Pylos tablet TA Un 718 L as an ideal template for deciphering Minoan Linear A

Pylos tablet TA Un 718 L as an ideal template for deciphering Minoan Linear A:

PY Un 718 L

Of all the Linear B tablets I have ever had the pleasure of translating, Pylos tablet TA Un 718 L has to rank as of one the most ideal as a template guide for deciphering Minoan Linear A. One glance at this tablet in translation finds us  face to face with one of the most complete texts on any Linear B tablet of any provenance. Moreover, this amazingly detailed tablet deals with practically every possible kind of livestock and almost all the commodities we could ever hope to find on any single Linear B tablet. The tablet runs the gamut from offerings of sheep and bulls, to cheese, fleece, honeydew, honey wine, land, precious ointment, wheat and wine! Who could ask for anything more? This single tablet is so crammed with information that it can easily serve as a template guide for at least the partial decipherment of some of the content of Minoan Linear A tablets dealing with any, most or all of the aforementioned gifts to the gods and plenipotentiaries. And, as we shall see, this tablet will serve its purpose over and over in this regard.  Rest assured that, as the need arises, we shall “call it up” on demand.

The 5 principles applicable to the rational partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A

The 5 principles applicable to the rational partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A:

If we are to make any headway at all in the eventual decipherment of Minoan Linear A, there are certain principles which should be strictly applied. There are 5 of them:

1. (The so-called negative factor). Do not attempt to correlate the Minoan language with any other ancient language  except for the Linear B syllabary and indirect derivation from Mycenaean Greek terms (2. below).   
2. Basing our technique on that of the French philologist, Jean-François Champellion, who deciphered the Rossetta Stone in 1822, cross-correlate words in the Minoan Linear A syllabary with parallel words in the Linear B syllabary on strikingly similar tablets in Mycenaean Greek, squarely taking into account the meanings of such words in the latter script and their potential adaptation to vocabulary in a very similar context on Minoan Linear A tablets.  
3. Take direct cues from parallel ideograms on reasonably similar Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B tablets.

4. Turn to reliable archaeological evidence where this is available and finally;

5. (the most important principle of all). It is critical to understand that Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B both dealt with inventories and the process of inventorying livestock, crops, military matters and commodities such as vessels and pottery and textiles. 

1. The attempt to correlate Minoan with known ancient language (negative principle or factor):

All too many past researchers and philologists attempting to decipher Minoan Linear A have made the assumption that they had first to determine what class of language it must or may have belonged to before they even began to attempt decipherment. This is, as we shall see, a false premise, a non starter, a dead end.

The very first of these researchers to make such an assumption was none other than Sir Arthur Evans himself, though he could hardly be blamed for doing so, being as he was at the very frontier of the science of archaeology at the outset of the twentieth century, up until the First World War when he had to suspend archaeological work at Knossos (1900-1914). I made this clear in my article, “An Archaeologist’ s Translation of Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris)”, in Vol. 10 (2014) in the prestigious international journal, Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448, in which I emphasized and I quote from Evans:

It would seem, therefore, unlikely that the language of the Cretan scripts was any kind of Greek, and probable that it was related to the early language or languages of Western Anatolia – associated, that is, with the archaeological 'cultures’ of Alaja Hüyük I ('proto-hattic’) and of Hissarlik II and Yortan ('Luvian’)...”, and a little further, “Though many of the sign-groups are compounded from distinct elements, usually of two syllables each, there is little trace of an organized system of grammatical suffixes, as in Greek. At most, a few signs are notably frequent as terminals... (italics mine) and this in spite of its great antiquity, given that it preceded the earliest known written Greek, The Iliad and The Odyssey of Homer by at least 600 years! It was a perfectly reasonable and plausible assumption, in view of the then understandable utter lack of evidence to the contrary.

Returning to my own analysis:

Besides, there were no extant tablets in either Minoan Linear A or Linear B with parallel text in another known ancient language, as had conveniently been the case with the Rosetta Stone, which would have gone a long way to aiming for a convincing decipherment of at least the latter script.  Yet Evans was nagged by doubts lurking just below the surface of his propositions. (pp. 137-138)

So Evans was vacillating between the assumption that the Minoan language may have been related either to Luvian or Hittite (a brilliant assumption for his day and age) and that it was an ancestral form of proto-Greek. Both assumptions were wrong, but if only he had known that Linear B was alternatively the actual version of a very ancient East Greek dialect, namely, Mycenaean Greek, how different would the history of the decipherment of Linear B at least have been. 

