Tag Archive: liquid measurement



First of 6 extremely rare Linear A fragments from Phaistos: 12a 12b 12 c

Phaistos PH 12a 12b 12c PD 14 PD 23 PD 35 in Linear A

Above is the first of 6 extremely rare Linear A fragments from Phaistos: 12a 12b 12 c. The text is extremely difficult to interpret, but I have done my level best. 12a is pretty much indecipherable. 12b consists of fractions. 12c  consists of the single syllabogram TE, which might possibly be the supersyllabogram TE, which usually stands for tereza, a large standard unit of liquid measurement. It would mesh well enough with 12b, since that fragment is all fractions. But there is no way we can confirm this at all, since 12c is a fragment, doubtless with almost all of its original text absent. So without context, we cannot be sure of anything. 


Minoan Linear A tablet HT 14 (Haghia Triada) almost completely deciphered + the 4 categories of Linear A tablets:

Linear A talbet HT 14 Haghia Triada

Here you see Minoan Linear A tablet HT 14 (Haghia Triada), which I have been able to decipher almost completely. This is because the tablet is comprised mostly of ideograms, making it much easier to reconstruct the original text. In addition, I have already translated the supersyllabogram TE = tereza (on the first line) as being a large unit of liquid measurement, which in the case of wine might be something like “a flask”,  “a jug” or something along the lines of  “a gallon”, on the explicit understanding that there was no such thing as a gallon in Minoan times; this is merely an approximation.  The supersyllabograms PU & DI are unknown, i.e. indecipherable, at least to date. Likewise, the Old Minoan word, apu2nadu (apunaidu) is also unknown, but it might mean  “harvest”. The units of wheat are probably equivalent to something like a bushel. The supersyllabogram MI = mini signifies  “for a month” (dative) or “monthly”, and is New Minoan, i.e. a word of Mycenaean origin superimposed on Linear A.

The rest of the decipherment is self-explanatory.

Decipherment of Minoan Linear A tablets falls into four (4) categories:

1. Tablets on which we find only Old Minoan words, or on which the vast majority of words are Old Minoan. These tablets are pretty much indecipherable.
2. Tablets on which we find a combination of Old Minoan and New Minoan (words of Mycenaean origin). The more New Minoan words on a tablet, the more likely we are going to be able to decipher it. Ideally, there should be more New Minoan (Mycenaean) words than Old Minoan (the original Minoan substratum), in order to divine the meanings of Old Minoan words immediately adjacent to New Minoan words. This is of course contextual analysis. Such tablets are at least partially decipherable.
3. Linear A tablets containing ideograms almost exclusively are susceptible to decipherment. HT 14 (Haghia Triada) falls into this category.
4. A very few Linear A tablets are written mostly, almost entirely and in one case only, entirely in New Minoan (the Mycenaean superstratum). These tablets can be be mostly and in some cases entirely deciphered.     
 

A ‘fairly accurate’ rendering of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 86a, according to Gretchen Leonhardt:

a partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A HT 86a
This Linear B tablet clearly deals with various crops, with the lead in crop being grains or wheat, just as one would expect on either a Mycenaean Linear B tablet. By the same token, there is no reason to suppose that a Minoan Linear A tablet dealing with crops would not deal first and foremost with grains and wheat. The units of measurements identified on this tablet accord with those tentatively tabulated by Andras Zeke on the

minoan-language-blog

Ms. Gretchen Leonhardt of

Konosos.net

has duly advised me that (and I quote) “your "recto" tablet is a fairly accurate rendering of HT 86a, but your "verso" tablet is an inaccurate rendering of HT 87.... ” She is of course entirely correct in informing me that the so-called verso side is not the same tablet at all, but is in fact, HT 87 (Haghia Triada). I am nevertheless astonished that she would accord me a fair degree of accuracy in my decipherment of HT 86 a, in view of the fact that  (a) I do not even know what the Minoan language is;
(b) Ms. Leonhardt claims to have conclusively deciphered the Minoan language as being proto-Japanese, categorically stating as she does that “overwhelming evidence keeps me steadfast in this view...”, a claim which I intend shortly to refute in no uncertain terms, by bringing to bear on it reasonable circumstantial, though not conclusive, evidence to the contrary and;
(c) she concedes that my decipherment of HT 86 A is fairly accurate, in spite of the fact that I am apparently flailing in the dark, since I know nothing of the Minoan language. Yet if I am, how on earth did I manage to achieve even a fairly accurate decipherment, I have to ask her.

Although Ms. Leonhardt claims that my knowledge of Linear A is “in its infancy” (as everyone’s, including her own, must of necessity be), as a historical philologist specializing in the decipherment of ancient syllabaries such as Linear A, Linear B and Linear C, and unlike Ms. Leonhardt along with numerous other researchers who purport to have definitely deciphered the Minoan language, I neither have ever made nor would ever make the rash and untenable claim that I have deciphered it, given the exiguous size of the lexical database with which we have to work. I have said as much over and over, as for instance in this citation from one of my own works to be published in the next year or so, and I quote:

Conclusions concerning the many failed attempts at deciphering Minoan Linear A:

The worst of all the pretensions of the authors of the aforementioned monographs and tractata are their untenable claims that they have in fact deciphered Minoan Linear A. How is it even remotely possible that these soi- disant decipherers of Minoan Linear A can claim to have discovered the so-called magic bullet in the guise of the proto-language upon which their decipherment has been based, when the proto-languages they invoke are soà wildly disparate? These decipherers have turned to a number of proto-languages, some of them Indo-European (such as proto-Greek and Proto-Slavic), others non proto-Indo-European, running the gamut from Uralic (proto-Finnish), proto-Niger Congo to proto-Semitic and Sumerian all the way through to proto-Altaic and proto-Japanese. While it is patently impossible that all of these proto-languages could be at the base of the Minoan language, it is nevertheless remotely conceivable that one of them just might be. But which one? Given the tangled  mass of contradictions these so-called decipherments land us in, I am left with no alternative but to pronounce that none of these so-called proto-languages is liable to stand the test of linguistic verisimilitude. All of this leaves me with an uneasy feeling of déjà vu.

Instead, I have adopted the unique approach of declaring that it does not matter what proto- language Minoan derives from, or for that matter, whether or not it, like modern Basque, is a language isolate, meaning a natural (spoken) language, ancient (dead) or modern (alive) with no demonstrable genealogical or genetic relationship with any other language whatsoever or alternatively, a language that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common with any other language in the world. (italics mine).

and again:

In an article of this nature, which is the first of its kind in the world ever to deal with the partial, but by no means definitive, decipherment of Minoan Linear A, I must of necessity focus on those Minoan Linear A terms which offer the greatest insight into the vocabulary of the language, but not the language itself. Anyone who dares claim he or she has “deciphered” the Minoan language is skating on very thin ice. Any attempt to decipher the Minoan language is severely trammelled by the incontestable fact that no one knows what the language is or even what language class it belongs to, if any.


Guess what! All 17 of the conjectural units of measurement in Minoan Linear A panned out!

