First of 6 extremely rare Linear A fragments from Phaistos: 12a 12b 12 c Above is the first of 6 extremely rare Linear A fragments from Phaistos: 12a 12b 12 c. The text is extremely difficult to interpret, but I have done my level best. 12a is pretty much indecipherable. 12b consists of fractions. 12c consists of the single syllabogram TE, which might possibly be the supersyllabogram TE, which usually stands for tereza, a large standard unit of liquid measurement. It would mesh well enough with 12b, since that fragment is all fractions. But there is no way we can confirm this at all, since 12c is a fragment, doubtless with almost all of its original text absent. So without context, we cannot be sure of anything.
Is the Minoan language proto-Altaic or proto-Japanese? The vast bulk of current diachronic linguistic research stacks up squarely against this hypothesis: According to Ms.Gretchen Leonhardt of: and I quote: While there has been much debate about the underlying language of Linear A, I disagree that LinA does not resemble a known language. Despite its similarities to Japanese, historical linguists dismiss a correlation for at least two reasons: (1) the apparent lack of genetic evidence and (2) the universally held belief that LinA is an Indo-European language. Regarding the first justification, if linguists are looking to mainland Japan for genetic evidence, they are looking too far north. By whatever means, it appears that, around 1000 BCE, the Minoans entered Japan from the southern islands, and gradually moved north. Regarding the second justification, Minoan scholarship generally agrees that the Minoans migrated from the Anatolian region**, which suggests an Altaic origin or influence. Likewise, Japanese scholarship suggests that the Japanese language belongs to the Japonic-language family, which is believed to have an Altaic origin or influence. General consensus dates the demise of the high Minoan civilization as late as 3,500 years ago, with the widespread destruction of the palace centers, while Neil Gordon Munro dates the commencement of the Yamato culture, which is the presumed progenitor of modern Japanese civilization, as early as 3,000 years ago. According to Munro, the origin of the Yamato culture is unknown but had arrived in a highly advanced state. The culture is notable for its grave goods–bronze arrowheads, bells, and halberds. The culture is also notable for its wheel-thrown pottery, which employed “restrained” decoration with “subdued color” [1908:4]. Comment: Munro was writing in 1908, when linguistic assumptions about Altaic languages were in their infancy! Modern scholarship has all but refuted the assumptions about Altaic languages in vogue at the beginning of the twentieth century, i.e. 100 years ago! She continues: The Okinawan (Uchina’a) Japanese remain culturally, genetically, and linguistically distinct from the mainland (Yamato) Japanese, although the two cultures are believed to share a common proto language. This forum will provide support–through disciplines such as archaeology, architecture, art, genetics, and language–for my dual theories that LinA is proto Japanese and that the Minoan civilization provides a rich backdrop for Japanese history, which, for millennia, has been shrouded in mystery. I hasten to add that in the preceding passage, Ms. Leonhardt has made egregious errors with respect to Minoan Linear A. These are: 1. On the one hand, she claims to disagree that “LinA does not resemble a known language.” 2. and then goes straight ahead to flatly contradict herself by decrying “the universally held belief that LinA is an Indo-European language.” Universally held? Very far from it. The controversy over the origin and language class Linear A purportedly belongs to still rages on, as attested by innumerable studies on academia.edu alone which contradict one another with respect to the language family or class to which Linear A purportedly belongs. All this after she has just lament the fact that Linear A does not resemble any known language (1.) 3. She goes on... “it appears that, around 1000 BCE, the Minoans entered Japan from the southern islands, and gradually moved north. Regarding the second justification, Minoan scholarship generally agrees that the Minoans migrated from the Anatolian region** (Does it? Perhaps in 1908, but I sincerely doubt this is the case today), which suggests an Altaic origin or influence.” But what she obviously overlooks in this statement is the distinct probability, and indeed strong likelihood that the Minoan language almost certainly had already existed for some 1,200 years before the Minoans migrated to the southern Japanese islands, if they ever did so in the first place... which is a highly contentious claim. Moreover, while a few researchers still claim that the proto-Japanese dialect she is referencing belongs to the Altaic class of languages, the majority of current researchers number are convinced that this cannot be so. And I quote (all italics mine): Micro-Altaic includes about 66 living languages, to which Macro-Altaic would add Korean, Japanese and the Ryukyuan languages for a total of about 74. (These are estimates, depending on what is considered a language and what is considered a dialect. They do not include earlier states of languages, such as Middle Mongol, Old Korean or Old Japanese.) Opponents maintain that the similarities are due to areal interaction between the language groups concerned. The inclusion of Korean and Japanese has also been criticized and disputed by other linguists. The original Altaic family thus came to be known as the Ural–Altaic. In the "Ural–Altaic" nomenclature, Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic are regarded as "Uralic", whereas Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic are regarded as "Altaic"—whereas Korean is sometimes considered Altaic, as is, less often, Japanese. In other words, proto-Japanese, including the dialect with which Ms. Leonhardt is concerned, may not be (proto-) Altaic at all. 4. Moroever, the following timetable seems to be the most realistic for the appearance of written Japanese (italics mine): (3) Timetable: To illustrate the prehistory of Japan, I'd put two lines on the timetable. The first line comes around 400 to 300 BC. This is the time when wet rice culture and iron processing came to the Japanese Islands, and the way of life there changed. Yet an older form of the Japanese language started to be spoken from that time. I'd call this phase of the language "proto-Japanese", which later evolved to our Old Japanese. Comment: Now it is clear from this diachronic timeline that proto-Japanese appeared at least 1,800 years after the first attestation of the Minoan language ca. 2200 BCE. And again (italics mine): Along with the foreign faith, Japan establishes and maintains for 400 years close connections with the Chinese and Korean courts and adopts a more sophisticated culture. This new culture is essentially Chinese and includes literature, philosophy, art, architecture, science, medicine, and statecraft. Most important is the introduction of the Chinese writing system, revolutionizing Japan, which heretofore had no writing system of its own, and ushering in the country’s historical period. (Comment: in other words, writing appeared in Japan only after 500 AD, some 2,700 years after the advent of the Minoan civlization. 