Origin of the saffron crocus traced back to Greece: Since ancient times, saffron has been giving dishes a golden-yellow hue and an aromatic flavour. The use of the stigmas of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) is depicted in frescos from Crete and Santorini, which are as old as 3600 years. Nowadays, the valuable plant is mainly cultivated in Iran accounting for more than 90% of the saffron production. For the remainder of this informative article, click on the logo image above. Saffron: Map of Ancient Greece illustrating the distribution of saffron:
What are the current prospects for deciphering Minoan Linear A? Dismal but... As historical research on Minoan Linear A has demonstrated over and over, every attempt by philologists and historical linguists specializing in Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B to decipher Linear A over the past 116 years has met with failure. Though some, like Sam Connolly, have claimed success The Minoan language has remained a sealed mystery. Though I have brought all my intellectual resources to bear on the painful struggle to decipher Minoan Linear A, I too have made little headway. But that is not to say I have not made any at all. Still, the only words I have been able to decipher with any accuracy at all are those which are directly linked with ideograms. These ideograms happen to turn up almost exclusively on Linear A tablets dealing with vessels and wine, with little else to show in the other sectors of the Minoan economy. Moreover, I have found myself having to face the unsatisfactory prospect of having to “decipher” many Minoan words much less accurately than I would have hoped to. This usually happens because there is only one word to be found on only one tablet in Linear A containing that word in conjunction with an ideogram. One of these terms is qareto on Linear B tablet HT 132 (Haghia Triada), the only Minoan word prepended to the syllabogram for sheep. Now, in Mycenaean Linear B, there exist a number of single syllabograms preceding the ideograms for sheep, rams or ewes. Each of these syllabograms, which I have definitively defined as supersyllabograms (2014-2016), is the first syllabogram or first syllable of a Mycenaean Greek word. Two of these supersyllabograms (SSYLs) predominate in the sheep sub-sector of the agricultural sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy, outstripping all the others by a very considerable margin. These are the supersyllabograms O = onato = “lease field” and KI = kitimena = “a plot of land”. There are scores and scores of Linear B tablets directly dealing with sheep, which contain either of these two supersyllabograms. The problem is that there is only one word, qareto, on only one tablet in Minoan Linear A dealing with sheep, which does not leave us with much wiggle room at all. However, since the Mycenaean Greek words onato and kitimena appear with the ideograms for sheep, rams or ewes far more often than any other supersyllabogram, I have concluded that it is safe to assume that qareto in Minoan Linear A might be one or the other. But this state of affairs simply won’t do, since we can never know which one of the two it is, if indeed it is one of these two words for a specific type of field in Minoan Linear A. This confusion is compounded the fact that there are four other words naming specific types of fields in Mycenaean Linear B, arura or kama = unit of land (cf. metric, hectare), kekemina/no (adj.) = referring to common land and koto(i)na/no = plot of land, a synonym of kikimena. This brings the total number of specific terms relating to fields to six, making it impossible to accurately define qareto in Minoan Linear B. But it is not all that hopeless. If we cannot define qareto at the level of specificity allowed for in Mycenaean Linear B, we can still decipher it at the generic level of “field”, of which all 6 of the aforementioned are subsets. We are hedging our bets. While we suspect qareto is possibly some specific kind of field, we can safely say that it definitely is a field at the generic level, since all 6 types of fields found in Mycenaean Greek are subsumed under the notion of “field”. So qareto can be said to be pretty much synonymous with akoro. But that is as far as we can go. This is just one example of any number of Minoan Linear A words which allow for a more or less satisfactory decipherment, but which defy a truly accurate translation. I have compiled a list of terms in the agricultural, religious and vessels (pottery) sectors of the Mycenaean Linear A followed by another in Minoan Linear A. Both are as exhaustive as I could make them. I culled all of the Mycenaean Linear B words from Chris Tselentis’ comprehensive Linear B Lexicon, and all of the Minoan Linear A words from all of the relevant