To my great surprise and definite relief, it appears that all 7 of the conjectural units of measurement in Minoan Linear A have panned out. Looks like I hit gold in the Klondike!


klondike-gold-rush-map


Measurement of 17 conjectural units total of dry and liquid volume & weight in Minoan Linear A:

Each entry below is classified by UNIT of measurement + amount + tablet + measurement type (dry or liquid + volume or weight):

GRAINS:

adaru 40 ARKH 5 volume or weight
adu 680 HT 92 dry volume LARGE
(a fair candidate for a unit of measurement)
dame 20 HT 86 + 74 HT 120 dry volume
kidata 134 HT 40 dry volume LARGE
(a good candidate for a unit of measurement)
kunisu 20 HT 86 weight
kupaja 16 HT 116 weight
nudu*331 207 HT 40 dry volume LARGE
(a good candidate for a unit of measurement)
pa3nina 12 HT 93 dry volume + darida = vase
pase 20 HT 18 weight
pura2 (purai) 40 HT 116 volume or weight
pitakase 161 HT 21 dry volume LARGE
(a good candidate for a unit of measurement)
qanuma 12 HT 116 weight
sara2 (sarai) 5 HT 121 + 10 HT 114 + 20 HT 90 + 41 HT 101 + 976 HT 102 volume
(the most likely candidate for a true unit of measurement)
sikine 12 HT 116 weight
(a good candidate for a unit of measurement)
tuqirina 40 HT 129 volume or weight

OLIVES:

itaja 10 HT 28 liquid volume

WINE:

ra*164ati 38 HT 17 liquid volume

I have extracted all 17 of these conjectural units of measurement, dry in the case of grains (barley and wheat), and liquid in the case of olives and olive oil and wine from all of the Minoan Linear tablets I isolated from the total store of relatively intact Linear A tablets I meticulously scanned from Prof. John G. Younger’s Lexicon of Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments (mostly the latter, which I of course naturally omitted as completely unreliable sources of any terminology whatsoever in Minoan Linear A). I have omitted any so-called unit of measurement which occurs 5 times or less on the Linear A tablets I scanned, as these are much more likely not to relate to measurement at all. 

The total number of these putative units of measurement compares favourably with total number of 16 units of measurement in Mycenaean Linear B, as illustrated in the table below.

all-mycenaean-standard-potential

However, it must be stressed that all 17 of the Minoan Linear A apparent units of measurement are spelled out in full, whereas all 16 of the Mycenaean Linear B units are represented by symbols, the exact opposite practice. To complicate matters further, Minoan Linear A uses symbols to represent very small (fractional) units of measurement,

minoan-fractional-units

again in a practice appositive to Mycenaean Linear B, in which the units of measurement are > unity and usually (quite) large. This introduces the distinct possibility that a few, some or even all of 17 the so-called units of measurement in Minoan Linear A I have isolated above are not units of measurement at all.

I shall have to thoroughly investigate the inevitable ramifications of this real dilemma before I even dare add a single, let alone more than one of these so-called units of measurement to the Glossary of 110 Minoan Linear A words I have compiled. At most, I doubt that more than 4 or 5 of the 17 terms in this list are likely to qualify for inclusion in the Minoan Linear A Glossary, although this estimate may turn out to be too conservative. We shall soon see.   


The 70 Minoan Linear A terms MAXIMUM I shall be featuring in my article on the partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A in Vol. 12 (2016) of Archaeology and Science: 

Here is a list of the 70 out of 106 Minoan Linear A terms I shall be zeroing in on in my article in Vol. 12 (2016), “Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the ‘Rosetta Stone’ to Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) vessels and pottery” of the prestigious international annual, Archaeology and Science ISSN 1452-7448 (release date spring 2018), to be submitted by Nov. 15, 2016.

In an article of this nature, which is to be the first of its kind in the world ever to deal with the partial (by no means definitive) decipherment of Minoan Linear A, I must of necessity focus on those Minoan Linear A words which offer the greatest insight into the vocabulary of the language. It is, of course, impossible to decipher the Minoan language, and anyone who dares claim he or she has done so is skating on very thin ice, actually, no ice whatsoever. All we can hope to do at the present juncture is to decipher some of the vocabulary, that and nothing else. This is possible because the syllabary has already been deciphered, though as far as I know, no researchers or decipherers to date have taken any note of this vital factor. It is precisely because the syllabary itself has been deciphered that we have any access at all to Minoan vocabulary. We must recall that for Michael Ventris, the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B was far more difficult at the outset, because no-one in the world, including himself, knew what the Linear B syllabic signs signified. It took him two years or so to figure them out and he never actually got them until he realized that Linear B was a very early form of Greek, which we now know as Mycenaean Greek.

But the situation is far different with Minoan Linear A. We can read the syllabary. We can “read” the words, but we cannot understand what they mean... at least to date. I have taken upon myself to decipher, more or less accurately (probably more often less than more) as many Minoan Linear A words as I possibly can. Even after months of strenuous travail, I have only been able to extrapolate the potential meanings of 106 Minoan Linear A words from a lexicon of about 510 intact Linear A words in John G. Younger’s Lexicon. These terms I have managed to decipher more or less accurately thus amount to only 20 % of the complete lexicon. But 20 % is far more than anyone else has managed to decipher  to date.  

Here then are the 70 terms (MAXIMUM) excerpted from my complete Glossary of Minoan Linear A:           
 
p-glossary

KEY:

Minoan Linear A words deciphered with certainty (90% - 100%) are in BOLD.
Minoan Linear A words deciphered with a reasonable degree of certainty (75% - 85%) are in italics.

All terms in Minoan Linear A and in Mycenaean Linear B have been Latinized for ease of access to persons not familiar with these syllabaries. 


Terms to which I shall assign special treatment are followed by an asterisk (*). 

adureza = unit of dry measurement (grain, wheat, barley, flour)
aka = wineskin (two syllabograms overlaid)
akii = garlic
darida = large vase *  
daropa = stirrup jar = Linear B karawere * 5
datara = grove of fig trees *
datu = olives See also qatidate = olive trees = Linear B erawa *
daweda = medium size amphora with two handles
dikise = a type of cloth = Linear B any number of types of cloth
ditamana = dittany (medicinal herb) 10
dureza = unit of measurement (unknown amount)*
kanaka = saffron = Linear B kanako
kapa = follower or (foot) solder = Linear B eqeta *
karopa3 (karopai) = kylix (with two handles & smaller than a pithos) *
kaudeta = to be distributed (fut. part. pass.) approx. = Linear B, epididato = having been distributed (aorist part. pass.)15 
keda = cedar
kidema*323na = type of vessel (truncated on HT 31) *
kidapa = (ash) wood, a type of wood. On Linear B tablet KN 894 N v 01 *
kireta2 (kiritai) = delivery = Linear B apudosis
kiretana = (having been) delivered (past participle passive) = Linear B amoiyeto 20
kireza = unit of measurement for figs, probably 1 basket *
kiro = owed = Linear B oporo = they owed
kuro = total             
kuruku = crocus
maru = wool (syllabograms superimposed) = Linear B mari/mare 25
mitu = a type of cloth 
nasi = a type of cloth
nere = larger amphora size *
nipa3 (nipai) or nira2 (nirai) = figs = Linear B suza *
orada = rose 30
pazeqe = small handle-less cups = Linear B dipa anowe, dipa anowoto *
puko = tripod = Linear B tiripode *
qapa3 = qapai = large handle-less vase or amphora *
qatidate = olive trees See also datu = olives = Linear B erawo *
qareto = Linear B onato = “lease field” * 35
quqani = medium size or smaller amphora *
ra*164ti = approx. 5 litres (of wine)
rairi = lily 
reza = 1 standard unit of measurement *
sajamana = with handles = Linear B owowe * 40
sara2 (sarai) = small unit of measurement: dry approx. 1 kg., liquid approx. 1 litre 
sata = a type of cloth
sedina = celery
supa3 (supai) = small cup = Linear B dipa mewiyo *
supu = very large amphora * 45
tarawita = terebinth tree
tejare = a type of cloth
teki = small unit of measurement for wine @ 27 1/2 per tereza *
tereza = larger unit of liquid measurement (olive oil, wine) *
tesi = small unit of measurement * 50
tisa = description of pot or pottery = Linear B amotewiya/yo
udimi = a type of cloth 
uminase = harbour (cf. French “Le Havre”), famous Atlantic port in France * 
usu = a type of cloth

Eponyms:

Sirumarita2 = Sirumaritai 55
Tateikezare
Tesudesekei
Turunuseme

Toponyms:

Almost all the toponyms do not require decipherment as they are either identical or almost identical in Mycenaean Linear B:

Akanu = Archanes (Crete)
Dikate = Mount Dikte 60
Idaa = Mount Ida
Idunesi
Kudoni = Kydonia
Meza (= Linear B Masa)
Paito = Phaistos ( =Linear B) * 65
Radu = Lato (= Linear B Rato)
Setoiya = Seteia (= Linear B) 
Sukirita/Sukiriteija = Sybrita
Uminase = Linear B Amnisos * 
Winadu = Linear B Inato 70

COMMENTARY:

This Glossary accounts for 20 % of all intact Minoan Linear A terms.

