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Photos of Michael Ventris (1922-1956) & Richard Vallance Janke (1945 - ): Click to ENLARGE each composite

Here is a composite of 2 photos, one of Michael Ventris (1922-1956) just before his tragic death in a car accident in 1956, and one of myself, Richard Vallance Janke, still younger, at age 23, upon my graduation for my first degree, Honours Bachelor of Arts in Latin and French (majors), English and German (minors) from Sir Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 1968.

Michael Ventris age 30 & Richard Vallance Janke age 23

I have no hesitation whatsoever in declaring that I consider Michael to be my patron saint, and that I pray to him instead of to God, because he is the greatest inspiration in my entire life. I shall do so until God informs me otherwise.

And here is another composite of myself, first as a Reference Librarian, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, taken at the age of 43 in 1988, and the second of a lovely couple and  myself at the age of 63, taken while I was on holidays in Quebec in the summer of 2008.

Richard 1989 and 2008

I will be using these photos for my talk on The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Linear B at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, University of Warsaw, Poland, June 29 – July 2, 2015.



Standard Keyboard Layout for Arcado-Cypriot Linear C: Click to ENLARGE

standard keyboard layout for Arcado-Cypriot Linear C

The standard keyboard layout for Arcado-Cypriot Linear C is quite unlike that for Mycenaean Linear B, with very few exceptions. The only key maps which correspond are those for the vowels, a e i o u, which you type with q w e r t in both fonts + da de di do du in Linear B, which is identical ta te ti to tu in Linear C, since the latter has no D series syllabograms, substituting the T series. Linear C also lacks any means to type numbers, but since the Linear B numbering system is almost the same as the Linear C one, you can switch to the Linear B font to type numbers in Linear C, with the proviso that you watch out for any differences in the numeric systems (there are some). But since numbers are rarely used in Linear C, it is not really much of a problem. Arcado-Cypriot Linear C abandoned all logograms & ideograms, of which Mycenaean Linear B has an abundance (over 100), with the sole exception of the ideogram for talent or scale, which is the same in both syllabaries. But since there is no way to type this ideogram with the Linear C font, once again, you will have to switch to the Linear B font and type |.  The only other real problem with the Linear C font is that there is no way to type the syllabogram for ye, unless you first switch to an English font and type a period . These are minor inconveniences, which I am sure you will get used to... I did.

You must first download the Arcado-Cypriot Linear C font here:

download Arcado-Cypriot Linear C font

and then install it in your Fonts before you can use it. Remember to switch to the font called Cypriot before typing in Linear C. You will also need to switch back and forth from Linear C to Linear B to your English font as required.

This keyboard layout is the only one you will find anywhere on the Internet. If you are going to use this keyboard layout, you can laminate it with clear mactac, and hang it above your computer.

If you don't want to be ill… The art of being well & Eğer hasta olmak istemiyorsan…İyi olma sanatı & Dr. Drauzio Varella.


Semra, I love your blog. Richard, Canada. And I am thrilled that you LIKE so many posts on Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae. You are very kind. Bless you. Richard (Christian, Anglican)

Originally posted on YA BAKİ ENTEL BAKİ:


If you don’t want to be ill… 

…Speak your feelings.

Emotions and feelings that are hidden, repressed, end in illnesses as: gastritis, ulcer, lumbar pains, spinal. With time, the repression of the feelings degenerates to the cancer. Then, we go to a confidante, to share our intimacy, ours “secret”, our errors! The dialogue, the speech, the word, is a powerful remedy and an excellent therapy!

If you don’t want to be ill…

…Make Decisions.

The undecided person remains in doubt, in anxiety, in anguish. Indecision accumulates problems, worries and aggressions. Human history is made of decisions. To decide is precisely to know to renounce, to know to lose advantages and values to win others. The undecided people are victims of gastric ailments, nervous pains and problems of the skin.

If you don’t want to be ill…

…Find Solutions.

