winter haiku d'hiver – the silvern moon = la lune argentée the silvern moon plays on our snow swept fields – come we'll share the hearth! la lune argentée illumine nos champs en neige – viens vers le foyer ! Richard Vallance * “silvern” is a neologism coined by my fellow haijin and dear friend, Ellie Brown. photo public domain
summer haiku d’été – in Holland’s lowlands = là aux Pays-Bas in Holland’s lowlands how windmills spin their spells! canal boats float by là aux Pays-Bas les moulins à vent tournent où flottent les chalands Richard Vallance Painting, “Tulip fields near the Hague” (1886) by Claude Monet (1840-1926) Peinture, « Les champs de tulipes près de la Haye » ( 1886 ) par Claude Monet ( 1840-1926 )
All-new complete decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 86 (Haghia Triada):
In the previous post, we witnessed the almost complete decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 95 (Haghia Triada). Now we are presented with a full decipherment down to the last word of HT 86 (Haghia Triada), which is practically a mirror-image of HT 95. This is the first time ever I have succeeded in deciphering two almost identical Linear A tablets inscribed entirely in Old Minoan (OM), the original Minoan substrate language. This constitutes a major advancement in the decipherment of Linear A, all the more so, since DAME & SARU appear on other Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada. So we are making at least some progress in the decipherment of the original Minoan substrate language, Old Minoan (OM).
Here is the decipherment of HT 86:
1. AKARU (in a) field, KUNI…
2. SU = emmer wheat + ideogram for “wheat” + fractions 20 +SARU = barley (sha’ir, Arabic) 20
3. DIDERU = emmer wheat QARA2WA = roasted wheat kernels 10
4. ADU = unit of dry measurement something like bushels + DAME = chickpea condiment + + ideogram for “wheat” fraction 20
5. MINUTE = finely sifted grain as in Egyptian hieroglyhics
1. AKARU (in a) field, KU…
2. NISU = emmer wheat + ideogram for “grain” 20 + SARU = barley (as above)
3. DIDE… (truncated) = DIDERU = emmer wheat, probably 10 or 20.
Linear A haiku: a fawn living in the fields
This haiku is entirely in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan (NM1), except for the word kasaru, which is Old Minoan, and apparently means “surviving (drought), at least from context on the tablet on which it appears (Haghia Triada HT 10). I have transcribed it into ancient Greek so that it fits with the rest of the haiku.
Just uploaded to academia.edu: Decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 86 Haghia Triada, a mirror image of HT 95: Linear A Tablet HT 86 (Haghia Triada) Linear A tablet HT 86 (Haghia Triada) appears to be inscribed partially in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan and partially in Old Minoan, just as is HT 95 (Haghia Triada). This is one of the most significant of all Linear A tablets, because it so closely parallels HT 95. The fact that the text of HT 86 so closely mirrors that of HT 95 lends further credence to our decipherment of both of these tablets taken together. We find approximately equal parts of Mycenaean-derived New Minoan and Old Minoan vocabulary on HT 86. Here we have the New Minoan vocabulary on HT 86: akaru, dideru (equivalent to Linear B didero), dame & minute Old Minoan vocabulary on HT 86: kunisu, saru, qara2wa (qaraiwa) & adu. We must pay special heed to the terms akaru and dideru in New Minoan, as these in turn signify " field " (archaic acc.), where all of these crops are obviously grown and didero, which is Linear A for " einkorn wheat ". As for the Old Minoan terminology, we have kunisu, which is " emmer wheat " and adu, which is a very large unit of dry measurement, probably " bales ". Astonishingly, the text as a whole admirably hangs together, all the more so when compared with that of HT 95.
