Latest Entries »
Isis DAESH ARE a gang of thugs and monsters!!! Be sure to comment on this post, folks! The things those creeps will do to precious antiquities are enough to make one sick to ones stomach! Richard
Originally posted on Clio Ancient Art & Antiquities:
Glazed terracotta tile. Nimrud. 875-850 BCE
Protective spirit. Northwest Palace at Nimrud. 865 BCE
Human headed winged lion, formerly flanking a doorway in the Northwest Palace at Nimrud. Time of Ashurnasirpal I, 865 BCE
The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, showing scenes of tribute bearers from many lands. 858-824 BCE
Gates from Shalmaneser III’s palace at Balawat. Embossed bronze strips over wood (reconstructed). 858-824 BCE.
Winged human headed spirits. Northwest Palace at Nimrud. These may have guarded the entrance to the King’s private apartments. 865 BCE.
Horses & grooms leaving Sennacherib’s palace at Nineveh, 700 BCE
Protective spirits, Nineveh, 645-635 BCE. These figures are not fighting but are protecting against any evil that might approach from two directions.
My Translation of lines 474-510 of “The Catalogue of Ships” in Book II of the Iliad: Click to ENLARGE This is Part 1 of 9 Parts of my running translation of the “The Catalogue of Ships”, lines 474-815 in Book II of the Iliad. The cardinal aim of our translation is to underscore the close relationship between the most archaic vocabulary in the Iliad, almost all of which appears in Book II, and primarily in “The Catalogue of Ships”, with both of the earlier Mycenaean Greek & Arcado-Cypriot dialects. With this in mind, I expect to be able to regressively extrapolate derived (D) vocabulary in the Mycenaean Greek & Arcado-Cypriot dialects from archaic vocabulary found in “The Catalogue of Ships” in Book II of the Iliad. Derived vocabulary (DV) in Mycenaean Linear B and Arcado-Cypriot Linear C is not to be found on any extant tablets in either script. Vocabulary on extant tablets is designated as attested (AV). I am quite convinced that it will be possible for us to derive a considerable number of Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot words, which are presently nowhere attested. This derived vocabulary (DV) should appreciably expand the corpus of Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot vocabulary in Linear B and Linear C respectively. My research colleague, Rita Roberts, and I expect to eventually be able to compile a truly comprehensive topical English-Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C Lexicon, which may very well double the existing vocabulary in Mycenaean Greek, and supplement somewhat the already considerable vocabulary of Arcado-Cypriot, which appears in both in Linear C and in alphabetic Greek. Our Lexicon, which should appear in PDF sometime in 2016 will prove to be greatly superior to the Mycenaean (Linear B) – English Glossary, currently available on the Internet. This glossary should be consulted with the greatest caution and wariness, as it was so poorly proof-read that its entries in Linear B, alphabetic Greek and English are riddled with well over 100 errors. In fact, I would strictly advise anyone who is familiar with either or both Linear B & ancient Greek to double-check every single entry for errors. On the other hand, Chris Tselentis’ Linear B Lexicon, which can be downloaded in PDF format from the net, is a reliable source of considerable merit of Mycenaean Linear B vocabulary. It has the additional advantage of including a large number of eponyms and toponyms, which play a formative rôle on extant Linear B tablets, regardless of provenance. Richard
Linear B Syllabograms, Logograms & Ideograms Compared with Modern Chinese Ideograms: Click to ENLARGE While I know nothing of modern Chinese, and consequently cannot understand what any of the ideograms on this sign mean, I decided to compare either whole Chinese ideograms or components of them with their Linear B counterparts, simply to illustrate how similar writing systems from two cultures as remotely spaced both in time and space can and often do make use of very similar, and even occasionally almost identical strokes to create their characters. It so turns out that my own boyfriend, Louis-Dominique, took this photo just for me, when he was in China at the end of September and beginning of October this year (2014). I have no intention of analyzing any of the characters or ideograms in either Linear B or in Chinese, except in so far as I am able to translate those that are in Linear B. The photograph pretty much illustrates the similarities without need for further comment, but some similarities leap right out. For our Oriental visitors who are unfamiliar with the first 2 scriptural phenomena, a syllabogram is merely a syllable consisting of one consonant followed by one vowel, as in