“Cretan Ηieroglyphic” Script

The oldest example of writing from Europe is on a seal-stone found at Archanes, 10 km. from Knossos. The symbols in this first script are encountered as early as the Pre-Palatial period, mainly on seal-stones. The idea for the “Cretan Hieroglyphic” Script probably came from the neighbouring literate people of Egypt, although the script, like Mycenaean Linear B and Minoan Linear A, was also syllabic in nature.

Such inscriptions are found on clay tablets, seal-stones and various other objects. The “Cretan Hieroglyphic” Script (c.2000-1600 B.C.) was an invention of the First Palaces and is found in inscriptions of both administrative and religious content. The best known example of this is the Phaistos Disk (which bears 45 different printed signs, 242 in total, in 61 words, on its two sides).