Tuesday, December 13, 2011

EUROPA - Relics of the Past 3.5.1983

This FDC given to me by Merja has two stamps on it. These Europa stamps were issued by Cyprus on 3.5.1983. One on the left shows a copper ingot, a bronze jug from the Roman period of 2nd century BC and a Copper engraving. The stamp on the right has a Cypro-Syllabic inscription. The Cypro-Syllabic script is, as the name itself indicates, a writing system of a syllabic character found in Cyprus from between the mid 11th c. BC (the Opheltes obelos, ICS2 18g) to the end of the 2nd c. BC It is composed of 56 signs at most, with more or less important local variations in the form of the signs, in the chronology and in the repertory. Almost all the signs, with the exception of ye (present only in the new Paphian syllabary) are found in the most widespread version of the syllabary, known as the “common syllabary”.

Texts written in the common syllabary are usually right to left, and their distribution area is quite large: they can be found in nearly the entire island, with the exception of the south-western region, the Paphos region, characterized by its own peculiar repertory known as the “Paphian syllabary”. This latter, unlike the common syllabary, is usually used in left-to-right texts, and it has its own chronology: the “old Paphian syllabary”, used essentially in texts dating from the 6th c. BC, and the “new Paphian syllabary”, with documents dating above all from the 4th c. BC.
Writing in the Late Bronze Age Writing first appeared in Cyprus around 1500 BC at a time when the island's trading activities brought increased bureaucratic demands. The earliest script was syllabic (each symbol denoting a vowel or a combination of consonant and vowel) and presented obvious similarities to Minoan Linear A. It was probably introduced from Crete and adapted to the needs of the ancient Cypriot language. The script is called Cypro-Minoan but has not been deciphered yet (as is also the case with Linear A). Cypro-Minoan texts have been found on clay tablets at Enkomi in Cyprus and Ugarit in Syria, suggesting that they were used both for administration and commercial transactions. Otherwise, Cypro-Minoan symbols have been occasionally found on clay cylinders (also of administrative use), bronze and ivory objects as well as on clay balls.

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