5. Leonhardt continues, “Minoan scholarship generally agrees that the Minoans migrated from the Anatolian region**, which suggests an Altaic origin or influence.” after asserting in 1. above that “LinA does not resemble a known language.” and in 2. above, touting “the universally held belief that LinA is an Indo-European language.” Good God, can she make up her mind? Is it 1. 2. or 5.? 6. Leonhardt then cites research a century old! (again, italics mine) She states, “According to Munro, the origin of the Yamato culture is unknown but had arrived in a highly advanced state. The culture is notable for its grave goods–bronze arrowheads, bells, and halberds. The culture is also notable for its wheel-thrown pottery, which employed “restrained” decoration with “subdued color” [1908:4]. For confirmation of the general span of dates of his publications, see: Munro was writing in 1908, when linguistic assumptions about Altaic languages were in their primitive infancy! Modern scholarship has all but refuted the assumptions about Altaic languages in vogue at the beginning of the twentieth century, i.e. 100 years ago! And he wrote in this very journal. 7. But the most damning evidence against her thesis comes from (italics mine): Paleoglot: How NOT to reconstruct a protolanguage Paleoglot: ... So let's go through my cheeky list of important strategies that we can follow (using examples from the Tower of Babel project) if we want to isolate ourselves and be rejected by all universities around the world. 1. Use "phonemic wildcards" obsessively! Cast the net wider and you might catch something! The abuse of mathematical symbols like C, V, [a-z], (a/é/ö), etc. are an excellent way to make your idle conjecture look like a valid theory. It might be called "reconstruction by parentheses" since parentheses are either explicitly shown or hidden by a single variable. An example of this is *k`egVnV (claimed to be the Proto-Altaic word for "nine" in the Tower of Babel database). Obviously, if V represents all possible vowels in this proto-language and there are, say, ten of them possible in either position, then the fact that there are two wildcards in the same word means that the word represents a humungous, two-dimensional matrix of ONE HUNDRED possible permutations (10*10=100): *k`egana, *k`egena, *k`egina, *k`egüna, *k`egïna, etc. *k`egane, *k`egene, *k`egine, *k`egüne, *k`egïne, etc. *k`egani, *k`egeni, *k`egini, *k`egüni, *k`egïni, etc. *k`eganü, *k`egenü, *k`eginü, *k`egünü, *k`egïnü, etc. etc. language Since no single form is actually being posited when wildcards are present, any claim of regular correspondence by such a theorist can be easily identified as fraud. If such linguists can't take themselves seriously enough to hypothesize a structured and testable theory, why then should we take them seriously in turn? It is this very method, if you can call it that by any yardstick of scientific methodology that Ms. Leonhardt indulges in: as we can see all too clearly from this chart of her derivations of Minoan words from so-called Altaic roots: To summarize, Ms. Leonhardt has seized herself in a web of self-contractions, severely outdated research and claims with respect to the authenticity of southern proto-Japanese as a so-called proto-Altaic language which cannot possibly stand the test of valid scientific methodology. I short, her pretensions that southern proto-Japanese is at the root of the Minoan language are just that, presentions, and egregious to boot. So what are the alternatives? What language family or class might the Minoan language fall into? We shall address that question head on in the next post.
Gretchen Leonhardt is up against some stiff competition from Urii Mosenkis concerning her so-called proto-Japanese origins of Minoan Linear A: Urii Mosenkis makes a very strong case for Minoan Linear A being proto-Greek, and he does it over and over, like clockwork. This includes his own completely different interpretation of Ms. Leonhardt’s highly contentious decipherment of kuro as so called proto-Japanese. I strongly suggest that Ms. Leonhardt read his articles. He is much more qualified than I am in Linear A (and, I contend, than Ms. Leonhardt as well), and I admit it without a shadow of hesitation. I am forced to revise my predictions about the partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A as I outlined them in my first article on Linear A, and I admit openly that Mosenkis is probably right, by and large. Ms. Leonhardt would do well to read all of his articles, as they flat-out contradict everything she claims about the so-called proto-Japanese origins of the Minoan language. I at least have the humility to lay down my cards when I am confronted with convincing evidence to the effect that my own partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A is defective, even though I have already reached many of the same conclusions as Mosenkis. Not that he would ever convince Ms. Leonhardt of the infallibility of her own dubious decipherments of Linear A tablets. I have a very great deal more to say about Ms. Leonhardt’s contentious claims to eventual fame with respect to her clearly flawed interpretations of Linear A tablets, and to drive my points home, I shall have occasion to cite Mosenkis whenever and wherever he contradicts her, and that is always. To view all of Mosenkis’ superbly conceived research papers, please visit his academia.edu account here: Here is a selective electronic bibliography of the highly qualified decipherments Mosenkis has made of several Minoan Linear A inscriptions: Electronic: Mosenkis, Urii. Flourishing of the Minoan Greek State in the Linear A Script 1700 – 14560 