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Linear B Show & Tell # 5:  Girls & Bath (Click to ENLARGE):

Show&Tell # 5 girls taking a bath

Of course, all those lovely Minoan girls would have taken plenty of baths, washing their gorgeous ringlets, and perfuming themselves, so that they would always remain attractive to those handsome Minoan boys!

Rita Roberts


 

Linear B Show & Tell # 4:  Amphora Decorated with Spirals (Click to ENLARGE):

Mycenaean Linear B aporowewe amphora decorated with spirals

Anyone who is at all familiar with Minoan-Mycenaean architectural, fresco and pottery designs knows fully well that the Minoans and Mycenaeans were quite crazy about spirals in their beautiful designs, which proliferate above all else on their exquisite pottery: pithoi (huge storage jars, as seen at Knossos, used to store olive oil and many other commodities), amphorae, vases, jars, bowls, drinking vessels, you name it.

Here is a composite of more exquisite examples + the word for “cup” (Click to ENLARGE):

Kamares Middle Minoan Mycenaean octopus wine cup Minoan Dolphiin Oinos wine cup



									

Linear B Show & Tell # 3:  Axes & (Temple of the) Double Axes & their Relgious Symbolism: (Click to ENLARGE)

A akosono dapu dapuritoyo axes (temple of the) double axes

If anything, the symbolism if the “axe” and especially of the “double axe” is one of the major underpinnings of Minoan/Mycenaean religion. We find axes and double axes all over the place on Minoan and Mycenaean frescoes, regardless of site, Knossos, Mycenae, Pylos etc.  If ever you visit Knossos, you will see for yourself the famous Temple of the Double Axes. Although the lower story is sealed off, if you look down, you will see a lovely frieze of horizontal double axes on the back wall of the lower story. To this day, no-one really knows the true significance of the symbol of the axe or double axe in Minoan or Mycenaean mythology. They pose a real dilemma. Since the Minoans at Knossos were a peaceable people, why would they plaster double axes all over the walls of a building which we take to be the Temple of the Double Axes (erroneously or not)?

In Mycenae, however, the symbol of the axe or double axe makes perfect sense, as the Mycenaeans were a warlike people. The simplest explanation I can come up with is that the Mycenaeans exported the axe and double axe to Knossos after their conquest or occupation of the city. And no-one is quite sure if the Mycenaeans actually did conquer Knossos, or whether the two “city states” allied in order to greatly strengthen their hand as a unified Empire in the economic and trading affairs of the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean seas ca. 1500-1200 BCE. Of course, Knossos (Late Minoan III Palatial Period) itself fell sometime around 1450-1400 BCE, but the great Mycenaean Empire persisted until ca. 1200 BCE, after which the Nordic Dorians invaded the entire Greek peninsula, the Peloponnese, leaving the Mycenaean “city states” in ruins. It is entirely probable that the Minoan-Mycenaean Empire ca. 1500-1400 BCE rivalled the Egyptian Empire in the scope of its power. Almost certainly the Mycenaeans were actively trading with civilizations along the East coast of Greece and inland, Athens and Thebes (the latter being a Mycenaean stronghold) and with the city of Troy and the inhabitants along the West coast of what we now know as Turkey. What is particularly fascinating and (highly) revealing in the historical perspective of the rise of ancient Greece is that the new Greek colonies which spread all over the Aegean in the 7th. and 6th.  centuries BCE flourished in precisely the same places where the Mycenaeans had carried on such extensive trade some 6 to 10 centuries earlier! There is more to this than meets the eye, as we shall eventually discover in key posts on this blog later this year or sometime in 2015.

Other omnipresent religious symbols included the Horns of Consecration at Knossos, and the Snake Goddess & the goddess Pipituna at both Knossos and Mycenae.

Richard


Linear B Show & Tell # 2: Goat & Priestess of the Winds by Richard (Click to ENLARGE):

Aiza and Anemoiereya
Frankly, I don't really know why I paired “goat” with “Priestess of the Winds”, except that it seemed like “a good idea at the time”. Or maybe she just had a thing for goats. Of course, it is entirely feasible that the Minoans & Mycenaeans used to sacrifice goats to her.

Richard



Linear B Show & Tell # 1: Temple & Zeus by Rita Roberts (Click to ENLARGE):

Show & Tell # 1 Temple & Zeus
We all remember how much fun it was to learn new words when we were kids.  Yes, with “Show & Tell”.  So Rita Roberts, my co-conspirator and I, decided we would do the same for all of us, start a “Show & Tell” show right here on Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae, for those of us who really don't have the spare time to learn all of the Linear B syllabary, but who would like to at least recognize by sight some of the significant vocabulary in Mycenaean Linear B. So have fun, and feel free to download any of the “Show & Tell” posts that particularly fascinate you.  This is the first of many posts Rita will be contributing to our blog, so let's all welcome her aboard.

