Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Origins of Writing and the Alphabet as a Derivation from Syllabic Script - 6 - LEXILINE JOURNAL 558

[In amended form later published as a book under the title Ancient Signs
 
Accordingly, the ancient record tells us that the initial Greek letters, which constitute the origins of writing in Western Europe, were viewed as a conglomeration of inputs. The first Greek letters viz. signs were taken from ancient sources.

One of the inventors of Greek letters mentioned by Hyginus has a clear connection to Crete: he is
Palamedes, son of Nauplius and Clymene ("Asia"), the daughter of Catreus, king of Crete, son of the first king of Crete, Minos, and grandfather of Menelaus, the Greek husband of Helen of Troy. Catreus of Crete was thus the grandfather of Palamedes, an important name in the history of writing.

Grandfather Catreus had many children. He gave his two daughters to a merchant mariner, Nauplius, to be married off in foreign lands, but Nauplius allegedly
took Clymene for himself and sailed off into the sunset. Where did they go?

Clymene
in ancient Greek sources is also called Asia, which some allege is how the continent Asia got its name, thus pointing to a possible geographic Asian destiny. Indeed, Herodotus is puzzled by Ancient Greek usage of women's names to describe large areas such as Asia or Europe (Europa of Tyre). Is the answer "royal settlement", by which the daughters of the Greek king so married gave their names to regions?

It is Clymene's son Palamedes who subsequently surfaces (from a thus far unknown location) as the greatest Greek inventor of antiquity, for Palamedes not only allegedly invented eleven of the Greek letters, but it is also said that he invented counting, currency, weights and measures, military ranks, dice, pessoi (a type of chess), and made improvements in winemaking (an art perhaps originating in Iran).

Amazing -- and generally unbelievable -- but all this could be true in the ancient era if the inventions of Palamedes were obtained by technology transfer from a foreign land. After all, the Roman
Mercury (Greek Hermes) is "the bringer of letters", and Mercury also has the same meaning as "merchant". These inventions were thus arguably brought to Greece from a distant land via travelling merchants, just as suggested by the story of Catreus and his daughter Clymene and merchant Nauplius.

As we have discovered, this foreign land is (or could be)
Elam, the land – as we claim here - where the couple Clymene and Nauplius from Crete ultimately settled.

Elam is the land in which letters were first stamped onto clay, just as on the Phaistos Disk, but long before the
Minoans of Crete. An existing technology was thus -- in our opinion -- imported to ancient Crete from one of the most ancient cultures of the Ancient Near East. We will discuss this idea in detail subsequently.

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