Translation of the “Millworkers” Tablet (Click to ENLARGE): This is a pretty straightforward translation. The only thing we need to take account of here is the ideogram for “women”, which is on the tablet, and which I have translated first into the Linear B word for “women”, and then into English. As I have often pointed out, scribes frequently used ideograms to save space on the Linear B tablets, which were usually very small (no more than a few centimetres wide). Richard
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Comparison of the Merits/Demerits of the Linear B, Greek & Latin Numeric Systems: Linear B: As can be readily discerned from the Mycenaean Linear B Numeric System, it was quite nicely suited for accounting purposes, which was the whole idea in the first place. We can see at once that it was a simple matter to count as far as 99,999. Click to ENLARGE: In the ancient world, such a number would have been considered enormous. When you are counting sheep, you surely don't need to run into the millions (neither, I wager, would the sheep, or it would have been an all-out stampede off a cliff!) It worked well for addition (a requisite accounting function), but not for subtraction, multiplication, division or any other mathematical formulae. Why not subtraction, you ask? Subtraction is used in modern credit/deficit accounting, but the Minoans and Mycenaeans took no account (pardon the pun) of deficit spending, as the notion was utterly unknown to them. Since Mycenaean accounting ran for the current fiscal year only, or as they called it, “weto” or “the running year”, and all tablets were erased once the “fiscal” year was over, then re-used all over for reasons of practicality and economy, this was just one more reason why credit/deficit accounting held no practical interest to them. Other than that, the Linear B numeric accounting system served its purpose very well indeed, being perhaps one of the most transparent and quite possibly the simplest, ancient numerical systems. Of course, the Linear B numerical accounting system never survived antiquity, since its entire syllabary was literally buried and forgotten with the wholesale destruction of Mycenaean civilization around 1200 BCE (out of sight, out of mind) for some 3,100 years before Sir Arthur Evans excavated Knossos starting in early 1900, and successfully deciphered Linear B numerics shortly thereafter. This “inconvenient truth” does not mean, however, that it was all that deficient, especially for purposes of accounting, for which it was specifically designed in the first place. Greek: On the other hand, the Greek numeric system was purely alphabetic, as illustrated above. It was of course possible to count into the tens of thousands, using additional alphabetic symbols, as in the Mycenaean Linear B system, except that the Greeks were not anywhere near as obsessive over the picayune details of accounting, counting every single commodity, every bloody animal and every last person employed in any industry whatsoever. The Minoan-Mycenaean economy was hierarchical, excruciatingly centralized and obsessive down to the very last minutiae. Not surprisingly, they shared this zealous, blinkered approach to accounting with their contemporaries, the Egyptians, with whom the Minoan-Mycenaean trade routes and economy were inextricably bound on a vast scale... much more on this later in 2014 and 2015, when we come to translating a large number of Linear B transactional economic and trade records. However, we must never forget that the Greek alphabetic system of numeric notation was the only one to survive antiquity, married as it is to the universal Arabic numeric system in use today, in the fields of geometry, theoretical and applied algebra, advanced calculus and physics applications. Click to ENLARGE: It would have been impossible for us to have made such enormous technological strides ever since the Renaissance, were it not for the felicitous marriage of alphabetic Greek and Arabic numerics (0-10), which are universally applied to all fields, both theoretical and practical, of mathematics, physics and technology today. Never forget that the Arabians took the concept of nul or zero (0) to the limit, and that theirs is the decimal system applied the world over right on through to computer science and the Internet. Latin (Click to ENLARGE): When we come to the Roman/Latin numeric system, we are at once faced with a byzantine complexity, which takes the alphabetic Greek numeric system to its most extreme. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans were well aware of the convolutions of the Latin numeric system, which made the Greek pale in comparison. And Roman numerics are notoriously clumsy for denoting very large figures into the hundreds of thousands. Beside the Roman system, the Linear B approach to numerics looks positively like child's play. Thus, while major elements of the alphabetic Greek numeric system are still in wide use today, the Roman system has practically fallen into obscurity, its applications being almost entirely esoteric, such as on clock faces or in dating books etc. And even here, while it was still common bibliographic practice to denote the year of publication in Roman numerals right on through most of the twentieth century, this practice has pretty much fallen into disuse, since scarcely anyone can be bothered to read Roman numerals anymore. How much easier it is to give the copyright year as @ 1998 than MCMXCVIII. Even I, who read Latin fluently, find the Arabic numeric notation simpler by far than the Latin. As for hard-nosed devotees of Latin notation, I fear that they are in a tiny minority, and that within a few decades, any practical application of Latin numeric notation will have faded to a historical memory. Richard
Photo collages of my Hero, Michael Ventris (1922-1956) The blue English Heritage plaque on the brick walls of his home in Hampstead, which you see here, commemorates the life of Michael Ventris. Click to ENLARGE both collages: Just 3 years after deciphering Linear B in 1951–1953, Michael Ventris died instantly, at the age of only 34, in a late-night collision while driving home. This was the very moment in his lifetime when his great contribution to twentieth century historical linguistics was about to come to fruition. It strikes me as oddly co-incidental that Michael Ventris died the very same way another of my idols did. I refer to none other than the amazing, sultry American actor, James Dean (1931-1955), who crashed his race-car Spyder and broke his neck while racing at 20 mph. 0ver the speed limit on Sept. 30 1955.
