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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 June 2021

Silvia Ferrara*
University of Bologna
Barbara Montecchi
University of Bologna
Miguel Valério
University of Bologna


This article examines the earliest attestations of writing on Crete at the beginning of the second millennium bce, the so-called ‘Archanes formula’. The aim is to reassess its origin, purpose, significance and ‘reading’ through a multi-step analysis taking in details of palaeography, correlations with iconographic seal motifs, and material culture. Key issues are considered, namely the extent to which is it comparable with the Linear A ‘libation formula’ a-sa-sa-ra-me, or, conversely, whether it should be singled out as a separate writing tradition. To address these questions, the ‘Archanes formula’ is brought under close scrutiny, vis-à-vis the graphic repertoires of Cretan Hieroglyphic and, in parallel, Linear A. Our conclusions point towards a strong connection with the Cretan Hieroglyphic milieu, in terms of sign shapes and direct links to seal imagery. In this light, the earliest writing in the Aegean is revisited not so much as a script in itself, nor as a prequel to Linear A religious sequences, but as a direct manifestation of the iconic glyptic practices of the Hieroglyphic tradition.

Τι είναι ο «λογότυπος των Αρχανών»; Αποδόμηση και ανακατασκευή της πρώτης βεβαίωσης γραφής στο Αιγαίο

Αυτό το άρθρο αναλύει τις πρώτες βεβαιώσεις γραφής στην Κρήτη στην αρχή της δεύτερης χιλιετίας π.Χ., οι οποίες φέρνουν το λεγόμενο «λογότυπον των Αρχανών». Ο στόχος είναι να επανεκτιμηθεί η προέλευση και η σχέση της με τα Κρητικά Ιερογλυφικά και Γραμμική Α, μέσω παλαιογραφικής ανάλυσης των σχετικών γραφικών σημείων και της σύγκρισης με μοτίβα σκαλισμένα σε σφραγίδες και με άλλα αρχαιολογικά ευρήματα της μεσομινωικής εποχής. Τα συμπεράσματά μας δείχνουν μια πολύ ισχυρή σχέση με τα σχήματα των σημείων των Κρητικών Ιερογλυφικών και των εικόνων των σφραγίδων της μεσομινωικής I-II περιόδου. Ταυτόχρονα, η ευρέως διαδεδομένη άποψη ότι ο «λογότυπος των Αρχανών» είναι ο πρόγονος του «λογοτύπου χόων» της Γραμμικής Α a-sa-sa-ra-me αποδεικνύεται ότι βασίζεται σε υποθέσεις περισσότερο από ότι σε πραγματικές αποδείξεις. Ως εκ τούτου, οι πρώτες επιγραφές στο Αιγαίο δεν επανεξετάζονται τόσο σαν μια γραφή από μόνη της, ούτε ως ένας πρόδρομος των θρησκευτικών τύπων της Γραμμικής Α, αλλά ως άμεση εκδήλωση των πρακτικών σφραγίδας της Ιερογλυφικής παράδοσης της Κρήτης.

Copyright © The Council, British School at Athens, 2021

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