Statistical incidence of various types of grains on Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada and elsewhere:
akaru = field HT 2 (20+) HT 86 X2 (20+ )
TOTAL = 40+
kireta2 (kiretai) = barley HT 85 (1) + HT 129 (33)
TOTAL = 34
kiretana = barley-like HT 2 (54+) HT 8 X 2 (5) HT 108 (1) HT 120 (60)
TOTAL = 120
dideru = einkorn wheat HT 86 X 2 (2nd. trunc.) (20) HT 95 X 2 (20)
TOTAL = 40
kunisu = emmer wheat HT 10 (0) HT 86 X 2 (40+) HT 95 X 2 (30)
TOTAL = 70+
[sara2 = flax HT 18 (10) HT 28 X 2 (21) HT 30 (0) HT 32-34 (0) HT 90 (20) HT 93 (20) HT 94 (5) HT 97 (0) HT 99 (4+) HT 100-102 (985+) HT 105 (234) HT 114 (10) HT 121 (5) HT 125 (2) HT 130 (0)
TOTAL = 1306+
+ saru (oblique case) HT 86 X 3 (41+) HT 95 X 2 (30) HT 123+124 (16 )
TOTAL = 87+
TOTAL for all references to flax = 1393]
spelt or millet
dame = spelt or millet HT 86 (20) HT 95 X2 (20) HT 120 (74)
TOTAL = 94
millet or spelt
qera2u/qera2wa = millet or spelt HT 1 (197) HT 95 X2 (17) TOTAL = 214
durare = durum wheat? Knossos KN Zc 7 (0)
TOTAL = 0
minute = a type of grain -or- “and for a month” HT 86 (20) HT 95 X2 (20) HT 106 (6+)
TOTAL = 46+
pura2 = a type of grain HT 28 (6) HT 116 (45) KN 54 (0)
TOTAL = 51
qanuma = ditto HT 116 (20) KH 88 (Khania) (10)
TOTAL = 20
standard units of measurement on all Linear A tablets:
adu HT 85 (0) HT 86 (0) HT 88 (20) HT 92 (680) HT 95 (0) HT 99 (0) HT 133 (55) (bales?)
TOTAL = 755
adureza (0) = standard unit of dry measurement, something like a bushel
dureza (7 ) = variant of the same
TOTAL = 7
kireza ( 42) = standard unit of measurement for figs, dates or grapes = 1 basket
TOTAL = 42
reza (67+ ) = standard unit of linear measurement
TOTAL = 67+
tereza (0) = standard unit of liquid measurement
© by Richard Vallance Janke 2017
Linear A vase rim inscription PE Zb 3 (Petras), terebinth trees:
The Linear A vase rim inscription PE Zb 3 (Petras) deals with terebinth trees, kitanasijase (instrumental plural), either surrounded by a (stone) enclosure or growing in a field. The inscription is entirely in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan. Since the Linear A word for terebinth tree, kitano (nominative masc. sing.) is all but identical to the Linear B word kitano, we can be quite certain that this tablet is inscribed in New Minoan.
On a passing note, I would like to point out that I have already deciphered over 60 Linear A tablets more or less accurately. That is far more than anyone has ever even attempted to decipher in the past.
RESEARCH paper: Supersyllabograms in the agricultural sector of the Mycenaean economy, by Rita Roberts academia.edu:
This essay constitutes Rita Robert’s first foray into major research in ancient Mycenaean linguistics on academia.edu. Rita has composed this highly scholarly article as the major component of her mid-term examination in her second year of university, exactly half way to her degree. Keeping up this pace, she is bound to perform outstandingly in her final essay of her second year, and in her third year thesis paper, which will be considerably more demanding than this study, and about twice as long.
I strongly recommend you to download this study here:
It makes for engaging reading in ancient linguistics research.
You can reach Rita’s academia.edu account here to view her other papers:
After 117 years, the Linear A vocabulary for 3 major grains (bran, wheat, barley) and for flax is conclusively deciphered:
Although decipherment of Linear A vocabulary for the primary Minoan grains has seemed beyond reach for the past 117 years, I believe that I may have actually cracked the vocabulary for at least 3 major Minoan grain crops, kireta2 (kiretai)/kiretana (attributive) = “barley”, dideru = “einkorn wheat”, kunisu = “emmer wheat” and for sara2 (sarai) = “flax”, while concurrently tackling 3 more grain crops, rumata(se), pa3ni (paini)/pa3nina (painina) (attributive), which I may or may not have managed to accurately identify. More on this below.