Honouring Michael Ventris: Conjugations of All Tenses in the Active Voice of Athematic MI Verbs in Mycenaean Greek Honouring Michael Ventris In 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 wouldn't go far wrong in asserting that I practically idolize the man (... might as well tell the truth). Conjugations of All Tenses in the Active Voice of Athematic MI Verbs in Mycenaean Greek (Click to ENLARGE): As far as I know, this is the first time that anyone has ever attempted to reconstruct the entire verbal system of all tenses in the active voice of Athematic MI verbs in Mycenaean Greek. Much more is to follow. I shall have reconstructed the middle and passive voices of both Thematic and Athematic verbs by the summer of this year (2014). With this table of all tenses in the active voice of Athematic MI verbs, using the verb "didomi" (I give, to give) as our paradigm, we have succeeded in the regressive reconstruction of these tenses in the active voice from their (approximate) Homeric forms, as used in the Iliad. By regressively extrapolating as many of the “original” Mycenaean forms as we possibly can from their Homeric descendents, we have been able to move forward to the progressive reconstruction of each of the tenses of the active voice of Athematic verbs, as illustrated in this table. This constitutes the first major step in our long journey to reconstruct as much of Mycenaean Greek grammar as far as we possibly can, for all parts of speech: verbs and adverbs, nouns & adjectives, as well as prepositions and the cases they govern. I have already progressively reconstructed most of the tenses of Thematic verbs in Mycenaean Greek, and will post the complete table shortly. This will finalize our reconstruction of the active voice of the Mycenaean Greek verbal system. But why, I hear you asking, aren't you reconstituting the subjunctive and optative moods? The answer is simple: since Mycenaean Linear B Greek seems to have been almost exclusively used for economic, accounting and fiscal records (including manufacturing and agriculture) and for some religious observances, it would appear that the Mycenaeans did not resort to the subjunctive and optative moods in writing on Linear B tablets, though they certainly must have used them regularly in spoken Mycenaean Greek. A few straggling forms pop up in the Mycenaean Linear B vocabulary, but by no means enough of them to warrant any plausible reconstruction of the subjunctive and optative moods. As I have repeatedly pointed out, I cannot and will not make any effort to regressively-progressively reconstruct any parts of speech for which there is (almost) no evidence on the extant Linear B tablets. Such an endeavour is foolish and hazardous. The only Mycenaean grammatical constructs we can safely and reasonably delineate are those for which adequate evidence either appears on extant tablets or which is attested in Homer's Iliad, and above all other considerations, in the Catalogue of Ships in Book II. This is precisely why I am translating the Catalogue of Ships in its entirety, as it is riddled with archaic remnants of Mycenaean Greek grammar, thus serving as the “perfect” (so to speak) point of reference or departure, if you like, for regressive extrapolation of the most ancient grammatical forms to be found in Homer's Iliad into their ancestral counterparts in Mycenaean Greek. I shall also have recourse to the "Idalion Tablet" in Cypro-Minoan Linear C as a secondary point of reference for the reconstruction of Mycenaean Greek grammar, since, as I have already demonstrated, these two very ancient Greek dialects are more closely intertwined than any other Greek dialects whatsoever, including the Attic and Ionic dialects. It is with all of this firmly in mind that I intend to reconstruct as much of the corpus of Mycenaean Greek grammar as is feasibly possible by the end of 2015, after which I will go on to publish my book, Mycenaean Linear B: Progressive Grammar and Vocabulary, sometime in 2016-2017. This volume will not only greatly enhance our knowledge of Mycenaean Greek grammar, but will significantly expand Mycenaean Greek vocabulary, both attested and derived, to at least 5,000 words. Keep posted. Richard
