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(611)《“天书”是怎样破译出来的二》

2010-06-26  楊易

 

    本世纪一开始,在中华大地上就展开了探寻华夏文明之源——探寻“夏代”文字的考古发掘工作。

    大家知道,世界历史学考古学界关于远古“夏”代(夏朝)的热烈争论,从20世纪一直跨越到21世纪。简言之,我国史学界大多数坚持“真实存在过夏朝”的观点,而国际史学界对此谨慎地表示存疑。迄今几乎所有的“世界古代史”著述,叙述中华文明史都从公元前15世纪的“殷商”开始,而把尧舜禹及“夏代”归入“史前神话传说时代”。平心而论,国际史学界坚持这样做,主要原因倒并不是出于对我国学术界的歧视,更不是出于对我中华民族的偏见,而是出于对历史科学原则的严格遵守:无论埃及希伯来印度波斯希腊罗马,凡是“文明史”的叙述和研讨,都必须具有现代科学考古的充分证据,特别是远古文字实体的确凿证据。

    迄今为止,我们还没有发掘出远古“夏”代和三星堆、良渚等文化遗址存在“文字”的确凿证据。因此,寻找夏代文字的考古发掘工作,就成了全世界众目睽睽的焦点。

    如果谁发掘并解读出“夏代”的文字,那将是世界文明史研究的划时代突破。

切盼如此重大的事业成功!

    在这样的关键时刻,值得我花费精力,介绍远古希腊的“天书”(线性文字)是怎样在20世纪中期,经过整整50年的艰苦探讨才发掘和解读出来的真相,提供给大家参考。

    众所周知,对于欧洲文明之源——古希腊的历史,过去学术界通常认为是从“荷马史诗时代”也就是公元前900年左右开始的。幸亏一个多世纪以来对于爱琴海文明的坚持不懈的考古努力,找到了充分的证据,把“古希腊文明史”扩展到公元前2000多年,也就是相当于我国历史传说中的“夏朝”的同一时代。

    就在20世纪开始的1900年(在我国发现殷商甲骨文的第二年),英国考古学家亚瑟?约翰?伊文思(Sir Arthur Evans)在爱琴海克里特岛克诺索斯古代宫殿废墟上,发现一些泥版的残片,上面刻着一些文字,如同“天书”。

    通过科学的年代探测技术,测定最古老的泥版残片文字,约刻于公元前2000—1650年间;稍后的泥版残片约刻于公元前1750—1450年间,伊文思称之为“线形文字A”;又据伊文思考证,几乎同时有种新的文字代替了线形文字A,他称之为“线形文字B”。

    然而这些神秘的古文字,在长达半个世纪内竟然没有一个学者能够解读。

    我们知道,在19世纪中,学术界对于几千年前古埃及文的圣书字和俗字,两河流域古苏美尔文、古阿卡德文、古巴比伦文、古亚述文、古波斯文……的丁头字,先后都解读成功,由此开拓出“埃及学”“亚述学”等现代学科的新世纪。

唯独这种“天书 —— 克里特线形文字”,却对于历史考古学家们的智力,提出了空前艰难的挑战!

   发掘出刻有线形文字的泥版很多,然而对于这种神秘文字,所有的历史学家都是“文盲”了。伊文思在1941年去世前,又对线形文字 B提供了许多假设和线索。他还为克诺索斯宫殿画了一张复原图。根据他的看法,克诺索斯城原址距离爱琴海约有4公里,城内居民约8万人。

    1936年,晚年的伊文思Evans在伦敦举办了一次著名的学术讲座,主题是《希腊克里特岛上未知的文明,和这个史前神奇民族的神秘文字》。

听众里面有一个不到15岁的中学生,对这“史前神奇民族的神秘文字”入迷了。他叫迈克尔?文特里斯Michael Ventris,那天听完讲座后,他发誓:一定要揭破线形文字的秘密!

