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THE ISSUE OF DECIPHERING CARIAN

1. The Carian language is a pocket of residual obscurity in the ancient eastern Mediterranean
world. Most of what is known of Carian has been found either in Egypt, thanks to numerous
mercenaries who lived there circa the middle of the first millenium BCE, or in Greek texts.
Paradoxically, Caria itself has not revealed much about Carian and even less that can be easily
used to investigate or understand Carian. About 170 Carian inscriptions have been found in
Egypt and published, as noted in Adiego (2007:17), and more are known to exist but have not
been published yet.
On the whole, the assignment of these inscriptions to Carian relies mainly on two features:
(1) They are poorly understood and (2) They are written in a set of alphabets sharing a
number of graphic pecularities, not to say oddities. Lately, claims have been made about an
alleged definitive decipherment of Carian and about its potentially close affinities with the
Anatolian branch of the Indo-European languages. It will be shown that these claims are
erroneous. On the whole, Carian is rather hard to read even when one knows what to find, so
it is little wonder that this language has kept its secrets for so long.

2. In our opinion, a real decipherment passes several basic criteria with success: (1) It shows
how the graphic system works, (2) It provides glosses or translations of the inscriptions. It can
be further added that preferably: (3) The underlying language should be proved to be identical
or close to another known language, (4) The decipherment should help understand how the
graphic system evolves with the passage of time, from one stage to another, or from one
language to another. These criteria are met by other decipherments: Egyptian hieroglyphs are
a complex hyper-alphabetic system that was invented for and used for writing the different
linguistic synchronies that are ancestor to the Coptic dialects, Linear B is an approximative
syllabic system used to write an archaic dialect of Greek but quite obviously not designed to
write this dialect originally, etc. To put it simple and short, a decipherment is expected to
increase in considerable and exponential proportions the understanding of the language which
is supposed to be deciphered. And the reverse perspective is that a decipherment can hardly
succeed until the underlying language is not identified with some security and certainty.
As regards the decipherment of Carian that we propose, it will be shown that:

(1) Carian, or at least Carian as attested in many of the inscriptions assigned to Carian, is
not a separate language but a dialect of the Hurrian language. It is possible that more
than one language are currently lumped together as Carian. This can be elucidated only
after all the inscriptions are fully understood.
(2) The graphic system is a near strictly consonantal system, which only marginally writes
(long) vowels. The Carian alphabet is therefore close to the original Semitic prototype.
(3) Most of the phonetic values are those of the original Semitic prototype.

One hindrance in the understanding of Carian is that inscriptions were scribbled rather than
written and they are often somewhat damaged or partially erased. Another hindrance is that
we cannot fathom the potential distortions introduced by the compilers to the originals.

3.Adiego (2007:166-204), who claims to have deciphered Carian, divides the history of the
decipherment of Carian in three periods or approaches:

- the semi-syllabic approach, from 1887 to 1949,
- the Greeco-Phoenician alphabetic approach,
- the Egyptian approach, since 1972.