BCE. https://www.academia.edu/28708342/FLOURISHING_OF_THE_MINOAN_GREEK_STATE_IN_THE_LINEAR_A_SCRIPT_1700_1450_BCE Mosenkis, Urii. Graeco-Macedonian goddess as Minoan city queen. https://www.academia.edu/26194521/Graeco-Macedonian_goddess_as_Minoan_city_queen Mosenkis,Urii. Linear A-Homeric quasi-bilingual https://www.academia.edu/16242940/Linear_A-Homeric_quasi-bilingual Mosenkis, Urii. ‘Minoan-Greek’ Dialect: Morphology https://www.academia.edu/28433292/MINOAN_GREEK_DIALECT_MORPHOLOGY Mosenkis, Urii. Minoan Greek Farming in Linear A. https://www.academia.edu/27669709/MINOAN_GREEK_FARMING_IN_LINEAR_A_Iurii_Mosenkis Mosenkis, Urii. Minoan Greek hypothesis: A short historiography https://www.academia.edu/27772316/Minoan_Greek_hypothesis_A_short_historiography Mosenkis, Urii. Minoan Greek phonetics and orthography in Linear A https://www.academia.edu/27866235/Minoan_Greek_phonetics_and_orthography_in_Linear_A Mosenkis, Urii. Minoan-Greek Society in Linear A. https://www.academia.edu/27687555/MINOAN_GREEK_SOCIETY_IN_LINEAR_A Mosenkis, Urii. Researchers of Greek Linear A. https://www.academia.edu/31443689/Researchers_of_Greek_Linear_A Mosenkis, Urii. Rhea the Mother of Health in the Arkalokhori Script https://www.academia.edu/31471809/Rhea_the_Mother_of_Health_in_the_Arkalokhori_Script PS I came to almost exactly the same conclusions as Mosenkis re. this inscription, although my Greek translation is different. I wonder what Ms. Leonhardt has to say for herself in light of so many astonishingly insightful decipherments by Urii Mosenkis of a large number of Linear A tablets. I look forward to cogent and rational counter arguments on her part, which stand up to rigorous scientific criteria.
A ‘fairly accurate’ rendering of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 86a, according to Gretchen Leonhardt: This Linear B tablet clearly deals with various crops, with the lead in crop being grains or wheat, just as one would expect on either a Mycenaean Linear B tablet. By the same token, there is no reason to suppose that a Minoan Linear A tablet dealing with crops would not deal first and foremost with grains and wheat. The units of measurements identified on this tablet accord with those tentatively tabulated by Andras Zeke on the Ms. Gretchen Leonhardt of has duly advised me that (and I quote) “your "recto" tablet is a fairly accurate rendering of HT 86a, but your "verso" tablet is an inaccurate rendering of HT 87.... ” She is of course entirely correct in informing me that the so-called verso side is not the same tablet at all, but is in fact, HT 87 (Haghia Triada). I am nevertheless astonished that she would accord me a fair degree of accuracy in my decipherment of HT 86 a, in view of the fact that (a) I do not even know what the Minoan language is; (b) Ms. Leonhardt claims to have conclusively deciphered the Minoan language as being proto-Japanese, categorically stating as she does that “overwhelming evidence keeps me steadfast in this view...”, a claim which I intend shortly to refute in no uncertain terms, by bringing to bear on it reasonable circumstantial, though not conclusive, evidence to the contrary and; (c) she concedes that my decipherment of HT 86 A is fairly accurate, in spite of the fact that I am apparently flailing in the dark, since I know nothing of the Minoan language. Yet if I am, how on earth did I manage to achieve even a fairly accurate decipherment, I have to ask her. Although Ms. Leonhardt claims that my knowledge of Linear A is “in its infancy” (as everyone’s, including her own, must of necessity be), as a historical philologist specializing in the decipherment of ancient syllabaries such as Linear A, Linear B and Linear C, and unlike Ms. Leonhardt along with numerous other researchers who purport to have definitely deciphered the Minoan language, I neither have ever made nor would ever make the rash and untenable claim that I have deciphered it, given the exiguous size of the lexical database with which we have to work. I have said as much over and over, as for instance in this citation from one of my own works to be published in the next year or so, and I quote: Conclusions concerning the many failed attempts at deciphering Minoan Linear A: The worst of all the pretensions of the authors of the aforementioned monographs and tractata are their untenable claims that they have in fact deciphered Minoan Linear A. How is it even remotely possible that these soi- disant decipherers of Minoan Linear A can claim to have discovered the so-called magic bullet in the guise of the proto-language upon which their decipherment has been based, when the proto-languages they invoke are soà wildly disparate? These decipherers have turned to a number of proto-languages, some of them Indo-European (such as proto-Greek and Proto-Slavic), others non proto-Indo-European, running the gamut from Uralic (proto-Finnish), proto-Niger Congo to proto-Semitic and Sumerian all the way through to proto-Altaic and proto-Japanese. While it is patently impossible that all of these proto-languages could be at the base of the Minoan language, it is nevertheless remotely conceivable that one of them just might be. But which one? Given the tangled mass of contradictions these so-called decipherments land us in, I am left with no alternative but to pronounce that none of these so-called proto-languages is liable to stand the test of linguistic verisimilitude. All of this leaves me with an uneasy feeling of déjà vu. Instead, I have adopted the unique approach of declaring that it does not matter what proto- language Minoan derives from, or for that matter, whether or not it, like modern Basque, is a language isolate, meaning a natural (spoken) language, ancient (dead) or modern (alive) with no demonstrable genealogical or genetic relationship with any other language whatsoever or alternatively, a language that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common with any other language in the world. (italics mine). and again: In an article of this nature, which is the first of its kind in the world ever to deal with the partial, but by no means definitive, decipherment of Minoan Linear A, I must of necessity focus on those Minoan Linear A terms which offer the greatest insight into the vocabulary of the language, but not the language itself. Anyone who dares claim he or she has “deciphered” the Minoan language is skating on very thin ice. Any attempt to decipher the Minoan language is severely trammelled by the incontestable fact that no one knows what the language is or even what language class it belongs to, if any.