Richard


The Extreme Significance of the Syllabograms JO and SI in Mycenaean Greek (Click to ENLARGE):

Ventris grids JO = YO & SI

This table is pretty much self-explanatory. About the only thing I wish to call to your attention is this: the syllabogram SI is not only highly flexible in its usages (5), but in its adaptability to expressing several alternative combinations of word endings: sij si ci. 

Much more on this later. I will soon explain how the Mycenaeans managed to adapt the Linear A morphed to Linear B syllabary to express the phonetic values of ancient Greek, which they actually did quite well, considering the serious restraints the Linear B script imposed on them.

Richard


 

Significance of the Statistical Frequency of Syllabograms in % according to Michael Ventris (1952)
 
Michael Ventris was on to much more than even he imagined when he began to unravel the mysteries of the Linear B script by the spring of 1952, when he constructed the following table, in which he extrapolated the statistical frequency in percentage (%) of most of the syllabograms [Click to ENLARGE]:

Michael Ventris Frequency of Syllabograms in Percentages 1952
What he didn't realize then, and what has become not only apparent but of paramount importance to myself and, I sincerely hope, to other researchers in the field of Linear B today is that most of the syllabograms with high or moderate frequencies (in %) play an enormous role in the progressive-regressive reconstruction of Mycenaean grammar and vocabulary alike. I cannot stress this point too much.

Some syllabograms, in fact, play such a decisive role in the grammar and vocabulary of Mycenaean Greek that they cannot be safely ignored in the reconstruction of the language. Of these, for the time being, the most significant for our purposes are, above all, JO (genitive sing. masc. & neut. adjs. & nouns) and SI (dative plural & endings for several forms of verb conjugations, as well as U (nom. sing. masc. nouns), YA (fem. sing. nom. & gen. adjs. & nouns), TA (fem. sing. nom. & neut. pl. nom.) and TE (verb conjugations).

Keep posted for our analyses of the contextual significance of each of these syllabograms in turn, beginning with the 2 most relevant to the reconstruction of both Mycenaean grammar & vocabulary, i.e. JO & SI.

We shall address the rest of the high and moderate frequency syllabograms late this year.

Richard


 

First and Second Persons Singular of Athematic Verbs Fully Restored in Mycenaean Linear B!

While sitting out on my patio sipping tea this afternoon for the first time this spring, I was astonished to discover that the archaic second person singular of Athematic verbs ended in in “si”, while the third person singular ended in “ti”, in other words, in a syllable, the second person singular ending having precisely the same value as the Linear B syllabogram SI  & the third person singular ending having precisely the same value as the Linear B syllabogram TI, as illustrated here (Click to ENLARGE):

Linear B Athematic Verbs Present Future Imperfect Restored

To my mind, this is a significant step forward in the genesis of a comprehensive Mycenaean Greek grammar, lending further weight to my hypothesis that archaic Greek conjugations seem to be virtually identical to their Mycenaean forerunners. But there is even more to this than first meets the eye. This is no mere happenstance. It confirms almost beyond a shadow of a doubt that certain verb conjugations and adjectival/nominal declensions in archaic (or Homeric) Greek were (almost) exactly the same as their predecessors in Mycenaean Greek some 400-700 years earlier. And the more archaic the alphabetic Greek grammatical form, the more likely it is that it will be (almost) identical to its Mycenaean “ancestor”.

This raises the appurtenant question whether Mycenaean Greek is all that different from archaic Greek, and even whether they are one and the same dialect, the latter being a later avatar of the former.  A striking parallel is found in the proximity of Ionic Greek with Attic, even though the former dates to ca. 800 – 700 BCE, somewhat earlier the latter, ca. 600 BCE – 450 BCE. One could possibly even make a case for a historical (quasi-) linear continuity right on through from the Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot dialects, to the early Ionic Greek we find in Homer, to Attic, Hellenic and, finally the “koine” Greek of the New Testament. In other words, the timeline from Mycenaean Greek to the “koine” Greek of the New Testament may indeed constitute a continuum in the evolution of the Greek language. Given that modern Greek is the “terminus post quem” of “koine” Greek, one might even hypothesize that modern Greek is  the “final” stage in the evolution of East Greek dialects from Mycenaean Greek to the present (ca. 1500 BCE – 2014 AD), i.e. some  3,500 years. Of course, while all this is, at least tentatively, pure speculation on my part, you have to wonder why the conjugation of “didomi” in Mycenaean Greek is so astonishingly similar to the “koine” conjugation of the New Testament, some 1,600 years in the future (Click to ENLARGE):

