9780521589079

Homer and the Origin of the Greek Alphabet

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780521589079

  • ISBN10:

    052158907X

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1996-12-01
  • Publisher: Cambridge Univ Pr

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

Summary

Who invented the Greek alphabet and why? The purpose of this challenging book is to inquire systematically into the historical causes that underlay the radical shift from earlier and less efficient writing systems to the use of alphabetic writing. The author reaches the conclusion that a single man, perhaps from the island of Euboea, invented the Greek alphabet specifically in order to record the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer.

Table of Contents

List of figures
page xiii(1)
List of tables
xiv(1)
Acknowledgements xv(1)
Abbreviations xvi(3)
A note on terms and phonetic transcriptions xix(1)
Chronological charts
xx(2)
Maps
xxii
Foreword: Why was the Greek alphabet invented? 1(4)
1 Review of criticism: What we know about the origin of the Greek alphabet
5(63)
Phoenician origins
5(5)
Single introduction by a single man
10(2)
The place of adaptation
12(6)
The date of transmission
18(2)
The moment of transmission
20(12)
The names of the signs
32(6)
The sounds of the signs
38(4)
The vowels
42(4)
The problem of the sibilants
46(2)
The problem of the supplemental XXX X XXX
48(15)
The adapter's system
63(3)
Summary and conclusions
66(2)
2 Argument from the history of writing: How writing worked before the Greek alphabet
68(51)
Elements in the art of writing
69(7)
How logo-syllabic writing works: Egyptian hieroglyphic
76(13)
How syllabic writing works: the Cypriote syllabary
89(12)
How syllabic writing works: Phoenician
101(4)
Summary and conclusions
105(14)
3 Argument from the material remains: Greek inscriptions from the beginning to c. 650 B.C.
119(68)
The lack of semantic devices in early Greek writing
119(4)
I. "Short" Greek inscriptions from the beginning to c. 650 B.C.
123(35)
II. "Long" Greek inscriptions from the beginning to c. 650 B.C.
158(23)
Conclusions
181(6)
4 Argument from coincidence: Dating Greece's earliest poet
187(34)
I. What dates does archaeology give for objects, practices, and social realities mentioned in Homer?
190(17)
II. Is there anything about the language of the Iliad and the Odyssey that can be dated?
207(1)
III. What are the earliest outside references to Homer?
208(9)
IV. Homer's date in ancient tradition
217(2)
Conclusions: the date of Homer
219(2)
5 Conclusions from probability: how the Iliad and Odyssey were written down
221(17)
Writing and traditional song in Homer's day
221(10)
Conclusions
231(7)
APPENDIX I: Gelb's theory of the syllabic nature of West Semitic writing 238(8)
APPENDIX II: Homeric references in poets of the seventh century 246(3)
Definitions 249(5)
Bibliography 254(23)
Index 277

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