Translation of Linear B tablet, KN 581a R ? 03, Knossos, by Rita Roberts:
Linear A fragment HT 55 (Haghia Triada) RECTO: wool and silk dress of a priestess: The RECTO of this fragment probably deals with wool and silk textiles. The word KIRO, which appears to mean “box” or “chest”, may imply that there is a silken garment trimmed with wool in a chest. But there is no way to substantiate this as this is a fragment, and so the words do not necessarily string together in any way which makes any real sense. The fragment may imply that a Minoan priestess is wearing a dress of silk trimmed with wool (hence the instrumental singular for wool), which has been recently stored in or is still stored in a chest to retain its freshness. Notice in the modern recreation photo on the left that the trim on the woman’s dress appears to be of wool. Perhaps she is a priestess of one of the peak sanctuaries. This makes sense, as there were many peak sanctuaries in Minoan Crete. Post revised courtesy of Jean-Philippe Gingras.
Linear A tablet ZA 14 (Zakros) appears to be almost entirely inscribed in Mycenaean-derived Greek:
Linear A tablet ZA 14 (Zakros) appears to be almost entirely inscribed in Mycenaean-derived Greek. The only exception is the word tumitizase, which from the context very likely means “linen”, one of the most highly prize cloths or textiles in Minoan/Mycenaean times. All of the other Mycenaean derived words have been adjusted to meet the exigencies of Minoan grammar. Comments: Megidi almost certainly is in a Minoan oblique case. Given that I have extrapolated 5 more words with the ultimate di: dimedi, medakidi, mekidi, sekadidi and sekidi, it appears that this case may be the genitive singular, probably masculine. Further research is required to substantiate this claim, if at all possible. Mycenaean-derived punikaso is such a striking match with Linear B poinikiyo that it almost certainly means Phoenician. With reference to textiles, this word signifies “crimson”. In addition, qatiju is a close match with ancient Greek, geitheo (here Latinized) = to delight in, which in Minoan grammar is rendered as qatiju, i.e. gatheiu. Also, we have kupi = xhoufi from xhous, “in liquid measure” and panuke = fanuthe from fanos, meaning “brightly washed” and finally jawi for iawi = in violet (Greek).
To summarize, the decipherment makes perfect sense if all the vocabulary is interpreted as being Mycenaean-derived, except for tumitizase, which context practically demands signifies “linen”, the Old Minoan word corresponding with Linear B rino.
This remarkable decipherment lends even further credence to the hypothesis that a Mycenaean-derived superstratum imposed itself on the Minoan substratum. I have already deciphered at least six Linear A tablets which are primarily inscribed in Mycenaean-derived Greek, along with more inscribed in an admixture of Old and New Minoan.
Minoan Costume History synopsis: a wonderful site! You simply have to check this site out! I have never seen such an in-depth study on Minoan costume, female and male alike, on the Internet. Here is just a small excerpt: An era of great development, contemporaneous with the civilization of ancient Egypt and Phoenicia, and which may be dated about 2000-1500 B.C., had preceded the civilization that came from Asia Minor into Crete and Greece. Such fragments of Cretan culture as have come down to us reveal a beauty of technique and a delicate sense of form to which no contemporaneous civilization provides any parallel. (italics mine). It is certainly true that the Minoans were far more style-conscious than people of any other contemporaneous civilization, such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians and Hittites. No question about it. Owing to the lack of written records, the processes and methods of manufacture are still wrapped in obscurity, but although we are thus reduced to surmise regarding the materials used, the dress of that time is of the highest interest in view of its connexion with the costumes of other peoples. Our attention is especially attracted by the dress worn by the women. The slim, wiry figures of the men are clothed almost universally with a loincloth, richly patterned and splendidly decorated. Here and there we see wide cloaks that clothe the whole body, giving it a large appearance. Women also, it would seem, wore the short loincloth, but we find them wearing in addition skirts put together in an almost fantastic manner that betrays a highly developed knowledge of the technique of dressmaking. These skirts are constructed in tiers, separated by strips of rich ornamentation. Illustrations from this site (there are many more, just as striking as these!)
The lovely Minoan Camp Stool or Footstool Fresco fragment KN 1521 X m 50: This is a particularly fascinating fragment. First of all, I never imagined I would ever be able to find a picture, and better than that, an actual fresco of a Minoan camp stool or footstool. Mais une fois l’affaire cherchée, les voilà trouvés, deux tabourets exquis ! Once searched, once found, two exquisite stools! Just my luck. Secondly, have a look at the scribe’s hand. Beautiful!... especially the way he stylizes NU. Three florid variations on just one syllabogram. For that matter, the same phenomenon recurs with RA. He must have been in love and wanted to give a least one of the footstools to his darling. Just kidding! Quite impressive and quite an impressive fragment, unique, one of a kind.
Linear B tablet KN 641 R j 02, textiles painted red: Linear B tablet KN 641 R j 02 repeatedly refers to textiles painted red (3 times) and apparently to textiles painted purple, once only. The word Oapapa appears to be a woman’s name (very likely Minoan), which suits the context quite well. The word kekareareiyo, in the genitive case, also appears to be a type of cloth, given that it is (probably) followed by the word POpureya (right-truncated after the initial syllabogram PO), meaning that whatever type of cloth it is, it is not purple. The word papeya = farpeia on line 4 is also almost certainly a type of cloth, since it is painted red. The units of textiles referred to are most likely rolls or skeins. Several place names are mentioned, so the textile industry for dying cloth is apparently widespread. The peculiar thing is that the toponyms are all minor place names.
Linear B tablets dealing with gold cloth (supersyllabogram KU incharged): The 3 Linear B tablets above all deal with gold cloth. The supersyllabogram KI incharged in the ideogram for pawea = textiles indicates that the cloth is made of gold = kuruso in Linear B. The translations are completely transparent. The only problem is with the right-truncated syllabogram A on the first fragment. This could be the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of at least 5 Mycenaean Greek words as illustrated above. Take your choice. My favourite is “decorated”, although I also particularly like “silver”, since cloth woven with silver and gold would be extremely precious. The following picture illustrates two Minoan women wearing dresses with gold weaving.