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:
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.
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