The first work on Carian is due to Archibald H. Sayce in 1887. It is quite amazing that this
work on Carian is the first one and at the same time it is not far from being the only one in
more than 130 years that contains relevant and correct information on Carian. Sayce made the
correct assumption that the Carian alphabet must share values with the Greek one. He also
made the exact observation that the letter <w>, which is in fact bta, must be of genitival
character, a typical Hurrian feature (Cf. -wi). Adiego (2007:170) assesses Sayce's contribution
as follows: the failure of his decipherment and the dilettantism of many of his proposals.
This sounds awesome and undeservedly severe. The truth is that nearly everything that was
written in the 130 years after Sayce is close to useless and the only works with practical value
are the compilations of inscriptions.
After Sayce, the ominous Ferdinand Bork managed to spread his influence in one more
field with Carian studies, which lead to the semi-syllabic approach. The Carian alphabet was
supposedly a mixed system with alphabetic and syllabic signs. Bork succeeded in poisoning
the mind of Friedrich, who should nevertheless be remembered as a great scholar. Friedrich
tried to simplify and make sense out of Bork's draft. The comments of Adiego (2007:172)
about Bork's are worth reading and pondering: His analyses are totally arbitrary. Similarly,
the meanings he attributes to the words are capricious. or Needless to say, all these
speculations, based on an invalid decipherment and a nonexistent linguistic family, have been
superseded. Diakonov (1971:20) likewise states that Bork's grammatical analyzes are only
interesting for the historical study of science. It took decades until the 1950ies to get rid of
that semi-syllabic fancy invented by Bork.
In 1949, a very long inscription was found in Kaunos and with only fewer than 30 signs, it
showed that Carian was written in a strictly alphabetic system. In the following years, most of
the known inscriptions were collected and published, a necessary prerequisite for progress.
The next linguist who tried to decipher Carian was Shevoroshkin. He made it clear that Carian
was indeed alphabetically written but he made no significant advances in the understanding of
Carian in more than thirty years of investigation. Other unlucky contributors were O. Masson,
Y. Otpushchikov, P. Meriggi and R. Gusmani.
In 1972, K. Zauzich, an egyptologist, started to investigate bilingual texts in Carian and
Egyptian. This method opened the third period of decipherment and was further developed by
T. Kowalski in 1972 and then by J. Ray, D. Schrr and I. Adiego, ultimately leading to what
Adiego calls the definitive decipherment of Carian. Unfortunately for Adiego, this method
was not applied correctly. As will become rapidly clear, Adiego's approach must be discarded
nearly completely and a fourth period must be added corresponding to a real and definitive
decipherment of the language, which we propose to initiate in the following pages. In all
cases, Adiego's claim to have deciphered Carian was fairly strange as he was still about
completely unable to translate any single sentence or inscription written in Carian. Is it not
troublesome or intriguing that a so-called decipherment does not increase the understanding
of the language which is supposed to be deciphered? How comes that the deciphered words
cannot be compared and translated into the Anatolian languages if Carian is a close relative of
them or even one of them? In fact, Adiego's pseudo-decipherment is a blind and meaningless
transliteration of the Carian alphabet based on erroneous identifications of the letters. The
system of transcription used in Adiego (2007:21) is thoroughly inadequate. Only the first
letter <A> is correct. The rest is worthless. Masson (1978:10) was actually much closer to the
truth.

4. The principle of the Egyptian method is to look for equivalents in the Carian inscriptions
of the Person names which are cited in the Egyptian counterparts of bilingual texts. In theory,
this method should lead to a secure identification of the phonetic values of Carian letters. A
simple example will show the wrong and the right way to apply the method. We will deal
with Memphis 7 in Adiego (2007:40):

O OO Od dd d| || || || |A AA AO OO O O OO Od dd dA AA A1 11 1A AA A Y YY YO OO O| || |A AA A
Memphis 7 (Cf. Masson-Yoyotte 1956)
This inscription is written from right to left on a funerary stela. Adiego reads the texts as
being <tamou tanai qarsio> and makes this comment: The stela provides an Egyptian
inscription that also mentions the dead man T3j-p-jm-w son of T3[...]. The correspondence to
the Carian text is evident: tamou, son of tanai. No less than evident.
A first reaction is to doubt that tamou could be the same as Egyptian T3j-p-jm-w: this
seems to stand for a reconstruction like *[ajpimu]. How comes the -p- has disappeared in
tamou? Our decipherment is <t_a_n_s_u t_a_n_a__w _a_b_m__w>. The name of the
deceased man is not the first word but the last. According to us, the inscription reads:
*[taanusau taaniaiwa abimuiwa] I did [the stela] for abimu, the Taaniai [Tanaite].
The inscription is probably complete as the last letter is <w(a)> the Dative case-marker. The
conclusion is that the Carian alphabet is a typically consonantic alphabet with a defective
writing of vowels. And another conclusion is that the Ray-Schrr-Adiego system cannot be
accepted but for the letter <A>. Although the Carian alphabet reveals some unexpected
values, it remains coherent with the original Phoenician and Greek values. Adiego (2007:194)
lists eight words found in bilinguals which are supposed to bolster his own approach. The
only correct one is the fragmentary equivalence of one syllable in the fourth one. All the rest
is quite incredibly wrong... Whatever the opinio communis may be and whatever Melchert or
Adiego (2007:4) may think, Carian is certainly not a member of the Anatolian branch of PIE.
Carian can be recognized as Hurrian, instantly: -usau P1sg Past, -wa Dative and -i
Ethnonymic formative. There is no doubt that a correct decipherment makes it crystal clear
that Carian has considerable affinities with Hurrian. It can be noted that cuneiformic <> in
Hurrian is rendered as /s/ in the Carian alphabet. This situation is the same as in Hittite.
It can be further noted that more than 10 inscriptions in Abydos contain the name of the
god R <A |> *[ria]
1
but this has remained completely unnoticed so far. For example:


Abydos 32 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 25)

This inscription, from right to left, contains two instances of the name of the god R
*[ria] on the first line. Adiego (2007:91) disregards the second word-separator in order to

1
Cf. Neb-Mat-R <ni-im-mu--ri-a> Mitanni Letter.
read a well-known Carian name. But this cleanly separated word is clearly the God R
*[r(i)a]. After all, it is little wonder that visitors or pilgrims in the temple of Abydos wrote
the name of the God R on the walls...

