Discussing writing in Cretan hieroglyphic script from an anthropological perspective

Matilde Civitillo

In this paper, I intend to discuss how to interpret the notion of writing in Cretan Hieroglyphic script on different supports (i.e. seals, clay documents and vessels) more comprehensively, following a theoretical framework influenced by integrational semiology. Special attention will be dedicated to the analysis of a whole series of external stimuli (from the materials and forms of the writing supports to the modes of display and the perception of writing itself) that constitute the ‘prior knowledge’ necessary to thoroughly interpret written texts, as well as to the cultural values, encyclopaedic knowledge and ideological expressions that led to the creation of this graphic system. Therefore, starting from a theoretical background which posits a multifaceted interpretation of what writing actually is, I will discuss, with reference to Cretan Hieroglyphic texts, the seven different factors indicated by Antonio Perri (1999) in his model for the description of scriptorial events, which has components corresponding by acronym to the mnemonic word ‘writing’: writers, readers, instrumentalities, textualization, interpretative context, norms and genres.

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