YA, MO, NE, PO, QE, RE, SO & TO, all of which appear on the photograph. Logograms in Linear B & other syllabic scripts are a combination of two syllabograms, one superimposed on the other, as in MERI = “honey”, which appears in the previous post. In both Linear B & Chinese, an ideogram is an ideogram is an ideogram. There are almost 150 ideograms in Linear B, which is a considerable number, considering that Linear B is primary a syllabary. In fact, there are more ideograms in Linear B than there are both syllabograms and logograms! To highlight just a few of the more remarkable similarities:  Especially striking is the Linear B syllabogram RE  on the photograph, which looks exactly like the four signs, two on top and two underneath the Chinese ideogram at the far right top of the sign. It also appears upside down on the Chinese ideogram immediately underneath.  Variants of the Linear B syllabogram MO appear as components 4 in Chinese ideograms, all tagged . For those of you who are Chinese, if you refer yourself to the Linear B words tagged with  & , bottom left, you can actually see for yourself that the syllabogram MO closely resembles the ideogram component I have flagged.  Likewise, a minor variant of the Linear B syllabogram TO  appears on one Chinese ideogram & in the Linear B word, bottom left. So that makes two components of Chinese ideograms incorporating elements strikingly alike Linear B syllabograms.  The component at the centre bottom of Chinese ideogram  closely resembles the Linear B syllabograms PO & SO in the 2 counterpart Linear B sentences , bottom right.  The Chinese ideogram component  looks exactly like the Greek alphabetic lambda (L), upside down. This is the sole instance in which a component of a Chinese ideogram looks like a Greek alphabetic letter rather than a Linear B syllabogram. Anyway, there are no L+vowel syllabograms in Linear B. My whole point is simply this, that Chinese ideograms frequently use strokes which incorporate elements which are (almost) identical, primarily to Linear B syllabograms, and sometimes Linear B logograms or ideograms. Thus, a component of an ideogram in Chinese can either closely resemble or actually be almost identical to a Linear B syllabogram, which are two different scriptural phenomena in two entirely unrelated languages. Likewise, an entire Chinese ideogram, as for instance, that for “elephant” in the previous post can be, and in that instance, is practically identical to the Linear B logogram for “honey”. Finally, the Chinese ideogram for “month” is the mirror image of the exact same ideogram (“month”) in Mycenaean Linear B, again as seen the previous post. Those of us who are Occidentals are going to draw own own conclusions reflecting the values of the West from the observations I have made above, while those who are Orientals will doubtless see things from a somewhat different perspective. I welcome any observations, comments or corrections from anyone fascinated by these correlations, especially from our Oriental friends who can translate the Chinese ideograms where these are (almost) identical to their Linear B counterparts. The stark differences in meaning can sometimes be hilarious, as for example in the previous post the logogram for “honey” In Mycenaean Greek looks almost identical to the Chinese ideogram which means “elephant”. This phenomenon recurs in alphabetical scripts, where for instance, both the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets are offshoots of the Greek alphabet. While most letters in these three alphabets are strikingly different, a number of letters are (almost) identical. I do not intend to illustrate these (dis)similarities here, since we are not concerned with alphabetic scripts. Richard
Knossos: A Novel of Ancient Crete, by Laura Gill 765 pp. (Kindle) Click to ENLARGE: I was just searching the Internet, and what did I find? This novel! It sure looks intriguing, and it merits four out of five stars! Plus it is very inexpensive, coming at $6.99. Here is what Laura has to say about her novel. Knossos. Witness the rise and fall of the legendary Labyrinth in these ten stories spanning five millennia. • Knos, a sea captain of Rhodes, is driven to find a new homeland for his people when the neighboring tribes turn against them. Little does he suspect the consequences of his actions. • A bolt of lightning kills Pasibe’s young lover. Yet where they take, the gods also give. • Bull leapers honor the gods during the midsummer rites as the rulers of Knossos vie for position. Bansabira, a bull priest, finds himself caught in the middle of the struggle. • Daidalos, wronged by the high priestess of Knossos, builds the first Labyrinth after a devastating personal tragedy. • Aranaru, a priest-architect of Daidalos, is commissioned to rebuild the Labyrinth after a storm of earthquakes. Meanwhile, in the serpent sanctuary, snake priestess Narkitsa tries to conceal a terrible secret. • Dadarusa, scribe to the Minos, is summoned to attend the dead after a natural disaster of world-changing fury. Will he persevere in his grim duty, or will injury, starvation and the animosity of a fanatic priest be his undoing? • Mycenaean conqueror Alektryon embarks on a course that threatens to alter the fabric of the Labyrinth and the authority of its priesthood. • A crazed girl’s passion and her attachment to the mysterious bull-man of the Labyrinth threaten to bring down the edifices of power. Read more about her novel on her blog, here: Richard