The principle of cross-correlative cohesion operates on the assumption that terms in Minoan Linear A vocabulary should reflect as closely and as faithfully as possible parallel terms in Mycenaean Greek vocabulary. In other words, the English translations of Minoan words in a Minoan Linear A Glossary such as this one should look as if they are English translations of Mycenaean Greek terms in a Linear B glossary. I have endeavoured to do my best to achieve this goal, but even the most rational and logical approach, such as I take, does not and cannot guarantee reciprocity between Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B terms. It is precisely for this reason that I have had to devise a scale of relative accuracy for terms in this Linear A Glossary, as outlined in KEY at the top of it.

The best and most reliable Linear B Lexicon is that by Chris Tselentis, Athens, Greece. If you wish to receive a  copy of his Lexicon, please leave a comment in Comments, with some way for me to get in touch with you.

Are there any words in Mycenaean Greek of putative Minoan origin? It should surely not strike us as so surprising that there are. After all,  

kidapa = ash? (Linear B tablet KN 894 N v 01)

Several Minoan Linear A words very likely survived into Mycenaean Linear B. The problem is, if they did, we do not know which ones did.... except perhaps kidapa, which has a distinctly Minoan feel to it. Cf. kidata = to be accepted (for delivery to) = Linear B dekesato


Archaeology and Science, Glossary of 106 Minoan Linear A words deciphered with (reasonable) accuracy (the largest ever glossary of Linear A) accounting for 20 % of all intact Minoan Linear A terms in Prof. John G. Youngers Linear A texts in phonetic transcription = 510:

This Glossary contains only Minoan Linear A terms which have been deciphered either with certainty or with a reasonable degree of certainty. It is more or less the version which will be published in my article slated for publication in Vol. 12 (2016), “Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the ‘Rosetta Stone’ to Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) vessels and pottery” of the prestigious international annual, Archaeology and Science ISSN 1452-7448 (release date spring 2018). To be submitted by Nov. 15, 2016.    
 
p-glossary

KEY:

Minoan Linear A words deciphered with certainty (90% - 100%) are in BOLD.
Minoan Linear A words deciphered with a reasonable degree of certainty (75% - 85%) are in italics.

All terms in Minoan Linear A and in Mycenaean Linear B have been Latinized for ease of access to persons not familiar with these syllabaries. 

adaro = barley = Linear B kirita
adu = so much, so many, all (persons, things, esp. grain/wheat), referencing all  accounts relevant to them. In the case of grains & wheat, adu would refer to all the “ bushel-like” units of wheat accounted for. In the case of the men measuring the wheat, it would appear that they are surveyors or comptrollers. Cf. Linear B, toso, tosa.
adureza = unit of dry measurement (grain, wheat, barley, flour)
aka = wineskin (two syllabograms overlaid)
5 akipiete = (in) common, shared, allotted, allotment = Cf. Linear B kekemena ktoina = small plot of land
akii = garlic
asasumaise = cattle-driver or shepherd = Linear B qoukoro -or- qorokota 
atare = figs overseer  = Linear B opisuko
10 darida = large vase  
daropa = stirrup jar = Linear B karawere
datara= grove of fig trees
datu = olives See also qatidate = olive trees = Linear B erawa
daweda = medium size amphora with two handles
15 dikise = a type of cloth = Linear B any number of types of cloth
ditamana = dittany (medicinal herb)
dumitatira2 (dumitatirai) = right or inner spindle wheel on one side of the distaff
dureza = unit of measurement (unknown amount)
jedi = man/men = Linear B atoroqo.
20 kanaka = saffron = Linear B kanako
kapa = follower or (foot) solder = Linear B eqeta
karopa3 (karopai) = kylix (with two handles & smaller than a pithos) 
kaudeta = to be distributed (fut. part. pass.) approx. = Linear B, epididato = having been distributed (aorist part. pass.) 
keda = cedar
25 kidata = to be accepted (for delivery to) = Linear B dekesato
kidema*323na = type of vessel (truncated on HT 31)
kidapa = (ash) wood, a type of wood. On Linear B tablet KN 894 N v 01 
kireta2 (kiritai) = delivery = Linear B apudosis
kiretana = (having been) delivered (past participle passive) = Linear B amoiyeto
30 kireza = unit of measurement for figs, probably 1 basket
kiro = owed = Linear B oporo = they owed 
kukani = (deep) red wine Cf. Linear B wono mitowesa
kuro = total
kuruku = crocus
35 maru = wool (syllabograms superimposed) = Linear B mari/mare
mitu = a type of cloth 
nasi = a type of cloth
nere = larger amphora size
nipa3 (nipai) or nira2 (nirai) = figs = Linear B suza
40 orada = rose 
pajare = in pay, hired = Linear B emito
pazeqe = small handle-less cups = Linear B dipa anowe, dipa anowoto
pimitatira2 (pimitatirai) = left or outer spindle wheel on one side of the distaff
pitakase = harvested or field of = Linear B akoro
45 puko = tripod = Linear B tiripode
qapa3 = qapai = large handle-less vase or amphora 
qatidate = olive trees See also datu = olives = Linear B erawo
qareto = Linear B onato = “lease field” 
quqani = medium size or smaller amphora
50 ra*164ti = approx. 5 litres (of wine) 
rairi = lily 
reza = 1 standard unit of measurement
sajamana = with handles = Linear B owowe
sara2 (sarai) = small unit of measurement: dry approx. 1 kg., liquid approx. 1 litre
55 sata = a type of cloth
sedina = celery
supa3 (supai) = small cup = Linear B dipa mewiyo
supu = very large amphora
tarawita = terebinth tree
60 tejare = a type of cloth
teki = small unit of measurement for wine @ 27 1/2 per tereza
tereza = larger unit of liquid measurement (olive oil, wine)
tesi = small unit of measurement
tisa = description of pot or pottery = Linear B amotewiya/yo
65 udimi = a type of cloth 
uminase = harbour (cf. French Le Havre), famous Atlantic port in France  
usu = a type of cloth

Eponyms:

Adunitana
Akaru
70 Asasumaise = name of cattle-driver or shepherd
Asiyaka
Dadumine
Danekuti
Daqera
75 Ikurina
Kanajami
Kosaiti
Kukudara
Kuramu
80 Kureju
Makarita
Mirutarare
Qami*47nara
Qetiradu
85 Sidate
Sirumarita2 = Sirumaritai
Tateikezare
Tesudesekei
Tidiate
90 Turunuseme
Watumare

Toponyms:

Almost all the toponyms do not require decipherment as they are either identical or almost identical in Mycenaean Linear B:

Akanu = Archanes (Crete)
Dame
Dawa (Haghia Triada)
95 Dikate = Mount Dikte
Idaa = Mount Ida
Idunesi
Kudoni = Kydonia
Kura
100 Meza (= Linear B Masa)
Paito = Phaistos ( =Linear B)
Qeka 
Radu = Lato (= Linear B Rato)
Setoiya = Seteia (= Linear B) 
105 Sukirita/Sukiriteija = Sybrita
Uminase = Linear B Amnisos
106 Winadu = Linear B Inato

COMMENTARY:

This Glossary accounts for 20 % of all intact Minoan Linear A terms.