Linear A tablets on Prof. John G. Younger’s excellent site, Linear A Texts in phonetic transcription & Commentary (Click on the banner below to visit): Of course, there is no way of knowing for sure that I have accounted for all possible terms relevant to the potential decipherment of Minoan Linear A. In addition, so many Minoan words on the Linear A tablets are either left- or right-truncated that I simply had to eliminate them, given that it is an exercise in futility to attempt to decipher these. The number of Linear B terms I have compiled amounts to a total of 64, while that of Linear A words to 62. This means that if we take all possible permutations into account, we end up with the figure of 3,968, or let us us say, 4,000 give or take. The implications of this figure are staggering. It means that if we are going to be able ever to decipher Minoan Linear A, we have to take into account at least 4,000 possible variations in determining the exact meaning of almost all of the Minoan words in the Linear A list. A hopeless endeavour? ... not quite. As I have pointed out above, the presence of ideograms directly associated with quite a few Minoan words makes the potentiality for deciphering those terms rather more promising. So where we have been able to decipher these terms more or less accurately, we can eliminate them from the list of Minoan Linear A words. But even so doing scarcely makes a dent in the number of permutations left in the remaining words, which is almost all of them. We are still left with the well nigh impossible task of aligning just slightly short of 64 Mycenaean Linear B terms with just slightly fewer than 62 Minoan words. The permutations still run to over 3,500. Given this depressing situation, the prospects for deciphering the remainder of the words in the Linear A list remain all but hopeless. The vast bulk of the Minoan language still remains a sealed tomb in a pyramid, from which I have managed to rob a few artifacts (i.e. the words I have managed to decipher, more or less). Here are the two lists, Mycenaean Linear B (all translated) first, Minoan Linear A second. The Mycenaean Linear B words I have successfully deciphered (more or less accurately) in Minoan Linear A are in bold in both lists. The Minoan Linear A words which I expect are susceptible to decipherment are in italics. After each of the Minoan Linear A words the total number of its occurrences on each of the Linear A tablets on which it appears is provided.. Linear B olives & olive oil, wheat and barley, toponyms, vases & wine versus Linear A: Linear B: Grain/wheat/barley: akoro = field akotono = without plot of land apudosi = delivery arura = unit of land (cf. metric, hectare) kama = unit of land kapo = fruit kekemina/no (adj.) = referring to common land kirita = barley kitimena = plot of land koria2dana koriyadana = coriander koto(i)na/no = plot of land kanako = saffron, crocus kuparo = cyperus meno = month mereuro = flour onato = lease field ono (pl.) = payment, debt pasi/pasa (masc./fem.) = all rino = linen, flax sasama = sesame serino = celery sito = wheat weto = this year/this year’s crop? zawete = this year(’s) Olive oil: erawa = olive tree erawo = essential (olive) oil kapo = fruit meno = month pasi/pasa (masc./fem.) = all weto = this year/this year’s crop? zawete = this year(’s) Religious: anemoiyerea = Priestess of the Winds diwiyo =dedicated to Zeus diuya/diwiya = priestess of Zeus diuyayo = sanctuary diwiyo = sanctuary dedicated to Zeus dosomo (pl.) = offerings iyereu = priest iyeria (iyerea) = priestess iyero = sacred pasi/pasa (masc./fem.) = all pasiteoi = to all the gods qeteo = debt to the gods sapaketeriya/yo = for ritual slaughter teo = god wanakatero temeno = palace shrine Sheep: akoro Toponyms: Aminiso = Amnisos Kerasiyo/Kerasiya = Cretan Paito = Phaistos Vases: anowe/anowoto = without handles (vase, cup) aporewe = amphora apudosi = delivery dipa = cup ipono = (cooking) pot kakiya/yo = made of copper kako = copper karawere = stirrup jar kuruso = gold kurusupa3 = tripod amphora newo = new pasi/pasa (masc./fem.) = all pia2ra/piyera3 = a kind of pot qetorowe = with four handles (pot) rewotereyo = cauldron soro = funereal urn (for ashes) tiripo = tripod = Linear A: puko udoro = water flask Wine: apudosi = delivery kapo = fruit meri = honey mita = mint newo = new parayo = old, vintage/wine wono = wine Linear A: Grain/wheat/barley: 47nuraya (grain/wheat) adaro (grain/wheat) 40 apu2nadu (grain/wheat) 5 + (olive oil) 3 arudara (grain/wheat) 5 ase + PA (grain/wheat) dadumata (grain/wheat) dame (grain/wheat) x 2 20 & 74 dau49 (grain/wheat) + PA 20 ika (grain/wheat) x 2 kiritana (grain/wheat) 60 kirita3 = kiritai +QE DI (grain/wheat) iqa118 (grain/wheat) kitai (grain/wheat) kunisu (grain/wheat) 20 kupaya (grain/wheat) 16 + 40 pa3ni = paini + PA (grain/wheat) 33 pa3nina = painina + RE + SE (grain/wheat) 12 pase + QE (grain/wheat) 20 pitakase + TE (grain/wheat) 161 pura2 = purai (grain/wheat) 5 qaqaru + PA (grain/wheat) 5 sara2 (alone) sara2 = sarai (grain/wheat) x 6 @ 10 1 20 20 26 41 976! 