Example of a Linear B tablet on vessels without supersyllabograms: Here you see an example of a Linear B tablet without supersyllabograms from Knossos. The text on the tablet is piecemeal and so much of it defies decipherment. So I did not bother even trying to decipher what was beyond me. For instance, the two words wapi kononipi appear nowhere in any Linear B glossary or lexicon, nor in ancient Greek. So they are probably archaic Mycenaean, and lost to us forever. Still, enough of the original text remains intact for us to make a sensible translation of it.
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More photos of the Third Palace, Knossos, Late Minoan III (ca. 1450 BCE), general views from the net:
versus photos of ancient Chinese architecture:
Third Palace, Knossos, Late Minoan III (ca. 1450 BCE), general views from the net:
In this post and the next two, you can see several illustrations and paintings of the ancient palace and city of Knossos in its full glory in the Late Minoan III period (ca. 1450 BCE).
Notice in this beautiful painting of ancient Knossos (population ca. 55,000, a huge city for the ancient world) the arches beneath the causeway leading to the city. And we thought arches were a Roman invention!
What is so remarkable about Middle and Late Minoan architecture is that it looks so modern, even to us in the twenty-first century. The architecture is simple and streamlined, no extravagant frills. This sets Knossos in stark contrast to practically every other ancient civilization, except Classical Athenian (the acropolis and Parthenon, ca. 430-400 BCE). Almost all other ancient civilizations went in for the extravagant and the excessive, much like Baroque architecture in the seventeenth century AD, all of which I cannot abide. In order to set the stark contrast between Minoan and Mycenaean architecture and that of Persepolis and ancient China, for instance, I am also including photos from the latter civilizations. The architecture of Persepolis is particularly gaudy and distasteful to me.
Archaeology, Anthropology and Interstellar Communication 2: Relevant Photography and Images Here we see some photographs and images relevant to our translation of Richard Saint-Gelais' brilliant article,Archaeology, Anthropology and Interstellar Communication 2 research... and some not so relevant! First off, we have here a chart illustrating thee extreme geometric simplicity or more to the point, the Geometric Economy of Mycenaean Greek, which may indeed make it susceptible or even suitable to extraterrestrial communication with other intelligent beings, if we accept the “fact” that we ourselves are “intelligent”... a point which is open to serious debate! The Geometric Economy of Mycenaean Linear B: Moreover, Linear B's closest cousin, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, which followed closely on the heels of Linear B, once it fell out of use with the fall of Mycenae ca. 1200 BCE, and which lasted continually from ca. 1100-400 BCE (!), is just as remarkable for its Geometric Economy as Linear B, and could equally serve the same capacity as a vehicle for extraterrestrial communication. The Geometric Economy of Arcado-Cypriot Linear C: On the other hand, nothing could be more ridiculous than the Voyager 1 satellite, launched on Sept. 5 1977, and now hurtling God knows where just outside the confines of our Solar System. Apart from the fact that a mechanical contraption such as this would (and will!) take hundreds of thousands of years to get anywhere at all, what is the point? Moreover, the premises upon which its means of communication with so-called extraterrestrials are based are so absurdly unsound as to beg credence. For instance, what extraterrestrial beings in their right minds (assuming they have minds like us) could conceivably recognize those ridiculous images of a naked man and woman?... unless they were even remotely similar to us physiologically... a likelihood that is about as realistic as winning a lottery of a trillion dollars. And that is just scratching the surface, as we shall discover to our great amusement when I eventually publish my article on Prof. Saint-Gelais' own research. There follow here a few images relative to the Voyager 1 probe which are liable to make you LOL.