The principle of cross-correlative cohesion operates on the assumption that terms in Minoan Linear A vocabulary should reflect as closely and as faithfully as possible parallel terms in Mycenaean Greek vocabulary. In other words, the English translations of Minoan words in a Minoan Linear A Glossary such as this one should look as if they are English translations of Mycenaean Greek terms in a Linear B glossary. I have endeavoured to do my best to achieve this goal, but even the most rational and logical approach, such as I take, does not and cannot guarantee reciprocity between Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B terms. It is precisely for this reason that I have had to devise a scale of relative accuracy for terms in this Linear A Glossary, as outlined in KEY at the top of it.

The best and most reliable Linear B Lexicon is that by Chris Tselentis, Athens, Greece. If you wish to receive a  copy of his Lexicon, please leave a comment in Comments, with some way for me to get in touch with you.

Are there any words in Mycenaean Greek of putative Minoan origin? It should surely not strike us as so surprising that there are. After all,  

kidapa = ash? (Linear B tablet KN 894 N v 01)

Several Minoan Linear A words very likely survived into Mycenaean Linear B. The problem is, if they did, we do not know which ones did.... except perhaps kidapa, which has a distinctly Minoan feel to it. Cf. kidata = to be accepted (for delivery to) = Linear B dekesato


KEY POST: 2 vastly different decipherments of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 13 (Haghia Triada). Does either measure up?

In this post we compare two vastly different decipherments of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 13 (Haghia Triada). The key question here can be posed in three different ways:

1. Does one of these two decipherments measure up significantly more than the other?
2. Does either measure up? 
3. Does neither measure up?

Here are the two decipherments, first that of Pavel Serafimov and Anton Perdih:

Minoan Linear A tablet HT 13 Slavic

and secondly, my own decipherment:

Minoan Linear A tablet HT 13 by RIchard Vallance Janke

According to option 3 above, it is of course possible that neither of these translations forms a faithful semantic and semiotic map of the original Linear A text (whatever it actually means). On the other hand, it is much more likely that option 1. above is applicable, namely that only one of the two decipherments at least approaches a faithful semantic and semiotic map of the original Linear A text , although we can never really know how faithfully until such time as Minoan Linear B is properly and fully deciphered. And that will not happen anytime soon, due to the extreme paucity of extant Linear B tablets and fragments (< 500), of which the vast majority are fragments, and thus ineffectual in providing any impetus to even a partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A. However, all is not lost. Far from it. There quite a few (almost) full intact Minoan Linear A tablets, all of which are very much more susceptible to contributing positively to at least a partial decipherment of Linear A. To date, the Linear A tablets which I have been able to decipher, more or less accurately, are HT 13, HT 14, (HT 17), HT 21, HT 31, HT 38, HT 91, HT 92, HT 94 and HT 132 (all from Haghia Triada)
ZA 1 ZA 8 ZA 10 (Zakros) 
GO Wc 1 (Gournia) 
and the Troy spindle whorls

I have also managed to decipher one or two words on several other tablets from Haghia Triada, Zakros and elsewhere, without however being able to decipher the remainder of the integral text, which utterly escapes me, and is therefore still to be considered undecipherable, at least for the time being. There is no telling whether or not either I myself or someone else will be able to decipher more words from the rest of these tablets or even some of the tablets entire in the near future. Only time will tell, but I believe the prospects are much better now than they were even a few months ago, i.e. prior to May 2016, when I embarked on the exciting journey to decipher as much of Minoan Linear A as I could. It is no small achievement, I believe, for me to have been able to decipher at least the 12 Linear A tablets listed above, if indeed my decipherments approach cohesive accuracy, both internally and by means of cross-correlative regressive extrapolation from almost identical to similar Mycenaean Linear B tablets.

With respect to my own decipherment of HT 13 (Haghia Triada) above, I wish to make the following highly pertinent observations. I leave it up to you to decide for yourself (yourselves) whether or not the assumptions I have meticulously made with specific reference to what appear to be derivational standard units of measurement in Minoan Linear A are in fact that. Immediately pursuant to my highly accurate decipherment of HT 31 (Haghia Triada) on vessels and pottery, for which Mycenaean Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) is the quasi Rosetta Stone (as I have re-iterated many times since that decipherment), I turned my attention to three words which appeared over and over on several Minoan Linear A tablets, these being reza, adureza & tereza. Philologists such as Andras Zeke of the Minoan Language Blog had previously and consistently “deciphered” these three terms as being toponyms or place names, but I was immediately suspicious of such an interpretation, given that both adureza and tereza have the prefixes adu and te prepended to what strikingly appears to be their own root, reza. Subsequent research revealed two more terms most likely derived from the root, reza = the standard unit of linear measurement in Minoan Linear A (as far as I can tell... more on this to come). These are dureza and kireza. So the total number of terms relative to measurement of large, not minute, quantities in Minoan Linear A appear to be 5. That is quite a tally.

+ units of measurement in Minoan Linear A: exact values unknown

reza = standard unit of measurement (linear)
adureza = dry unit of measurement (something like a “bushel”)
dureza = unit of measurement (unknown) [1]
kireza = dry measurement for figs (a basket) [2]
tereza = liquid unit of measurement (something like “a gallon” or at the bare minimum “a litre” [3]  

NOTES:
[1] While I have been utterly unable to surmise what standard unit of measurement dureza is supposed to represent, even the standard units for reza, adureza & tereza are mere approximations. For more on this see the concluding paragraph of this post.  
[2] While I am virtually certain that kireza is the standard unit for the measurement of a basket of figs, this still begs the question, what size is the basket? At any rate, it is pretty obvious that the basket size cannot be larger than can reasonably be carried on one shoulder, since that is the way baskets are carried in practically every culture, ancient or modern. So in this case, the approximation for the standard unit of measurement figs, kireza, is considerably more accurate than all of the others.      
[3] Obviously, in light of [1] above, my guesstimates for the standard units of dry and wet measurement (adureza and tereza respectively) are just that, and nothing more.   

rawa tiri wanaka

Now if we compare the variables in the prefixes to the root, reza (adu, du, ki & te) with the similar practice of suffixes appended to word roots in Mycenaean Linear B, which is the direct opposite practice we have just propounded for Minoan Linear A, we nevertheless discover that the same level of consistency and coherence applies equally to both languages, as clearly illustrated by the following table, in which the prefixes listed above for Minoan Linear A appear at the end, preceded by no fewer than three roots (which are invariable) and appear in front of highly variable suffixes in Mycenaean Linear B. The roots are, respectively, raw, which references anything to do with people, tri, which references anything related to the number 3 and wana, which references any connotation of kingship or royalty in Mycenaean Greek.

While the practices for affixing are appositive in Minoan Linear A (which prepends affixes to the root) and in Mycenaean Linear B (which appends suffixes to the root or stem), the procedure the two languages follows is one and the same, flipped on its head either way you view it, i.e. from the perspective of Mycenaean Linear B or vice versa, from that of Minoan Linear A. The underlying principle which defines this procedure is the cognitive frame, as propounded by my colleague and friend, Eugenio R. Luján. So let us simply call the procedure (whether from the perspective of Minoan Linear or its opposite in Mycenaean Linear B) just that, the cognitive frame, which is also the template for the procedure, actually proceeding forward in both languages, each in its own way. Either way, the procedure works like a charm. As Eugenio R. Luján so succinctly summarizes it in his article, Semantic Maps and Word Formation: Agents, Instruments, and Related Semantic Roles, in Linguistic Discovery (Dartmouth College), Vol 8, Issue 1, 2010. pp. 162-175, and I quote:

... The methodology of semantic maps has been applied mainly to the analysis of grammatical morphemes (affixes and adpositions) pg. 162

and again,

Previous work on semantic maps has shown how the polysemy of grammatical morphemes is not random, but structured according to underlying principles....

