2 Maps (1 in colour) of the Mycenaean Empire with major cities and other settlements

2 Maps (1 in colour) of the Mycenaean Empire with major cities and other settlements:


This composite of two maps of the Mycenaean Empire with major cities and other settlements names the major cities in the upper coloured map. I originally posted the lower map in 2014, but I felt it was high time to post it again. Being as thorough as I am, I have identified more city and settlement names on the lower map than on any other map of the Mycenaean Empire on the Internet. Note also the greatest extent of the Mycenaean Empire (ca. 1600 – 1200 BCE) in pink.


A Map of the Mycenaean Empire & a Quiz?

A Map of the Mycenaean Empire & a Quiz?

A Blank Map of the the Mycenaean Empire & a Quiz to Test your Memory Skills + a Prize of a Set of Beautiful Photos

Click to ENLARGE:

CBMycenaean world BLANK 

Whoever guesses the largest number correct names of the major Mycenaean cities and settlements on this map (those tagged with a RED SQUARE), and the name of least one of the cities they conquered (tagged with a BLACK SQUARE) will win a beautiful set of 50 photos I took of ruins at Ephesis, Pergamon, Knossos, Mycenae & Epidaurus on my fabulous vacation in the Mediterranean in May 2012.


A Series of Maps of the Minoan & Mycenaean Empires: Part B – 4 more maps & a Quiz!

A Series of Maps of the Minoan & Mycenaean Empires: Part B – 4 more maps & a Quiz!

This is the second and last series of maps of the Mycenaean Empire. It is a bit of a misnomer to refer to a Minoan Empire, except in the sense of their extensive network of trade with Egypt, Syria, Cyprus, Sicily and beyond, Athens, Troy & the west coast of Asia, where the modern nation of Turkey now exists. These 2 first maps illustrate the wide extent of the Mycenaean Empire, which was no paltry thing, being pretty much as large as the Athenian Empire at its height in the sixth century BCE, some 600 years after the fall of Mycenae.

Click to ENLARGE:

AMycenaean World 2nd millennium BCE

Click to ENLARGE:

Map of Cycladic Minoan & Mycenaean Cultures

Ha, ha! You thought the Quiz was in this post. Nope. You will have to look at the maps in the next two posts to find the correct map.  


A Map of the Mycenaean Empire (ca.. 1600-1200 BCE), with Major Locales, Attested (A) & Derived (D) Named in Linear B for the First Time

A Map of the Mycenaean Empire (ca.. 1600-1200 BCE), with Major Locales, Attested (A) & Derived (D) Named in Linear B for the First Time: Click to ENLARGE:

Map of Mycenaean Greece with Major Sites Named in Linear B

Whereas we find only attested (A) Minoan & Mycenaean city and settlement names on the map of the Mycenaean Empire in the previous post, the majority of the Mycenaean settlement names for which I managed to find room to translate on this map are derived (D). Attested (A) Linear B words and toponyms are those found on any extant Linear B tablet, regardless of provenance. Derived (D) Linear B words and place names are precisely that, derived, which is to say regressively extrapolated from their ancient Greek counterparts (if any) or where no alphabetical Greek toponym can be found, directly from their English names. This of course implies that a few of them may not be quite accurate, and where there was any real doubt in my mind, I assigned alternative spellings, just in case. At any rate, the orthography of most of the derived (D) toponyms on this map is probably pretty much on target, but only if you go along with Mycenaean orthographic conventions as I interpret them, as follows:

1. When the settlement name ends in “ria” in English, as in the case of Agios Ilias, I translate it into Linear B as Akio Iriya, not Akio Iria, since the latter is not what you would really expect in a Linear B toponym, whereas the termination YA is extremely common in Linear B vocabulary regardless.

2.  When the settlement name ends in “sios/sion” or “ios/ion” in English, here again I translate it as YO, since that termination is also extremely common in Linear B vocabulary regardless. Examples are (a) Korifasion which translates as Koriwasiyo in Linear B, the “f” being of course the digamma, otherwise known as “wau”, which was always rendered in Linear B words by the W+ vowel series of syllabograms, i.e. WA WE WI & WO & (b) Aigion, which translates as Aikiyo in Linear B. In fact, the syllabograms YA & YO are at the very highest frequency level of use among all the Linear B syllabograms, another extremely sound reason for preferring them as word terminations over the simple “ria” and “rio” endings, which just do not wash with me.

3. As illustrated by Korifasion = Koriwasiyo in Linear B, so also Linear B Epidawo for Epidauros. In other words, the cluster “auro” in the Greek equivalent of this site is regressively extrapolated to “awo” in Linear B, the intervocalic “r” disappearing altogether. This is standard Mycenaean orthography.

