summer haiku – the saffron goddess = la déesse du safran

summer haiku – the saffron goddess = la déesse du safran

séa saraí
sápa punikása
adakísika *

* The Linear A text of this haiku is absolutely beautiful! Read it for yourself.  Just let the words flow off your tongue, with the stress on the syllables marked with an acute accent. The ancient Minoan language was spoken from around 1,700 – 1,500 BCE. My colleague, Alexandre Solcà and I are in the process of deciphering it. The script it is written in, which appears first in the haiku/haiga above, is called a syllabary, in which each “syllable” consists of a consonant + a vowel, as opposed to an alphabet, in which we find both single consonants and vowels. We believe it is proto-Greek, the immediate predecessor of ancient Greek.

the saffron goddess
her crimson dress
adorned with ivy

la déesse du safran
sa robe cramoisie embellie
de lierre

Richard Vallance

The third example of Cretan ideograms/logograms, Malia label Mu MA/M Hf, possibly decipherable

The third example of Cretan ideograms/logograms, Malia label Mu MA/M Hf, possibly decipherable:

Cretan label Malia Quartier Mu MA M Hf

Click on the label, FRAGRANTICA, for more information about saffron as an ancient aromatic.

This is the third example of Cretan ideograms/logograms, Malia label Mu MA/M Hf. Surprising as it is, this label may be largely decipherable. It is subdivided into 3 sections. The first S1 is blank. The second, S2, appears to spill over from the first side to the second, while the third, S3, is found on the second side alone. The first ideogram in S2 (section 2) is probably the one for “saffron”, while the second is still indecipherable. The third is clearly some sort of representation of a woman. The X, which is indecipherable, is followed by the number 100. S2 continues on side 2, which begins with what is clearly the ideogram for “textiles/cloth”, followed by what appear to be 3 ideograms for “sword(s)”. If these 3 ideograms in fact designate “swords”, they are practically identical to those for “swords” in Linear B. Section 3 (S3) begins with what appears to be an ideogram for “garment(s)”, followed once again by textiles, and followed in turn by an indecipherable ideogram, which might possibly relate to cutting, S3 ending with the number 100.

A partial decipherment might read: aromatic saffron + ? + a weaver or weavers (all weavers were women) weaving 100 rolls of cloth, 3 of which serve to wrap 3 swords in + 100 garments of some kind of (cut) textiles (saffron dyed?).

How can so-called Cretan hieroglyphs be hieroglyphs when there are only 45 of them?

How can so-called Cretan hieroglyphs be hieroglyphs when there are only 45 of them?

Until now most researchers have simply assumed that the 45 Cretan symbols (by my count), exclusive of numerics, must be hieroglyphs. But the evidence appears to gainsay this hypothesis. As the table below makes quite clear, there are only 45 Cretan symbols, to which

only 27 may possibly/probably/definitely be assigned meanings.

possible or probable or definite known Cretan hieroglyphs

The significance of the remaining 18 are currently beyond the bounds of decipherment:

ALL unknown Cretan seal symbols

So this lands us with a total of only 45 Cretan symbols. If and when we compare this number with the approximately 1,000 Egyptian hieroglyphs, the whole notion that the Cretan symbols are hieroglyphs comes apart at the seams and is shattered.

sample of 1000 Egyptian hieroglyphs

And that is not the end of it. There are anywhere between 600 and 1,000 symbols in Cuneiform.


So once again, the massive proliferation of symbols, i.e. hieroglyphs, in Egyptian, and of symbols in Cuneiform make a mockery of the notion that the Cretan symbols are hieroglyphs. But if they are not hieroglyphs, what are they? It would appear that they are ideograms or logograms on seals and nodules which serve to tag the contents of the (papyrus) documents they seal. This hypothesis makes a lot of sense, since almost all Cretans and Minoans, administrators, merchants and consumer, were illiterate. These people were probably able to master the minimal number of 45 ideograms and logograms which we find on 100s of surviving seals. But while the illiterate hoy polloi could not read the script on the sealed papyrus (or leaf tablets sometimes), the scribes most definitely could. This leaves us open to yet another hypothetical question? What is the script of the texts? How many symbols or syllabograms (if the latter yet existed) would have been required to write the papyrus or inscribe the leaf tablets? Was this script, if script it was, an early form of Linear A, such as Festive Linear A? Or was it actually Linear A? This question or hypothesis demands further investigation.