The beginning of my translation of, Archaeology, Anthropology and Interstellar Communication 2, by Richard Saint-Gelais, Université Laval, Québec, Québec Before I get to the beginning of my translation of Richard Saint-Gelais' astonishing article on the practical and theoretical application of Mycenaean Linear B (I kid you not!) to interstellar communication between ourselves and other intelligent extraterrestrial beings, allow me to point out that the notion is not so far-fetched as it might seem at first sight. Certainly, it is not in the same “category” as Ufology or Ufologists chasing kooky dreams in “Area 51”. In fact, NASA itself sponsored this brilliant and insightful investigation which Prof. Sain-Gelais recently undertook under the auspices of NASA. So this is serious business.. . which is why I am translating it in the first place. But I intend to take the project even further than that. Not only am I translating Prof. Saint-Gelais' in depth study, but I intend to follow my translation and his subsequent original text in French with a lengthy commentary on the feasibility of such interstellar communication, however remote. And remote it is. It is likely that I will need at least another month even to effect the translation, let alone to write the article, which I shall eventually be posting on my academia.edu account. Hopefully, I can then submit it to a scientific journal such as Science
or Astronomy Only time will tell. But I am quite sure some scientific publication will certainly be interested in this highly original research I have to offer. My translation: introduction: Archaeology, Anthropology and Interstellar Communication 2 Chapter 5: Semiotic Outlook on SETI As everyone knows, communication is a sensitive human venture. So there are reasons to doubt that this would be an easy thing to carry off across the universe. In this essay, I shall endeavour to explain a set of theoretical problems which might beset communication between us and extraterrestrial intelligent beings. I shall also attempt to map out the primary difficulties which we may encounter when we come face to face with the phenomenon (or to be more precise the hypothesis) underlying communication, by all appearances, with beings so profoundly unlike ourselves. Such difficulties are often articulated in epistemological terms or of sensorial incompatibility between interstellar beings belonging to such dissimilar species and cultural milieus communicating with one another that that grounds for mutual understanding proper to such communication will very likely be extremely weak. We are not even aware whether or not extraterrestrial beings are likely to perceive and conceive of their own reality in any way similar to the way we do, or if they are subject to the same sorts of cognitive categories as ours, or even if they are able to communicate by sight or sound. Right off the top, I have to say that my position runs along the lines of epistemological skepticism as I have just outlined it. Still, my point of view differs somewhat, without however being incompatible with the epistemological approach. I intend to apply semiotic theories and methodologies to the problem of interstellar communication, all the while placing an emphasis on signs, language, meaning and interpretation. An easy but simplistic approach to the conception of such communication as this can be defined in terms of synchronization of a message received with its prior transmission, with message decoding at target pursuant to its coding at source, in the sense of meaning conveyed through the medium of the message itself considered as vehicle for its own context (Marshall McLuhan, The medium is the message). Still, understanding a message does not necessarily mean extracting something actually present in its own signs. On the contrary, it is implied that such signs can effectively integrated in an interpretational framework allowing the being targeted to confer meaning on them, in the sense that he or she can profit from elaborating on them, rather than extracting them from the source. For instance, let's take the example of a very basic repetitive sign consisting of two equilateral triangles with their bases flush, all the while pointing in opposite directions, one to the left and the other to the right. Occasionally, these two triangles are separated by a vertical line. A experiments re-writing “this” sign on a blackboard conducted with first year students have repeatedly shown me, they are met with looks of astonishment until I can provide them with a hint along the lines of, “Suppose that this is something you have spotted in an elevator”, by furnishing them with a context for interpretation allowing them to recognize the triangles as a conventional symbol opening up portals. By Richard Saint-Gelais, Université Laval, Québec, Québec Archéologie, Anthropologie