How did I manage to accomplish this feat? My first breakthrough came with the code-breaker, Linear A tablet HT 114 (Haghia Triada), on which appears the word kireta2 (kiretai). It just so happens that this is a match with the ancient Greek word, kritha(i) for “barley”, here Latinized:
Armed with this invaluable information, I then devised a procedure to extract the names of the other 2 major grains, dideru (Linear B equivalent, didero), and kunisu and for sara2 (sarai) from all of the Haghia Triada tablets. I selected the tablets from Haghia Triada because they mention grains far more often than any other extant Linear A tablets do, regardless of provenance, with the sole exception of Zakros ZA 20, which is a very close match with the many Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada dealing with grains.
The procedure I have adopted is tagged cross-comparative extrapolation (CCE). I scanned every last word related to grain on every last Linear A tablet from Haghia Triada, HT 1 – HT 154K on Prof. John G. Younger’s Linear A texts in phonetic transcription HT (Haghia Triada) for the recurrence and numerical frequency of each of these words. It strikes me as very odd that no one in the past 117 years since the first discovery of Linear A tablets at Knossos has ever thought of this or a similar cross-comparative procedure. While it is practically useless to try and extrapolate the meaning of each and every grain merely by examining them in context on any single Linear A tablet, regardless of provenance, because even in single tablet context, and even in the presence of other words apparently describing other type(s) of grain, we get absolutely nowhere, the outcome from cross-correlating every last one of these words on every last tablet from Haghia Triada paints an entirely different picture, a picture which is both comprehensive and all-embracing. Clear and unambiguous patterns emerge for each and every word, including the total incidence of all statistics for them all. The result is astonishing. The table below makes this transparently clear:
We see right off the top that all of the Haghia put together mention akaru, which means “field”, the equivalent of Linear B akoro, no fewer than 20 times! Additionally, the generic word for “wheat”, situ, corresponding to Linear B sito, surfaces 5 times. But this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Cross-comparative extrapolation of the next 4 grains has proven to be much more fruitful. The first of these is of course kireta2 (kiretai) ⁄ kiretana (attributive) for “barley”, which appears 149 times (!) on all of the Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada. I was definitely on to something big.
But the preliminary step I needed to take, before I actually attempted to identify the next 2 most common grains cultivated in the pre-Mycenaean and Mycenaean Minoan era, was to conduct a Google search on the 2 most common grains after barley grown in Minoan Crete. These are einkorn and emmer respectively. Returning to my cross-comparative extrapolative scan, I discovered the words dideru and kunisu recurring 40 times each. It just so happens that one previous researcher (whose name unfortunately escapes me for the time being, but whom I shall fully acknowledge when I publish my summary data on academia.edu) has accurately identified both of these types of wheat. As can be seen from the table above, these are dideru for “einkorn” and kunisu for “emmer” wheat respectively.
Moving on, fully realizing that sara2 (sarai) runs rampant on the Haghia Triada Linear A tablets, I discovered that this word recurs no less than 1321 times. Astonishing! But what does it mean? The answer was not long coming. The next most common crop the Minoans cultivated was flax, for the production of linen. Flax is not a grain, but is derived from flax flowers and seeds. This fully explains why sara2 (sarai) recurs with such astonishing frequency. Unlike the aforementioned grains, which would have been grown on a relatively restricted number of plots, in this case not exceeding 4o each, the number of flax flowers required to produce a sufficient flax harvest would have had to be very high… hence 1321. These stunning frescoes illustrate a male Minoan flax flower and a female flax seed gatherer:
Even from these 2 frescoes, we can easily see that the flax gatherers were kept busy picking what was required, a large flax crop, in this case running to 1321 flax seeds and flowers. No surprise here.
As a result of my exhaustive cross-comparative extrapolation of the first four Minoan crops, I have been able to define 3 of them for certain as grains, kireta2 (kiretai), dideru and kunisu, and one of them, sara2 (sarai) as flax. It is practically certain that all 4 definitions are correct. Hence, I have managed to isolate for the first time in 117 years the actual names of 4 major Minoan crops, barley, einkorn wheat, emmer wheat and flax.