Negative people do not find solutions and they enlarge problems. They…

View original 575 more words

Originally posted on YA BAKİ ENTEL BAKİ:


O my dear son, sit in the company of the Ulema (religious scholars) frequently and listen carefully to what the wise men say, for Allah gives life to the dead hearts by the ‘Nur (light)’ of wisdom, just as He revives the dead earth by heavy life-giving rains.

Canım Oğlum,Alimlerin sohbetinde bulun. Hikmet sahiplerinin sözlerine kulak ver. Zira Allah Teâlâ, bol yağmurla ölü toprağa hayat verdiği gibi, hikmetli sözlerin nuruyla ölü kalpleri diriltir, onlara hayat bahşeder.

Luqman [the wise] (alaihissalam)

It is better to sit alone than in company with the bad, and it is better still to sit with the good than alone.

Yalnız yaşamak, kötü arkadaşla oturmaktan daha hayırlıdır. İyi arkadaşla oturmak ise yalnızlıktan hayırlıdır.

Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi waSallam)

To be alone means that you avoid bad company. But to have a true friend is better than being alone.

Yalnız olmak kötü arkadaşlıklardan kaçınmak anlamına…

View original 17 more words

To be alone means that you avoid bad company. But to have a true friend is better than being alone….Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb.

Sublime Sappho. The moon has set & the Pleiades (in Aeolic Greek, Linear B, Linear C, English & French): Click to ENLARGE

Sappho poetry Elihu Vedder 1836-1923 The Pleiades 1885

This is the first of many exquisite poems by the sublime Sappho (ca. 630-570 BCE), who was considered by the ancient Greeks to be second only to Homer, as well as the greatest lyric poet of their age. Indeed, even today, a great many poets and poetry critics, including myself, consider her to hold this exalted station still. You will all see this for yourselves as I post one after another of her exalted lyrics. I have decided to go all the way, by presenting you each poem in the original Aeolic Greek, as well as in Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, and even English and French! Throughout history, to this very day, no one has ever done this. I am the first. I am so in awe Sappho’s consummate skill and artistry that I will do anything to broadcast her name and her sublime poetry to the whole world.

This particular poem is my absolute favourite. It flows so naturally in Aeolic Greek that it washes over me, emotionally and spiritually. Like Italian, Aeolic Greek is superbly suited for lyric poetry, as it has no aspirates. Aspiration can and sometimes does sound harsh in lyric poetry. Aeolic Greek is notable for its sublime melody. If you could only hear this stunning poem, even if you could not even read Aeolic Greek, the Harmony of the Spheres would fairly floor you. Sappho knew this perfectly well. Her lyrics were, of course, sung to the accompaniment of the lyre. I have never read any lyric poet in any language (English, French, Spanish, Italian, German or Russian) who has ever been able to rival her consummate artistry. I adore her. Click to ENLARGE her portrait.

Simeon Solomon 1840-1905 A Study of Sappho 1862

A few linguistic notes:

Being an East Greek dialect, Aeolic Greek is related to both the Mycenaean & Arcado-Cypriot dialects. There are many striking similarities and some notable differences in these three dialects.

Mycenaean Greek in Linear B:

Mycenaean Greek has no L series of syllabograms. The R series must be substituted, hence “serana” for Aeolic “selanna”. Since Linear B is an open syllabary, in which all syllabograms must end with a vowel, it is impossible to spell any word with two consecutive consonants, hence the last syllable of “serana” has only 1 N. For the same reason, final consonants, which are normative in almost all ancient Greek dialects, must be omitted in Mycenaean Greek. Hence, we have “me” for “men”. It is difficult to express the plural in Mycenaean Greek. However, there are precedents. The plural of “apore” (amphora) is “aporewe”. This allows us to write the Pleiades as “Periadewe”.

