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Régler l'usage : norme et standard dans l'Italie préromaine

The life and death of Greek local scripts ; not so long durée ?

Alan W. Johnston

Résumé

In this paper, I outline what I believe to be the salient aspects of the rise, and in particular the survival and demise of the individual epichoric or local scripts in the Greek world, c.750-350 BC. The Italian peninsular is perhaps only involved in this grammatological history to a minor extent after the initial reception of alphabetical writing, and therefore my intention is rather to detail the social life of the alphabet in the Greek world during the period and to suggest reasons for any changes or indeed lack of changes, in case such reflections should be of interest to those working in similar fields in Greater Etruria. Much has been written concerning such matters before, but I hope to consolidate extant bibliography and stress some nuances which have not as yet come to the forefront in research outside the specialised area of earlier Greek epigraphy. I will attempt to show that epigraphic norms in the Greek polis do have social validity, while at the same time external forces clearly are at work to undermine them. Why ?

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  • 1 In this article I will use « Ionic » for the dialect and « Ionian » for the letters of the alphabet (...)

1I have been asked to provide an overview of the history and development of archaic Greek writing systems, as a paradigm, foil, analogy, template or comparandum for related processes in the later Etruscan world. I start with a problem which I think that I can solve, and by so doing usefully contribute to this theme ; then I progress to matters which, to cut a long theoretical and methodological discussion short, are more impossible1. I hope that the presentation will be of some use to those concentrating on the Italian rather than Balkan peninsula.

2Kilmer - Develin 2001 discuss various aspects of the inscriptions that the earlier sixth century Athenian vase-painter Sophilos placed on his pots. In a long footnote (p. 33, n. 61) the crux of a problem that is highly relevant for us is mentioned. The authors are discussing what letters another painter, Exekias, uses in his labels, and they note : « A reader for Phoenix remarks that Exekias had no choice, as that was the convention ». The question is clear enough : were writers aware of other scripts ?

  1. In the footnote the authors suggest that although Exekias did not use Ionic eta in writing his own name, he appears to have known of such a vocalic use for the sign which Athenians were otherwise currently employing to denote the aspirate (although the evidence in this particular case is not totally conclusive).

    • 2 Here the authors err in talking of Chalcidian script, which is close enough to Attic, not as it sho (...)

    But, more clearly, Exekias was able to write in a non-Athenian script, in fact a script strikingly dissimilar from Attic2, in a graffito text on a dinos that finished its career at Cerveteri, or to be precise in the Villa Giulia Museum, 50599 (fig. 1).

  2. Their note arises from the observation that Exekias uses the regular Attic XS for xi, which, they suggest, was employed for phonetic reasons, since, I quote, « Exekias could, if he had chosen, have used Ionic script » (i.e. Ξ).

Fig. 1 - Details of graffito inscriptions on Exekias' dinos from Cerveteri, Rome, Villa Giulia 50599. c. 540-30. After I. Scheibler, Griechische Töpferkunst (Munich, 1983), figs. 47,a,b.

3We have here nearly all the ingredients of the debate over local usages, their propagation and resilience ; though a further ingredient that should always be kept in mind is uncertainty arising out of the substantial gaps in our evidence. I will argue that there was probably extensive awareness of different scripts in the contemporary Greek world, and will go on to examine some problems of conservatism and progressivism. The question of local pronunciations also needs to be addressed, though it is notoriously slippery.

Background

4Fortunately we need not for these purposes tackle some of the most thorny aspects of the adoption and adaptation of the Semitic alphabet by Greek writers. Suffice to say here that although all Greeks take up the usage of at least five Semitic letters as vowels, certainly by the mid-seventh century we have solid evidence that a series of individual scripts had been established in the Greek-writing world, even if it is only in the mid-sixth that we can with complete confidence, from existing evidence, talk of such norms in all relevant areas.

  • 3 The graffito on a non-local olla from the cemetery of Osteria dell'Osa has spilt much ink ; I merel (...)
  • 4 In fact our evidence for early gamma and lambda is quite thin ; in the seventh century, as far as o (...)

5The reasons for the differentiation between scripts are often easily explicable, depending on minor local variations which take root in extended communities, in the process of their becoming poleis. I cannot enter into all details here, but give just a few examples. Two striking ones which are not so easily explained, and indeed have not been, concern in fact the vowels : our earliest probably Greek text has a vertical stroke that we all know as an iota, although a number of poleis employ a more complex sign, clearly modelled on the Semitic yod3. Then at Corinth and in its area a strange thing happens with e ; the simple short vowel is denoted by a sign which elsewhere is used for beta, while E is reserved for more complex forms of the vowel. These curiosities apart, much more simple are the differences that arise from the « regularising », in different ways, of a large number of the received letters, most clearly seen in gamma, delta and the sequence of lambda, mu and nu4.

