Fred C. Woudhuizen


This book aims to present an easily accessible overview of what the study of Luwian hieroglyphic is about. In order to achieve this aim, a set of texts has been selected which is reasonably well preserved and, as far as its contents is concerned, fairly understandable. Among these texts, adding up to 40 in sum with a total of more than 600 phrases, there can be distinguished two basic categories, the ones written in Late Bronze Age scribal tradition (11 texts, 147 phrases) and those written in Early Iron Age scribal tradition (29 texts, 459 phrases). Of these two categories, the first one—if we exclude for the shortness of their legends the evidence from the seals, which already sets in c. 2000 BC—starts in the second half of the 15th century BC and continues into the earliest phase of the Iron Age. The second category begins, after a period of about two centuries of a dearth of material, in the late 10th century BC and goes on to the late 8th or early 7th century BC, when the c. 1300 years old tradition of writing in Luwian hieroglyphic suddenly dies out altogether, having lost, no doubt, the competition with the alphabet. Remarkable about this division is that it does not coincide with the paramount one between Bronze Age and Iron Age, which saw the cataclysm of the Hittite Empire and several other civilizations. But, in so doing, Luwian hieroglyphic presents us, together with the annals of the Assyrian monarch Tiglathpileser I (1115-1070 BC), a glimmering of light in a period generally called the Dark Ages. This glimmering of light, then, informs us that descendants of the Hittite royal family after the eclipse of the Empire continued to rule in the former chief provinces of Karkamis and Tarkhuntassa.

For reasons of clarity, the two distinguished categories of texts are treated separately, Part 1 being devoted to the ones in Late Bronze Age scribal tradition and Part 2 to the ones in Early Iron Age scribal tradition. In each part a transciption and translation of the texts, arranged according to their chronological order, is presented, followed by a grammatical analysis based on the given translation, and an index of words and forms. The system of transcription applied is both more advanced and accessible to the general reader than the cumbersome ones currently in use. Moreover, the indices provide a wealth of information long awaited for by scholars in the field as well as comparatists from neighboring disciplines and interested laymen. All in all, the reader will find him- or herself face to face with an indispensible aid in the study of Luwian hieroglyphics.


The author, Fred C. Woudhuizen, is well-versed in the field of Indo-European Anatolian linguistics through his publications ranging from Luwian hieroglyphic to later dialects like Lydian and Sidetic. He also showed in his writings the key-importance of the Luwian hieroglyphic script and language for our understanding of Cretan hieroglyphic, Cypro-Minoan and, last but not least, Etruscan. Books worthy of mention in this connection, are Ancient Scripts from Crete and Cyprus and Lost Languages from the Mediterranean (with Jan Best), The Language of the Sea Peoples, Linguistica Tyrrhenica I-II, and Luwian Hieroglyphic Monumental Rock and Stone Inscriptions from the Hittite Empire Period.


Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Kulturwissenschaft, Sonderheft 120.
2004. 175 pp. € 40.00. ISBN 3-85124-213-0.