However, when it comes to the next 5 crops, we run up against inescapable semiotic problems. What does each of these signifiers signify? There is no easy answer. On the other hand, I would have been remiss were I not to make a stab at extrapolating the names of these crops as well. It just so happens that the next most common grains after barley, einkorn and emmer cultivated by the Minoans were millet and spelt. And the next two words I extrapolated were rumata(se) and pa3ni (paini)/pa3nina/painina (attributive). But if one of them appears to be millet, the other is spelt, or vice versa. That is the conundrum. But the problem is compounded by the mystifying cumulative total statistics for each of these words, 1039 for rumata(se) and 1021 for pa3ni (paini)/pa3nina/painina (attributive). Why on earth are there so many recurrences of these 2 crops, when there are only 40 instances of dideru and kunisu? It does not seem to make any sense at all. Yet there is a possible explanation. While dideru and kunisu reference einkorn and emmer crops as crops per se, it would appear that rumata(se) and pa3ni (paini)/pa3nina/painina (attributive) refer to the seeds derived from the crops. It is the only way out of this impasse. However, it is not necessarily a satisfying answer, and so I have to reserve judgement on these definitions, which are interchangeable at any rate.
Next we have the ligatured logograms dare and kasaru, either of which might refer to the next most common crops, durum and lentils. But there is no way for us to corroborate this conclusion with any certainty. The verdict is out. Finally, the last word, kuzuni, might refer to 2 other, less common Minoan crops, either sesame or vetch for fodder. But once again, which one is which? Your guess is as good as mine.
Nevertheless, one thing is certain. Every last one of these words identifies a Minoan crop. While most of them are grains, three of them are certainly not. One of them is clearly flax (sara2/sarai) The other two may or may not be lentils or sesame. But they probably are one or the other, if they are not on the other hand durum or vetch. In short, there several permutations and combinations for the last 5. Yet the circumstantial evidence for the first 4 appears quite solid enough to justify the definitions we have assigned, barley, einkorn, emmer and flax. So at least this constitutes a major breakthrough in the identification of these 4 for the first time in 117 years.
I shall eventually be publishing a much more comprehensive draft paper on this very subject on my academia.edu account, either this summer or autumn. I shall keep you posted.
We have a new student of Mycenaean Linear B, our third, Dante Aramideh of Holland:
We have a new student of Mycenaean Linear B, our third, Dante Aramideh of Holland. Here are Dante’s first 2 translations.
She is 17 years old, and the youngest of our 3 students, the first being Rita Roberts of Crete, who is the senior of the three, and who has been with us since 2014, and who is by far our most advanced student, being as she is in her second year of university studies. Our second student to come on board is Thalassa Farkas of Canada, whose age falls in between that of Dante Aramideh and Rita Roberts. Thalassa is making rapid progress in learning how to decipher Mycenaean Linear B, as attested by her translation of these two tablets:
Both Dante and Thalassa are familiar with alphabetical ancient Greek, while Rita Roberts is learning it.
Rita Roberts’ translation of Knossos Linear B tablet KN 946 G a 303 (mid-term, second year university): Trust me, this is not an easy tablet to translate. ... with a translation into archaic ancient Greek added by Richard Vallance Janke.
Rita Roberts’ first two translations of Linear B tablets for her second year of university, rams and ewes on a lease field: Here we see Rita Roberts’ first two translations of Linear B tablets for her second year of university, both of them concerning rams and ewes on a lease field: Rita made a couple of small errors in her translations, which I have corrected on the tablets as illustrated above. Her first error was to have omitted the ideogram for “rams” on the first line of Linear B tablet KN 1069 F b09. Although the ideogram is partially effaced, it is clearly that for “rams”, because we can still see the two parallel bars. In addition, the number of rams given in the effaced part of the tablet is lost. Since we shall never know what their number was, I have replaced it by a question mark (?) on the tablet above. On the same tablet, she refers to “units” of wool, which are generally referred to as “bales”. On Linear B tablet KN 1084 E e 321, for some strange reason, she omitted “at Phaistos” on the second line. Nevertheless, her initiation into Linear B tablets in the agricultural sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean may be considered a success. We look forward with anticipation to her future translations. Although I cannot possibly post all of them, as they run into the hundreds, I shall be posting some of the most intriguing in the near future and beyond.