6 more Minoan Linear A putative proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean words: DA-DI. But are they proto-Greek at all? As we forge our way through Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon, in which he Latinizes the orthography of Minoan Linear A words, we now arrive at Linear A words beginning with the syllabograms DA through to DI. It is absolutely de rigueur to read the Notes in the table above; otherwise, my tentative decipherments of 6 more Minoan words in Linear A as being possibly proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean will not make any sense at all. The table also draws attention to those words which are of moderate frequency (MF) on Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments, with the far greater proportion of them appearing on mere fragments. I cannot emphasize this point enough. In view of the fact that the vast majority of Minoan Linear A extant remnants are just that, remnants or fragments and nothing more, it is of course next to impossible to verify whether or not the 6 words I have extrapolated (or for that matter any other so-called proto-Greek words) as possibly being proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean are that at all. Add to this caveat that researchers and linguists specializing in ancient Greek often hypothesize that, and I quote verbatim: It is possible that Greek took over some thousand words and proper names from such a language (or languages), because some of its vocabulary cannot be satisfactorily explained as deriving from the Proto-Greek language (italics mine). Among these pre-Greek substratum words we find Anatolian loanwords such as: dépas ‘cup; pot, vessel’, Mycenaean di-pa, from the Luwian = tipa = sky, bowl or cup, one of the pre-Greek substratum words right in the table above! + eléphas ‘ivory’, from Hittite lahpa; + kýmbachos ‘helmet’, from Hittite kupahi ‘headgear’; + kýmbalon ‘cymbal’, from Hittite huhupal ‘wooden percussion instrument’; + mólybdos ‘lead’, Mycenaean mo-ri-wo-do, from Lydian mariwda(s)k ‘the dark ones’ etc. But there is more, significantly more. Wikipedia, Greek language: has this to say about Greek vocabulary. Vocabulary: Greek is a language distinguished by an extensive vocabulary. Most of the vocabulary of Ancient Greek was inherited, but it includes a number of borrowings from the languages of the populations that inhabited Greece before the arrival of Proto-Greeks. (italics mine)  Words of non-Indo-European origin can be traced into Greek from as early as Mycenaean times; they include a large number of Greek toponyms. Further discussion of a pre-Greek substratum continues here: Where, in addition to the pre-Greek substratum words I have already cited above, we find, and again I quote verbatim: The Pre-Greek substrate consists of the unknown language or languages spoken in prehistoric Greece before the settlement of Proto-Greek speakers in the area (italics mine). It is thought possible that Greek took over some thousand words and proper names from such a language (or languages), because some of its vocabulary cannot be satisfactorily explained as deriving from the Proto-Greek language Possible Pre-Greek loanwords Personal names: Odysseus; Theonyms: Hermes; Maritime vocabulary: thálassa = sea; Words relating to Mediterranean agriculture: elai(w)a = olive & ampelos = vine Building technology: pyrgos = tower; Placenames, especially those terminating in -nth- : Korinthos, Zakynthos & in -ss- : Parnassos & in and -tt- : Hymettus And, to ram my point home, one of the pre-Greek substrata identified is the Minoan language itself. It is on this basis and upon this foundation, among others, that I posit the following hypothesis: Pre-Greek substratum words are both proto-Greek and not, simultaneously! The assumption that certain Minoan words in Linear A appear to be proto-Greek or even proto-Mycenaean (if we wish to stretch the notion one small step further, which I believe is entirely justified) does not in and of itself necessarily imply that some or even quite possibly most of them are de facto actually of proto-Indo-European proto-Greek origin, when quite plainly (so) many of them are not of such origin. In other words, we find ourselves face to face with an apparent contradiction in terms, a dye-in-the-wool linguistic paradox: some, many or even most of the so-called pre- + proto-Greek words we encounter in Minoan Linear A are likely to be proto-Greek, but only insofar as they crop up again and again in later ancient Greek dialects, right on down from the earliest East Greek dialect, Mycenaean, through Arcado-Cypriot on down to Ionic and Attic Greek and beyond, while simultaneously being of non-Indo-european origin, if you can wrap your head around that notion... which I most definitely can. So if anyone dares claim that all of those words in Minoan (of which there seem to be quite a substantial number) are de facto proto-Greek, that person should think again. Think before you leap. It is much too easy for us to jump to spurious conclusions with respect to the supposed proto-Greek origin(s) of many words in Minoan Linear A. To compound the matter further, let us consider the situation from the opposite end of the spectrum. It is widely known, by both intellectual non-linguists, i.e. intelligent native speakers of any given language, and by professional linguists alike, that pretty much every modern language borrows not just thousands, but tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of words from prior languages. The one modern language which exemplifies this phenomenon par excellence is non other than English, in which we find hundreds of thousands of loanwords from ancient Greek, Latin and Norman French. Now it goes without saying that all languages, ancient and modern, follow the same pattern of accumulating some and even as many as thousands of loanwords. Ancient Latin did so with ancient Greek. And here lies the rub. So must have Mycenaean Greek with the Minoan language. In Chris Tslentis’ Linear B Lexicon, we find many words which cannot possibly be accounted for as being proto-Greek, but which must be of some other origin. And one of the most likely origins for a relatively large subset of these words is probably the Minoan language itself. Allow me to cite just a few of the more glaring examples: adete = binder Akireu = Achilles Aminiso = Amnisos harbour (Cf. Linear A, Uminaso) Damate = Demeter (Cf. Linear A, Idamate) dipa = cup (Cf. Linear A, depa) erepa = ivory kama = a unit of land kanako = safflower, saffron (Cf. Linear A, kanaka) kidapa = (ash) wood? mare/mari = wool (Cf. Linear A, maru) opa = workshop? serino = celery (Cf. Linear A, sedina) tarasa = sea Now if even most of the so-called Mycenaean Greek terms listed here are actually Minoan, then it is stands to reason that Mycenaean Greek inherited them from the Minoan language itself, and ergo, that they are not necessarily proto-Greek words at all. It is as if we were in a flip-flop. Either way, whether or not any of the words which we have flagged (and shall continue to tag) as possibly being proto-Greek in the Minoan language or the other way around, whether or not certain words in Mycenaean Greek are not proto-Greek at all, and not even of proto-Indo-European origin, we find ourselves floundering in a Saragossa Sea of linguistic incertitude from which we really cannot extricate ourselves. So to all those researchers, past and present, into the Minoan language who make the claim, categorical or not, that much of the vocabulary of the Minoan language is proto-Greek, I say “Beware!” lest you fall into a trap from which you cannot reasonably hope to extricate yourselves.
