Unkind in commemoration of the savage attack on a Muslim mosque in Quebec City, Sunday, January 29, 2017 3 So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day, and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Luke 17: 3-4 Is humankind so kind or so unkind we have embraced and have abandoned love we’ harmonized ... or despotize to blind ourselves to pitying the mourning dove? — or mob ourselves with xenophobic crime? — and chase our dreams but chase them all away? — We pillorize our neighbours half the time, while terrorizing those for whom we pray. Come on! What, come again? Can you explain why our religion has to reign supreme, while theirs and yours must suffer mindless pain to kill our worlds that no one can redeem. Excuse me, God... Hey, do You give a damn as we expose our souls to another scam? Richard Vallance, January 30, 2017
Réponse par Richard Vallance Janke à la recherche très récente sur la tablette AN PY 55 = AN 724, menée par Tina et Enriqueta Martinotti, dont leur étude : Tina MARTINOTTI, Enriqueta MARTINOTTI. Poétique Mycénienne dans la Tablette PY 724 An ( PY 55) de Pylos, classfiée comme " liste de rameurs ". Épigraphie mycénienne: traduction de la tablette en linéaire b Py 55=An 724 de Pylos classifiée c.. 2015. <hal-01147208> HAL Id: hal-01147208 https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01147208 Submitted on 29 Apr 2015 Depuis Chadwick, la tablette en linéaire b, classifiée Py 55=An 724 a été interprétée à partir de la lecture des séries de signes ro-o-wa comme le nom du port de Pylos et e-re-ta comme « rameur/s » ; plusieurs auteurs pensent que ce texte est une liste de rameurs. Mais la présence de la série ki-ti-ta, interprétée d’abord comme « agriculteur », a produit des controverses : Que faisait le mot « agriculteur » dans une liste de rameurs ? Finalement ki-ti-ta a été interprétée, de manière un peu téméraire comme «unité fiscale»3. Cette dernière hypothèse imagine le cas de l’infortune des agriculteurs qui, ne pouvant payer leurs taxes foncières, s’engageaient dans la marine. Néanmoins, la tablette n’a aucune similitude avec une liste, elle présente des lignes complètes. Toutes ces approximations théoriques, en étant arbitraires, suggèrent une défaillance dans l’interprétation. Ainsi, cette tablette est l’objet de l’analyse que nous exposons ici, en prenant la méthode épigraphique des systèmes syllabaires dont un signe est homophonique, polysémique et logographique. La traduction, ici proposée, suit la méthodeinterprétative4 des phonèmes, et recherche l’énoncé produit pour l’homophonie. Notre analyse démontre que la tablette PY 55 ne traite pas d’une liste de rameurs, mais qu’il s’agit d’un admirable texte littéraire où le mythe, le culte et la tradition se trouvent étroitement liés aux données philologiques, archéologiques, iconographiques et géographiques. Cette tablette est une oeuvre littéraire mycénienne et une des premières chansons épiques ; un texte narratif qui renvoie aux rituels et offrandes dans la grotte dite aujourd’hui « Grotte de Nestor », ainsi que le sacrifice du taureau « auprès de la mer salée », tel que nous l’a transmis la tradition homérique. On verra que ce texte décrit l’épique d’une figure héroïque divine ; les exploits d’un dieu qui étaient dignes de mémoire pour les pyliens. Ce texte décrit un héros divin mythique, guérisseur, guerrier, fécondant, en étroit rapport avec la déesse Terre, et représentant, à ses yeux, l’idéal de la valeur et des vertus bienfaisantes... à laquelle ma réponse à mon compte sur academia.edu, ici : Bonjour, Tina ! Je tiens à vous répondre cette fois de la manière la plus respectueuse, vu que je viens de lire très attentivement deux de vos articles. J’en lirai les autres dès que j’aurai le temps libre de les assimiler avec le plus grand soin. Je dois vous avouer franchement que je suis très impressioné de votre recherche concernant le déchiffrement du syllabaire Linéaire B. Mais en dépit de mon admiration considérable de vos efforts énergiques à cet égard, je suis toujours constraint de garder plusieurs réservations relatives à votre hypothèse essentielle, là où il s’agit de la nature polysémiotique des syllabogrammes et des mots mycéniens, surtout à la lumière du syllabaire Linéaire C du dialecte arcado-chyprien, qui n’obéit en aucune manière à votre hypothèse essentiel, ce qui me rend plutôt soupçonneux, voire méfiant de quelques-unes des conclusions auxquelles vous souscrivez. De l’autre part, je suis ravi que mes propres hypothèses vous incitent finalement