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Minoan Linear A tablet HT 14 (Haghia Triada), apu2nadu = “grain or wheat distributed” or “grain measurers”:

Haghia Triada HT 14 apu2nadu = grain or wheat distributed

Minoan Linear A tablet HT 14 (Haghia Triada) apu2nadu may mean either “grain or wheat distributed” or “grain measurers”. I am not sure which of the two best fits the context, but I prefer the first decipherment. The supersyllabogram TE = tereza = a very large unit of dry measurement, which  appears in line 1, appears to reference the grain/wheat rather than the wine, and if so, it tells us that 30 large units of grain, something along the lines of our modern “bushel”, are under consideration. Whether or not tereza also applies to the 3 units of olive oil I cannot say, but I rather doubt it. But it probably also refers to the apu2nadu = “grain or wheat distributed” in line 3, in which case 45 “bushels” (so to speak) are in play.

This is the sixty-ninth (69) decipherment I have attempted, with more or less accuracy.

Again, Ms. Leonhardt insists on linking the Minoan language with Japanese. A grave mistake!


A course-ware cup

KE Scribe unknown

The Cycladic island of Kea or Keos (modern Tzia) is located 60 km (37.5 miles) southeast of Athens. During the Bronze Age, Kea was a Minoan settlement at the site now known as Aghia Irini [“Kea”].  Among this site’s LinA inscriptions is a course-ware cup that bears a single word. Course ware is distinguished from fine ware for its domestic use.

.1 ki

  1. ki | 酒 (ki) | alcohol, sake
    1. ki | 生 (ki) | crude, raw, undiluted; pure

Notes: Of the approximately 28 definitions given for this word, alcohol or sake is supported by the linear-script sign, AB *067 KI, which resembles a rhyton.  The second definition may indicate undiluted alcohol, or a crude, course-ware cup, or, perhaps, both.


  1. Kea (island). Ret. on 01 Jan 2013.

Entry added on 01 Jan 2013
Updated on 28 November 2013…

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Ms. Leonhardt’s comparision of Minoan Linear A with Japanese is a chase down the wrong alley. It leads to absurd decpherments.



HT Wa 1014, 1015, 1016, 1017, 1018
HT Scribe 54

HT Wa 1027, 1028
HT Scribes unknown

Each of two hanging noduli, Wa 1027 and 1028, bears one sign on each of two faces; John Younger confirms a reading of either or si.ka so that the dual signs may perhaps be associated with si.ka on Wa 1014-18.

1. | 瑕疵 (kashi) | blemish, defect, flaw
1. | χάση (khase or khasi) | loss, ruin, waste
2. si.ka | 疵瑕 (shika) | blemish, defect, flaw

瑕疵 or 疵瑕

  • blemish, defect, flaw

Notes: Cf. LinB ka-si.

The metathesis of syllables (morae) and their corresponding Japanese characters changes the pronunciations of these words but not their common meaning. Hints of this moraic metathesis are also apparent in the pairs, and (see Mekku Stones).

It is not clear how the noduli were used, but it seems as though they may have been attached to defective…

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decipherment of Linear A: HS Zg 1. Gretch Leonhardt compares the Minoan Language with Japanese. This is a mistake in my opinion.


A schist plaque

HS scribe unknown


  • | 天 (ama) | heaven, sky; deva

Notes:  Thus far, this plaque is the only LinA inscription from this site.  Compare 天照大  神 AmaterasuOomikami “the sun goddess”, which is the principle deity in the Shinto pantheon.  照らす terasu means “to illuminate, to shine”, and 大御神  oomikami, or ookami, is an archaic term that  means “god, goddess”; thus, perhaps, “shining-heaven  goddess”.

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Fascinating work by Gretchen Leonhardt HT 117 (Haghia Triada)


HT 117: Side A

Trade Itinerary

HT Scribe 9

LinA is often characterized by its many accounting lists, as evidenced in Haghia Triada (HT) texts, such as HT 13. However, HT 117 is not an accounting list of commodities but rather a trade itinerary for the Minoan fleet. The heading suggests that it was written after the return journey.

The words in the alphabetic list are linked to parallel entries in the lexicon, whereas the same words in the decipherment are linked to parallel entries in Toponyms. While bracketed place names are unattested in the Japanese dictionary, they represent my understanding through extensive research.

This translation is a work in progress.  The format is being updated to coincide with the LinA lexicon; consequently, some links may not work during the process.