DIDOMI Linear B Archaic & New Testament
      
If confirmed, my hypothesis would be a real revelation! It would at least appear that Mycenaean Greek grammar changed very little over the 400 years after the fall of Mycenae itself in 1200 BCE to the first appearance of archaic alphabetical Greek around 800 BCE. If this is the case, it follows that we will be able to reconstruct a good deal more Mycenaean Greek grammar in Linear B than I had first imagined possible. However, a word of warning! I must test this hypothesis over and over with practical applications (paradigms) for as many categories of Mycenaean grammar as I can possibly survey and reconstruct, including above all else verb conjugations and nominal and adjectival declensions. If the results turn out to be as I presently project them in my busy-bee mind, the implications and ramifications for a truly comprehensive reconstructed grammar will be enormous, if not revolutionary. If nothing else, we may discover that there is a far greater affinity between grammar behind the Linear B syllabary and and that of archaic alphabetical Greek than we ever imagined to date.

On the other hand, the affinity may be weaker than I imagine, hence, probably invalid.

It will take me at least a year to carry this hypothesis to its “logical” outcome. In the meantime, I shall have to completely revise the complete conjugational tables for Athematic Verbs (present, future, imperfect, first & second aorist and perfect) I previously posted.  These necessary revisions will affect both the Athematic conjugational tables and at least some of the text of that post.

Richard



 


 

Our Star Student Studying Linear B in Preparation for the Final Exam at Levels 1 & 2 (Click to ENLARGE):

Studying Linear B

Lest anyone think that the Final Examination even at Levels 1 & 2 (Basic) is easy, it would be wise to disabuse oneself of such notions, as will become perfectly clear when I post the 20 questions in the Final Examination once our student has taken it. She is already extremely proficient at this level, and has even managed to translate parts of some Linear B tablets, and can in fact translate at least one of them in its entirety, if she puts her mind to it... which I am sure she will. Considering that she was not greatly familiar with Greek, ancient or modern, prior to taking our course, I am simply astonished at how quickly and methodically she has mastered the basic syllabary of Linear B in 10 short months, hence Mycenaean Greek itself, which is after all, the earliest ancient Greek dialect.  It takes guts and more than the usual perseverance to tackle a task as formidable as this.

She has scored extremely high marks in 24 practice sentences, some of which are very hard to translate, and I have no doubt whatsoever that she will excel in her final examination at Levels 1 & 2, after which Level 3 (Intermediate) will seem like a breeze in comparison... because it is. I expect our friend to be able to move onto Level 4 (Advanced I) by the autumn of this year, and Level 5 (Advanced II) early in 2015, at which point she will be (almost) as proficient as I am in deciphering and translating Linear B tablets. In fact, even at the end of Level 3 (Intermediate) she will be able to easily translate quite a few tablets. Every one of her translations of Linear B tablets, regardless of source (Knossos, Pylos, Iklaina, Mycenae etc.) will be posted here on our Blog, even when they differ from my own translations... which they sometimes will. No-one has a monopoly on “correct” translations of Linear B tablets, which are, more often than not, open to fairly wide interpretations. I look forward with great anticipation to our friend's decipherments later this year and throughout 2015 and beyond, as her expertise grows and matures.  Sooner or later, she and I shall be sharing the limelight in deciphering Linear B tablets, which is just fine with me.


Richard


A Definitive Lexicon of Linear B?  Is this even remotely possible?

STEP 1: Determining Attributed Absolute (Aab) Mycenaean Vocabulary from later Greek Dialects:

Lest anyone suppose that even this first step towards constructing a Definitive Lexicon of Linear B, or even anything approaching it, is “obviously a cinch”, allow me to disenchant yourselves of such an assumption, as can clearly be confirmed from the several tenets I am bound to observe, which I have expostulated in detail below.  This of course necessarily implies that even the apparently “simple” step of reliably verifying the authenticity of Attributed Absolute (Aab) Mycenaean words is open to all sorts of pitfalls. It is for this highly germane reason that I find myself insisting on checking and if needs be, double-checking the incidence of Attributed Absolute Mycenaean words according to the strict procedure I shall outline beneath the actual Table of Attributed Absolute Mycenaean Vocabulary. See below.

