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Source: NEW POLL: How well do you believe Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae addresses new developments in Mycenaean Linear B?

Source: Supersyllabograms for sheep husbandry at Knossos (K series supplemental): Click to ENLARGE

Source: Our followers on Twitter now exceed 1,000 + with our partners, Koryvantes (the Association of Historical Studies (Athens), Rita Roberts (Crete) & Spyros Bakas (Greece, Poland)…

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Source: The Mycenaean Scribes & the Linear B Scripts.


Splendid work, Rita! You are really earning your greatly enhanced facilities at dealing with Mycenaean Linear B, now that you are at the University level. I am of course going to reblog this excellent study now. I AM impressed. If I have any comments or suggestions, I shall let you know, just in case you plan on posting it on, which I strongly suggest you do. Please let me look through it first, as I am sure I can add a very positive evaluation of your work, which you can add to your paper. Kudos. Richard

Originally posted on Ritaroberts's Blog:

It was after making surprising studies related to ancient Greece Heinrich Schliemann attempted a dig at Mycenae in August 1876. The nature of the discoveries at Mycenae were so dramatic that Mycenaean became the name for the whole culture that spread across Greece. Although Schliemann  discovered no writing his student Arthur Evans did. On Crete he found tablets with two types of cryptic scripts which he named Linear A and Linear B. Later Linear B. tablets were found on the mainland associated with the Mycenaean culture. In 1952 Michael Ventris identified a decipherment of Linear B as an old form of Greek and new information became available about the nature of the Mycenaean culture.

The texts turned out to be accounting lists rather than poetry or mythology. This writing system was most likely confined to a minority of the population who were professional scribes. By correlating the information  from clay tablet…

View original 1,683 more words

Our followers on Twitter now exceed 1,000 + with our partners, Koryvantes (the Association of Historical Studies (Athens), Rita Roberts (Crete) & Spyros Bakas (Greece, Poland)...

Followers of KONOSO: 1,008: Click the banner to visit our Twitter account, and sign up too, if you like!

Twitter followers KONOSO sept 4 2014 1008

Followers of Rita Roberts: 403
Followers of Koryvantes, the Association of Historical Studies (Athens): 203
Followers of Spyros Bakas: 80

That gives us 1,694 followers all told. Not bad at all, for topics as esoteric as Mycenaen civilization and Mycenaean Linear B!


Supersyllabograms for sheep husbandry at Knossos (K series supplemental): Click to ENLARGE

Sheep husbandry tablets Scripta Minoa K series supplemental
We see illustrated above 13 tablets in the K series (supplemental) from Scripta Minoa (Sir Arthur Evans), Cambridge University, 1952. The supersyllabograms on these tablets are 0 for onato = lease field, pa for Paito, i.e. Phaistos (?) and pe for periqoro = enclosure or sheep pen. Although the SSYL pa appears with high frequency on the Linear B tablets from Knossos dealing with sheep husbandry, its precise meaning remains unclear. I have been unable to find any word beginning with the syllabogram pa as first syllable in any lexicon of Mycenaean Greek which can possibly be a match for this supersyllabogram, except for the toponym, Paito = Phaistos. This would appear to be in violation of the meanings of supersyllabograms we should expect in any sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy regardless, since none of the SSYLs I have isolated, defined and categorized to date are place names, with the sole exception of pa, if indeed it represents Phaistos — and I have serious reservations about that. However, in spite of its high frequency on the Linear B tablets from Knossos, there is no other cogent decipherment at hand. So I am forced assume that the SSYL pa is the first syllable of the Mycenaean place name, Paito = Phaistos. Until and unless another more reliable decipherment for the SSYL pa for sheep husbandry in the agricultural sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy is forthcoming, this translation will have to do. I am obliged to base my conjecture for this decipherment on the plausible assumption that the scribes were in the habit of inventorying sheep, rams and ewes at Knossos, given that tens and tens of thousands of them are mentioned for that city alone, whereas the number of sheep raised in all other centres, including Phaistos, usually runs into the scores or hundreds at most, almost never into the thousands. So it would appear that the scribes took to mentioning Phaistos by name for sheep raising at that locale, whenever they felt this was appropriate. It makes sense, given that Phaistos was the next major locale for sheep raising after Knossos, as illustrated on this map: Click to ENLARGE

Minoan Mycenaean Crete Knossos Phaistos and other centres
This is all the more plausible as few other centres for sheep raising are mentioned with any frequency on the Linear B tablets from Knossos.


