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Epigraphical features of economic texts in Linear A / Tomas, Helena.

By: Tomas, Helena.
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticleDescription: 93-103.Other title: Epigraphical features of economic texts in Linear A [Naslov na engleskom:].Subject(s): 6.07 | Linear A, economic texts, epigraphical features | Linear A, economic texts, epigraphical features In: Palatial Economy in the Ancient Near East and in the Aegean str. 93-103Summary: It is well known that Linear A texts are poorly organised in comparison with their Linear B counterparts. Epigraphical features that could improve their visual appearance, such as ruling lines or spacing, are used randomly. Most Linear A tablets are, furthermore, messy, sometimes illegible, and therefore confusing. Recently I have investigated the possibility that these characteristics of Linear A tablets resulted from the personal writing habits of their scribes. I wondered, for example, if the use of random ruling lines separating different contextual units on Linear A tablets, or transactional terms like KU-RO (designating ‘total’), was typical of some scribes, rather than being a general Linear A pattern. In general, I assumed that the messy state of Linear A texts resulted from personal preferences, and did not have some more significant reason behind it, e.g. that tablets were only drafts and not final records, or represented a lower administrative level in comparison with the neat Linear B tablets. However, this approach yielded no results, since it proved impossible to establish any meaningful correlation between such epigraphical features and particular Linear A scribal hands. The low number of Linear A tablets made that study even more difficult. Another possibility remains to be investigated: that the use of epigraphical features was determined by the contents of Linear A tablets. Most of these tablets are economic texts, but three major groups can be distinguished among them: those that list only people, those that list only commodities, and those that list both people and commodities. It would be a step forward to establish that some epigraphical features, for example ruling lines, occur on only one group of tablets, not the others. In this paper, therefore, I will explore the contents – epigraphy correlation of economic texts in Linear A.
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It is well known that Linear A texts are poorly organised in comparison with their Linear B counterparts. Epigraphical features that could improve their visual appearance, such as ruling lines or spacing, are used randomly. Most Linear A tablets are, furthermore, messy, sometimes illegible, and therefore confusing. Recently I have investigated the possibility that these characteristics of Linear A tablets resulted from the personal writing habits of their scribes. I wondered, for example, if the use of random ruling lines separating different contextual units on Linear A tablets, or transactional terms like KU-RO (designating ‘total’), was typical of some scribes, rather than being a general Linear A pattern. In general, I assumed that the messy state of Linear A texts resulted from personal preferences, and did not have some more significant reason behind it, e.g. that tablets were only drafts and not final records, or represented a lower administrative level in comparison with the neat Linear B tablets. However, this approach yielded no results, since it proved impossible to establish any meaningful correlation between such epigraphical features and particular Linear A scribal hands. The low number of Linear A tablets made that study even more difficult. Another possibility remains to be investigated: that the use of epigraphical features was determined by the contents of Linear A tablets. Most of these tablets are economic texts, but three major groups can be distinguished among them: those that list only people, those that list only commodities, and those that list both people and commodities. It would be a step forward to establish that some epigraphical features, for example ruling lines, occur on only one group of tablets, not the others. In this paper, therefore, I will explore the contents – epigraphy correlation of economic texts in Linear A.

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