Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, the Elegant Culmination of Syllabaries from Minoan Linear A through to Mycenaean Linear B

The title of my submission to Vol. 13 (2017) Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448 is to be:

Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, the Elegant Culmination of Syllabaries from Minon Linear through to Mycenaean Linear B.


This article will feature an overview of each of the syllabaries in turn and the languages and dialects they represent: Minoan for Linear A, the earliest East Greek dialect Mycenaean for Linear B, and the slightly later dialect Arcado-Cypriot for Linear C. It will be quite some time before I will even be able to make my submission, as Vol. 12 (2016) is still in the pipeline, and authors articles have not been returned to them in their master format for proof-reading. Nor will they be returned to us before the end of 2017. But I like to hedge my bets, and anyway, the aforementioned topic for Vol. 13 (2017) is right down my alley, in view of the fact that I am expert in all three syllabaries (Linear A, B & C) and their respective languages.


NOTE it is absolutely de rigueur to read the table of the Arcado-Cypriot Linear C syllabary above, if you are to get any real grasp of its enormous significance, not only for the development of literary ancient Greek, which it pioneered, but retrospectively for a proper understanding of Mycenaean Linear B phonetics.

The article will explore in great depth the legacy of Minoan Linear A for Mycenaean Linear B and that of Mycenaean Linear B for Arcado-Cypriot Linear C in turn. Finally, we shall address the even more striking historical legacy of Arcado-Cypriot Linear C itself, as this last syllabary in the series of 3 syllabaries was to have a real impact on the historical Greek era (ca. 1100 BCE – 400 BCE).

What is most striking about the evolution of these three syllabaries is that, as we pass from one to the next, the syllabaries become more streamlined and more simplified. The Minoan Linear A syllabary is the most complex, with a very large number of syllabograms, many of which are undeciphered. While there are ideograms in Minoan Linear A, there are fewer of them in Linear A than in Mycenaean Linear B, which made extensive use of them for the purposes of accurate, minimalized inventory taking. On the other hand, by the time we get to Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, the picture changes drastically. Almost all of the syllabograms in Linear C look completely unlike their Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B forbears. They look different. But appearances can be and are, in the case of Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, very deceiving. While the syllabograms in Arcado-Cypriot Linear C look different from those in Mycenaean Linear B (leaving Minoan Linear A aside, because it is too archaic and too complex), almost all of them bear the same phonetic values as their Linear B counterparts. But what is most remarkable about Arcado-Cypriot Linear C is that it utterly abandoned ideograms, once and for all. There are several cogent reasons for this amazing development, which I shall address when I finally come around to writing this article, probably sometime in 2018.

I have already discussed this topic in recent posts on the Linear A, Linear B & Linear C keyboard templates, and so I would ask you to refer back to them for clarification on any issues which may elude you, and which I do not address in this post, for the simple reason that I have not even yet begun my article for Archaeology and Science. But, of one thing you can be certain, it is bound to be a ground-breaker, like all of my previous articles in this prestigious international archaeological journal.