My paper on A breakthrough in the decipherment of Minoan Linear A? Is puko the word for a tripod in Linear A? is puko the word for tripod in Minoan Linear A
An introduction to supersyllabograms in the pottery and vessels sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy and the implications of their application to Linear A tablets for the earlier Minoan economy:

has been revised, due to a number of small, but unfortunately misleading errors in the original. So if you have already downloaded the original article, you should immediately delete it from your computer, and download the new version by clicking on the banner   linking to it above.

Thank you


The supersyllabogram SA in Mycenaean Linear B: sapaketeriya = animals for ritual slaughter: Click to ENLARGE

KN 386 X a 87 & KN 387 X c 57
Recently, I ran across two new fragmentary tablets from Knossos, KN 386 X a 87 & its quasi-join, KN 387 X c 57, both of which sport the supersyllabogram SA to the left of the ideogram for ram(s). The addition of this new supersyllabogram brings the total number of SSYLS in Mycenaean Linear B to 35 or 57.4 % of a syllabary of 61 syllabograms in all. This is a significant chunk, which attests to the supreme rôle of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B. We have defined the phenomenon of the supersyllabogram over and over in our blog, but for those of you who are not familiar with it, a supersyllabogram is the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable only of a particular word or even an entire phrase in Mycenaean Greek. It is advisable for our newcomers to consult the section SUPERSYLLABOGRAMS, which you can click on at the top of our blog (see above).

How did I come to the determination that this SSYL references the Mycenaean Greek word, sapaketeriya? It was actually quite straightforward. In Chris Tselentis' excellent comprehensive Linear B Lexicon (PDF), which you can download from my account here:

Linear B Lexicon Tslentis
there are only so many Mycenaean Greek words of which the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable, is SA. Of these, one and one only neatly fits the context of sheep raising in the agricultural sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy, and that is the word sapaketeriya = animals for ritual slaughter. It is significant that this SSYL appears nowhere else on any extant tablet or fragment from either Knossos or Pylos. The reason for this seems to be that the practice of tallying ritual slaughter in inventories would appear to be the exception by far rather than the norm. The norms in inventories of sheep (rams & ewes) on hundreds of tablets from Knossos are primarily tallies of sheep on kitimena = plots of land, onato = lease fields, periqoro = enclosures or sheep pens, and similar aspects of prime interest to sheep husbandry and sheep raising. We have done scores of translations of tablets focusing on these areas on our blog. But again, this quasi-join of (apparently) one tablet is exceptional in two ways. First, it is a particularly rare exception to the types of tallies with which animal raising and husbandry tablets in Linear B are concerned, regardless of provenance (Knossos, Pylos etc.) and secondly, the quasi-joined tablet is in and of itself exceptional, in other words, quite remarkable. It is, in a word, a stunning find.

The partial translation:

Of all the tablets in Mycenaean Linear B which I have translated to date, this is by far the most difficult text with which I have been faced. The gaps in the quasi-join are so fragmented that it appears to make it next to impossible to glean any sense out of the tablet's intent, in other words, what it is supposed to inventory. However, closer examination of the fragmentary text which does appear to the left and to the right of the quasi-join reveals a few fascinating clues. These are tagged in the translation in the illustration above. A few words of explanation are however in order. I've managed to make some sense of the overall intent of the inventory by extrapolating what I take to be the missing text from the context of the intact text.