Completely Revised Mycenaean Linear B Basic Syllabograms, with 3 New Syllabograms JU (or YU), QA & ZU, Raising the Total from 58 to 61 with 1 less Homophone: Click to ENLARGE the Full Linear B Syllabary Revised 2014: NOTE! If you are using the standard chart of the Mycenaean syllabary currently available on the Internet, which looks like this: you should discard it at once and replace it with our new Table of the Full Linear B Syllabary Revised 2014, as the former is completely out-of-date and inaccurate. Until recently, almost all charts of the Basic Syllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B accounted for only 58 syllabograms, but this number falls short of the actual total of 61 Syllabograms. In fact, there are three syllabograms which are unaccounted for in almost all previous charts of the basic syllabograms, these three (3) being JU (or YU), QA & ZU. The chart above does account for ZU. Both YU and ZU, although attested (A) on all extant Linear B tablets and fragments, regardless of provenance, are extremely rare, so we need not fuss over them. How did the Mycenaeans Pronounce the J series of Syllabograms (JA, JE, JO & JU)? The syllabogram JU (or YU) appears to be accurate. Of course, you are bound to ask me, “Why all this fuss over the Mycenaeans’ actual pronunciation of the syllabograms in the J+ vowel series?” Good question. Actually, the distinction is highly significant. If those of us who are allophone English speakers pronounce the syllabogram JE, it is inevitable that it is going to sound exactly like “je” in our word “jet”. However, I contend that this was almost certainly not the way the Mycenaeans would have pronounced it. They would much more likely have pronounced the entire J series of syllabograms (JA, JE, JO & JU) very much the way the French do today, as in “je” (I) or “justement” (precisely or exactly). If you are allophone English, there is really no way I can tell you how “j” sounds in French. But if you go to this site, you can hear it for yourself (scroll to the bottom of the light blue table): Listen carefully. You can easily enough tell that the sound of the consonant “j” is much softer in French than it is in English. That is the whole point. As languages progress forward through their historical timeline, the pronunciation of certain letters changes. Sometimes, consonants actually end up as vowels. This is precisely what happened to the soft “j” in Mycenaean Greek. By the time of Homer, it had glided to the vowel “i”. Thus, the genitive singular masculine “ojo” in Mycenaean Greek was now pronounced “oio” in Homer’s Iliad. Now, the real problem here is simply this: when did the pronunciation start to imperceptibly shift from that soft “j” to the much softer vowel “i”? This question is in no way academic, but a reflection of the actual historical process of the gradual transformation, or glide (if you like) from soft “j” to the vowel “i”. Given that Mycenaean Greek was the predominant Greek dialect almost everywhere in Greece from at least 1600 BCE until ca. 1200 BCE, the glide may have already been almost complete by the latter date. But we have no way of really knowing. However, I am one of many Linear B researchers and translators who believe this is indeed what happened, even as early as four centuries before Homer wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey (if ever he wrote it at all, rather than merely reciting aloud). So at least some of us prefer to list the J series of syllabograms (JA, JE, JO & JU) as the Y series (YA, YE, YO & YU), in our belief that the glide from the soft “j” to the purely vocalic “i” pronunciation of this series of 4 syllabograms was already well under way towards the end of the Mycenaean era. It is far more likely that the earlier soft “j” held sway in Knossos before its final demise ca. 1450-1425 BCE, so the choice of which pronunciation you personally prefer is entirely arbitrary. I have no problem being arbitrary myself. Take your pick. Why QA, Previously Classified as a Homophone Only, Should Properly be Considered a Syllabogram and Not a Homophone: The renowned Linear A & Linear B researcher, Prof. John