à promulguer les votres, car il est carrément évident que le monde international de la recherche historique et diachronique des syllabaires ne tire pas avantage de votre perspicacité pénétrante depuis je ne sais combien d’années. Néanmoins, il est vraiment à regretter que vous conduisez vos recherches, paraît-il, uniquement en français, étant donné que la plus grande proportion de loin des recherches dans tous les domaines scientifiques et techniques est menée, comme vous le savez très bien, uniquement en anglais. Cela signifie en un mot que la très grande majorité des rechercheurs en linguistique historique et diachonique sont par forfait dépourvus des implications à grande portée, à fort impact et certes à long terme de vos recherches si importantes. Et cela, presqu’inutile de dire, c’est vraiment grand dommage ! Et c’est dans cette optique que presque toute la communauté mondiale de la recherche en linguistique restera malheureusement dépourvue de l’impact considérable, voire, révolutionnaire, de vos recherches sur les syllabaires du monde antique. En plus de tout cela, il me reste à assumer la responsabilité de répondre nettement et de façon strictement logique à plusieurs de vos conclusions, non pas en français, mais en anglais, pour que les rechercheurs allophones en anglais puissent suivre la trame de notre discussion continue en ce qui regarde le déchiffrement des syllabaires Linéaire A et B, nonobstant le Linéaire C, dont je ferai au fur et à mesure plusieurs observations et commentaires d’extrême importance et pertinence à ce même égard. Reste à constater qu’à partir d’aujourd’hui, je me sentirai obligé de discuter en anglais tout aspect des trois syllabaires dont il s’agit (les Linéaires A, B, et C) de telle sorte que nos collègues allophones puissent suivre et comprendre notre dialogue soutenu. Merci bien, ma collègue très estimée Richard Vallance Janke
More gems of Bahai’ wisdom!
Bahai’ = the latest Dispensation from God = Progressive Revelation Imagine my astonishment when I happened across the teachings of the Bahai’ Faith, which came into being in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Its teachings are revolutionary. It allows one to keep the faith of one’s birth, in my case, Christian, but it opens up so many avenues to a faith greater than all religions, including itself. The Bahai’s firmly believe that theirs is not the last revelation, that more are to come. This sets them apart from all past religions. Unlike all previous religions of the past, the Bahai’ faith firmly counsels universal education, the education of women and the equal rights of women and men, the promotion and teaching of technology and science, and the list goes on and on. This sort of religion truly appeals to an intellectual such as myself. I shall be posting the tenets of the Bahai’ faith on a regular basis here on Minoan Linear A, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae. Here are the first three observations from the faith: They are real eye-openers!
3 alternatives in Minoan Linear A for pasiteoi = “to all the gods” in Mycenaean Greek: I rummaged through every last of the scores of Minoan Linear A tablets I have on file, searching for any rendition possible commensurate with the phrase pasiteoi = “to all the gods” in Mycenaean Greek. I have made the assumption, however misplaced, that since this a 5 syllabogram or syllable phrase in Mycenaean Linear B, the cross-correlated phrase in Minoan Linear A should run to approximately the same number of syllabograms or syllables, give or take. I found 3 alternatives. I had little choice, as there is simply no way or knowing whether or not any one of these 3, iqa*118, dadumata or *47nuraja corresponds to the Mycenaean phrase, if indeed any of them do. However, the chances are pretty good that one of them does. So take your pick. I lean towards dadumata, as it looks like it might be plural, though certainly not necessarily neuter plural, corresponding to the ultimate “a”, which imposes itself on any word in the neuter or feminine plural in Mycenaean Greek. One simply cannot transpose the last vowel “a” for the neuter plural in Linear B to Linear A. The same problem obtains with *47nuraja. On the other hand, transposition of “a” for Greek “ai” in Mycenaean Greek is a (somewhat remote) possibility in Minoan Linear A. But here again we cannot and must not leap to any premature conclusions. Each of these terms qualifies as the sixty-ninth (69) term I have deciphered, more or less accuracy, in Minoan Linear A.