    又过了15年,经过坚持不懈的努力,他终于实现了少年时代的誓言。

    文特里斯M Ventris成年后的正式职业是建筑学家,但他热衷于研究语言学和铭文更胜于建筑。

    作为业余研究者,他长期跟专家们通信、讨论。到1951年,文特里斯30岁时首先读懂了线性文字B的一部分,还指出这种文字是希腊本土迈锡尼人使用的文字,那时那里的古希腊人,后来成为《荷马史诗》中的传奇英雄。文特里斯仔细分析了那些扑朔迷离的考古发现,得出这样的结论。

    还有一位对古希腊语言史有深入的研究的学者查德里克(John Chadwick),跟文特里斯共同解出了线形文字B中各个符号的发音,并证明了其中的词汇来自一种古希腊方言。

    这些写有线形文字B的泥板,原来是古代希腊商人遗留下来的;大多记载账目,其中不少泥板上是货物清单。这是海洋民族——古希腊人留给后代的宝贵遗物!

    由此确凿无误地证实了:爱琴海克里特文明,是古希腊文明最早的组成部分。

    文特里斯和查德里克破译出来的,是一种主要由音节符号组成,加上一部分语标符号(用来表示一个单词或词组的符号)、10进制的计数体系以及用来分隔单词的短竖线组成的语文系统。直到1953年,“天书 —— 克里特线形文字B”才被完全破译成功,他们两人在其他专家遭到挫折的地方获得了胜利。

但是,米诺斯线形文字A、费斯图泥盘文、部分玛雅文和复活节岛木板上的符号等,至今还神秘莫测,留待后人继续破译、解读。

 

【附录】线形文字B的基本音节文字表

    除了这些标准的音节符号,还有一些辅助的符号被用来简化单词的拼写。有些可以表示双元音的符号看作是一种缩写。

    注意,这里使用的是传统的标注法,即j表示[y],q表示[kw],z表示[dz]。

    由于线形文字B的发音与希腊语并不能很好地契合,所以这种语文体系显然是为一种非希腊语设计的。事实上,很有可能线形文字A是克里特岛的原住居民在希腊人到来之前使用的书写体系,随后的古希腊人采用了这种书写体系,没有作很大的改动。这样,希腊人就需要规定一些“拼写惯例”来表示在希腊语音节表里面所没有的发音。

    首先,有许多希腊语的发音并不存在对应的线形文字B符号,例如[g],[kh],[gw],[b],[ph],[th]和[l]。为了解决这个问题,一些发音近似的符号被用来取代这些发音:p行的符号可以用来表示[p]、[b]、[ph]的音;k行符号表示[k]、[g]、[kh]的音;t行符号表示[t]和[th];q行符号表示[kw]和[gw];r行符号表示[r]和[l]。然而,尽管这些惯例对古代迈锡尼的抄写员来说是非常容易理解的,但是现在的学者却进行了大量的理论分析,并与较晚的希腊方言和迈锡尼词汇比较之后才找到这些规律的。下图表示的是一些同一个符号代表了多种发音的情况。

    线形文字B的另一个不足之处在于这些符号表示的总是辅音-元音(CV)音节,但是希腊语的音节结构中还存在词首辅音音群,词尾辅音和双元音。对于含有词首辅音音群的音节,音群中的每个辅音都可以用一个CV符号表示,其中的元音与音节中的元音相同。例如, tri可以表示成ti-ri,khrusos可以表示成ku-ru-so。词尾辅音的情况则要更复杂一些。[l],[m],[n],[r]和[s]作为词尾辅音往往不表示出来,其它的一些辅音,如[k]和[p]与词首辅音的书写方式类似。

    下图表示的是辅音的书写方式。第一行说明了辅音音群的情况,第二行是词尾辅音省略的情况,第三行给出的是词尾辅音需要表示的情况。

    双元音与词尾辅音类似,有时需要表示出来,有时则被省略。以[-u]结尾的双元音需要完全表示出来,前一个符号表示出双元音中的第一个元音,再用一个u的符号表示双元音中的第二个元音。例如,leuka写成re-u-ka。辅助符号a2代表词首的双元音[au]。

    以[-i]结尾的双元音通常省略其中的第二个元音,例如poimen写成po-me,pherei写成pe-re。但是偶尔也会出现双元音中所有的元音都需要表示出来的情况。有时拼写出双元音中的每一个元音(例如城市的名字Phaistos写做pa-i-to),有时使用之前列出的辅助符号(例如a3和ra3)。

