Tag Archive: Mycenaean Greek

Linear A tablet HT 6 (Haghia Triada) RECTO: ripe figs and pomegranates:


Linear A tablet HT 6 (Haghia Triada) RECTO deals with ripe crops, including figs and pomegranates. Although we do not know what the Old Minoan words jaru or ruja (could be either), mazu and daqera mean, they are almost certainly kinds of ripe crops, some of them fruits. However, it is possible that mazu derives from the proto-Indo-European mat = to plant, hoe. Cf. Occitan massa and Spanish maza = “mallet”. This makes sense in context.

Of the probable Mycenaean-derived New Minoan words, pitaja, on line 2, which appears to mean “drinkable”, would imply that we are dealing with 24 units (cups?) of fig juice, in view of the fact that figs are specified as the first ripe crop on line 1.

It is noteworthy that, as the result of having learned how to decipher some 25-30 Linear A tablets, all of which are at least partially inscribed in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan, I am finally gaining greater insight into the vocabulary, Old Minoan and New Minoan alike, of Linear A tablets.

Since this tablet is so information rich, I am obliged to decipher the VERSO in the next post.

A convincing contextualized decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 1 (Haghia Triada):

Linear A tablet HT 1 Haghia Triada

While decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 1 (Haghia Triada) appears at first sight beyond reach, this may not actually be the case. Of the 6 words on this tablet, only 3 are likely to be Mycenaean-derived, qera2u (qeraiu), kiro and kupa3nu (kupainu), while the other 3, zusu, didizake and aranare, are almost certainly Old Minoan, i.e. written in the original Minoan language. As I have pointed out over and over, a number of Linear A tablets appear to be inscribed in a combination of the Mycenaean-derived superstratum and of the Minoan substratum, as is almost surely the case here.

But even if 3 of the words on this tablet are probably Mycenaean-derived, 2 of them, qera2u (qeraiu) and kupai3nu (kupainu) require further analysis. How can it be that qeraiu is derived from gerron (Greek Latinized) = shield and kupainu from kuparissinos (Greek Latinized) = made of cypress word”, when the orthography of the Mycenaean-derived words diverges from the original Greek, especially in the case of kupainu, which does not exactly appear to resemble kuparissinos? But there is an explanation and it is this. The orthography of the Greek words must be adjusted to meet the dictates of Minoan spelling in each and every case in which Mycenaean-derived words are imported into the Minoan language.

This phenomenon is analogous to the imposition of the Norman French superstratum on English pursuant to the Norman conquest of England in 1066 CE. The Mycenaean conquest of Knossos and Crete or, failing that, of their all but absolute suzerainty over these territories ca. 1500-1450 BCE appears to have had a similar outcome, namely, that much of the vocabulary of the source language of the invaders, the Mycenaeans, found its way into the target or original language, Minoan. But in so doing, the originally Mycenaean vocabulary would have had to be adjusted to standard Minoan orthography.

Allow me to illustrate this through comparison with the influx of some 10,000 French words into English between ca. 1100 & 1450 CE. The French vocabulary could not be assimilated into English without undergoing a metamorphosis in orthography permitting the original French vocabulary to be adjusted to the dictates of English spelling. Examples running into the thousands abound. So we should not be at all surprised at this metamorphosis of orthography from the superstratum (Mycenaean derived vocabulary) to the substratum (Minoan vocabulary derived from the Mycenaean superstratum). After all, when superstratum French words are imported into English, their orthography undergoes the same metamorphosis. For instance, we have:

French to English:

albâtre = alabaster
amical = amicable
bénin = benign
ciprès (from Old French cipres) = cypress (See below for Minoan kupainu)
cloître = cloister
dédain = disdain
dédoublé = doubled up
doute = doubt
entrée = entrance
fanatique = fanatic
gobelet = goblet
jalousie = jealousy
loutre = otter
maître = master
plâtre = plaster
retenir = retain
soldat = soldier
similitude = similarity

and on and on ad nauseam. This phenomenon applies to every last substratum language upon which a superstratum from another language is imposed. So in the case of Old Minoan, it is inevitable that the orthography of any single superstratum Mycenaean derived word has to be adjusted to meet the exigencies of Minoan orthography.