But what on earth is the distinction between “Attributed Absolute” as opposed to merely “Attributed” Mycenaean vocabulary actually found on the thousands of extant Linear B tablets? The distinction is subtle yet, from a linguistic perspective, demonstrable, and it is this: any “Attributed Absolute” (Aab) Mycenaean word must be spelled (almost) the same as its alphabetical Greek dialectical counterpart to warrant this label.  Unfortunately, the spelling of the vast majority of Attributed Mycenaean words either diverges somewhat or greatly from that of any relevant ancient Greek dialect as to make the correlation all that more difficult.  And this of course all comes back to one of the most glaring characteristics of the Linear B syllabary, namely, that its syllabograms rarely correspond accurately to any alphabetical ancient Greek dialect, with the result that one sometimes cannot be sure at all whether the Linear B spelling of the Mycenaean word, even when Attributed, corresponds to only one Greek word, or in some cases, to 2 or even more possible alternatives.  Some, though certainly not all, of the Linear B syllabary is rather poorly suited to writing ancient Greek, for the simple reason that it was adapted practically lock stock and barrel from the Linear A syllabary, which was used to (almost certainly accurately) represent the vocalic values of an unknown, undeciphered language, conveniently labeled “Minoan”, which simply has no relationship whatsoever to Greek (as far as we know).  That is one big problem... much more on this later.          

From: MYCENAEAN (Linear B) — ENGLISH Glossary = linearb.pdf (widely available on the Internet) Click to ENLARGE:

Mycenaean Linear B Vocabulary Attributed Absolute

As can be readily ascertained from the Table of Attributed Absolute Mycenaean words I have compiled in Linear B below, the only words I have listed in this Table are those whose spelling is (almost) exactly the same as the spelling of the same words in certain ancient alphabetical Greek dialects, prioritized according to these specific criteria from the most reliable original Greek text(s) or sources to the least reliable, as follows:

EXTREMELY RELIABLE:
1 The Catalogue of Ships (lines 4... ) in Book II of the Iliad;
2 The rest of Book II of the Iliad;
3 Any text written in Linear C, used exclusively in the Arcado-Cypriot dialect of ancient Greek, especially the famous Idalion Tablet, given that the Mycenaean and  Arcado-Cypriot dialects are extremely close;
VERY RELIABLE:
4 Any text written in the Arcadian & Aeolic or other East Greek dialects of ancient Greek, and there are plenty of those (all in alphabetical Greek);
5. Any vocabulary from Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon (1986 edition), since Liddell & Scott takes into account many dialectal variants of ancient Greek words, including Aeolic, Arcadian etc, except of course the Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot Greek dialects, since texts in these 2 dialects are written in Linear B & Linear C, cousin syllabaries, which an alphabetical Greek dictionary, however  comprehensive, cannot take into account.   
RELIABLE (up to a certain point):
6 Any text written in any East Greek dialect of ancient Greek, especially the Ionic and Attic Dialects, which are the tried and true descendants of Mycenaean and/or Arcado-Cypriot Greek.  There is so much literature in Ionic and Attic Greek as to make this task an extremely easy one. However, I must remind you that vocabulary in Ionic or Attic Greek is (sometimes significantly) less reliable than vocabulary in either the Mycenaean or Arcado-Cypriot Greek dialects, as the latter are far more ancient than the former.  In other words, given  the choice of sources for truly reliable confirmation that any Attributed Absolute word(s), ie vocabulary actually found on Linear B tablets is in fact almost beyond a shadow of a doubt as close to absolutely authenticated, we should have far more confidence in options 1 to 4 above than in any vocabulary in Ionic or Attic Greek, for which there abound tens of thousands of examples.

Source: The Greek Dialects, by C.D. Buck, Bristol Classical Press, © 1955, 373 pp., pages 141-154  

WARNING! ABSOLUTELY UNRELIABLE:
Any attempt to verify the authenticity of any Mycenaean Greek Attributed vocabulary or word from any West Greek dialect, is almost certainly invalid, since all West Greek dialects (Doric itself, Northwest Greek, Argolic, Corinthian, Rhodian, Cretan etc. etc.) are cousins of the Doric dialect, which did not enter into the equation until after the fall of Mycenae around 1200 BCE.  I do not categorically rule out the possibility that some attributed Mycenaean words might be derived from one of the West Greek dialects, but I myself will never resort to using any of these dialects as firm confirmation of the authenticity of any attributed Mycenaean Greek word, since that would simply invalidate my procedure, which I am not prepared to do.

