Palaeographic Dating of Lycian Inscriptions. A Critical Review of Former Studies and a New Approach

Birgit Christiansen

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Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. Email: birgit.christiansen@lrz.uni-muenchen.de

Cite as Christiansen, B. 2021: Palaeographic Dating of Lycian Inscriptions. A Critical Review of Former Studies and a New Approach. Hungarian Assyriological Review 2: 27–64.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.52093/hara-202101-00012-000

Abstract

The aim of this article is a critical examination of earlier palaeographic studies of Lycian inscriptions. The starting point is the corpus of inscriptions whose contents provide information on their dating. On the basis of a survey of the letter forms attested in these texts, an attempt will be made to reconstruct their development. This is intended to provide a solid foundation for future palaeographic studies and other research on Lycian history, culture and language. The study will demonstrate that some letters actually show developments that can be used for palaeographic dating of inscriptions without a text-internal indication of their date of origin. However, it should be taken into account that most of the letter variants already appear in inscriptions that were composed during the reign of Erbbina / Arbinas, and thus in the beginning of the 4th century BCE This fact has been overlooked in previous studies. It therefore cannot be ruled out that an inscription showing these variants may date back to the first half of the 4th century, although these variants are more frequently attested in younger inscriptions.

In addition, palaeographic dating is made more difficult by other circumstances too. The letter forms should therefore only be taken as a rough indication of the inscription’s date of origin. Greater certainty might be achieved through a cumulative approach. However, the starting point has always to be the inscriptions with text-internal information about their dating. It is therefore essential to examine them carefully with regard to their palaeographic characteristics before using other criteria.

Lycian, Lycian inscriptions, palaeography, palaeographic dating, letter forms, Lycian alphabet

Copyright and acknowledgements

Copyright: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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