Arcado-Cypriot Linear C:

Similar bizarre (parallel) spelling conventions plague Arcado-Cypriot Linear C . Unlike Linear B, which has a dental D series of syllabograms, Linear C lacks it, and must substitute the dental T series. On the other hand, Linear C has both an L and an R series, and so both liquids can be accounted for. Since documents in alphabetic Arcado-Cypriot must express the final consonant, in line with almost all other ancient Greek dialects, Linear C has no choice but to resort to the opposite strategy from Mycenaean Linear B for the orthography of the ultimate, when it is meant to express the dative singular, the nominative plural and for all other Greek words ending with a consonant. The consonant must be expressed in Linear C, since it is always written in the alphabet. This is absolutely de rigueur, since many documents are simultaneously composed in Linear C and in the alphabet. In order to achieve this, Linear C has no choice but to use syllabograms, which still end in a vowel. It neatly skirts this annoying problem by expressing the ultimate consonant, following it with a filler vowel. A weird solution, but it works. If it works, it works. No hay problema nada.
Hence, we have “mene” for “men”, which is the opposite of “me” for “men” in Linear C. Likewise, the plural is always clearly expressed, as in “peleitese”, where Linear C must also insert a final filler vowel, in most cases SE (to express the consonantal plural in sigma), as well as NE for all nouns ending in the consonant N. Such nouns are extremely common in ancient Greek dialects. Notice also the “te” in “peleitese”, since Linear C has no D series of syllabograms. On the other hand, both Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot have no G series of syllabograms.

Mycenaean Linear B must substitute either the K or the Q series. Arcado-Cypriot has no guttural Q series either, so all words with G + vowel must be expressed by K + vowel, hence “eko” for “ego” in both Linear B & C. I can hear you who read ancient Greek well or who are ancient Greek linguistics loudly protest that there were no personal pronouns in either Linear B or Linear C. And you are right. However, I had to take liberties with the Aeolic Greek, because it does use personal pronouns, and frequently. As for the likelihood that Mycenaean Greek would have used the Q series of syllabograms to express words with guttural G + vowel, I would readily grant that this may have been true, except for one critical consideration. Mycenaean & Arcado-Cypriot were the closest ancient Greek dialects by far, being kissing cousins. So if Arcado-Cypriot expresses G + vowel with the guttural K series of syllabograms, it stands to reason that it is more likely than not that Mycenaean Greek must have done the same thing. But there is no guarantee of this. Still, the Q series of syllabograms would have fit the bill just as well.

And there you have it.


Our Twitter Account is growing rapidly! 15 new followers in the past 10 days: Click to visit & follow us:.

Our Twitter Account is growing rapidly! 15 new followers in the past 10 days: Click to visit & follow us:

rapid growth Twitter Konoso 19042015

It no longer comes as any surprise that the number of followers on our Twitter account is growing as fast as it is.  We had about 800 followers in December 2014, and now we are at 855. Some months we grow as fast as 25 new followers. This is an extremely encouraging sign with respect to the considerable attention our Twitter account is getting, and for this we have to thank our blog’s newly acquired position as the largest Linear B blog on the Internet... and all this in less than 2 years. Now that we are on the brink of making a newsworthy announcement to the world on a major breakthrough in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B and our participation as an invited speaker at the Conference, Thinking Symbols, at the Pultusk Academy of Humanities, University of Warsaw, June 30-July 2, 2015, it is more than likely that the number of followers we have will increase to beyond 1,000 by the end of 2015 at the latest. For a blog as specialized and as narrowly focused as ours is, that is quite a spectacular accomplishment. And for this I have only to thank the hundreds of supporters who have already been so kind as to follow us so closely.

In passing, I should like to point out that a large number of the most prestigious language and linguistics Twitter accounts, especially those devoted to Greek, ancient and modern, as well as several major international archaeological associations & archaeologists, are following us assiduously, as we are of course following them. 

And if you want to learn modern Greek, you can pick up quite a lot of it on our account, since I have already retweeted hundreds of quotations from modern Greek Twitter accounts.    


Associative Versus Attributive Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B: Appendix H

Appendix H neatly summarizes the rôle of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B. Click to ENLARGE:

H Appendix
I wish to stress one thing in particular. There is a marked difference in associative supersyllabograms, which account for the greatest number of SSYLS in Mycenaean Linear B, and attributive supersyllabograms, which appear primarily in the textiles and vessels (pottery, amphorae, cups etc.) sectors of the Late Minoan III & Mycenaean economies.