10 2 tereza? simita (grain/wheat) 5 sirumarita2 = sirumaritai (grain/wheat) 1 = Linear B: qeteo = debt to the gods sise (grain/wheat) 16 turunuseme (grain/wheat) 10 = Linear B: pasiteoi u34si (grain/wheat) watumare +KU (grain/wheat) 12+ yaki + QE (grain/wheat) 5 (wine) 6 30 zu22di + QE (grain/wheat) 40 Olive Oil: datu (olive oil) 15 itaya +DI (olive oil) 10 kitai (olive oil) 1 kupa3 = kupai + U (olive oil) kirita2 = kiritai + (olive oil) + QE + DI 10 & alone pi34te (olive oil) 5 sara2 + DI (olive oil) tereza? saro (olive oil) saru (olive oil) 16 40 sise + KI (olive oil) 1 + sise + MI (olive oil) 6 + sise + TU (olive tree) 3? teri + MI (olive oil) x 2 5 + widina + DI (olive oil) 3 yedi + KI (olive oil) 1 Sheep: qareto (sheep) = field (akoro,kama etc.) Toponyms: Dikate = Mount Dikte Idaa = Mount Ida Kireta2 (Kiretai) Kudoni = Kydonia Meza (=Linear B Masa) Paito = Phaistos (=Linear B) Qeka Radu = Lato (=Linear B Rato)) Setoiya = Seteia (=Linear B) Sukirita = Sybrita Winadu = Inatos (Linear B Winato) Vases: darida (vase) 2 (LARGE!) daropa (vase) = Linear B karaeriyou (gen.) stirrup jar? Wine: kura (wine) 5 (large amount) = Linear B: woinos? RA164aTI (wine) 38 (medium amount) sukini yaki + QE (grain/wheat) 5 (wine) 6 (medium amount) of Linear B: woinos no. of permutations and combinations = 64 x 62 = 3968
Doors from the Late Minoan IIIb Palace (ca 1450 BCE):
This Minoan object preceded the heralded Antikythera Mechanism by 1,400 years, and was the first analog and portable computer in history Researcher Minas Tsikritsis who hails from Crete -- where the Bronze Age Minoan civilization flourished from approximately 2700 BC to 1500 century BC -- maintains that the Minoan Age object discovered in 1898 in Paleokastro site, in the Sitia district of western Crete, preceded the heralded "Antikythera Mechanism" by 1,400 years, and was the first analog and "portable computer" in history. "While searching in the Archaeological Museum of Iraklion for Minoan Age findings with astronomical images on them we came across a stone-made matrix unearthed in the region of Paleokastro, Sitia. In the past, archaeologists had expressed the view that the carved symbols on its surface are related with the Sun and the Moon," Tsikritsis said. The Cretan researcher and university professor told ANA-MPA that after the relief image of a spoked disc on the right side of the matrix was analysed it was established that it served as a cast to build a mechanism that functioned as an analog computer to calculate solar and lunar eclipses. The mechanism was also used as sundial and as an instrument calculating the geographical latitude. Source: Athens News Agency [April 06, 2011] Text © from original below. Click the BANNER below to visit: This Minoan object preceded the heralded Antikythera Mechanism by 1,400 years, and was the first analog and portable computer in history. A stone-made matrix has carved symbols on its surface are related with the Sun and the Moon serving as a cast to build a mechanism that functioned as an analog computer to calculate solar and lunar eclipses. The mechanism was also used as sundial and as an instrument calculating the geographical latitude. Previous paragraph by Rita Roberts
Knossos tablet KN 894 N v 01 (Ashmolean) as a guide to Mycenaean chariot construction and design In spite of my hard gained experience in translating Linear B tablets, the translation of this tablet on chariot construction and design posed considerable challenges. At the outset, several of the words descriptive of Mycenaean chariot design eluded my initial attempts at an accurate translation. By accurate I not only mean that problematic words must make sense in the total context of the descriptive text outlining Mycenaean chariot construction and design, but that the vocabulary entire must faithfully reconstruct the design of Mycenaean chariots as they actually appeared in their day and age. In other words, could I come up with a translation reflective of the actual construction and design of Mycenaean chariots, not as we fancifully envision them in the twenty-first century, but as the Mycenaeans themselves manufactured them to be battle worthy? It is transparent to me that the Mycenaean military, just as that of any other great ancient civilization, such as those of Egypt in the Bronze Age, of the Hittite Empire, and later on, in the Iron Age, of Athens and Sparta and, later still, of the Roman Empire, must have gone to great lengths to ensure the durability, tensile strength and battle worthiness of their military apparatus in