a Senior Research Associate at the Cambridge Faculty of Classics and a Senior Research Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge. Following the award of a large European Research Council grant, she is the Principal Investigator and Director of the major five-year project Contexts of and Relations between Early Writing Systems (CREWS), managing a research team investigating writing in the ancient Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean and Levant. She has been the author and editor of a number of books and articles ranging over topics from ancient Cypriot language and culture to the historical study of the Mycenaean world and methodological approaches to the study of writing systems and ancient literacy. In 2015, she began a series of conferences devoted to ancient writing which are now being published as a series, the first volume, Understanding Relations Between Scripts, was published in 2017. She is currently working on the development of the Aegean syllabic scripts (including Cretan Hieroglyphic and Linear A and B) and the early Greek alphabet.

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