THE VINCHA SCRIPT
† Radivoje Peshich, Vesna Peshich
Publishing house “Pesic & sinovi”, Kneza Milosa 63, 11000 Beograd, Yugoslavia
If we accept the results of the analysis made by the C-14 method for the latest date i.e. 3473 B. C. for the archaeological site of Banjica, belonging to the latest phase of the Vincha culture, we shall immediately notice that the Vincha script was 373 years older than the Proto-Sumerian pictographic script, up to now regarded to be the earliest known script in the world. Consequently, this very data points out to the urge to change the dating of the first world script and the place of its origin. On the basis of the documentation covering the archaeological discovery of the Vincha culture, in particular, the abundant finds of the Banjica site, which is the integral part of Belgrade, Banjica should be considered the first school of literacy from whence the written word set off into the world.
After having examined in detail the ceramic fragments with incised letters and inscriptions from Vincha, Banjica and other archaeological sites belonging to the Vincha culture, I copied them, made photographs of them and carried out the classification of the material. On that occasion, I established several versions (or schools) of the letter signs of the Vincha script. Out of a multitude of signs, I separated 57 very characteristic ones. Out of that number, 14 letters could be listed as vocals. A repeated analysis permitted only up to five vocals, while the others could be considered their variations. Variations could be found among the other signs, listed as consonants, as well, and their total number amounted to 43. Accordingly, the Vincha script could have an alphabet of 26 letters. In the Vincha script, beside the letter signs of which each has its own phonetic value, also ligatures are observed. We have separated 23 of them, showing in a best way the principle on the basis of which the Vincha scribes created their ligatures. By viewing this survey, one may recognize other, new ligatures. A very characteristic feature of the Vincha orthography is the use of a full stop, of one or more, in the midst of a word, noticeable later on in the literacy of later civilizations.
The next step in our analysis of the Vincha script was to compare now the already classified signs and the known ancient scripts. Here are the results of these comparisons;
- Five identical letters were found in the Brahma script;
- Four letters were found the Cretan Linear A, and only two in the Linear B;
- The West Semitic has eight, the Old Phoenician ten identical letters with the Vincha script;
- The Cyprian script has nine, the Palestinian has seven, Old Greek has 12 identical letters, while the Anglo-Saxon runic has only four;
- The Serbian Cyrillic Alphabet has 20 letters, while the Glagol has seven similar letters;
- The comparison of the Vincha and Etruscan scripts is very interesting; the complete Etruscan alphabet is totally identical with the Vincha script.
The results of this survey show that other peoples to a greater or lesser extent took over signs for their scripts directly or indirectly from the Vincha script. Some of the signs were taken over in the identical form and some were styled, while some of them served only as an inspiration. In any case, the Vincha script served as a source of literacy for many civilizations and, due to the fact that it was the earliest script ever, many of later script were created under its influence.
Due to the fact that no attention was paid to the archaeological sites with incised letters and inscriptions, it is yet not possible to establish whether the number of the ceramic fragments in Museum depots is final. We are primarily concerned in the material pertaining to the Vincha culture though it may be probable, other cultures may have been in possession thereof as well. The material at our disposal has only a small number of inscriptions. As we have already mentioned, they mainly represent letter incisions, which could be accepted as trademarks of either workshops or artisans though they may have another contents, of a testament or a message. The ligatures prompt such a conclusion. Apart from the full stop, already mentioned as one of the important characteristic of the Vincha orthography, the ligature plays a very important part and is widely distributed. Ligature links the elements of two or three or even more letters. In the Vincha orthography, the ligature very often serves to write a whole word. We would like to point out to the very simple solutions found by the scribes of the Vincha ligatures, so that the principle of composing and reading is very clear to the reader at the first glance.
The archaeological site of Banjica offered the most of the material evidencing the Vinca script. The material suggests a very widely distributed literacy, prompting, on the other hand, a conclusion that the literacy could not have sprung during the last years of life on this site, but much earlier.
The genesis of the script is one of key questions of the civilization development connected with many misunderstandings. These misunderstandings are mainly caused by general classic stereotypes failing to take account of the fact that everything is subject to cognition of the whole and that everything stems out of it. The old Indic tradition teaches us not to invent forms, but to recognize them. This means, they have been within us, they have originated together with us within the mutual reflections. We have been recognizing them as a sign, being the mediator in discovering the unknown and in revealing the known truth. Whence the conclusion, the human script is tied to the use of a sign and is dependent on it. Consequently, the sign is no contingency or heritage of some privileged civilization, and the script is nothing else but the sign, by its quintessence, morphology and function. Many researchers of the sign most often make senseless divisions between the sign and the script, departing in this manner from the subject matter. Semiotics as a separate scientific discipline, or as most often thought, as a science among sciences or an instrument of a science, is engaged in studying signs. One might say it seems to be an organon science. However, other scientific disciplines such as: linguistics, philosophy and logic, psychology and biology, archaeology and anthropology, sociology... are engaged in these researches. And when they depart from the semiotic aspects, they depart from the basic empirical problems they were supposed to dedicate to. Whence wrong directions and misunderstandings.
The script is, therefore, a sign. The sign is, therefore, a script. Regardless of the nature and formal interpretation. Each script is based upon a system, as it stems out of it and exists within it and with it, as the expression of the general order of things. The script, sprung out of a system, represents a system proper without which the survival of the civilization is not possible. The civilizations, whether primitive or developed, do not begin with prehistory or history; or at least with prehistory or history known to us. To say it mildly, in real science it is rather frivolous to categorize the earliest civilizations as primitive only because our cognition is unable fully to apprehend them or because it lives under illusion to have gone too far from them. Neither would it be very wise to maintain to have discovered the first day of history or prehistory. Consequently, we cannot search after the genesis of the script either through a historical stereotype or by some kind of development extent.
