POST 1,000! Linear B tablets K 04-31 N u 07 & 04-37 N u 04 in the Knossos “Armoury”
Yes, we have finally hit 1,000 posts on Linear B, Knossos and Mycenae, in its slightly less than three years of existence.
While the translation of both of these tablets is relatively straightforward, I do have a few comments to make. In the first place, it is becoming more than obvious by this point (after seeing several Linear B tablets on the design and construction of chariots already posted here) that not only is the vocabulary for chariots completely standardized, i.e. formulaic in the extreme, but that words referencing the parts of the chariot almost always appear in a minimally variable order on the tablets. It is to be noted that the generic words for the largest parts always appear first, followed by (characteristics of) their smaller components. Thus:
1 EITHER if it is mentioned, – amota – (with wheels) or – anamota – (without wheels) almost always appears in the first position. If the reference to wheels is the first on the tablet, it is apparent that the scribe is squarely placing emphasis on the (construction of the) wheels over all other parts of the chariot.
OR if it is mentioned, – iqiyo – (for a single dual chariot for two people and NOT for the dual, 2 chariots!) or – iqiya – (for a chariot or chariots) almost always appears in the first position. If the reference to the chariot is the first on the tablet, it is apparent that the scribe is squarely placing emphasis on the construction of the chariot over all other concerns.
This is routinely followed either:
2 (a) by the kind of wood the scribe is referring to, usually either – pterewa – = elm or – erika – = willow, then by the designation – temidweta – referring to the rims of the wheel(s),
(b) inversely, by the designation – temidweta – referring to the rims of the wheel(s) and then usually either – pterewa – = elm or – erika – = willow, for the kind of wood the rims are made of;
3 followed by – odatuweta – referring to the grooves in the rims (it makes perfect sense to refer to the rims first and then to the grooves on the rims, rather than the other way around, which would violate common sense) then with a reference to the use of – kako – = bronze or any variations of it (although this word can sometimes appear in the first position but only if either of the words – amota – (with wheels) or – anamota – (without wheels) do not appear on that line;
4 then by the ideogram for wheel + the supersyllabogram ZE = – zeugesi – = a pair of wheels, or more properly speaking, (a set of) wheels on axle + the number of sets of wheels (if present) , with the understanding that if more than 1 set of wheels is listed, then more than one chariot is referenced. Thus, if the supersyllabogram (SSYL) ZE is followed by the number 22, the scribe is referring to 22 chariots;
and (if present) by the ideogram for wheel, either preceded or followed by the supersyllabogram MO = – mono – = a single wheel, or more properly = a spare wheel or spare wheels, if a number > 1 appears after MO;
5 and finally (if present) by the ideogram for chariot with wheels or chariot without wheels.
Of course, the word order is not set in stone (nothing ever is), but you get the picture.
In short, the vocabulary appearing on military tablets dealing with chariots is both formulaic and routinely predictable. This is a prime characteristic of all inventories, ancient or modern.
2 thoughts on “POST 1,000! Linear B tablets K 04-31 N u 07 & 04-37 N u 04 in the Knossos “Armoury””
WOW ! Congrats Richard. !!
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