5. In the next section, we will deal with the inscriptions in Abydos. Readers interested to see
the original drawings and ornemental locations of the inscriptions are advised to read Adiego
(2007:17-165), who made a very heavy work of realistic compilation. We keep the principle
adopted by Adiego of taking the towns as criterion of classification. Our intention is not to
duplicate Adiego's (2007) book but to show how the real decipherment of Carian works. For
that matter, we have not tried to translate all inscriptions included in Adiego (2007), all the
less so as many inscriptions are not cited or represented in their original form but in the
erroneous transliteration of Adiego, of which only the reading of <A> can be kept.
On the whole, the alphabetic scripts in these Carian inscriptions are instable and several
different varieties of alphabet seem to be coexisting. The instability of the script and the
nature of the inscriptions, which are in fact graffiti, increase the difficulty of securely
deciphering most of them. It can nevertheless be noted that the contents of the graffiti is rather
repetitive and they appear to be different arrangements of the same words in many cases,
often dealing with gifts to the god R. Thanks to this feature, some words are frequent and
help to identify the values of letters in each inscription.
The direction of writing is from right to left unless indicated otherwise.
Some inscriptions seem to be written in pure Hurrian rather than Carian: especially
Abydos 7, 27, 29, 32, 33, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39. In this subset of inscriptions with pure Hurrian
features, letters A, Y and F are often used to mark vowel length and geminates are rather often
indicated, especially -nn-. The words are often separated by a vertical line. The letter *[n] <| || |
V VV V> sometimes has a particular shape. *[] is often written like a circle <O OO O> . The letters *[g]
< > and *[q] <- -- -> seem to be distinguished. Other inscriptions indicate vowel length: Abydos
8, 9, 10, 18, 19. They nevertheless are not clearly written in Hurrian. *[r] is written < > in
this latter set of inscriptions.
Several groups of inscriptions can be sorted out:

- F is *[w], *[n] is <1 11 1> in Abydos 2, 3, 13, 14, 15, 31.
- F is *[w], *[n] is <| || |> in Abydos 1, 11, 23, 25.
- inverted values: B is *[w] and F is *[b], *[n] is <1 11 1> in Abydos 4, 6.
- inverted values: B is *[w] and F is *[b], *[n] is <| || |> in Abydos 5, 12, 16, 17, 20, 21,
22, 24, 28, 30, 34.
- extremely strange script: Abydos 26.

The complexity and variety of the values and shapes of the letters is quite intriguing. If our
analysis is correct, there may be no fewer than five or six different variants. There is hardly
such a thing as a standard Carian alphabet in Abydos. The situation is much more complex
from this respect than what is found in the archaic Greek alphabets. This suggests several
acquisitions of the original Phoenician alphabet by Hurrian- and Carian-speaking people. It is
not possible to state how much is due to dialectal phonetic differences or to divergent
alphabetic conventions, not to mention the fact that the people, mainly mercenaries, who
wrote these inscriptions may have an imperfect command of writing. It can be noted that the
letter *k is not attested: *q <- -- -> is used. This suggests that Carian, and maybe Hurrian, had
uvular rather than velar stops. Carian also displays a contrast between three series d ~ t ~ ,
which cannot be documented or evidenced for Hurrian.

The Carian alphabet used in Abydos has the following letters and phonetic values:

Labial Dental Affricate Palatal Liquid Velar Glottal
Voiced /b/ O OO O O OO O /d/ V VV V A AA A /dz/ // /l/ / // / V VV V /g/
Voiceless /p/ /t/ / // / X XX X /ts/ // 4 44 4 d dd d /q/ - -- - // A AA A
Glottalized // O OO O

/u/ V VV V
Voiced /z/ 1 11 1

/r/ | || | | || | // d dd d O OO O
Voiceless /s/ ! !! !

/x/ 1 11 1 X XX X
Nasals /m/ M MM M /n/ | || | 1 11 1


Glides /w/ | || | /y/ | || | V VV V

Carian Alphabet(s) used in Abydos
represented in left-to-right direction of reading

6. The corpus of inscriptions of Abydos.

Abydos 1 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 1)

The letters are rather clear and well formed. It reads <m s w > *[miasiwii]. The
verbal root is mih-
2
to be standing in front of a god or lord, and it displays a string of
Hurrian suffixes: -h- causative, -wi- Gen., -hi- Adj.. It probably means Reserved to the
priest who introduces the faithful in front of the gods. It can be noted that the letters // H and
/w/ B can hardly be distinguished in most of the inscriptions.