B(d)igraphy

6I turn to the topic of the awareness of the script of others. Direct evidence is of various kinds and scattered in time and place ; I would contend on the basis of what is preserved that such awareness was extensive.

  • 5 For full recent treatment of the Cumae oenochoe (though not recognised as a local imitation of Prot (...)

7One general aspect concerns the availability to any visitor to the major Greek sanctuaries of various scripts ; how many visitors could a) read at all, and, if they could, b) read the range of such texts ? If the answer is « very few », then why were the texts written at all ? - a large question – which I mention here merely to sow seeds of reflection. However, specific examples of bi-alphabetism are more immediate. An early piece is the extraordinary inscribed conical lekythos from Cumae (fig. 2), of local manufacture, where at least two epichoric scripts can be discerned on one pot5.

Fig. 2 - Graffiti under foot of a local conical oenochoe from Cumae, Naples, Mus. Naz. Early seventh century, After Jeffery 1989, inserted corrigendum.

Fig. 2 - Graffiti under foot of a local conical oenochoe from Cumae, Naples, Mus. Naz. Early seventh century, After Jeffery 1989, inserted corrigendum.
  • 6 Jeffery 1989, p. 72 and 366-367 ; SEG XXXVIII 1254 ; Minon 2009.
  • 7 The bibliography of the dinos is unusual. Photographs were not included in the first volume of the (...)

8A clearly cut text, almost certainly non-Greek, and then what appears to be the start of two abecedaria in a single, uncertain hand, with an intentional line dividing the two – one seemingly in the Euboean script of the colony, the other at least close to that of Corinth, whose pottery is being imitated in the inscribed jar. A far different object, removed from Sigeion in the western Troad, is the stele commemorating the good works of Phanodikos of nearby Prokonnesos (fig. 3), a huge marble marker with a digraph of a similar text, one in Attic, the other in Ionic script and dialect6. While it is historically explicable via literary references to Athenian settlement of around the relevant date in the Sigeion peninsula and the presumed Ionic origin of the honorand, it is still puzzling in its duality. The Exekias dinos we have already looked at ; its most difficult aspect need not concern us too much here – why a piece clearly destined for a grave or sanctuary in Sikyon ended up in Cerveteri7. We may also add the record from Cyprus, where on two occasions in what we may term the epichoric period, before c.450, ajohnston2013-04-30T11:16:00tombstones were given inscriptions in both the Cypriot syllabary and a Greek script, once Knidian, once Ionic (Masson 1983, no. 164 and 260).

Fig. 3 - Marble stele from Sigeion recording benefactions of Phanodikos, British Museum, GR1815,0610.107ajohnston2013-04-30T11:16:00. Earlier sixth century. After Jeffery 1989, pl. 71.

Fig. 3 - Marble stele from Sigeion recording benefactions of Phanodikos, British Museum, GR1815,0610.107ajohnston2013-04-30T11:16:00. Earlier sixth century. After Jeffery 1989, pl. 71.
  • 8 Aegina, Williams, 1983. There are probable parallels, all very fragmentary, from Naukratis. The non (...)
  • 9 Naukratis, see Moeller, 2000, esp. p. 166-181 ; the current author is preparing a re-edition. Gravi (...)
  • 10 Published as lot 15 in the auction of Jacques Bellon's collection at http://gallery.me.com/kunickie (...)

9There are also a very few hints of a mixture of scripts in individual texts ; I do not cite them all, but they are perhaps best exemplified in bespoke dedications by Chian and probably Aeginetan emporoi at the Aphaia temple on Aigina and, I believe, at Naukratis8. What however must be stressed, and is far more significant, is that within the known boundaries of individual poleis the use of a single script, with minor graphic differences, was the rule down to at least 500 BC. Consequently, one can often recognise from epigraphic detail (whether or not aided by specific reference in the text itself) non-local texts, whether imported or written in situ by a person from another polis. For example, one can identify an individual's local script in the various emporia open to Greeks and others ; from the evidence of inscriptions, mostly but not all ceramic graffiti, found in the sanctuaries of Naukratis, Gravisca and Palagruza, we can go a long way towards identifying the origin of the dedicators, even though we rarely get further information on the reasons for their presence at the particular site9. Therefore the usage of individual scripts is of considerable benefit to the modern scholar. In later periods there is no such substantial aid, although dialect forms can still be of considerable help. I just give one specific instance : a Droop cup, c. 520, recently on the antiquities market and without provenance, has a graffito, Dardopidas, under the foot (fig. 4)10. The dialect is of assistance in pointing to a Dorian area as the man's origin. The alphabet also assists, in that the form of delta and sigma rule out a large number of these Dorian areas, and tend towards the Dorian Hexapolis in SW Asia Minor, but exclude Knidos with its peculiar letter forms ; a Greek from that area resident in Egypt, attested by roughly contemporary texts, could not be ruled out. Other considerations can then be brought into play, such as the likelihood of a pot from the possible areas, and presumably from a tomb, being available for the original collector around the mid to later nineteenth century – a pursuit which I do not follow up here, but all pointing to Rhodes as the provenance.