its entirety (let alone chariots). It goes without saying that, regardless of the techniques of chariot construction employed by the various great civilizations of the ancient world, each civilization strove to manufacture military apparatus to the highest standards practicable within the limits of the technology then available to them. It is incontestable that progress in chariot construction and design must have made major advances in all of the great civilizations from the early to the late Bronze Age. Any flaws or faults in chariot construction would have been and were rooted out and eliminated as each civilization perceptibly moved forward, step by arduous step, to perfect the manufacture of chariots in their military. In the case of the Mycenaeans contemporaneous with the Egyptians, this was the late Bronze Age. My point is strictly this. Any translation of any part of a chariot must fully take into account the practicable appropriateness of each and every word in the vocabulary of that technology, to ensure that the entire vocabulary of chariot construction will fit together as seamlessly as possible in order to ultimately achieve as solid a coherence as conceivably possible. Thus, if a practicably working translation of any single technical term for the manufacture of chariots detracts rather than contributes to the structural integrity, sturdiness and battle worthiness of the chariot, that term must be seriously called into question. Past translators of the vocabulary of chariot construction and design who have not fully taken into account the appropriateness of any particular term descriptive of the solidity and tensile strength of the chariot required to make it battle worthy have occasionally fallen short of truly convincing translations of the whole (meaning here, the chariot), translations which unify and synthesize its entire vocabulary such that all of its moving and immobile parts alike actually “translate” into a credible reconstruction of a Bronze Age (Mycenaean) chariot as it must have realistically appeared and actually operated. Even the most prestigious of translators of Mycenaean Linear B, most notably L.R. Palmer himself, have not always succeeded in formulating translations of certain words or terms convincing enough in the sense that I have just delineated. All this is not to say that I too will not fall into the same trap, because I most certainly will. Yet as we say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. And what applies to the terminology for the construction and design of chariots in any ancient language, let alone Mycenaean Linear B, equally applies to the vocabulary of absolutely any animate subject, such as human beings and livestock, and to any inanimate object in the context of each and every sector of the economy of the society in question, whether this be in the agricultural, industrial, military, textiles, household or pottery sector. Again, if any single word detracts rather than contributes to the actual appearance, manufacturing technique and utility of said object in its entire context, linguistic as well as technical, then that term must be seriously called into question. When it comes down to brass tacks, the likelihood of achieving such translations is a tall order to fill. But try we must. A convincing practicable working vocabulary of Knossos tablet KN 894 N v 01 (Ashmolean): While much of the vocabulary on this tablet is relatively straightforward, a good deal is not. How then was I to devise an approach to its translation which could conceivably meet Mycenaean standards in around 1400-1200 BCE? I had little or no reference point to start from. The natural thing to do was to run a search on Google images to determine whether or not the results would, as it were, measure up to Mycenaean standards. Unfortunately, some of the most convincing images I downloaded were in several particulars at odds with one another, especially in the depiction of wheel construction. That actually came as no surprise. So what was I to do? I had to choose one or two images of chariots which appeared to me at least to be accurate renditions of actual Mycenaean chariot design. But how could I do that without being arbitrary in my choice of images determining terminology? Again a tough call. Yet there was a way through this apparent impasse. Faced with the decision of having to choose between twenty-first century illustrations of Mycenaean chariot design - these being the most often at odds with one another - and ancient depictions on frescoes, kraters and vases, I chose the latter route as my starting point. But here again I was faced with images which appeared to conflict on specific points of chariot construction. The depictions of Mycenaean chariots appearing on frescoes, kraters and vases unfortunately