Mycenaean Linear B fragments from the Ashmolean Museum (British Museum)


Mycenaean Linear B fragments from the Ashmolean Museum (British Museum):


iqo ZE An1910_849_o IQO MO

Linear B tablet, Ashmolean Museum An1938_708_o, rams and ewes


Linear B tablet, Ashmolean Museum An1938_708_o, rams and ewes:

AN1938_708_o KN 1301 E j 324

Note on the translation:

In the first line, we have the intriguing word, Yatiri, which I take as being a place name (toponym). However, given that it ends in “ri ”, it could also be dative, and in that case, it sure looks like that dative of Linear B iatere = Greek iatros = “physician”. If that is so, it would seem that the scribe who inscribed this tablet may have wanted to indicate to us that he wishes the owners of the sheep, Adaios and Dotias, to bring their flocks to the attention of the physician, who would check them for disease. However, this is the less likely of the two translations. The place name makes more sense.

In case any of you are wondering, as I am sure you are, what are all these tablets tagged Ashmolean Museum? There is a relatively small, but extremely significant collection of Linear B tablets held by the Ashmolean Museum, the British Museum, The Sir Arthur Evans Archive, here:

Sir Arthur Evans Archive


Although this collection of tablets transferred by Sir Arthur Evans to the British Museum in the early 1900s is small, it should never be ignored, as it contains in its gallery

Sir Arthur Evans Archives Gallery of Linear B tablets


such commanding tablets as:
Ae 2031, previously translated on our site, here:
https://linearbknossosmycenae.wordpress.com/2016/05/05/the-famous-bulls-head-sacrificial-libation-rhyton-ashmolean-museum-translated/
and An1910_211_o 
https://linearbknossosmycenae.wordpress.com/2016/01/01/knossos-tablet-kn-894-n-v-01-ashmolean-as-a-guide-to-mycenaean-chariot-construction-and-design-3/



Translation of Ashmolean Museum (British Museum) An1910_214_o: 100 rams


Translation of Ashmolean Museum (British Museum) An1910_214_o: 100 rams

An1938_712_o

a.k.a. Knossos tablet KN 1646 F j 01.

The Ashmolean Museum of the British Museum contains The Sir Arthur Evans Collection of of a couple of dozen tablets, some of them of major importance. This one deals with sheep, which the greatest number of tablets by far in Linear B deal with. The original tablet here is approximately the correct size. Of some 800 extant tablets with supersyllabograms on them, some 640 or 80% are in the agricultural sector alone, and of these 640, some 580 or 90% deal with sheep! That is amazing by all accounts. There are several supersyllabograms in the agricultural sector, as illustrated here in Table 6, Supersyllabograms for sheep in the agricultural sector of Mycenaean Linear B:

Table 6 supersyllabograms for sheep

which is to appear in my article, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, to appear in the next issue of Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448, Vol. 11 (2015) which is to be published sometime in the spring of 2017.

On this particular tablet, Knossos tablet KN 1646 F j 01, the supersyllabogram is PE which corresponds to the Linear B term, periqoro = an enclosure, sheep pen, for which the ancient  Greek equivalent (Latinized) is peribolos. This supersyllabogram appears fourth in the left column of Table 6. Apart from Knossos itself, where the vast majority of sheep were raised, Exonos is one of several islands where the Minoans and Mycenaeans raised sheep. 

Linear B tablet K 04-22 N b 05 from the Knossos “Armoury”


Linear B tablet K 04-22 N b 05 from the Knossos “Armoury”

Linear B tablet 04-22 Knossos armoury

This is one of the most significant tablets from Knossos dealing with chariots. At least two really perplexing words plague any reasonable translation of this tablet. The first of these is – peqato – on the first line, which according to Chris Tselentis in his Linear B Lexicon just might mean – a foot-board -.  But this is speculative. L.R. Palmer is unable to offer any plausible translation at all for this word. At the end of the second line we find the truly bizarre concoction – posieesi – which is utterly alien to ancient Greek and quite unlike any combination of vowels I have ever encountered in Mycenaean Greek. It is the juxtaposition of – iee – i.e. three vowels in a row which really throws us off. I have never seen anything like it in Mycenaean Greek. It just might possibly be instrumental plural, but that is a real stretch. So is my translation. I would take it with a hefty grain of salt. But everyone who knows me is perfectly aware that I will dive right in where others shy away. As long as the words just might make sense both in the textual and the actual construction context of Mycenaean chariots, then there is no harm trying on a translation. If the shoe fits, wear it.

Here is the original tablet from the Ashmolean Museum (approximate actual size). 

An1910_213_o a Ashmolean 04-22

January 2016 is “chariot” month. So let’s take you for a ride!


January 2016 is “chariot” month. So let’s take you for a ride!

Here is the first tablet illustrating a chariot with 2 stallions being driven by a fellow whose name translates something like “longshoreman”, which makes sense if the fellow is a post messenger who frequently drives to and from Knossos and its harbour, Amnisos.

a-kn-sc-230-translation1

Rita Roberts and I shall be posting at least a dozen chariot-related tablets in January.

So keep posted.

Richard