KEY POST! The truly formidable obstacles facing us in even a partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A: Any attempt, however concerted, at even a partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A is bound to meet with tremendous obstacles, as illustrated all too dramatically by this table: These obstacles include, but are not prescribed by: 1. The fact that there are far fewer extant Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments, of which the vast majority are mere fragments (no more than 500), most of them un intelligible, than there are extant tablets and fragments in Mycenaean Linear B (well in excess of 4,500), of which the latter are mostly legible, even the fragments. 2. The fact that Mycenaean Linear B has been completely deciphered, first by Michael Ventris in 1952 and secondly, by myself in closing the last gap in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B, namely, the decipherment of supersyllabograms in my article, “The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B”, in the illustrious international archaeological annual, Archaeology and Science, ISSN 1452-7448, Vol. 11 (2015), pp. 73-108, here: This final stage in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B has effectively brought closure to its decipherment. As illustrated all too conspicuously by this table of apparent roots/stems and/or prefixes of Minoan Linear A lexemes and their lemmas, we are still a long way off from being able to convincingly decipher Minoan Linear A. At the categorical sub-levels of the syntax and semiotics of Minoan Linear A, we cannot even begin to determine which categories to isolate, let alone what these categories are. Allow me to illustrate in discriminative terms: 3. As the table of Minoan Linear A so-called roots & stems + prefixes above all too amply highlights, we cannot even tell which first syllable or which of the first 2 syllables of any of the Minoan Linear A words in this list is/are either (a) roots or stems of the Minoan Linear A lexemes or lemmas which it/they initiate or (b) prefixes of them, even if I have tentatively identified some as the former and some as the latter (See the table). 4. In the case of roots or stems, which ones are roots and which are stems? What is the difference between the two in Minoan Linear A? Let us take a couple of entries as examples to illustrate my point: 4.1 The 3 words beginning with the apparent root or stem asi, (I cannot tell which is which), the first 2 syllables of asidatoi, asijaka & asikira may not even be roots or stems of these words at all, but prefixes of 3 probably unrelated words instead. Who is to know? 4.2 If asidatoi, asijaka & asikira are either nouns or adjectives, what is the gender and number of each one? To say the very least, it is rash to assume that asidatoi is plural, just because it looks like an ancient Greek masculine plural (as for example in Mycenaean Linear B teoi (gods) or masculine plurals in any other ancient Greek dialect for that matter, since that assumption is based on the most likely untenable hypothesis that Minoan Linear A is some form of proto-Greek, in spite of the fact that several current linguistic researchers into Minoan Linear A believe precisely that. The operative word is “believe”, since absolutely no convincing circumstantial evidence has ever come to the fore that Minoan Linear A is some form of proto-Greek. 4.3 The conclusion which I have drawn here, that Minoan Linear A may not be proto-Greek, arises from the fact that almost all of the Minoan words in this table bear little or no resemblance at all even to Mycenaean Greek. 4.5 But there clearly exceptions to the previous hypothesis, these being words such as depa and depu, of which the former is a perfect match with the Homeric, depa, meaning “a cup”. On the other hand, depu is less certain. However, in my preliminary tentative decipherment of 107 Minoan Linear A words (which are to appear in my article to be published in Vol. 12 of Archaeology and Science, 2017-2018), I have come to the tentative conclusion that the ultimate u in almost all Minoan Linear A words is quite likely to be a macro designator. If this were so, depu would be larger than depa. So a translation along the lines of  “a large cup” or “a libation cup” might be in order. Still, I could be dead wrong in this assumption. 4.6 However, the lexeme depa does appear to reveal one probable characteristic of Minoan Linear A grammar, that the ultimate for the feminine singular may very well be a, as in so many other languages, ancient or modern (let alone Greek). If that is the case, then words such as asijaka, asikira, keta, kipa, saja, sina and tamia may possibly all be feminine singular... that is to say, if any, some or even all of them are either nouns or adjectives, clearly a point of contention in and of itself. Who are we to say that one or more of these words may instead be adverbs or some person, singular or plural, of some conjugation in some tense or mood of some Minoan Linear A verb? On the other hand, at least one or more or even most of these words and the other words in this table ending in a may be nouns or adjectives in the feminine singular. But one again, who can say at all for sure? 4.7 If the ultimate u is supposed to be a macro designator, how then are we to account for the fact that  maruku, which very much looks like a (declensional) variant of maru, means “made of wool”, which itself has nothing whatsoever to do with a macro designator, if at the same time the apparent lexeme maru actually does mean “wool”? After all, one might conclude, maru looks a lot like Mycenaean Linear B mari or mare, which as everyone knows, does mean “wool”. But it is just as likely as not that the assumption that maru means “wool”, and its variants maruku “made of wool” ? (a guess at best) and maruri = “with wool” have nothing whatsoever to do with wool in Minoan Linear A. 4.8 In fact, the hypothesis that maruri = “with wool” is based on yet another assumption, namely, that the termination ri is dative singular, similar to the commonplace dative singular oi, ai or i in Mycenaean Linear B. But if that is the case, this implies that Minoan Linear A is probably proto-Greek, for which there is no substantive evidence whatsoever. So we wind up mired in a flat out contradiction in terms, in other words, an inescapable paradox. 4.9a Next, taking all of the words beginning with the root or stem? - or prefix? sina , what on earth are we to make of so many variants? Perhaps this is a conjugation of some verb in some tense or mood. If that is the case, we should expect 6 variations, first, second and third persons singular and plural. Or should we? What about the possible existence of the dual in Minoan Linear A? But here again we find ourselves smack up against the assumption we have just made in 4.5, 4.6, 4.7 & 4.8, that the putative Minoan verb beginning with the so-called root or stem sina is itself proto-Greek. But I have to ask out loud, are you aware of any verb in ancient Greek which begins with the root or stem sina? Well, according to Liddell & Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon, there are in fact 2, which I have Latinized here for ease of access to those of you who cannot read Greek, and these are, (1) sinamoreo (infinitive sinamorein), which means “to damage wantonly” and (2) sinomai, “to plunder, spoil or pillage”. The problem is that neither of these ancient Greek verbs bears any resemblance to or corresponds in any conceivable way with the 7 Minoan Linear A variants post-fixed to sina. So I repeat, for the sake of emphasis, are these 7 all variants on some Minoan Linear A verb or are they not? 4.9b What if on the other hand, all 7 of these variants post-fixed to sina are instead a declension of some Minoan noun or adjective in Linear A? It is certainly conceivable that there are 7 cases in the Minoan language, in view of the fact that plenty of ancient and modern languages have 7 cases or more. Latin has six: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, ablative and vocative. But ancient Greek has only 5, nominative, genitive, dative and accusative and vocative, the ablative absolute (which occurs in Latin) subsumed under the genitive absolute. From this perspective, it would appear quite unlikely that the 7 Minoan Linear A variants on sina are proto-Greek declensions, especially in light of the fact that, once again, none of them bears any resemblance to the ancient Greek, sinapi = “mustard”, sinion = “sieve” or sinos = “hurt, harm, mischief, damage” (nominative). 5. Moving on to taniria and tanirizui , we could of course once again draw the (most likely untenable) conclusion if taniria is a feminine singular noun, then tanirizui must be/is dative singular, following the template for the dative singular in Mycenaean Linear B (i, ai or oi). But once again, there is no word in ancient Greek bearing any resemblance to these critters. And once again, even if Minoan Linear A had a dative singular, why on earth would it have to end in i? 6. However, when we come to the 4 words reza, adureza, kireza and tireza, we are confronted with another phenomenon. 3 of these 4 words (adureza, kireza and tireza) each in turn apparently are prefixed by adu, ki and ti. Makes sense at first sight. However, once again, appearances can be terribly deceiving. Nevertheless, in my preliminary decipherment of Minoan Linear A, I have drawn the tentative conclusion that all four of these words are intimately interconnected. And in the actual context of the few extant Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments in which these 4 terms appear, it very much looks as if they are all terms of measurement. But you will have to await the publication of my article on the tentative decipherment of 107 Minoan Linear A words in Vol. 12 (2017-2018) of Archaeology and Science to discover how I came to this conclusion. 7. Notwithstanding the fact that almost all of the words in this highly selective table of Minoan Linear A lexemes and lemmas (whichever ones are which), with the exception of depa and depu, as well as winu, which may be the Minoan Linear A equivalent of Mycenaean Linear B woino = “wine”, appear not to be proto-Greek, that does not imply that at least a few or even some are in fact proto-Greek, based on this hypothesis: a number of words in Mycenaean Linear B, all of which appear to be proto-Greek, disappeared completely from later ancient Greek dialects. Among these we count a number of Mycenaean Greek words designating some kind of cloth, namely, pawea, pukatariya, tetukowoa and wehano [pg. 94, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, in Archaeology and Science, Vol. 11 (2016)], plus several other Mycenaean Linear B words listed in the same article, which I do not repeat here due to space limitations. However, I must toss a wrench even into the assumption that the words designating some kinds of cloth (but which kinds we shall never know) are Mycenaean Linear B Greek or even proto-Greek, when they may not be at all! What if a few, some or all of them are in the pre-Greek substratum? If that is the case, are they Minoan, even if none of them appear on any extant Minoan Linear A tablet or fragment? Who is to say they are not? For instance, there is another so called Mycenaean or proto-Greek word, kidapa, which may very well mean “(ash) wood” or “a type of wood”, found only on Linear B tablet KN 894 N v 01. This word has a suspiciously Minoan ring to it. Just because it does not appear on any extant Minoan Linear A tablet or fragment does not necessarily imply that it is not Minoan or that it at least falls within the pre-Greek substratum. CONCLUSIONS: It must be glaringly obvious from all of the observations I have made on the Minoan Linear A terms in the table above that the more we try to make any sense of the syntactic and semiotic structure of the Minoan language in Linear A, the more and more mired we get in irresolvable contradictions in terms and paradoxes. Moreover, who is to say that the so-called proto-Greek words which surface in Minoan Linear A are proto-Greek at all, since they may instead be pre-Greek substratum words disguised as proto-Greek. We can take this hypothesis even further. Who is to say that the several so-called proto-Greek words we find in Mycenaean Greek, all of which disappeared completely from the ancient Greek lexicon in all Greek dialects after the fall of Mycenae ca. 1200 BCE, are also not proto-Greek but are instead in the pre-Greek substratum or even, if they fall into that substratum, that they are instead Minoan words or words of some other non Indo-European origin? We have landed in a real quagmire. So I find myself obliged to posit the hypothesis that, for the time being at least, any attempt at the putative decipherment of Minoan Linear A is inexorably bound to lead straight to a dead end. I challenge any philologists or linguist specializing in ancient languages to actually prove otherwise even with circumstantial evidence to the contrary.
Tag Archive: Latin
6 more Minoan Linear A putative proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean words: DA-DI. But are they proto-Greek at all? As we forge our way through Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon, in which he Latinizes the orthography of Minoan Linear A words, we now arrive at Linear A words beginning with the syllabograms DA through to DI. It is absolutely de rigueur to read the Notes in the table above; otherwise, my tentative decipherments of 6 more Minoan words in Linear A as being possibly proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean will not make any sense at all. The table also draws attention to those words which are of moderate frequency (MF) on Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments, with the far greater proportion of them appearing on mere fragments. I cannot emphasize this point enough. In view of the fact that the vast majority of Minoan Linear A extant remnants are just that, remnants or fragments and nothing more, it is of course next to impossible to verify whether or not the 6 words I have extrapolated (or for that matter any other so-called proto-Greek words) as possibly being proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean are that at all. Add to this caveat that researchers and linguists specializing in ancient Greek often hypothesize that, and I quote verbatim: It is possible that Greek took over some thousand words and proper names from such a language (or languages), because some of its vocabulary cannot be satisfactorily explained as deriving from the Proto-Greek language (italics mine). Among these pre-Greek substratum words we find Anatolian loanwords such as: dépas ‘cup; pot, vessel’, Mycenaean di-pa, from the Luwian = tipa = sky, bowl or cup, one of the pre-Greek substratum words right in the table above! + eléphas ‘ivory’, from Hittite lahpa; + kýmbachos ‘helmet’, from Hittite kupahi ‘headgear’; + kýmbalon ‘cymbal’, from Hittite huhupal ‘wooden percussion instrument’; + mólybdos ‘lead’, Mycenaean mo-ri-wo-do, from Lydian mariwda(s)k ‘the dark ones’ etc. But there is more, significantly more. Wikipedia, Greek language: has this to say about Greek vocabulary. Vocabulary: Greek is a language distinguished by an extensive vocabulary. Most of the vocabulary of Ancient Greek was inherited, but it includes a number of borrowings from the languages of the populations that inhabited Greece before the arrival of Proto-Greeks. (italics mine)  Words of non-Indo-European origin can be traced into Greek from as early as Mycenaean times; they include a large number of Greek toponyms. Further discussion of a pre-Greek substratum continues here: Where, in addition to the pre-Greek substratum words I have already cited above, we find, and again I quote verbatim: The Pre-Greek substrate consists of the unknown language or languages spoken in prehistoric Greece before the settlement of Proto-Greek speakers in the area (italics mine). It is thought possible that Greek took over some thousand words and proper names from such a language (or languages), because some of its vocabulary cannot be satisfactorily explained as deriving from the Proto-Greek language Possible Pre-Greek loanwords Personal names: Odysseus; Theonyms: Hermes; Maritime vocabulary: thálassa = sea; Words relating to Mediterranean agriculture: elai(w)a = olive & ampelos = vine Building technology: pyrgos = tower; Placenames, especially those terminating in -nth- : Korinthos, Zakynthos & in -ss- : Parnassos & in and -tt- : Hymettus And, to ram my point home, one of the pre-Greek substrata identified is the Minoan language itself. It is on this basis and upon this foundation, among others, that I posit the following hypothesis: Pre-Greek substratum words are both proto-Greek and not, simultaneously! The assumption that certain Minoan words in Linear A appear to be proto-Greek or even proto-Mycenaean (if we wish to stretch the notion one small step further, which I believe is entirely justified) does not in and of itself necessarily imply that some or even quite possibly most of them are de facto actually of proto-Indo-European proto-Greek origin, when quite plainly (so) many of them are not of such origin. In other words, we find ourselves face to face with an apparent contradiction in terms, a dye-in-the-wool linguistic paradox: some, many or even most of the so-called pre- + proto-Greek words we encounter in Minoan Linear A are likely to be proto-Greek, but only insofar as they crop up again and again in later ancient Greek dialects, right on down from the earliest East Greek dialect, Mycenaean, through Arcado-Cypriot on down to Ionic and Attic Greek and beyond, while simultaneously being of non-Indo-european origin, if you can wrap your head around that notion... which I most definitely can. So if anyone dares claim that all of those words in Minoan (of which there seem to be quite a substantial number) are de facto proto-Greek, that person should think again. Think before you leap. It is much too easy for us to jump to spurious conclusions with respect to the supposed proto-Greek origin(s) of many words in Minoan Linear A. To compound the matter further, let us consider the situation from the opposite end of the spectrum. It is widely known, by both intellectual non-linguists, i.e. intelligent native speakers of any given language, and by professional linguists alike, that pretty much every modern language borrows not just thousands, but tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of words from prior languages. The one modern language which exemplifies this phenomenon par excellence is non other than English, in which we find hundreds of thousands of loanwords from ancient Greek, Latin and Norman French. Now it goes without saying that all languages, ancient and modern, follow the same pattern of accumulating some and even as many as thousands of loanwords. Ancient Latin did so with ancient Greek. And here lies the rub. So must have Mycenaean Greek with the Minoan language. In Chris Tslentis’ Linear B Lexicon, we find many words which cannot possibly be accounted for as being proto-Greek, but which must be of some other origin. And one of the most likely origins for a relatively large subset of these words is probably the Minoan language itself. Allow me to cite just a few of the more glaring examples: adete = binder Akireu = Achilles Aminiso = Amnisos harbour (Cf. Linear A, Uminaso) Damate = Demeter (Cf. Linear A, Idamate) dipa = cup (Cf. Linear A, depa) erepa = ivory kama = a unit of land kanako = safflower, saffron (Cf. Linear A, kanaka) kidapa = (ash) wood? mare/mari = wool (Cf. Linear A, maru) opa = workshop? serino = celery (Cf. Linear A, sedina) tarasa = sea Now if even most of the so-called Mycenaean Greek terms listed here are actually Minoan, then it is stands to reason that Mycenaean Greek inherited them from the Minoan language itself, and ergo, that they are not necessarily proto-Greek words at all. It is as if we were in a flip-flop. Either way, whether or not any of the words which we have flagged (and shall continue to tag) as possibly being proto-Greek in the Minoan language or the other way around, whether or not certain words in Mycenaean Greek are not proto-Greek at all, and not even of proto-Indo-European origin, we find ourselves floundering in a Saragossa Sea of linguistic incertitude from which we really cannot extricate ourselves. So to all those researchers, past and present, into the Minoan language who make the claim, categorical or not, that much of the vocabulary of the Minoan language is proto-Greek, I say “Beware!” lest you fall into a trap from which you cannot reasonably hope to extricate yourselves.
Is it even possible to determine what the word for “fig(s)” is in Minoan Linear A? You may be surprised! Among several other tablets in both Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B, Linear A tablet HT 88 contains the supersyllabogram NI on the second line: The question is, what is the actual word for “fig(s)” in Minoan Linear A? Apparently, no-one knows. The odd thing about this supersyllabogram NI is that it was taken over lock-stock-and-barrel by the Mycenaeans. We will never know why, but it is clear that they thought it convenient simply to hang onto it. It may very well be that that the Mycenaeans continued to use the Minoan word for “fig” alongside their early Greek suza. If that is the case, it is all the more relevant for us to attempt to reconstruct the Minoan word for “fig”. Whatever the circumstances, we are still left with the perplexing question, what is the word for “fig” in Minoan Linear A anyway? In spite of apparently insurmountable obstacles, it may not be so difficult to reconstruct as we might imagine. If we stop to consider even briefly what the word for “fig” is that I have methodically selected in 13 languages, ancient and modern, belonging to 6 different classes, we discover that all but one of them are either monosyllabic or disyllabic. In one instance only is it trisyllabic, pesnika, in Serbian. This does not come as any surprise to me as a linguist, though it may to the so-called “common person” . Here are the words for “fig” in 16 languages belonging to 6 different languages classes: KEY to language classes: AU = Austronesian/ IN = Indo-European/ LI = language isolate/ NC = Niger-Congo/ SE = Semitic/ UR = Uralic. A language isolate is one which does not belong to any international language class whatsoever, but which stands entirely on its own. AU: Indonesian ara Malay rajah Maori piki IN: French figue German Feige Greek (Mycenaean) suza (Attic) suchon Italian fico Latin ficus Norwegian fiken Portuguese figo Serbian pesnika Spanish higo LI: Basque piku NC: Swahili mtimi (sub-class = Bantu) SE: Maltese tin (the only Semitic language in Latin script) UR: Finnish kuva Under the circumstances, I am given to wonder whether or not the Minoan Linear A word for “fig” is monosyllabic, disyllabic or possibly even trisyllabic. It is clear that it cannot be monosyllabic, because the supersyllabogram for “fig” in both Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B is NI. And supersyllabograms are always the first syllable only of di- tri- or multi-syllabic words in both of these languages. Given this scenario, is it possible or even feasible to reconstruct the Minoan Linear A for “fig”? Surprisingly enough, the answer is yes. Why so? It just so happens that most Minoan Linear A words which are diminutives are feminine with the ultimate being either pa3 or ra2. Under the circumstances, it only takes one small step to restore the two mostly likely candidates for the Minoan Linear A for “fig”. And these are: It is of course possible to argue that the Minoan word for “fig” is trisyllabic, but this is highly unlikely, since the only trisyllabic word for “fig” in all 13 of the languages cited above is the Serbian, pesnika. Hence, I am reasonably convinced that the Minoan Linear A word for “fig(s)” is either nipa3 (nipai) or nira2 (nirai). Finally, as it is clear that since the word for “fig(s)” does not even remotely correspond to any of the 13 words in 6 language classes, ancient and modern, above, not even Basque, it may very well turn out that, like Basque, the Minoan language is also a language isolate. I should not be the least but surprised if it were. This discussion will be part and parcel in my upcoming article in Vol. 12 (2016) of Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448, “Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the Rosetta Stone to Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) vessels and pottery” and a Glossary of 110 words”, the third article in a row I shall have published in this prestigious international annual by the beginning of 2018 at the very latest.
INVITATION to Classical Sites (Greek & Roman) including Twitter to join us as * PARTNERS * FROM: Richard Vallance Janke of Linear B, Knossos and Mycenae Invitation to join the new Premier Network of Classical Sites on the Internet NOTE! If you are a regular visitor to Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae, please leave the LINK to your site in Comments, and I will add it to our * PARTNERS * Otherwise: To accept, please send me an e-mail at: email@example.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org We have just invited today (Wed. June 15 2016): Archaeology of the Mediterranean World Federico Aurora, DAMOS, Database of Mycenaean at Oslo Michael Cosmopoulos, Iklaina Archaeological Project MNAMON: Ancient Writing Systems in the Mediterranean Res Gerendae See below no. 4 First, a few significant developments with our organization in the past two years: 1. We are now by far the largest Linear B & Linear C site on the Internet. 2. We have translated at least 500 tablets, mostly from Knossos, some from Pylos and Mycenae. 3. I am now being published on a regular basis in key archaeological and historical linguistic sites. My most significant article to date is “An Archaeologist's Translation of Pylos Tablet TA 641-1952 (Ventris) with an Introduction to Supersyllabograms in the in the Vessels & Pottery Sector of Mycenaean Linear B” in, Archaeology and Science. Vol. 10 (2014) pp. 133-161. Belgrade: Institute of Archaeology, 2016. ISSN 1452-7448 https://www.academia.edu/23643380/Archaeology_and_Science_Vol._10_2014_An_Archaeologists_Translation_of_Pylos_Tablet_641-1952._pp._133-161 NOTE that I am to be published again in next year’s issue of Archaeology and Science. And that article is going to be a ground-breaker in the refinement of the decipherment of Linear B. Another of my recent publications is, “The Role of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B”, here: https://linearbknossosmycenae.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/the-role-of-ssyls-in-mycenean-linear-b.pdf 4. ** We are setting up a new Premier Network of Classical Sites on the Internet, which for the time being is subsumed under the Category ** PARTNERS **, the very first Category at the top of the first page of our site: https://linearbknossosmycenae.wordpress.com/ We are in full partnership with (Koryvantes) The Association of Historical Studies (Athens) http://www.koryvantes.org/en/ and with Sententiae Antiquae https://sententiaeantiquae.com/ and with The Institute of Archaeology (Belgrade). + one other site. We have just begun establishing the Network and we hope to expand it to at least 25 sites in the next year. We will be contacting scores of other invitees in the next few weeks. PS could you add our site to your list of sites under Linear B, as Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae is one of the major Linear B sites on the Internet? Thank you Richard Vallance Janke
Latin quotes in Linear B: Part E (Tacitus, Livy, Seneca): Translations: Sine ira et studio. (Tacitus) Without animosity and without favouritism. Periculum in mora. (Livy) There is danger in delay. Homo sit naturaliter animal socialis. (Seneca) It would appear that man is by nature a social animal. Licentia poetica. (Seneca) Poetic license. Si vis vacare animo, aut pauper sis oportet, aut pauperi similis. (Seneca) If you wish to grow in spirit, it is advisable you be poor, or to look like you are.
Latin quotes in Linear B: Part D (Ovid, Virgil, Cicero, Catullus): Translations: Materiam superabat opus. (Ovid) The workmanship was superior to the subject matter. Forsan miseros meliora sequentur. (Virgil) Hopefully better things will eventually befall the wretched. Malum quidem nullum esse sine aliquo bono. (Pliny the Elder) There is no evil without its being offset by some good. Summum ius, summa inuria. (Cicero) The highest the law, the worst the injustice. Odi et amo. (Catullus). I hate and I love.
Latin quotes in Linear B: Part C: Virgil and Julius Caesar: Translations: Equo ne credite. Do not put your faith in the horse. (Virgil) Nimium ne crede colori. Do not rely too much on colours. (Virgil) Paulo maiora canamus. Let us sing of rather greater matters. (Virgil) Timeo Danaos. I fear the Danaans. (Virgil) Divide et impera. Divide and conquer. (Julius Caesar)
Famous quotes from Latin authors in Linear B: Part B Translations: amabalis insania = adorable insanity Mater saeva cupidinum = the savage mother of avarice Nil esse in summa, neque habere ubi corpora prima = in the sum of all things there exists nowhere an abyss, nowhere is a realm of rest for primal bodies. Cuius, uti memoro, rei simulacrum et imago = An image of it, like an idea, as I recall (to mind)...
New feature on Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae: famous quotes from Greek & Latin authors in Linear B: We begin this new “column” with our first 6 translations of quotes from Latin authors, because it is much easier to transform Latin into Linear B, given that Latin words primarily contain a lot of consonants immediately followed by vowels, which is a prime characteristic of a syllabary such as Mycenaean Linear B. The only caveat is that Linear B words always end in a vowel, whereas Latin vocabulary, which is declined, often ends with consonants. But the oblique cases in Latin very often end with vowels, which makes it much easier to translate Latin quotations than Greek into Linear B. The only real problem other than the complete absence of terminal consonants in Linear B is that there is no L series of syllabograms (la, le, li, lo, lu) but only an R series (ra, re, ri, ro, ru), which must make do for all words in Greek or Latin which contain syllables beginning with the consonant L. Examples of quotations as illustrated here make this quite clear: The translations of each of the Latin quotes are as follows: de rerum natura = on the nature of things Senatus populusque Romanus = the Senate and the People of Rome aura popularis = a popular breeze (gossip) Causa causarum miserere mei. = May the causes of causes have mercy on me. Cicero pro domo sua. = Cicero prefers his own home. The Linear B translations are a pretty good match with the Latin quotations, n’est-ce pas?
Did you know you speak Mycenaean Greek? You do! K-Z = kunaya to zeukesi Mycenaean Greek in Modern English: korete to zeukesi: Click to ENLARGE  kunaya – Mycenaean Greek has no “g”, but ancient Greek does. Many English words begin with Greek words, as for instance gynecology + all others in this table marked with   The same goes with prefixes. Many English words begin with the Greek prefix “peda”.  The ancient Phoenicians were famous for their purple cloth, which they inherited from the splendid purple cloth, the finest in the entire then known world (the middle Mediterranean & the Aegean) the Minoans at Knossos had produced before them. Hence, Phoenician is a synonym for “purple”. The Mycenaean syllabary can express words beginning with “te”, but for some reason, they spelled 4 the same was the Romans did, “qetoro”, and there is nothing wrong with that. Archaic Greek sometimes expressed the number 4 with “petro” and sometimes with “tetro”. This too is not at all unusual with early alphabetic Greek, in which the various East Greek dialects derived from Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C flipped between these two spellings. Orthography was uncertain in archaic Greek, in other words, it had not yet fossilized into the final spelling used in Attic Greek in Classical Athens = tettares.  The English word “quartet” is derived from the Latin “quattro”, which in turn was preceded historically by the Mycenaean “qetoro”, although the Latin spelling is unlikely to have derived from the latter. It is just that Mycenaean Greek and Latin happened to resort to the same basic spelling for 4.  Since Mycenaean Greek had no “l”, words beginning with “lambda” in (archaic) Greek had to be spelled with “r” + a vowel in the syllabary. Hence, “rewo” = archaic Greek “lewon” = English “lion” & “rino” = ancient Greek “linon” = English “linen”  The ancient words “sasama” = “sesame” & Mycenaean “serino” = ancient Greek “selinon” = English “celery” are in fact not Greek words, but proto-Indo European.  While “sitophobia” = “fear of eating” in English does not seem to correspond with “sitos” = “wheat” in ancient Greek, in fact it does, since wheat was one of the main staples of their diet, just as it was for the Egyptians, Romans and most other ancient civilizations. In other words, wheat was a staple food.  Although the Mycenaean infinitive “weide” = archaic Greek “weidein” = English “to see”, the aorist began with “weis”, hence “vision” in English. Richard
Je suis Charlie - in French, English & Greek + 11 modern languages & 3 ancient Greek dialects! I beg you, please be sure to RETWEET this, folks! As a polyglot Canadian, fluent in English and French, conversant with both modern languages and ancient, especially ancient Greek, with some 20 dialects under my belt, including Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, I hope to reach not only everyone alive now, but as many of our ancestors as possible. I do this out of love for all the millions upon millions of people who have been slaughtered by warmongers, manaics, religious fanatics & terrorists, past, present and... God forbid... future! Je vous prie de tout mon coeur de faire des RETWEETs de ce message des plus urgents! Tout en étant canadien parfaitement bilingue, je suis également polyglotte, connaisseur de plusieurs langues modernes et anciennes, dont une vingtaine de dialèctes grecs tels que le mycénien en linéaire B et le chypro-arcadien en linéaire C. Dans ce but, j’espère communiquer ce message de solidarité bienveillante à tous ceux qui sont encore vivants autant qu’à tous nos ancêtres, dont d’innombrables millions qui ont perdu la vie, tous massacrés par des bellicistes, des maniaques, des fanatiques religieuses et des terroristes d’antan, de nos jours et... à Dieu ne plaise ... incontournablement à l’avenir. Richard Vallance Janke, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Rita Roberts’ Translation of Knossos Tablet K 1092, Rams at Eksonos & Sygrita: Click to ENLARGE Rita Roberts, my Linear B student who is now at the advanced stage of learning Mycenaean Greek, and I had quite a field day discussing the implications of various interpretations which might be lent to this tablet in translation. What especially intrigued me was the possibility that one could interpret the toponym Eksonos as meaning “outside the belt”, where “belt” refers to a belt of arable agricultural land. Rita, who lives near Heraklion and Knossos in Crete, put me onto this scent, as she explained to me that even to this day sheep are raised on non-arable land in Crete and Greece, which makes perfect sense when you come to think of it... except that, being Canadian and living in the “Great White North”, the idea never crossed my mind. It takes a native to know the lay of the land. As soon as she said that, I instantly recognized the possibility of parsing Eksonos into the Greek preposition “eks” + the genitive adjectival “zonos” (of a belt), which may or may not have been current in Mycenaean Greek. The point is that Prof. John Chadwick and other Mycenaean Greek researchers since have often enough noted that Mycenaean toponyms and eponyms can sometimes be parsed into Greek words which, taken together, make semiological sense. Interpretations such as this are of course susceptible to plenty of criticism, because there is no real evidence that the Mycenaeans and Minoan scribes who worked for them were necessarily conscious of such connotations. But the idea is intriguing nevertheless. Once you accept the notion that Eksonos has this notion built-in, then you can extrapolate this meaning to other Minoan/Mycenaean sites for sheep husbandry on pasture land, which is why we did this for Sygrita on this tablet. Anyway, whether or not the toponym Eksonos carries this connotation with it, sheep were raised in antiquity and are still raised today in Greece (let alone pretty much anywhere else in the world) on non-arable land, which is to say, outside the fertile agricultural belt for crops. On the other hand, we should probably not read too much into (or more like it, out of) the tablets, since that sort of practice can and often does lead to mis-interpretations. Still, since Linear B is by and large a shorthand script for Mycenaean Greek, the tiny size of the tablets necessitating such drastic shortcuts, it is by no means inconceivable that the scribes, who knew perfectly well what the tablets meant to themselves, and who could care less what they might mean to future generations, given that the tablets were devised for annual accounts only, and nothing more than that, did not see any need to bother with explaining away the contents of their ephemeral annual accounts, destroyed at the end of every “wetos” or fiscal year. Prof. John Chadwick himself, in his ground-breaking book, The Decipherment of Linear B (Cambridge University Press, © 1958), makes this perfectly clear, when he notes: By contrast there are several mentions in the tablets of ‘this year’ (toto wetos), ‘next year’ (hateron wetos) and ‘last year’s’ (perusinwos). These phrases would be meaningless, unless the tablets were current only for a year. This seems to imply that at the beginning of every year the clay tablets were scrapped and a new series started. (pg. 128, italics Chadwick’s) and again, that Linear B “is rather like shorthand; the man who wrote it would have little difficulty reading it back...” to other scribes, “But a total stranger might well be puzzled, unless he knew what the contents were likely to be.” (pg. 131, italics mine). I can easily carry Prof. Chadwick’s conclusions one step further. I can now assert with confidence that a great deal of Linear B is precisely that, shorthand, and in fact far more of it is shorthand than has been assumed until now. Logograms and ideograms play a significant rôle in the frequent application of shorthand to Linear B. But supersyllabograms, which are an entirely new phenomenon which I myself discovered only last year, come into play and in a much bigger way than logograms and ideograms, as we shall soon enough see this year. There are in fact so many supersyllabograms (31) that it astonishes me that no-one actually isolated them in the past 64 years since the successful decipherment of some 90 % of the Linear B syllabary by our dear friend, the genius, Michael Ventris, in June 1952. PS I invite anyone who is adept at translating Linear B tablets to contest our rather unusual translation of this one, since after all, we may have strayed too far from the proverbial aurea mediocritas, “the golden mean”, just as the splendid Roman poet, Horace (65-27 BCE) characterized it so long ago: Auream quisquis mediocritatem diligit, tutus caret obsoleti sordibus tecti, caret invidenda sobrius aula. “Whoever cherishes the golden mean is sober, safe and secure from the filthiness of a mansion fallen into disrepair, and free of palace intrigues.” (Translation mine) Richard
NEWS RELEASE! Just a few of the KEY Twitter Accounts following us: Click our banner to view our Twitter account: Note that the number of Twitter accounts following us has grown from about 500 at the beginning of 2014 to just short of 800 now, growing at a rate of 10-20 new followers per month. As of December 2014, we have the honour and privilege of being followed by some of the more significant, indeed some of the most important Twitter accounts. Of these, perhaps the most impressive is none other than The British Museum, with 428,000 followers: Click on its banner to visit their Twitter (also Click on all of the other Twitter accounts below to do the same): Click here: You will perhaps have noticed that The British Museum follows fewer than 10 % of the Twitter accounts who follow them; so it is particularly telling that they decided to follow us. Here are some more Twitter accounts of direct relevance to ours, starting with linguistics: Once again, Babel follows just over 10 % of those who follow them. They stood up and noticed us. And here we have just of few of the scores of Twitter accounts relevant to ours following us: who by the way lives in Mycenae. And here are just two of the most popular MEDIA and Promotional accounts on Twitter now following us (some of them with 100s of thousands of followers): Richard
The Suitability of Mycenaean Linear B, Classic & Acrophonic Greek, Hebrew and Latin Numeric Systems for Calculation Here is the Mycenaean Linear B numeric system (A:) Click to ENLARGE Here are the 2 ancient Greek numeric systems, the so-called Classical (BA:) and the (CA:) Acrophonic, side by side: Click to ENLARGE This table compares the relative numeric values of the so-called Classical Greek numeric (BA:) & the Hebrew numeric (BB:) systems, which are strikingly similar: Click to ENLARGE Finally, we have the Latin numeric system (CB:) Click to ENLARGE The question is, which of these 5 numeric systems is the the most practical in its application to the (a) basic process of counting numbers, (b) to accounting and inventory or (c) geometry & (d) algebra? Let's briefly examine each of them in turn for their relative merits based on these criteria. We can take the Classical Greek & Hebrew numeric systems together, since they are patently based on the same principle, the application of letters of the alphabet to counting. For the same reason, it is expedient to lump the Acrophonic Greek & Latin systems together. There are other ways of classifying each of these systems, but for our purposes, and for the sake of clarity and consistence, we have opted for this approach. A: the Mycenaean Linear B numeric system: Merits: well suited to accounting and inventory; possibly suited to geometry, but only in limited contexts, though never used for that purpose Demerits: space-consuming, discursive; totally unsuitable for algebra. While their numeric system seems never to have been applied to geometry, the Minoans and Mycenaeans who relied on this system were, of course, not only familiar with but adept in geometry, as is attested by their elegant streamlined rectilinear & circular architecture. We must also keep firmly in mind the point that the Minoan scribes never intended to put the Mycenaean Linear B numeric accounting system to use for algebra, for the obvious reason that algebra as such had not yet been invented. But we mustn’t run away with ourselves on this account, either with the Mycenaean system or with any of the others which follow, because if we do, we seriously risk compromising ourselves in our own “modern” cultural biases & mind-sets. That is something I am unwilling to do. B = (BA:+BB:) the Classical Greek & Hebrew numeric systems: Merits: well-suited to both geometric and algebraic notation & possibly even to basic counting. Demerits: possibly unsuitable for counting, but that depends entirely on one's cultural perspective or bias. Who is to say that the modern Arabic system of counting (0...9) is in any way inherently superior to either the Classical Greek or Hebrew numeric systems? Upon what theoretical or practical basis can such a claim be made? After all, the Arabic numerals, universally adopted for counting purposes in the modern world, were simply adopted in the Middle Ages as an expedient, since they fitted seamlessly with the Latin alphabet. Nowadays, regardless of script (alphabet, syllabary or oriental) everyone uses Arabic numerals for one obvious reason. It is expedient. But is it any better than the Classical Greek & Hebrew numeric systems? I am quite sure that any ancient Greek or Hebrew, if confronted with our modern Arabic system of numerics, would probably claim that ours is no better than theirs. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. However, in one sense, the modern Arabic numeric notation is probably “superior”. It is far less discursive. While the ancient Greeks & Hebrews applied their alphabets in their entirety to counting, geometry and algebra, the Arabic numerals require only 10 digits. On the other hand, modern Arabic numerals cannot strictly be used for algebra or geometry unless they are combined with alphabetic notation. The Classical Greek alphabetic numeric system has been universally adopted for these purposes, as well as for the ease of application they bring to calculus and other complex modern systems such as Linear A, B & C, which have nothing whatsoever in common with the ancient Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B or Arcado-Cypriot Linear C syllabaries, except their names. Regardless, it is quite apparent at this point that the whole question of which numeric system is supposedly “superior” to the others is beginning to get mired down in academic quibbling over cultural assumptions and other such factors. So I shall let it rest. C = (CA:+CB:) the Acrophonic Greek & Latin numeric systems: Before we can properly analyze the relative merits of these two systems, which in principle are based on the same approach, we are obliged to separate them from one another for the obvious reason that one (the Acrophonic Greek) is much less discursive than the other (the Latin). Looking back through the lens of history, it almost seems as if the Athenian Greeks took this approach just so far, and no further, for fear of it becoming much too cluttered for their taste. After all, the ancient Greeks, and especially the Athenians, were characterized by their all-but obsessive adherence to “the golden mean”. They did not like overdoing it. The Romans, however, did not seem much concerned at all with that guiding principle, taking their own numeric system to such lengths (and I mean this literally) that it became outrageously discursive and, in a nutshell, clumsy. Why the Romans, who were so eminently practical and such great engineers, would have adopted such a system, is quite beyond me. But then again, I am no Roman, and my own cultural bias has once again raised its ugly head. CA: Greek Acrophonic Merits: well-suited to both geometric and algebraic notation & possibly even to basic counting. Demerits: See alphabetic Classical Greek & Hebrew systems above (BA:+BB:) CB: Latin Merits: easy for a Roman to read, but probably for no one else. Demerits: extremely discursive and awkward. Useless for geometric or algebraic notation. This cartoon composite neatly encapsulates the dazzling complexity of the Latin numeric system. Click to ENLARGE: Richard
My Twitter account completely updated, new header new photo, and new, wider perspectives: Click to Visit: I have just updated and completely revised not only the appearance but the contents of my Twitter account, to reflect my widely expanding interests as related, either directly or indirectly, to Mycenaean Linear B, Minoan Linear A, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, ancient Greek etc. etc. I have posted a new header, which you see above, incorporating the Linear B word for Knossos, and part of the stunning dolphins fresco in the Queen’s Megaron at Knossos, which you can see here: Click to ENLARGE As it now stands, in its short lifetime of less than two years, our Linear B (A & C) blog has become one of the primary Linear B resources on the entire Internet, with visits already running into the tens of thousands (an astounding figure for something as bizarre and esoteric as Linear B!). Soon approaching 40K, we expect at least 60K hits by our second anniversary, if not more. The reasons for this are obvious to anyone with even a passing interest in Linear B (A &C). Nothing is off-limits on our blog. Neither Rita Roberts, my research colleague, nor I, take anything for granted. We are both “doubting Thomases” to the core, casting doubt not only on translations of Linear B tablets by other Linear B researchers, but on one anothers as well, given that neither of us is in the least impervious to committing errors, sometimes egregious. Such errors must be drawn to our attention, come what may. If you are an expert in Linear B decipherment, and you do not like any translation either of us has made, feel free to give us a shout. The other principal concerns and issues our blog frequently focuses on are: 1. keeping the Linear B syllabary right up to date. The syllabary chart most commonly used on the Internet is way out-of-date, and must be replaced by this one: Click to ENLARGE 2. the introduction of the completely new theory of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, of which there are at least 30 from the store of 61 syllabograms. We have plenty of posts on our theory on our blog. Rita Roberts and I shall be publishing a major research article on supersyllabograms sometime in 2015 or 2016. If tenable, it should prove to be a revolutionary step forward in the decipherment of the remaining 10% or so of the Linear B syllabary, its homophones, logograms and ideograms as yet undeciphered over the past 62 years since Michael Ventris successfully and amazingly deciphered the other 90%. Our research will be widely available in PDF format on the Internet, and although copyrighted, will be free for use by any Linear B aficionados. Here is an example of just a few supersyllabograms, all dealing with sheep, rams & ewes, the primary concern of Linear B scribes by a long shot: Click to ENLARGE 3. Progressive Linear B Vocabulary and Grammar, another all-new approach to the study of Linear B, whereby I intend to re-construct as much of the lost grammar of Mycenaean Greek as I possibly can. I have already completely mapped the active voice of both Thematic and Athematic verbs in Mycenaean Greek. Nouns, adjectives, adverbs and prepositions with cases are to follow in 2015. To view all posts on this topic, visit our PINTEREST Board, Mycenaean Linear B Grammar and Vocabulary: 4. Rita Roberts and I shall be constructing an all new English-Linear B Lexicon sometimes between 2016 & 2018, which will be vastly superior to the currently available Mycenaean (Linear B) – ENGLISH Glossary on the Internet, of which the less said the better, as it is riddled with at least 100 errors! I strongly dis-advise anyone using it. If you must use a Mycenaean dictionary, be sure to avail yourselves of Chris Tselentsis’ far superior Linear B Lexicon. 5. the all new field of the feasibility of the possible application of the Linear syllabaries, especially B & C but also, to a lesser extent, Linear A, to the emerging field of extraterrestrial communication, by which I mean serious research as undertaken by NASA: Click to read the entire PDF and other space administration, research facilities and professional online sites, and not crackpot nonsense such as UFOs, alien abductions and the like. Here are a few comic strips just to make it clear exactly what I think of extraterrestrial crackpots: Click to ENLARGE followed by this famous quotation by Werner Karl Heisenburg: Click to read the Wikipedia article on him: These are just the 5 major ventures we are undertaking on our blog, but we do not shy away from anything whatsoever which advances our knowledge of Linear B in general and in particular. My Twitter account has expanded its scope to include not only my primary pursuits, research into Linear A, B & C and ancient Greek, especially the archaic Greek of the Catalogue of Ships in book II of Homer’s Iliad, which I am in the process of translating in its entirety, as you can see here: Click to ENLARGE but also the following areas of great interest to me: 1. posting of major research articles, not only in English, but in French and Italian as well, the latter two of which I shall translate into English whenever I deem it necessary for our blog readers; 2. ancient Greek vocabulary, but exclusively in the East Greek dialects, Mycenaean Greek, Arcado-Cypriot, Aeolian, Ionic and Attic; 3. Decipherment of ancient languages in general, insofar as these related, either directly or indirectly, to Linear syllabaries; 4. Cryptology, such as the Bletchley Circle project in World War Two, and the key rôle the brilliant genius, Alan Turing, the equal of Michael Ventris in intellect, played in the decipherment of the Enigma Code, especially as this astounding achievement relates to... 5. thorough investigation and in-depth analysis of the possible suitability of of syllabic scripts such as Linear A, B & C into extraterrestrial communication (NOT UFO’s, which are crackpot nonsense suitable only to... I will not fill in the blanks!); 6. astronomy, Mars, exoplanets etc. (not reflected on this blog, of course, except insofar as it may possibly relate to Linear syllabaries), linguistics in general, including translation from one language to another, especially between English & French, in which as a Canadian I am fluent, Latin & Greek and Italian, which I read very well & Spanish, fairly well. I have forgotten my Russian, which I learned 50 years ago, but I can still read the Cyrillic alphabet with no difficulty. Linguistics and translation posts on this blog must in some way be related to Linear syllabaries, but not on my Twitter account, where anything important about linguistics in general is just fine with me. Richard