    以[i-]和[u-]开头的双元音也要完全表示出来。某些情况下,只含有元音音素的符号被用来表示双元音中的第二个元音(例如:[kia]被写做ki-a)。但是在大多数情况下都使用wV或是jV(V代表元音)符号用来表示整个双元音,此时双元音前的一个CV符号与双元音中的第一个元音相同。在少数情况下,也会使用含有双元音音素的辅助符号,如dwe和twe。

    除了表音符号之外,线形文字B中还有一些语标符号。这些语标符号用以表示人、动物、植物、物品。有些语标符号很形象,一看就能知道表示的是什么,有些语标符号则是比较抽象的符号。

    有些音节符号同时也是语标符号。有趣的是,这些音节符号的读音和他们所表示单词的发音不同。例如,表示“绵羊(sheep)”的语标符号就是音节符号qi,但是“绵羊”在迈锡尼希腊语中应该是owis(古希腊语ois,拉丁文ovis)。再下面所举的一些例子中,你可以将音节符号的读音(第二行的红色文字)与迈锡尼希腊语单词(第四行的蓝色文字)作比较。

    学者们认为,这些既能表音又能表意的符号代表的是线形文字A中单词的第一个音节。其它的许多古代文字也使用了类似方法,将象形符号所表示物体名称的第一个音节规定为一个特定的语音符号(就好像在英语中,用苹果apple的图片表示[a]的音)。

    另外,有些语标符号是两个或两个以上的音节符号叠加而成的。

    最后,对有些动物来说,可以通过语标符号上的一些小修改来区分动物的性别。在一个表示一种动物的符号上加上两条短的横线表示雄性,加上一条竖线则表示雌性。

    线形文字B采用的是10进制的计数体系,包含五种符号,每种符号代表10的一个幂。一条竖线代表1,一条横线代表10,一个圈代表100,等等。

    在书写一个数字的时候,从最高位开始写到低位。在每个幂的地方,将对应的符号重复书写至所要表达的数量。下面就是一个例子:

    Despite such a non-descriptive name, Linear B has proved to be the oldest surviving record of the Greek dialect known as Mycenaean, named after the great site of Mycenae where the legendary Agamemnon ruled. The script's usage spanned the time period between approximately 1500 BCE and 1200 BCE , and geographically covered the island of Crete, as well as the southern part of the Greek Mainland.

The script was discovered by archeaologist Sir Arthur Evans in the early part of this century during excavations in Crete and the Greek mainland. However, its full decipherment did not occur until 1953, when Michael Ventris, an architect who actually liked linguistics and epigraphy more than architecture, and John Chadwick, who provided insight into the early history of the Greek language, worked out the phonetic values of Linear B signs and proved that its lexicon is that of an archaic Greek dialect. What Ventris and Chadwick uncovered is a script that consists mostly of syllabic signs, a fair number of logograms, a base-10 number system, and short vertical lines as word separators. It seems that ancient accounting records composed a majority of the clay tablets on which Linear B appears because a lot of them are lists of materials and goods.

The following chart features the basic Linear B syllabary.

“天书”是怎样破译出来的?

In addition to the standard syllabic grid, there are optional signs used to clarify the spelling of a word. Some of these signs can be considered "short-hands" in that they represent dipthongs.

“天书”是怎样破译出来的?

Note that I use traditional transcription here, where j actually represented the sound [y], q is actually the sound [kw], and z is theorized to be [dz].

This system was apparently designed for a non-Greek language, as it did not fit the sounds of Greek very well. In fact, it is likely that Linear A was used to write the pre-Greek language of Crete, and the incoming Greeks adopted this writing system for their own use, but without changing how the system fundamentally works. In doing so, they developed "spelling conventions" to represent sound patterns found in Greek but not in the syllabary.

First, there are many Greek sounds that are missing in Linear B signs, such as [g], [kh], [gw], [b], [ph], [th], and [l]. To solve this problem, signs for similar sounds are used instead: p-signs are used for [p], [b], and [ph]; k-signs are used for [k], [g], and [kh]; t-signs are used for [t] and [th]; q-signs are used for [kw] and [gw]; and r-signs are used for [r] and [l]. However, while this convention was likely easily understood by ancient Mycenaean scribes, it took modern scholars a lot of theoretical analysis and work, plus comparison with later Greek dialects and reconstructed Mycenaean words to rediscover how this system works. The following chart illustrates cases where the same sign can stand for multiple sounds.