To complicate matters, Michael Ventris himself, following in the footsteps of Evans, began by making the same assumption, only this time correlating (italics mine) Linear B with Etruscan, stubbornly sticking with this assumption for almost 2 years before Linear B literally threw in his face the ineluctable conclusion that the script was indicative of Mycenaean Greek (June 1952).

My point is and here I must be emphatic. It is a total waste of time trying to pigeon-hole the lost Minoan language in any class of language, whether Indo-European or not. It will get us absolutely nowhere. So I have concluded (much to my own relief and with positive practical consequences) that it does not matter one jot what class of language Minoan belongs to, and that it serves us best simply to jump into the deep waters without further ado, and to attempt to decipher it on its own terms, i.e. internally.

2. Cross-correlation between the Minoan language and the Mycenaean syllabary: 

Notice that in 1. above I italicized the word correlating. This is no accident at all. It is only by the process of cross-correlation with a known language that we can even begin to decipher an unknown one. And of course, the known language with which the Minoan language must be cross-correlated is none other than Mycenaean in Linear B, if not for any reason other than that Linear B uses basically the same syllabary as its predecessor, with only a modicum of changes required by the latter to represent Mycenaean Greek, more or less accurately. This assumption or principle, if you like, is squarely based on the approach used by the renowned French philologist, Jean-François Champellion, who finally deciphered in 1822, 23 years after it was discovered in Egypt in 1799.

Rosetta Stone Champollion 1790-1832

How did he do it? He made the brilliant assumption that the stone, on which was inscribed the identical text in Demotic and ancient Greek, must have the exact same text in Egyptian hieroglyphics on it. And of course, he was right on the money. Here is were the principle of cross-correlation comes charging to the fore. If a given text in an unknown ancient text is on the same tablet as at least one other known language (and in this case two), a truly observant and meticulous philologist cannot but help to draw the ineluctable conclusion that the text of the unknown language must be identical to that of the known. Bingo!
But I hear you protest, there are no media upon which the identical text is inscribed where Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B are concerned. The medium on which texts in both Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B are inscribed is the clay tablet. While it is indisputably true that there exist no tablets on which the identical text is inscribed in Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B, upon close examination, we discover to our amazement that there is at least one tablet in Minoan Linear A which is potentially very close to another in Mycenaean Linear B, and that tablet is none other than Linear A HT 31 from Haghia Triada, on which the text, at least to a highly observant philologist, would appear to be very close to a text on a particular Linear B tablet. And that tablet, we discover to our amazement, is none other than Pylos tablet TA Py 631-1952 (Ventris). Armed with this assumption, I forged right ahead and made a direct comparison between the two. And what did I discover? Both tablets mention (almost) the very same types of vessels in at least 4 instances. Armed with this information, I simply went ahead and found, this time not to my amazement or even surprise, that I was – at least   tentatively – correct.

In the case of at least two words on both tablets, as it turned out, I was right on the money. These are (a) puko = tripod on HT 31 and tiripode = tripod on  Py TA 631-1952 (Ventris). This was the very first word I ever managed to decipher correctly in Minoan Linear A. My translation, as it turns out, is without a shadow of a doubt, correct. My excitement mounted. (b) The second is supa3ra or supaira on HT 31, which would appear to be almost if not the exact equivalent of dipa mewiyo = a small(er) cup on Py TA 631-1952 (Ventris), but without the handles on the latter. And as it turns out, I was again either close to the mark or right on it. Refer to our previous posts on the decipherment of these two words, and you can see for yourselves exactly how I drew these startling conclusions.

Another Linear B tablet which is a goldmine of Mycenaean vocabulary from which certain Minoan words may be indirectly extrapolated is Pylos tablet TA Py Un 718 L.