Fig. 4 - Graffito under foot of Attic black-figure kylix, c. 530-20. Web photo from auction catalogue.

Fig. 4 - Graffito under foot of Attic black-figure kylix, c. 530-20. Web photo from auction catalogue.

How long is an alphabet ?

  • 11 D. Blackman and M.-C.Lentini, Graffiti from the dockyard of Sicilian Naxos, web-poster, http://cieg (...)

10Let us now turn to the core questions of why these scripts solidified in the Archaic Greek world, and then why they were later gradually abandoneAlan Johnston2013-04-30T11:16:00d in favour of the script used in Ionia. Compare and contrast the success of the alternative, Euboic, script in Central Italy. It may be best to start with this second aspect. A. Brugnone 1995 and 2009, has written on the matter with particular respect to Sicily ; she considers a number of aspects which can equally well be applied more generally to the question. One that has been particularly favoured is the very substantial role played by Ionians in producing literary texts in the sixth and fifth centuries. Brugnone specifically singles out Simonides as a catalyst, as reflected in later literary tradition. I shall return to this aspect. As an addendum I simply cite a complicating factor at Sicilian Naxos, to set beside the tidy transition in the colony's coinage from one script to the other : four « ostraka » from the ship-shed excavations conducted by Lentini and Blackman, of around the middle of the fifth century, give two pairs of names, seemingly just two people, with curious mixes of epichoric and Ionian letters in each pair11.

  • 12 Jeffery 1989, p. 298, 467 ; Prost 2002, p. 307-308. A probably early use of full Ionic script in th (...)

11I mentioned that the change was a gradual process, underlined indeed by those graffiti ; the final usages of completely epichoric texts, rather than the occasional retention of individual letters, can be dated in the period c. 380-60, in Boeotia and Laconia (see below). However, indications of the abandonment of local usages in favour of the Ionic alphabet can be found far earlier, first perhaps in the Cyclades, where there appear interesting phenomena, especiallyAlan Johnston2013-04-30T11:16:00 in the varied and often contradictory uses of epsilon and heta/eta. It is reasonable to make the general remark that the script of some of the Cycladic islands did ajohnston2013-04-30T11:16:00not fully gel, or fossilise, except in so far that they consistently show fluidity in this one particular alphabetic area, with clear examples from Naxos, Syros, Delos and Kea12. The reasons for this uncertainty seem to my mind firmly rooted in the proximity, both geographical and ethnic, of the eastern Ionians, and their adoption of the Semitic het as a long vowel.

  • 13 Lang 1976, C18 ; Immerwahr 1990, 142, no. 426 ; vidi.

12The spread of the Ionic alphabet elsewhere clearly involved head-on this difficulty of dealing with the separate usages of H as aspirate and long e, and we merely see it earliest, and most confusingly, in the Cyclades. An area where perhaps a better solution was found, much later, is South Italy, where, from the late fifth century, a half-heta does duty as the aspirate (Jeffery 1990, p. 28-29), before falling out of use after a relatively short period. We might compare symbolic use of other halves – as two parts of a symbolon, or to indicate half the value of a larger coin. As often, though, there is an exception that proves the rule, if we turn back to Athens : one half-heta definitely exists in a graffito from the Agora, totally isolated, at c. 500, in time and space13.

13Otherwise, Attica is in many respects the best area for studying the increasing attraction to Greek writers of the Ionic alphabet, and I merely summarise the process here. It essentially ends in 403-402, when the state decree of Archinos was passed to make the use of Ionic compulsory in public inscriptions (Theopompus, FGH 11, F155). However Ionic forms had been in use for a long time, best seen in the record of the ostraka, as noted by M. Lang (1990, p. 10-12) – virtually none in the thousands preserved from the 480s, a good number in the few of mid-century and almost exclusive in the limited number from the 410s. A similar picture emerges from other informal texts. This evidence adequately demonstrates that the alphabet of official publications was more conservative, especially in the retention of epsilon and omicron for the long vowels.

  • 14 D'Angour 1999 (esp. p. 110-112 and 123 concerning the oligarchy) ; add Colvin 1999, p. 92-103 and L (...)