et Communication Interstellaire 2 Introduction: Chapitre 5: Perspectives sémiotiques sur SETI La Communication, comme nous le savons tous, est une entreprise délicate entre les êtres humains. Donc, il y a des raisons de douter que ce serait une chose facile à travers l'univers. Dans cet essai, je vais essayer de décrire un ensemble de problèmes théoriques qui pourraient affecter la communication avec des intelligences extraterrestres. Je vais aussi essayer de cartographier les principales difficultés qui se posent lorsque l'on regarde le phénomène (ou plus exactement l'hypothèse) de communication entre ce qui sera, selon toute vraisemblance, des espèces profondément différentes. Ces difficultés sont souvent exprimées en termes d'épistémique et d'incompatibilité sensorielle entre des interlocuteurs interstellaires qui appartiennent à des espèces et des cultures si différentes que le terrain d'entente nécessaire à la communication pourrait être vraiment très faible. Nous ne savons pas si les extraterrestres vont percevoir et concevoir leur réalité de façon similaire à la nôtre, en utilisant les mêmes catégories cognitives, ou même si ils vont communiquer par les voies visuelles et acoustiques. Je dois dire d'emblée que ma position est similaire au scepticisme épistémique que je viens de mentionner. Mais mon point de vue sera légèrement différent de ça, mais pas incompatible avec la perspective épistémique. Je vais appliquer les théories et les méthodes d'analyses sémiotiques au problème de la communication interstellaire, en mettant l'accent sur ??les signes, le langage, le sens et l'interprétation. Une facile mais simpliste conception de la communication se définit comme la production d'une émission suivie d'une phase de réception, un codage puis un décodage d'un sens donné à travers un message qui est considéré comme un véhicule pour ce contenu. Mais la compréhension d'un message n'est pas d'extraire quelque chose de physiquement présent dans les signes. Elle implique, au contraire, l'intégration de ces signes dans un cadre d'interprétation qui permet au destinataire de leur donner des significations, un sens que le bénéficiaire doit élaborer, pas extraire. Prenez, par exemple, un signe très simple et fréquent qui consiste en deux triangles équilatéraux placés la base à la base et pointant dans des directions opposées, l'une à gauche, l'autre à droite; Ces deux triangles sont parfois séparés par une ligne verticale. Comme des expériences répétées avec les étudiants de premier cycle me l'ont montré, une reproduction de ce signe sur le tableau noir ne rencontre que perplexité jusqu'à ce que je leur offre l'indice "suppose que c'est quelque chose que vous voyez dans un ascenseur", fournissant une interprétation du contexte, qui leur permet de reconnaître les triangles comme le symbole conventionnel pour ouvrir les portes. Par Richard Saint-Gelais, Université Laval, Québec, Québec
Photo series of the Second Palace of Knossos (ca. 1700-1600 BCE) # 2 Here again you see a set of three photos of the rear stairwells of the Second Palace, which are very well preserved... indeed, so well preserved that even the ruins of Pompeii cannot boast of such restoration. The third photo shows that the interior wall structure of the Second Palace was pretty much identical with the Third, with door jambs in the same style and of the same colour. Unquestionably, the columns of the Second Palace must have looked pretty much identical to those of the Third. You can clearly see from the third and fourth photos that much of the structure of the retaining walls of the Second Palace was left intact by the Minoan engineers when they constructed the Third. The retaining walls of the Second Palace are distinct, insofar as they are rounded at the corners.
Photo series of the Palaces of Knossos, first (1900 BCE), second (1700 BCE) & late Minoan III (1500 BCE) For the next few months, at least twice a week, I shall be posting scores of the wonderful photos I took of the Palaces of Knossos, which I took the day I visited the site, May 1 2012. Today, I am starting with 2 photos of the First Palace (ca. 1900 BCE), which was destroyed by earthquake. The First Palace Over its ruins the Second Palace( ca. 1700 BCE), of which you can also see a couple of photos here, was built. While the second palace also succumbed to major earthquakes, much of it still remains intact, as you will see in the next post as well. The Second Palace Some of the Third Palace, late Minoan II (ca. 1500-1425 BCE) was added onto the second. The rest of it was built over it. Even from the wasted ruins of the First Palace, you can see it was an advanced complex. Apparently, the population of Knossos was already around 18,000 by the time of the first palace, and had risen to at least 55,000 in the late Minoan III period. For antiquity, that is an extremely large city.