Pylos tablet PY Un 718 Chris Tselentis

By extrapolation of Minoan Linear A terms from their Mycenaean Linear B equivalents, I certainly do not mean that the former can be directly divined from the latter, since that is impossible, given that Mycenaean Greek is a known language whereas Minoan Linear A is unknown. What I mean is simply this: there is a good chance that a word which appears on a Minoan Linear A tablet which shares (almost) identical ideograms and relatively similar placement of (quasi-)identical text with its reasonably similar Mycenaean counterpart may share (approximately) the same meaning as its Mycenaean Greek counterpart. The clincher here is context. If the (quasi-)identical ideograms on both the Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B tablets appear strikingly alike, then we may very well have something substantial to go on. Pylos tablet TA Py Un 718 L is as close to an ideal candidate as there comes for such cross-correlation with tablets with similar text on one or more Minoan Linear A tablets.     

3. Parallel ideograms on Linear A and Linear B tablets:

The presence of apparently (very) similar ideograms for vessels on both of the aforementioned tablets only serves to confirm, at least tentatively for most of the words on vessels I have attempted to decipher, and conclusively for the two words above, that I am (hopefully) well on my way to a clear start at deciphering at deciphering a small subset of Minoan Linear A. For lack of space, I cannot give details this post, which is already long enough, but once again, previous posts reveal in much more detail this principle on which my decipherments are founded, and the methodology behind it which lends further credence my translations.

4. Archaeological evidence lends yet further credence to my decipherments of 4 of the largest vessel types on HT 31, namely, karopa3 or karopai, nere, qapai & tetu. The problem here is, which one of the largest is the largest of them all, being approximately equivalent to the Greek pithos? I cannot tell from the tablet. However, since my initial stab at decipherment, I have tentatively concluded that Minoan Linear A words terminating in the ultimate U are masculine singular for the very largest in their class. Hence,  it would appear at least that tetu is the most likely candidate for the equivalent to the ancient Greek pithos. I cannot as yet determine with any degree of certainty that this is so, but it is at least a start.

5. (the most important principle of all). It is critical to understand that Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B both dealt with inventories and the process of inventorying livestock, crops, military matters and commodities such as vessels and pottery and textiles. Based on this assumption, it only makes sense that a particular inventory on a Mycenaean Linear B tablet which appears very close to a similar one on a Minoan Linear A tablet (Cf. Linear B Pylos tablet TA Py 641-1952 (Ventris) and its strikingly similar counterpart Linear A tablet Haghia Triada HT 31) is quite likely to bear some fruit in at least a partial decipherment of the latter. And this proves to be the case, as I have amply illustrated in previous posts. I am therefore committed to working on the operating assumption and principle that Minoan Linear A tablets (approximately) parallel to their Linear B counterparts (See principle 2. above).  

These five principles form the foundation of the first steps that appear to yield relatively convincing results in the decipherment of the 18 words in Minoan Linear A I have tackled so far. Relying on the application of these four principles, either singly or in combination, we can, I believe, make some real headway in the decipherment of roughly 5% to 10 % of the terms on the Linear A tablets. The greater the number of these principles entering into the equation for the decipherment of any Minoan word in particular, the greater are our chances of “getting it right”, so to speak. This is a very good start.

Warning! Caveat: yet even the application of these 5 principles, singly or in tandem (and the more we can apply, the better) cannot guarantee that at least some of our “translations” are incorrect or even way off the mark, because some of them are bound to be just that. I have already discovered that my initial translation of kaudeta on Linear A tablets HT 13 and HT 31 is probably off-base. Time to return to the drawing board.

On the other hand, at least to date, it is virtually impossible to decipher any Linear A words on any tablet to which any or all of the aforementioned principles cannot be safely applied. This leaves hundreds of Minoan terms virtually beyond our reach. In other words, tablets on which Minoan vocabulary appears, but without any reference or link to the 4 principles mentioned above remain a sealed mystery. But that does not trouble me in the least.

Cross-Correlation: Present Tense Active of Mycenaean Verbs (Heady stuff!)

Cross-Correlation: Present Tense Active of Mycenaean Verbs (Heady stuff!)