You do not want to miss this Fantastic Twitter account, FONT design company of the highest calibre! I have just fortuitously come across what I consider to be the most fantastic font site or Twitter account on newly designed, mostly serif, extremely attractive fonts, some of which they offer for FREE!!! You simply have to check them out. Click here to follow typo graphias: Here is a composite of some of the astonishing font graphics on this amazing site! Serendipitously happening on this account put a bee in my bonnet. I simply had to send you all on the fast track to downloading and installing the Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C + several beautiful ancient Greek fonts, of which the most heavily used is SPIonic, used for Ionic, Attic, Hellenistic and New Testament writings and documents. Hre are the links where you can download them, and much more besides! Colour coded keyboard layout for the Mycenaean Linear B Syllabary: includes font download sites for the SpIonic & LinearB TTFs The first ever keyboard map for the Arcado-Cypriot Linear C TTF font! which also includes the direct link to the only site where you can download the beautiful Arcado-Cypriot Linear B font, here: How to download and use the Linear B font by Curtis Clark: Easy guide to the Linear B font by Curtis Clark, keyboard layout: Here is the Linear B keyboard. You must download the Linear B font as instructed below: And here is the actual cursive Linear B font as it actually appears on the most famous of all Linear B tablet, Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris): What’s more, you can read my full-length extremely comprehensive article, An Archaeologist’s Translation of Pylos Tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) by Rita Roberts, in Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448, Vol. 10 (2014), pp. 133-161, here: in which I introduce to the world for the first time the phenomenon of the decipherment of what I designate as the supersyllabogram, which no philologist has ever properly identified since the initial decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B by Michael Ventris in 1952. Unless we understand the significance of supersyllabograms in Linear B, parts or sometimes even all of at least 800 Linear B tablets from Knossos alone cannot be properly deciphered. This lacuna stood out like a sore thumb for 64 years, until I finally identified, categorized and deciphered all 36 (!) of them from 2013 to 2014. This is the last and most significant frontier in the complete decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B. Stay posted for my comprehensive, in-depth analysis and synopsis of The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, which is to appear early in 2017 in Vol. 11 of Archaeology and Science. This ground-breaking article, which runs from page 73 to page 108 (35 pages on a 12 inch page size or at least 50 pages on a standard North American page size) constitutes the final and definitive decipherment of 36 supersyllabograms, accounting for fully 59 % of all Linear B syllabograms. Without a full understanding of the application of supersyllabograms on Linear B tablets, it is impossible to fully decipher at least 800 Linear B tablets from Knossos.
Illustrations of 5 Minoan Linear A tablets (Figures) in Archaeology and Science (2016): Above are 5 illustrations of some (not all) of the Minoan Linear A tablets, reduced to 620 pixels, as they will appear as Figures (with the Figure nos. assigned only to Figures 1 & 2, other Figure nos. not yet assigned) in my upcoming article, “Pylos Tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the ‘Rosetta Stone’ for Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) vessels and pottery” in the prestigious international annual Archaeology and Science, Vol. 12 (2016) ISSN 1452-7448. This is to be the third major article in a row which I will see published in Archaeology and Science. This paper represents the first genuine breakthrough in the decipherment of Minoan Linear A vocabulary (not the language!) in the 116 years since the first Linear A tablets were unearthed by Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos in 1900.
3 of my articles in Archaeology and Science ISSN 1452-7448 (2014, 2015, & 2016) + Vol. 12 (2016) Figure 1 & 2 Tables: Figure 1 and 2 Tables (nos. To be assigned) as they will appear in the prestigious international hard-bound annual Archaeology and Science ISSN 1452-7448. Vol. 12 (2016). This annual generally runs to 250-300 pp. It is impossible to cross-correlate Minoan Linear A tablets from Mycenaean Linear B tablets by means of retrogressive extrapolation without explicitly taking into account the fact that almost all Minoan Linear A tablets are vertical in their orientation (just as with modern inventories), while the vast majority of Mycenaean Linear B tablets are horizontal in their orientation. For more on this critical factor in the reasonably accurate decipherment of Minoan Linear A tablet, see (Click on the banner): Articles published and to be published in Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448:  My article, “An Archaeologist’s Translation of Pylos Tablet 641-1952 (Ventris)” has already been published in Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448 Vol. 10 (2014). pp. 133-161 (Click banner to download it):  My article, “The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B” is already slated for publication in the prestigious international annual Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448 Vol. 11 (2015), to be released in the spring of 2017. (Click the banner for the announcement):  My article, “Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the ‘Rosetta Stone’ for Minoan Linear B tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) vessels and pottery” is to be published in the prestigious international annual Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448 Vol. 12 (2016) (Click the banner for the announcement): This major announcement is shortly to appear on my academia.edu account.