Which Greek Dialects are the Descendents of Mycenaean Greek? (Click to ENLARGE): Allow me to cite at some length four authoritative sources for the close-knit relationship between Mycenaean Greek (ca. 1500-1200 BCE) and the East Greek dialects which sprang up later, spreading out, first to Arcadia itself, as the Arcado-Cypriot dialect, which then in turn spread westward to Cyprus in the period of the great Greek migrations through colonization (ca. 750-550 BCE), also northwards towards Ionia and Attica, and eastwards to the island of Lesbos and its environs (Aeolic). Arcado-Cypriot, as C.D. Buck states in his ground-breaking study, The Greek Dialects (University of Chicago Press, 1955; republished in 1998 by Bristol Classical Press, © 1998 – ISBN 1-85399-556-8. xvi, 373 pp.), belongs to “The East Greek... Old Hellenic dialects, that is, those employed by the peoples who held the stage almost exclusively in the period represented by the Homeric poems, when the West Greek peoples remained in obscurity in in the northwest. To the East Greek division belong the Ionic and Aeolic groups.. [and].. also the Arcado-Cyprian.” Then he makes a point of stressing that “no two dialects, not even Attic and Ionic, belong together more obviously than do those of Arcadia and the distant Cyprus.” (pg. 7), and goes on to say, “There are, in fact, notable points of agreement between Arcado-Cypriot and Aeolic... which cannot be accidental.” (pg. 8, all italics mine). I have taken pains to quote all of these observations to make it abundantly clear that following dialects, Mycenaean, Arcado-Cypriot, Attic-Ionic, Aeolic and Lesbian, are all East Greek dialects, as illustrated by his table on page 9, as opposed to the West & North-West Greek dialects, which include all of the Doric dialects, such as Argolic, Megarian, Cretan etc. while Egbert J. Bakker. in his A Companion to the Ancient Greek (Wiley-Blackwell, © 2010. 704 pp. ISBN 978-1-4051-5326-3), asserts that “Mycenaean is clearly, therefore, an East Greek dialect, along with Attic-Ionic and Arcado-Cypriot... passim ... Some features align Mycenaean more closely with Arcado-Cypriot... passim... Mycenaean is therefore a dialect directly related to Arcado-Cypriot – not unexpected, given the geography...” (pp. 198-199), and again, Roger D. Woodward, in The Ancient Languages of Europe (Cambridge University Press, © 2008 ISBN 9780521684958), states that “Of the first-millennium dialects, it is Arcado-Cypriot to which Mycenaean Greek is most closely related.” (pg. 52) I wish to stress emphatically that there is no direct relationship between the East Greek dialects (Mycenaean, Arcado-Cypriot, Attic-Ionic or Aeolic) and the West Greek dialects, most notably, the Doric dialect, since the earliest of the East-Greek dialects, Mycenaean Greek, was widely spoken in the Peloponnese and around the Saronic Gulf well before the Doric invasion, and that consequently since all of the other East Greek dialects, Arcado-Cypriot, Attic-Ionic & Aeolic, spread out from the Mycenaean epicentre, they too are not and cannot be directly related to the West Greek dialects. To add further fuel to the fire, allow me to conclude with these highly pertinent observations Denys Page makes in, History and the Homeric Iliad (University of California Press, © 1966. 350 pp.) He says: The new theory maintains, in briefest summary, the following position. “The dialect which we call Ionic is fundamentally akin to Arcadian; the peculiar features which differentiate it from other dialects as Ionic are all (or most) of relatively late development. In the Mycenaean period one dialect was predominant in southern Greece: when the Dorians occupied the Peloponnese, part of the Mycenaean population stayed at home, part emigrated; the stay-at-homes, to be called “Arcadians”, retained their dialect with comparatively little change through the Dark Ages, ...” Now, from all we have just seen here, I feel I can safely draw the following conclusions: 1 there is no direct relationship between the East Greek dialects (Mycenaean, Arcado-Cypriot, Attic-Ionic or Aeolic) and the West Greek dialects, most notably, the Doric dialect; 2 All of the East Greek dialects migrated from their original home base during the great age of Greek colonization (ca. 750-550 BCE), as witnessed by the spread of the Arcadian dialect to Cyprus in the historical period, and of Attic-Ionic eastwards as Aeolic towards Lesbos and its environs. 3 these patterns of migration of the East Greek dialects were paralleled by the migration of the West Greek dialects to colonies as prosperous and large as the great city of Syracuse (Doric) and other Greek cities along the west coast of Italy. 4 Confirmation of Denys Page’s “new theory” (1966) has been re-affirmed and validated over and over again all the way through to the present day (Cf. Woodward, 2008 & Bakker, 2010), so that there remains little doubt, if any, that his “new theory”, which is no longer new at all, having persisted a half century, is here to stay. Richard
Tabular Comparison of the Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C Syllabaries (Click to ENLARGE):
Mycenaean Greek, which was written in the Linear B syllabary, and Arcado-Cypriot, which used the Linear C syllabary, both belong to the family of East Greek dialects, which were to spread from these two into Ionic-Attic and Aeolic during the period of Greek colonization (ca. 750-550 BCE). For more on this, see the next post, “Which Greek dialects of Mycenaean Greek”?
