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Eight - The Semiotics of Signa and the Significance of Signs in Roman Stamps

from Part II - Legible Signs

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 August 2021

John Bodel
Affiliation:
Brown University, Rhode Island
Stephen Houston
Affiliation:
Brown University, Rhode Island
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Summary

The workmen employed in royal tomb construction of the Egyptian New Kingdom (ca. 1539‒1077 BCE) used hieroglyphic, pictorial and abstract graphic signs when marking their property and presence, and for the creation of administrative records on ostraca. In the course of the New Kingdom, this system of identity marks developed into a complex, pseudo-written code. This chapter discusses the hybrid morphology of the marks and the way it came about. It is suggested that the morphology and use of the marks reflect the extent and nature of (semi-)literacy within the workmen’s community.

Type
Chapter
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The Hidden Language of Graphic Signs
Cryptic Writing and Meaningful Marks
, pp. 173 - 198
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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