Linear B tablet Pylos TA Ae 08 offerings of gold from her slaves to the priestess at Pylos: The Linear B tablet Pylos TA Ae 08 offerings of gold from her slaves to the priestess at Pylos is one of the most famous of all Linear B tablets. It rounds out our survey of 6 religious tablets in Mycenaean Linear B which may very well serve as templates for the decipherment of Minoan Linear A tablets in the same vein.
The co-dependent supersyllabograms KI = kitimena kotona & O = onaton in Linear B: The two supersyllabograms KI = kitimena kotona & O = onaton in Linear B are very frequently concatenated on Linear B tablets in the agricultural sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy. This combination of supersyllabograms KI + O occurs on scores of tablets from Knossos alone. These two supersyllabograms always precede the ideogram they modify, and this ideogram is always either the one for “rams” (most often) or “ewes” and occasionally for “sheep” (the generic ideogram). When linked together in this fashion they always mean “a usufruct lease field which is a plot of land”, in other words “a usufruct leased plot of land” within the context of a larger “lease field” of which this plot of land is one among several. How many we cannot say, because we were not there when the Minoan/Mycenaean overlords parcelled out their fields to be leased as smaller plots of land to their tenants. The number of leased plots per lease field may have been as few as 4 or as many as 10 or 20. If the number were to have run to the latter end of the spectrum, that would have meant that the lease fields themselves, which were to have been sub-parcelled into leased plots must have been quite large, even if the size of the separate leased plots might have been as small as approx. 1 hectare. In that scenario, a lease field with 20 leased plots of approx. 1 hectare would be about 20 hectares in size. It is to be clearly understood that we have no yardstick or should I say metric stick by which to determine exactly or even approximately the Minoans at Knossos or Phaistos or the Mycenaeans at Mycenae, Pylos and elsewhere actually measured the size of their fields. The hectare is just an approximation, nothing more. But it will do as well as any measure. On another count, we note that on this tablet, the land tenant is Siadyweis. He is not the land owner because he is clearly leasing a plot of land on a much larger lease field owned by the overseer. Also, we note that the person connected with the Minoan Goddess, Potnia, must be her priest, because it is in the masculine. This seems a rather odd arrangement to me, since in almost all other instances where this famous Minoan goddess is mentioned, it is with reference to her Priestess(es) and not her Priest(s). The Minoan religion was substantively matriarchal, not patriarchal. That said, this tablet clearly defines her attendant as her Priest. Several illustrations of the the Minoan goddess, Potnia:
A partial Linear B tablet from Knossos illustrating 542 amphorae or pithoi! This is a partial Linear B tablet from Knossos illustrating 542 amphorae or pithoi, a staggering number. Since the pithoi at Knossos are all huge, it is impossible that these 542 amphorae an all be pithoi. Far from it. Probably 500 at least were smaller amphorae, and the rest (42 or so) possibly pithoi, but we cannot be sure. I have deduced that teyo to the left side of this partial tablet is the genitive singular of the Linear B word teo = “Zeus” or “a god”, hence in this context it means, “of Zeus” or “of the god”, implying that all of these amphorae and pithoi are the property of said god. Here we see a fabulously wrought Minoan bee pendant with what appears to be the image of a Minoan priest or god in the centre.