Haiku in Linear B, Homeric Greek, English & French Haïku en Linéaire B, Grec homérique, en anglais et en français Click to ENLARGE: * In the second version below the haiku in Linear B, the Linear B syllabograms and vowels are given in their Latin equivalents, so that you can get some idea of the pronunciation of the Mycenaean Greek (ca. 1300-1200 BCE). ** The Greek version of this haiku is composed in very ancient Greek (ca. 800 BCE), matching the Greek of “The Catalogue of Ships” in Book II of the Iliad as closely as possible. Richard
Mycenaean Linear B Tablet, Comparison with the Arcado-Cypriot Linear C “Idalion” Tablet & Implications (Click to ENLARGE):  While Mycenaean Greek, written in the Linear B syllabic script, was in use from ca. 1400-1200 BCE, its younger cousin, the Arcado-Cypriot dialect, written in the Linear C syllabic script, subsisted all the way through from ca 1100 BCE to ca 400 BCE (700 years!)  While almost all of the syllabograms the Linear B & Linear C syllabic scripts look entirely unalike, Linear C shares enough syllabograms with its parent, Linear B, for us to draw the sound conclusion that the latter was a much more streamlined and more geometrically simplified script clearly derived from Linear B. To illustrate this, I have flagged the syllabograms on the Linear B tablet above which are (almost) identical with their agnates in Arcdo-Cypriot Linear C.  While these two scripts appear entirely different on the surface, the phonetic-morphemic characteristics & the pronunciation of the latter (Arcado-Cypriot) are so strikingly similar to those of Mycenaean Greek that there is not a shadow of a doubt that the language these two dialects share is practically identical. Although the pronunciation of Arcado-Cypriot Greek was somewhat, though scarcely greatly, differentiated from that of Mycenaean, these two dialects were clearly offshoots of an even more ancient proto-Greek.  Finally, since Arcado-Cypriot is, without a shadow of a doubt, a Greek dialect, as attested by latter-day texts once it was finally converted into standard alphabetic Greek around 400 BCE, then it necessarily follows that Mycenaean as well must have been a Greek dialect, in other words Greek, and nothing else. Richard
Be sure to read Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews, which are of extreme import to the study of Mycenaean, Homeric and Classical Greek, and Latin.
Originally posted on rogueclassicism:
… more catching up:
- 2014.02.41: Mario Iozzo, Iacta stips: il deposito votivo della sorgente di Doccia della Testa a San Casciano dei Bagni (Siena).
- 2014.02.40: Paul Schubert, Pierre Ducrey, Pascale Derron, Les Grecs héritiers des Romains : huit exposés suivis de discussions. Entretiens sur l’Antiquité classique, 59.
- 2014.02.39: Bonnie Honig, Antigone, Interrupted.
- 2014.02.38: Jean-Claude Cheynet, Turan Gökyildirim, Vera Bulgurlu, Les sceaux byzantins du Musée archéologique d’Istanbul. İstanbul Araştırmaları Enstitüsü kitapları, 21.
- 2014.02.37: Frank Feder, Angelika Lohwasser, Ägypten und sein Umfeld in der Spätantike: vom Regierungsantritt Diokletians 284/285 bis zur arabischen Eroberung des Vorderen Orients um 635-646: Akten der Tagung vom 7.-9.7.2011 in Münster. Philippika, 61.
- 2014.02.36: Gabriele Cifani, Tra Roma e l’Etruria: cultura, identità e territorio dei Falisci.
- 2014.02.35: Deborah Kamen, Status in Classical Athens.
- 2014.02.34: Johnny Christensen, An Essay on the Unity of Stoic Philosophy.
- 2014.02.33: Nikolaos Chr. Konomis, Από την ιστορία της λατινικής γλώσσας [From the History of the Latin Language]. 5η έκδοση αναθεωρημένη και επαυξημένη.
- 2014.02.32: Hélène Vial, Poètes et orateurs dans l’Antiquité: mises en scène réciproques. Collection Erga, 13.
