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Ioustos Sigismoundos

Christodoulos Panayiotou2015

Republic of Cyprus - Biennale Arte 2015

Republic of Cyprus - Biennale Arte 2015

Positioned on the wall of the courtyard
of the palazzo is Ioustos Sigismoundos, a
proposal for the renaming of a street in
Limassol Municipality, Cyprus.
“Forgotten today, Ioustos Sigismoundos was
a pioneer of Cypriot graphology. One of the
earliest classic scholars to show an interest
in the Cypriot syllabary, Sigismoundos was
sent to the island by the government of
Saxony in 1875, and reportedly contributed
significantly to the efforts to decipher
Cypro-Syllabic writing. On March 3, 1876,
while looking for ancient inscriptions in the
Amathus area, he met with a premature
death under tragic circumstances. Several
sources report that while trying to come out
of a carved tomb of substantial depth, he
attempted to support himself from a stone,
which slipped and crushed him. […]
 Beyond the tragic lightness that
characterizes human existence, the end of
Ioustos Sigismoundos suggests, I believe, a
number of issues of pivotal importance for
comprehending his time, revealing, above all,
the early symbolic structures of the then
budding science of archaeology. The tragic
irony that connects the subject of his scientific
interest (the study of ancient scriptures) with
the posthumous Hellenized rendering and
dissemination of his name is the point that
piqued my interest in proceeding with this
proposal. His original name, Justus
Siegismund, phonetically deviates from the
Hellenized version enough to obscure the
relation between the two forms. […]
 The institutions of the Cypriot state […]
adopt as their method of transcription from
the Greek to the Roman writing system the
standard known as ELOT 743. This is used
to transcribe, where necessary, words from
the Greek into Latin characters (especially
in the case of place names and street names).
According to the above procedure, the
original reference, even if the name comes
from a language that uses the Latin alphabet,
is ignored, and the name is directly
transcribed from the Greek (that is, from the
Greek transliteration). Consequently, the
street name will be transcribed as “Ioustos
Sigismoundos Street” (rather than as “Justus
Siegismund Street”). […]
 In this particular case, I think that giving
the name of Ioustos Sigismoundos to a street
of Limassol, beyond the due commemoration,
adds another level of complexity to the
layering of this story, which is of great
interest in terms of writing, transcription,
translation, symbols, as well as language
and the complications that it entails.”

Excerpt from Christodoulos Panayiotou,
“Letter From Limassol,” in Two Days After
Forever: A Reader on the Choreography of Time,
ed. Omar Kholeif (Berlin & Nicosia: Sternberg
Press & Cyprus Ministry of Education and
Culture, 2015), 19-22.

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Details

  • Title: Ioustos Sigismoundos
  • Creator: Christodoulos Panayiotou
  • Date Created: 2015
  • Physical Dimensions: approximate dimensions: 58 x 20cm
  • Rights: Courtesy the artist, Rodeo, Istanbul / London; kamel mennour, Paris and the Cyprus Pavilion., Photo by Aurelien Mole
  • Medium: street sign

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