On almost forty archaeological sites across the Balkans an abundant treasury of written records not only testified of a high level of literacy attained in the Neolithic period, but also confirmed the high level of consciousness of that world. All this offered sufficient possibilities to view this ancient world in its true light and to reject old prejudices and false constructions of its spiritual stuntedness. By disregard of the most sanctimonious heritage of that ancient world, the world of literacy, that world was deprived of its rightful part of a torchbearer of literacy, which was taken to another part of the world where a completely different civilization flourished, a civilization which put forth the material over the spiritual, or at least put a sign of equality between them.
The history confirmed the change of conceptions meant at the same time appropriations of civilizations’ heritages. This was the case with the Balkan’s ravished civilization. For almost ten thousand years world has been unable to cope with own projections.
Up to 1980, the ample literacy fund from the Neolithic period in the Balkans was inadequately categorized only as vague hints of a script with the aim to renounce the script as a heritage to other civilizations. From that date on, the material has been researched as the authentic literacy of civilizations inhabiting the Middle Danube Basin, which transmitted this tradition in the course of time up to the present days, spreading it to all the four sides of the world.
In 1987, in Milan, the system of the script was presented and interpreted on the basis of documentation and named Vincha script after the most copious excavation site. From that very moment, the Vincha script as a character script, originating from the VI millennium, entered into encyclopedias and became the subject researched at the European universities. This caused the change and adjustment of the existing chronology and development of the script as follows;
1. Proto-script of Lepenski Vir (8000-6000 B.C.)
2. Vincha script (5300-3200 B.C.)
3. Sumerian script in Mesopotamia (3100 B.C.-75 A.D.)
4. Proto-Elamitic script (between 3000 and 2000 B.C.)
5. Proto-Indic script (ca. 2200 B.C.)
6. Chinese script (from 1300 B.C. to the present times)
7. Egyptian script (3000 B.C.-400 A.D.)
8. Cretan script (2000-1200 B.C.)
9. Hittite script (1600-777 B.C.)
The former chronology given by the American grammarian I.E.Gelb had to give way to the new one without resentment. All kinds of surmisable, construed and arbitrary inferences were defeated by the veracity of documentation. The Vincha script originated and lasted within its own system and the Etruscans had rightfully named the system of the script as elementa (elements) meaning alphabet.
The Vincha script is linear i.e. the script consisting of letter characters and is a starting point in a circle of nine systems, pointing to the mystery of its morphology and the repetition of the continuity in a strictly defined rhythm up to the number indicating all the layers of the phone within a tone, being the expression of a linear dimension of an atom. The morphology of numbers, wrongly designated as Roman, was also derived from the Vincha script, for the Vincha culture preceded Rome for over three thousand years, but Etruria seemed to have been much closer, though it has been known it had flourished at the end of the II and at the beginning of I millennia B.C. The Etruscans were the closest neighbors of the Veneti, and the Veneti went from the Balkans into the Trojan wars scattering all over Europe after the defeat. It is known, their homeland, even before the Trojan wars expanded all over the Middle Danube Basin, along the rivers Morava and Timok, up to the fountainhead of the river Vardar. Accordingly, the Etruscans could have taken over the morphology of both the number and the script from the Veneti, and not from the Greek with whom they did not have good relations. Having taken over the heritage of the Etruscan civilization, the Romans took over the number as well, which had originated from the Vincha culture. The Vincha script had not disappeared with the end of the Vincha culture. It had expanded, and more or less modified, or in the original form, continued to exist until the late Bronze Age, as documented by numerous archaeological traces.
The Vincha script, as the identification of the spirit mechanics, by its system stemming out of its morphology, and the latter out of the universal rhythm constants, arouses numerous fundamental problems not only within the field of grammatology, but also within the historical civilization development and its evolution. The Vincha script confirms the literacy not have accrued out of pictography, as maintained by superficial scientific conclusions up to now, but out of biological order of things to which the prehistoric man could only turn to. The discovery of the Vincha script system changes and historically and geographically shifts cradles of early civilizations and directions of their movements. What is still more crucial, as a reflection of undefeated age, it is, by its inner structure, the best expression of the tendency towards transcendental and absolute. Therefore, it had not been dedicated to the ritual, as suggested by Maria Gimbutas, distracting her Ph.D. candidates from the central field of cognition and directing them to already long surpassed notions. The Vincha script is religion bereft of ritual, and a religion bereft of mediator.
Hieroglife smatrajo za prvo stopnjo pisave. Za njimi naj bi se pojavil klinopis, temu pa naj bi sledila slikovna in črkovna pisava. Po do sedaj znanih podatkih naj se najzgodnejša pisava ne bi pojavila pred začetkom drugega tisočletja pr. Kr. Kasneje naj bi pisavo prenesli Feničani Grkom preko Cipra, Ionije, Krete in Miken v Grčijo. Po odkritju prof. Pešića so te domneve vprašljive: napisi na keramiki v osrednjem Podonavju izvirajo iz petega tisočletja pr. Kr. in ti napisi so črkovni. Identični so z etruščansko pisavo in deset enakih črk ima tudi feničanska. Torej so Feničani sprejeli pisavo od ljudi živečih na severu, Etruščani pa so jo med 15. in 10. stol. pr. Kr. prinesli s sabo.