An Easy Guide to Learning the Linear C Syllabary for Arcado-Cypriot & a Plea to our Followers

An Easy Guide to Learning the Linear C Syllabary for Arcado-Cypriot & a Plea to our Followers: Click to ENLARGE

Easy Guide to Learning Linear C Arcado-Cypriot
I have just spent 3 hours compiling this Easy Guide to Learning the Linear C Syllabary for Arcado-Cypriot. There is nothing like it on the entire Internet. I have obviously done this for the benefit of those of you who wish to learn the syllabary, and for those of you who are already familiar with it, but who would like to see for yourselves just how elegant the geometric economy of Linear C is, even in comparison with Linear B for Mycenaean Greek. Linear C contains only syllabograms, whereas Linear B has 61 syllabograms, numerous homophones, logograms something like 100 ideograms, which makes for a much more challenging learning curve. In fact, Linear C represents the final step in the two syllabic scripts (B & C) before the various avatars of the ancient Greek alphabet were adopted ca. 800-700 BCE. And we must remember that the relative simplicity of Linear C allowed it to last from ca. 1100 BCE to at least 400 BCE, since the Arcadians and Cypriots could see no real reason to abandon what was after all a very easy syllabary for the Greek alphabet, although they did start using the Greek alphabet alongside the syllabary by about the seventh century BCE. The Idalion Tablet, for instance, is composed in both Linear C and in the Greek alphabet, the latter acting as a check on the accuracy of the Linear C syllabograms, and in turn, as we shall see later on this year, as a check on the Linear B syllabograms as well, facilitating more accurate translations of tablets in the latter syllabary.

Michael Ventris & Prof. John Chadwick were fully aware of the urgent need for cross-correlation of the values of the Linear C syllabary used for writing Arcado-Cypriot Greek as a check on the correctness of the Linear B syllabary for Mycenaean Greek. We must always keep in mind that of all the ancient dialects, no two were more intimately related than the Mycenaean and the Arcado-Cypriot, which were in fact, kissing cousins, much more closely related even than Ionic and Attic Greek. Here is what Prof. Chadwick so aptly points out in The Decipherment of Linear B (Second Edition) Cambridge University Press, © 1970:The conclusion was already advanced that the new dialect was most closely related to Arcadian and Cypriot, as had been predicted...” (pg. 78) & again, “We know not only that the Mycenaeans were Greeks, but also what sort of Greek they spoke. They were not Dorians,... passim...  But at least we can say that linguistically their nearest relatives were the Arcadians and Cypriots, and next to them the Ionians.” Thus, any attempt to correlate the East Greek Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot dialects with the West Greek Dorian dialect is bound to prove a failure.

I WOULD LIKE TO NOTE IN PASSING THAT, AFTER ALMOST TWO YEARS OF MARKED SUCCESS WITH OUR BLOG ON THE INTERNET, ALMOST NO-BODY EVER TAGS OUR POSTS WITH “LIKE” OR FAVORITES THEM, OR FOR THAT MATTER EVEN BOTHERS TO RETWEET THEM MORE THAN A COUPLE OF TIMES, ALL THIS IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THERE IS NO RICHER SOURCE FOR SO MANY ASPECTS OF MYCENAEAN LINEAR B, ARCADO-CYPRIOT LINEAR C & THE TRANSLATION OF THE ENTIRE CATALOGUE OF SHIPS IN BOOK TWO OF THE ILIAD ON THE INTERNET. That this is a huge disappointment and source of discouragement to both myself and my research colleague, Rita Roberts, is an understatement, to say the very least. I sincerely hope that our devoted followers and other folks involved in research into Linear B & C will rectify this sad state of affairs all through this year, 2015.

Thank you


CRITICAL POST: The Present and Imperfect Tenses of Reduplicating – MI – Verbs in Linear B

CRITICAL POST: The Present and Imperfect Tenses of Reduplicating – MI – Verbs in Linear B [Click to ENLARGE):

linear b mi verbs present and imperfect tense
NOTE: If you are a researcher in Linear B, it is highly advisable that you read and thoroughly digest this post in its entirety, as it constitutes a major milestone in the exegesis of my Theory of Regressive Linear B Grammar & Vocabulary.  Failure to read this post may result in an inability to further confirm or reject, either in whole or in part, the premises upon which my entire theory rests.
Athematic – MI –verbs are shared in large part by Greek and and Sanskrit, respectively the Occidental & Oriental agnates or close/near descendents of the same extremely ancient (proto-) Indo-European class.  All verbs of this athematic class invariably share the standard ending –  mi –  in the 1st. person sing. of the present tense.