The most striking example of this metamorphosis is the masculine singular. Mycenaean derived words in Minoan must have their singular ultimate adjusted to u from the Mycenaean o. There are plenty of examples:

Akano to Akanu (Archanes)
akaro to akaru (field)
kako to kaku (copper)
kuruko to kuruku (crocus/saffron)
mare (mari) to maru (wool)
Rado to Radu (Latos)
simito to simitu (mouse)
suniko to suniku (community)
Winado to Winadu (toponym)
woino to winu (wine)
iyero to wireu  (priest)

And on this particular tablet we find the Mycenaean-derived Minoan spellings:

qera2u (qeraiu), which if Latinized would be gerraiu, from Greek gerron and

kiro, which if Latinized, is kilon, almost the exact equivalent of the Greek keilon. And kupa3nu (kupainu), Latinized = kupainu (kupaino) at least approximates the Greek kuparissinos, but with the the syllables rissi dropped. Compare this last entry with French-English similitude = similarity and you can see at once that orthographic metamorphoses even as divergent as these are possible. So chances are that kupainu may in fact be equivalent to kuparissinos, although there is no way to verify this with any certainty, except for one thing. Context.

Since we know from line 1 that we are dealing with 192 shields and lances * (i.e. arrow shafts *), it is not too much of a stretch to conjecture that kupainu does correspond to the Greek kuparissinos, because we know from archaeological and historical evidence that Minoan and Mycenaean shields were of wicker work. And it is well within the realm of reason to suppose that such wicker shields were constructed of flexible, pliant cypress wood. Cypress wood is smooth grained and lightweight and has natural built in preservatives or oils that make cypress long lasting and resistant to water damage. It could be combined with bronze and leather on Mycenaean and ancient Greek warrior shields. And according to Wikipedia, The word cypress is derived from Old French cipres, which was imported from Latin cypressus, Latinized from the Greek κυπάρισσος (kuparissos). Ergo.

However, we are still left with the puzzle, what do the Old Minoan words, zusu, didizake and aranare, mean? Once again, context comes to the rescue. It is entirely reasonable to suppose that a Linear A tablet dealing with cypress shields and lances would also cover other military paraphernalia essential to self-defence. The most obvious candidates are spears and swords, for zusu and aranare respectively, though in which order we cannot say for certain. The inclusion of swords as one of the alternatives is well justified, since pakana, i.e. swords, frequently appear on Linear B tablets. As for didikaze, I will not speculate, although it too more likely than not references military apparel, perhaps signifying armour.

Aranare (knives?) is plural, singular = aranarai. Since the word is diminutive feminine, the decipherment knives clearly makes sense in context.
Nevertheless, any decipherment of  zusu, didizake and aranare is by nature problematic. Assumptions are always dangerous, even in the case of a tablet such as this one, where context would appear to support such conclusions. But as I have so often repeated, appearances can be and often are deceptive.

Locations of Linear A tablets at Haghia Triada, including the 14 I have deciphered:

Haghia Triada location of tablets in Linear A with my decipherments

This general plan of Haghia Triada with the locations of Linear A tablets incorporates the 14 tablets which I have managed to decipher more or less accurately to date.

Inscription from Malia in New Minoan Linear A, Tainaron, a town with authority:

Mallia text in Linear A dealing with Tainaron with Linear B transcription

Here we have yet another inscription from Malia in New Minoan Linear A, which appears to invoke the supreme authority of Tainaron, a town at the southern tip of Laconia, with the blessings of the gods. If this tablet is indeed inscribed in Mycenaean-derived new Minoan, then it is the fourth of the tablets from Malia I have deciphered, all of them in New Minoan. It would thus appear that the Mycenaeans had assumed suzerainty over Malia before these tablets were inscribed, and that the scribes there were still using the Linear A syllabary to inscribe tablets in Mycenaean Greek, just before the switch-over to the new official syllabary, Linear B. It cannot simply be co-incidental that all of the inscriptions from Malia, including the famous IDAMATE labrys from the Archalochori Cave, appear to be inscribed in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan. In fact, the word Idamate can easily be rendered as the mother (goddess) of Mount Ida”. It is also a matter of great interest to note that Tainaron itself is the toponym of Cape Tainaron,

