Phaistos Disk (was Re: ConScript registry?)

From: P. T. Rourke (
Date: Wed Jan 31 2001 - 15:31:07 EST

Sure enough. And I'm certainly never going to criticize someone for
treating it as a script until it is proven otherwise - including for the
purposes of Unicode. But one has to admit that one excellent piece of
evidence that a script is a script is the existence of multiple texts, and
that in this case that excellent piece of evidence happens to be missing.
Not to say that there isn't evidence other evidence that it is an example of
a lost script (the fact that the characters seem to have been imprinted with
some sort of stamp, for instance, which is suggestive that there are in fact
multiple texts in the script, and the rest are lost). Another possible
explanation of the disk is that it is a "dancing-men" cipher of some sort
(though why a cipher would be imprinted on such a permanent medium is beyond
me). I do not think there is anything controversial in expressing this
modicum of doubt.

Anyway, I'm glad that there are folks like Mr. Everson and Mr. Jenkins
willing to put in the time in to keep up activity on encoding historical

Patrick Rourke

>Thanks, but if you go back and read my original message, you'll find the
>following sentences that continue from the point quoted by Mr. Everson:
>> Other than the Phaistos Disk "script," which may not
>> be a script at all (it seems odd that there would be a
>> script in as heavily studied a location as the Aegean
>> with only one example; it probably is a script, but I
>> would say that the jury is still out).

The sample we have pf Phaistos is, at least, well-designed, clear, and
easily analyzable. Meaning, at least it's not a rumour.

Michael Everson ** Everson Gunn Teoranta **
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire/Ireland
Mob +353 86 807 9169 ** Fax +353 1 478 2597 ** Vox +353 1 478 2597
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn; Baile an Bhóthair; Co. Átha Cliath; Éire

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