Cross-Correlation: Present Tense Active of Mycenaean Verbs (Click to ENLARGE):

Progressive_Linear_B Grammatical Cross_Correlation Present_Tense Endings Attributed A & Derived D

We now introduce the endings, both Attributed [A] and Derived [D] for all persons of the Present Tense Active of 13 Mycenaean Verbs + 1 Derivative Verb [KATAKAUEE – to burn to the ground – from – KAUEE to burn] = 14.  Several forms for different persons of the present tense active of Mycenaean verbs are are Attributed [A], i.e. they are actually found on tablets.
A very few Linear B verbs, most notably EKEE (to have) have more attested forms for more persons than practically all others.  In fact, EKEE has Attributed [A] or attested forms for the infinitive, 1st. & 3rd. persons sing. & the 3rd. person plural. The second person singular and first and second persons plural are not to be found on any tablet.  However, this does not prevent us from deriving the first and second persons plural of the verb EKO, since these can be intuitively deduced from their Classical Greek equivalents. Since the evidence for the infinitive, and first & third persons sing. & pl. is incontrovertible, and these forms are almost identical to their much later Classical equivalents, we can pretty much safely conclude that the reconstruction of derived [D] forms of the 1st. & 2nd. persons plural will also faithfully correspond with their later equivalents, as for the verb “to have” for which I transcribe the entire conjugation of the present tense into Latin, so that those of you who cannot read Greek will instantly see the striking similarity between its Classical and Mycenaean conjugations.

echein (to have)
echo (I have)
echeis (you have)
echei (he/she has)
echomen (we have)
echete (you have)
echousi (they have)

[A] = Attributive [D] = derived
ekee (to have) [A]
eko (I have) [A]
eke (he/she has) [A]
ekome (we have) [D]
ekete (you have)  [D]
ekosi (they have) [A]

Oh and that reminds me, if anyone who knows Greek objects that the verb “echein” is irregular, that may be so, but not in the present tense active.  So the objection is entirely academic. 

So even though the Mycenaean Linear B 1st. & 2nd. persons plural are not to be found anywhere on the tablets, it is very easy to reconstruct or derive [D] them by means of Regressive Extrapolation from their much later Greek equivalents, which is precisely what I have done here.  But, you ask, why is the 2nd. person singular missing? Since the 2nd. person sing. of regular verbs in Classical Greek always ends with a consonant, for instance, as in echeis = you have, we would end up with EKEISE in Linear B, which I for one find difficult to justify, as I am only making a wild guess.  If there is one principle I hold as sacrosanct in my Theory of Progressive Linear B Grammar & Vocabulary, it is this: if the attempt to reconstruct any grammatical form whatsoever by means of Regressive  Extrapolation from its later Greek form to its putative Linear B equivalent results in a catch-22, then the Principle of Regression must not be applied, since to do so would invalidate it.  So I simply don't bother.  If there is any Linear B researcher out there who feels confident of the reconstruction of the 2nd. person sing. of the present tense in Linear B, I would be most grateful if that person would share his or her insights with me.

As for the derived [D] 1st. person plural in Linear B = EKOME, it is necessary to drop the final “n” of the Classical Greek “echomen”, since no Linear B word can end in a consonant.  All syllabograms must end in a vowel, and that is the end of it.  However, this in no way invalidates the Linear B form of the 1st. person pl. = EKOME, at least not to my mind.  The situation with the 2nd. person pl. = EKETE rests on firm ground, since it is for all intents and purposes identical to its Classical counterpart.  The same applies to the 3rd. person pl. = EKOSI, which is attested [A].  The Classical ending “OUSI”, sometimes written as “ONSI” is always rendered as “OSI” in Mycenaean Greek.  

One final observation: it just so happens that, whatever Attributed [A] forms survive for any person of the present tense of any regular Mycenaean verb, however few these may be – and in fact always are for most other verbs  – whenever and wherever they do appear, they are always identical to their corresponding forms in the Linear B verb EKO.  This applies to both Correlated verbs such as AKEE, APIKEE, APUDOKEE & TEKEE, for which the stem of the infinitive KE is identical to that of EKO, and for Cross-Correlated verbs, viz. those for which the infinitive ends with a different syllabogram, e.g. AKEREE, DOSEE, EREE, KAUEE, PEREE & WOZEE, since the conjugation of all regular verbs in both Classical Greek and Linear B is always the same.  A rose is a rose is a rose.  The conjugation of the present tense is the conjugation of the present tense... no need to belabour the point. This goes for Greek (ancient and modern), Latin, English, French, German, Italian, you name it, any Western language.  The endings of the present tense never vary for any regular verb. But what is really astonishing about the declension of the present tense active of regular verbs is that the conjugation scarcely changes at all in the 400-500 YEARS between the disappearance of Linear B and the advent of alphabetic Greek literature with the Iliad and Odyseey of Homer.