Ancient Greek and Indic (Sanskrit) are similar in many respects, which may strike some as surprising since they cross the hypothetical “satem/centum” line, which the Occidental sub-class (all ancient Greek dialects & Latin & its dialects) treats the Proto IE gutturals as hard (Gr.e9kato/n Lat. centum = 100,) as against Sanscrit, chatam, and Old Persian, satem. But there are so many structural affinities, from parallel verb forms down to musical pitches, that some special connections must have existed between and prior to these two groups, which appear to have almost certainly sprung from the same Proto IE ancestral language. On the other hand, while Sanskrit is normally considered solidly IE, less than 40% of Greek vocabulary and grammar appears to derive directly from Proto IE roots, giving rise to the hypothesis that other extra-structural factors are surely involved in the evolution of ancient Greek. This phenomenon, peculiar to Greek alone, may also have significant implications for the eventual decipherment of Linear A. But this is mere speculation on my part.  Still... you never know. At any rate, I intend eventually to follow this avenue of approach, my small contribution to the eventual decipherment of at least a tiny substrate (superstrate?) of Linear A sometime in 2016.

Seminal Characteristics of Athematic MI Verbs:

Athematic MI verbs are characterized, for the most part, by their own unique set of endings, although the 2nd. and 3rd. plurals are virtually the same as those of the Thematic so-called “regular” verbs in ancient Greek. It would appear, then, that “regular” verbs retained the athematic 2nd. and 3rd. plurals of their ancestors, the athematic Mi verbs, while casting all other athematic endings aside.

Reduplication in the Present Tense:

The most striking phenomenon of MI verbs is reduplication in the present tense, which is restricted to perfect formations of “regular” thematic verbs in ancient Greek. This state of affairs raises two critical questions in my mind: [1] are so-called “regular” verbs in ancient Greek derived from the more ancient athematic  MI verbs, or did they simply borrow the athematic endings of the athematic 2nd. and 3rd. plurals the ancestral MI verbs? Later this year, I shall demonstrate the apparent yet quite possibly significant link between the SI endings of the present indicative and san endings of the perfect indicative in both classes of verbs, thematic and athematic. Another truly striking similarity between the more archaic and early “regular” forms in Homeric Greek is the sharing of the SI ending in the dative plural. I am highly inclined to stress the statistically probable significance of these endings, in both their verbal and nominal forms, shared by their more ancestral and and early “regular” forms in both Mycenaean and Homeric Greek.

This phenomenon will re-appear frequently in both the attested [A] and derivative [D] forms of the 3rd. person plural of all verbs, thematic or athematic regardless and in the SI ending of the dative plural, not only in Homeric, but also in Mycenaean Linear B, which attests to their extreme antiquity in ancient Greek. The fact that these forms were already fully developed in Mycenaean Greek strongly points to the likelihood that they arose from the earliest ancestral (proto-) Greek of Mycenaean and Homeric Greek alike (above all in the Catalogue of Ships in Book II of the Iliad). All of these grammatical constructs are already firmly rooted in Mycenaean and Homeric Greek, giving rise to my hypothesis that it is not only possible, but highly feasible to regressively reconstruct huge chunks of Mycenaean Greek grammar and vocabulary from their (quasi-direct) descendent, the Homeric Greek of (the Catalogue of Ships) of the second Book of the Iliad.

All of this raises another hypothetical question in my mind: did there exist ancestral forms of thematic verbs in ancient Greek which shared all or most of their endings, in all tenses, with their (apparently) more ancient MI counterparts, giving rise to the hypothesis that both athematic and thematic verbs were derived from even more ancient verbal constructs, in which all remotely ancient (proto-) Greek verbs were in fact athematic? That this is possible, and even probable, is reinforced by the uncontested fact that in Sanskrit both MI and O verbs alike share reduplication, meaning there is no marked distinction between “thematic” and “athematic” verbs in Sanskrit, in other words, they are of one and the same class. This phenomenon then reappears in a restricted number of Latin perfects, like tutudi from tundo "beat", old tetuli from thw stem tul- which supplements the forms of Latin. fero (Gr.fe/rw ). Since Latin developed in parallel with ancient Greek, but independently from the latter, this then raises the question yet again, how on earth can it be that such reduplication occurs in Latin but not in Greek, unless there is a possibility (however remote) that reduplication occurred in both thematic and athematic verbs of their proto-Greek and proto-Latin ancestors?