3 Linear B tablets on coriander, 1 from Knossos, 1 from Lykinthos, 1 from Surimos: These 3 tablets on coriander are the final 3 to be posted here. I actually posted them back in 2015, but I am reposting them with additional comments. The first tablet, KN 415 L c 01, is quite straight-forward, simply mentioning the spice shaker with 6 grams of coriander from Lykinthos. The second, KN 417 L c 01, informs us of the person who has (or owns) the spice shaker. His name is Qamos. The spice shaker contains 3 (grams) of coriander. The tablet is partially illegible. The adjective “crimson” pops up, and presumably refers to the colour of the coriander, which seems to be in powder form. The last tablet, KN 418 L c 11, is double sided. The recto side, which is again partially illegible, again deals with delivery of coriander. On the verso side, we have the adjective “purple”. I am not sure what purple is supposed to refer to, as I am unsure whether or not powderized coriander can be purple. Perhaps someone visiting our blog can enlighten me on this point. The top refers to coriander, the amount of which is equivalent to 2 X 6 grams, on the bottom we have 7 grams. The verso of the tablet appears to indicate that all of the coriander there is from Surimo.
Linear B tablet KN 416 L c 02, spices at Phaistos: Not much to say about this one, except that it refers to Phaistos. If tablets concerning spices do not refer to a place name, they are understood to be from Knossos. Since the word -gram- did not exist in the ancient world, I have replaced it with pauron = a small amount.
Knossos tablet KN 421 K m 12, delivery of coriander: Well, I dare say those Minoans at Knossos and Mycenaeans certainly knew wonderful spices when they saw them. Coriander is one of the most delicious spices there are. It is fantastic on salads. I wonder what sort of dishes they served coriander with. Notice that this tablet deals with delivery of coriander (to market). They did a lot of that. Folks must have gathered in the open air markets at Knossos and Amnisos, its fabulous port, and bought the stuff by the bagfulls!
The famous Ashmolean tablet An_1938_706_o, so many swords: This is one of the most famous of all tablets in Linear B. It is also one of the very first tablets I ever translated from Linear B into English, when I was first learning Linear B in 2012-2013. The literal translation is: tosa pakana = so many swords 50, but it is obvious that the scribe meant: a total of 50 swords. In other words, the formulaic phrase “so many” actually means “a total of”. Remember, this is an inventory.
The Master Seal of Khania and a sealing from Haghia Triada:
These beautiful seals may date from Middle or early Late Minoan times, and if this is so, they were fashioned when Minoan Linear A was still in use. Otherwise, if they date from Late Minoan III, the script in use would have been Linear B.
Translation of Ashmolean Museum (British Museum) tablet An_1910_214_o: wheat
This is a standard inventory of monthly wheat yields, which come to 100+ bales of wheat (100+ because the number is right-truncated and so it could be anywhere from 100 to 199). If the yield is 100 bales per month, the annual yield is 1,200 bales, and if it is 199, the annual yield is 1188 bales… or anywhere in between. If it is 150 bales per month, that works out to 1,800 bales per year.
Translation of Ashmolean Museum (British Museum) An1910_214_o: 100 rams a.k.a. Knossos tablet KN 1646 F j 01. The Ashmolean Museum of the British Museum contains The Sir Arthur Evans Collection of of a couple of dozen tablets, some of them of major importance. This one deals with sheep, which the greatest number of tablets by far in Linear B deal with. The original tablet here is approximately the correct size. Of some 800 extant tablets with supersyllabograms on them, some 640 or 80% are in the agricultural sector alone, and of these 640, some 580 or 90% deal with sheep! That is amazing by all accounts. There are several supersyllabograms in the agricultural sector, as illustrated here in Table 6, Supersyllabograms for sheep in the agricultural sector of Mycenaean Linear B: which is to appear in my article, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, to appear in the next issue of Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448, Vol. 11 (2015) which is to be published sometime in the spring of 2017. On this particular tablet, Knossos tablet KN 1646 F j 01, the supersyllabogram is PE which corresponds to the Linear B term, periqoro = an enclosure, sheep pen, for which the ancient Greek equivalent (Latinized) is peribolos. This supersyllabogram appears fourth in the left column of Table 6. Apart from Knossos itself, where the vast majority of sheep were raised, Exonos is one of several islands where the Minoans and Mycenaeans raised sheep.