Abydos 2 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 2a)

The last two letters are fused. This inscription is easier to read when compared to Abydos
3. It reads <m an s j / q w aw a b w> *[mn
3
uji
4
qiwiawa
5
biwa] Here is all we bring or
deposit for you. The gifts are presumably for the god R. It can be noted that two letters look
more or less the same [] and [y]. The first <A> lengthens the vowel and does not contain //.


Abydos 3 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 2b)

Two letters are half erased. A possible reading is <m g n [ j] / w aw s b> *[maganni
6

uji
7
iwuawas
8
ab
9
] All the gifts and our things have been taken. It can be noted that the

2
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Wegener (2007: 267).
3
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:167), Wegener (2007:265).
4
Cf. Laroche (1980:240), Wegener (2007:280).
5
Cf. Laroche (1980:145), Wegener (2007:263).
6
Cf. Laroche (1980:164), Wegener (2007:265).
first and sixth letter look the same, that is to say like [] H, but none has this value, they stand
for [] and [] H.


Abydos 4 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 3a)

The inscription is written with inverted values of B/F. Adiego (2007:94) rejects it from his
collection. A possible reading is < l t n / u [?] l b / u j w> *[iltina
10
ulbi
11
uijiwu
12
] He
enters with my other pig, possibly another gift to the temple. There is no clear reason to
reject this inscription as being non Carian.


Abydos 5 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 3b)

The inscription is written with inverted values of B/F. The reading is rather clear <r a n w /
j d / a b / n ts (?)> *[rianiwi jidia
13
abia
14
intsa(w?)
15
] (I ?) made myself poor for the
body and the face of the god R.


Abydos 6 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 3c)

The inscription is written with inverted values of B/F. The reading is fairly clear <r an w j
d a b (?)> *[rianiwi jidia
16
abia
17
(?)] (?) for the body and the face of the god R. It is
unclear whether there is any additional letter.


Abydos 7 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 4)

The inscription is written in a peculiar alphabet, which is closer to the standard Greek and
Phoenician alphabet than other inscriptions. Moreover the language seems much closer to
Hurrian than standard Carian is. It has the Erg. case marker -iz and the past ending -ua,
normally not present in Carian. It may read < r w b z / q w s n / m g nn / b w>
*[urbiiz
18
qiwisinua
19
maganni
20
biwa] The foreigner has deposited the gifts for you. It
seems that the /w/ is used to lengthen the vowel. Cf. Abydos 27, 29.

7
Cf. Laroche (1980:240), Wegener (2007:280).
8
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:267), Wegener (2007:285).
9
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:89), Neu (1988:42), Wegener (2007:258).
10
Cf. Catsanicos (1996).
11
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:278).
12
Cf. Laroche (1980:279).
13
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:73), Wegener (2007:257).
14
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:34), Wegener (2007:248).
15
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Wegener (2007:260).
16
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:73), Wegener (2007:257).
17
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:34), Wegener (2007:248).
18
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:274), Wegener (2007:288).
19
Cf. Laroche (1980:145), Wegener (2007:263).


Abydos 8 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 5a)

The inscription may read <m z a r(?) / m a d s > *[muzri(?)
21
mdisi
22
] Sublime is the
one who makes wise. The letter A is used to express vocalic length.


Abydos 9 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 5a)


Abydos 10 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 5c)

These inscriptions are more or less the same as the previous one. The reading is <m z a r(?)
/ m a d s > *[muzri(?)
23
mdisi
24
] Sublime is the one who makes wise. The fourth letter
may be /w/ or /r/.


Abydos 11 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 6)

The inscription may read <m s q x(?) / l b n r b> *[miawsa
25
q_x_(?)
26
alib
27
niriw
28
]
We stand (giving ?) purified and good. This inscription has nothing to do with person
names. Cf. Abydos 16, 19.


Abydos 12 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 7)

A rather desperate inscription. Maybe from left to right: <? w q w l ?> *[biwa qiwili
29
]
May it be given to you (?).