Translations of 2 Linear B tablets from Knossos dealing with rams by Rita Roberts: Here we see translations of 2 Linear B tablets from Knossos dealing with rams by Rita Roberts, Crete, who is now in her second year of university. Bravo, Rita!
Orientation of Minoan Linear A inventories is identical to modern inventories & plays a critical role in their decipherment: The orientation of Minoan Linear A inventories is identical to modern inventories & plays a critical role in their decipherment. This fact has been entirely overlooked by all previous researchers and so-called decipherers of Minoan Linear A tablets. It must not be ignored under any circumstances. It is precisely this vertical (not horizontal) orientation of Minoan Linear A tablets that makes it easier for us to decipher some of them (not all of them by far). The Linear A tablet most susceptible to an almost complete decipherment on account of its vertical orientation is HT 31 (Haghia Triada) on vessels and pottery. When we compare this Linear A tablet with the most famous inventory of vessels and pottery in Mycenaean Linear B, Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), also on vessels and pottery, we instantly see how streamlined is the orientation and layout of the former and how clumsy (at least by our modern standards) is the orientation and layout of the latter. Why the Mycenaean Linear B scribes abandoned the far more streamlined and practical layout of the Minoan Linear A inventories is perhaps a mystery to some... but not to all, and certainly not to me. What the Linear B inventories sacrifice by way of orientation they make up for in droves in space saving economy. Additionally, the Linear B scribes had plenty of other tricks up their sleeves to obviate the clumsy orientation of their inventory tablets. The most significant of these ploys was their deployment of supersyllabograms in droves, a feature largely missing from the Minoan Linear A tablets. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. It is impossible to properly cross-correlate the contents of Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) by means of retrogressive extrapolation with those of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) without taking their appositive orientations into account. Finally, we need only compare the orientation of HT 31 (Haghia Triada) with a modern inventory (this one on textiles) to immediately realize the practice is one and the same, past and present: Very little escapes my penetrating scrutiny. I shall be discussing the profound implications of the vertical orientation of almost all Minoan Linear A inventories versus the horizontal of most Mycenaean Linear B inventories in my upcoming article, “Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the ‘Rosetta Stone’ to Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) vessels and pottery”, definitively slated for publication in Vol. 12 (2016) in the prestigious international annual, Archaeology and Science ISSN 1452-7448 (release date spring 2018). To be submitted by Nov. 15, 2016.
KEY POST: 2 vastly different decipherments of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 13 (Haghia Triada). Does either measure up? In this post we compare two vastly different decipherments of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 13 (Haghia Triada). The key question here can be posed in three different ways: 1. Does one of these two decipherments measure up significantly more than the other? 2. Does either measure up? 3. Does neither measure up? Here are the two decipherments, first that of Pavel Serafimov and Anton Perdih: and secondly, my own decipherment: According to option 3 above, it is of course possible that neither of these translations forms a faithful semantic and semiotic map of the original Linear A text (whatever it actually means). On the other hand, it is much more likely that option 1. above is applicable, namely that only one of the two decipherments at least approaches a faithful semantic and semiotic map of the original Linear A text , although we can never really know how faithfully until such time as Minoan Linear B is properly and fully deciphered. And that will not happen anytime soon, due to the extreme paucity of extant Linear B tablets and fragments (< 500), of which the vast majority are fragments, and thus ineffectual in providing any impetus to even a partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A. However, all is not lost. Far from it. There quite a few (almost) full intact Minoan Linear A tablets, all of which are very much more susceptible to contributing positively to at least a partial decipherment of Linear A. To date, the Linear A tablets which I have been able to decipher, more or less accurately, are HT 13, HT 14, (HT 17), HT 21, HT 31, HT 38, HT 91, HT 92, HT 94 and HT 132 (all from Haghia Triada) ZA 1 ZA 8 ZA 10 (Zakros) GO Wc 1 (Gournia) and the Troy spindle whorls I have also managed to decipher one or two words on several other tablets from Haghia Triada, Zakros and elsewhere, without however being able to decipher the remainder of the integral text, which utterly escapes me, and is therefore still to be considered undecipherable, at least for the time being. There is no telling whether or not either I myself or someone else will be able to decipher more words from the rest of these tablets or even some of the tablets entire in the near future. Only time will tell, but I believe the prospects are much better now than they were even a few months ago, i.e. prior to May 2016, when I embarked on the exciting journey to decipher as much of Minoan Linear A as I could. It is no small achievement, I believe, for me to have been able to decipher at least the 12 Linear A tablets listed above, if indeed my decipherments approach cohesive accuracy, both internally and by means of cross-correlative regressive extrapolation from almost identical to similar Mycenaean Linear B tablets. With respect to my own decipherment of HT 13 (Haghia Triada) above, I wish to make the following highly pertinent observations. I leave it up to you to decide for yourself (yourselves) whether or not the assumptions I have meticulously made with specific reference to what appear to be derivational standard units of measurement in Minoan Linear A are in fact that. Immediately pursuant to my highly accurate decipherment of HT 31 (Haghia Triada) on vessels and pottery, for which Mycenaean Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) is the quasi Rosetta Stone (as I have re-iterated many times since that decipherment), I turned my attention to three words which appeared over and over on several Minoan Linear A tablets, these being reza, adureza & tereza. Philologists such as Andras Zeke of the Minoan Language Blog had previously and consistently “deciphered” these three terms as being toponyms or place names, but I was immediately suspicious of such an interpretation, given that both adureza and tereza have the prefixes adu and te prepended to what strikingly appears to be their own root, reza. Subsequent research revealed two more terms most likely derived from the root, reza = the standard unit of linear measurement in Minoan Linear A (as far as I can tell... more on this to come). These are dureza and kireza. So the total number of terms relative to measurement of large, not minute, quantities in Minoan Linear A appear to be 5. That is quite a tally. + units of measurement in Minoan Linear A: exact values unknown reza = standard unit of measurement (linear) adureza = dry unit of measurement (something like a “bushel”) dureza = unit of measurement (unknown)  kireza = dry measurement for figs (a basket)  tereza = liquid unit of measurement (something like “a gallon” or at the bare minimum “a litre”  NOTES:  While I have been utterly unable to surmise what standard unit of measurement dureza is supposed to represent, even the standard units for reza, adureza & tereza are mere approximations. For more on this see the concluding paragraph of this post.  