Malgorzata Zadka is an assistant professor of linguistics at the Institute of Classical Studies, University of Wroclaw, Poland. Her doctoral research (completed in 2010) focused on Cretan script Linear A and its place among other Bronze Age Aegean writing systems. In her current research, she concentrates on how scripts reflect language and cognition. She especially deals with writing systems combining logographic and phonographic elements, as well as different forms of proto-writing and early graphic codes.


Creating Identity through Writing: A case of ancient Greek vase inscriptions

The aim of this talk is to offer a new explanation for the function of Greek vase inscriptions: a tool for creating social identity. A large group of vases from the Archaic and Classical periods displays inscriptions accompanied by representations of people and gods—the inscriptions’ function largely remains unclear. In previous attempts to understand them, attention has been paid to inscriptions’ arrangement in a vase’s graphic composition, to the meaning of words, and to relationships with the literary tradition. By linking the inscriptions with their cultural background, this paper will aim to show that in classical Athens, understanding short words on vases could bring their readers satisfaction through knowing and using this new, intriguing medium. By recognizing words written on vases, even without reading them properly, one could feel connection with both Greek cultural tradition and an elite group of literate people.

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