20
Cf. Laroche (1980:164), Wegener (2007:265).
21
Cf. Laroche (1980:173), Wegener (2007:267).
22
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:163), Wegener (2007:266).
23
Cf. Laroche (1980:173), Wegener (2007:267).
24
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:163), Wegener (2007:266).
25
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Wegener (2007: 267).
26
Cf. Laroche (1980:145), Wegener (2007:263).
27
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Wegener (2007:282).
28
Cf. Laroche (1980:185), Wegener (2007:269).
29
Cf. Laroche (1980:145), Wegener (2007:263).

Abydos 13 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 8a)

The inscription may read <u n b w t an q b s g > *[una
30
biwa atunna
31
qibasgi(ni?)
32
]
The offerer comes to you with love. The article does not appear in this inscription but does
in the next.


Abydos 14 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 8b)

The inscription may read <u n b w t an q w s g n > *[una
33
biwua naxa
34
qiwasgini
35
-
(?)] The offerer comes to you (and gives ?). Something seems to be missing after <>.


Abydos 15 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 9)

The inscription may read <a l w t ? > *[allawi
36
at(?)
37
] (for the ?) love of the lady.
The last word may also be < x> man: for the lady and for the man (?).


Abydos 16 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 10)

The inscription may read <m g nn q x(?) b w > *[maganni
38
q_x(?)
39
biwu(a)] The gifts
(?) for you. The verb is unclear: Cf. Abydos 11, 19: *q x.


Abydos 17 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 11)

The inscription may read <x m b w s x > *[xummi
40
biwa sixu
41
] The altar has been
purified (?) for you. Cf. ihali pure.



30
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:282), Neu (1988:45), Wegener (2007:289-290).
31
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:2485), Neu (1988:45), Wegener (2007:284).
32
Cf. Laroche (1980:145), Wegener (2007:263).
33
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:282), Neu (1988:45), Wegener (2007:289-290).
34
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:175), Neu (1988:44), Wegener (2007:268).
35
Cf. Laroche (1980:145), Wegener (2007:263).
36
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:42), Wegener (2007:246).
37
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:2485), Neu (1988:45), Wegener (2007:284).
38
Cf. Laroche (1980:164), Wegener (2007:265).
39
Cf. Laroche (1980:145), Wegener (2007:263).
40
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:113).
41
Cf. Laroche (1980:221), Wegener (2007:276).

Abydos 18 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 12)

The inscription may read <m a n(?) x n(?) q b> *[mn
42
axi-ni(?)
43
qibu(b)
44
] This the
man gave. The next inscription confirms the reading <n>.


Abydos 19 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 13a)

The inscription may read <r j n w (s?) x n(?) q b> *[rijaniwi yidia(?)
45
axi-ni(?)
46

gibu(b)
47
] For the body of R the man gave. It makes more sense to interpret <s> as <y d>.
Note that R is *[rija] not [ria] as in Abydos 5, 6. Adiego (2007:86-7) repeatedly reads the
name of R as being a Person name *tamosi, in his system.


Abydos 20 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 13b)

The inscription is unclear and may read <r j n w m n q x l b w> *[rijaniwa man
48
q_x_l
49

biwa (or iwu ?)] For R may this be given for you (?).


Abydos 21 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 14)

The inscription may read <t j n r r j n w j(?) d(?) (?)> *[taija
50
niri
51
rijaniwi jidia
52

ai(?)
53
] beautiful (?) and good is the gift for the body of R.


Abydos 22 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 15)

The first line of the inscription is in a desperate state. The second line may read <r j n w m
n q x l b w> *[rijaniwa man
54
q_x_l
55
biwa] For R may this be given for you (?).

42
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:167), Wegener (2007:265).
43
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:251), Wegener (2007:282).
44
Cf. Laroche (1980:145), Wegener (2007:263).
45
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:73), Wegener (2007:257).
46
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:251), Wegener (2007:282).
47
Cf. Laroche (1980:145), Wegener (2007:263).
48
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:167), Wegener (2007:265).
49
Cf. Laroche (1980:145), Wegener (2007:263).
50
Cf. Laroche (1980:249).
51
Cf. Laroche (1980:185), Wegener (2007:269).
52
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:73), Wegener (2007:257).
53
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:253), Wegener (2007:284).
54
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:167), Wegener (2007:265).


Abydos 23 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 16)

The inscription may read <? n/l x b d a l i> *[man(?)
56
xibadi allai
57
] Here is (?) Queen
Hebat. This inscription is not considered a definitely Carian inscription although the letters
look Carian. The last letters may also be interpreted as <b d a l i> *[abd-ali]. In that case, it
would be Semitic not Carian, but this does not seem probable.