Associative supersyllabograms inform of us of some element, usually a land tenure factor, which relates to the ideogram itself, or which circumscribes its environment, especially in the livestock raising sub-sector of the agricultural sector. For instance, the supersyllabogram O, which you see in this Appendix, plus the ideogram for sheep + the number of sheep accounted for in the inventory of any particular tablet, informs us that the sheep are being raised on a lease(d) field, more specifically a usufruct lease field (i.e. a lease field which a farmer tenant cultivates for the use of his own family and village neighbours, with a taxation imposed by the overseer). In other words, the supersyllabogram is associated with the raising of x no. of sheep. The scribe could have simply informed us that x no. of sheep were raised, and left it at that. But he did not. By adding just one syllabogram, in this case a simple vowel = O, he has given us a great deal more information on the raising of the sheep (rams & ewes) on this particular tablet. And he has done all of this without having to resort to writing it all out as text. Since it was critical for the scribes to use as little space as possible on what were (and are) extremely small tablets, the use of supersyllabograms as a substitute for wasteful text is illustrative of just how far the scribes were willing to go to save such invaluable space. They did not do this only occasionally. They did it a great deal of the time, and they always followed the exact same formula in so doing. Not only are syllabograms such as O (on a lease field), KI (on a plot of land) & NE (in their sheep pens) in the field of sheep husbandry associative, they are all what I designate as dependent supersyllabograms, since they are meaningless unless they are immediately adjacent to the ideograms they qualify. No ideogram, no supersyllabogram. Period.

To illustrate the radical difference between a Linear B tablet on which a supersyllabogram + an ideogram is used, and another on which the text is spelled out, take a good hard look at this comparison: Click to ENLARGE

Knossos Tablet KN 933 G d 01 supersyllabograms and text

This comparison between the real tablet from Knossos using only supersyllabograms and ideograms (left) and a putative one using text in full (right) is precisely the reason why so many scribes much preferred the former formulaic approach to inscribing tablets to the latter discursive and space wasting technique. A textual version of this tablet would have been twice as long as the actual tablet. Even if no one nowadays has ever managed to decipher dependent supersyllabograms until now, that cannot conceivably mean that the Linear B scribes did not know what they were, since otherwise, they would never have used them so liberally in the first place. In other words, using SSYLS for no reason at all is tantamount to a reductio ad absurdum. There are thousands of supersyllabograms found on 700 tablets from Knossos. They are there because all of the scribes, as a team or, if you like, as a guild, all understood each and every supersyllabogram to mean one thing and one thing only in its proper context. In other words, supersyllabograms are standardized and always formulaic. This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Homer, who also heavily relied on formulaic expressions, though for entirely different reasons. My point is that formulaic language is a key characteristic of ancient Greek texts, right on down from Mycenaean times through to Attic and beyond. We should never overlook this extremely important characteristic of ancient Greek, regardless of period (1450 – 400 BCE).   

Attributive dependent supersyllabograms always appear inside the ideogram which they qualify, never adjacent to it. They always describe an actual attribute (usually known as an adjectival function) of the ideogram. For instance, the syllabogram PO inside the ideogram for “cloth” is the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of the Mycenaean word ponikiya = “purple”, hence the phrase = “purple cloth”.  Likewise the syllabogram TE, when it appears inside the ideogram for “cloth” is the supersyllabogram for the Mycenaean word tetukuwoa, which means “well prepared” or if you like, “well spun”. Hence, the syllabogram TE inside the ideogram for cloth must mean one thing and one thing only, “well-prepared cloth”. I have discovered, identified & classified well over a dozen examples of associative supersyllabograms. 

Neither type of dependent supersyllabogram, associative or attributive, was ever isolated and tabulated in Mycenaean Linear B until I systematically studied, deciphered and classified scores of them on some 700 tablets from Knossos.


