RE: Phaistos in ConScript

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Mon Jul 08 2002 - 21:04:55 EDT


> Ken. Thanks for your response.

Hmm. I think I detect the invisible ironic smiley there.

Thanks for broadcasting my private, poke-in-the-ribs response
to you and Marco back to the public list. ;-)

> As I said, the original might (assuming a syllabic structure and
> assigning random syllable values) well be LABUGIDANO, but when
> reversed it might read NODAGIBULA which could be a valid linguistic
> sequence. OK, so reading the whole text you would come up with
> readings which wouldn't make sense, so you would have to start over
> with a different directionality. Given the practice of the other
> scripts in the region, I consider this unlikely given its
> impracticality.

True enough.

> The people who used scripts with multiple
> directionalities did reverse the glyphs when reversing the
> directionality. The inherent directionality of Phoenician BETH or of
> PLUMED-HEAD or of Egyptian WN (the bunny rabbit) lends itself to the
> use of such glyph-indicated directionality for text in general. I
> would not assume, additionally, that the Phaistos script would always
> be written on disks in spiral formatting. That too would be unlikely
> and impractical, would it not?

Indeed. But what seems to be missing here is even demonstration
that we are dealing with a general use script that might be written
in other contexts. With only one instance -- and that written on
a disk in spiral formatting -- how do you know?

> >I think you may be sticking your neck out rather far (to the left)
> >on this one. I am inclined to agree with Marco about the issue for
> >presentation. Why should you innovate over Godart here in this
> >*particular* instance, based on so little evidence.
> Because I suspect that Godart might well agree with me -- I don't
> imagine that he ever considered this aspect of text presentation. And
> because it makes sense given the context of other scripts in the
> region.
> >You could be right, but then you could be wrong, too.
> So could Godart! He was describing the disk, not thinking about
> encoding and presenting it!

I'm not saying what you are doing is unreasonable -- but it is
not demonstrably uncontroversial.

> Well that's my opinion anyway. I suppose we could try to contact
> Godart and ask his opinion.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

> It's not as though the CSUR is
> normative....

True enough. And if you want to get into the fray with all the
various and sundry decipherers of the disk, and teach them all
to use mirrored glyphs in LTR representations of Phaistos material,
then who's to stop you? And after all, there must be several orders
of magnitude more instances of Phaistos characters in the
secondary literature by now than there are in the primary corpus!


> --
> Michael Everson *** Everson Typography ***

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