Although the semantic map methodology has not been applied to the analysis of word formation patterns, there is no reason to suppose that derivational morphemes behave differently from grammatical morphemes. In fact, taking into account the findings of the intensive work done in the field of grammaticalization in the last thirty years or so, we know now that lexical and grammatical morphemes constitute a continuum, and their meanings are organized in the same way—inside a cognitive frame,... pg. 163 

and most significantly,

In contrast to the lexicon, the number of derivational morphemes and word
formation patterns in any given language is limited. pg. 163.

I wish to lay particular stress on this last observation by Eugenio R. Luján, because he is right on the money. In terms of the way I have expounded my own explanation of how the procedure of the cognitive frame works, as I see it, what he is actually saying here is this: the derivational morphemes (i.e. the prefixes in Minoan Linear A and the suffixes in Mycenaean Linear B) is limited, and in fact very limited in comparison with the orthographic and grammatical lexicon in either language, or for that matter, in any language, ancient or modern.

All of this brings us full circle back to my own original assumption, namely, that adureza, dureza, kireza and tereza are all derivational morphemes of reza in Minoan Linear A and that the suffixes appended to the roots raw, tri and wana in Mycenaean Linear B are also derivational morphemes. The gravest problem with the decipherment of HT 13 (Haghia Triada) advanced by Pavel Serafimov and Anton Perdih is that it does not take the cognitive frame or map of derivational morphemes into account at all. So instead, the authors advance entirely different meanings for each of these terms (reza, adureza, dureza, kireza & tereza), entirely oblivious to the the fact that they all share the same root, reza. This factor alone throws profound doubt on their decipherment.

On the other hand, my own decipherment of HT 13 (Haghia Triada) takes the procedure of the cognitive frame or map of derivational morphemes fully into account, with the very same procedure applied to derivational morphemes in Mycenaean Linear B, though in the opposite direction). For the sake of consistency, let us refer to the the cognitive frame or map of derivational morphemes in Minoan Linear A as regressive, given that the variables (the prefixes, adureza, dureza, kireza & tereza) precede the root, reza, and the same frame as progressive in Mycenaean Linear B, in light of the fact that the root or stem is followed by the variable suffixes (derivational morphemes). Be it as it may, prefixes and suffixes are both classed under the umbrella term, affixes, and again, I repeat, the procedure is the same either way. An affix is an affix is an affix, whether or not it comes first (prefix) or last (suffix).

For this reason alone I am convinced that my decipherment of HT 13 is on the right track, even if it is not totally accurate... which it cannot be anyway, in light of the fact that the standard units of measurement for large quantities in Minoan Linear A (reza, adureza, dureza, kireza and tereza) will never be known with any measure of accuracy, given that we can have no idea whatsoever that the “standard” units for anything in either Minoan Linear A or Mycenaean Linear B can ever be really determined. The farther we as philologists or historical linguists go back diachronistically in the historical timeline, the less determinable are units of measurement or, for that matter, different kinds of textiles or pottery, few of which we can know with any measure of certainty either in Minoan Linear A or Mycenaean Linear B.

     

Proto-Slavic interpretation of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 13 (Haghia Triada) — another decipherment gone awry (Click on Tablet below to READ the original):

HT 13 our interpretation

Pavel Serafimov, Anton Perdih, in their Translation of the Linear A Tablet HT 13 from Crete (above) have made a valiant attempt to cross-correlate their contextual reading of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 13 (Haghia Triada) with Proto-Slavic. At first glance, at least some points of their decipherment seem more or less “accurate”. But the global decipherment swiftly crumbles into a morass of self-contradictions, severe ambiguities and mismatched cross-purposes. Like so many other philologists struggling to decipher Minoan Linear A, Serafimov and Perdih make the practically universal assumption, which I for one categorically reject as superfluous and spurious (at least for the time being), that if we are to succeed in deciphering Minoan Linear A at all, we must be in contact with an actual “known” proto-language upon which, as so many philologists insist, Linear A must be based, believing as they do that there is simply no way to escape this paradoxical box of it-must-be-this-proto-language-or-nothing-at-all approach. The fundamental universal problem inherent to this approach is that each and every one of these would-be decipherers has boxed himself into a proto-language which he assumes, in utter faith and sometimes rash confidence, must be the proto-language upon Minoan Linear A must be based, come hell or high water. Yet it is obvious to any truly professional historical linguist or philologist that it is impossible for all of the so-called proto-languages touted as the base of Minoan Linear A to be the right base for it, given that no two of these so-called proto-languages are alike, even if they are in the same class of ancient languages, for instance, Proto-European.

Minoan Slavic Glossary



A

B

It just does not wash. Either only one of these philologists has got it right or none of them have it at all. I am of the firm conviction that none of them have it. Let us take a closer look at just a few of these unavailing attempts at deciphering Minoan Linear A:
   
First, we have J. MacGillivary’s review of various attempts to decipher Minoan Linear A, a very worthwhile read:

J MacGillivray

Then, on Jan Best’s “Decipherment” of Minoan Linear A, by Gary A. Rendsburg


Jan Best
Next, Breaking the Code: a first translation of the lost language of Linear A, by Sam Connolly

Sam Connolly Beaking the Code Linear A

Linear A Decipherment: Translation of Minoan Inscriptions in Linear A, by Stuart L. Harris  

Sam Harris Linear A decipherment

Finally, there is the truly bizarre cross-correlation of Minoan Linear A with an ancient Niger-Congo dialect, by C.J.K. Campbell-Dunn


Minoan-signs-an-african-decipherment

What is worse is that all of the aforementioned books make the preposterous claim that they have in fact deciphered Minoan Linear A, a claim which no professional philologist or historical linguistic, including myself, would ever dare make. The only case I can rationally make is for a partial decipherment at best of Minoan Linear A, a venture which I have myself undertaken, with mixed results. While some of the 134 terms in my Minoan Linear A Glossary are more than likely to be correct, others may be (though with a lesser degree of accuracy), while yet others are open to serious doubt.   
  
EXCEPTION!

which leaves me with the sole exception of David W. Packard’s Minoan Linear A, which relies solely on computational linguistics to analyze Minoan Linear A, and which is a study I for one shall order personally online (if at all possible, since it was published way back in 1974) and which I shall be keeping a very close eye on with reference to my own cross-correlative retrogressive extrapolations of Minoan Linear A tablets from their latter-day Mycenaean Linear B counterparts, where these exist:

David Packard Minoan Signs

computational

And I quote:

The very first work done on this was done by David W. Packard, the son of Hewlett-Packard (company) co-founder David Packard. He published a book on his work back in 1974 called Minoan Linear A and I highly recommend it. I tried reading it when I first got interested in Linear A and it was way over my head, so I took a few years to familiarize myself with the inscriptions, symbols and patterns and then went back to it. Much better! Ilse Schoep also relied heavily on his data in her dissertation on the Haghia Triada tablets and was able to provide some updates to the data which had occurred since Packard's time, though her dissertation was an overview of the Haghia Triada administration rather than a computational approach.

by Kim Raymoure
 
I have cited just a few of the many fruitless attempts at deciphering Minoan Linear A, but at least this cross-section gives us all a clear overview of this highly specialized field of research.


Basic units of measurement in Mycenaean Linear B & Minoan Linear A chart of fractions:

Basic units of measurement in Mycenaean Linear B:

units-of-mesurement-in-mycenaean-linear-b1

Minoan Linear A chart of fractions:

LinearA_Fraction_Chart



57 Linear A terms deciphered with fair probability from A Glossary of 126 Minoan Linear A words more or less accurately deciphered to date (the largest ever glossary of Linear A) accounting for 24.7 % of all intact Minoan Linear A terms in Prof. John G. Younger’s Linear A texts in phonetic transcription = 510:

minoan-linear-a-glossarymediumhigh1

All terms in Minoan Linear A and in Mycenaean Linear B have been Latinized for ease of access to persons not familiar with these syllabaries. 

NOTE that several prefixes, internal syllabograms or suffixes in BOLD are shared among words. These are obviously related to one another. 

adaro = barley = Linear B kirita
adu = so much, so many, all (persons, things, esp. grain/wheat), referencing all  accounts relevant to them. In the case of grains & wheat, adu would refer to all the “ bushel-like” units of wheat accounted for. In the case of the men measuring the wheat, it would appear that they are surveyors or comptrollers. Cf. Linear B, toso, tosa.
adureza = unit of dry measurement (grain, wheat, barley, flour)
akipiete = (in) common, shared, allotted, allotment = Cf. Linear B kekemena ktoina = small plot of land
asasumaise = cattle-driver or shepherd = Linear B qoukoro -or- qorokota
datara= figs overseer -or- fig gatherer
datu = small olives See also qatidate = olive trees = Linear B erawa
dikise = a type of cloth = Linear B any number of types of cloth
dumitatira2 (dumitatirai) = right or inner spindle wheel on one side of the distaff
kapa = follower or (foot) solder = Linear B eqeta
kidata = to be accepted (for delivery to) = Linear B dekesato
kidema*323na = type of vessel (truncated on HT 31)
kireta2 (kiritai) = delivery = Linear B apudosis
kiretana = (having been) delivered (past participle passive) = Linear B amoiyeto
kireza = unit of measurement for figs, probably 1 basket
kiro = owed = Linear B oporo = they owed 
kukani = (deep) red wine Cf. Linear B wono mitowesa
kura = large amount of wine = Linear B pithos+ wono?
mitu = a type of cloth
nasi = a type of cloth
nipa3 (nipai) or nira2 (nirai) = figs = Linear B suza
pajare = in pay, hired = Linear B emito
pimitatira2 (pimitatirai) = left or outer spindle wheel on one side of the distaff
pitakase = harvested or field of = Linear B akoro
qajo = double-edged axe or labrys = Linear B dapu
qatidate = olive trees See also datu = small olives = Linear B erawo
qareto = Linear B onato = “lease field” 
ra*164ti = approx. 5 litres (of wine) 
reza = 1 standard unit of measurement
sajamana = with handles = Linear B owowe
samaro = bunch of (figs, grapes etc.)
sara2 (sarai) = small unit of measurement: dry approx. 1 kg., liquid approx. 1 litre
saru = large olives
sata = a type of cloth
tejare = a type of cloth
teki = small unit of measurement for wine @ 27 1/2 per tereza
tereza = larger unit of liquid measurement (olive oil, wine)
teri = offering -or- being delivered (to the gods) = Linear B dedomena, dosomo, qetea (due to the gods)
tesi = small unit of measurement
tisa = description of pot or pottery = Linear B amotewiya/yo
ti?redu = spice(s) (coriander)
udimi = a type of cloth 
usu = a type of cloth

Eponyms:

Ikurina
Kosaiti
Kukudara
Kuramu
Kureju
Makarita
Mirutarare
Qetiradu
Qitune
Sidate

Toponyms:

Almost all the toponyms do not require decipherment as they are either identical or almost identical in Mycenaean Linear B:

Dame
Dawa (Haghia Triada)
Dureza (or a unit of measurement)
Qeka

COMMENTARY:

This Glossary accounts for at least 24.7 % of all intact Minoan Linear A terms.
There are 57 terms deciphered with a medium degree of certainty, i.e. probability(60 % to 75 %). These terms thus account for 45 % of all Minoan Linear A terms I have attempted to decipher. They also account for 10 % of all intact Minoan Linear A terms in Prof. John G. Younger’s Lexicon.

As for eponyms and toponyms, I can only claim to have deciphered no more than 10 %, since they are so obvious and since so many of them are almost identical to their Mycenaean Linear B counterparts, in those cases where the latter exist. 

All of my decipherments operate on The principle of cross-correlative cohesion on the assumption that terms in Minoan Linear A vocabulary should reflect as closely and as faithfully as possible parallel terms in Mycenaean Greek vocabulary. In other words, the English translations of Minoan words in a Minoan Linear A Glossary such as this one should look as if they are English translations of Mycenaean Greek terms in a Linear B glossary. I have endeavoured to do my best to achieve this goal, but even the most rational and logical approach, such as I take, does not and cannot guarantee reciprocity between Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B terms. It is precisely for this reason that I have had to devise a scale of relative accuracy for terms in this Linear A Glossary.

The best and most reliable Linear B Lexicon is that by Chris Tselentis, Athens, Greece. If you wish to receive a  copy of his Lexicon, please leave a comment in Comments, with some way for me to get in touch with you.

Mycenaean Linear B accounting list


Mycenaean Linear B accounting list:

Mycenaean Linear B accounting list


Minoan Linear A tablet HT 17 (Haghia Triada) & ra*164ti  = approx. 5 litres (of wine):

ra164ati wine litres gallons

Close examination of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 17 (Haghia Triada), on which 38 units of wine + the supersyllabogram TE = tereza, which is the standard unit for liquid measurement in Minoan Linear A, appears ra*164ti  = approx. 5 litres (of wine), reveals that this total (38) would amount to something in the order of 190 litres of wine, which is a pretty substantial amount. An equally close look at the heading of this tablet, the illustration of the wine magazines at Knossos, would seem to validate our findings. All we need to do is compare the amount of 190 litres or so on this tablet with the sizes of the 11 amphorae in this magazine to get a fair idea of which of these 11 amphorae is most likely to contain 190 litres or so. That is the one which I have flagged. I cannot be sure whether that amphora is the closest in size to 190 litres or so, because I have never had occasion to fill any amphora of any size with wine. Perhaps one of our archaeologist friends can carry out this experiment (or may have already done so for a certain amount of litre-like units of measurement for amphorae). Such a person would be in a solid position to enlighten us on this account. I am thinking, for instance, of our archaeologist colleague Rita Roberts, who may be willing to fill a few small amphorae with 190 litres of water until she finds the one that does not spill over... if she can find enough small amphorae to carry out such an experiment. Just a thought.

Caveat: as is the usual case, we can never be sure what the standard liquid unit of measurement for wine or other liquids was in Minoan or Mycenaean times, particularly at Knossos, but this approximation will do.

This is term 105 I have deciphered, more or less accurately in Minoan Linear A. Since I am reasonably confident of this definition, I am assigning it a scalar value of 60% +.

For the table of standard dry and liquid units of measurement in Mycenaean Linear B by Andras Zeke, click on the figure below:

Mycenaean-measurement-system




Mycenaean Linear B tablet KN 160a J j 11 as a template for Minoan Linear A large unit of liquid measurement, tereza:

Mycenaean Linear B tablet Knossos KN 160a J j 11 wine PE wine DI

Mycenaean Linear B tablet KN 160a J j 11 serves as a useful template for Minoan Linear A large unit of liquid measurement, tereza, which was one of the very first words I deciphered with reasonable accuracy back in May 2016. Moreover, the supersyllabogram DI following the ideogram (ID) for “wine” specifically references dipa, the Mycenaean word for “cup”, which in turn appears as supa3 (supai) for a small cup (300 of them) and pazeqe for a small cup without handles (3,000 of them) on Linear A tablet HT 31, which we have already translated in its entirety.  In addition, this particular Mycenaean Linear B tablet on wines is information-rich.