Side A

.1  ma.ka.ri.te * * u.mi.
.2 , , mi.tu , ku.
.3 , , , tu.

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Minoan Linear A kirita2 (kiritai) = delivery & kiretana = delivered (nos. 67 & 68 deciphered):

Linear A tablets HT 114 - HT 129 Hagia Triada

After due consideration, I have decided that the terms kirita2 (kiritai) = “delivery” and kiretana =  “delivered” on the following Minoan Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada, HT 114, HT 120, HT 121 & HT 129. Kirita2 (kiritai) is used in association with grain on HT 114 & HT 129, and with olive oil on HT 121. Kiretana, on the other hand, appears only on HT 120, again in association with grain. But how could I possibly have drawn the conclusion that these two terms were in any way related? It is actually quite simple. Both kirita2 (kiritai) = “delivery” and kiretana =  “delivered” begin with almost the same prefix, i.e. kiri and kire. But does that make them directly related? If you stop to think about it, yes. I am convinced they are different grammatical forms of the same word, namely,  “delivery” (nominative) in English. As It see it,

kirita2 (kiritai) = “delivery” (nominative) &
kiretana = “(having been) delivered” (perfect participle passive)

which makes a great deal of sense in light of the fact that the same changes in form occur in all languages, ancient and modern. For instance, in Mycenaean Linear B, we have:

apudosi = “delivery” (nominative) &
apudedomeno = “(having been) delivered” (perfect participle passive)    

in English:

delivery (nominative) &
(having been) delivered (perfect participle passive)    

and in French:

livraison = “delivery” (nominative) &
(ayant été) livré = “(having been) delivered” (perfect participle passive) 

The problem with my decipherment is that it must compete with a number of other words which are frequently conjoined with the ideograms for “grain/wheat” and “olive oil” on several Linear A tablets, as noted below (with the number of occurrences of each term immediately following these potential alternatives): 

adaro 40 (ARKH 5)
adu 680 (HT 92)
apu2nadu 45(HT 14)
ase 26 (HT 93)
datu 15 (olive oil) (HT 123-124)
iqa*118 50+ (HT 131)
kupaja 16 (HT 116)
pa3ni 33 (HT 102)
pa3nina 12 (HT 93)
pi*34te (HT 116)
pitakase 161 (HT 21)
pura2 40 (HT 116)
qanuma 20 (HT 116)
qaqaru 5(HT 93)
saru 16 (olive oil) (HT 123-124)
simita 5 (HT 96)
siqine 12 (HT 116)
tukirina 40 (HT 129)
turunuseme  10 (HT 128)
zu*22di 40 (HT 101)

Any one of these words could be just as good a candidate. Right? Wrong. First of all, all but one of the terms given above occur only singly, which does not account for the shift from the nominative to the perfect participle passive. Kirita2 (kiritai) and kiretana (femine) do account for it in Minoan Linear A, but so also do apudosi and apudedomeno (neuter) do in Mycenaean Linear B. Moreover, the number of syllables in the Minoan Linear A terms is approximately equivalent to that of their Mycenaean Linear B counterparts. While this co-incidence does not necessarily ensure that the terms are equivalent in both syllabaries, the chances are that the greater the number of syllables in both, the greater the likelihood is that the selected terms are likely to be on target. In the list of alternative terms above, the only other tenable candidates are pa3ni (HT 102) & pa3nina (HT 93). Note in particular the identical shift from the nominative to the perfect participle passive in the latter, where the ppp. pa3nina has the exact same ultimate as does kiretana. Even if the latter terms pa3ni and pa3nina are actually the correct translations for  “delivery” (nominative) &  “(having been) delivered” (perfect participle passive) in Minoan Linear A rather than the two I have opted for, one or the other combination is likely to be correct, i.e. either:

kirita2 (kiritai) = “delivery” (nominative) &
kiretana =   “(having been) delivered” (perfect participle passive)


pa3ni = “delivery” (nominative) &
pa3nina =   “(having been) delivered” (perfect participle passive)

However, I have opted for the former in light of the fact that in almost all languages, ancient or modern, the perfect participle passive deviates in its orthography from the nominative, as is also the case with Mycenaean Linear B, English and French above. It is for this reason that kirita2 (kiritai) = “delivery” (nominative) & kiretana = “(having been) delivered” (perfect participle passive) are more tenable than pa3ni (nominative) & pa3nina (perfect participle passive), of which the nominative and perfect participle passive share the exact same prefix, pa3ni, at least in my judgement.