Linear B tablet KN 594 R p 11, textiles (military): Decipherment of textile-related tablets in the military sector presents a few irritating problems. The first of these is that we are crossing sectors, from the military to the textiles, or if you like the converse. It all amounts to the same thing. The problem here is that supersyllabograms, such as KI on this tablet, do not necessarily mean the same thing from one sector to the next. However, this fortunately does not apply to textiles related to military dress, since the supersyllabograms in both sectors mean the same thing. For instance, in this case, KI means kito or “chiton”, is a common Greek tunic in both sectors. The word “rita” on the first line must be very archaic Mycenaean, as I cannot find it anywhere in any Mycenaean Greek lexicon. So it is untranslatable. Likewise for nitewea or satewea. However, whatever this word is supposed to mean, it conveniently ends with “wea”, which leads me to strongly suspect it is a type of cloth, since almost all known words relating to a type of cloth in Mycenaean Greek end in “wea”. And so I have translated it thus.
Translation of Pylos tablet SA 834, a set of wheels with rims on axle: This tablet presented a couple of irritating little difficulties. Both of the Mycenaean words on this tablet, amepaitoa?ka and wesakee are irretrievably lost to us. They are very archaic Mycenaean. Neither term appears in Chris Tselentis’ excellent Linear B Lexicon. I ransacked the Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary for latter day Classical Greek words that might conceivably correspond to these bizarre words, but came up empty handed. So there is no use banging my head against a wall trying to figure out what they mean. No one does know their meaning, and no one ever will. However, the supersyllabograms TE and ZE make perfect sense in context. You will note that the supersyllabogram TE is oncharged onto the ideogram for wheel. This is the one and only instance in the entire Linear B repertoire where a supersyllabogram is directly oncharged onto the outer circumference of the ideogram, all the more reason why it must mean temidwete, i.e. the rims of wheels. Since ZE always refers to “a pair of”, in this case “(a set of) wheels on axle”, the translation is clearly “wheels with rims on axle.”
Linear B tablets dealing with teams of bulls or oxen (Post 2): three more tablets Not much to say here. I said it all in the last post.
Linear B tablets dealing with teams of bulls or oxen (Post 1): two tablets Unlike Linear B tablets on sheep, of which there are over 500, those dealing with teams of bulls or oxen are very rare, amounting to no more than 7 all told. Although this seems to defy common sense, it actually does not, since the raising of sheep was by far the most important activity of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy. In addition, the text on these tablets on bulls or oxen is so simple and so predictably repetitive that one wonders whether or not the scribes attached much importance to them. The mere fact that two of the tablets repeat the same name, Stomarchos, makes me wonder why any scribe would bother repeating text which is almost identical on two tablets, since this practice is almost unheard of on the tablets dealing with sheep, and on military, vessels and textiles tablets, which are the standard. The two tablets with his name on it do not appear here. Only one of them. But there you have it.
And NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT! Sheep humour LOL! Yes, that’s right, folks! Sheep humour and plenty of it. We need a break from all that academic hoopla on our blog. So have fun! LOL! Here goes nuttin’.