- 2014.02.31: Victoria Emma Pagán, A Companion to Tacitus. Blackwell companions to the ancient world.
- 2014.02.30: Audrey Becker, Les relations diplomatiques romano-barbares en Occident au Ve siècle: acteurs, fonctions, modalités. Collections de l’Université de Strasbourg. Études d’archéologie et d’histoire ancienne.
- 2014.02.29: Emma Buckley, Martin T. Dinter, A Companion to the Neronian Age. Blackwell companions to the ancient world.
- 2014.02.28: C. W. Marshall, George Kovacs, No Laughing Matter. Studies in Athenian Comedy.
- 2014.02.27: Peter Scholz, Uwe Walter, Fragmente Römischer Memoiren. Studien zur Alten Geschichte, 18.
- 2014.02.26: Sergio Castagnetti, Le leges libitinariae flegree: edizione e commento. Pubblicazioni del Dipartimento di diritto romano, storia e teoria del diritto F. De Martino dell’Università degli studi di Napoli Federico II, 34.
- 2014.02.25: Marie-Hélène Marganne, Bruno Rochette, Bilinguisme et digraphisme dans le monde gréco-romain: l’apport des papyrus latins. Actes de la Table Ronde internationale (Liège, 12-13 mai 2011). Collection Papyrologica Leodiensia, 2.
- 2014.02.24: Tracey E. Rihll, Technology and Society in the Ancient Greek and Roman Worlds. Historical perspectives on technology, society, and culture, 10.
- 2014.02.23: Kevin W. Wilkinson, New Epigrams of Palladas: A Fragmentary Papyrus Codex (P.CtYBR inv. 4000). American Studies in Papyrology, 52.
- 2014.02.22: Massimo Blasi, Strategie funerarie: onori funebri pubblici e lotta politica nella Roma medio e tardorepubblicana (230-27 a.C). Studi e ricerche, 1.
What is the Relationship between Mycenaean Greek & Arcado-Cypriot? ... there is a lot more to this than meets the eye! NOTE! Researchers in the field of Mycenaean Linear B, who are also fascinated with Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, would do well to read the illustrative dialectical map and text below, for on it hinges the foundation of the entire theory of Progressive Linear B as I intend to expound it in greater and greater depth throughout 2014 and 2015. And here you can clearly see where I am carrying this ball (Click to ENLARGE this huge illustrative text): My basic premise is this, that since Arcado-Cypriot (written in the syllabary Linear C) subsisted all the way through from ca 1100 BCE to ca 400 BCE (700 years!), before the Arcado-Cypriots, i.e. Arcadians, finally caved in to alphabetic Hellenistic Greek, otherwise known as “koine” (the common language), in the face of its otherwise universal use, is without a shadow of a doubt the ancient Greek dialect most closely related to Mycenaean Greek (written in the syllabary Linear B), being for all intents and purposes its younger cousin, it must logically follow that Mycenaean Greek must be Greek and nothing but Greek. The really peculiar notion held by a tiny minority of self-appointed high-minded “researchers” that Mycenaean is not Greek, and that Michael Ventris, as brilliant and methodologically logical as he was to a fault, was merely “making clever guesses as to what the language was, truly boggles the mind. It intend to establish once-and-for-all that such silly notions are not only specious in the extreme, but entirely tautological. The mere fact that the two dialects share a virtually common grammar and vocabulary is enough to lay the myth that Mycenaean Greek is not Greek to rest forever. For if it is not Greek, then what on earth is it? And if such researchers are so clever (and apparently brighter than a genius of Ventris' stature), then they ought to have long since been able to decipher whatever the blazes they imagine it is. But they have not, and I wager my life they never will. To this end, I will also master Linear C this year, and subsequently translate the entire Idalion Tablet (the longest text by far composed in Linear C) into English, with the view to cross-correlating Arcado-Cypriot and Mycenaean down to the most fundamental level, by reconstructing the grammar and vocabulary of both dialects to the greatest possible extent that I can. And I shall. The next post displays Idalion Tablet. Progressive Linear B Grammar & Vocabulary © Richard Vallance Janke 2014
As of today, February 23, 2014, Google image searches confirm that our blog ranks high on the first page alone: 1 Search: Linear B Tablets: 18 times 2 Search: Linear B Tablets, Translations: 19 times 3 Search: Linear B Glossary: 20 times 4 Search: Mycenaean Linear B: 20 times 5 Search: Linear B Tablets, Decipherment: 21 times 6 Search: Linear B Grammar: 31 times * 7 Search: Linear B Vocabulary: 35 times * 8 Search: Cypriot script, Arcado-Cypriot & Linear C: 50 + times Since our blog is only 10 months old, this is good news, attesting to its significant contributions to the realm of research into Mycenaean Linear B. * All clustered at the top of the Google image searches ** Note that it is highly inadvisable to search Linear B or Linear C alone, i.e. unqualified with other search terms, as such searches invariably capture at least as many, if not more, images on mathematical Linear B & Linear C theory & constructs which have nothing whatsoever to do with linguistics. Visitors to our blog may also be interested in following us on our PINTEREST Boards, Richard
Folks, simply have to read Gretchen Leonhart’s superb translation of Pylos 641-1952, the very first tablet Michael Ventris deciphered. Just click on the Link in this post to jump to her Blog, Konoso, where you can read her translation in its entirety.
