Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Iberian Script
As its name implies, the Iberian scripts were found mainly in Spain and Portugal, although some are found in southern France as well. They were used by the Iberian language speakers, non-Indo-European tribes who inhabited all Pyrenees peninsula and southern France before the Roman conquest. This script, a syllabary by nature (i.e. one symbol for one syllable), could be indigenous, however, linguists note its similarity to Phoenician. Sailors from Phoenician city-states founded a lot of colonies on the Iberian coast and could influence Iberians and their culture. There is also a theory that the basis for the script was the Greek alphabet, but Phoenician (or Punic) graphics contributed as well.

Documents written in the script date back from the 4th and the 3rd centuries BC, when the highest point of the Iberian civilization was over. The script was created to reflect both syllables and single sounds, e.g. vowels and sonants.

The Iberian family of scripts is consisted of two "styles", called Northeast and South. The Northeast variety was in use in southern France, Catalonia and Castile, while the Southern is found in Andalusia and Mursia. In the south-west of the peninsula several inscriptions were found written in the Lusitanian language, but the script is similar there. Structurally these variants are all more or less the same, and the major difference between them is (a) geographical location, and (b) shape of the characters.
Both Iberian scripts contain monophonemic (that is, only one sound, sort of like alphabetic) signs as well as syllabic ones.

In the 3rd century BC Iberia was conquered first by Carthago, then by Rome, and the script, as well as the Iberian languages, was gradually forgotten. The lack of knowledge about the Iberians and their languages in general prevents modern scientific research from telling us more about the script. Most words of the Iberian language cannot be translated yet; there were attempts to explain the inscriptions with the help of the Basque language, but they all failed.

The variety of this script is the Celtiberian writing systems, which was developed specially for Celtic settlers in Iberia. However, Celtiberians in some regions also used the Iberian script.

Languages which used the script: Celtic (Celtiberian), non-Indo-European (Iberian, Lusitanian).


Images:


More information: