Proto-Greek Decipherment of Minoan Linear A silver pin from Mavro Spelio (Middle Minoan III = MM III) in the Heraklion Museum, Greece: This decipherment of Minoan Linear A silver pin from Mavro Spelio (Middle Minoan III = MM III) in the Heraklion Museum, Greece relies rather heavily on the debatable notion that Minoan Linear A is by and large proto-Greek, a theory espoused by Urii Mosenkis, one of the world’s most highly qualified linguists specializing in diachronic historical linguistics, including, but not limited to Minoan Linear A. Accordingly, I have deliberately interpreted ample chunks of the Minoan Linear a vocabulary on this silver pin as being proto-Greek, even though such a decipherment is surely contentious, at least in (large) part. While the first line of my decipherment makes sense by and large, the second is more dubious. It is apparent that the Minoan Linear A word dadu on the first line is almost certainly not proto-Greek, but the last two syllables of dadumine, ie. mine appear to be the dative singular for the (archaic) Greek word for month, i.e. meinei (Latinized), such that the decipherment of this word at least would appear to read “in the month of dadu”. There is nothing really all that strange or peculiar about this interpretation, since we know the names of the months neither in Minoan Linear A nor in Mycenaean Linear B. However, a definite note of caution must be sounded with respect to the decipherment of this word, as well as of all of the other so-called proto-Greek words on this silver pin, since none of them can be verified with sufficient circumstantial evidence or on the contrary. Hence, all translations of putative proto-Greek words in Minoan Linear A must be taken with a grain of salt. While the second line on this pin, if taken as proto-Greek, makes some sense, it is much less convincing than the first, especially in light of the trailing word at the end, tatheis (Greek Latinized, apparently for the aorist participle passive of the verb teino (Latinized) = to stretch/strain, which actually does not make a lot of sense in the context. Nevertheless, it would appear that at least some of the Minoan Linear A words which I have interpreted as being proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean may in fact be that. I leave it up to you to decide which one(s) are and which are not, if any in fact are. Additionally, even if a few or some of them are proto-Greek, they may fall within the pre-Greek substratum. The most dubious of the so-called proto-Greek words on this pin probably are qami -, tasaza & tatei, since none of these are likely to have fallen within the pre-Greek substratum. But if the Minoan language itself is not proto-Greek, then what is it? I shall have ample occasion to address this apparently thorny question in upcoming posts and especially in my second article on the decipherment of Minoan Linear A, which I shall be submitting to Archaeology and Science by no later than April 17, 2017.
Tag Archive: Heraklion
Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae 2014: The Year in Review and then some, our new blog, Transcendence and The Singularity, in 2015 Although our blog is only 20 months old, it has assumed a prominent rôle as one of the Internet’s primary resources on current research into Mycenaean Linear B and much more besides. We are also the fist and foremost source for the ongoing study of Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, for which until now very few adequate resources have existed on the Internet. We have carefully classified our blog into several main Categories, which appear right at the top of the Home Page of our blog, as you see here: Click to ENLARGE The Categories of PRIMARY concern to ourselves and, we hope, to all of us worldwide who are deeply committed to the furtherance of research into Mycenaean Greek & Linear B, as well as into Arcado-Cypriot and Linear C, are highlighted in UPPER CASE. This does not imply that the other Categories are not important. They are. It is just that we devote less of our time and resources to them than to the PRIMARY Categories. In our first full year of operation, 2014, we set out to reach certain goals, and we are pleased to announce that we have attained or exceeded them all. These are prioritized as follows: 1. The theory and practical implementation of the new theory of SUPERSYLLABOGRAMS in Mycenaean Linear B. While Prof. John Chadwick, Michael Ventris, Prof. Thomas G. Palaima and Chris Tselentis were all aware of the existence of supersyllabograms in one form or another, and while the latter three had each isolated certain instances of their appearance in Linear B, none of them actually “defined” them as such, since none of them was aware of all of the practical applications of supersyllabograms in Linear B, of which there are three, as we shall soon enough see in 2015. It is my intention to publish, in concert with my research colleague, Rita Roberts, a full-length research article in PDF format, The Theory and Applications of Sypersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, sometime in 2015, probably no earlier than the summer, as we fully intend to have it peer-reviewed by at least 2 of the world’s leading experts or institutions intimately involved with Linear B prior to publication, among whom we can hopefully count on Prof. Thomas G. Palaima, Chris Tselentis and the Heraklion Museum: Click to ENLARGE 2. The translation of as many extant Linear B tablets as we could reasonably hope to handle, without over-stretching our human resources. There are two translators of Linear B on our Blog, my now advanced student of Linear B, Rita Roberts, and myself. Between us, we have managed to translate into English scores of Linear B tablets from Knossos, four from Pylos, and one each from Mycenae and Thebes. You can review all of our translations for yourself by clicking on the Categories SCRIPTA MINOA for tablets from Knossos and Tablets for Linear A, B & C tablets and fragments from anywhere else. 3. Throughout the spring of 2014, I also began reconstructing the grammar of Mycenaean Greek from the ground up, successfully building complete verb conjugations for the active voice in all of the these tenses of both thematic and athematic verbs: present, future, imperfect, aorist & perfect, leaving other tenses aside for reasons which will be made clear later in 2015: Click to ENLARGE I intend to continue with the reconstitution of derived forms for the declensions of nouns and adjectives, and for the use of cases with prepositions, including the early instrumental case which fell into disuse by the time alphabetic Greek came to the fore in the eighth century BCE. 4. We also believe that a successful decipherment of Minoan Linear A may be around the corner (i.e. within the next five years or so), for reasons which will become apparent with the creation of our new blog, TRANSCENDENCE, as of early 2015: The title of our new blog is, of course, based on the movie of the same name, Transcendence & The Singularity, 2014, starring Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall. Our new Blog is to serve as an international online forum for the sharing of novel ideas, new theories and advances in the following areas of scientific research now dominating the world scene: the implications of the Curiosity Project on Mars and of the search for exoplanets for the potential and probable discovery if life elsewhere in the universe; the active involvement of NASA, other major international Space agencies and organizations in extraterrestrial communication; the emergence of cosmic consciousness beyond our earthly sphere of knowledge for the first time in human history and, of course, the search for the practical application of artificial intelligence and its implications for human affairs in all spheres of life, with reference to the likelihood that the well-touted Singularity will occur sometime in our century, possibly as early as 2025-2030, more likely around 2040-2050. These will be our primary concerns on that blog. It is not so much a question of I myself sharing my own knowledge, pitifully limited as it is, of these critical advancements in the sphere of our scientific knowledge-base as of seeking as much input and as variegated feedback from the scientific and technological community worldwide, as well as from amateurs such as ourselves, on these amazing developments now sweeping over the planet. 5. Concurrent with the creation of our Blog, Transcendence and the Singularity, we shall be pursuing the possibilities for the practical application of Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C on this blog to extraterrestrial communication, a project which is already well underway here under the rubric, NASA at the top of our home page. Click on the NASA banner to read more about this truly fascinating research project: 6. We shall also be taking our first steps towards the compilation of the most comprehensive vocabulary of Mycenaean Linear B ever yet developed, A Topical English-Mycenaean Greek Lexicon. We intend to double the Mycenaean Greek lexicon of some 2,500 attested (A) words currently known to 5,000 attested (A) and derived (D) at the very minimum, with a large number of derived (D) words regressively extrapolated from these sources in descending order of priority: (a) the extant vocabulary of Arcado-Cypriot, in both Linear C and in the alphabetical Arcado-Cypriot dialect, since this dialect is more closely related to Mycenaean Greek than even Attic Greek is to Ionic; (b) The Catalogue of Ships in Book II of Homer’s Iliad, in which we find the most archaic Greek after the Arcado-Cypriot dialect, a Greek which still contains a number of grammatical elements left over from Mycenaean Greek. I shall have translated the entire Catalogue of Ships into English before the end of winter 2015 as the framework or template, if you like, for the regressive extrapolation of derived (D) Mycenaean Greek; (c) from the rest of the Iliad and (d) from the early Aeolic, Ionic and Attic dialects, prior to the fifth century BCE. I must lay particular stress on the fact that Mycenaean Greek vocabulary can only be derived (D) from these dialects alone, since all are East Greek dialects, right on down from Mycenaean to Attic Greek. Mycenaean Greek words emphatically cannot be derived (D) from West Greek dialects such as the Doric, as these are not directly related to it. Richard
MEDIA Linear B Tablet, Heraklion Archaeological Museum, List of Men Including the “Basileus” or Viceroy: Click to ENLARGE
This magnificent photograph was taken by my colleague and fellow Linear B researcher, Rita Roberts, who actually lives in Heraklion, Crete, only five kilometres from Knossos. Rita is also a retired archaeologist who worked for years with pottery and other precious Minoan findings at the site of Knossos. I am so very fortunate to have her as my colleague. She and I have been working together for at least 15 months, almost since the founding of this great Linear B blog 20 months ago. In spite of our recent advent on the scene, our blog is now the second largest of its kind on the Internet, with the blog, Linear B Syllabary – the ancient script of Crete – Omniglot, the only one ahead of us. To visit Omniglot, Linear B, click here:
A general search on “Mycenaean Linear B” finds us several times on just the first two pages. I would like to make it absolutely clear that, in the field of linguistic research into Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C in particular we leave no stone unturned. We will go to any lengths to unearth absolutely every scrap of evidence, every instance of new research and insights into these scripts and all related matters. So if you are looking for a clearinghouse on “everything you ever wanted to know about Linear B, but were afraid to ask”, you have just found it.