Abydos 24 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 17)

The inscription may read <n w z> *[naiawza
58
] We will/want to sit.


Abydos 25 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 18)

The inscription may read <(?) a r a b > *[(?) ari
59
abia
60
] (?) gives for the face (of
R). This is certainly not the Person name Arli as suggested in Adiego (2007:89).


Abydos 26 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 19)

The alphabet is extremely peculiar. The inscription may read <r (?) n w a b (?) d (?) q b r
w> *[ri(?)aniwi awia
61
yidia
62
qibiri
63
iwu
64
] For the face and body of R they have
brought (these) things.


Abydos 27 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 20)

The inscription may read <(?) m w s m g n u (?) r > *[a(?)mmawsa
65
maganniuura
66
]
We have come (?) with presents. This inscription may be written in Hurrian. Cf. Abydos 7,
29 for the same use of word separators and the peculiar <s> letter.

55
Cf. Laroche (1980:145), Wegener (2007:263).
56
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:167), Wegener (2007:265).
57
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:42), Wegener (2007:246).
58
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:175), Neu (1988:44), Wegener (2007:268).
59
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:52), Neu (1988:41), Wegener (2007:248).
60
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:34), Wegener (2007:248).
61
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:34), Wegener (2007:248).
62
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:73), Wegener (2007:257).
63
Cf. Laroche (1980:145), Wegener (2007:263).
64
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:267), Wegener (2007:285).
65
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1987:46-47), Wegener (2007:247).


Abydos 28 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 21)

The inscription may read from left to right <(?) r (?) w q n s j m> *[a(?)ri
67
biwa
qunsmi
68
] Given to you kneeling. This inscription may be written in Hurrian. Cf. Abydos 7,
for the same use of word separators and the peculiar <s> letter. The direction of reading given
in Adiego (2007:90) or Friedrich (1932:94) is wrong in our opinion. The shape of <n> and
<y> indicates left to right writing. The shape of <r> is ambiguous as it can be written head-
first or head-behind.


Abydos 29 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 22)

A very difficult inscription. It may read from left to right <(?)(?) (?) : n b q r s : x r u s t /
t l (?)> *[paiwu
69
nubi
70
-qurus
71
xursi-a
72
tal-(usaw?)
73
] My head ten thousand times for
the hubruhi (I have purified ?). This inscription is most certainly written in Hurrian. Cf.
Abydos 7, 27. The inscription seems to reflect an inversion between <> and <t>. Adiego
(2007:90) has cut off the second line for some unknown reason.


Abydos 30 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 23)

The inscription may read from left to right <t l x w (?) q n ts (?) > *[talix(?)
74
iwu(?)
75

qunts(?)
76
] The affair has been purified kneeling (?). Adiego (2007:94) holds this inscription
to be possibly Greek.


Abydos 31 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 24)

A difficult inscription with many gaps. It may read <(? ?) w (?) g n g > *[rijaniwa
maganni(?)
77
agi(?)
78
] For the god R a beautiful present (?).

66
Cf. Laroche (1980:164), Wegener (2007:265).
67
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:52), Neu (1988:41), Wegener (2007:248).
68
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:155), Neu (1988:43), Wegener (2007:264).
69
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:192), Wegener (2007:270).
70
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:187), Neu (1987:44), Wegener (2007:270).
71
Cf. Laroche (1987:156), Wegener (2007:264).
72
Cf. Laroche (1987:109).
73
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Wegener (2007:282).
74
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Wegener (2007:282).
75
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:267), Wegener (2007:285).
76
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:155), Neu (1988:43), Wegener (2007:264).
77
Cf. Laroche (1980:164), Wegener (2007:265).

Abydos 32 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 25)

A rather long and complex inscription with a peculiar alphabet. The inscription may read
<[1.] n (?) w a n s a : r a : (?) w (?) z : r a : q p w [2.] (? ?) a d z a : n s s>
*[nau(s?)w
79
(?) nisia : ria : naiwaz
80
(?) : ria : qipi
81
iwu
82
/ (? ?) : nisi su(yi ?)] We
have put his gain on the ground : (for) the god R : our gift : (for) the god R is given things :
(? ?) : all is (his) gain. The form *[nau(s?)w (?)] may be a metathesis of *[nausawa].
The second line may read <muzri mdizia> Sublime is the one who makes wise (?). Cf.
Abydos 8, 9, 10. The inscription contains twice the name of the god R *[ria], a feature that
has remained unnoticed. Adiego (2007:91) overruns the second word-separator in order to
read a well-known Carian name which actually starts with R *[r(i)a].