“天书”是怎样破译出来的?

Another inadequacy stems from the fact that Linear B signs usually represent Consonant-Vowel (CV) syllables, but the syllabic structure of Greek allows initial consonant clusters, ending consonants, and dipthongs. In the case of a syllable with a initial consonant cluster, individual consonants in the cluster are written by a CV sign whose vowel matches the vowel of the syllable. Therefore, for example, the word tri is written as ti-ri, and khrusos as ku-ru-so. In the case of ending consonant, the situation becomes more complicated. Ending consonants such as [l], [m], [n], [r], and [s] are not usually written, whereas other consonants such as [k] and [p] are written in a way similar to initial consonants.

The following chart shows how consonants are written out. The first line illustrates consonant clusters, the second line shows ending consonants that are omitted, and the third line gives examples of ending consonants that are written.

“天书”是怎样破译出来的?

Dipthongs are similar to ending consonants in that sometimes they are written and sometimes omitted. Dipthongs ending with [-u] are usually written out completely, with a preceding sign denoting the first vowel in the dipthong, followed by the u sign that denotes the dipthong's second vowel. For example, the word leuka is written as re-u-ka. Also, the optional sign a2 also stands for a word-initial [au] dipthong.

“天书”是怎样破译出来的?

A dipthong ending in [-i] usually omits the second vowel of [-i], such as poimen is written as po-me, and pherei as pe-re. However, once in a while all vowels in the dipthong are indicated, either by spelling out each of the vowels in the dipthong (such as the city "Phaistos" is written as pa-i-to), or with the optional signs illustrated above (such as a3 and ra3).

“天书”是怎样破译出来的?

Dipthongs with starting [i-] or [u-] are usually written completely. In some cases, vowel-only signs are used to indicate the second vowel in the dipthong (such as [kia] is written as ki-a). However, most of the time, a sign of either the wV or the jV type is used to indicate the entire dipthong, with the vowel in the preceding CV sign matching the first vowel in the dipthong sign (in this case, [kia] is written as ki-ja). Also, in a few cases, an optional sign with a dipthong, such as dwe and twe, is used.

“天书”是怎样破译出来的?

In addition to phonetic signs, Linear B also has several logograms. These logograms represent people, animals, plants, and physical objects. Some of the logograms are pictorial in appearance, leaving no doubt what they represent, while others are more iconic or symbolic.

“天书”是怎样破译出来的?

Some syllabograms also double as logograms. Curiously, the phonetic values of these syllabograms do not match the word they represent. For example, the logogram for 'sheep' is the qi syllabogram, but 'sheep' in Mycenaean Greek should be owis (compare with Classical Greek ois, Latin ovis, etc). In the following example, you can compare the syllabogram's phonetic value (red text on second line) with the reconstructed Mycenaean Greek word (blue text on the fourth line):

“天书”是怎样破译出来的?

It is theorized that these dual-role signs represent initial syllables of words in the language underlying Linear A, as many ancient writing systems create phonetic signs by using pictographs of objects to represent the initial sound or syllable of the objects' names (a contrived example in English would be using a picture of an apple to represent the [a] sound).

In addtion, logograms can be created by putting two or more syllabograms into a ligature.

“天书”是怎样破译出来的?

Finally, for certain animals, the sex of the animal can be marked by extra strokes to the logogram. The basic logogram usually represents the species of the animal, whereas two short horizontal lines denotes the male of the species, and an extra vertical line denotes the female.

“天书”是怎样破译出来的?

The number system of Linear B is fundamentally base-10. It has five signs, each of which denotes a power of 10, i.e. a vertical line stands for 1, a horizontal line for 10, a circle for 100, and so on.

“天书”是怎样破译出来的?

To write a number, you begin with the highest power of 10, and go toward lower ones. For each power of 10, you repeat the corresponding sign until you reach the desired multiple. Here is an example:

“天书”是怎样破译出来的?

Many thanks to Curtis Clark (jcclark@csupomona.edu) for his Linear B font. You can visit his page at http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark/fonts/

 

 

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