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SALAMIS IN THE ISLAND OF CYPRUS.
BY ALEXANDER PALMA DI CESNOLÀ, F.S.A.,
king;1 but, at the time, the sound of the Cypriote word, and therefore the nature of the language, was yet unknown. The next step in the progress of discovery I will venture to quote in the words of the work already mentioned: "Mr. George Smith, of the Department of Oriental Antiquities, British Museum, simultaneously discovered the word king, and read the proper names................. From these proper names he found the phonetic values of about forty of the Cypriote characters, and came to the conclusion that these characters formed a syllabary, consisting in all of about fifty-four characters, of which about twelve represented different forms of the vowels, while the others were used for the consonants. There were about three forms for each consonant, each one
1 These observations were laid before the Society of Biblical Archaeology on the 7th November 1871.
representing it combined with a different vowel. Mr. Smith gave a translation of the opening passage on the bilingual inscription, but he could not give any reading for the bronze plate inscription; he, however, conjectured the language to be allied to the Greek." Mr. Smith's results were also published at the Society of Biblical Archæology, 7 November 1871. The next link was added by Dr. Birch, Keeper of the Oriental Antiquities in the British Museum, into whose charge the stone which occupies the same important relation to Cypriote philology that the Rosetta Stone does to the philology of Egyptian Hieroglyphics, passed. He re-established the anciently-known fact that the language of the Cypriote inscriptions was closely allied to the Greek:—" Kυπρoς πολις μεγάλη' δήμοι την γλωτταν άκριβώς"Έλληνες"1 and published, in the Transactions of the Society already mentioned,2 tentative translations of the bilingual text and the inscription upon the bronze tablet of Dali, in which he makes a number of comparisons between the Cypriote words and their Greek equivalents. These researches were followed by those of Brandis, " Versuch zur Entzifferung der Kyprischen Schrift", in the Monatsberiehte of the Academy 1873, p. 643, and foil., and the publication of Moriz Schmidt, Die Inschrift von Idalion und das Kyprische Syllabar, Jena, 1874; then by those of Bergk in the Jena. Literatur-Zeitung, 1875, n. 26, and Ahrens, "Zu den Kyprischen Inschriften", in the Philologus, vol. xxxv (1875), p. 1. Then follows the treatise by Mr. Isaac Hall in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. χ (1875), pp. 201, and foil.; and subsequently the Proceedings of the same Society, 1877, p. xxvii; and Neubauer, in a criticism on Golgoi in the Commentationes Philologae in honorem Theodori Mommsen, Berlin, 1877, p. 67; followed by that of J. Voigt, Quœstionum de Titulis Cypriis Particula, 8vo. Leipzig, 1878.
1 Himerius, Ecl., xviii, 1 (Schmidt).2Vol. i, Part ii (road January 2nd, 1872). Attention has, in addition, been given to this interesting subject by M. Halévy, whose researches, now rejected by scholars, were published in 1872; in the Sammlung Kypri-scher Inschriften in Epikhorischer Schrift of Moriz Schmidt, Professor at Jena, published at that city in 1876; and in Dr. W. Deecke's Der Ursprung der Kyprischen Sylbenschrift, Strasburg, 1877, as well as in several other works.
The derivation of the syllabary, as far as the form of the letters is concerned, remains obscure, although some of these forms are analogous to the Phœnician or Lycian, and very remotely, if at all, to the Cuneiform. It is, however, remote from the Phœnician in being a syllabary, and not a pure alphabet; and in its syllabic transcription of Greek words, it seems to point to its own Semitic origin, as the Semitic does not admit the junction of two or more consonants without the introduction of an intermediate vowel or vowels. The Cypriote syllable or consonant has an inherent vowel affixed; for in the Semitic characters the consonant always precedes, and is never affixed; which shows that the origin of the Cypriote syllable must have been directly or indirectly derived from some system of writing constructed on that principle prior to the alphabetic writing of the Phœnicians, in which the consonant was omitted, and of the early Greek, in which the requisite vowel was introduced. The earliest dated appearance of the Cypriote epigraphy is at the close of the 7th century B.c.; but there are, apparently, examples undated earlier than the close of that century. The script was superseded by the Greek alphabet in the 3rd century B.c., no dated examples of a later period having been discovered. For the convenience of reference I subjoin a table of the characters and their equivalents as far as they are at present deciphered:—
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