Many inscriptions in the Iberian scripts have been found on the Iberian peninsula, in southern France and on the Balearic Islands. The oldest known inscriptions date from the 4th century BC. The scripts are thought to have derived from the Punic alphabet.
In the 3rd century BC the Iberian peninsula was invaded first by Carthage, then by the Romans. Thereafter, the Iberian scripts and the languages they were used to write gradually disappeared.
Iberian, a non-Indo-European language which has so far resisted decipherment, and Lusitanian, an Indo-European language possibly related to the Celtic languages. A modified version of the Northern Iberian script was used to write Celtiberian, a Celtic language. The most recent inscriptions in these language date from the 2nd century AD and they are thought to have become extinct by then.
This Southwest Script was used in southwestern Iberia to write an unknown language which is usually identified as Tartessian. A total of 75 inscriptions in this script dating from between the 7th and 5th centuries BC have been found in the Algarve and southern Alentejo in Portugal, and in southern Extremadura and western Andalucia in Spain. The script is also known as the Southwestern Script, the Southwest Paleohispanic script, the Tartessian Script or the South Lusitanian Script.
The Tartessian language, which is also known as Southwestern or South Lusitanian, is an extinct language spoken in the southwestern Iberia. The name Tartessian comes from Tartessos, a city that once stood at mouth of the Guadalquivir River in Andalusia. Tartessian was possibly a Celtic language, though this is uncertain.
Based on information from Rodríguez Ramos, Jesús (2000): «La lectura de las inscripciones sudlusitano-tartesias»
Lead plaque from Ullastret [source]
Lead plaque from La Bastida de les Alcuses (Moixent) [source]
Fonte Velha (Bensafrim, Lagos) [source]
Information about the Iberian scripts and languages
ALPHABETUM - a Unicode font specifically designed for ancient scripts, including classical & medieval Latin, ancient Greek, Etruscan, Oscan, Umbrian, Faliscan, Messapic, Picene, Iberian, Celtiberian, Gothic, Runic, Old & Middle English, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Old Nordic, Ogham, Kharosthi, Glagolitic, Old Cyrillic, Phoenician, Avestan, Ugaritic, Linear B, Anatolian scripts, Coptic, Cypriot, Brahmi, Old Persian cuneiform: http://guindo.pntic.mec.es/~jmag0042/alphabet.html
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Page last modified: 15.03.23
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