Rams for ritual slaughter: KN 386 A 87 & KN 387 X c 57 joins: Here I am really digging deep into unknown waters in the decipherment of Linear B, deeper than I ever have. These two fragments were originally one tablet. The central part is missing. This has got to be one of the most fascinating challenges I have ever encountered in the decipherment of Linear B text, since, as with all Linear B joins, it requires the decipherer to attempt to fill in the blanks, so to speak, i.e. the missing part of the original tablet, which as you can see is in an inverted V shape. If at all possible, as much the text that originally was located within that V has to be restored. Since as everyone knows who visits our blog that I am never one to skip a challenge, no matter how tough, I took it upon myself to make a serious attempt at a plausible reconstruction of at least part of the missing text, and to my satisfaction, I believe I succeeded, in the sense that I have recovered what might plausibly have been some of the original text, at least conjecturally. Any other interpretation might suffice, provided that (a) it made sense in the context of the text preserved on the two adjacent sides & (b) that the missing vocabulary was consistent with the ritual of religious sacrifice of sheep, a common practice in many civilizations of the ancient world. Let us walk through my decipherment of the so-called missing text step by step. First of all, we have the left truncated syllabograms ... NO heading the first line of the right hand side of the original tablet (KN 387 X c 57). It is no easy matter to even make a stab at what the rest of this word could possibly have meant, or for that matter, how many syllabograms, in other words, syllables, it contained. So I had to take the only recourse available to me, and that was to ransack Chris Tselentis’ excellent Linear B Lexicon of at least 2,500 Linear B words for any word ending in NO which might possibly suit the context, keeping firmly in mind that this is the scene of a religious ceremony involving the ritual sacrifice of a ram or rams. I finally found the term which ideally suited the context, and it is temeno, which means a religious shrine or temple. It fits the context like a glove. So the likelihood that this was indeed the missing word ending with left-truncated NO is reasonably assured. On the second line of the same fragment (the right side), we have repa, the last two syllabograms or syllables of another missing word. The term which immediately leaped to mind was arepa = “cream” or “ointment”, and if that is a putative “correct” translation, it can be interpreted as meaning an “anointing cream”. Fits the bill. The third word on the third line of the right hand side of the fragment, ending in the single syllabogram WE, was much harder to divine. It could be one of a dozen things, but I finally settled on duwowe, meaning “a two handled vessel or urn”. This again suits the context, but it is only one of scores of possible interpretations, all of which would have equally suited the context. I was working on the assumption that the person making the sacrifice, presumably a priest, would have cremated the ashes of the ram(s) after the sacrifice. But this is definitely going out on a limb, since in most ancient societies, sacrificial slaughter of sheep or rams involved killing them and then roasting them on a spit for subsequent consumption in a religious feast honouring “the god” or if Hebrew, God. On the other hand, the Minoans and Mycenaeans may have (also) cremated the ashes of the sacrificed ram. If there is any researcher or archaeologist out there who visits this blog and can refute the notion of post-sacrificial cremation among the Minoans and Mycenaeans, please have at it and I shall revise my decipherment accordingly. Moving over to the left hand side of the join (KN 386 A 87), which contains considerably less text, we have on the second line the syllabogram QE, which by itself means “and”, but which in this case might possibly be the last syllabogram, i.e. last syllable of a Linear B word... except that scarcely any Linear B words end in QE, and any way the syllabogram QE in this context is written huge. So I am left with no other alternative than to interpret it as I have done = “and”. But “and” what? There you have me. I am stumped. On the next line, the third one down, we have the ideogram for “man” or “person” followed by the number 1, for “one person”, this in turn followed by the supersyllabogram SA, and then by the ideogram for “ram” and the number 1. The SSYL SA I have previously established on another tablet posted on this blog as most likely meaning sapaketeriya = “for ritual slaughter” or “for ritual sacrifice”. This too suits the context very well. You can see the downwards pointing arrow from the ideogram for “man” to the word Towaune = “Towaunes”, presumably the name of the man, on the fourth line. His name in turn is followed by a Linear B word, which, if complete, is doke, a variation on odoke, the aorist (simple past) of the verb didomi (in Linear B), which means “to give” or “to offer”, and in this context “to offer up” (for ritual sacrifice). So now the sense is complete, except for all those single syllabograms (qe wa & po) on the left side of the join, which I can make no sense of at all. And that is a pitfall. However, within these restraints, I have been able to come up with one possible, even plausible interpretation (among God knows how many others), which you can see in translation at the bottom of the figure above.
