- Southwest script
The southwest script or southwestern script, also known as Tartessian or South Lusitanian is a paleohispanic script that was the mean of written expression of an unknown language usually identified with the same name, among them the most popular is
Tartessian. The southwestern inscriptions had been found mainly in the southwestern quadrant of the Iberian Peninsula: mainly in the south of Portugal( Algarveand southern Alentejo), but also in Spain(south of Extremaduraand western Andalucia).
Name of the script
The name of this script is very controversial. The more neutral name is southwestern, because it refers only to the geographical location were the inscriptions had been found, but it needs some additional precision in a general context. Some researchers name this script
Tartessianconsidering this script the script of Tartessos. Others prefer name this script as South Lusitanian, because almost all the southwestern inscriptions have been found in the south of Portugal (an area included in the Roman provinceof Lusitania), were the Greek and Roman sources locate the Pre-Roman Conii or Cynetes people, instead in the zone generally considered Tartessian (between Huelvaand the Guadalquivirvalley). But on the other hand, the name South Lusitanian is inconvenient, as it may wrongly suggest a relation with the Lusitanian language. Other name proposals include Bastulo-Turdetanian and Algarvan.
Greco-Iberian alphabet, and to a lesser extent this script, paleohispanic scriptsshared a distinctive typology: They behaved as a syllabaryfor the stop consonants and as an alphabetfor the rest of consonants and vowels. This unique writing systemhas been called a semi-syllabary. There is no agreement about how the paleohispanic semi-syllabaries originated; some researchers conclude that their origin is linked only to the Phoenician alphabet, while others believe the Greek alphabethad also participated. In the southwestern script, although the letter used to write a stop consonantwas determined by the following vowel, as in a full semi-syllabary, the following vowel was also written, as in an alphabet. Some scholars treat Tartessian as a redundant semi-syllabary, others treat it as a redundant alphabet.
The southwestern script is very similar to the southeastern Iberian script, both considering the shape of the signs or his value. The main difference is that
southeastern Iberian scriptdoesn’t show the vocalic redundancy of the syllabic signs. This characteristic was discovered by Ulrich Schmolland allows the classification of a great part of the southwestern signs in vowels, consonantsand syllabic signs. Unlike the northeastern Iberian scriptthe decipherment of the southeastern Iberian scriptand the southwestern script is not still closed, because there are a significant group of signs without consensus value.
This script is almost exclusively used in near a hundred large stones (
steles), probably with funerary purpose. Almost ever the direction of the writing is right to left, but also boustrophedonor spiral. The fact that almost all the southwestern inscriptions had been found out of archaeological context does not permit to fix a precise chronology, but it seems clear his use in the 5th century BC, however it is usual to date them from the 7th century BCand consider that the southwestern script is the most ancient paleohispanic script.
A total of 75 southwest script stelae are known. Of these, 16 can be seen in the Southwest Script Museum [ [http://www.cm-almodovar.pt/servicos/museuescritasudoeste.htm Southwest Script Museum - official site] ] ("Museu da Escrita do Sudoeste", in Portuguese), in
Almodôvar(Portugal), where a recentely discovered stele with a total of 86 characters (the longest inscription found so far) will also be on display. [Dias, Carlos (2008), "Descoberta perto de Almodôvar a mais extensa inscrição em escrita do sudoeste", in "Público", Ano XIX, n.º 6742 - 15/09/2008, p.18.] [ [http://jornal.publico.clix.pt/fotos2.asp?id=2183125 Photo of the recentely discovered stele with a total of 86 characters.] ]
*Correa, José Antonio (1996): «La epigrafía del sudoeste: estado de la cuestión», "La Hispania prerromana", pp. 65-75.
*Correia, Virgílio-Hipólito (1996): «A escrita pré-romana do Sudoeste peninsular», "De Ulisses a Viriato: o primeiro milenio a.c.", pp.88-94
*Guerra, Amilcar (2002): [http://www.ipa.min-cultura.pt/pubs/RPA/v5n2/folder/219.pdf «Novos monumentos epigrafados com escrita do Sudoeste da vertente setentrional da Serra do Caldeirao»] , "Revista portuguesa de arqueologia" 5-2, pp. 219-231.
*Hoz, Javier de (1985): «El origen de la escritura del S.O.», "Actas del III coloquio sobre lenguas y culturas paleohispánicas", pp. 423-464.
*Rodríguez Ramos, Jesús (2000): [http://ddd.uab.es/pub/faventia/02107570v22n1p21.pdf «La lectura de las inscripciones sudlusitano-tartesias»] , "Faventia" 22/1, pp. 21-48.
*Schmoll, Ulrich (1961) : "Die sudlusitanischen Inschriften", Wiesbaden.
*Untermann, Jürgen (1997): "Monumenta Linguarum Hispanicarum. IV Die tartessischen, keltiberischen und lusitanischen Inschriften", Wiesbaden.
Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula
* [http://www.webpersonal.net/jrr/ib6_en.htm Tartessian / South-Lusitanian Script - Jesús Rodríguez Ramos]
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