Source: The Greek Dialects, by C.D. Buck, Bristol Classical Press, © 1955, 373 pp., pages 141-154-171  NOTE: there a lot more West Greek dialects than East Greek, so we must exercise extreme caution.) 

On a final note, the Attributed Absolute Mycenaean words as derived here from the MYCENAEAN (Linear B) — ENGLISH  Glossary are far from constituting a complete survey, since they do not take into account the much larger vocabulary in the significantly more reliable, A Companion to Linear B, Mycenaean Greek Texts and their World (Bibliothèque des cahiers de l'Insitut Louvain), also available in .pdf format on the Internet.  It will take me considerably more time to ferret out the Attributed Absolute Mycenaean Linear B words from that magnum opus, which is 220 pages long!  Only when I have compiled a complete list of  Attributed Absolute Mycenaean Linear B words from both of these sources will we have even begun to construct a truly comprehensive Lexicon of the Mycenaean Linear B Vocabulary, both attested and derived. 

Such a Lexicon is bound to run to at least 5,000 words, a vast improvement on the vocabulary in any currently available Mycenaean Linear B – English glossary. Moreover, our Lexicon of the Mycenaean Linear B Vocabulary will catalogue the vocabulary in two sections, Mycenaean Linear B – English & English – Mycenaean Linear B, a project the likes of which has never been attempted to date. I intend to rectify this lacuna, but this is a huge undertaking, which is bound to take me at least 2 years. since this task is to be realized in conjunction with the equally daunting exercise of reconstructing as much of the (lost) corpus of Mycenaean Greek grammar as I possibly can. All this together is bound to take me as long as 3-4 years, i.e. until 2018.  

The next post on this subject will deal with “Attributed Contextual” (Aco) Mycenaean vocabulary, which is almost as reliable as  “Attributed Absolute” (Aab) vocabulary.


Richard

  


Linear A: The Search for New Solutions – All 38 Tablets geometrically tabulated by sub-totals and percentage (Click to Enlarge):

Linear A Tablets last Vertical plus 3 horizontal

Finally, we see that of the 38 Tablets we have examined for their geometric alignment or shapes, fully 30 are Rectangular Vertical, another 4 are  Rectangular Horizontal, and yet another 4 Circular or Signets, so to speak. This little survey is far from being scientific, but at least it gives us our first insight into the probable proportion of tablets by geometric alignment or shape, and it's a lot better than nothing. Finally, the spreadsheet Table below allows for a margin of – 5 % for Rectangular Vertical, since a margin of + 5 % would be patently ridiculous.  So our results vary enough to allow for at least some degree of assurance.

Here is my Table of Margins of Error for our 38 Tablets. I hope it looks at least reasonably credible.  Naturally, you don't have to see it that way, though, and some of you certainly won't. And if you don't, pray tell my why, so that I can better understand things, and work with you to bring some resolution to the huge problems facing me in my "thinking out of the box" research into linear A. Anyway, to each his or her own. You can contact me by e-mailing me privately at: vallance22@gmx.com (Click to ENLARGE):

Linear A  Tablets  Margins of ERROR Rectangular Vetical & Horizontal & Circular

Since I will henceforth be honoured and greatly blessed with the support and encouragement of 4 volunteers, you should keep your eyes peeled for our next survey much larger cross-section of Linear A Tablets by the summer of 2014. With this in mind, I urge, exhort and beg anyone who has a baby bear, momma bear or father bear cache of Linear A Tablets, which do NOT include these 38, to zap them my way. Anyone who does so will be fully credited for participating in the scope & comprehensiveness of our “final” survey.

My volunteers are to remain strictly anonymous and all of their hard work and contributions to my research into Linear A will remain confidential and secret for at least 2 years (March 2014 – summer 2016). Some of our major research results and outcomes will remain totally secret, and I will not post them at all until all our research is over and done with, and that could take as long as 4 to 6 years (2018-2020 ).

Still, I've a helluva lot more up my sneaky little sleeve, as you shall all soon see, starting with the “Numbers Game”, for which our results should be compiled and verified for accuracy for these 38 Tablets sometime in May or June 2014.

Anyone who can guess what I mean by the  “Numbers Game” will receive from me a prize of 100s of Linear A & B Tablets and scores of lovely pictures I have assiduously collected over the past 11 months, since the advent of this Blog, now the premier Linear B Blog on the entire Internet.  Then you can fiddle around with, decipher, translate or do whatever you like with them, so long as it isn't illegal.


Enjoy!