Now THAT is a mind blower! I lay particular emphasis on this incontrovertible phenomenon, since in the near future I will return to my observations in this regard, when I come to face head-on those (apparently envious) naysayers who deny that Linears B is Greek, and shatter their so-called arguments against Michael Ventris' brilliant decipherment.  And I have plenty of ammunition to back up my hypotheses.  It strikes me as particularly egregious that there are people, some of whom style themselves "researchers" of Linear B, take so much trouble to deprecate the grteat achievement of one such as Michael Ventris, one of those rare geniuses we ever get to really appreciate for all their worth. Do they fancy themselves more brilliant than Michael Ventris? That is like saying you are brighter than Albert Einstein!  I for one would never presume to even go there!      

The Principles of Correlation & Cross-Correlation dove-tail perfectly with this phenomenon. 

Had enough?  So have I. Let's give it a rest (for now).


Theory 3: The Principle of Cross-Correlation in Progressive Linear B Grammar – a giant leap forward

The Principle of Cross-Correlation in Progressive Linear B Grammar:


1 If you are not familiar with the fundamental principles of linguistics and/ or you cannot understand ancient Greek, it is highly advisable that you do not read this post, since it is almost certain it will leave you completely baffled even before you get half way through it. This is in no way a reflection on your intelligence, only on my native ability even to get all of what I am about to say across in a manner even approaching clarity. It is not critical to your learning the grammar of Linear B, as I will be expoundinig it, since all you really need to know is the grammar of Mycenaean Linear B itself, and nothing more. Mercifully, Mycenaean Linear B grammar will prove to be much simpler than classical Greek grammar. But the upside to this is that you will be in a much better position to learn ancient Greek once you know Mycenaean Greek, rather than the other way around. Doing it the other way around is liable to drive you half mad, as ancient Greek is notoriously difficult to get a handle on.

2. If you are a linguist or you do know ancient Greek, it is advisable to print out this entire post, so that you can read it at your leisure. Even for me, it is a bit of a “mind blower”.

That said, we are about to make the first GIANT leap in the refinement of the Theory of Progressive Linear B Grammar & Vocabulary. To date, I have enumerated the following 3 basic principles underlining the theory I am in the process of expostulating. Before we can move on to explaining the Principle of Cross-Correlation in Progressive Linear B Grammar, it is imperative that we understand as fully as possible all the principles leading up to it. Since the original post for each principle antecedent to the The Principle of Cross-Correlation has been posted on this blog, I am cross-referencing to that post, so that you can review my explanation of each principle, step by step, from the first to the fourth. These steps are:

1. The first, the Principle of Regression:

whereby I proceed from a particular standard ancient Greek grammatical form, for instance, the conjugation of the present tense of the verb e1xein (to have) using it as my point of reference or departure to apply retrospectively (i.e. in reverse chronology) to the quasi- “identical” grammatical form in Mycenaean Greek in this instance, the present tense of the Mycenaean verb EKO (to have) in order to reconstruct the conjugation of its present tense, in so far as I possibly can, by applying the conjugation of the present tense of its chronologically much later ancient Greek grammatical equivalent, here being the verb e1xein but only in those instances where it is patently clear that the much more ancient Mycenaean grammatical form is in fact (quasi-) identical to its chronologically much later equivalent. You will forgive me for repeating my terminology over and over, but I do so simply because it was a struggle for me to delineate this principle in the first place. So I suppose it will be the same for you. Still, once you have grasped this, the first Principle of Progressive Linear B Grammar, all subsequent principles should (hopefully) fall neatly into place.