CRITICAL POST: The Present and Imperfect Tenses of Reduplicating – MI – Verbs in Linear B [Click to ENLARGE): NOTE: If you are a researcher in Linear B, it is highly advisable that you read and thoroughly digest this post in its entirety, as it constitutes a major milestone in the exegesis of my Theory of Regressive Linear B Grammar & Vocabulary. Failure to read this post may result in an inability to further confirm or reject, either in whole or in part, the premises upon which my entire theory rests. Athematic – MI –verbs are shared in large part by Greek and and Sanskrit, respectively the Occidental & Oriental agnates or close/near descendents of the same extremely ancient (proto-) Indo-European class. All verbs of this athematic class invariably share the standard ending – mi – in the 1st. person sing. of the present tense. Ancient Greek and Indic (Sanskrit) are similar in many respects, which may strike some as surprising since they cross the hypothetical “satem/centum” line, which the Occidental sub-class (all ancient Greek dialects & Latin & its dialects) treats the Proto IE gutturals as hard (Gr.e9kato/n Lat. centum = 100,) as against Sanscrit, chatam, and Old Persian, satem. But there are so many structural affinities, from parallel verb forms down to musical pitches, that some special connections must have existed between and prior to these two groups, which appear to have almost certainly sprung from the same Proto IE ancestral language. On the other hand, while Sanskrit is normally considered solidly IE, less than 40% of Greek vocabulary and grammar appears to derive directly from Proto IE roots, giving rise to the hypothesis that other extra-structural factors are surely involved in the evolution of ancient Greek. This phenomenon, peculiar to Greek alone, may also have significant implications for the eventual decipherment of Linear A. But this is mere speculation on my part. Still... you never know. At any rate, I intend eventually to follow this avenue of approach, my small contribution to the eventual decipherment of at least a tiny substrate (superstrate?) of Linear A sometime in 2016. Seminal Characteristics of Athematic MI Verbs: Athematic MI verbs are characterized, for the most part, by their own unique set of endings, although the 2nd. and 3rd. plurals are virtually the same as those of the Thematic so-called “regular” verbs in ancient Greek. It would appear, then, that “regular” verbs retained the athematic 2nd. and 3rd. plurals of their ancestors, the athematic Mi verbs, while casting all other athematic endings aside. Reduplication in the Present Tense: The most striking phenomenon of MI verbs is reduplication in the present tense, which is restricted to perfect formations of “regular” thematic verbs in ancient Greek. This state of affairs raises two critical questions in my mind:  are so-called “regular” verbs in ancient Greek derived from the more ancient athematic MI verbs, or did they simply borrow the athematic endings of the athematic 2nd. and 3rd. plurals the ancestral MI verbs? Later this year, I shall demonstrate the apparent yet quite possibly significant link between the SI endings of the present indicative and san endings of the perfect indicative in both classes of verbs, thematic and athematic. Another truly striking similarity between the more archaic and early “regular” forms in Homeric Greek is the sharing of the SI ending in the dative plural. I am highly inclined to stress the statistically probable significance of these endings, in both their verbal and nominal forms, shared by their more ancestral and and early “regular” forms in both Mycenaean and Homeric Greek. This phenomenon will re-appear frequently in both the attested [A] and derivative [D] forms of the 3rd. person plural of all verbs, thematic or athematic regardless and in the SI ending of the dative plural, not only in Homeric, but also in Mycenaean Linear B, which attests to their extreme antiquity in ancient Greek. The fact that these forms were already fully developed in Mycenaean Greek strongly points to the likelihood that they arose from the earliest ancestral (proto-) Greek of Mycenaean and Homeric Greek alike (above all in the Catalogue of Ships in Book II of the Iliad). All of these grammatical constructs are already firmly rooted in Mycenaean and Homeric Greek, giving rise to my hypothesis that it is not only possible, but highly feasible to regressively reconstruct huge chunks of Mycenaean Greek grammar and vocabulary from their (quasi-direct) descendent, the Homeric Greek of (the Catalogue of Ships) of the second Book of the Iliad. All of this raises another hypothetical question in my mind: did there exist ancestral forms of thematic verbs in ancient Greek which shared all or most of their endings, in all tenses, with their (apparently) more ancient MI counterparts, giving rise to the hypothesis that both athematic and thematic verbs were derived from even more ancient verbal constructs, in which all remotely ancient (proto-) Greek verbs were in fact athematic? That this is possible, and even probable, is reinforced by the uncontested fact that in Sanskrit both MI and O verbs alike share reduplication, meaning there is no marked distinction between “thematic” and “athematic” verbs in Sanskrit, in other words, they are of one and the same class. This phenomenon then reappears in a restricted number of Latin perfects, like tutudi from tundo "beat", old tetuli from thw stem tul- which supplements the forms of Latin. fero (Gr.fe/rw ). Since Latin developed in parallel with ancient Greek, but independently from the latter, this then raises the question yet again, how on earth can it be that such reduplication occurs in Latin but not in Greek, unless there is a possibility (however remote) that reduplication occurred in both thematic and athematic verbs of their proto-Greek and proto-Latin ancestors? If indeed that is the case, then it would appear that proto-Greek and proto-Latin shared this seminal characteristic with not only Sanskrit, but proto-Sanskrit, and hence, by inference, with the proto IE ancestor of all three of these languages. If this is that case, it necessarily follows that both the thematic O endings and athematic MI endings share one and the same singular ancestor, which must have been neither thematic nor athematic, but one and the very same root of both classes. So I have to wonder out loud whether thematic O and athematic MI verbs in Sanskrit, Mycenaean Greek and Homeric Greek alike all derive from a single class of verbs, embodying the characteristics of both of these classes of verbs. If that is even remotely a possibility, then we cannot afford to ignore it, since it allows us to regressivly reconstruct, to some degree at least, even some of the tenses of the Proto-IE ancestor of all of these languages. Wouldn't that be a revelation? Of course, all this is speculation on my part, but I love to indulge in speculative hypotheses, if there is even a remote chance that someday some of them may prove to be sound. Only time and future refinements in the science of linguistics may lend some credence to the hypotheses I am making here. If anything, computational linguistics and the great leaps in the application of artificial intelligence to linguistic theory (-ies) are likely to give rise to even more speculative hypotheses, hypotheses which may yet prove to rest on a much more solid foundation in applied linguistics than we can hope to approach at present. We shall see. In other words, the foundation of my theory of the Regressive Reconstruction of Mycenaean Linear B grammar and vocabulary rests firmly on the regressive extrapolation of all such forms from he Homeric Greek of (the Catalogue of Ships) of the second Book of the Iliad or from any of the following dialects, Cypriot Linear C (above all others), Aeolic, Arcadian and early Ionic Greek, all of which appear to have been (quasi-) direct descendents of Mycenaean Greek. Doric Greek does not properly enter into the equation. Conclusions: On thing, however, is certain: the athematic – mi – verbs, in all tenses & moods, and in the all-pervasive participial constructions in ancient Homeric Greek must have been already firmly entrenched in Mycenaean Greek, from the simple observation of the facts, namely, that at least some these forms of all tenses, moods and participles are already almost all attested [A] on Mycenaean Linear B tablets. And even where some forms of all tenses, moods and participles in verbs are not to be found on any Linear B tablets, enough of them are attested for us to be able to reasonably reconstruct them in their entirety or at least in part from the attested forms. And what applies to verbs, applies also to all other parts of speech in Mycenaean Linear B (nouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and even formulaic phrases shared with Homeric Greek). These happily fortuitous antecedents in Linear B to their later counterparts in Homeric Greek recur quite frequently enough for me to be able to regressively reconstitute the Linear B forms from their subsequent Homeric forms. This, in a nutshell, is the entire premise of the Theory of Regressive Linear B as I intend to clearly demonstrate in the reconstruction of large chunks of ancestral Mycenaean Greek grammar and vocabulary, both attributed [A] and derivative [D] from its direct descent, Homeric Greek, and in particular the frequent occurrences of archaic Greek in Book II of the Iliad, in which in turn even more archaic forms frequently recur in the Catalogue of Ships (lines 484-789), the most reliable source for ancestral Mycenaean Greek grammar and vocabulary in the entire Iliad. Concomitantly, and once again happily, any of the following dialects, Cypriot Linear C (above all others), Aeolic, Arcadian and early Ionic Greek also well serve the purpose as direct and indirect descendents of Mycenaean Greek, from which it is feasible to regressively extrapolate grammatical and terminological constructs in Linear B. Doric Greek, however, does not enter into the equation, since the Dorian invasion transpired after the fall of Mycenaean civilization. Richard
More information on errors in the Mycenaean (Linear B) – English Glossary. Please follow this link. Richard
Originally posted on Glossarissimo!:
“The Linear B is the first Greek writing system. This was used between the 14 th and 12 th century B.C..Linear B was first deciphered by Michael G. Ventris, in 1952. Linear B was found initially at Knossos in Crete island and the other centers of Mycenaen civilization on Greek mainland, Pylos, Mycenes, Thiba Tyrintha. The script was found in the form of clay tablets.The Linear B was used for writing by the Mycenaen and consists about 90 signs, each representing a syllable and there are signs for vowels a, e, i, o, u. Also there are arithmetic sings.”