Our Twitter account, Knossos KO NO SO, is the only Twitter page on the entire Internet focusing specifically on Mycenaean Linear B, undeciphered Minoan Linear A & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, as well as on related areas of historical significance such as The Catalogue of Ships in Book II of Homer’s Iliad, archaic Greek dialects, Classical Ionic & Attic Greek, the Twitter account of Henry George Liddell Scott, and others like these. If you wish to follow us on Twitter, click HERE:
SPECIAL MEDIA POST! 2 Linear B Tablets at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum Naming Knossos & its Harbour, Amnisos + More Tablets: Click to ENLARGE: These tablets speak for themselves, to say the very least. There are in fact scores of tablets mentioning the name of the unwalled metropolis, Knossos, estimated population 55,000 (a very large city for antiquity) and of its bustling town harbour, Amnisos. We have already translated over a dozen tablets naming Knossos & Amnisos. Here is a sampling: Click to ENLARGE Check Wikipedia to read all about Amnisos: By comparison, Athens, with its own harbour, Piraeus, had about the same population at the acme of its power in the 5th. century BCE. Click to ENLARGE: This is the first time ever that I have put my modern Greek lessons to the test, by including the title of this image in modern Greek, as well as English & French. If there are any errors at all in the Greek title, I beg one of our native Greeks to inform me ASAP, so that I can correct the error statim. To read all about the Piraeus, see Wikipedia: while Rome, a much larger city (est. pop. at least 750,000 at its height in the Augustinian period, ca. 20 BCE – AD) also had its own town harbour, Ostia (aka Ostia Antica). Click to ENLARGE Check Wikipedia to read all about Ostia: SPECIAL NOTE: From here on in, whenever we post anything which largely features MEDIA (photographs, videos & films), we will tag them as such in the post Title, MEDIA POST! We are also creating a new Category at the top of the first page of our blog, MEDIA, so that you can search all archived media posts at your leisure! Richard
More Fine Photos by Rita Roberts of Linear B Tablets at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum: Click to ENLARGE Click to ENLARGE: Once again, Rita Roberts has taken some really impressive photos of several Linear B tablets at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum this month, November 2014. She did so under very unfavourable lighting conditions for phtoography. Since flash is patently not allowed in archaeological museums of international stature as as this one, Rita was left with no choice but to take her photos under rather dim natural light. I managed to enhance the contrast and brightness a good deal, and here are the results. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Working as the great team we surely are, Rita and I shall be translating all of these tablets between now and the summer of 2015 at the very latest. And you never know. Some of our Linear B research colleagues may also want to take up the gauntlet and rise to the challenge. I certainly suspect as much. Richard
2 great photos of the tiny Linear B tablets at the Heraklion Museum, taken by my colleague and fellow Linear B researcher, Rita Roberts, November 2014. Click on each photo to ENLARGE it: And here is Rita herself, admiring all those great little tablets. I am green with envy, but at the same time delighted Rita has done this wonderful favour for us all. Richard
We now have a direct link to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum: Click on its Banner to VISIT: You can visit the site of the prestigious Heraklion Archaeological Museum from this blog anytime you like, simply by clicking on the first item on the second line of our header links at the very top of this page or any page of of our blog: Heraklion Archeological Museum In addition, there is a Link to the Museum at the very bottom of this or any page on our blog, under the rubric, Friends & Links. Richard