The question still remains, what do pa3ni (nominative) & pa3nina (perfect participle passive) mean? I shall have to see if I can tackle that problem later on.

This brings the total number of Minoan Linear A terms I have managed to deciphered more or less accurately to 68. The likelihood that these two terms are correctly deciphered is very good (> 75%). 


Minoan Linear A qajo = Mycenaean Linear B dapu = labrys or double-edged axe:

Kafkania-pebble is double axe qajo

Sometimes the best strategy is to accept what is staring us in the face. On the Kafkania Pebble (Middle Helladic, ca. 1700 BCE?) the term qajo is inscribed immediately below the image of a double-edged axe, which in Mycenaean Linear B is called dapu, or labrys in English, as seen here:

Akosono dapu dapuritoyo axes temple-of-the-double-axes

Compare these with an actual Minoan Linear A double-edged sword, on which is inscribed with the word idamate, which in a previous post I deciphered as meaning either “King” ( wanaka in Mycenaean Greek ) or the name of the King, “Idamate” or “god” (diwo) in Linear B:

Idamate labrys = king or god

This brings the number of Minoan Linear A words deciphered more or less accurately to 66.

Mycenaean Linear B tablets on olive oil dedicated to all the gods as templates for cross-correlation to Minoan Linear A tablets:

Linear B tablets pasi teoi all the gods

These two Mycenaean Linear B tablets and the Mycenaean Greek phrase on olive oil dedicated to all the gods serve as templates for cross-correlation to Minoan Linear A tablets in the same vein. In the last post on the delivery of olive oil, I stated that the immense number of permutations and combinations attributable to activities and terms related to olive oil severely mitigated against the possibility of extracting any real meaning from Minoan Linear A tablets. There is another side to this coin. Wherever the same activity or term is repeated at least 3 times on 3 Mycenaean Linear B tablets versus those terms which appear only once on 1 Linear B tablet (which is the case with all the other Mycenaean Greek terms we shall be posting), the likelihood for successful cross-correlative regressive extrapolation to Minoan Linear A tablets on olive oil rises dramatically. This is because recurrent vocabulary appearing at least 3 times on at least as many tablets in any sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy, agricultural, military, textiles and vessels and pottery, tends to promote the likelihood that said terms might also appear on Minoan Linear A tablets. Nevertheless, cross-correlation of terms recurring at least 3 times is still risky. There is no guarantee that such cross-correlation can or will work in dredging up the “same” tablets in Minoan Linear A.    

We shall see soon enough.

Mycenaean Linear B tablets on terms and activities related to olive oil as templates for cross-correlation to Minoan Linear A tablets:

In order to determine how to rationally assign meanings of terms and activities related to olive oil to Minoan Linear A tablets, we must rely on Mycenaean Linear B tablets as templates for cross-correlative retrogressive analysis to corresponding Minoan Linear A tablets of the same activities and terms relative to olives and olive oil. Otherwise, sensible decipherments of the latter are frankly impossible. For instance, these three Linear B tablets from Knossos clearly illustrate how terms and activities dependent on olive oil in Mycenaean Linear B must without exception be taken into consideration if we are ever to decipher the same terms and activities with any degree of accuracy on corresponding Minoan Linear A tablets:

Lineard B tablets Knossos apudosi delivery of olive oil

What possible value can these 3 tablets in Mycenaean Linear B serve as indicators of similar terms or activities on Minoan Linear A tablets?

For instance, Minoan Linear A tablets HT 121 & 123+124 from Haghia Triada cannot be deciphered at all without cross-correlative retrogressive analysis with as many Mycenaean Linear B tablets as conceivably possible. At the present juncture, I am as yet unable to decipher it, but cross-correlative analysis with as many activities and terms related to olive oil in Mycenaean Linear B may eventually provide me with the means to achieve a reasonable decipherment of it. The operative word is may, and even that is a long shot:

