Phaistos Disk

From: Patrick Rourke (
Date: Fri Jul 05 2002 - 10:58:41 EDT

> One script which the Unicode Technical Committee has
> turned down is the Phaistos Disk Script. There is a document,
> which if I may say so is of high quality,
> Is this really for a purported reason that the script is
> only found on one item at present? I find that a
> strange thing. I feel that that proposal should be
> looked at again by the committee. How about
> discussing the Phaistos Disk Script in this new
> FAQ document?

One cannot determine the quality of a document one cannot read. For all we
know, this was a test plate with the Phaistean equivalent of printer's Latin
on it. I sometimes wonder if it wasn't a kind of test plate, a technology
demonstration that failed to get Phase I approval :-). There is also the
question of what kind of text it represents: is it a prose text, is it a
catalogue of items (the other Aegean scripts tempt one to suspect this),
each item represented by an ideograph, etc.? Or is it merely some kind of
game board? (I can hear a few people cringing through the wire.) It is
probably something we would call a text, but without a decipherment and/or
another specimen, who knows? Myself, I can see both sides of the question,
but if I were on the committee that makes those determinations (and I'm not,
and am unlikely ever to be), as someone with a classical education and a
small background in the material, I'd be inclined to postpone the proposal
indefinitely, barring the discovery of another text.

After all, what would Unicode characters of the Phaistos disk be used for?
Because the disk is not deciphered, they would be meaningless unless they
represented the disk, and what is the point in using Unicode characters to
represent the disk?

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