Conference on Symbolism: The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B: Selected Appendices A-C

Since the presentation I shall be giving at the Conference, Thinking Symbols, at the Pultusk Academy, University of Warsaw, is under wraps until then, I am posting for your information just 5 of the 11 Appendices to that talk (3 in this post), to give you at least some idea of where I shall be leading the attendees at the Conference in the course of my talk. In this post, you can see the first three Appendices. The first one (Appendix A) illustrates the use of what I choose to call Modern International Superalphabetic Symbols, as you see here:

A Appendix

It is readily apparent from this appendix that we are dealing with modern ideograms, all of which are international standards, and which are recognized as such world-wide. For instance, everyone in the world knows that the first symbol or ideogram means “under copyright protection”, while the fourth means “no parking”.

Proceeding to Appendix B, we have:

B Appendix

The abbreviations in this appendix are so strikingly similar to what I have identified as supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B that it is immediately obvious to anyone seeing the latter for the first time can instantly correlate the former with the the city codes or supersyllabograms in Linear B, as seen here in Appendix C:

C Appendix

Clearly, the abbreviations for modern city codes, even though they consist of the first two letters only of the 10 city names are identical in structure and format to the ancient city names, represented by the first syllabogram, in other words, the first syllable in each, which we find in Appendix C.  This astonishing co-incidence reveals something of the sophistication of Mycenaean Linear B taken to its limits.

It was in fact Prof. Thomas G. Palaima who first identified these city names (Knossos, Zakros, Pylos etc.) in his superb translation of Linear B tablet Heidelburg HE Fl 1994. What he failed to realize was that he had in fact discovered the sypersyllabogram, which I finally came to realize in 2014 was always the first syllabogram, in other words, the first syllable only of a particular Mycenaean Greek word, in this instance, a city or settlement name. In retrospect, we cannot blame him for this apparent oversight, because that is all it was, apparent. He never got around to a meticulous examination of the 3,000 relatively intact tablets from Knossos, which I took upon myself to carry through to its ultimate revelation(s). And what a revelation they proved to be, when in the course of over a year (2014-2015), I discovered to my utter astonishment that some 700 (23.3%!) of the 3,000 tablets I examined all had at least one supersyllabogram on them, and some as many as four!

Some of the tablets I examined had supersyllabograms only on them, and no text whatsoever. The question was, I had to wonder – and I mean I really had to wonder – what did they all mean? The answer was not long in coming. Within 2 weeks of identifying the first new supersyllabogram, I had already isolated & defined more than 10 of them!

When I speak of supersyllabograms, I do not mean simply city or settlement names. Far from it. These are just the tip of the iceberg, and they are atypical. There are at least 30 supersyllabograms in all, out of a syllabary comprised of only 61 syllabograms, in other words 50% of them. That is a staggering sum. Supersyllabograms range in meaning from “lease field” to “plot of land” to “sheep pen” to “this year” (among the first 10 I discovered) referring to sheep husbandry in the agricultural sector, from “cloth” to “well-prepared cloth” to “gold cloth” and “purple dyed cloth” in the textiles sector, and on and on. That this is a major discovery in the further decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B goes practically without saying. In fact, nothing like it has been achieved in the past 63 years since the decipherment of the vast majority of Mycenaean Linear B by the genius, Michael Ventris, in 1952-1953.

michael ventris 1922-1956 at work in hisstudy
More Appendices to follow in the next post.


Breaking NEWS: Conference “Thinking Symbols”, University of Warsaw, Pultulsk Academy of Humanities, June 30 – July 2, 2015: Click to ENLARGE.

Breaking NEWS: Conference “Thinking Symbols”, University of Warsaw, Pultulsk Academy of Humanities, June 30 – July 2, 2015: Click to ENLARGE

Thinking Symbols Pultusk University of Warsaw June 29-July 2 2015

Richard Vallance Janke, the moderator of this blog, has been cordially invited to give a talk on The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B at the Conference “Thinking Symbols”, University of Warsaw, Pultulsk Academy of Humanities, June 30 – July 2, 2015. His talk will serve as the official public announcement of his discovery of some 30+ supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B throughout 2014 and early 2015.