Minoan Linear A tablet HT 121 & HT 123-124 Haghia Triada olive oil

For the time being, the words kirita2 (kiritai) and kitai are utterly undecipherable. I have not the faintest idea what they mean. It is remotely possible that kitai may mean “delivery”, given that the number of olive oil (whatever) is 30. So conceivably we might be dealing here with the delivery of 30 units or amphorae of olive oil. But then the problem is, how do we know what the 30 units of olive oil refer to, in the absence of any word on the tablet other than kitai related to olive oil?  On HT 123+124, kitai might conceivably mean “delivery” or it might mean something else, such as “amphora”, which could make sense in the context, where it could possibly mean 30 “amphorae” of olive oil. But we cannot have it both ways. In the absence of a second word referencing olive oil, it is impossible for kitai alone to mean either “delivery” or “amphorae” both or God knows what else simultaneously . So we are trapped in a paradox which cannot be resolved. On the other hand, another “definition” of kitai may possibly be in reach, but only after we have translated a number of Linear B tablets, in order to compile a list of potential alternative terms or activities which might possibly serve as templates for the potential decipherment of  “corresponding” words on Linear A tablets. Possibly, but not probably, and more likely than not, never. 

The challenge is formidable. I have my work cut out for me. Moreover, the great number of permutations and combinations besetting any interpreter make the challenge much more intimidating. 

An undecipherable Minoan Linear A tablet from Malia:

rare Minoan Linear A tablet from Malia

I just discovered online this Minoan Linear A tablet from Malia. The likelihood of it ever being deciphered is very low, as it contains an extremely rare syllabogram, possibly DWI?QE, but no one is sure. Andras Zeke of the Minoan Language Blog notes that it is otherwise found only on Linear A tablet KN 2f31 (Knossos).

What does the word teri mean in Minoan Linear A?

Minoan Linear  A TERI sheep and olive oil

In spite of the fact that Andras Zeke of the Minoan Language Blog attributes to the Minoan Linear A word teri the name of a type of ram on Linear A tablet PH 31, his translation cannot stand, because the same word is used in association with olive (oil) on another tablet, HT 91 (Haghia Triada). So the term is clearly independent of either association. On the other hand, the context of both these tablets is susceptible of assisting in determining what teri might mean. We should definitely take into account that only 1 ram and 1 (amphora?) of olive oil is mentioned on each of these two tablets. So the context severely limits our interpretation(s), since only large numbers of rams and olive oil admit of more liberal translations. I found that I had no real choice other than to consult Chris Tselentis’ superb Linear B Lexicon, in order to extract any meaning(s) that might possibly mesh with the Minoan word teri in light of the fact that only 1 reference is made to a ram and an amphora of wine. Under the circumstances, the only practicable translations I could come up with were: [1] just delivered (as it is certainly conceivable that just 1 of either of the above could have been “just delivered” to a farmer or possibly to a priest or priestess, possibly for sacrifice [2] as an offering, again to a priest or priestess, possibly for sacrifice or [3] being delivered, once again in the same context.

This brings the number of Minoan Linear A words we have deciphered, more or less accurately, to 65.

How far can we go deciphering Minoan Linear A? And now for the bad news:

ZA 14 col

I have managed to decipher 63 Minoan Linear A words, more or less accurately. As long as any Linear A tablet contains ideographic aids to assist us in our decipherments, we can usually decipher Minoan words directly associated with ideograms and logograms, the meaning of which we already know. That is precisely how I have managed to get this far.  But how much further can we go? In the total absence of such aids, there is little or no chance for us to decipher Linear A tablets with only words on them. This is a serious stumbling block to any comprehensive decipherment of Linear A. It is nothing short of a Catch-22. This is the brick wall we are up against in any attempt to decipher the majority of Linear A tablets.

Common Minoan Linear A ideograms and logograms:

the most common Linear A ideograms and logograms

The figure above illustrates the most common Minoan Linear A ideograms and logograms. These greatly assist in the process of decipherment of Minoan words. Without their presence on Minoan Linear A tablets, there is little likelihood for the decipherment of vocabulary on them.

Andras Zeke’s definitions for “rams”,  “ewes ”, “billy goats” & “nanny goats” (Minoan Language Blog. The fault is in our stars:

On Minoan Linear A tablet PH 31,

Linear A PH 31 and agricultural stock

Andras Zeke provides us with 5 definitions for “rams”, but none for  “ewes ”, while he highlights one each for “billy goats” & “nanny goats” (Minoan Language Blog):

The four nomenclatures he attributes to “rams” are teri, rurumati, amidao, madi & patada. But as the old saying goes, you cannot have it both ways, or in this case, you cannot have it five ways. It is possible that one (and only one) of these words refers to young “rams” (lambs), but that still leaves us with the conundrum, which 1 of the 5 references “rams” and which young “rams” (lambs), if the latter even occur! There are just too many permutations and combinations to make any single definition for “rams” accessible.