14It has been pointed out by many that there is a further, political aspect, which confounds the issue of conservatism, since the few documents which we have preserved from the period of oligarchic control in Athens in 411-10 are all in the full Ionic script ; a stance perhaps the very opposite of the divide between katharevousa and demotiki in more recent Greek politics14. We can only assume that the oligarchs wished to distance themselves from what they saw as a democratic habit, albeit a dying one, of adhering to a traditional writing system in the recording of the many decisions made by that democracy. The matter has been recently argued well, and in detail, by Armand d'Angour, and I do little here than precis ajohnston2013-04-30T11:16:00his account. He and Lopez Eire (n. 14) argue that Ionian dialect was that of « high culture », and I assume that the latter would have included the Ionic alphabet had they considered itajohnston2013-04-30T11:16:00. This explanation of change need not, however, hold good for the retention of local scripts, or indeed other social norms, in all areas. Here we may cite the texts where some isolated local letters persist longest, on coins – epsilon for eta in ΑΘΕ, Corinthian koppa, Sikyonian san, local beta at Byzantium (fig. 5). The driving force here was surely to preserve faith in local minting via conservatism. By way of a footnote, there is an additional point of interest regarding Byzantium, which adds a nuance and has not to my knowledge been noted previously : her coinage commences around the end of the fifth century, using the strange local beta as the abbreviation of the name of the polis ; but we can be fairly confident on all analogy that the regular script there at the time did not employ the letter. We should posit either a now lost earlier coinage or a use of the letter in other civic situations to denote the polis – e.g. as a signifier on the hoplon/shield or on civic weights.

Fig. 5 - Silver coin of Byzantion, early fourth century. British Museum CM1862,0719.3Alan Johnston2013-04-30T11:16:00. Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.

Fig. 5 - Silver coin of Byzantion, early fourth century. British Museum CM1862,0719.3Alan Johnston2013-04-30T11:16:00. Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.
  • 15 IG VII 1903-4. Jeffery 1989, p. 447, 62a. N. Sekunda, IG V.1 1124 The Dead of Geronthrai fallen at (...)
  • 16 Hepworth 1989, p. 38. Add pertinent remarks by D. Knoepfler in Bulletin Épigraphique, in REG, 122, (...)
  • 17 Kommos graffiti most fully discussed by Csapo 1991 ; see also Csapo - Johnston - Geagan 2000, nos. (...)

15I mentioned that the local script went out of full use in the second quarter of the fourth century in Boeotia and Lakonia. The two are linked in a way by a tombstone from Thespiai (fig. 6), first used in an unremarkable way for Aristokrates in perhaps about 450, but then crudely re-inscribed to commemorate a Spartan Hippokles, almost certainly killed in the fighting in the area in the 370s15. We can add other solid enough dates from magistrates names on Theban coins, in the local script, down to the later 380s16. Why do these two areas retain their scripts ? For Sparta we need not make any special pleading – it was simply an inward-looking society at this time, though it had of course been militarily expansive since the last decade of the fifth century ; it would seem that it took a generation for such contacts to bring it into line with the rest of the Greek world, except Boeotia. There we can only deploy arguments in the manner of Aristophanes' perceptions – the Boeotian pig. Gone are the days when one finds Boeotians urged to travel or epigraphically identifiable away from home ; in the seventh century we have Hesiod's advice about trading surplus goods abroad (Op., 618-645), and from Kommos the graffiti mentioning individuals from Boeotia (fig. 7), and I add the perplexing history in the later sixth century of a Thasian amphora from the Athenian Agora, bearing another Boeotian owner's mark (fig. 8)17. But Boeotia becomes an inland state ; its connectivity diminishes, until the invasion by none other than Sparta in the 380s begins to reawaken a ajohnston2013-04-30T11:16:00more panhellenic role.

Fig. 6 - Reused grave stele from Thespiai, IG vii 1903-4, c. 380-70. Photo author.

Fig. 6 - Reused grave stele from Thespiai, IG vii 1903-4, c. 380-70. Photo author.

Fig. 7 - Graffito on black-glaze cup fragments from Kommos, Crete. Seventh century. After Csapo - Johnston - Geagan, 2000.

Fig. 7 - Graffito on black-glaze cup fragments from Kommos, Crete. Seventh century. After Csapo - Johnston - Geagan, 2000.

Fig. 8 - Three graffiti on a Thasian wine amphora from the Athenian Agora (P15347), Alan Johnston2013-04-30T11:16:00c.520-480. After Lang 1976, pl. 13, F65.

Fig. 8 - Three graffiti on a Thasian wine amphora from the Athenian Agora (P15347), Alan Johnston2013-04-30T11:16:00c.520-480. After Lang 1976, pl. 13, F65.

