The Luwian hieroglyphic script was used in Anatolia and Syria
between 1300 and 600 BC. It was used by the Hittites and other
Anatolian peoples for monumental inscriptions and on personal
seals. The origins of this script are uncertain: some scholars
suggest that it might be connected to other Aegan scripts,
particularly Cretan hieroglyphs, others think that it might be
an original invention.
This script is also known as Hieroglyphic Luwian or
Inscriptions in the Luwian script were first discovered
during the 19th century and were defined as Hittite. A
number of scholars, including Ignace J. Gelb, Emil Forrer,
Helmut Bossert, Bedrich Hrozný and Piero Meriggi identified
some logograms in the 1930s, though were unable to make
much sense of Luwian texts.
In 1946 a extensive bilingual text in Luwian and Phoenician was
discovered in Karatepe in southern Turkey. This made a significant
contribution to the decipherment, which was also helped by other
texts discovered in Ugarit. Various translations and transliterations of
Luwian inscriptions have been published since then. The language
of the inscriptions was confirmed as Luwian in 1973 by J.D. Hawkins,
Anna Morpurgo-Davies and Günther Neumann.
Scholars at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago
are currently learning to reading and write the Luwian hieroglyphic script.
- Type of writing system: semanto-phontic, consisting of
logograms, which represent words; syllabograms, which
represent syllables (usually V or CV); and determinatives,
which give a clue to the meaning of a word.
- Direction of writing: boustrophedon (alternating right to left
and left to right). Words were combined vertically along
- Used to write: Luwian, an Indo-European language, related to Hittite.
Luwian hieroglyphic logograms
A selection of Luwian hieroglyphic logograms arranged according to
their Latin meaning, as is conventional.
Hieroglyphic Luwian phonetic glyphs
Luwian words can be written entirely phonetically, or as a combination
of phonetic glyphs and determinatives.
Sample text in Luwian
Hieroglyphic Luvian Stele from Carchemish (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)
Information about the Luwian hieroglyphic script and language
Luwian hieroglyphic fonts
Ancient Egyptian (Demotic),
Ancient Egyptian (Hieratic),
Ancient Egyptian (Hieroglyphs),