Archaic Greek in Book II, The Iliad, “The Catalogue of Ships” Translation into English: Part II, Lines 35-75 (Click to ENLARGE): My commentary on the derivation of the archaic Greek vocabulary and grammar in Book II of the Iliad from its much older Mycenean Linear B counterparts appears immediately after this post, and after every consecutive post of my running translation of Book II. As we proceed through Book II of the Iliad, we shall come to realize, quickly enough, that in fact the grammar and vocabulary of Book II, and in particular of the Catalogue of Ships (Lines 484-779), is inextricably woven with its parent dialect, namely, Mycenaean Greek, and consequently with the grammar and vocabulary of Linear B itself, from which the archaic Greek of this book of th Iliad is ultimately derived. One thing I would like to make perfectly clear. While the Greek of Book II of the Iliad is archaic in many places, there is no way on earth that I would translate any of the Iliad into archaic English! Far too many translations of the Iliad reek of archaic English, and to my mind at least, have no place whatsoever in the annals of twenty-first century translations of ancient Greek texts into English, or into any other modern language, for that matter. The whole idea of the exercise is to make the ancient Homeric Greek as accessible and as readable as is humanly possible to today's allophone readers of the Iliad. Otherwise, I see no point in translating the text at all. If we are to get any real enjoyment out of any translation of the Iliad, for heaven's sake, let it be easy (and perhaps even fun) to read! Richard
9 Practice Sentences for the Final Examination: Levels 1 & 2 (Basic Linear B) [Click to ENLARGE]: Those of you who are new to our blog may not realize that I offer a complete free course on learning Linear B, which progresses through 5 Levels: 1 & 2 (Basic), which introduce students to all 59 of the basic values, i.e. vowels and syllabograms of Linear B, as well as the Linear B accounting system: 3 (Intermediate), which introduces students to homophones & finally, Levels 4 & 5, which study Linear B in far greater detail, illustrating the extreme significance of logograms and ideograms in the decipherment of Linear B tablets. Once students have mastered all 5 Levels of Progressive Linear B Grammar and Vocabulary, they will then move onto the far more daunting task of deciphering the extant Linear B tablets. Possessing a fundamentally sound knowledge of Linear b does not mean that we are simply able pick up our new-fangled tools and translate Linear B tablets willy-nilly. As it turns out, this turns out to be far from the actual experience of having to decipher the some 6,000 extant tablets, so many of which almost defy interpretation. In fact, as we shall soon enough discover throughout the course of 2014 & 2015, rarely do Mycenologists (completely) agree on the decipherment, i.e. the translation of any single Linear B tablet into English, for a number of reasons, none of which can be ignored. These factors are: 1. a great number of tablets use ideograms which have not yet been deciphered. There are at least a dozen undeciphered syllabograms and homophones 2. The longest tablets make use of vocabulary so archaic that it is next to impossible to know what it means or even (yes!) whether some of it is even Greek, and even where the vocabulary is Greek, most of it went extinct shortly after the fall of the Mycenaean civilization, only to re-appear once, and once only, in Book II of the Iliad, "The Catalogue of Ships", thereafter to disappear forever from ancient Greek. Decipherment of the most complex Linear B tablets cannot even hope to be even remotely accurate, unless we take all of these factors into account at all times, and then some. Richard
Breakthrough in world's oldest undeciphered writing, by Sean Cough lan BBC News (Click Tablet to see the News Release:) The world's oldest undeciphered writing system, which has so far defied attempts to uncover its 5,000-year-old secrets, could be about to be decoded by Oxford University academics.