Tainaron ancient Greece

where there was a sanctuary of Poseidon, who may very well be the god who has brought blessings on the town. It is to be noted that the Archalochori axe inscribed in proto-Greek is also in a sanctuary where a horde of bronze votive weapons, mostly axes, were discovered. Moreover, Malia tablet MA 1 appears to deal with Minos, the legendary king of Knossos offering gold to Rhea, mother of Zeus. In other words, all of the inscriptions from Malia deal with religious rites. This should come as no surprise, as more Linear A than Linear B tablets appear to focus on religious symbolism or rites.

Except for Tainaro, which is equivalent to the nominative neuter in Linear B, all proto-Greek spellings on this inscription have been adjusted to meet the exigencies of Old Minoan syntax. It would thus appear that etanasu is the Minoan orthography for hestanwn (standing, Greek Latinized), while pijani is the dative or instrumental singular in Minoan of the noun derived from the Greek verb, piainw, to enrich. The orthography of Tainaro appears to confirm that the nominative neuter in Linear B underwent no change in Minoan. This conclusion conforms with the table of 45 apparent Minoan masculine and neuter nominatives I recently posted:


Free translation of Linear A tablet KH 5 (Khania) concerning the shipping of wine by sea?

Linear A tablet KH 5 Khania enhanced

If this tablet, KH 5 (Khania) is inscribed in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan, then it would appear that it deals with the shipping of wine by sea. The fact that the floor boards are apparently level would imply that the shipment was carried out successfully in calm seas. On line 1, adakisika, which is Mycenaean-derived New Minoan with orthography adapted to Old Minoan, translates as and adorned with ivy, which implies that the cargo has been blessed by a priest(ess). If this is the case, there is text missing before this phrase, which after all ends with and”, hence possibly “and adorned with ivy (blessed by a priest(ess))”. If NA references nauwi, i.e. “on a ship”, then the mention of “on a level wooden floor (i.e. deck)” makes sense in context. This decipherment may be largely correct, but there is no way of verifying this with any certainty. Finally, if PA is the first syllabogram of pa3ni (paini), which I interpret as Old Minoan for “amphora”, then the wine is being shipped in amphorae, the only way wine could have been shipped in Minoan times. As if…

Haghia Triada roundels & noduli:

Linear A nodulae with syllabogram SI from Haghia Triada

From: The Haghia Triada administrative documents:


Descriptions from this site (quoted):

Although the writing has not been deciphered neither the language has been interpreted (sic, poor grammar) various data may be obtained from the tablets. First of all, a list of Linear A signs may be hypothesized, which, with its 97 symbols, reveals a syllabic script of a simple typology (consonant + vowel and vowels): the signs are, in fact, too many, to represent a complex syllabic system (as the Near Eastern Cuneiform and the Aegyptian Hieroglyph). To these syllabic signs a long series of "logograms", representing each one a word, are added. 

Types of seals represented:

nodulae and roundels from Haghia Triada


The roundel is a characteristic document of the Neopalatian Minoan [1] administration, beside the tablet. It is a round clay disk (classified as Wc) with seals impressions along the edge - from one to six impressions - and, on most cases, one inscription on one or both sides. Frequently the inscription consists of a logogram, sometimes also of a sign-group. It seems to represent the last act [2] of an administrative transaction and probably functioned as a receipt. 

The seals stamped on roundels fully coincide with seals stamped on the other different documents. At Haghia Triada 22 roundels have been found, one of them being without (an) inscription. 


It is (sic, They are) the most widespread Aegean Bronze Age document, both geographically and chronologically. These clay small object (sic, objects) (defined as noduli by J. Weingarten) were not always inscribed but only sealed. They appear in two shapes: dome (classified as We) (fig. 4) and disk (classified as Wf) (fig. 5).  At Haghia Triada 54 noduli have been found, in dome shape, and only 7 are inscribed. 