For instance, it seems to me that the right-truncated word following the indecipherable left-truncated word toyaone on left line 3 is very likely to be paketere, the Mycenaean Greek word for a peg or pegs, or more to the point, a stake or stakes. In the context of this tablet, the ritual slaughter of rams, this rather makes sense, especially in light of the fact that once again, in Chris Tselentis' Linear B Lexicon, it is the only word beginning with the syllabogram pa which fits the context. So that is why I have translated the snippet as such. After all, it does make sense that a ram intended for ritual slaughter would be tied to a stake, to restrain it. One can easily argue that this isn't necessary at all, but on the other hand, it is entirely plausible. Secondly, on right line 0 we find the termination no, left-truncated. What word can this final syllabogram possibly refer to? Once again, turning to our trusty Linear B Lexicon, we discover the word kono, the Mycenaean for the schinus rush plant. It is quite possible that the schinus rush plant may have played a rôle in the ritual slaughter of rams. No one can claim with any certainty that it did... but then again it might have. There is no way of our knowing, peering back 3,300 years through the mists of history, as we were not there when the scribe who tallied this tablet wrote whatever he wrote. But this guestimate is as good as any.

Next, on right line 1, we have the two syllabograms ito left-truncated. One of the most common words found on scores and scores of tablets from Knossos dealing with sheep and livestock is of course the toponym or place name, Paito = Phaistos. So I have opted for that. But then how are we to account for the presence of the number 1 immediately following Phaistos? The explanation might run as follows. What the scribe is describing here is the ritual slaughter of rams at Phaistos only once on this occasion, hence, the number 1. It is well worth considering. Finally, on right line 2, we find the single ultimate (terminal) syllabogram we. What can that possibly refer to?  And once again, there is a plausible explanation for the missing word of which it is the ultimate, namely, the word akorowe, referencing a field or fields. After all, where do we normally find sheep? ... in fields. That too makes sense in the context.

So while my translation is fragmentary, enough of the original text remains on the tablet to allow at least one plausible reconstruction of the intent of the inventory's tally. The reconstituted text does make eminent sense in its proper context. It is of course only one of several possible reconstructions. But I for one am satisfied with it as it stands.  

On a final note, I feel I ought to address the problem of the juxtaposition of the huge syllabogram QE with the much smaller syllabogram wa subsumed to its right. I bring this point up because I have noticed the same phenomenon recurring on scores of tablets from Knossos, and not just with this particular type of combination of these two syllabograms alone. Several other syllabograms appear in the same configuration, i.e. with one, the much larger, appearing first, and the second, much smaller, subsumed to it on the right. I have no idea what this means, but it is surely significant of something, because, as I have said many times over, the Mycenaean scribes never used any linguistic device unless they meant to, in other words, unless they found some practical advantage in so doing. So any two consecutive syllabograms (whichever ones they are) appearing in this particular configuration do not appear to constitute a Mycenaean Greek word, but rather to be a variation on the phenomenon of the supersyllabogram itself. I have neither the room nor the intellectual means to address this unusual configuration in this post, as I have not even begun to make any determination yet re. what this phenomenon actually is. However, I do intend to investigate it thoroughly in the relatively near future, as it quite possibly constitutes a sub-category of supersyllabograms, presumably being a corollary of the latter phenomenon.

Eventually we shall see.  


Colors in Linear B Texts

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Source: Colors in Linear B Texts

Colors in Linear B Texts


Ms. Leonhardt’s analysis of colours in Linear B is first rate.

Originally posted on Konosos:


LinB words
e-re-u-ti-ja | e-ru-ta-ra | ka-na-ko | ka-pi-ni-ja | ko-ro-ki-ja | | po-ro-ko | re-u-ka | ro-u-si-jo |

Greek words
†ἐρευθία | ἐρευθιάω | ἐρυθρή | καπνία | κνακός | κνηκός | κροκίας | λευκά | φόρκος | πορφυρέω | πορφυρίζω | ῥουσίζω | ῥούσιος | χνηχός |

e-re-u-ti-ja | †ἐρευθία (ereutia) | †red
e-re-u-ti-ja | ἐρευθιά(ω) (ereutiao) | to be red
KN Gg 405 (Scribe 140)
KN Od 714, 715, 716 (Scribe 103)
See also e-ru-ta-ra and ro-u-si-jo .