G. Younger, was the first to recognize QA for what it is, a syllabogram. As Chris Tselentis makes it abundantly clear in his well-conceived Linear B Lexicon, he considers QA to be a syllabogram, and not a homophone. As he is Greek, he is in a much better position to have at it than those of us who are not Greek, which of course means almost all of us. This small extract from his Lexicon’s alphabetical list nicely illustrates the point – Click to ENLARGE: Linear B Syllabogram QA in the Linear B Lexicon by Chris Tselentis In his comprehensive Linear B Lexicon, Chris Tselentis places QA immediately after PTE and right before QE, which is precisely where it belongs alphabetically in the Linear B syllabary. To classify QA as being only a homophone is to strip it of its actual true value, which is patently unacceptable. Unfortunately, the primary chart, “Proposed Values of the Mycenaean Syllabary”, which is the one practically everyone studying Linear B resorts to, is inaccurate & totally out-of-date on two vital counts.  The new syllabograms (actually not so new), JU & QA are missing from that chart.  Past Linear B researchers and translators, from Michael Ventris through to his colleague, Prof. John Chadwick, were mistaken in their interpretation of the syllabogram QA as a homophone only. Since it is now known that in fact QA is an attested syllabogram (A), the previous phonetic value Ventris, Chadwick et. al. assigned to it is neither here nor there. In order not to confuse Linear B students and researchers, I cannot be bothered rehashing its former value. This in no way detracts from their splendid work in the successful decipherment. It just took a number of decades for later Linear B researchers to finally realize that there was (and is) more to this little beastie than was previously believed to be the case. Since the Linear B syllabary has no syllabogram to account for either a B+ vowel or G+vowel series, QA, QE, QO had to stand in for both “ba, be, bo...etc.” & “ga, ge, go...” in Mycenaean Greek. If you still wish to read an early, but truly excellent, extensive study on the conjectural pronunciation of of a great many syllabograms, download the PDF file, The Linear B Signs 8-A and 25-A2 (Remarks on the Problem of Mycenaean Doublets), by Antonín Bartonek, translated by S. Kostomlatský (1957). This study clearly illustrates the then current belief that PA2, i.e. QA, was strictly a homophone... a belief which has not stood the test of time. In Fact, Prof. John G. Younger, one of the most esteemed Linear A & Linear B researchers of our time, has this to say about the Mycenaean pronunciation of QA. John G Younger’s reassignment of PA2 to QA. Click to ENLARGE: If you click on the Title Banner for Prof. Younger’s site below, you will be taken there, where you can view both the Linear A & B Grids. Scroll down to near the end of the page to view his complete chart of the Linear B grid. Richard
Chinese Ideograms Compared to Linear B Syllabograms, Homophones, Logograms & Ideograms: Click to ENLARGE: Chinese (Oriental): Each Chinese character represents a monosyllabic Chinese word or morpheme. In 100 CE, the famed Han dynasty scholar Xu Shen classified characters into six categories, namely pictographs, simple ideographs, compound ideographs, phonetic loans, phonetic compounds and derivative characters. Click on the banner below to read this entry in full: Chinese Character Classification: Pictograms: Roughly 600 Chinese characters are pictograms (xiàng xíng "form imitation") — stylised drawings of the objects they represent. These are generally among the oldest characters. These pictograms became progressively more stylized and lost their pictographic flavor... passim... Ideograms: Ideograms (zh? shì, "indication") express an abstract idea through an iconic form, including iconic modification of pictographic characters. Low numerals are represented by the appropriate number of strokes, directions by an iconic indication above and below a line, and the parts of a tree by marking the appropriate part of a pictogram of a tree. Click on the banner below to read this entry in full: The Relationship Between Minoan Linear A (unknown) + Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C (Occidental Greek): Both Linear A, which was used to write the undeciphered Minoan language & Linear B, its immediate descendent, which was used to write Mycenaean Greek, shared character sets which were uncannily similar and in the case of a fair number of syllabograms, identical. However, given that Mycenaean Greek did not require anywhere near as many characters as had the Minoan language, Linear B, all for the sake of greater simplicity, abandoned a great number of the more complex Linear A syllabograms, homophones, logograms and ideograms as plainly extraneous. When