This is the probably the most significant breakthrough in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B in 63 years since the genius, Michael Ventris, first deciphered the vast majority of the syllabary in 1952-1953. Although Michael Ventris and his mentor Prof. John Chadwick were able to decipher almost all of the syllabary, and there have been significant developments in further decipherment since then, one very large chunk of the syllabary (consisting of some 700/3,000 or 27 % of intact tablets from Knossos I meticulously examined in the course of 2014) have remained recalcitrant to decipherment for the past 63 years. From my intensive analysis of these 700 tablets, I have come to the conclusion that there has been no serious concerted effort in the past 63 years to thoroughly inspect the 3,000 or so tablets which I took the trouble to examine so closely. No doubt the task was not undertaken, since to do so would have required a team effort on the part of several specialists in Linear B linguistics.

But I could not wait on the problem any longer. So I took it upon myself alone to meticulously examine that many tablets! And what an exhausting job it was! But the pay-off in the exciting discovery I made was more than well worth the effort, to say the very least. When the Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes, in Athens, Greece, happened upon our blog late in 2014, they were immediately impressed by the extensive research I had carried out, and very soon asked me whether I would like to participate in the Conference “Thinking Symbols”, at the Pultulsk Academy of Humanities, University of Warsaw, between June 30 & July 2, 2015. Of course, I accepted.

I shall be giving a 20 minute talk, more like a presentation, on the discovery of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, and the significant rôle they play in the decipherment of at least 700 tablets which had previously proven recalcitrant. This talk is to serve as the premier public forum for the official international announcement of the rôle of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B. The University of Warsaw will consequently be publishing the presentation in its entirety, along with those of all the other speakers at the Conference. The University of Warsaw is in the ideal position to publish our book, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, likely to run to 200 pp. or more, sometime late this year or early in 2016. This would be a huge feather in their cap, as the book itself represents the most significant breakthrough in the further decipherment of Linear B since 1952. Cambridge University Press had the honour of publishing the original book by Prof. John Chadwick, The Decipherment of Linear B (1958, 1970). So the University of Warsaw has much to celebrate in the publication of the second major book, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, which takes the inspiration of its title directly from the title of the original.


Re: Mycenaean Linear B Ideograms Level 5.1 Advanced/Military B 230 – 259:


For some time now I have been studying the Linear B Military Ideogram no 259 and could not think or even imagine what it could possibly be.

It was only when I recently had cause to refresh my memory as to the Military ideograms in readiness for the next Linear B  Translation I have to work on that it suddenly appeared to me this ideogram may quite possibly resemble a “bow and arrow”. Could this be I wondered, or is it meant to be just a bow?

My Research: 

With this image in mind I carried out my research hoping to find some proof of my idea by first consulting ‘Wikimedia Commons’ but here I found no evidence except for the actual ideogram as above, but with no meaning. The only significant information I found was on SALIMBETI.COM “The Greek age of Bronze”. Here there was  one picture (see below) of a man with a simple curved bow which I thought looked anything near the ideogram 259, if in fact, it corresponds to what I think it to be. If not, maybe someone else may have an idea what this Ideogram 259 could be. There is more info about bows but more to do with Hunting on the site mentioned
Man with a Simple curved bow (Seal from Malia)

   Minoan simple curved bow

Rita Roberts

An Archaeologist’s Thoroughly Researched Translation of Pylos Tablet Py 641-1952 (Ventris)

This Linear B Tablet PY 641 is by far the most difficult one I have had to translate. It was the first ever Linear B tablet which Michael Ventris deciphered in 1952. I was in my teen years then and knew nothing of his great achievement and in fact nothing about the Linear B Ancient script writings whatsoever.

I am aware that many scholars have translated this tablet such as the archaeologist Carl Blegen, and also Prof. John Chadwick, who assigned the first range of standard values to ideograms for the vessels on Linear B Tablet 641.

Ref: Chadwick, John. The Decipherment of Linear B (2nd edition) London: Cambridge University Press 1970. ISBN 521-09596. pg. 117.

