• Translation of the Minoan Phaistos Disk in Alphabetic Akkadian (Updated)

    David Olmsted (see profile)
    Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean archaeology, Alphabetic Akkadian, Pagan Studies
    Religions, Mediterranean Region, History, Ancient, Commerce
    Item Type:
    Online publication
    Minoan, Crete, Archaeology of Religion, Alphabetic Akkkadian, Ancient languages, Ancient Mediterranean religions, Ancient trade
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    The Phaistos Disk is the missing link connecting Mesopotamian cuneiform Akkadian with its Mediterranean alphabetic forms. As such it is a hybrid phonetic and alphabetic text dating to about 1800 BCE. It is a philosophical/religious debate about the cause of a recent drought, the first written debate in history. The key to its translation was its many letter sign similarities with the Alphabetic Akkadian texts found at Serabit el Khadim. This allowed the identification of an initial set of signs. The rest of the sign assignments were worked out by considering text sign image similarities to Akkadian source words and testing within the text. The debate pits two priests who support newly important agricultural powers against one magic crafter who supports the traditional hunter-gatherer emphasis on ancestral and animal motion powers. As such, this debate correlates with archaeology of Crete which shows this transition taking place. This sort of debate will continue over the next 1300 years. This is also an update of the earlier translation (Olmsted, June 2020) which was one of the first publications of an Alphabetic Akkadian text. The changes from the newest lexicon are small indicating that the language and grammar of Alphabetic Akkadian are achieving stability. The big change was changing the phonetic sign Ta to Si which results in a slightly different translation.
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago


    Item Name: pdf olmsted-2021-phaistos-disk-translation-updated.pdf
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