On the other hand, he attributes just one definition each to “billy goat” (patane) and  “nanny goat”  (tujuma), which looks neat on the surface of things. But this scenario does not take into account the possibility, even probability, that other words are teamed up with “billy goat” and  “nanny goat” on other Linear A tablets, even if none appear on any other extant Linear A tablets. Since, in the absence of God knows how many lost Minoan Linear A tablets, we cannot know for sure whether or not other terms are conjoined with “billy goat” and “nanny goat” on the lost tablets, there is no way of our knowing whether or not additional words are adjacent to the ideograms for “billy goat” and “nanny goat” on those. In other words, other words may very well have been teamed up with these ideograms on lost tablets, but we shall never know. It is for this reason that I can neither consider the word patane as meaning “billy goat” nor tujuma as standing for “nanny goat”.

But the situation is further compounded by another critical factor, which is that the corresponding ideograms for all of these farm animals, sheep, rams, ewes, billy goats and nanny goats recur hundreds of times on Linear B tablets, yet never with any definition for any of them! All we see on any of these hundreds of tablets are the ideograms for each animal (masculine and feminine), never their definitions. And here on Linear A tablet PH 31 we find the same ideograms (which appear slightly differently in Linear A). So that leaves the question wide open. Just what can the words teri, rurumati, amidao, madi & patada, associated with rams, and patane for billy goat plus tujuma for nanny goats, possibly refer to? The situation is further complicated by the fact that never more than 5 and more often than not only 1 of each of these words attached to their respective ideograms appear on this tablet. This is in contradistinction with the total numbers of any these animals on practically all Linear B tablets, ranging from lows of scores to highs of hundreds. What is going on here? Why the huge discrepancy? Take for instance the three Linear B tablets below. On the first (KN 1301 E j 324),

a AN1938_708_o KN 1301 E j 324

78 rams and 22 ewes are mentioned, on the second (KN 928 G c 301),

b Knossos tablet KN 928 G c 301 supersyllabogram KI = kotona kitimena

the numbers of rams and ewes are truncated, but you can be sure that there are lots of them, while on the third (KN 791 G c 101),

c Knossos tablet KN 791 G c 101 ewes and rams

10 ewes & 105 rams are referenced, with the last ideogram on the second line truncated, so that we cannot even identify whether or not it is masculine or feminine. But here again, we can rest assured that the number of rams or ewes following the last ideogram runs at least to the scores.

There is no way of accounting for this huge discrepancy in the number of ewes and rams on Linear A tablet PH 31 (1 to 5) and the much greater numbers on the three Linear B tablets. Let us not forget that the totals for rams and ewes on almost every Linear B tablet run to the scores and hundreds, and even to the thousands for rams. I am thus left with no alternative but to conclude that the words on the Linear A tablet are not definitions for rams and ewes, and that even though there is only one “definition” (taken with a grain of salt) each for billy and nanny goat, that does not preclude the possibility and even probability that other words related to the same agricultural stock may have appeared on Minoan Linear A tablets, especially the non-extant ones. We cannot ignore that distinct possibility. The probability factor may also enter the equation.

Severely damaged Minoan Linear A tablet (joins) from Gournia:


This Minoan Linear A tablet (fragment/joins) is even more severely damaged than many other Linear A fragments which are missing most of their text, or are partially illegible. The recurrence of (severely) damaged tablets and fragments is more widespread in Mycenaean Linear B, since there are far more extant tablets in that syllabary (close to 5,000). An example of a badly damaged Linear B tablet from Knossos follows:

Knossos tablet 04-83 damaged

A Glossary of 61 Minoan Linear A words more or less accurately deciphered

Minoan Linear A Glossary


Minoan Linear A words deciphered with a very high level of certainty (85-100%) are in BOLD.
Minoan Linear A words deciphered with a reasonable degree of certainty (65-85%) are in italics.
Minoan Linear A words for which the decipherment is uncertain (< 50%) are in plain text.