4. Likewise, standard Mycenaean orthography stipulates, in fact, demands that filler vowels be inserted in any Greek word, toponym or not, in which there are two or more consecutive consonants (called consonant clusters). Since Linear B is a syllabary, in which all the syllabogams are either pure vowels (a, e, i, o & u) or a consonant + any of these vowels (a, e, i, o & u), it is patently impossible (with only a couple of bizarre exceptions, such as the homophone PTE) for Linear B words to allow for clusters of two or more consonants. So, when confronted with a place name such as this, Kastri, we must somehow fill in the blank spaces, so to speak, or more properly speaking fill them out, by inserting vowels after both the interior “s” & “t”, thus: Kasatiri or Kasitiri.  In the case of this place name, I was uncertain which of these variants was likely to be more accurate, so I have given both versions. Linear B linguists of some note will soon enough straighten me out on this account, I am sure. Other simpler examples are Linear B Atene for Athens & Katarakiti for Greek Katarraktis (notice also that double consonants are also forbidden in Mycenaean, for the very same reason)

5. Since Mycenaean words never end in consonants, even though they are Greek, all consonant terminations in place names must be dropped, as in Linear B Puro for Pylos, Orokomeno for Orchomenos & Aikio Tepano for Agios Stephanos. Note also that the initial “S” in Stephanos must be dropped, again for the same reason, namely, that Mycenaean Greek forbids two consecutive consonants. So where there are two of them, the vocally weaker of them must be eliminated, in this case, the weaker sibilant “s” yielding to the stronger plosive “t”.

I know, I know. Practically all of you who are well versed in ancient Greek are going to (loudly) protest, “But so many ancient Greek words end in a consonant!” True enough. But you will just have to swallow your pride, and accept the fact that, even if Mycenaean Greek words were pronounced with consonant endings (which is highly likely to have been the case), the Linear B syllabary is utterly and hopelessly incapable of accounting for them. So you will have to do the same thing as the (rest of us) Linear B specialists, get over it and get used to it, frustrating as it is. Even after two years of reading 3,000 + Linear B tablets, I myself am often still unable to wrap my poor skull around this phenomenon, let alone around several other apparent vagaries of Linear B spelling.

But there are plenty of reasons why Linear B orthography is the way it is, not the least of which is that the Linear B syllabary is the child or direct spinoff of Linear A, a syllabary which was never meant to be used to spell Greek in the first place. And please do not protest again. The Mycenaeans had to use Linear A or some sort of syllabary, because the blasted (Greek) alphabet hadn’t been invented yet! So give the poor blokes a break. They did a pretty bang-up job of it, if you ask me, considering the insane odds they were up against just trying to make Linear A square syllabograms fit into round holes in Mycenaean Greek. I would like to see you try to do that. Good luck. Fat chance.            
So there you have it, a neat little lesson in the apparent vagaries of Mycenaean orthography. I say apparent, because in fact they are not. But I can tell you one thing. They sure cause a lot of headaches to translators who wish to regressively extrapolate ancient alphabetical Greek words to their Mycenaean forbears.

Remember! The derived Mycenaean toponyms on this map are precisely that, and nothing more. While their Linear B equivalents are my own, they are not even close to mere guesses. Given the Mycenaean orthographic conventions I have outlined above (at least as I see them), these spellings are perfectly sound... except of course in those instances where some Linear B experts might take exception to some of the conventions as I have outlined them above, which some of them are bound to do. If anyone does take exception to any of the derivative (D) place names I have assigned, for heaven’s sake, let me know! 

Nothing is cast in stone (or even clay, for that matter) where it comes to translating into or from Linear B. Trust me on that one. Never believe any Linear B translator, myself included, of course, or should I say, especially myself, has a monopoly on translating any Greek word from certain ancient Greek dialects (but not all of them, by a long shot) into Mycenaean Greek in Linear B, or vice versa. Anyone who does make such a claim is leaving him- or herself wide open as a target for being roundly, and dare I say, soundly criticized.

And the more I am criticized, the better. I have always been the doubting Thomas, anyway. 