I now submit my translation of this very important Linear B tablet from the great Minoan Palace at Pylos: Click to ENLARGE

Pylos Tablet 64l Burnt from legs up


Aigeus a worker is making tripods of the Cretan style.
There are 2 Tripods with three legs and two handles,
1 Tripod with a single handle on one foot,
1 Tripod with the legs burnt from the legs up *,
3 Big pots with two handles,  
2 Big pots with three handle,
1 Smaller pot with four handles,
1 Small type of cup/ goblet with three handles,
1 Small type of cup/goblet without handles.

Kylix two handled stemmed Cup

As an archaeologist working on Minoan pottery for the past ten years, I feel that adding a few descriptions of the pottery vessels mentioned on this Linear B tablet will further our understanding of their important shapes and uses. Also, we must remember that due to the lack of sufficient room on these very small clay tablets, the Minoan scribe recording so many items would not have been able to write all the details for us to read in our modern times. But of course, his fellow Minoan scribes understood exactly what the pottery items were.

The following is my idea of what I believe the Minoan scribe has listed on this Linear B tablet PY 64l and what they were used for.

Tripods - Sometimes referred to as Cauldrons and were mainly used for cooking purposes and for boiling water
Tripod in color and b&w

Pithoi - Because the Linear B word mezoe means ‘greater/bigger’, I interpret these pots which have three and those with four handles as being Pithoi. They were used for the storage of large quantities of agricultural produce such as grain crops, olive oil and wine. These huge pots could have as many as eight handles.

Large Pithoi in storage at Knossos  

Large Pithoi (singular, pithos) in storage at Knossos

Amphorae – (singular, amphora) These pots having two handles or even three handles were used for the storage and transport of oil or any other liquid substances.

Minoan Amphora
      Early Minoan Amphora from Knossos

Amphora – mewijo means smaller. The other amphora listed on this tablet with four handles was most likely used for the storage of perfume.

With regard to the Linear B word dipa meaning “cup”:

After further research into archaeological reports and illustrations at The Institute for Aegean Prehistory Study Centre for East Crete and The History of Minoan Pottery by Philip Betancourt 1985 Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, I found that the two cups listed on this tablet PY 64l can only mean a (type of cup). I therefore interpret them as being goblets, although the one with three handles possibly being a kylix Both were drinking vessels.

goblets found at knossos after Macdonald & Knappett 2007

Late Helladic IIIA2 three handled kylix courtesy Mitrou Archaeological Site Credit photo Winn Burke


Congratulations to Rita Roberts for her excellent translation of Pylos Tablet 641-1952 (Ventris), which she has grounded on her thorough research as an archaeologist into every last type of vessel illustrated by Prof. John Chadwick’s classification of ideograms for vessels. What is particularly impressive here is her insistence on checking one by one all of the ideograms (which are after all symbolic representations of the real thing) against prominent archaeological finds of each type. This very effective approach is novel, in so far as all of translators to date of tablet Pylos 641-1952 (Ventris), whether or not they were archaeologists themselves, have never taken the trouble to cross-correlate the various ideograms with their actual hardware counterparts. By taking this critical step in gathering concrete evidence to back up her choices for the name of each and every type of vessel on this extremely significant tablet, Mrs. Roberts has provided us empirical evidence as confirmation of the types of vessels named and flagged by ideograms on the tablet. Why no one has done this in the past is beyond me... and beyond Mrs. Roberts as well.

At any rate, it was this technically challenging tablet which I assigned to Rita Roberts as the final step in her Secondary School Level studies. I am delighted to announce that Mrs. Roberts has achieved a mark of 98% for the extreme thoroughness of her research, especially in the archaeological sphere. Rita is thus granted her Secondary School Matriculation with all its attendant rights and privileges. I shall be designing a Secondary School Graduation Certificate on fine linen 25% cotton paper, beautifully framed, to send to Rita Roberts. I shall also post her Certificate right here on our blog for all to see. It goes without saying that I myself shall not attempt to translate this famous tablet, because to be perfectly honest, I could not have come up with a translation as thoroughly researched or as minutely detailed and accurate as this one by Rita Roberts.

