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Sunday, May 17, 2020

Phaistos Disk: An Ancient disc

Side (A) of Phaistos Disc
By-Aserakov (License: Public Domain (Original image))

The Phistos disc is a fired clay disk, from Minoan origin, It's measurements is about 16 cm in diameter and impressed with 242 symbols set in a spiral arrangement on both side. As of now, this unique archaeological discovery remains an undetermined mystery.

Discovery and it's Dimensions

The Phaistos Disc was discovered at the 'Old Palace' (1900 to 1700 BC) of Minan Fistos on Crete in 1908, little is known about the disc and much debate among scholars about its origin, construction, purpose and meaning. The disc is now originally accepted as Cretan and therefore probably a representation of the Minoan language in use during the period to which scholars date the disc from 1850 to 1550 BCE. It is argued to be of native Minoan construction, including the presence of popular Minoan artistic motifs such as dolphins, cattle, lilies and crocuses. The fact that the symbols are arranged in a spiral is also given as evidence supporting the Minoan origin.
When measured in 15.8 to 16.5 cm diameter and 1.6 to 2.1 cm thickness, the variation in size suggests that it was handmade. The 242 symbols are set on a spiral pattern of hand drawn lines and divided into groups between 2 and 7 symbols by vertical lines. The symbols appear to be oriented to the right, for example, a walking man and a face either walking or looking to the right. This would suggest that the symbols should be read outward from the center of the disc. Some symbols are represented vertically - a fish and a boat - and again indicate the outer edge of the disc. Although the disc is unique, similar, similar symbols have not been found on a bronze ax found in Arkalokhori in central Crete and the Mohic head emblem is similar to the three clay sculptures found in the cave temple of Trastalos, Crete (1700– 1600 BCE in use).
Side (B) of Phaistos Disc
By-Aserakov (License: Public Domain (Original image))

Symbols on disk

The 45 different symbols represented on the disc are individually stamped (although some symbols of the same type appear to have been made with different stamps) and the disc is then removed. In addition, some symbols have been erased and show evidence of being re-stamped with the same symbol or a different one. Unfortunately, no tickets have yet been found, but their use in the creation of the disk would suggest other disks, or were intended to be.
The disc have also other symbols, the clay also has impressed dashes and dotted bars. Dashes or oblique lines are drawn by hand and are always demarcated by vertical lines to the left of the symbols within a group below the symbol. However, dashes are not present in every group. Suggestions as to their importance include markers as the beginning of the word, pre-fix or suffix, additional vowels or consonants, verse and verse dividers, or punctuation. Finally, since the lines are irregular in execution and are not as carefully marked as other symbols, it has also been suggested that they are accidental traces made during the construction process. Dotted lines are near the outer edge of the spiral on both sides. Suggestions as to their importance include markers of the beginning or end of the lesson or linking discs to other disks in the form of chapters that together form a continuous text.

Tries to solve mystery of disc

The importance of symbols is hotly debated among scholars, both in what each symbol literally means and their linguistic meaning. What can be said is that all known writing systems currently fit into one of three categories: pictograms, syllables and letters. It has been suggested that the number of different symbols on the disk is too small to be part of a purely pictorial system and too many to be an alphabet. This leaves Syllabary as the most likely option - each symbol is a syllable and each set of symbols is a word. In fact it is a system of later Mycenaean linear B. However, in such systems, one would expect to find an evenly distributed distribution of symbols within a given text and not so along both sides of the disk that each give an uneven display. Distribution of some symbols. Furthermore, interpreting the text as a syllabus would surprisingly provide no one syllable and only 10% would have two syllables. For these reasons, it has been suggested that some symbols represent syllables, while others represent whole words.: They are pure images.
Without any concrete evidence, various theories as to the importance of the text on the disc included a hymn to the earth goddess, a court list, an index of religious centers, salutation letters, a fertility ritual and even musical notes. Huh. However, until other discs are found that allow linguists to study a wide range of studies or archaeologists discover the equivalent of a Rosetta stone, we should face the possibility that the Phantos disc is a tantalizing mystery. What remains is hinting, yet does not reveal a language that has been lost to us.

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