Linear A: The Search for New Solutions: Vertical Rectangular Tablets 14 Zakros + 9 Hagia Triada = 23 Click to ENLARGE:

Zakros Linear A Tablets
This post is self-explanatory. To the 9 vertical rectangular Tablets from Hagia Triada, we simply add the 14 from Zakros, for a total of 23. But there are more to come, from Knossos & Malia, and few more besides, the origins of which I cannot identify. I sincerely hope someone can help identify their sources.

Richard



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):
Linear A Tablets Hagia Triada HT 1 HT6 HT8 HT13 Ht31 HT103 HT122 HT123-124
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 

									

Amnisos” Ring sold to Sir Arthur Evans on his second day at Knossos ANNOTATED (Click to ENLARGE):

Amnisos Ring Sold to Arthur Evans by an Antique dealer on his second day in Crete a
Here you see the beautiful “Amnisos” Ring sold to Sir Arthur Evans by a local antique dealer on his second day at Knossos, March 24, 1900.  Of course, the original is gold. This is the first time you have ever seen this glorious ring on the Internet ANNOTATED in Linear B, Greek & English. When I refer to the genitive “Aminisoyo” as being Homeric, I do not mean that the Linear B genitive in Mycenaean Linear B is the Homeric genitive, but that it is the Mycenaean genitive, “aminisoyo” of “aminiso” regressively derived from the Homeric genitive, as it would have appeared in the Iliad and/or the Odyssey, even if it did not. What is that supposed to mean? ... simply this, that the most ancient masculine singular genitive, attested over and over in (The Catalogue of Ships) Book II of the Iliad (and sometimes elsewhere) always ends in “oio”, as for instance, with : ἱπποδάμοιο: (Iliad II, l. 23) and with εἰ μὴ Ὀλυμπιάδες Μοῦσαι Διὸς αἰγιόχοιο (Iliad II, l. 491, Catalogue of Ships). NOTE that clicking on the two citations from Book II of the Iliad will lead you to the Study Tool for the genitive in question in the Perseus Catalogue.

If the genitive singular ends in oio  “oio” in these citations from Homer and elsewhere and there exist attested forms of the genitive with the exact same ending in Linear B, then we must conclude that regressive extrapolation of the genitive singular in Linear B is precisely the same as is the archaic masculine genitive singular in Homer's Iliad. As I shall shortly demonstrate with several examples, there are plenty of attested examples of the masculine genitive singular on Linear B tablets. If the regressively extrapolated and the attested examples of the masculine genitive singular are always identical, it necessarily follows that the masculine genitive singular in Linear B is absolutely airtight. The genitive singular masculine in Mycenaean Greek and in Homer is in fact. always identical.

Richard


The Linear B “Attendants” Tablet – a Tough Nut to Crack! (Click to ENLARGE):

linear-b-attendants-tablet-apiqoro-kowa-kowo-ta2
This has got to be one of the most difficult Linear B tablets to decipher, not because most of it isn't all that hard to translate, but for that last syllabogram TA, which I am sure must have stumped practically everyone who has ever tried to tackle it.  However, upon consulting the most comprehensive Linear B Glossary on the Internet, A Companion to Linear B, Mycenaean Greek Texts and their World [Bibliothèque de lInstitut linguistique de Louvain ― 127 (2011)]  I discovered, to my utter astonishment, the two entries you see flagged just under the tablet itself in this post, TAPA EOTE, which is in early ancient Greek, tapa\ e1ontej. What we need to understand in this context is that the Linear B scribes frequently used abbreviations to save valuable space on what were, after all, (very) small tablets. For instance, on the Heidelberg Tablet HE FL 1994, the scribe has used the single syllabobgrams KO PA & MU to stand in for KONOSO, PAITO & MUKENE respectively, thereby saving a great deal of space. I shall be translating this fascinating tablet as well sometime in April or May. Another reason why I believe we can lend credence to my translation is this: attendants actually do appear on Minoan frescoes, such as this one from Knossos (Click to ENLARGE):

Minoan_procession_fresco_crete_Knossos
My explanatory commentary below goes a long way to clarifying and lending further credence to my decipherment. So unless you actually read the commentary, you will not get a full grasp on the decipherment.     

