Cretan hieroglyphs are a hieroglyphic writing system used in early Bronze Age Crete, during the Minoan civilization, Minoan era. They predate Linear A by about a century, but the two writing systems continued to be used in parallel for most of their history. , they are undeciphered.


As of 1989, the corpus of Cretan hieroglyphic inscriptions included two parts: * Seals and sealings, 150 documents with 307 sign-groups, using 832 signs in all. * Other documents on clay, 120 documents with 274 sign-groups, using 723 signs. More documents, such as those from the Petras deposit, have been published since then. These inscriptions were mainly excavated at four locations: *"Quartier Mu" at Malia (city), Malia (Minoan civilization#Middle Minoan, Middle Minoan II period = MM II) *Malia palace (MM III) *Knossos (MM II or III) *the Petras deposit (MM IIB), excavated starting in 1995 and published in 2010. The corpus was published in 1996 as the ''Corpus Hieroglyphicarum Inscriptionum Cretae'' (''CHIC''). It consists of: *clay documents with incised inscriptions (CHIC H: 1–122) *sealstone impressions (CHIC I: 123–179) *sealstones (CHIC S: 180–314) *the Malia altar stone *the Phaistos Disc *the Arkalochori Axe *seal fragment HM 992, showing a single symbol, identical to Phaistos Disk glyph 21. The relation of the last three items with the script of the main corpus is uncertain. Some Cretan Hieroglyphic (as well as Linear A) inscriptions were also found on the island of Samothrace in the northeastern Aegean. It has been suggested that there was an evolution of the hieroglyphs into the linear scripts. Also, some relations to Anatolian hieroglyphs have been suggested:


Symbol inventories have been compiled by Evans (1909), Meijer (1982), and Olivier/Godart (1996). The glyph inventory in CHIC includes 96 syllabograms representing sounds, ten of which double as logograms, representing words or portions of words. There are also 23 logograms representing four levels of numerals (units, tens, hundreds, thousands), numerical fractions, and two types of punctuation. Many symbols have apparent Linear A counterparts, so that it is tempting to insert Linear B sound values. Moreover, there are multiple parallels (words and phrases) from hieroglyphic inscriptions that occur also in Linear A and/or B in similar contexts (words for "total", toponyms, personal names etc.)A. Karnava
The Cretan hieroglyphic script of the second millennium BC: description, analysis, function and decipherment perspectives
Unpublished dissertation, Bruxelles, 1999, vol. 1-2.


The sequence and the geographical spread of Cretan hieroglyphs, Linear A, and Linear B, the five overlapping, but distinct, writing systems of Bronze Age Crete and the Greek mainland can be summarized as follows:


Fonts ''Aegean'' and ''Cretan'' support Cretan hieroglyphs.




* *

Further reading

*W. C. Brice, ''Notes on the Cretan Hieroglyphic Script: I. The Corpus. II. The Clay Bar from Malia, H20,'' Kadmos 29 (1990) 1-10. *W. C. Brice, ''Cretan Hieroglyphs & Linear A'', Kadmos 29 (1990) 171-2. *W. C. Brice, ''Notes on the Cretan Hieroglyphic Script: III. The Inscriptions from Mallia Quarteir Mu. IV. The Clay Bar from Knossos, P116'', Kadmos 30 (1991) 93-104. *W. C. Brice, ''Notes on the Cretan Hieroglyphic Script'', Kadmos 31 (1992), 21-24. * M. Civitillo, LA SCRITTURA GEROGLIFICA MINOICA SUI SIGILLI. Il messaggio della glittica protopalaziale, Biblioteca di Pasiphae XII, Pisa-Roma 2016. * G. M. Facchetti La questione della scrittura «geroglifica cretese» dopo la recente edizione del corpus dei testi. Pasiphae: Rivista di filologia e antichita egee. 2007. * Silvia Ferrara, "The Making of a Script: Cretan Hieroglyphic and the Quest for Its Origins", Bulletin of ASOR, vol. 386, pp. 1–22, November 2021 * A. Karnava
The Cretan hieroglyphic script of the second millennium BC: description, analysis, function and decipherment perspectives
Unpublished dissertation, Bruxelles, 1999, vol. 1–2. * J.-P. Olivier, L. Godard, in collaboration with J.-C. Poursat,
Corpus Hieroglyphicarum Inscriptionum Cretae
' (''CHIC''), Études Crétoises 31, De Boccard, Paris 1996, . *Gareth Alun Owens, G. A. Owens, ''The Common Origin of Cretan Hieroglyphs and Linear A'', Kadmos 35:2 (1996), 105–110. *G. A. Owens, ''An Introduction to «Cretan Hieroglyphs»: A Study of «Cretan Hieroglyphic» Inscriptions in English Museums (excluding the Ashmolean Museum Oxford)'', Cretan Studies VIII (2002), 179–184. * *I. Schoep, ''A New Cretan Hieroglyphic Inscription from Malia (MA/V Yb 03)'', Kadmos 34 (1995), 78–80. *J. G. Younger, ''The Cretan Hieroglyphic Script: A Review Article'', Minos 31-32 (1996–1997) 379–400. *P. Yule
''Early Cretan Seals: A Study of Chronology''.
Marburger Studien zur Vor und Frühgeschichte 4 (Mainz 1981),

External links

The Cretan Hieroglyphic TextsCretan Hieroglyphic Texts Explorer
{{DEFAULTSORT:Cretan Hieroglyphs Cretan hieroglyphs, Undeciphered writing systems