did not mirror one another as accurately as I had first supposed they would. Still, this should come as no real surprise to anyone familiar with the design of military vehicles ancient or modern. Take the modern tank for instance. The designs of American, British, German and Russian tanks in the Second World War were substantially different. And even within the military of Britain, America and Germany, there were different types of tanks serving particular uses dependent on specific terrain. So it stands to reason that there were at least some observable variations in Mycenaean chariot design, let alone of the construction of any chariots in any ancient civilization, be it Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece throughout its long history, or Rome, among others. So faced with the choice of narrowing down alternative likenesses, I finally opted for one fresco which provided the most detail. I refer to the fresco from Tiryns (ca 1200 BCE) depicting two female charioteers. This fresco would go a long way to resolving issues related in particular to the manufacture and design of wheels, which are the major sticking point in translating the vocabulary for Mycenaean chariots. Turning now to my translation, I sincerely hope I have been able to resolve most of these difficulties, at least to my own satisfaction if to not to that of others, although here again a word of caution to the wise. My translation is merely my own visual interpretation of what is in front of me on this fresco from Tiryns. Try as we might, there is simply no escaping the fact that we, in the twenty-first century, are bound to impose our own preconceptions on ancient images, whatever they depict. As historiography has it, and I cite directly from Wikipedia: Questions regarding historicity concern not just the issue of "what really happened," but also the issue of how modern observers can come to know "what really happened." This second issue is closely tied to historical research practices and methodologies for analyzing the reliability of primary sources and other evidence. Because various methodologies categorize historicity differently, it's not possible to reduce historicity to a single structure to be represented. Some methodologies (for example historicism), can make historicity subject to constructions of history based on submerged value commitments. The sticking point is those pesky “submerged value commitments”. To illustrate even further, allow me to cite another source, Approaching History: Bias: The problem for methodology is unconscious bias: the importing of assumptions and expectations, or the asking of one question rather than another, by someone who is trying to act in good faith with the past. Yet the problem inherent to any modern approach is that it is simply impossible for any historian or historical linguist today to avoid imposing not only his or her own innate unconscious preconceived values but also the values of his own national, social background and civilization, let alone those of the entire age in which he or she lives. “Now” is the twenty-first century and “then” was any particular civilization with its own social, national and political values set against the diverse values of other civilizations contemporaneous with it, regardless of historical era. If all this seems painfully obvious to the professional historian or linguist, it is more than likely not be to the non-specialist or lay reader, which is why I have taken the trouble to address the issue in the first place. How then can any historian or historical linguist in the twenty-first century possibly and indeed realistically be expected to place him— or herself in the sandals, so to speak, of any contemporaneous Bronze Age Minoan, Mycenaean, Egyptian, Assyrian or oriental civilizations such as China, and so on, without unconsciously imposing the entire baggage of his— or -her own civilization, Occidental, Oriental or otherwise? It simply cannot be done. However, not to despair. Focusing our magnifying glass on the shadowy mists of history, we can only see through a glass darkly. But that is no reason to give up. Otherwise, there would be no way of interpreting history and no historiography to speak of. So we might as well let sleeping dogs lie, and get on with the task before us, which in this case is the intricate art of translation of an object particular not only to its own civilization, remote as it is, but specifically to the military sector of that society, being in this case, the Mycenaean. So the question now is, what can we read out of the Tiryns fresco with respect to Mycenaean chariot construction and design, without reading too much of our own unconscious personal, social and civilized biases into it? As precarious and as fraught with problems as our endeavour