We notice that in the fresco above, the one woman, almost certainly a priestess has 7 attendants, all male, which might go some way to explaining why there are 41 attendants for only 32 people. If for instance the priestess in a procession of 32 people has, as in the fresco we see here, 7 attendants, and everyone else coming up the rear has 1 attendant, for a total of 38 attendants, the total is very close to the 41 given on this tablet.  But it is also possible that the priestess would have an acolyte following right behind her, and if her acolyte were to have 3 attendants, we would then have our 41. Of course all this is pure conjecture on my part, but the possibility still remains, and at any rate we cannot conjecture how many attendants would follow in a particular procession, as processions were probably held very often at Knossos, Chania, Mycenae, Pylos and other Mycenaean centres for different festivals. All ancient cities without exception held frequent festivals, which were almost all religious in nature, festivals for the city's patron goddess, for spring sowing and autumn reaping of crops, feasting festivals for the "wanaka" or King and his Queen, and in the case of Knossos and the Mycenaean fortress towns, for the Snake Goddess of fertility, without whom the population would not have been well replenished... at least for the Minoans and Mycenaeans.

Another equally feasible interpretation for some festivals at least, is that many of the attendants would have been musicians, just as in the fresco above, where we see a lyre player on the left and/or libation bearers, such as the 1 on the right in this fresco holding a rhyton, probably filled with mead or wine. So if that were to be the case, and 31 people had 1 attendant each, that would leave, for instance, possibly 4 musicians and 6 libation or "cup bearers"(again giving a total of 41 as in this case). Processions proliferate on Minoan/Mycenaean frescoes... and the number of attendants would have surely varied widely, depending on the type of festival. Of course, we shall never really know, as the extensive research into Minoan/ Mycenaean festivals to date has never been able to shed sufficient light on the arcane "mysteries" of Minoan/Mycenaean religious rites, processions and festivals, nor is it likely that future research will get much further, barring the unearthing of a considerable number of new tablets dealing specifically with religious matters.

Still, I feel quite confident that I have come up with a sound decipherment of the final syllabogram TA on the Linear B “Attendants” Tablet, but I would love to receive feedback from any and all researchers into Linear B tablets concerning other equally feasible interpretations of that pesky little syllabogram.

CAVEAT:

On the other hand, this translation crams an awful lot of significance into one pesky syllabogram, TA. The solution could be a lot simpler. So if I can come up with any alternative simpler decipherment(s), I will let you all know. One should never take anything for granted. 

Richard


Prepositions in Mycenaean Linear B & Homeric Greek & the Cases they Govern (Click to ENLARGE):

Mycenaean Linear B Prepositions and their Classical Equivalents
The use of prepositions and the cases they govern in Mycenaean Linear B correspond exactly to the use of the same prepositions in Homeric and Classical Greek. Just a few minor notes: first of all, Linear B uses the more ancient form “apu”, which is (not surprisingly) Arcado-Cypriot & hence also found in Linear C for “apo”, and again, uses “eni” (often used by Homer in Book II of the Iliad, in which we find the most archaic Greek) for “en”. Other than that, everything is pretty much straightforward.  Beginning with the next post, I shall proceed to illustrate the uses of the prepositions with examples of sentences in both Linear B and in (Homeric) Greek, according to the case(s) they govern, beginning with prepositions governing only 1 case, either genitive or dative or accusative, moving on to prepositions which govern 2 cases, and finally to those which govern 3 cases. Finally, while almost all the prepositions in Mycenaean Greek are either Attested [A] or Derived [D], we can pretty much assume their authenticity. However, I cannot guarantee the same for the prepositions "eke" or "eise", as they are entirely conjectural [C], and quite possibly unreliable.

Richard

Translation of Pylos Tablet: Ae 08 on the Internet vs. my own Translation: Click to Enlarge

A Pylos Ae 08
Comparing the translation of Pylos Tablet: Ae 08 currently available on the Internet with my own, we find some minor errors in it, and there are also a few points where it can be improved on, which is what I have done my level best to achieve in my own translation of the same tablet. My notes make it clear where the original Greek text in particular is found lacking. The translators have in fact translated the tablet into archaic (Homeric) Greek, which is very much to their credit. But there a few points for discussion. First of all, “honeka” for “heneka” is incorrect in the transliteration of the Linear B syllabograms into Latin script. Other than that, the transcription is fine. Where I am at odds is with the transliteration of the genitive, for which the Linear B syllabograms are either “ja” & “jo” or “ya” & “yo”. Personally, I prefer the latter, since the pronunciation much more closely approximates the archaic Greek “oio”, even though it is almost a certainty that the Mycenaeans very likely never pronounced “oio” either way. What do I mean by this? As the study of linguistics makes it perfectly clear, consonants have a tendency to mutate or morph over time. It is for this reason that I personally believe that the Mycenaean pronunciation probably fell somewhere between “ja” & “jo” as in the English “jam” & “joke” and “ya” & “yo”, being more like “ja” & “jo” in French, as in “jamais” & “joindre”. The French pronunciation of “j” is in fact intermediately situated about halfway between the English “j” and the Greek “i”.  Of course, all of this conjectural, but it does make some sense of the fact that some linguists prefer the English pronunciation to the Greek. To my mind, however, a pronunciation similar to the French “j”, falling somewhere between the two equally justifiable choices one can make neatly resolves the problem.  That is precisely why I lean towards the “y” option, as the French pronunciation more closely approximates the Greek “i” or “y” than the English pronunciation. But it is all a matter of taste, I suppose.

