INTRODUCTION TO IDEOGRAMS: Level 4 (Advanced) 2014

INTRODUCTION TO IDEOGRAMS: Level 4 (Advanced) 2014

It is absolutely essential that you read the table below which includes (Click to ENLARGE):

MERITIRIYA ideograms man woman horse chariots

[1] an actual extant Linear B tablet, which contains the ideogram for “woman” &

[2] examples of 5 basic ideograms for – man/human being, woman, horse, chariot (with wheels) & chariot without wheels.  It is vital to understand that there are well over 100 ideograms in Linear B, all of which you will have to learn if you are to translate Linear B tablets, since the scribes almost always made copious use of ideograms to save precious space on the small clay tablets they used for transcription of what was, after all, primarily accounting information. So once again, we are confronted with the phenomenon of shorthand, to which the Minoan & Mycenaean scribes had frequent recourse in principle and in practice, again to save precious space on the tablets.  Shorthand is a prime characteristic of Linear B, which sets the script apart from alphabetic Greek, which, being a literary language,  resorted to shorthand far less often.  Oh and by the way, if you are already finding this POST tedious to read, why bother reading any further?  If you are at Level 1 & 2 (Basic) or only part way through Level 3 (Intermediate), this is probably what is bound to happen. So if I were you, which admittedly I am not, I would tuck this post away in the back of my mind, copy the text into my "Linear B Lessons" folder, and come back to it later, when I am really ready to proceed to Level 4 (Advanced).  Otherwise, I guarantee this post is going to bring on a headache!  That's what it almost did to me when I wrote it!

[3] Read the copious Notes, which clarify the application of ideograms to scribal transcriptions on Linear B tablets, on which the use of ideograms is – I repeat – the rule rather than the exception. If you do not read the Notes, you will not grasp one of the most fundamental principles and practices of scribal execution of Linear B; hence, you will not be able to translate the vast majority of Linear B tablets. 

[4] As the Notes explain (in excruciating detail!) the application of ideograms to Linear B writing, you will benefit immensely from reading them thoroughly and as often as required until you finally have the concept of ideograms down pat.  Once you reach this threshold in learning Linear B  at Level 4 (Advanced), you will be in a solid position to start translating Linear B tablets.  But a word of warning!  There are 2 Advanced Levels, 4 & 5, and you will not be able to “completely” master the art of translating Linear B tablets until you have pursued the Lessons from Levels 1 & 2 (Basic) through Level 3 (Intermediate) all the way to Levels 4 & 5 (Advanced).  Still, not to worry, friends.  You can take all the time you need and want to learn Linear B, as I tailor the teaching/learning process to the individual needs and learning curve(s) of each student.   I am here for you and not the other way around.

For those of you who already have a decent grasp of Linear B, and feel confident enough to proceed to  Level 4 (Advanced: Part 1), we will proceed in earnest with our lessons at this level  starting in January 2014.  As for the rest of you, please do not worry, and do not let this concern you in the least.  When you feel you are ready to advance to Level 4, we will do just that, but not before.  I honestly dislike placing needless pressure on my students.   Rushing things achieves nothing but frustration for teacher and student alike.  And who needs that, like a hole in the head? 




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Historical linguist, Linear B, Mycenaean Greek, Minoan Linear A, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, ancient Greek, Homer, Iliad, only Blog ENTIRELY devoted to Linear B on Internet; bilingual English- French, read Latin fluently, read Italian & ancient Greek including Linear B well, Antikythera Mechanism

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