adureza = unit of dry measurement (grain, wheat, barley, flour)
akii = garlic *
atare = grove of fig trees
darida = large vase  
daropa =  stirrup jar? = Linear B karawere?
daru = scales? 
daweda = medium size amphora
ditamana = dittany * (medicinal herb)
dumitatira2 = dumitatirai = right or inner spindle wheel on one side of the distaff
duwate = Linear B onato = “lease field” or kitimena = “plot of land”
kanaka = saffron *
kapa = follower or (foot) solder = Linear B eqeta
keda = cedar *
kireza = unit of measurement for figs, probably 1 basket
kukani = (deep) red wine
kunasa = (honey) wine?
kura = large amount of wine = Linear B pithos?
kuruku = crocus *
idamate = king or god? Or may be the name of said persona
nere = larger amphora size
orada = rose *
pazeqe? = small handle-less cups = Linear B dipa anowe dipa anowoto
pimitatira2 = pimitatirai = left or outer spindle wheel on one side of the distaff
puko = tripod = Linear B tiripode *
qapa3 = qapai = large handle-less cup or vase 
qareto = Linear B onato = “lease field” or kitimena = “plot of land” 
quqani = medium size or smaller amphora
rairi = lily *
reza = unit of measurement
sara2/sarai = small unit of measurement: dry approx. 1 kg., liquid approx. I litre
sedina = celery  *
sukini = fine quality wine
tawawita = terebinth tree *
teki = small unit of measurement for wine @ 27 1/2 per tereza
tereza = unit of liquid measurement (olive oil, wine)
ti?redu = spice(s) (coriander)


Idamate = king or god? Or may be the name of said persona (bis)
Kureta2 = Kuretai

Toponyms do not require decipherment as they are either identical or almost identical in Mycenaean Linear B:

Dikate = Mount Dikte
Idaa = Mount Ida
Kireta2 (Kiretai)
Kudoni = Kydonia
Meza (=Linear B Masa)
Paito = Phaistos (=Linear B)
Radu = Lato (=Linear B Rato) 
Setoiya = Seteia (=Linear B) 
Sukirita = Sybrita
Winadu = Inatos (Linear B Winato)

No one to date has even come close to approaching a Minoan Linear A vocabulary as large as this.

Minoan Linear A tablet ZA 8, atare = “a grove of fig trees” at Zakros:

Linear A Zakros ZA 8 atare = fig grove

After spending considerable time wracking my brains out trying to figure out what atare on Minoan Linear A ZA 8 from Zakros could possibly mean, I finally came up with what I consider a rational solution. We note that no number of figs or fig trees follows the syllabogram NI, which designates figs in both Minoan Linear A and in Mycenaean Linear B, in which the actual word for “fig(s)” is suza. Given that Zakros in pre-Mycenaean Minoan times was probably a rather small outpost, the likelihood that there would be only 1 stand or grove of figs there stands up quite well to scrutiny. Of course, there is no way of saying for certain (far from it) that that is what arate means, but this is the route I have chosen to follow in deciphering the term.

This is the sixty-first (61) term we have deciphered, more or less accurately, in Minoan Linear A. This is post 1,200 on our site since its inception in late 2013.

Minoan Linear A terms for large (qapa3 = qapai) and small size (pazaqe) handle-less vessels:

handle less  vase

Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) contains two terms for handle-less vessels. These are qapa3 = qapai for a “large handle-less vase/cup” (more commonly the former), and pazaqe for a “small handle-less cup”. The latter were very common in both Minoan & Mycenaean times, which explains why  so many of them are mentioned on this tablet (3,000). Cross-correlative retrogressive extrapolation from Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) confirms that the decipherment qapa3 = qapai for a “large handle-less vase/cup” is correct. As for pazaqe, it is plain that the handle-less cups are very small, since there are so many of them (3,000).  These are illustrated to the top right of the figure above.

This brings the total number of Minoan Linear A terms we have deciphered, more or less accurately, to 60. It is at this point that we hit a brick wall, at least for the time being, as there is simply no way for me to decipher Minoan Linear A tablets with no ideograms on them. Unfortunately, these account for the majority of Linear A tablets. But the fact that we have been able to decipher as many as 60 Minoan words is a vast improvement over any previous attempts by any researchers in Minoan Linear A to decipher anything at all. The best anyone has managed to date has been restricted to eponyms and toponyms, and the finest work done in this respect was achieved with great insight by Andras Zeke of the Minoan Language Blog:

Minoan Language Blog

Knossos tablet KN 875aM n 01 as a template guide for the decipherment of vessels (pottery) in Minoan Linear A:

