Distinguishing between Cypriot scripts: Steps towards establishing a methodology

10 Aug 2017

The surviving Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age inscriptions from Cyprus, usually labelled ‘Cypro-Minoan’ and numbering more than 200,¹ are almost certainly written in more than one script. It was É . Masson who first laid out this theory in detail, proposing that different groups of inscriptions be labelled by a numerical classification: CM1, CM2 and CM3.² Each of these groups was suggested to represent a different script with a different repertoire of signs. CM2 and CM3 were special terms referring to a limited number of texts, with CM2 designating three clay tablets with long inscriptions found at Enkomi, and CM3 designating all of the Cypriot epigraphic material from Ugarit (modern northern Syria); CM1, however, has little by way of coherence except in that it has been used to refer to all the other inscriptions that do not fall into the other two groups.³ Olivier further added a fourth group, CM0, to designate the obviously distinct script in which one of the earliest known Cypriot texts, an inscription from Enkomi dated probably to LCI, was written.⁴ If we accept these designations, then it is necessary to refer to Cypro-Minoan scripts in the plural.