Events Calendar – British School at Athens

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

BSA Friends’ Event (online only via Zoom)

Dr Philippa Steele (University of Cambridge) on “The vitality of writing traditions in the Bronze Age Aegean and Iron Age Cyprus – and their unexpected relevance for the modern day”

Abstract: The syllabic writing systems of Bronze Age Greece and Iron Age Cyprus (with particular focus on Linear A, Linear B and the Cypriot Syllabic script) did not survive to the modern day. This lecture poses the question of why these writing traditions were lost, using the notion of “vitality” (borrowed from the field of language endangerment studies) to try to understand their path from widespread usage to decline. Each system thrived for a while, in its own particular circumstances of use, which were markedly different in each case: literacy in Linear B appears to have been more restricted and less socially visible than literacy in Linear A or the Cypriot Syllabary, for example. Why did each one lose vitality, and fail to adapt to new social and political situations that arose over time? And might they have survived in different circumstances?

We will finish by considering whether the histories of usage of these writing systems could help us to understand why many modern writing traditions are under threat, particularly ones associated with minority, indigenous and endangered languages.

Please do consider making a donation.
The Friends of the BSA support the British School at Athens, which is a charity. The Friends organise regular lectures – like this one – and trips to Greece. We also raise funds to enhance the BSA and recently covered the costs of the final phase of the ‘Digital Thessaly’ project, making the archives of Alan Wace available to the wider public.
You can help us by making a donation here when you attend a lecture (we suggest £10 for Supporters, £15 otherwise): Please quote ‘Friends’ in the additional comments field.
Collectively, all these gifts make a huge difference.

Thursday 15 June, 5pm (UK) / 7pm (Greece)

When: 15 June, 2023 @ 7:00 pm EEST
Where: – –