Linear A tablets Zakros ZA 11 & ZA 15 with wine adding up to  same amounts (twice!) on both tablets:

Zakros Linear A tablets ZA 11 and ZA 15

Linear A tablets Zakros ZA 11 & ZA 15 apparently reference two different types of wine adding up to the exact same amounts on both tablets. On ZA 11 we have kana and on ZA 15 kadi. But the passingly strange thing about these two tablets is that the totals for kana on ZA 11 & kadi on ZA 15 are exactly the same (3). Not only that, the grand total for all of the items mentioned on both of these tablets also adds up to the exact same amount (78)! This in spite of the fact that ZA 11 is loaded with text, whereas ZA 15 contains no text whatsoever apart from the name of the wine = kadi, and its total = 3 + the grand total, kuro = 78.

Upon re-examination of Zakros ZA 11, I also just happened to notice that the first word apparently denoting a type of wine, kunasa (RECTO), which I previously defined as possibly meaning “honey wine” has to its immediate left the logogram for “gold” (at least that is what it means in Linear B, so I have little doubt that it cannot mean anything else in Linear A). Now since honey wine is obviously gold in colour, this additional bit of information tends to confirm, albeit not very strongly, that kunasa does mean “honey wine”.

But this still leaves us frustrated with dilemma, why are there two different words for what appear to be wine types on ZA 11 & ZA 15? This one stumped me for a very long time. No matter how I wracked my brains, I could not extricate myself from the apparent impossibility that two different words existed for the same type of wine, which would very likely have to be a fine quality wine, given that there are only 3 of each type, or alternatively that each word referenced a different type of fine wine.. But as it turns out, I was entirely on the wrong track. Notice that kana and kadi both begin with the same syllabogram, KA. Now this is truly odd, if the two words both designate a kind of fine wine. In Mycenaean Linear B, no such distinctions are ever made. So I simply could not accept this interpretation.

What alternatives was I left with? Finally, the solution hit me right between the eyes. It would appear that kana refers to the first item in a list, and kadi to the next in a series. So these are the meanings I have assigned to each in turn: kana = first (in a series) and kadi = next. It is highly unlikely that kana = first and kadi = second,  because in almost all languages the numbers 1 & 2 are distinctly different. So I assume that the same scenario obtains with Minoan Linear A. 


Minoan Linear A tablet from Zakros, sukini = a type of fine wine no. 40:

Here we see the famous Cup Bearers fresco from Knossos, which I myself was thrilled to see myself on May 2, 2012, when I visited the site.

Cup Bearers Fresco Knossos

Minoan Linear A tablet from Zakros deals with sukini = a type of fine wine. This is the fortieth Minoan Linear A term I have deciphered to date.

 ZAKROS WINE scales wine sukini


Another Minoan Linear A word tentatively deciphered: sara2 = sarai = a small unit of measurement?

Minoan Linear A sara2 = sarai = approx. kilogram or litre

While I have encountered enormous challenges deciphering scores and scores of Minoan Linear A words which are not accompanied by an ideogram, being quite unable to decipher any of them at all, sara2 = sarai is a rare exception. I have tentatively assigned it the value of a small unit of dry measurement for wheat and barley (crops) and of wet measurement for olive oil or wine. Since it is impossible for us today to determine with any degree of accuracy what each unit of a sara2 = sarai actually was, I have had to resort to approximations, correlating the unit of dry measurement with the modern metric kilogram (more or less) and the unit of wet measurement with the metric litre (more or less). It is the best we can hope for. My decipherment is based entirely on the gross amounts of sara2 = sarai reported on several Minoan Linear A tablets with the ideograms for “grain/wheat”, “barley” or “olive oil”. The numbers on the following tablets range from a low of 1 (olive oil) on HT 28  to 2 (grain) on HT 125 to 10 (grain) on HT 18 and HT 114, to 20 (grain) on HT 28 & HT 90 to 41 (grain) on HT 101 to 976 (grain !) on HT 102. The totals for sara2 = sarai on all of these tablets from Haghia Triada = 1070 units, of which 1069 are small units of dry measurement for “grain/wheat” or “barley”. The remaining 1 shows 1 small unit of liquid measurement for “olive oil”.

The only thing which troubles me with this tentative translation is that, although the total figures for dry and liquid measurement are sky high,  there is only 1 unit of liquid measurement on HT 28 (olive oil) and there are only 2 units of dry measurement on HT 125 (grain, wheat or barley). I find it difficult to believe that a Minoan scribe would tally only 2 small dry units (approx. = to 2 kg.) and 1 small liquid unit (approx. = 1 litre) on these two tablets. What is the point of that? On the other hand, all of the other figures for units of measurement range from a respectable low of 20, to 41 to the enormous amount of 976 on HT 102. These latter figures would appear to lend some credence to my tentative decipherment of sara2 = sarai. All this is not to say that I will necessarily adhere to this initial decipherment in the near to not so near future. Should reasonably reliable evidence arise to contradict this decipherment, I shall take it into close consideration,  and if the need arises, I may have to scrap this initial decipherment. 


The lengthy and highly informative Linear B tablet Pylos Py Er 312 from Chris Tselentis’ Linear B Lexicon:

Pylos tablet PY TA Er 312 Linear B

Pylos tablet PY TA Er 312 Linear B Latinized and translation
Linear B tablet Pylos Py Er 312 which Chris Tselentis deciphered in his superb Linear B Lexicon is presented above. This tablet runs the gamut from wheat and wheat seeds, to the measurement of olive oil to a number of references to the gods and sacred cults. Since Linear B tablets from Pylos tend to be significantly larger than those from Knossos, they are often a richer source of information applicable to the decipherment, not only of Linear B tablets, but of Minoan Linear A tablets as well.  You can be sure that I shall rely a good deal lon this tablet in my efforts towards the further decipherment of Minoan Linear A. Since Chris Tselentis has done all the work for us, I have simply translated it into English, without troubling myself with appending the text in Archaic Greek.  


Translation of most of the RECTO of Linear A tablet HT 13 (Haghia Triada):

Linear A tablet HT 13 Haghia Triada partial translation

A partial decipherment of the recto side of Linear A tablet HT 13 (Haghia Triada) holds up quite well under scrutiny. I was able to decipher lines 1, 3 and 4 with reasonable accuracy, the tail end of 5.(idu) and the beginning of 6. (nesi) to extract the toponyms (place names) Kydonia and Idunesi. To date, this is the most complete translation I have managed of a Linear A tablet. One thing that stood out was the total amount of teki = 27 1/2, which would appear to be the amount of teki (plural) per tereza, but I cannot be sure. If this is the case, then teki is a small measurement of wine = 27 1/2 per tereza. I suspect that this small standard amount of wine would be the amount measured out in a large kylix or small wine amphora to be served at a palace feast. But this only the case if teki is a small unit of measurement.        

The VERSO almost completely escapes me, at least for now. Perhaps some day... But for now I am satisfied with my translation of the RECTO.


How did I manage to decipher 17 Minoan Linear A words in 1 month? The 4 principles

That is the burning question. And here are the reasons why. To begin with, it is impossible to decipher any unknown ancient language by relying on its internal structure alone. It simply cannot be done. We must have recourse to certain fundamental principles before we even being to attempt any decipherment. So far, I have been able to isolate four of them. These are:

1. The attempt to correlate Minoan with known ancient language (negative principle or factor):

All too many past researchers and philologists attempting to decipher Minoan Linear A have made the assumption that they had first to determine what class of language it must or may have belonged to before they even began to attempt decipherment. This is, as we shall see, a false premise, a non starter, a dead end.