In the application of the Principle of Regression, the chronologically much later ancient Greek grammatical form (in this case, the present tense of present tense of the verb e1xein (to have) thereby becomes the paradigm or template of its equivalent in Mycenaean Linear B, the verb EKO (to have).

2 The second Principle of Progression (covered in the same post above) is the actual reconstruction of the same grammatical form in question, here the present tense of the Mycenaean Linear B verb EKO from its much later ancient Greek conjugation, in so far as this is even feasible and practical. In the event, we soon discover that I am able to reconstruct all persons of the present tense of EKO, except the second person singular, for the reasons I postulated in the post referenced above, as we can see here:

Regressive Extrapolation Verb EKEE to have

In so far as the first two principles are concerned, the chronologically much later grammatical form which serves as the point of reference or departure, i.e. the template or paradigm, is called the source, while its Mycenaean Linear B counterpart is known as the target. I will be using these terms henceforth in any discussion of grammatical forms transferred from ancient Greek to their Mycenaean Linear B equivalents, so please bear them in mind at all times.

NOTE: where it is practically impossible to reconstruct the (presumed) Mycenaean target grammatical form from the sparsity of evidence from extant tablets, I shall not even venture to make such an attempt, since to do so would simply invalidate the procedure.

3 The third Principle of Correlation takes all other instances of the same grammatical form with the same root, to reconstruct them in Linear B, given the assumption that, if all grammatical forms of the source template are identical when their root is the same, then the equivalent target forms in Mycenaean Greek must also be identical when their root is either identical or equivalent to their source forms. This just so happens to be the case for the ancient Greek source verbs e1xein, a1gein, qh=kein and their Linear B equivalents EKEE, AKEE & TEKEE. All this is explained in excruciating detail here:

and hereby illustrated:

Mycanaean Verbs in KEE

What, you say?… if you happen to know ancient Greek. How can this be, when these 3 source verbs in ancient Greek do not share the same root?… or so it would appear. But in fact they do, because their roots, ending in e1x, a1g, qh=k respectively are all of the same class, in this instance, the gutturals x, g, k. The distinction between gutturals of the same source class simply vanishes in their Linear B equivalent, the target syllabogram KE, since it must do service for all three of the source gutturals. This is because Linear B has no way to distinguish between Greek variants of the same class, whether they be the gutturals, linguals or labials. But enough of that for now. Only people familiar with ancient Greek or the fundamental principles of linguistics will understand what I am talking about. So if are neither a linguist nor one who reads ancient Greek, just forget about it.

4 The Principle of Cross-Correlation:

The fourth Principle of Cross-Correlation takes the previous principle one step further, but this time it is a giant leap. Fortunately, it is a lot easier to explain, now that we have slogged our way through the mire of the first 3 principles. Starting with the specific case of the conjugation of all regular source verbs whose stem ends in x, g, k – xein, gein, kein in ancient Greek, we assume in principle that the same target verbs in Linear B with the same stem KE must all be conjugated just as they are in their source equivalents. The best analogy to this theoretical assumption may just well be Einstein’s Theory of Specific Relatively, although our theory hardly approaches Einstein’s in its complexity. The one thing the Theory of Progressive Linear B Grammar and Einstein’s Theory of Specific Relatively do have in common is that they are logically both mathematical constructs, at least to my mind.

Extrapolating from our example of the present tense of the aforementioned verbs with the same root in both ancient Greek (the source) and in Linear B (the target), we may now make the obvious leap from Specific Cross-Correlation to The General Principle of Cross-Correlation, whereby we claim that virtually all regular source verbs in ancient Greek with the same class of roots, regardless of class, must be conjugated the same way in Mycenaean Greek. Again, a comparison of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity helps us place the General Principle of Cross-Correlation into its proper context, but with one crucial difference. Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity is a theoretical system sufficient in and of itself, whereas the the General Principle of Cross-Correlation is merely one of several consecutive parallel principles all derived from the same theoretical construct, the General Theory of Progressive Linear B Grammar (and ultimately Vocabulary).