e-ru-ta-ra | ἐρυθρή (eruthre) | red, ruddy  (attested)
Mycenae (Scribe 57, 58a), Pylos (esp. PY An 654) (Scribes 1, 21, 31, 32)
See also e-re-u-ti-ja and ro-u-si-jo.

ka-na-ko | κνακό(ς) (knakos) | tawny white, Carthamus tinctoria
ka-na-ko | κνηκό(ς) (knekos) | tawny white, Carthamus tinctoria
ka-na-ko | χνηχό(ς) (khnekhos) | tawny white, Carthamus tinctoria  (attested)
MY Ge 602, 603+, 605+, 606+…

View original 210 more words

Source: Rita Robert’s translation of Knossos tablet KN 1540 O k 01 (xc) “so many swords”

Source: Abstract of the study, COMPOSITE BOWS IN AEGEAN BRONZE AGE WARFARE, by Spyros Bakas, Archaeological Institute of the University of Warsaw

Source: My translation of Knossos tablet KN 1548 O k 02 (xc) with original and facsimile

Reblogged on Source: The Archaeology News Network: Important finds at two excavations in Laconia

Source: The Archaeology News Network: Important finds at two excavations in Laconia

My translation of Knossos tablet KN 1548 O k 02 (xc) with original and facsimile: Click to ENLARGE

Knossos Tablet KN 1548 O k 02 composite
While the text of this fascinating tablet is largely straightforward, the word “tirisate” at first posed problems for me. But even at first glance, I could see that “tirisate” had the prefix “tiri”, which almost certainly means “three”, and I quickly deduced that the second part of the word, “sate” was a verbal form. Consulting Liddell & Scotts' Greek-English Lexicon (1986), I was rewarded with the translation you see for this word, which I take indeed to be the present participle of the verb, “to arm, furnish, equip”. Hence the translation. This is not the first time I have encountered compound lexemes in Mycenaean Greek, which were rendered into separate components (words) in later ancient dialects in the Greek alphabet.

NOTE: we have now exceeded 900 posts on our blog!


by Spyros Bakas, Archaeological Institute of the University of Warsaw:

Click on this banner to read the study:

Composite bows in Aegean Bronze Age warfare

Archery played a dominant role in Bronze Age, especially in later period. The technological evolution to the composites was a significant factor that affected the Warfare in several ways. The composite was introduced into Egypt by the Hyksos in the 18th century BCE. However we do not have any archaeological examples from the Aegean Bronze Age world. This brief study will try to approach the issue of the use of composite bows in the Minoan and Mycenaean Warfare attempting to include all the possible archaeological iconographical and textual evidence that could support this argument. There is a large number of smiths in Pylos tablets. These are aligned with the bureaucratic and centralized structure of the Mycenaean palatial centers. The word to-ko-so-wo-ko, which appears five times in the tablets, refers to the profession of the “bow-maker”. Based on the evidence from the Pylos “chariot –tablets”, we do know that this Palatial centre could field hundreds of chariots while also there is a record that there are 6010 arrows stored in this particular place. It seems more likely that the Palatial centers would need those “bow makers” mostly for military purposes rather than just for hunting. Therefore, the construction of composite bows – as weapons of the Mycenaean aristocrats – seems to be the most possible occupation of those craftsmen. Mycenaean bronze scaled corselets would have been constructed for and against the composite bows. 

Bronze Age cultures valued the composite bow as a highly advanced and efficient weapon, offering solutions to both mobility and firepower in conflict. It is certain that the composite bow wasn’t commonplace in Minoan and Mycenaean world. It was a prestige item with high cost owned by the elite warriors and aristocrats. The weapon was in use by the Minoans probably from the early Neopalatial period and continued to play a dominant role in Aegean battlefields till the 13 century BC following the decline of chariot archery.

This study will be published in the upcoming Volume IV of  the Archaeological Journal, Syndesmoi, University of Catania, Italy

NOTE: We have also provided a direct link to this fascinating study by Spyros Bakas here at LBK&M and on our twitter page. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for our link to his study, and you can also see the link posted on our twitter account here:

twitter vallance 22 Knossos

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