While I am virtually certain that kireza is the standard unit for the measurement of a basket of figs, this still begs the question, what size is the basket? At any rate, it is pretty obvious that the basket size cannot be larger than can reasonably be carried on one shoulder, since that is the way baskets are carried in practically every culture, ancient or modern. So in this case, the approximation for the standard unit of measurement figs, kireza, is considerably more accurate than all of the others.  Obviously, in light of  above, my guesstimates for the standard units of dry and wet measurement (adureza and tereza respectively) are just that, and nothing more. Now if we compare the variables in the prefixes to the root, reza (adu, du, ki & te) with the similar practice of suffixes appended to word roots in Mycenaean Linear B, which is the direct opposite practice we have just propounded for Minoan Linear A, we nevertheless discover that the same level of consistency and coherence applies equally to both languages, as clearly illustrated by the following table, in which the prefixes listed above for Minoan Linear A appear at the end, preceded by no fewer than three roots (which are invariable) and appear in front of highly variable suffixes in Mycenaean Linear B. The roots are, respectively, raw, which references anything to do with people, tri, which references anything related to the number 3 and wana, which references any connotation of kingship or royalty in Mycenaean Greek. While the practices for affixing are appositive in Minoan Linear A (which prepends affixes to the root) and in Mycenaean Linear B (which appends suffixes to the root or stem), the procedure the two languages follows is one and the same, flipped on its head either way you view it, i.e. from the perspective of Mycenaean Linear B or vice versa, from that of Minoan Linear A. The underlying principle which defines this procedure is the cognitive frame, as propounded by my colleague and friend, Eugenio R. Luján. So let us simply call the procedure (whether from the perspective of Minoan Linear or its opposite in Mycenaean Linear B) just that, the cognitive frame, which is also the template for the procedure, actually proceeding forward in both languages, each in its own way. Either way, the procedure works like a charm. As Eugenio R. Luján so succinctly summarizes it in his article, “Semantic Maps and Word Formation: Agents, Instruments, and Related Semantic Roles”, in Linguistic Discovery (Dartmouth College), Vol 8, Issue 1, 2010. pp. 162-175, and I quote: ... The methodology of semantic maps has been applied mainly to the analysis of grammatical morphemes (affixes and adpositions) pg. 162 and again, Previous work on semantic maps has shown how the polysemy of grammatical morphemes is not random, but structured according to underlying principles.... Although the semantic map methodology has not been applied to the analysis of word formation patterns, there is no reason to suppose that derivational morphemes behave differently from grammatical morphemes. In fact, taking into account the findings of the intensive work done in the field of grammaticalization in the last thirty years or so, we know now that lexical and grammatical morphemes constitute a continuum, and their meanings are organized in the same way—inside a cognitive frame,... pg. 163 and most significantly, In contrast to the lexicon, the number of derivational morphemes and word formation patterns in any given language is limited. pg. 163. I wish to lay particular stress on this last observation by Eugenio R. Luján, because he is right on the money. In terms of the way I have expounded my own explanation of how the procedure of the cognitive frame works, as I see it, what he is actually saying here is this: the derivational morphemes (i.e. the prefixes in Minoan Linear A and the suffixes in Mycenaean Linear B) is limited, and in fact very limited in comparison with the orthographic and grammatical lexicon in either language, or for that matter, in any language, ancient or modern. All of this brings us full circle back to my own original assumption, namely, that adureza, dureza, kireza and tereza are all derivational morphemes of reza in Minoan Linear A and that the suffixes appended to the roots raw, tri and wana in Mycenaean Linear B are also derivational morphemes. The gravest problem with the decipherment of HT 13 (Haghia Triada) advanced by Pavel Serafimov and Anton Perdih is that it does not take the cognitive frame or map of derivational morphemes into account at all. So instead, the authors advance entirely different meanings for each of these terms (reza, adureza, dureza, kireza & tereza), entirely oblivious to the the fact that they all share the same root, reza. This factor alone throws profound doubt on their decipherment. On the other hand, my own decipherment of HT 13 (Haghia Triada) takes the procedure of the cognitive frame or map of derivational morphemes fully into account, with the very same procedure applied to derivational morphemes in Mycenaean Linear B, though in the opposite direction). For the sake of consistency, let us refer to the the cognitive frame or map of derivational morphemes in Minoan Linear A as regressive, given that the variables (the prefixes, adureza, dureza, kireza & tereza) precede the root, reza, and the same frame as progressive in Mycenaean Linear B, in light of the fact that the root or stem is followed by the variable suffixes (derivational morphemes). Be it as it may, prefixes and suffixes are both classed under the umbrella term, affixes, and again, I repeat, the procedure is the same either way. An affix is an affix is an affix, whether or not it comes first (prefix) or last (suffix). For this reason alone I am convinced that my decipherment of HT 13 is on the right track, even if it is not totally accurate... which it cannot be anyway, in light of the fact that the standard units of measurement for large quantities in Minoan Linear A (reza, adureza, dureza, kireza and tereza) will never be known with any measure of accuracy, given that we can have no idea whatsoever that the “standard” units for anything in either Minoan Linear A or Mycenaean Linear B can ever be really determined. The farther we as philologists or historical linguists go back diachronistically in the historical timeline, the less determinable are units of measurement or, for that matter, different kinds of textiles or pottery, few of which we can know with any measure of certainty either in Minoan Linear A or Mycenaean Linear B.