A Map of the Mycenaean Empire (ca. 1600-1200 BCE) with Mycenaean Settlements Named in Linear B, Latinized Linear B & English

A Map of the Mycenaean Empire (ca. 1600-1200 BCE) with Mycenaean Settlements Named in Linear B, Latinized Linear B & English (Click to ENLARGE):

Map of Mycenaean and Minoan Greece

A few notes on this map. The capital cities, Knossos in Crete & Mycenae on the mainland Peloponnese, are flagged with a red star. The purple star beside Mycenae is also found beside the name of Troy, to indicate that the Mycenaeans conquered Troy, although quite when is uncertain (ca. 1300-1250 BCE?). Even if the conquest were as early as 1300 BCE, that would have left only another century before the collapse of Mycenae itself. In fact, what remained of the great Bronze Age Greek cities, Knossos (which had fallen into disrepair and eventually into ruins long before 1200 BCE – almost certainly no later than 1425-1400 BCE), then Mycenae itself, along with its satellite Mycenaean cities and settlements (Pylos, Tiryns, Thebes and Athens) all collapsed right around 1200 BCE. It is doubtful that they all fell on account of the Dorian invasion, since it is highly unlikely the Dorians ever got anywhere near Thebes or Athens. So this leaves the whole question of how and why the Mycenaean Empire fell so suddenly wide open to speculation. Note that all of the Minoan & Mycenaean locales tagged on this map are attested (A) on Linear B tablets from Knossos, Phaistos, Zakros, Mycenae, Pylos or Thebes.



Two maps of Mycenaean Greece, the Second Illustrating the Mycenaean Empire’s Extensive Trade Routes

Two maps of Mycenaean Greece, the Second Illustrating the Mycenaean Empire’s Extensive Trade Routes

Map of Mycenaean Greece and the Orient ca 1450 BCE

Click to ENLARGE this map of the Mycenaean Empire’s Trade Routes:

Map of Mycenaean Greece ca 1250 BCE

It is perfectly clear from this map that the extent of the Mycenaean Empire was as vast as that of the great Athenian Empire some 700-800 years after the fall of Mycenae ca. 1200 BCE. While the actual epicentres of these two great Greek empires, that of Mycenae, the earliest of them all, and that of Athens, were not the same (which goes without saying), amazingly their network of trade routes extended to virtually the same places, some very far away, especially in light of the great difficulties encountered by ancient Bronze and Iron age mariners in their little ships on the high seas. The very fact that they, the Mycenaeans,the Egyptians, the Athenians, the Romans and everyone else in the ancent world had to do all of their international trading in the spring, summer and early autumn, when the Mediterranean Sea was relatively calm speaks volumes to the wide extent and the robust economic strength of their trade routes.  We see here that the Mycenaean trade routes did in fact reach as far as and apparently even beyond Sicily, astonishing as that seems, as well as all the way to Egypt. The Minoan Empire had previously carried on a hefty trade relationship with Egypt before them.


A Series of Maps of the Minoan & Mycenaean Empires, Some with New Toponyms Seen for the First Time

A Series of Maps of the Minoan & Mycenaean Empires, Some with New Toponyms Seen for the First Time

Our first map is of the principal Minoan cities and settlements, with the locations of the major palaces in the Late Minoan Era (LM Ia – LMII, ca. 1550 -1450 BCE) Click to ENLARGE:

Map of Minoan settlements Minoan Empire

It was over the last half of the sixteenth & the first half of the fifteenth century that the Minoan civilization made the swift switchover from using the as yet undeciphered Linear A syllabary to writing Mycenaean Greek in Linear B. Whether or not Knossos itself was conquered by the Mycenaeans around 1500 BCE is a question entirely open to conjecture. Many historians are quite convinced it was, but I personally am not so convinced. However, you should take my opinion with a large grain of salt, as I am a linguist and not a historian!

The largest Minoan palaces after that of Knossos, the capital city of the Minoan Empire, with a population estimated to have been somewhere around 55,000 (a huge city for the Bronze age!) were those at Phaistos & Zakros. All of the palaces illustrated on this map have been thoroughly excavated, and they have yielded inestimable treasures of Linear A & B tablets, magnificent Minoan frescoes and art, bronze ware of all sorts (weaponry, utensils etc.), pottery and so on. If you have already had the opportunity to visit any of these magnificent sites (as I have, seeing Knossos in May 2012), you will know to what heights the Minoan Empire and their highly cultured civilization aspired. They (the Minoans) were so cultivated and refined that they virtually outclassed and outshone all other contemporary Bronze Age empires, and that includes, to my mind at least, Egypt! In fact, the Mycenaeans, shortly after arrival at Knossos, imitated lock-stock-and-barrel, the brilliant architecture and the entire repertoire of military expertise, the arts and crafts and every other area of the prosperous Minoan agri-economy. Their tribute to the Minoans could not have been more profound than that of the Romans to the Greeks some 1,000 years or more later on.  It was that kind of phenomenon, nothing less.

All of these maps, as well as all of the maps in the next few posts, also appear on the following PINTEREST Boards,


Knossos & Mycenae Sister Civilizations