The famous “Bull’s Head” sacrificial Rhyton, Ashmolean Museum, translated:
This is one of the most well-known of all Linear B tablets. It was unearthed by Sir Arthur Evans from the debris at Knossos in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, so much of the text is missing or badly mutilated (left truncated) that it is difficult to translate it. In addition, the words “neqasapi” and “qasapi”, which are variants of one another, are to be found nowhere in Tselentis or any other Mycenaean Greek lexicon, including the most comprehensive of them all, that of L.R. Palmer in The Interpretation of Mycenaean Greek Texts (1963). However, I was able to make sense of the right side of the tablet, which fortunately is largely intact. The Bull’s Head is not just a bull’s head, it is a sacrificial Bull’s Head rhyton, as you can see from my archaic Greek text, here transliterated into Latin characters, “‘r’rhuton kefaleiia tauroio” = “a rhyton of the head of a bull”. There are also 3 kylixes or cups with handles, presumably made of gold. So I was able to extricate enough text to make reasonable sense of this fine tablet.
The homophone supersyllabogram AI = goat: The supersyllabogram AI is the only homophone (not a regular syllabogram) which qualifies as a supersyllabogram. But it presents an unusual special case. As you can see from the Linear B text, the scribe uses the supersyllabogram for “goat” actually “billy goat” and then, strangely enough (as it would first appear, the ideogram for the same, “billy” goat, followed by the number 1. Then on the second line he uses the ideogram for “she goat”, again followed by the number 1 and by the syllabogram PA right truncated. If all this seems a mystery to you, it is not to me. The syllabogram PA right truncated on the second line almost certainly means pasi teoi = to all the gods, which in turn implies sapaketeriya = sacrificial rites. That is precisely the reason why the scribe repeats “billy goat”, first as a supersyllabogram and then as an ideogram on line 1. This is no ordinary billy goat. And she is no ordinary she goat. This is a “sacrificial billy goat to all the gods”. The reason why the scribe does not even bother to repeat the supersyllabogram AI for “goat” on the second line is that the SSYL for “goat” on the first line includes both the billy goat and the she goat, his partner. No Linear B scribe in his right mind would ever repeat the same supersyllabogram, in this case AI, twice on the same tablet, for the simple reason that the scribes routinely omitted text (and in this case the SSYL AI on the second line) to save precious space on the tiny Linear B tablets, which rarely (like this one) exceeded 15 cm. (6 inches) in width. This is the only possible decipherment. I am so sure of it that I would bet my life on it... well, not literally.
Happy Third Anniversary to Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae!
Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae was founded in March 2013, and since then it has grown to become the premier Linear B blog on the entire Internet. Our blog covers every conceivable aspect of research into Mycenaean Linear B, including, but not exclusively, decipherment of hundreds of tablets from every single sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy (agriculture, military, textiles, spices & condiments, vessels and pottery and the religious sector); the translation of the introduction to Book II of the Iliad, plus the entire Catalogue of Ships in Book II, with particular emphasis on the extensive influence of Mycenaean Linear B and of he Mycenaean world on the Catalogue of Ships; extensive vocabulary, lexicons and glossaries of Linear B; lessons in Linear B; progressive grammar of Linear B; extensive research into the 3,500 Scripta Minoa tablets from Knossos; and above all other considerations, the isolation, classification and decipherment of all 35+ supersyllabograms in every sector of the Minoan/Mycenaen economy (see above). Supersyllabograms were previously and erroneously referred to as “adjuncts” in Mycenaean Linear B. The decipherment of supersyllabograms is the major development of the further decipherment of Linear B since the genius, Michael Ventris, first deciphered it in 1952.
But that is not all. Our blog also zeroes in on Minoan Linear A, with at least one successful attempt at deciphering at least one word on a major Linear A tablet, and that is the Linear A word for “tripod”, a truly serendipitous development, given that the same word was the first word ever translated in Mycenaean Linear B. Our blog also focuses on Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, with a few translations of tablets in that script. In short, no other blog on the Internet deals as extensively with all three of these scripts, Linear A, Linear B and Linear C together.
It is also remarkable that we have had in excess of 80,000 visitors since our blog’s inception in March 2013. While this figure may seem rather smallish to many visitors, may I remind you that Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B and Arcado-Cypriot Linear C are extremely esoteric in the field of ancient linguistics. To put it another way, how many people in the entire world do you imagine can read Mycenaean Linear B, and even fewer who can read Arcado-Cypriot Linear C? Scarcely more than a very few thousand out of a population of 7+ billion. So I believe that we have made great strides in the past three years, and I fully expect that we shall top 100,000 visitors by the end of this year, 2016.
