Linear A: The Search for New Solutions. What on Earth am I up to?
NOTE! If you do not read this commentary in its entirety, none of this will make no sense whatsoever.
What? You ask. I thought this Blog was supposed to be all about Mycenaean Linear B. Well, if that were the case, why would I keep bringing up Arcado-Cypriot Linear C? There are plenty of reasons for that, which will become much clearer to us all as I progress through 2014. As it stands, I now have no other alternative but to learn Linear C, if I am to translate the Idalion Tablet and other Linear C Tablets, which as you will eventually discover I must do if I am to confirm beyond a doubt the relative authenticity of my Theory of Progressive Mycenaean Grammar and Vocabulary, which I sincerely hope will become absolutely transparent sometime in 2015.
What about Linear A?
What? You have to wonder! Is this guy absolutely mad? God knows. However, I have been wracking my brains out for at least 9 months trying to figure out how I might be able to tackle Linear A in some sort of minimal way, until yesterday, when the lights came on, and I suddenly realized what my unique contribution to research on Linear A can be. First of all, I know next to zilch about Linear A, and I intend to keep it that way. After all, Michael Ventris knew nothing of Linear B, when he began his long trek to eventually deciphering it in June-July 1952, having discovered to his utter astonishment that the language behind it was, of all things, Greek, a very early Greek indeed, but none the less Greek. And I am no Michael Ventris.
Now, if he started from scratch, then I suppose I might as well. Let me make it perfectly clear: I do not intend to even attempt to learn any more about Linear A than past and current research has already revealed. What on earth is the point of that? The most famous exponent of and researcher into Linear A is none other than Prof. John G. Younger of the University of Kansas, and there is no point whatsoever in my making even the slightest attempt to duplicate his extensive knowledge of Linear A, nor that of other highly respected researchers who have preceded him. You will find new links to the corpus of research by Prof. Younger and other eminent researchers in Linear A at the bottom of this page, links which I positively urge you to follow up on. In the meantime, what is to be my own approach to the study of Linear A? It is actually quite simple: I am going to start from scratch, from my rickety platform with nothing whatsoever on it, proceeding thus: I intend to approach Linear A in an entirely novel way, by exploring avenues which no-one else has followed before, subject to any reproof to my total absence of knowledge, or if you like, my patent all out ignorance of Linear A.
How does he intend to do that, I hear you asking? I cannot afford to duplicate any approaches or avenues of research already followed, to whatever extent. In other words, if anyone whatsoever has peered into the arcane mysteries of Linear A, and discovered anything about its structure, syllabary etc. etc., why on earth would I duplicate it? It is for this reason that I must take a fresh approach to the study of Linear A by calling on absolutely every contemporary researcher into the field to assist me in completely eliminating any and all avenues already taken in the extensive research of Linear A, since there is simply no point in rehashing what so many others have done before. In light of my firm decision to follow this rather peculiar path in the study of Linear A, I must be absolutely certain that I am not duplicating anything whatsoever so many other highly competent researchers have so extensively accomplished. With this in mind, I beg and exhort any researcher who is deeply committed to the study of Linear A to help me confirm that I am not pursuing any avenue or approach to the field which literally anyone has already taken.... because if I am, this completely invalidates any idea that pops into my busy little head. So once again, I fervently appeal to you, if you are deeply committed to research in Linear A, to contact me as soon as you possibly can, so that I can co-ordinate my ideas with you. Actually, the only thing you ever need do is to inform me in no uncertain terms that someone, anyone, has already pursued the avenue I wish to take. Otherwise, it is a complete waste of time for me and all of you. In other words, I have no intention whatsoever of learning Linear A, but merely cooking up notions, however far-fetched, absurd or even laughable they may appear to the community of Linear A specialists.
In this perspective, my methodology is ridiculously simple, possibly even simplistic or, to all appearances, positively zany, even to me. My approach is as follows:
1. If any expert or amateur researcher deeply committed to the field of research into Linear A informs me I am merely duplicating what has already been done, then I shall drop any assumption I make like a hot potato.
2. If any expert or amateur researcher deeply committed to the field of research into Linear A informs me I am merely duplicating what has already been done, but done only once or twice and then dropped like a hot potato, because everyone agrees it is patently silly, then I shall not drop any such assumption if it is even remotely possible that it might not prove to be silly some day in the (far) future. I just have to hang onto it, just as a cat hangs on with its claws dug into a branch refuses to let go, because after all, it is a cat, and cats never like to be made fools of... even when they are. That’s about it, in a nutshell.
Now if this approach to Linear A sounds nutty to you, remember that no-one, absolutely no-one, including Michael Ventris himself, was even the least bit willing to entertain the “crazy” notion that the language behind Linear B was an early dialect of Greek. Anyone who did entertain such a notion was written off was being nutty as a fruit-cake. Well, there was one “fruit-cake” who was forced to admit that the language written in the Linear B syllabary was in fact the earliest known dialect of ancient Greek, and he accepted the stark evidence in all humility. We all know who he is... Michael Ventris. Shortly after his astonishing discovery, another “fruit-cake”, namely; the illustrious Prof. John Chadwick enthusiastically followed up on Ventris’ astonishing revelation, and between the two them, they established practically beyond a reasonable doubt that the language of Linear B was Greek. Shortly after Ventris’ tragic death in a car accident on Sept. 6, 1956, Prof. Chadwick (1920-1998) of Cambridge University valiantly took up the standard, and eventually published his ground-breaking book, The Decipherment of Linear B (Cambridge University Press, 1958), which literally turned the study of ancient Greek history on its head, so that it had to be entirely re-written.
Theories of Ancient Greek history as it was known before 1952-1953, dating from ca. 900-800 BCE, as everyone perfectly “knew” was firmly established, suddenly had to be substantially revised and, in some cases, completely abandoned, since the timeline for ancient Greek history was suddenly shoved, in one fell swoop, back to a much remoter antiquity, something like 1500 BCE, practically doubling itself. Ever since then, scarcely anyone takes seriously the suddenly passé notion that Greek History reaches back to only 900-800 BCE, chucking it right out the window, when the evidence overwhelmingly supports current knowledge that it is far more ancient, going way back to ca. 1500 BCE. Well, I guess I am more than willing to be the dunce in the corner of the classroom. Why not?... when no-one else will. But this wing-nut has a (I suppose) few cards up his sleeves, one of which I have no intention of sharing with anyone, until I am convinced there is even a shred of evidence that it might lead somewhere. That’s my wee secret.
Meanwhile, here is my first so-called revelation. I have gone over scores of Linear A Tablets, and discovered to my astonishment, that practically all of them are vertical rectangular in shape, as you can see for yourself here (Click to ENLARGE):
This is a far-cry from Linear B tablets, which assume any old shape the scribes figured would fit the bill. Is there anything to this at all? Am I barking up the wrong tree? Has anyone whatsoever pursued this notion even half-seriously? Well, if anyone has, I will have to chuck this one out the window. On the other hand... So please, please, I urge and exhort you, if you are a serious Linear A researcher, to let me know whether this has all been done before... “Been there. Done that. Forget it.”... for if no-one has, I claim first rights to this observation, whether it leads anywhere or not. P.S. I will be following up on this post with plenty more examples of vertical rectangular Linear A tablets from Knossos, Malia and Zakros (especially Zakros), where there are scores of Linear A Tablets), and a few other sites where 1 or 2 tablets have been unearthed. Richard