Abydos 33 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 26a)

A short but uneasy inscription. It may read <t a j > *[tiaja
83
] They are numerous (?).


Abydos 34 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 26b)

Another short but uneasy inscription. It may read <t a (?) w> *[tia(?)
84
iwu
85
] Things
(that is to say: gifts) are numerous (?).


Abydos 35 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 27)

An inscription with a peculiar alphabet. It may read <r a w m g
86
: m (dz?) l > *[riawi
magi : mudzili
87
] The desire (?) of the god R : may it or he/she be righteous (?).


Abydos 36 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 28)

78
Cf. Laroche (1980:249).
79
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:175), Neu (1988:44), Wegener (2007:268).
80
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:175), Neu (1988:44), Wegener (2007:268).
81
Cf. Laroche (1980:145), Wegener (2007:263).
82
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:267), Wegener (2007:285).
83
Cf. Laroche (1980:260), Wegener (2007:285).
84
Cf. Laroche (1980:260), Wegener (2007:285).
85
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:267), Wegener (2007:285).
86
Cf. Laroche (1980:164).
87
Cf. Laroche (1980:173), Wegener (2007:267).

A difficult inscription. It may read <(?) d j n r b l p> *[tadaji
88
niribilip
89
] [Done] well
with love (?). This inscription seems to be closer to Hurrian.


Abydos 37 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 29)

This inscription may read <(?) b w z : n t b l (?) s b> *[gibawza
90
(?) : nautib
91

alu
92
siib
93
] We put [our gift], it was there, [then] taken away and entered [the temple].


Abydos 38 (Friedrich 1932 Nr 30)

This inscription may read <x(?) m t (?) j u z> *[xummi
94
tijuauza(?)
95
] We spoke in
front of the altar (?).


Abydos 39 (Murray 1904)

This inscription may read <(?) r d l l> *[kiri
96
dilla] We are free or *[sari
97
dilla] We
desire.

7. Another interesting inscription to look at is the Kaunos bilingual. Of this document,
Melchert (2004:65) boldly asserts that:

The new CarianGreek bilingual from Kaunos has shown conclusively the essential validity of
the RayAdiegoSchrr system, while also confirming the suspicion of local variation in the use
of the Carian alphabet.While some rarer signs remain to be elucidated, the question of the
Carian alphabet may be viewed as decided.

It will be shown below that this claim is absurd hogwash.

The new bilingual has not led to immediate equally dramatic progress in our grasp of the
language.


88
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:2485), Neu (1988:45), Wegener (2007:284).
89
Cf. Laroche (1980:185), Wegener (2007:269).
90
Cf. Laroche (1980:145), Wegener (2007:263).
91
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:175), Neu (1988:44), Wegener (2007:268).
92
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Wegener (2007:282).
93
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:223), Wegener (2007:276).
94
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:113).
95
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:267), Wegener (2007:285).
96
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Neu (1988:43), Wegener (2007:263).
97
Cf. Catsanicos (1996), Laroche (1980:215), Neu (1988:44), Wegener (2007:275).
Decipherment without any simultaneously improved understanding of the Carian
language is a conspicuous feature of the RayAdiegoSchrr-cum-Melchert system.

One reason for this is that the Greek text of the Kaunos Bilingual is a formulaic proxenia decree,
while the corresponding Carian is manifestly quite independent in its phrasing of what must be
essentially the same contents.

It will be shown below that the Carian text is very close in its contents to the Greek text.

The Kaunos Bilingual has provided welcome confirmation of the view that Carian is an Indo-
European Anatolian language, and indeed, of the western type of Luvian, Lycian, and Lydian.
However, one cannot speak of a complete decipherment until there are generally accepted
interpretations of a substantial body of texts a stage not yet fully attained. This remark applies
even to the new bilingual, as one can easily confirm by reading the competing linguistic
analyses in Blmel, Frei, and Marek 1998. The following very sketchy description of the
language must therefore be taken as highly provisional!

To say the least.
So, what is the Kaunos Greek-Carian bilingual? What has been retrieved of the original
document is now three reassembled parts, which contain 26 lines of letters, the first 18 lines
are Carian and the last 7 are written in Greek. A number of inferences and descriptive remarks
can be made:

- According to the first lines of the Greek text, which seem to be missing no letters, the
Carian text misses about two letters at the end in the 13 first lines.
- The 18
th
line of the Carian text occupied only the left part of the line, which suggests that
the direction of writing was from left to right.
- What is left of the Carian text (18 lines) is much longer than what is left of the Greek part
(7 lines), so that it is unclear whether the Carian and Greek sections originally were a
strictly equivalent translation of one another.