16While I mentioned earlier the Ionic dialect being a catalyst for the adoption of an Ionian alphabet, two substantial matter remain unclear : why the Ionian and not the Attic alphabet ? and what of the Euboeans ? The Euboean alphabet is reasonably distinctive, but it is especially distinctive when compared with that of the eastern Ionians ; only one interface of scripts in the Greek world has more differences, that between Crete and the Dodecanese (fig. 9). And of course Euboean letters have had a lasting impact in the European world, ever since that particular local script was transferred to Pithekoussai c. 800-775 BC and thence, circuitously, to Rome. The texts from Pithekoussai are almost all in Euboean script, a fact which should temper ideas of a substantially mixed community at the site in the eighth century. The stark differences between Euboean and other Ionic scripts have been recently seen in some highly problematic texts published by Francis Prost (2002) from the sanctuary of Anios on Delos ; while the Delian script is of that uncertain Cycladic/Ionic character mentioned above, some of the dedications on pots excavated in that sanctuary are undoubtedly in a script more akin to, but not the same as, that of Euboea and its colonies (fig. 10). Prost argues, from epigraphic evidence of the classical period, that the cult on Anios was confined to Delians ; therefore Delians used a partly Euboean script, and so formed a « patch » of idiosyncratic usage in the islands. The evidence seems strong that this is indeed a further variety of alphabetisation in the Aegean soup, with its roots in an early historical episode of local population movements.

Fig. 9 - Map showing alphabetic variation between neighbouring Greek states in archaic period.

Fig. 9 - Map showing alphabetic variation between neighbouring Greek states in archaic period.

Fig. 10 - Graffito on a cup from sanctuary of Anios on Delos, sixth century. After Prost 2002, 327, fig. 9.

Fig. 10 - Graffito on a cup from sanctuary of Anios on Delos, sixth century. After Prost 2002, 327, fig. 9.

17That is a detail, which involves an apparent exception to the « law » of local scripts ; the lack of Euboean involvement in alphabetic changes in the Greek-writing world during the centuries following their eighth century « alphabetic colonialism » must surely reflect the relatively quiescent society that we can perceive in archaic Euboea. « Relatively » is the key word here ; is the near lack of known legislators, poets and other writers from the island a substantial aspect in this matter ?

18Then why not the Attic alphabet ? Here one may posit various explanations, and most of them probably have some weight ; the precise balance, however, cannot easily be struck. The prominence of Ionian literature has already been mentioned. The major changes in alphabetic use take place in Attica during the period 475-425 BC, precisely the years in which the Aegean, ringed largely by Ionic speakers was central to the political world of the Athenians ; and in most of the Cyclades the Ionicisiation of the alphabet had taken some root earlier than in Attica. In a recent treatment of the use of Ionian letters at Athens A. Matthaiou hazards the view that the Attic dialect grew closer to Ionic and the alphabet therefore followed suit, a different notion from the « high culture » argument of d'Angour and López Eire (see n. 14). He explicitly offers no supporting argument, but against the idea I note that, as Matthaiou indeed himself says, a number of Attic public texts in full Ionic script have been placed earlier than the late fifth century on the grounds that they contain Attic, not Ionic, dialect forms. The two views are not wholly incompatible, but sit very awkwardly together. As the Ionian letters are adopted somewhat piecemeal, with the long vowels being the last ones to be regularly adopted, the initial impetus to adopt most of them – gamma, lambda, sigma – would not seem to be phonetic.

  • 18 Sounion fragments, Goette 2000, pl. 37. Hymettus sanctuary, Langdon 1976, p. 42-44, viewing the mat (...)