Richard


Cross-Correlation of the Timelines for Egyptian, Minoan & Mycenaean Civilizations (Click to ENLARGE):

Timelines Egyptian Minoan Mycenaean

This Table cross-correlates the Timelines for the:
1. Egyptian Middle Kingdom MK (ca. 2000-1800 BCE), 2nd. Intermediate Period2IN (ca. 1800-1550 BCE) and New Kingdom LK (ca. 1150-1000 BCE)
2. Middle Minoan MM (ca. 2000-ca. 1600 BCE) & Late Minoan LM (ca. 1550-1350 BCE)
3. Mycenaean Civilization (ca. 1650BCE-1200 BCE).

Sir Arthur Evans devised a methodical and practical Timeline for Minoan Civilization, by deriving it from the Egyptian Timelines as outlined in 1 above. His assignation of Periods for Minoan Civilization is still in wide use even today, though it has been modified and revised several times in the past century. Moreover, researchers and archaeologists specializing in these 3 civilizations are at wide variance in their interpretations of the timelines for each of these civilizations, and to such an extent that there are scores of variations in the relative relationship of all 3 timelines to one another. Some would agree that Evans' estimates for the MM & LM periods are reasonably close to the timelines for MK 2IN & NK, while maintaining that the timeline for the Mycenaean civilization does not correspond to that given in this table, while others would argue that MK 2IN & NK do not correspond to Evans' MM & LM, at the same time maintaining that the Mycenaean timeline illustrated here is sound. Still others claim that at least 2 or all of these timelines are out of whack, or that some or none of them are valid.  So we end up with a fine mess. However, for the sake of consistency and relative clarity, I have adopted the Table of Timelines you see here, without however claiming that it is any more accurate than any other timeline, and reserving judgement on it until such time as I am convinced that this particular timeline is possibly or probably invalid.  For the time being, however, I am in no such position, not yet having even minimally investigated the correlations between the timelines for these 3 great civilizations.

Richard

Originally posted on Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae:

Honouring Michael Ventris: Conjugations of All Tenses in the Active Voice of Athematic MI Verbs in Mycenaean Greek                                                   Honouring Michael Ventris

Michael Ventris at work in his studyIn honour of Michael Ventris for his astounding achievement in his brilliant decipherment of the Mycenaean Linear B script and syllabary, I am taking the first major step on a long journey to recover as much of the corpus of Mycenaean Greek grammar & vocabulary as I possibly can squeeze out of the evidence from extant Linear B tablets and from Book II of Homer's Iliad, above all, from the Catalogue of Ships, in which the most archaic Greek Homer had recourse to abounds. Needless to say, I do all this in honour of the memory of Michael Ventris, one of the greatest geniuses of the twentieth century, a man whose stellar intelligence and prodigious powers of concentration I cannot help but admire in the extreme. In fact, I…

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KEY POST! Complete Conjugations in the Active Voice of Thematic Verbs in Mycenaean Linear B (Click to ENLARGE):

Linear B Thematic verbs all tenses with KAUO as template
It is of vital importance to researchers and serious students of Mycenaean Linear B grammar to carefully read and study this post, as it serves as the basis and starting point for the complete reconstruction of both Mycenaean Linear B grammar & vocabulary, following the tenets of my Theory of Regressive-Progressive Linear B Grammar, by the end of 2015. This reconstruction encompasses, but is not necessarily limited to, the recovery of:
1 All tenses in all voices of Mycenaean verbs, active, middle & passive, and of the optative and (possibly) the subjunctive moods.
2 The recovery of as much of the system of participles as can be reasonably achieved.
3 The restoration of as many adverbs as can be reasonably expected.
4 The restoration of the first, second & third declensions of adjectives and nouns, in so far and to the extent that this is feasible. There are several roadblocks and gaping holes in declensions which I will address later this year or early in 2015. 
5 The use of prepositions and the cases they govern.
6 Any other aspects of Mycenaean grammar which I have not addressed here.
7 A considerable increase in the corpus of Mycenaean vocabulary, both attributed and derived, from the current 2,500 words or so to at least double that, i.e. at least 5,000 words.

Richard

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