If indeed that is the case, then it would appear that proto-Greek and proto-Latin shared this seminal characteristic with not only Sanskrit, but proto-Sanskrit, and hence, by inference, with the proto IE ancestor of all three of these languages. If this is that case, it necessarily follows that both the thematic O endings and athematic MI endings share one and the same singular ancestor, which must have been neither thematic nor athematic, but one and the very same root of both classes. So I have to wonder out loud whether thematic O and athematic MI verbs in Sanskrit, Mycenaean Greek and Homeric Greek alike all derive from a single class of verbs, embodying the characteristics of both of these classes of verbs. If that is even remotely a possibility, then we cannot afford to ignore it, since it allows us to regressivly reconstruct, to some degree at least, even some of the tenses of the Proto-IE ancestor of all of these languages. Wouldn't that be a revelation? Of course, all this is speculation on my part, but I love to indulge in speculative hypotheses, if there is even a remote chance that someday some of them may prove to be sound.

Only time and future refinements in the science of linguistics may lend some credence to the hypotheses I am making here. If anything, computational linguistics and the great leaps in the application of artificial intelligence to linguistic theory (-ies) are likely to give rise to even more speculative hypotheses, hypotheses which may yet prove to rest on a much more solid foundation in applied linguistics than we can hope to approach at present. We shall see.

In other words, the foundation of my theory of the Regressive Reconstruction of Mycenaean Linear B grammar and vocabulary rests firmly on the regressive extrapolation of all such forms from he Homeric Greek of (the Catalogue of Ships) of the second Book of the Iliad or from any of the following dialects, Cypriot Linear C (above all others), Aeolic, Arcadian and early Ionic Greek, all of which appear to have been (quasi-) direct descendents of Mycenaean Greek. Doric Greek does not properly enter into the equation.


On thing, however, is certain: the athematic – mi – verbs, in all tenses & moods, and in the all-pervasive participial constructions in ancient Homeric Greek must have been already firmly entrenched in Mycenaean Greek, from the simple observation of the facts, namely, that at least some these forms of all tenses, moods and participles are already almost all attested [A] on Mycenaean Linear B tablets. And even where some forms of all tenses, moods and participles in verbs are not to be found on any Linear B tablets, enough of them are attested for us to be able to reasonably reconstruct them in their entirety or at least in part from the attested forms.

And what applies to verbs, applies also to all other parts of speech in Mycenaean Linear B (nouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and even formulaic phrases shared with Homeric Greek). These happily fortuitous antecedents in Linear B to their later counterparts in Homeric Greek recur quite frequently enough for me to be able to regressively reconstitute the Linear B forms from their subsequent Homeric forms. This, in a nutshell, is the entire premise of the Theory of Regressive Linear B as I intend to clearly demonstrate in the reconstruction of large chunks of ancestral Mycenaean Greek grammar and vocabulary, both attributed [A] and derivative [D] from its direct descent, Homeric Greek, and in particular the frequent occurrences of archaic Greek in Book II of the Iliad, in which in turn even more archaic forms frequently recur in the Catalogue of Ships (lines 484-789), the most reliable source for ancestral Mycenaean Greek grammar and vocabulary in the entire Iliad. Concomitantly, and once again happily, any of the following dialects, Cypriot Linear C (above all others), Aeolic, Arcadian and early Ionic Greek also well serve the purpose as direct and indirect descendents of Mycenaean Greek, from which it is feasible to regressively extrapolate grammatical and terminological constructs in Linear B.  Doric Greek, however, does not enter into the equation, since the Dorian invasion transpired after the fall of Mycenaean civilization.


2 Plausible Alternative Decipherments of Pylos Tablet cc 665

2 Plausible Alternative Decipherments of Pylos Tablet cc 665. Be sure to read the entire text and the accompanying notes to the Linear B tablet Pylos cc 665, in which I have transcribed the scribe's Linear B into the Linear B font for clarity, & translated into Greek & into English. (Click to ENLARGE):


Come to think of it, the second translation is actually absurd (and uproariously funny, since there is no way in heaven or on earth the Mycenaeans could cram that many rams and pigs into one of their little ships, without displacing all of the rowers and sinking the ship, unless of course they brought them to Potnia in a small armada, (kind of like they sent off to the Trojan war), which she would certainly would have appreciated! The Table above is entirely self-explanatory, but it is even easier to interpret in light of the previous 2 posts, An Analysis of the Archaic Greek in the Iliad: Book II (Lines 1-34) & The Extreme Significance of the Archaic Greek of the Catalogue of Ships in Book II of the Iliad in the Reconstruction of Mycenaean Greek grammar and vocabulary, which is the fundamental thesis of this blog. You may wish to go back and re-read those posts to get an even clearer perspective on the decipherments I propose here. Criticism and comments are welcome, especially from our new friends at our brand-new sister blog, Konoso, which I am delighted to have discovered. You can jump immediately to the Konoso blog by clicking on the Link to it in Friends & Links at the bottom of this page. Enjoy!