19Those who keep an eye open for breaches of the « law » of epichoric scripts may note that there are very few deviant examples such as can only be explained as deliberately written, rather than some form of accident or lapsus calami. We might expect, for example, some uncertainties to appear around the borders of larger polis territories, but they are rare indeed. It could be imagined, especially with Homer in mind, that in the early archaic period the sanctuaries at Sounion may have received dedications from a range of grateful sailors ; but the admittedly meagre epigraphic record (only three scraps on kouros fragments, c. 600-575) shows Attic script. The Zeus sanctuary on Mount Hymettos, much nearer Athens, with a far greater number of texts, mainly of the seventh century, has severalajohnston2013-04-30T11:16:00 aberrant forms – perhaps reflecting a period when there was a little more fluidity of alphabetic use than in the sixth century, though I suspect the presence of a few non-Athenians18. A seemingly short-lived and clear example of alphabetic osmosis occurred in the fifth century at the borders of Arcadia and Achaia ; two texts display Achaean crooked, three-bar iota and Arcadian sigma (fig. 11), in one instance also of three-bars (Jeffery 1990, p. 207, Arcadia 2 and 38). Also in broadly Achaean territory we can note some influence on colonial Achaean script in the use of alpha and tau of a type close to Etruscan usage, a trait probably picked up at the borders defined by the Sele river (ibid., p. 457, H, pl. 77). A third example that is not readily categorised is some uncertainty of usage of lettering for the letter chi on Rhodes, where explanations are hard to find (Johnston, 1975, p. 153-154) ; one, which I have as yet only briefly mentioned, is that choices of lettering were guided by phonetics, by the sound given to the letter in the area concerned – a topic of high interest of course. In the case of the Rhodian poleis there is little to be argued for or against such an idea ; for example, consider the variety of explanations that we could apply to the change of legend on the coins of Ialysos from IEΛ to IAΛ ajohnston2013-04-30T11:16:00around 500 (Johnston 1975, p. 156 ; Weiss and Hurter 1998, p. 9) ; is this a change of dialect in the ruling authority of the polis or a die-cutter of a different origin ?

Fig. 11 - Use of similar signs for iota and sigma along border between Achaia and Arcadia ; fifth century. After Jeffery 1989, pl. 40.

Fig. 11 - Use of similar signs for iota and sigma along border between Achaia and Arcadia ; fifth century. After Jeffery 1989, pl. 40.
  • 19 There is one fact that could argue against that view. The record on Naxos shows that the regular ch (...)

20The question of vocal pronunciation returns ; I started with a xi, one which Exekias painted as (our) chi sigma. It is relevant here to add a further Cycladic note, echoed in Sicilian Naxos, the peculiar use of « blank » heta + sigma to represent xi on the island of Naxos and its Trinacrian homonym ; is it a use that demonstrates a serious concern among (how many ?) literate persons for the deployment of epsilon/heta/eta on the island, a concern which we surely see reflected in the difficulties that ensued on Cycladic islands other than Naxos ? I strongly suspect, along with Prost, Jeffery and others before, that at heart was a desire to mark as clearly as possible local pronunciation, with presumably a soft aspirated xi being used on Naxos ; the nexus was probably used despite the Ionian symbol for xi, Ξ, being available to the protos heuristes in the alphabet row first transfered to Naxos ; that indeed suggests some problems with the sounds that came with that row. But once adopted, the usage has full local acceptance. Pronunciation is therefore not wholly to be separatedAlan Johnston2013-04-30T11:16:00 from alphabetic choices19.

21Returning to the main theme, in sum, a few exceptions apart, the solidity of the polis/alphabet link is striking. Here one should contrast the point already made by J. Hall (1997, p. 180-1) that dialect is not a strong marker of ethnic origin ; yet script does seem to have that appearance in the sixth century, even if the differences between neighbouring areas vary greatly in intensity. One could compare other aspects of everyday use, such a weight standards, pot shapes and burial practices, but all these have one disadvantage that makes such comparison, like for like, difficult, as is the case indeed for dialect : all have or probably have a prehistory, before the inception of the polis (however we define that phrase).

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Bibliographie

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Jeffery 1990 = L. H. Jeffery, The Local Scripts of Archaic Greece (revised with a supplement by A. W. Johnston), Oxford, 1990.

Johnston 1975 = A. W. Johnston, Rhodian readings, in BSA, 70, 1975, p. 145-167.

Johnston 1991 = A. W. Johnston, An archaic Thasian amphora type, in Hesperia, 60, 1991, p. 363-5.

Johnston 1999 = A. W. Johnston, Epichoric alphabets ; the rise of the Polis or a slip of the pen ?, in N. Dimoudis (ed.), The History of the Hellenic Language and Writing. Proceedings of the conference, Ohlstadt, 1996, Altenburg, 1999, p. 419-434.

Johnston 2003 = A. W. Johnston, The Alphabet, in N. Stambolidis and V. Karageorghis (eds.), Sea Routes... Interconnections in the Mediterranean, 16th-6th c. BC, Athens, 2003, p. 263-76.

Johnston - Pandolfini = A. W. Johnston, M. Pandolfini, Le iscrizioni, Bari, 2000 (Gravisca 15).

Kilmer - Develin 2001 = M. Kilmer, R. Develin, Sophilos' vase inscriptions and cultural literacy in archaic Athens, in Phoenix, 55, 2001, p. 9-43.

Kirigin - Johnston - Vučetić - Lušić 2009 = B. Kirigin, A. Johnston, M. Vučetić, Z. Lušić, Palagruza, the Island of Diomedes, and notes on ancient Greek navigation in the Adriatic, in S. Forenbaher (ed.), A Connecting Sea.Maritime Interaction in Adriatic Prehistory, Oxford, 2009, p. 37-155.