The Archangel Michael Defeating Satan by Guido Reni (1635) L’archange Michel et la défaite de Satan in Mycenaean Linear B – en en linéaire B mycénienne: Click to ENLARGE = cliquer pour ÉLARGIR :
The Famous Linear B Tablet, “Rapato Meno”, the Priestess of the Winds & the Goddess Pipituna, Knossos KN Fp 13: Click to ENLARGE
This tablet from Knossos, one of the most famous Mycenaean Linear B Linear B tablets, was first translated by Prof. John Chadwick, who did a fine job of it. There have been several good translations since then, but all of them have failed to notice certain finer details in the text. This translation hopefully brings these details to the fore. For instance, as I have pointed out in the notes at the bottom of my translation, the units of measurement are open to question. I find it both expedient and wise to rely on the estimates of Andras Zeke of the now defunct Minoan Language Blog, since he has always been a most thorough and conscientious researcher. My estimates, like those of every other translator, are just that. So take them with a grain of salt. Secondly, Professors Killen and Chadwick translated qerasiya as “augur”, and I accept their translation without reserve, as it fits the context very well. However, every single translation to date that I have run across fails to mention that the augur is female, which once again very important in the context of Minoan-Mycenaean religious practices, which seem to have been pretty much the exclusive province of women. In my forth note , I call attention to the fact that here the ideogram for “olive” may refer to an “olive tree”, and to those who would (loudly) object to this interpretation, we need only recall that the olive tree was sacred to the goddess Athena in classical Athens. The connection between Minoan-Mycenaean religious practices is indirect and elliptical. However, if we stop to consider legend has it that “...every nine years Athens should send seven of their finest young men and young maidens to Crete, as sacrifice to the Minotaur. When the hero Theseus heard about this practice, he volunteered to be one of the victims, killing the Minotaur, and freeing Athens from this grizzly duty”: from it makes more sense to interpret this reference as being an olive tree. This raises yet another question. If, as it appears from the context of this tablet, the Priestess of the Winds was the priestess of Pipituna, there is probably a direct or indirect connection between this goddess and the later Greek goddess, Athena. They might even be one and the same, though this strikes me as being unlikely. On a final note, we notice that the second reference to anemoiyereya is squashed up against the right side of this tablet, which is after all only 15 cm. or about 6 inches wide. No surprise there, given that almost all Linear B tablets are very small or tiny. This offers a perfectly sound explanation why the last reference to the offering by Utano (or whatever this name is, probably Minoan) to the Priestess of the Winds only gives us the units of measurement, but of what it does not say. Yet it is pretty much obvious that this too is an offering of olive oil, since that is the only commodity offered up on the rest of the tablet. On our bog, I have stressed a great many times the extremely common practice the Mycenaean scribes resorted to over and over again to save precious space on their cramped tablets. This is also the reason why they resorted to the formulaic use of single syllabograms as the first syllable of scores of very common Mycenaean Linear B words in the fields of agriculture, the military, textiles and vessels. People who regularly consult our blog already know that these are called supersyllabograms. Of the 61 Linear B syllabograms, 33 are supersyllabograms, while one homophone, rai = saffron is also in the same class. In conclusion, the preceding observations have allowed me the latitude to bring a little more precision to the translation of Knossos tablet KN FP 13. As a final aside, I for one find the use of Latin to reference the names of Linear B ideograms strange at best, and downright silly at worst. The words the ideograms replace are Greek; so the ideograms should be labelled in Greek, with an English translation for those who do not read Greek. Given that most people do not read Latin these days, what difference does it make? Little or none. For this reason, I myself always tag Linear B ideograms with their proper (Mycenaean or archaic) Greek names. Richard