the Linear B scribes devised the new syllabary, they simply tossed out everything from Linear B which was of no further use in representing early ancient Mycenaean Greek. And we must never forget that these two syllabaries, Linear A and Linear B, its much simplified offshoot, were used to write two entirely unrelated languages. Because the first, Minoan, is undeciphered, we have no way of knowing to which class of languages it belongs, except that so far at least, it has utterly defied decipherment as anything like an Indo-European language. On the other hand, Linear B was used for early ancient Greek, which is an Indo-European language. The point I am trying to make is that these two syllabaries, which are so much alike not only in appearance but to a large extent in phonetic values, represent languages belonging to completely different classes. While the scripts look uncannily alike, the languages underlying them are entirely unalike. Conclusion: even scripts, in this case scripts which make use of a combination of syllabograms, logograms and ideograms by and large (nearly) equivalent, may easily represent languages which have nothing to do with one another. The direct opposite scenario can, and does often occur. Linear B and Linear C used completely different syllabaries to write two extremely closely related dialects of the same language, ancient Greek, the first, Linear B for Mycenaean and the second, Linear C, for Arcado-Cypriot. No two dialects in ancient Greek are nearly as closely related as are these two, not even Ionic and Attic Greek. In the majority of cases, in fact, although morphemes (words) in Linear B & Linear C of course look completely unalike in their respective syllabaries, their phonetic values, far more often than not, sound & are (almost) exactly the same, because they are phonetically (practically) one and the same Greek word. Moreover, Arcado-Cypriot was written using both Linear C and the Greek alphabet. Same document, different scripts. So in Arcado-Cypriot, regardless of the script, the words (morphemes) and their phonetic values are identical. Moreover, in a great many cases, any given Greek word written in Linear B, Linear C or in alphabetical Greek in either of these two germane dialects is, plainly and simply, the (exact) same word. This phenomenon is of vital, if not critical, significance to the translation of tablets composed in Linear B and in Linear C alike into alphabetical Greek. Phonetically, the results can often be astonishingly alike, if not identical, for all three scripts (Linear B, Linear C & alphabetical Arcado-Cypriot). A Comparison Between Chinese Pictograms/Ideograms and Linear B Syllabograms, Homophones, Logograms & Ideograms: Any attempt to make sense of any comparison between the ideograms of an oriental language such as Chinese and those of a script used for an Occidental language, in this case, Linear B for Mycenaean Greek, may seem to be an exercise in utter futility. Yet, in some senses, it turns out not to be so. This is quite clearly demonstrated in the chart of only 10 ideograms for Chinese words, compared with 10 similar looking syllabograms, homophones, logograms and ideograms in Linear B. The point I am trying to make here is simply this: as far as the assignation of ideograms is concerned, even languages as disparate and as geographically distant from one another as Mycenaean Greek and oriental Chinese, often end up using ideograms which either look almost exactly the same or are uncannily similar in appearance, even though the morphemic values underlying them are almost always completely unrelated, which goes without saying. Or does it? B. Same Ideogram, Same Meaning (a Rare Bird indeed, but...): In one case and one case only, the ideogram for “month” in Chinese is the exact mirror image of the same ideogram in Linear B! Can this be so surprising, that the Chinese and Linear B scribes alike took the cue for the symbolism for the ideogram, “month”, from the exact same astronomical phenomenon, the moon? Of course not, given that almost all ancient societies had recourse to the lunar, not the solar, month. I have made no effort here to compare the Linear B & Chinese ideograms in the chart above with the ideogram for “month” in any other ancient language, undeciphered or not, but of course there are scores of languages based either completely (ancient & modern Chinese, Korean & Japanese) or partially on ideograms (such as Linear A & B, but not Linear C). Rummage through as many of them as you like and you are bound to turn up ideograms very similar to those for “month” in both Linear B & Chinese. In a sense, this striking similarity is in part accidental, since anyone can use any symbol even remotely resembling the moon for “month”, yet at the same time, chances are good that people speaking