Mrs. Roberts is now at the first year level of university studies, and as such, she is now confronted with even greater challenges, being obliged as she is to translate tablets (much) more complex than Pylos 641-1952 (Ventris), to master all of the logograms and ideograms in Mycenaean Linear B, and to thoroughly learn all of the vocabulary in the military sphere from the comprehensive English – Mycenaean Linear B – Archaic Greek – Modern Greek Lexicon of Military Affairs she and I are to publish by June 2015. In effect, her studies for the first two semesters of her first year will focus primarily on the translation and the mastery of Mycenaean Linear B tablets on military affairs.

She is also hereby granted the status of co-moderator of this blog.


Le Prince aux lys (sonnet)

(fresque de Cnossos 1500 av. j.c.)

yZn ,<V wanaka kirino #a&nac xri&nwn

Prince of Lilies fresco Knossos

À l’alentour lys épars, échus à ses pieds,

le Prince aux lys séduit de son sortilège

les cuirassiers fiers et leurs coursiers dressés

qu’ils réjouissent en devançant le beau manège.

En pagne embelli d’azur si scintillant

qu’il éblouit les invités, voilà la grâce

d’onyx du bel éphèbe élu, insouciant

du sortilège insinuant Cnossos sans trace.

Devant les murailles aux dauphins ensoleillés,

les vieux augures arrivent à célébrer la joie

du dauphin qui s’incarne aussi aux invités

au mariage à vénérer l’épouse en soie.

Les bien-aimés s’agenouillent et, grâce aux dieux,

sans mot ils s’entrelacent à témoigner leur voeux.

Richard Vallance © 2015,

sonnet révisé ― été publié dans Sonnetto Poesia,

ISSN 1705-4524, pg. 16. Le vol. 6 no. 2, printemps 2007

The Prince of Lilies (Sonnet)

Prince of Lilies fresco Knossos

(Knossos Fresco 1500 BCE)

yZn ,<V wanaka kirino #a&nac xri&nwn

Lilies at his feet, lilies in his hands,

the Prince of Lilies casts his sortilège.

proceeds with friends, with loved ones and his bands

of cuirassiers, and their white manège.

His loin cloth purled in alabaster folds,

a lily chaplet crowns his onyx hair,

a peacock feather glistening with golds

and azures in the fragrant air.

In sea green silk soigné for Royalty,

this way he casts and that his princely glance

the bridegroom incarnates for all to see,

before they commence the epipthalamic dance.

To come and wed his modest virgin bride,

her fine illumined grace he’ll take in stride.

Richard Vallance © 2015

Sonnet revised, previously published in

Sonnetto Poesia, ISSN 1705-4524, pg. 15. Vol. 6 No. 2, spring 2007


I have had to REVISE this extremely important post, as Ms. Gretchen Leonhardt has brought to my attention a clear oversight in my interpretation of ama + epikere as a SINGLE word, when in fact they are SEPARATE on the tablet. Her comment clears up any problem my oversight would have occasioned.


Originally posted on Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae:

REVISED: Co-op Storage of Olive Oil & Mass Production of Wheat in Linear B: Click to ENLARGE

a-kn-852-k-j-01-wheat-1k-olive-oil-a-for-amphora-ideogramThis tablet has been one of the most fruitful I have ever had the pleasure to translate. Not only did it yield up its contents (meaning) with little effort on my part, it also provided a brand new verb to add to the Mycenaean Greek Linear B lexicon (in the sense of vocabulary), with the prefix ama + the verb, epikere (3rd. person sing.) which, translated literally would mean, “cuts down all together”, or more appropriately “co-operates in cutting down” & in this context better still “co-operates in harvesting”, which in turn can be neatly rendered into English as “the co-operative of (the village of Dawos) harvests...”. I would like to extend my profound thanks to Ms. Gretchen Leonhardt, who has brought to my attention a critical error I made when I first…

View original 510 more words

Coriander in Linear B. How does it measure up? Big time! Click to ENLARGE.

Learn How to Type Linear B FAST! – well, at least much faster than usual: Click to ENLARGE.

Marie Marshall



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