Rams for ritual slaughter: KN 386 A 87 & KN 387 X c 57 joins: Here I am really digging deep into unknown waters in the decipherment of Linear B, deeper than I ever have. These two fragments were originally one tablet. The central part is missing. This has got to be one of the most fascinating challenges I have ever encountered in the decipherment of Linear B text, since, as with all Linear B joins, it requires the decipherer to attempt to fill in the blanks, so to speak, i.e. the missing part of the original tablet, which as you can see is in an inverted V shape. If at all possible, as much the text that originally was located within that V has to be restored. Since as everyone knows who visits our blog that I am never one to skip a challenge, no matter how tough, I took it upon myself to make a serious attempt at a plausible reconstruction of at least part of the missing text, and to my satisfaction, I believe I succeeded, in the sense that I have recovered what might plausibly have been some of the original text, at least conjecturally. Any other interpretation might suffice, provided that (a) it made sense in the context of the text preserved on the two adjacent sides & (b) that the missing vocabulary was consistent with the ritual of religious sacrifice of sheep, a common practice in many civilizations of the ancient world. Let us walk through my decipherment of the so-called missing text step by step. First of all, we have the left truncated syllabograms ... NO heading the first line of the right hand side of the original tablet (KN 387 X c 57). It is no easy matter to even make a stab at what the rest of this word could possibly have meant, or for that matter, how many syllabograms, in other words, syllables, it contained. So I had to take the only recourse available to me, and that was to ransack Chris Tselentis’ excellent Linear B Lexicon of at least 2,500 Linear B words for any word ending in NO which might possibly suit the context, keeping firmly in mind that this is the scene of a religious ceremony involving the ritual sacrifice of a ram or rams. I finally found the term which ideally suited the context, and it is temeno, which means a religious shrine or temple. It fits the context like a glove. So the likelihood that this was indeed the missing word ending with left-truncated NO is reasonably assured. On the second line of the same fragment (the right side), we have repa, the last two syllabograms or syllables of another missing word. The term which immediately leaped to mind was arepa = “cream” or “ointment”, and if that is a putative “correct” translation, it can be interpreted as meaning an “anointing cream”. Fits the bill. The third word on the third line of the right hand side of the fragment, ending in the single syllabogram WE, was much harder to divine. It could be one of a dozen things, but I finally settled on duwowe, meaning “a two handled vessel or urn”. This again suits the context, but it is only one of scores of possible interpretations, all of which would have equally suited the context. I was working on the assumption that the person making the sacrifice, presumably a priest, would have cremated the ashes of the ram(s) after the sacrifice. But this is definitely going out on a limb, since in most ancient societies, sacrificial slaughter of sheep or rams involved killing them and then roasting them on a spit for subsequent consumption in a religious feast honouring “the god” or if Hebrew, God. On the other hand, the Minoans and Mycenaeans may have (also) cremated the ashes of the sacrificed ram. If there is any researcher or archaeologist out there who visits this blog and can refute the notion of post-sacrificial cremation among the Minoans and Mycenaeans, please have at it and I shall revise my decipherment accordingly. Moving over to the left hand side of the join (KN 386 A 87), which contains considerably less text, we have on the second line the syllabogram QE, which by itself means “and”, but which in this case might possibly be the last syllabogram, i.e. last syllable of a Linear B word... except that scarcely any Linear B words end in QE, and any way the syllabogram QE in this context is written huge. So I am left with no other alternative than to interpret it as I have done = “and”. But “and” what? There you have me. I am stumped. On the next line, the third one down, we have the ideogram for “man” or “person” followed by the number 1, for “one person”, this in turn followed by the supersyllabogram SA, and then by the ideogram for “ram” and the number 1. The SSYL SA I have previously established on another tablet posted on this blog as most likely meaning sapaketeriya = “for ritual slaughter” or “for ritual sacrifice”. This too suits the context very well. You can see the downwards pointing arrow from the ideogram for “man” to the word Towaune = “Towaunes”, presumably the name of the man, on the fourth line. His name in turn is followed by a Linear B word, which, if complete, is doke, a variation on odoke, the aorist (simple past) of the verb didomi (in Linear B), which means “to give” or “to offer”, and in this context “to offer up” (for ritual sacrifice). So now the sense is complete, except for all those single syllabograms (qe wa & po) on the left side of the join, which I can make no sense of at all. And that is a pitfall. However, within these restraints, I have been able to come up with one possible, even plausible interpretation (among God knows how many others), which you can see in translation at the bottom of the figure above.