The 5 first lines of Greek are rather well-preserved and we will compare them to the 6 first
lines of Carian. One recurrent question about so-called bilinguals is to determine whether
they are bilingual in the weak or the strong sense: Are they a coarse and remotely allusive
equivalent of one another or are they a close and nearly literal translation of one language into
the other? It will be shown below that the Kaunos bilingual most probably was a bilingual in
the strong sense, contrary to what Melchert (2004) believes: in fact, to judge from the first
lines of each language, the corresponding Carian is manifestly quite equivalent in its phrasing
of what must be essentially the same word-for-word contents in the Greek part. This is only
slightly obscured by the fact that the Greek Person names seem to be half-translated into
Carian, instead of being just rephonemicized in Carian.
According to Adiego (2007:154-156), the first lines of Carian are :

1. V VV V | || | V V V V O O O O | || | 1 11 1 j jj j ] ]] ]
D U H = *diui it is said [that]
Translates KA 5.18 EDOE, the first word of the Greek text.
Q U N H = *Qaunihi- (by) the Kaunians
NB: < V V V V > is better read < O OO O | || | 1 11 1>. Translates KA 5.18 KAVNOIS
M Z X = *muzu-xi = [this] has been placed
This refers to the bilingual itself.
[x x] = (probably) *u[rbi] foreign
Translates KA 5.23 OENOV

2. 1 11 1 ! !! ! | || | V VV V A AA A A AA A 1 11 1 d dd d (:) (:) (:) (:)
X = axi-a for the man
Continued translation of KA 5.23 OENOV
S M - (R?) L = summi-(r?)ili [and for the] hand-worker
Translates KA 5.19-20 HMIO / POU
A T N H = Atenai-xx Athenian(s)
Translates KA 5.23 [A]

3. A AA A A AA A 1 11 1 A AA A | | | | ! !! ! d dd d V VV V A AA A A AA A ! !! !
T A N A W S = tnu-awsa we have done [this]
D T A S x x = adars-xx for [our] friends
Both words translate KA 5.24 [A]IEVEPETA

4. O OO O | || | O OO O 1 11 1 O O O O ! !! ! 1 11 1 ! !! ! | || | A AA A | || |
L U K L S = Li-kles
Translates KA 5.21 VIKEOV
A S U T W x x = As-t-w-xx (Hippo-sthenos)
Seems to translate KA 5.21 IOHNOV
The Carian seems to be a derivative of (Hurrian) au horse.

5. A A A A 1 11 1 A AA A | || | ! !! ! V VV V | || | A AA A | || | A AA A ! !! !
N K L W S H = Nikolewas-ii Nikolewa-ian
Adiego (2007:155) reads **Nikoklea, but this seems to exist neither in Greek nor Carian.
L U K R S = Li-kras-xx
Translates KA 5.22 VIKPA-(T?)

6. O OO O | || | O OO O 1 11 1 O O O O ! !! ! 1 11 1 ! !! ! A AA A | || | 1 11 1
L U K L W/S(?) A S = Li-klews
A T N H x x = Atenai-xx Athenian

The Carian first 6 lines translate as: It is declared that by the Qaunians [this] has been
placed on behalf of the foreign man and the hand-worker, from Athens. We have done [this]
[for our] friends: Li-kles As-t-w-xx(?), son of Nikolewa, and Li-kras-xx(?) Li-klews,
son of Athena[io].
A few letters do not seem to be distinguished as they should:
- A [a] (not **[n]) ~ 1 11 1 [n] (not **[a]) ~ 1 11 1 [k],
- A ~ A AA A [t] ~ | || | [t],
A AA A [t] ~ A AA A or O OO O [l] ~ O OO O []
For example, Athena-(i) is written as < A AA A A AA A 1 11 1 d dd d > and < A AA A | || | 1 11 1 >.
The document makes a very clear distinction between the consonant [w] < E > and the long
vowel [] < | || |, | || | >. Short vowels are conspicuously not indicated, as in Abydos.

7. As a conclusion of this short sketch, we will reaffirm a few core inferences:

- The definitive RayAdiegoSchrr-cum-Melchert pseudo-decipherment is bogus.
- The Carian language is in fact a dialect of Hurrian.
- Carian is written in a set of near strictly consonantal alphabets, close to Semitic practices.

We are confident that future research on Carian can only bolster, support and reinforce
these conclusions.

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