RE: Phaistos in ConScript

From: Marco Cimarosti (
Date: Mon Jul 08 2002 - 08:11:15 EDT

Michael Everson wrote:
> A Unicode-enabled font based on the ConScript encoding and a test
> page containing the entire Phaistos corpus can be found at

I have a few notes about the repertoire:

        1. Your lacks an important sign, which I would call "PHAISTOS
COMBINING LINE BELOW". This is the only handwritten sign on the disc; it is
not clear whether it is some kind of diacritic (e.g. a sort of virama) or a
punctuation sign. At any rate, it is clear that the sign has been
deliberately written under the last signs of some groups ("words"?).

        2. The last sign of the tenth group ("word"?) is almost totally
lost, due to a crack. However, it seems than none of the 45 known signs may
fit in the gap. Many scholars consider this to be a 46th sign. The glyph
normally used is the literature is a texture of diagonal lines.

... about the character names:

        3. The names for E6FE and E6FF ("PHAISTOS PARAGRAPH SEPARATOR" and
"PHAISTOS PHRASE SEPARATOR") show imprudent assumptions. E.g., many people
consider E6FF to be a paragraph or text separator, and E6FE to be a word
separator. It would be more prudent to use a more generic wording, e.g.

        4. Names such as "pedestrian", "plumed head", ... "wavy band" are
just nicknames used by scholars, as opposed to accepted identifications of
the objects represented. It may be worth to emphasize this in the character

... and about the Everson Phaistos font:

        5. I find that mirroring the signs as you did in your font is an
unhistorical. The whole corpus is right-to-left, and the fact that the signs
where impressed with types makes it impossible that the signs could have
been reversed. In academic books, it is common practice to type the disc's
text left-to-right, but the signs are not reversed.

IMHO, the two characters in points 1 and 2 absolutely needed. Academic works
which consider them as part of the script could not be encoded without them,
while academic works which don't need them are not disturbed by their
existence in the encoding.

_ Marco

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