Lang 1976 = M. Lang, The Athenian Agora. XXI. Graffiti and Dipinti, Princeton, 1976.

Lang 1990 = M. Lang, The Athenian Agora. XXV. Ostraka, Princeton, 1990.

Langdon 1976 = M. Langdon, A sanctuary of Zeus on Mount Hymettos, Princeton, 1976.

López Eire 1999 = A. López Eire, Nouvelles données à propos de l'histoire de l'attique, in A. Cassion (ed.) Kata Dialekton. Atti del III Colloquio internazionale di dialettologia greca, Napoli-Fiaiano d'Ischia, 1996, Napoli, 1999, p. 73-107.

Masson 1983 = O. Masson, Les Inscriptions Chypriotes Syllabiques : recueil critique et commenté, Paris, 1983.

Matthaiou 2008 = A. Matthaiou, Attic public inscriptions of the fifth century BC in Ionic script, in L. Mitchell and L. Rubinstein (eds.), Greek history and epigraphy : essays in honour of P. J. Rhodes, Oxford, 2008, p. 201-212.

Minon 2009 = S. Minon, La stèle diglosse de Sigée en Troade (IG 11508, ca 550 a.C.), in B. Bortolussi et al. (eds.), Traduire, tranposer, transmettre dans l'Antiquité gréco-romaine, Paris, 2009, p. 91-105.

Moeller 2000 = A. Moeller, Naukratis. Trade in Archaic Greece, ajohnston2013-04-30T11:16:00Oxford, 2000.

Prost 2002 = F. Prost, L'alphabet des Déliens à l'époque archaïque, in Chr. Müller, F. Prost (eds.) Identités et cultures dans le monde méditerranéen antique. Études réunies en l'honneur de Francis Croissant, Paris, 2002, p. 305-28.

Sass 2005 = B. Sass, The Alphabet at the Turn of the Millennium, Jerusalem, 2005.

Weiss - Hurter 1998 = A. Weiss, S. Hurter, The silver staters of Ialysos, in SNR, 77, 1998, p. 5-24.

Williams 1983 = D. Williams, Aegina, Aphaia-Tempel : V. The pottery from Chios in AA, 1983, p. 155-86.

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Notes

1 In this article I will use « Ionic » for the dialect and « Ionian » for the letters of the alphabet. It will become clear that it is important to distinguish the two. All dates BC.

2 Here the authors err in talking of Chalcidian script, which is close enough to Attic, not as it should be the far more idiosyncratic Sikyonian. I accept the general view that the graffito is in Exekias' own careful hand. See n. 7 below.

3 The graffito on a non-local olla from the cemetery of Osteria dell'Osa has spilt much ink ; I merely note here that the vertical line as iota is hardly secure, that the date is in process of readjustment, and that one author has taken it, to my mind very speculatively, merely as some kind of Phoenicianising doodle ; SEG LV 1048, and Sass 2005, p. 155-156.

4 In fact our evidence for early gamma and lambda is quite thin ; in the seventh century, as far as one can tell, in several scripts they were scarcely distinguished.

5 For full recent treatment of the Cumae oenochoe (though not recognised as a local imitation of Protocorinthian) see Dubois 1995, no. 11.

6 Jeffery 1989, p. 72 and 366-367 ; SEG XXXVIII 1254 ; Minon 2009.

7 The bibliography of the dinos is unusual. Photographs were not included in the first volume of the corpus of Mingazzini, and there has been hesitation in deciding whether the text is pre- or post-firing ; J. Frel relied on the former in his explanation of the pot's provenance (1994, p. 18), but see H. Immerwahr's note on the piece, 7202 in his Catalogue of Attic Vase Inscriptions, http://www.lib.unc.edu/dc/attic/index.html, or Beazley Archive 310402. Elsewhere Immerwahr expresses doubts about the character of the graffito (1990, p. 34, no. 142).

8 Aegina, Williams, 1983. There are probable parallels, all very fragmentary, from Naukratis. The non-Ionic features are Doric dialect in the name Damonidas, an occasional three-bar sigma, and perhaps the phi with long vertical, not known in the comparable dipinti from Naukratis. The alpha is also regularly in the Aeginetan form with rising horizontal.

9 Naukratis, see Moeller, 2000, esp. p. 166-181 ; the current author is preparing a re-edition. Gravisca, Johnston in Johnston and Pandolfini 2000. Palagruza, see for the present, pending full publication, Kirigin - Johnston - Vučetić - Lušić 2009), esp. p. 141-142.