KN 875a M n 01 DIPA

Knossos tablet KN 875a M n 01 serves as a useful template guide for cross-correlative retrogressive extrapolation of vocabulary for vessels (pottery) in Minoan Linear A. Although have already deciphered, more or less accurately, the words for “a cup with handles” in Minoan Linear A, we have not yet been able to extract the term for “a handle-less cup”. So hopefully this tablet should serve as a guide to the eventual discovery of the Minoan Linear A equivalent of Mycenaean Linear B dipa anowe or dipa anowoto, both meaning “a handle-less cup”. The term dipa anowe also appears on the famous Linear B tablet, Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the first ever large Mycenaean Linear B tablet ever deciphered by none other than Michael Ventris himself. This tablet has recently be re-deciphered by Rita Roberts, an archaeologist from Crete, in my article, An Archaeologist's Translation of Pylos Tablet 641-1952. pp. 133-161 in  Archaeology and Science, Vol. 10 (2014) ISSN 1452-7448 (Belgrade), now available on here:

archaeologist's translation of Pylos TA 641-1952 Ventris

This is the most comprehensive article (28 pages long) ever written on the decipherment of this key Linear B tablet. You can download it from at the link above.

Two words in Minoan Linear A, duwate & qareto, for either “lease field” or “plot of land”. But which is which?

Fundamentally, the problem is, which of these two words means “lease field” and which “plot of land” ? We are stuck with an apparent conundrum. Is there any way out of this impasse? Not really. However, it is not so serious a situation as one might imagine, unless one were overly anxious about decipherment of previously unknown vocabulary in a language, here the Minoan language, never before deciphered. Not to despair. Whether or not duwate or qareto mean a “lease field” or “plot of land” or vice versa is not, to my mind at least, so problematic. We can simply accept that fact that each of them means either a “lease field” or a “plot of land”. In other words, our definitions for duwate and qareto run as follows:

duwate: a “lease field” or “plot of land”
qareto: a “plot of land” or “lease field”

though we cannot be sure which is which. This still leaves us with the further question, how do I know that the probability is (very) high that these two words in Minoan Linear A refer to “lease field” or “plot of land”? It is through the process of cross-comparative analysis by retrogressive extrapolation with Mycenaean Linear B tablets which deal with exactly the same terms in the very same sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy. Take, for instance, the Linear B tablet KN 1383 E j 924, on which we see inscribed the supersyllabogram O, which means onato = “lease field” , followed by the number of sheep on that lease field, namely, 25. It just so happens that of the seven (7) supersyllabograms for sheep, rams & ewes in the agricultural sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy,

Knossos tablet KN 1383 E j 924 25 rams onato lease field

onato and kitimena account for the vast majority of tablets in this economic sector. So the possibility that duwate and qareto in Minoan Linear A can mean anything other than “lease field” or “plot of land” or vice versa is rather remote.

supersyllabograms for sheep in the agricultural sector of the Minoan Mycenaean economy

Compare the aforementioned Linear B tablet with Minoan Linear A tablet HT 132, on which the word qareto is inscribed, followed by the ideogram for sheep + 27, in other words, 27 sheep on “lease field” or “plot of land” (just 2 more than the number of sheep on the Linear B tablet), and you can readily see how I came to the conclusion I reached. 

Minoan Linear tablet HT 132 QARETO 27 sheep lease field or plot of land

land around the ancient city of Knossos

Moving on to Linear B tablet KN 916 G b 201, we find ourselves yet again face to face with the SSYL (supersyllabogram) O = onato = “lease field” with 10 rams on it, and for a second time concatenated with the SSYL KI = kitimena = “plot of land”, this time with 40 rams, but 40 rams on what? Whenever two SSYLS are conjoined in Mycenaean Linear B, they combine to form a phrase, in this case “40 rams on a leased plot of land.” This phenomenon of twin supersyllabograms does occur in Minoan Linear A, but not with reference to sheep. Thus, it is clear that Mycenaean Linear B inherited the wide-spread practice of utilizing hundreds of supersyllabograms on at least 700 Linear B tablets from the scores of supersyllabograms found on just a few score Minoan Linear A tablets.

KN 916 G b 201 O KI rams onato kitimena lease field &amp; plot of land

While Minoan Linear A table HT 14 (Haghia Triada):


does not make use of any supersyllabogram, any more than HT 132, this fact does not really mitigate against my decipherments of duwate and qareto, since there is no reason of necessity why Linear A scribes would have felt obliged to use supersyllabograms for sheep, even when they did so for terms in other sectors of the Minoan economy.

This brings the number of terms I have deciphered, more or less accurately, in Minoan Linear A to 58.

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