The very first of these researchers to make such an assumption was none other than Sir Arthur Evans himself, though he could hardly be blamed for doing so, being as he was at the very frontier of the science of archaeology at the outset of the twentieth century, up until the First World War when he had to suspend archaeological work at Knossos (1900-1914). I made this clear in my article, An Archaeologist’ s Translation of Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), in Vol. 10 (2014) in the prestigious international journal, Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448, in which I emphasized and I quote from Evans:

It would seem, therefore, unlikely that the language of the Cretan scripts was any kind of Greek, and probable that it was related to the early language or languages of Western Anatolia – associated, that is, with the archaeological 'cultures’ of Alaja Hüyük I ('proto-hattic’) and of Hissarlik II and Yortan ('Luvian’)...”, and a little further, “Though many of the sign-groups are compounded from distinct elements, usually of two syllables each, there is little trace of an organized system of grammatical suffixes, as in Greek. At most, a few signs are notably frequent as terminals... (italics mine) and this in spite of its great antiquity, given that it preceded the earliest known written Greek, The Iliad and The Odyssey of Homer by at least 600 years! It was a perfectly reasonable and plausible assumption, in view of the then understandable utter lack of evidence to the contrary.

Returning to my own analysis:

Besides, there were no extant tablets in either Minoan Linear A or Linear B with parallel text in another known ancient language, as had conveniently been the case with the Rosetta Stone, which would have gone a long way to aiming for a convincing decipherment of at least the latter script.  Yet Evans was nagged by doubts lurking just
below the surface of his propositions. (pp. 137-138)

So Evans was vacillating between the assumption that the Minoan language may have been related either to Luvian or Hittite (a brilliant assumption for his day and age) and that it was an ancestral form of proto-Greek. Both assumptions were wrong, but if only he had known that Linear B was alternatively the actual version of a very ancient East Greek dialect, namely, Mycenaean Greek, how different would the history of the decipherment of Linear B at least have been. 

To complicate matters, Michael Ventris himself, following in the footsteps of Evans, began by making the same assumption, only this time correlating (italics mine) Linear B with Etruscan, stubbornly sticking with this assumption for almost 2 years before Linear B literally threw in his face the ineluctable conclusion that the script was indicative of Mycenaean Greek (June 1952).

My point is and here I must be emphatic. It is a total waste of time trying to pigeon-hole the lost Minoan language in any class of language, whether Indo-European or not. It will get us absolutely nowhere. So I have concluded (much to my own relief and with positive practical consequences) that it does not matter one jot what class of language Minoan belongs to, and that it serves us best simply to jump into the deep waters without further ado, and to attempt to decipher it on its own terms, i.e. internally.

2. Cross-correlation between Minoan and a known ancient language: 

Notice that in 1. above I italicized the word correlating. This is no accident at all. It is only by the process of cross-correlation with a known language that we can even begin to decipher an unknown one. And of course, the known language with which the Minoan language must be cross-correlated is none other than Mycenaean in Linear B, if not for any reason other than that Linear B uses basically the same syllabary as its predecessor, with only a modicum of changes required by the latter to represent Mycenaean Greek, more or less accurately. This assumption or principle, if you like, is squarely based on the approach used by the renowned French philologist, Jean-François Champellion, who finally deciphered in 1822, 23 years after it was discovered in Egypt in 1799.


Wikipedia Rosetta Stone


Rosetta Stone Champollion 1790-1832


How did he do it? He made the brilliant assumption that the stone, on which was inscribed the identical text in Demotic and ancient Greek, must have the exact same text in Egyptian hieroglyphics on it. And of course, he was right on the money. Here is were the principle of cross-correlation comes charging to the fore. If a given text in an unknown ancient text is on the same tablet as at least one other known language (and in this case two), a truly observant and meticulous philologist cannot but help to draw the ineluctable conclusion that the text of the unknown language must be identical to that of the known. Bingo!
 
But I hear you protest, there are no media upon which the identical text is inscribed where Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B are concerned. The medium on which texts in both Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B are inscribed is the clay tablet. While it is indisputably true that there exist no tablets on which the identical text is inscribed in Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B, upon close examination, we discover to our amazement that there is at least one tablet in Minoan Linear A which might potentially be very close to another in Mycenaean Linear B, and that tablet is none other than HT 31 from Haghia Triada, on which the text, at least to a highly observant philologist would appear to be very close to a text on a particular Linear B tablet. And that tablet, we discover to our amazement, is none other than Pylos tablet Py TA 631-1952 (Ventris). Armed with this assumption, I forged right ahead and made a direct comparison between the two. And what did I discover? Both tablets mention the (almost) the very same types of vessels in at least 4 instances. Armed with this information, I simply went ahead and found, this time not to my amazement or even surprise, that I was – at least   tentatively – correct.

In the case of at least two words on both tablets, as it turned out, I was right on the money. These are (a) puko = tripod on HT 31 and tiripode = tripod on  Py TA 631-1952 (Ventris). This was the very first word I ever managed to decipher correctly in Minoan Linear A. My translation, as it turns out, is without a shadow of a doubt, correct. My excitement mounted. (b) The second is supa3ra or supaira on HT 31, which would appear to be almost if not the exact equivalent of dipa mewiyo = a small(er) cup on Py TA 631-1952 (Ventris), but without the handles on the latter. And as it turns out, I was again either close to the mark or right on it. Refer to our previous posts on the decipherment of these two words, and you can see for yourselves exactly how I drew these startling conclusions.


Linear A HT 13 tereza additional vocabulary


Pylos 641-1952 Archaeology and Science

3. Parallel ideograms on Linear A and Linear B tablets:

The presence of apparently (very) similar ideograms for vessels on both of these tablets only serves to confirm, at least tentatively for most of the words on vessels I have attempted to decipher, and conclusively for the two words above, that I was well on my way to a clear start at deciphering Minoan Linear A. For lack of space, I cannot give details this post, which is already long enough, but once again, previous posts reveal in much more detail this principle on which my decipherments are founded, and the methodology behind it which lends further credence my translations.

4. Archaeological evidence lends yet further credence to my decipherments of 4 of the largest vessel types on HT 31, namely, karopa3 or karopai, nere, qapai & tetu. The problem here is, which one of the largest is the largest of them all, being approximately equivalent to the Greek pithos? I cannot tell from the tablet. However, since my initial stab at decipherment, I have tentatively concluded that Minoan Linear A words terminating in the ultimate U are masculine singular for the very largest in their class. Hence,  it would appear at least that tetu is the most likely candidate for the equivalent to the ancient Greek pithos. I cannot as yet determine with any degree of certainty that this is so, but it is at least a start.

These four principle form the foundation of the first steps that appear to yield relatively convincing results in the decipherment of the 17 words in Minoan Linear A I have tackled so far. Relying on the application of these four principles, either singly or in combination, we can, I believe, make some real headway in the decipherment of roughly 5% to 10 % of the terms on the Linear A tablets. The greater the number of these principles entering into the equation for the decipherment of any Minoan word in particular, the greater are our chances of  “getting it right”, so to speak. That is a very good start.

On the other hand, at least to date, it is virtually impossible to decipher any Linear A words on any tablet to which any or all of the aforementioned principles cannot be safely applied. This leaves hundreds of Minoan terms virtually beyond our reach. In other words, tablets on which Minoan vocabulary appears, but without any reference or link to the 4 principles mentioned above remain a sealed mystery. But that does not bother me in the least.

In the next post, relying on principles 2. (cross-correlation) and 3. ideograms, I shall decipher the eighteenth Minoan word (18), this time one related to spices.

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