Translation of Knossos Tablet, KN 390 J f 21, Erinu, the Avenging Deity. Is she the Minoan Snake Goddess? (Click to ENLARGE): This is no idle speculation. If indeed the Minoan Snake Goddess is one and the same as ERINU, which is entirely feasible, given that she is after all a snake goddess, wielding not one, but two snakes, then we may at long last have at least a handle on who in fact was the Snake Goddess, none other than the frightening spectre of Erinu. This is all the more striking, as the word Erinys lasts almost unchanged from Mycenaean Greek down to Classical Athens, where in the plural, the goddess mutates into the Eumenides, the Furies or avenging deities. Nothing could be fiercer than those rough-and-tumble “ladies”, whom the Greeks justly feared in their concept of Moira or Fate. If this is true, then this particular tablet is of great significance to the Minoan religion. Two of the ERINYES. 3722: Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein, 1751-1829: Erynnien 1787/88. Landesmuseum Oldenburg, Das Schloß (Click to ENLARGE): They are the three goddesses of vengeance: Tisiphone (avenger of murder), Megaera (the jealous) and Alecto (constant anger). They were also known as the daughters of the night but were actually the daughters of Uranus and Gaea. Notice in particular the snakes in their hair, hence the clear association I have made with the Minoan Snake goddess (Click to ENLARGE Eumenides & Minoan Snake Goddess): Richard
Linear B Show & Tell # 3: Axes & (Temple of the) Double Axes & their Relgious Symbolism: (Click to ENLARGE) If anything, the symbolism if the “axe” and especially of the “double axe” is one of the major underpinnings of Minoan/Mycenaean religion. We find axes and double axes all over the place on Minoan and Mycenaean frescoes, regardless of site, Knossos, Mycenae, Pylos etc. If ever you visit Knossos, you will see for yourself the famous Temple of the Double Axes. Although the lower story is sealed off, if you look down, you will see a lovely frieze of horizontal double axes on the back wall of the lower story. To this day, no-one really knows the true significance of the symbol of the axe or double axe in Minoan or Mycenaean mythology. They pose a real dilemma. Since the Minoans at Knossos were a peaceable people, why would they plaster double axes all over the walls of a building which we take to be the Temple of the Double Axes (erroneously or not)? In Mycenae, however, the symbol of the axe or double axe makes perfect sense, as the Mycenaeans were a warlike people. The simplest explanation I can come up with is that the Mycenaeans exported the axe and double axe to Knossos after their conquest or occupation of the city. And no-one is quite sure if the Mycenaeans actually did conquer Knossos, or whether the two “city states” allied in order to greatly strengthen their hand as a unified Empire in the economic and trading affairs of the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean seas ca. 1500-1200 BCE. Of course, Knossos (Late Minoan III Palatial Period) itself fell sometime around 1450-1400 BCE, but the great Mycenaean Empire persisted until ca. 1200 BCE, after which the Nordic Dorians invaded the entire Greek peninsula, the Peloponnese, leaving the Mycenaean “city states” in ruins. It is entirely probable that the Minoan-Mycenaean Empire ca. 1500-1400 BCE rivalled the Egyptian Empire in the scope of its power. Almost certainly the Mycenaeans were actively trading with civilizations along the East coast of Greece and inland, Athens and Thebes (the latter being a Mycenaean stronghold) and with the city of Troy and the inhabitants along the West coast of what we now know as Turkey. What is particularly fascinating and (highly) revealing in the historical perspective of the rise of ancient Greece is that the new Greek colonies which spread all over the Aegean in the 7th. and 6th. centuries BCE flourished in precisely the same places where the Mycenaeans had carried on such extensive trade some 6 to 10 centuries earlier! There is more to this than meets the eye, as we shall eventually discover in key posts on this blog later this year or sometime in 2015. Other omnipresent religious symbols included the Horns of Consecration at Knossos, and the Snake Goddess & the goddess Pipituna at both Knossos and Mycenae. Richard
Linear B Show & Tell # 2: Goat & Priestess of the Winds by Richard (Click to ENLARGE): Frankly, I don't really know why I paired “goat” with “Priestess of the Winds”, except that it seemed like “a good idea at the time”. Or maybe she just had a thing for goats. Of course, it is entirely feasible that the Minoans & Mycenaeans used to sacrifice goats to her. Richard
Linear B Show & Tell # 1: Temple & Zeus by Rita Roberts (Click to ENLARGE): We all remember how much fun it was to learn new words when we were kids. Yes, with “Show & Tell”. So Rita Roberts, my co-conspirator and I, decided we would do the same for all of us, start a “Show & Tell” show right here on Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae, for those of us who really don't have the spare time to learn all of the Linear B syllabary, but who would like to at least recognize by sight some of the significant vocabulary in Mycenaean Linear B. So have fun, and feel free to download any of the “Show & Tell” posts that particularly fascinate you. This is the first of many posts Rita will be contributing to our blog, so let's all welcome her aboard. Richard