languages as geographically and linguistically remote as ancient Mycenaean Greek and (ancient or modern) Chinese can and will come up with practically the same ideogram. This phenomenon of (striking) similarity in the appearance of ideograms between two entirely unrelated languages will (in the very rarest circumstances) result in the same meaning, but even then, of course, the pronunciation will be utterly different, because it must be. The ideograms for “month” in Linear B & Chinese look like mirror images of one another, but their pronunciation is totally alien, the Linear B for month being some variation on the Greek, “mein”, the Chinese being “yuè”. Same Ideogram, (Almost Always) an Entirely Different Meaning: Of course, the obverse also holds true. Take one look at our chart above, and you can see right away that the very first ideogram in the Linear B column looks almost identical to its Chinese counterpart in column 1.1. Yes, they look like kissing cousins. But they mean something entirely different. This can come as no surprise to anyone familiar with linguistics. C. One is an Ideogram, the Other is Not! C.1 A Chinese Ideogram looks like a Logogram in Linear B: Of course, in the vast, vast majority of cases, ideograms which look the same from one language to another almost always mean something entirely different. But there is more. The first example we see in the Linear B column is not an ideogram at all, but a logogram composed of two Linear B syllabograms, ME & RI, the one superimposed on the other. In other words, what is an ideogram in one language (Chinese) is not an ideogram at all in another (Mycenaean Greek), even though they look almost identical, as is the case with our first example in the chart above, the logogram for MERI “honey” in Linear B, which looks almost identical to the ideogram in Chinese for “elephant”! C.2 A Chinese Ideogram looks like a Combination of Syllabograms & or Homophones & or Logograms in Linear B: Referring to Linear B entries 4. 6. & 7. in our chart above, we see that we have the syllabograms JA, SA & TE respectively. JA looks quite similar to the Chinese ideogram for “eye” (4.2) and SA + TE again like “sheep, ram” (10.2). Now of course, things get really messy, because Linear B uses two (2) ideograms, one for “ewe”, another for “ram”, and Chinese only one for both, with absolutely no resemblance between the Linear B & Chinese. This of course is the scenario for practically all syllabograms, homophones, logograms and ideograms on the one side (Linear B) and the ideograms on the other (Chinese), say 99.9 %. What is true for Linear B and Chinese is also true of any two languages which either use pictograms and ideograms almost exclusively (Chinese) or ideograms in combination with other signifiers such as syllabograms, homophones & logograms (Linear B). Conclusion: Many of you are surely asking, “What on the earth is the point of this, if not an exercise in futility? Why even bother with it?” The answer is simple enough: why climb a mountain? - because it is there. A great many researchers specializing in comparative linguistics are fascinated by just this sort of thing... which is why I brought it up in the first place. But there is another reason, even more compelling than this, which I shall reveal to you in our next fascinating post, before we have done with this topic once and for all. Richard
Rita Robert’s Translation of Knossos Tablet KN 1115 E c 315: Click to ENLARGE Rita’s comments on her translation: By consulting the huge Tselentis Linear B Lexicon, I found the place name Kytaistos where the 81 rams and 20 ewes were kept. I intuitively inserted “There is a total of”, because this would normally appear on a Linear B Tablet itemizing the number of animals or items. But of course, on this tablet as with so many others, the scribe omitted this because of the necessity to save space on such a small area. Rita Roberts Comment by Richard: Here is yet another of Rita’s successful translations of moderately difficult Knossos tablets using ideograms (in this case, those for ram & ewe). Since Rita always excels at what she does and now that Rita has fully mastered this level of translation, she is moving onto advanced decipherment, which is going to present a lot more challenges to her.
My highly skilled, really PRO student, Rita Roberts, just posted these medallions on her Bog, so I simply HAD to repost them on mine. They are actually on a lot of Linear B sites. No wonder! But Rita got them all! No one has before. Clever!
Originally posted on Ritaroberts's Blog:
HERE IS AN INTERESTING WAY TO LEARN HOW TO READ AND WRITE LINEAR B ANCIENT SCRIPTS
PA-te Father Tu-ka-te Daughter
Boy . Ko-Wo Boy
Mother Ma -te
Mother Daughter Ma-te Tu-ka-te
Priestess of the Winds . A- Ne -Mo -I – Ye- Re – A
Dionysus Di – Wo – Nu – So