What do all those supersyllabograms in Linear B associated with the ideogram for “saffron” mean? In response to a recent query by a research colleague of mine regarding the use of 4 key supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B (A, TI, RO & WE) related to the harvesting and production of saffron, I am reposting this table: It is clear that each of these 4 supersyllabograms functions in its own unique way. I sincerely hope that this reposting clears up any ambiguities that may have previously persisted.
Stunning Minoan fresco, Akrotiri, figs & Linear A tablet Zakros ZA 1, kireza = measurement of figs by the basket: This stunning fresco from Akrotiri, featuring the typical Minoan “blue monkey” motif, fanciful animals on a celestial backdrop of figs is truly amazing! It is one of my favourite Minoan-style frescoes by far. Immediately below it we find Linear A tablet Zakros ZA 1, on which the word kireza is inscribed. This word is so strikingly similar to the standard Minoan Linear A units of measurement, reza = standard unit of (linear) measurement adureza = standard unit of dry measurement tereza = standard unit of liquid measurement (e.g. Wine) that it is rather difficult to imagine it could be anything but a unit of measurement. However, I have only seen it used in conjunction with figs on any Minoan Linear tablet, and in fact, this is the only Minoan Linear A tablet on which kireza appears. Now the question is, what is the base unit of measurement of figs kireza refers to? Given that the number of kireza on this tablet is 42, it would appear that it is a relatively large standard unit of measurement. And the unit which leaped to my mind was (and is) a basket of figs, by which I mean a basket which can be carried on one’s shoulders. Additionally, as can be inferred from the Akrotiri fresco, women were tasked with gathering figs. This is the fifty-sixth (56) word in Minoan Linear A I have deciphered more or less accurately.