is, let us simply sail on ahead and see how far our little voyage can take us towards at least a credible translation of the Tiryns chariot with its lovely belles at the reins, with the proviso that this fresco depicts only one variation on the design of Mycenaean chariots, itself at odds on some points with other depictions on other frescoes. Here you see the fresco with my explanatory notes on the chariot parts: as related to the text and context of the facsimile of the original tablet in Linear B, Linear B Latinized and archaic Greek, here: This is followed by my meticulous notes on the construction and design of the various parts of the Mycenaean chariot as illustrated here: and by The Geometry of chariot parts in Mycenaean Linear B, to drive home my interpretations of both – amota - = - (on) axle – and – temidweta - = the circumference or the rim of the wheel, referencing the – radius – in the second syllable of – temidweta - ,i.e. - dweta - , where radius = 1/2 (second syllable) of – temidweta – and is thus equivalent to one spoke, as illustrated here: The only other historian of Linear B who has grasped the full significance of the supersyllabogram (SSYL) is Salimbeti, whose site is the one and only on the entire Internet which explores the construction and design of bronze age chariots in great detail. I strongly urge you to read his entire study in order to clarify the full import of my translation of – temidweta – as the rim of the wheel. The only problem remaining with my translation is whether or not the word – temidweta – describes the rim on the side of the wheel or the rim on its outer surface directly contacting the ground. The difficulty with the latter translation is whether or not elm wood is of sufficient tensile strength to withstand the beating the tire rim had to endure over time (at least a month or two at minimum) on the rough terrain, often littered with stones and rocks, over which Mycenaean chariots must surely have had to negotiate. As for the meaning of the supersyllabogram (SSYL)TE oncharged directly onto the top of the ideogram for wheel, it cannot mean anything other than – temidweta -, in other words the circumference, being the wheel rim, further clarified here: Hence my translation here: Note that I have translated the unknown word **** – kidapa – as – ash (wood). My reasons for this are twofold. First of all, the hardwood ash has excellent tensile strength and shock resistance, where toughness and resiliency against impact are important factors. Secondly, it just so happens that ash is predominant in Homer’s Iliad as a vital component in the construction of warships and of weapons, especially spears. So there is a real likelihood that in fact – kidapa – means ash, which L.R. Palmer also maintains. Like many so-called unknown words found in Mycenaean Greek texts, this word may well be Minoan. Based on the assumption that many of these so-called unknown words may be Minoan, we can establish a kicking-off point for possible translations of these putative Minoan words. Such translations should be rigorously checked against the vocabulary of the extant corpus of Minoan Linear A, as found in John G. Younger’s database, here: I did just that and came up empty-handed. But that does not at all imply that the word is not Minoan, given that the extant lexicon of Linear A words is so limited, being as it is incomplete. While all of this might seem a little overwhelming at first sight, once we have taken duly into account the most convincing translation of each and every one of the words on this tablet in its textual and real-world context, I believe we can attain such a translation, however constrained we are by our our twenty-first century unconscious assumptions. As for conscious assumptions, they simply will not do. In conclusion, Knossos tablet KN 894 N v 01 (Ashmolean) serves as exemplary a guide to Mycenaean chariot construction and design as any other substantive intact Linear B tablet in the same vein from Knossos. It is my intention to carry my observations and my conclusions on the vocabulary of Mycenaean chariot construction and design much further in an article I shall be publishing on academia.edu sometime in 2016. In it I shall conduct a thorough-going cross-comparative analysis of the chariot terminology on this tablet with that of several other tablets dealing specifically with chariots. This cross-comparative study is to result in a comprehensive lexicon of the vocabulary of Mycenaean chariot construction and design, fully taking into account Chris Tselentis’ Linear B Lexicon and L.R. Palmer’s extremely comprehensive Glossary of military terms relative to chariot construction and design on pp. 403-466 in his classic foundational masterpiece, The Interpretation of Mycenaean Texts. So stay posted.