Rita Roberts has finished her first year of university with a great mark of 83 % = A! Rita Roberts has finished her first year of university with a great mark of 83 % = A! Her first year was devoted entirely to the military sector of the Mycenaean economy. She had to translate scores and scores of Linear B military tablets, and thoroughly master all the supersyllabograms in the military sector. Rita has already started her second year of three, and she is focusing on the agricultural sector of the Mycenaean economy. In this sector, she will have, not scores, but hundreds of Linear B tablets to translate. Congratulations, Rita.
Cretan hieroglyphic seals (Middle Minoan I & II, ca. 2100-1700 BCE): On the first of these seals there appear 4 ideograms (?) which appear to be precursors of Minoan Linear A syllabograms, but there is no way of knowing whether or not this is the case.
Does this Minoan Linear A tablet refer to the Linear A word karopa3 (karopai) for a kylix?
A series of 4 Minoan Linear A tablets from Phaistos: All four: Each one in turn:
Linear A tablets Zakros ZA 11 & ZA 15 with wine adding up to same amounts (twice!) on both tablets: Linear A tablets Zakros ZA 11 & ZA 15 apparently reference two different types of wine adding up to the exact same amounts on both tablets. On ZA 11 we have kana and on ZA 15 kadi. But the passingly strange thing about these two tablets is that the totals for kana on ZA 11 & kadi on ZA 15 are exactly the same (3). Not only that, the grand total for all of the items mentioned on both of these tablets also adds up to the exact same amount (78)! This in spite of the fact that ZA 11 is loaded with text, whereas ZA 15 contains no text whatsoever apart from the name of the wine = kadi, and its total = 3 + the grand total, kuro = 78. Upon re-examination of Zakros ZA 11, I also just happened to notice that the first word apparently denoting a type of wine, kunasa (RECTO), which I previously defined as possibly meaning “honey wine” has to its immediate left the logogram for “gold” (at least that is what it means in Linear B, so I have little doubt that it cannot mean anything else in Linear A). Now since honey wine is obviously gold in colour, this additional bit of information tends to confirm, albeit not very strongly, that kunasa does mean “honey wine”. But this still leaves us frustrated with dilemma, why are there two different words for what appear to be wine types on ZA 11 & ZA 15? This one stumped me for a very long time. No matter how I wracked my brains, I could not extricate myself from the apparent impossibility that two different words existed for the same type of wine, which would very likely have to be a fine quality wine, given that there are only 3 of each type, or alternatively that each word referenced a different type of fine wine.. But as it turns out, I was entirely on the wrong track. Notice that kana and kadi both begin with the same syllabogram, KA. Now this is truly odd, if the two words both designate a kind of fine wine. In Mycenaean Linear B, no such distinctions are ever made. So I simply could not accept this interpretation. What alternatives was I left with? Finally, the solution hit me right between the eyes. It would appear that kana refers to the first item in a list, and kadi to the next in a series. So these are the meanings I have assigned to each in turn: kana = first (in a series) and kadi = next. It is highly unlikely that kana = first and kadi = second, because in almost all languages the numbers 1 & 2 are distinctly different. So I assume that the same scenario obtains with Minoan Linear A.
Russet Minoan Linear A tablet on amphorae with the new word tesi = a small unit of measurement: While I have already deciphered, more or less accurately, the following words on this russet Minoan Linear A tablet on amphorae, daweda = medium size amphora, pa3ni or paini = amphora for the storage of grain, daru = scales?, Kudoni = Kydonia & reza = standard unit of measurement, there is one new word on it, tesi = a small unit of measurement (as is attested by its small number = 3.5). This brings the total number of Linear A words I have deciphered, more or less accurately, to 90.
Minoan Linear A tablet GO Wc 1 (Gournia) asasumaise = “cattle-driver”: Even at first glance, from Minoan Linear A tablet GO Wc 1 (Gournia), sporting the word asasumaise, it appears very much like this word means “cattle-driver” or “shepherd (of cattle)”. Of course, it is also possible that this is just the cattle-driver’s name. So I have to account for both possibilities. Nevertheless, I am inclined to lean strongly on “cattle-driver” or “shepherd (of cattle), if only for the reason that it is a rather long word, just as are its equivalents in Mycenaean Linear B, qoukoro & qoukota, as illustrated here: This is the eighty-ninth (89) Minoan Linear A term I have deciphered, more or less accurately.
Vase with Minoan Linear A inscription on it (undecipherable): There is simply insufficient text in the Minoan Linear A inscription just below the rim of this vase for me to be able to decipher it.
Undecipherable Minoan Linear A tablets, reduced to a muddy mess or mutilated: Undecipherable Minoan Linear A tablets, reduced to a muddy mess or mutilated. Need I say more? A number of Mycenaean Linear B tablets were also reduced to a muddy slush just a few days after Sir Arthur Evans began excavating the Palace of Knossos in early 1900. They were exposed to rain, and rendered entirely useless. Sadly, they all had to be thrown away.