The First Ever Almost Complete Translation of the Famous Linear B Tablet MY Oe 106 (Mycenae) Click to ENLARGE:
My translation of this famous Linear B was a hard slog, to say the very least. I had to rummage through Chris Tselentis’ fine Linear B Lexicon and through scores of entries in Liddell & Scott, 1986, to be able to come within sight of a translation which would make complete sense in context, and after hours of meticulous searching, I finally came up with the translation you see here. I think it not only rings true, but that it flies.
There are several critical comments I must make on my translation. In case anyone is wondering why I translated KOROTO as “young boy”, you needn’t look very far. This is why that picture of a boy appears to the right of the tablet. The scribe must have deliberately put it there to make damn certain that his fellow scribes and literate Mycenaeans knew perfectly well what the main thrust of this tablet is, namely, that we should put the emphasis squarely on the “young boy” as subject. He is the driving force behind all this wool business going on here. This is precisely why I am quite convinced that KOROTO is in fact an archaic Mycenaean neuter word for young boy. Of course, the daughter mentioned here cannot be his daughter! She is someone’s daughter, and I would bet my bottom dollars that she is their mother.
Moving on, we run smack dab up against the single syllabogram RE. We must not be deceived. It is not untranslatable. In fact, the direct opposite is true. Why on earth Linear B translators have not seen this phenomenon in the past 60 years is quite beyond me. I know perfectly well that single syllabograms are all over the place on Linear B tablets, because in the 3,000 odd Linear B tablets I have meticulously examined in Scripta Minoa, there are hundreds of tablets and fragments sporting single syllabograms. Two questions immediately leap to mind. First of all, why on earth would the Linear B scribes at Knossos, Mycenae, Pylos and elsewhere resort to inscribing single syllabograms on so many tablets (100s is a heck of lot of tablets!) unless they meant to. I think it goes quite without saying that that is precisely what they meant to do. Secondly, what on earth are these single syllabograms? Believe it or not, we have practically beaten this subject to death on our blog, and if you are really itching to know what they are (and if you are a Linear B translator, scholar or researcher, may I suggest you should be), then you ought to visit our blog and read the scores of posts which not only define what they are, viz. supersyllabograms, but provide scores of examples of Linear B tablets from Knossos which sport them, especially tablets referring to sheep, rams and ewes. Tablets on sheep constitute fully 20% and then some of all 3,000 Linear B tablets I closely examined from Knossos, far surpassing Linear B tablets on any other area of Minoan civilization (economic, agricultural, industrial, military, you name it). This of course raises another inescapable question. Why, why such an overwhelming number of Linear B tablets on sheep alone – even far surpassing all other livestock, crops etc. etc. - ? This is one critical question, and it demands answers. I have provided some myself, but it is up to the research community at large to fully investigate this phenomenon and in depth, so that within a few years we can really account for supersyllabograms... because they will not simply go away.
Now, as for that very long name, Toteweyasewe (and I truly believe it is a name, the name of the young boy), I would be willing to bet it is a Minoan, and not Mycenaean name. Have you ever noticed how many Linear A words are very long, many of them in excess of 5 syllables? I have. There is something going on there too, a factor which we must clearly take strictly into account if we are ever to even approach even a partial decipherment of Linear A. Another peculiarity I have noticed about Linear A tablets versus Linear B ones is that the majority of the former are vertical rectangular in shape, while the majority of the latter are horizontal and usually only 1-4 lines long. The longer Linear B tablets, of course, have to be rectangular as well, as if...
What does the sypersyllabogram RE mean? It was almost ridiculously easy for me to find that out. Consulting Tselentis once again, I discovered that the one and only Mycenaean Greek word beginning with the syllabogram RE that could possibly fit this context, i.e. that of wool, is REPOTO, which means “fine or thin”, and it fits the context beautifully. Given that the repertoire of Mycenaean vocabulary on extant tablets and fragments in Linear B is quite thin, amounting to no more than 3,000 words at the very most, I think we can pretty much rely on this translation of the supersyllabogram RE, because nothing else fits the context, period.
And, in case you are wondering how I discovered supersyllabograms in the first place, you need only to refer to the very first post in which I discuss the two Linear B tablets from Knossos, one of which gave the whole show away. The scribe actually spelled out the entire word on one of the tablets, and then used only the supersyllabogram on the other, thank you very much. To keep you all on tenterhooks, I am not going to tell you here which tablets these were, but point you to the ground-breaking post which goes right to the core of the matter. That post is titled, A Major Milestone in the Further Decipherment of Linear B – the Supersyllabogram Defined, here:
One thing I will tell you is this. The supersyllabogram O means ONATO, a leased field & KI means KITIMENA, a plot of land. These two are plastered all over tablets on sheep. There are plenty more. We have deciphered at least 8 of them, but the rest elude us... for the time being.