10 Published as lot 15 in the auction of Jacques Bellon's collection at http://gallery.me.com/kunickiexpertise#100871/Collection-20L-G--20Bellon-20--204-20avril-202009-_57&bgcolor=black.

11 D. Blackman and M.-C.Lentini, Graffiti from the dockyard of Sicilian Naxos, web-poster, http://ciegl.classics.ox.ac.uk/htm/webposters/11_BlackmanLentini.pdf. The material was only partly known to Brugnone (2009, p. 708).

12 Jeffery 1989, p. 298, 467 ; Prost 2002, p. 307-308. A probably early use of full Ionic script in the area is from Dorian Thera, Jeffery 1989, p. 470, C.

13 Lang 1976, C18 ; Immerwahr 1990, 142, no. 426 ; vidi.

14 D'Angour 1999 (esp. p. 110-112 and 123 concerning the oligarchy) ; add Colvin 1999, p. 92-103 and López Eire 1999, esp. p. 84-9. See also Matthaiou 2008. I add just two minor notes : 1) the manner of spelling of the secondary diphthongs ei and ou is not primarily an alphabetic matter ; the « koine » spelling takes full root in the course of the fourth century, with the last appearance of the simple o being of the later fourth century (L. Threatte, The Grammar of Attic Inscriptions I, Berlin, 1980, p. 258-259 ; 2). d'Angour suggests that the decree in honour of Oiniades of Palaiskiathos, of 407-406, may have been cut in fully Ionic letters because the proposer was a Eukleides – perhaps the same man in whose archonship the decree to use only Ionic letters was passed four years later ; more likely is the influence of Skiathos, no doubt using Ionic script at the time ; the text does not specify at whose expense it was to be cut.

15 IG VII 1903-4. Jeffery 1989, p. 447, 62a. N. Sekunda, IG V.1 1124 The Dead of Geronthrai fallen at Mantineia, paper given at the conference « Sparta in Lakonia », April 2009.

16 Hepworth 1989, p. 38. Add pertinent remarks by D. Knoepfler in Bulletin Épigraphique, in REG, 122, 2009, p. 443-448, no. 244.

17 Kommos graffiti most fully discussed by Csapo 1991 ; see also Csapo - Johnston - Geagan 2000, nos. 19, 27 and perhaps 52. Thasian amphora, Johnston 1991 ; Lang 1976, F65.

18 Sounion fragments, Goette 2000, pl. 37. Hymettus sanctuary, Langdon 1976, p. 42-44, viewing the matter in a different light ; Johnston 1999, p. 422.

19 There is one fact that could argue against that view. The record on Naxos shows that the regular chi-sigma replaced the heta-sigma form before that Ionian xi was adopted (Jeffery 1989, p. 291-292).

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 2 - Graffiti under foot of a local conical oenochoe from Cumae, Naples, Mus. Naz. Early seventh century, After Jeffery 1989, inserted corrigendum.
Titre Fig. 3 - Marble stele from Sigeion recording benefactions of Phanodikos, British Museum, GR1815,0610.107ajohnston2013-04-30T11:16:00. Earlier sixth century. After Jeffery 1989, pl. 71.
Titre Fig. 4 - Graffito under foot of Attic black-figure kylix, c. 530-20. Web photo from auction catalogue.
Titre Fig. 5 - Silver coin of Byzantion, early fourth century. British Museum CM1862,0719.3Alan Johnston2013-04-30T11:16:00. Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.
Titre Fig. 6 - Reused grave stele from Thespiai, IG vii 1903-4, c. 380-70. Photo author.
Titre Fig. 7 - Graffito on black-glaze cup fragments from Kommos, Crete. Seventh century. After Csapo - Johnston - Geagan, 2000.
Titre Fig. 8 - Three graffiti on a Thasian wine amphora from the Athenian Agora (P15347), Alan Johnston2013-04-30T11:16:00c.520-480. After Lang 1976, pl. 13, F65.
Titre Fig. 9 - Map showing alphabetic variation between neighbouring Greek states in archaic period.
Titre Fig. 10 - Graffito on a cup from sanctuary of Anios on Delos, sixth century. After Prost 2002, 327, fig. 9.
Titre Fig. 11 - Use of similar signs for iota and sigma along border between Achaia and Arcadia ; fifth century. After Jeffery 1989, pl. 40.
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Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Alan W. Johnston, « The life and death of Greek local scripts ; not so long durée ? », Mélanges de l'École française de Rome - Antiquité [En ligne], 124-2 | 2012, mis en ligne le 24 juillet 2013, consulté le 20 novembre 2017. URL : http://mefra.revues.org/735 ; DOI : 10.4000/mefra.735

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Auteur

Alan W. Johnston

University College London - alan.johnston@ucl.ac.uk

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