The Linear B “Attendants” Tablet – a Tough Nut to Crack! (Click to ENLARGE): This has got to be one of the most difficult Linear B tablets to decipher, not because most of it isn't all that hard to translate, but for that last syllabogram TA, which I am sure must have stumped practically everyone who has ever tried to tackle it. However, upon consulting the most comprehensive Linear B Glossary on the Internet, A Companion to Linear B, Mycenaean Greek Texts and their World [Bibliothèque de l’Institut linguistique de Louvain ― 127 (2011)] I discovered, to my utter astonishment, the two entries you see flagged just under the tablet itself in this post, TAPA EOTE, which is in early ancient Greek, tapa\ e1ontej. What we need to understand in this context is that the Linear B scribes frequently used abbreviations to save valuable space on what were, after all, (very) small tablets. For instance, on the Heidelberg Tablet HE FL 1994, the scribe has used the single syllabobgrams KO PA & MU to stand in for KONOSO, PAITO & MUKENE respectively, thereby saving a great deal of space. I shall be translating this fascinating tablet as well sometime in April or May. Another reason why I believe we can lend credence to my translation is this: attendants actually do appear on Minoan frescoes, such as this one from Knossos (Click to ENLARGE): My explanatory commentary below goes a long way to clarifying and lending further credence to my decipherment. So unless you actually read the commentary, you will not get a full grasp on the decipherment. We notice that in the fresco above, the one woman, almost certainly a priestess has 7 attendants, all male, which might go some way to explaining why there are 41 attendants for only 32 people. If for instance the priestess in a procession of 32 people has, as in the fresco we see here, 7 attendants, and everyone else coming up the rear has 1 attendant, for a total of 38 attendants, the total is very close to the 41 given on this tablet. But it is also possible that the priestess would have an acolyte following right behind her, and if her acolyte were to have 3 attendants, we would then have our 41. Of course all this is pure conjecture on my part, but the possibility still remains, and at any rate we cannot conjecture how many attendants would follow in a particular procession, as processions were probably held very often at Knossos, Chania, Mycenae, Pylos and other Mycenaean centres for different festivals. All ancient cities without exception held frequent festivals, which were almost all religious in nature, festivals for the city's patron goddess, for spring sowing and autumn reaping of crops, feasting festivals for the "wanaka" or King and his Queen, and in the case of Knossos and the Mycenaean fortress towns, for the Snake Goddess of fertility, without whom the population would not have been well replenished... at least for the Minoans and Mycenaeans. Another equally feasible interpretation for some festivals at least, is that many of the attendants would have been musicians, just as in the fresco above, where we see a lyre player on the left and/or libation bearers, such as the 1 on the right in this fresco holding a rhyton, probably filled with mead or wine. So if that were to be the case, and 31 people had 1 attendant each, that would leave, for instance, possibly 4 musicians and 6 libation or "cup bearers"(again giving a total of 41 as in this case). Processions proliferate on Minoan/Mycenaean frescoes... and the number of attendants would have surely varied widely, depending on the type of festival. Of course, we shall never really know, as the extensive research into Minoan/ Mycenaean festivals to date has never been able to shed sufficient light on the arcane "mysteries" of Minoan/Mycenaean religious rites, processions and festivals, nor is it likely that future research will get much further, barring the unearthing of a considerable number of new tablets dealing specifically with religious matters. Still, I feel quite confident that I have come up with a sound decipherment of the final syllabogram TA on the Linear B “Attendants” Tablet, but I would love to receive feedback from any and all researchers into Linear B tablets concerning other equally feasible interpretations of that pesky little syllabogram. CAVEAT: On the other hand, this translation crams an awful lot of significance into one pesky syllabogram, TA. The solution could be a lot simpler. So if I can come up with any alternative simpler decipherment(s), I will let you all know. One should never take anything for granted. Richard