At this point in time, I am still a long way off from expostulating the General Theory of Progressive Linear B Grammar, but we have at last (and at least) arrived at the point where we can apply the General Principle of Cross-Correlation to absolutely any grammatical form in Linear B, whether verbal, adverbial, nominal, prepositional or modifying. Throughout the winter of 2014, I will be implementing the practical application of the first four principles, in their exact order in every case, to the reconstruction of every source verbal construct in ancient Greek for which it is possible to reconstruct the equivalent target construct in Mycenaean Linear B. Reconstructions will proceed from the present tense to the future, the aorist, perfect, optative, all the way through to the participles. A word of warning: it is far from possible to do so for a great many verbal constructs, for the simple reason that there are not enough examples of them on extant Linear B tablets to warrant any accurate reconstruction. In such cases, I simply won’t proceed. Reconstruction of the second person singular of the present tense of regular source (ancient Greek) verbs into their putative target (the second person singular) in Mycenaean Linear B is a case in point. I simply neither have enough evidence nor do I feel qualified “to go there”, as the saying goes. If any of you can crack it, all the more power to you. And if you can, please share your insights with me, because again, as the old saying goes, “two heads are better than one”, to which I would add, many heads are better than two.


In the reconstruction of any grammatical form in its target in Mycenaean Linear B, from its equivalent in its source, ancient Greek, it is necessary to follow each of these steps in order:

1 deconstruction on the Principle of Regression

2 reconstruction on the Principle of Progression

3 correlative reconstruction on the Principle of Correlation

4 complete reconstruction of an entire grammatical class on the Principle of Cross-Correlation

the last of which we no longer need to call the General Principle of Cross-Correlation, because that is what it is anyway.

Richard Vallance

THEORY 2.3.1: Correlation in Progressive Reconstruction of Linear B Grammar: Present Tense Active of Verbs in KEE

THEORY 2.3.1:Correlation in Progressive Reconstruction of Linear B Grammar: Present Tense Active of Verbs in KEE:

Having Applied the Principle of Regressive Extrapolation from the Ionic/Attic conjugation of e1xein to the same Mycenaean verb, EKEE, we are in the position to conjugate the present tense of most Linear B verbs, of which the stem of the present infinitive * ends with KEE, since almost all verbs of this class must be conjugated exactly the same way as EKEE.  This we achieve by correlating the conjugation of almost all Linear B verbs of which the stem of the present infinitive ends with KEE with the conjugation of our paradigm verb, EKEE.  This hypothesis is borne out by the correlation of the conjugation of the Mycenaean verb AKEE (Ionic/Attic a1gein), to lead, guide, with that of our paradigm verb, EKEE, to have:

Mycanaean Verbs in KEE

Any regular verb ending in KEE, for which the conjugation of the present tense active is derived from and identical to that of the paradigm verb, EKEE, I call a correlative verb.  Hence, AKEE is a correlative verb.

Theory Corollary 

As a corollary to Theory 3.3.1, we may safely assume that the conjugation of the paradigm verb (EKEE) and that of any derived, correlative verb, regardless of the verb and regardless of its attested or derivative forms, must be identical. In other words, once we have established the conjugation of the paradigm verb, EKEE, it makes no difference whatsoever whether or not any of its correlative verbs has only some of the attested forms present in the paradigm verb.  A rose is a rose is a rose.  Thus, the conjugation of any correlative verb must be the same as that of the paradigm verb, even if the correlative verb has only one attested form. I shall soon carry this principle even further. Those of you familiar with Linear B should readily deduce what the next is in the Principle of Correlation.

Irregular verbs ending KEE are not susceptible to the principle of correlation.

In the next post, I shall display a Table of Present Infinitives ending in KEE for attested verbs found on Linear B tablets (to the best of my knowledge).


* In Ancient Greek, the infinitive can be in the present, future aorist (simple past) or perfect tense, although in reality the tense of the Greek infinitive has little or nothing to do with time, but with aspect, a peculiarly Greek phenomenon, which I am not defining for the moment, for fear of confusing those of you unfamiliar with ancient Greek.  

** The ultima is the last syllable of a word.
The penult (penultimate) is the next to last syllable of a word, i.e. the second syllable before the end of a word.
The antepenult (antepenultimate) is the next to next last syllable of a word, i.e. the third syllable before the end of a word.