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Homer and the Origin of the Greek Alphabet Reprint Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521589079
ISBN-10: 052158907X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

' ... this is a book which is as remarkable for the ingenuity of its answers to difficult questions as it is for its useful review and compelling display of so much of the relevant evidence.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review

'[This] is an important book, and will be widely read by students of writing in other cultures as well as by Homerists, linguists, historians and archaeologists of early Greece.' Classical Philology

Book Description

What caused the invention of the Greek alphabet? Who did it, and why? The purpose of this challenging book is to inquire systematically into the historical causes that underlay the radical shift from earlier and less efficient writing-systems to the use of alphabetic writing. The author declares his conclusion to be a possibly surprising one SH that a single man, perhaps from the island of Euboea, invented the Greek alphabet specifically in order to record the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Reprint edition (October 28, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052158907X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521589079
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Molly Johnson on August 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a carefully thought out, scholarly presentation uniting a large sum of indirect but consistent evidence into one compelling theory about the origin of our alphabet. The author clearly indicates which conclusions are speculative, which more certain, but he is always persuasive and often fascinating. At the end, he even NAMES the inventor! A highly specialized work that may not be appreciated fully by more casual readers. Also of interest: The Muse Learns to Write by Havelock.
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Format: Paperback
I have to second the sentiment offered in another review here that the conclusions of the book appear very rapidly, suddenly and without clear evidence toward the end of the author's careful history on the development of Greek writing. The book begins at a great pace that introduces the reader to key concepts in linguistics necessary for understanding the author's thesis, but the historical evidence is nowhere clear tied to the conclusion that Homer had a hand in regulating the rise of the new standard in Greek written text.
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Format: Paperback
This book's thesis is that the Greek alphabet was adapted by a single person in order to record Homer. While the idea is interesting, the evidence certainly is not definitive. I found the author's arguments unconvincing and hard to follow. However, the book is a good resource for old inscriptions, including some sexually explicit grafitti. The book also provides a good history of the early Greek alphabet and the the Cypriot syllabary.
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