A Map of the Mycenaean Empire & a Quiz? A Blank Map of the the Mycenaean Empire & a Quiz to Test your Memory Skills + a Prize of a Set of Beautiful Photos Click to ENLARGE: Whoever guesses the largest number correct names of the major Mycenaean cities and settlements on this map (those tagged with a RED SQUARE), and the name of least one of the cities they conquered (tagged with a BLACK SQUARE) will win a beautiful set of 50 photos I took of ruins at Ephesis, Pergamon, Knossos, Mycenae & Epidaurus on my fabulous vacation in the Mediterranean in May 2012. Richard
A Series of Maps of the Minoan & Mycenaean Empires: Part B – 4 more maps & a Quiz! This is the second and last series of maps of the Mycenaean Empire. It is a bit of a misnomer to refer to a Minoan Empire, except in the sense of their extensive network of trade with Egypt, Syria, Cyprus, Sicily and beyond, Athens, Troy & the west coast of Asia, where the modern nation of Turkey now exists. These 2 first maps illustrate the wide extent of the Mycenaean Empire, which was no paltry thing, being pretty much as large as the Athenian Empire at its height in the sixth century BCE, some 600 years after the fall of Mycenae. Click to ENLARGE: Click to ENLARGE: Ha, ha! You thought the Quiz was in this post. Nope. You will have to look at the maps in the next two posts to find the correct map. Richard
A Series of Maps of the Minoan & Mycenaean Empires, Some with New Toponyms Seen for the First Time Our first map is of the principal Minoan cities and settlements, with the locations of the major palaces in the Late Minoan Era (LM Ia – LMII, ca. 1550 -1450 BCE) Click to ENLARGE: It was over the last half of the sixteenth & the first half of the fifteenth century that the Minoan civilization made the swift switchover from using the as yet undeciphered Linear A syllabary to writing Mycenaean Greek in Linear B. Whether or not Knossos itself was conquered by the Mycenaeans around 1500 BCE is a question entirely open to conjecture. Many historians are quite convinced it was, but I personally am not so convinced. However, you should take my opinion with a large grain of salt, as I am a linguist and not a historian! The largest Minoan palaces after that of Knossos, the capital city of the Minoan Empire, with a population estimated to have been somewhere around 55,000 (a huge city for the Bronze age!) were those at Phaistos & Zakros. All of the palaces illustrated on this map have been thoroughly excavated, and they have yielded inestimable treasures of Linear A & B tablets, magnificent Minoan frescoes and art, bronze ware of all sorts (weaponry, utensils etc.), pottery and so on. If you have already had the opportunity to visit any of these magnificent sites (as I have, seeing Knossos in May 2012), you will know to what heights the Minoan Empire and their highly cultured civilization aspired. They (the Minoans) were so cultivated and refined that they virtually outclassed and outshone all other contemporary Bronze Age empires, and that includes, to my mind at least, Egypt! In fact, the Mycenaeans, shortly after arrival at Knossos, imitated lock-stock-and-barrel, the brilliant architecture and the entire repertoire of military expertise, the arts and crafts and every other area of the prosperous Minoan agri-economy. Their tribute to the Minoans could not have been more profound than that of the Romans to the Greeks some 1,000 years or more later on. It was that kind of phenomenon, nothing less. All of these maps, as well as all of the maps in the next few posts, also appear on the following PINTEREST Boards, Richard