1 Flat-based nodule:
This type of document is rarely inscribed but regularly sealed. Its characteristic is the negative impression on its reverse (or base) which shows that it had been placed upon a folded piece of parchment around which a thin thread was wound which was also wound into the clay. It appears in two different shapes: standing (fig. 6) or recumbent (fig. 7) (both classified as Wb). At Haghia Triada 76 flat-based nodules have been found, only 2 having a carved inscription. 

2 Hanging nodule [3]:

This small clay piece is characterized by string holes which show that it was fastened to another object by a string. They may present one or two holes. 
Those with two holes (classified as Wd) have an elongated shape (fig. 8), while those with one hole (classified as WA) present five slightly different shapes: pendant, pyramid, cone, dome, pear (fig. 9) [4]. At Haghia Triada 936 single-holes have been found, 851 being inscribed, and 11 two-hole, only 2 being inscribed. 

Comments by Richard Vallance:

[1] Neo-palatial Minoan administration: This is the Minoan administration at Haghia Triada dating from the Middle Minoan MM ca. 1750-1550 BCE & Late Minoan LM1A, ca. 1550-1500 BCE. Documents in Linear A inscribed during the LM1A period may have been inscribed in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan.  
[2] “the last act”. This is ambiguous English. Does it refer to the “the most recent” of the Haghia Triada administration? And if so, does this mean the act or acts date from the Late Minoan LM1A period?  And if so, are these acts inscribed in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan?
[3] The nodules illustrated in my decipherment of Figure 9 above are hanging nodules.
[4] See my 3 decipherments in Figure 9 at the outset of this post. If the syllabogram SI is the first syllable of a Mycenaean-derived New Minoan word, it could represent any of the 3 decipherments I have proposed. If on the other hand, SI represents any Old Minoan word, it is indecipherable.  

Haghia Triada pianta genrale

Linear A bar, MA 2 (Malia), probable translation: penny royal as a means of treatment:

Malia MA 2

Linear A bar, MA 2 (Malia) deals with some sort of (herbal) remedy as a means of treatment. It strikes me that it may be penny royal (unana). The word jamauti is New Minoan for “as a remedy”, apparently in the instrumental.

Linear A Nouns: ultimate o: Masculine/neuter nouns and adjectives:


KEY: OM = Old Minoan, Minoan substratum
NM = New Minoan, Mycenaean-derived superstratum
PGS = pre-Greek substratum

Since this list is intended merely to be indicative of what appears to be the Minoan ultimate o for masculine and neuter nouns and adjectives, with a few exceptions intended to be illustrative, I have not defined any of the words here. They will be defined in our Complete Glossary of Minoan Vocabulary, consisting of over 950 words. 

adaro NM = a type of grain, barley
asidatoi (pl.?) 5
ero NM
kairo 10 NM = due measure
kiro NM
kito 15
kuro NM = reaching, attaining, i.e. total
muko NM = corner, recess
murito 20
Paito PGS = Phaistos (= Linear B) 
potokuro NM = a full drink, a brimming drink 
puko 25 OM = tripd
qero 30
roiko NM = broken (= Linear B)
ruiko Cf. roiko
Rukito PGS = Lykinthos (= Linear B, Rukito)
ruko 35
simito PGS = mouse, attribute of Apollo, the Mouse God
siro NM? 40
utaro 45
witero 46

Decipherment of the Linear B seal BE Zg2:

Linear B seal BE Zg 2

This decipherment is straightforward. It certainly makes sense that a Linear B seal could deal with 5 torches, more than likely in the context of a religious or royal rite.

Linear B seal BE Zg 1 as erroneously interpreted by Gretchen Leonhardt, corrected here:

Linear B seal BE Zg 1

Gretchen Leonhardt, a self-styled Linear B expert, has erroneously deciphered Linear B seal BE Zg 1.  As she so often does, she misinterprets syllabograms, all to often blatantly violating their phonetic values. It is clear from this seal that the last syllabogram must be either ru or ne, and  certainly not me, by any stretch of the imagination. Leonhardt is also in the habit of recasting the orthography of Linear B words she interprets to suit her own purposes. In this instance, she translates what she mistakenly takes to be the word on the VERSO to be dokame as dokema in Latinized Greek, flipping the vowels. But the second syllabogram is clearly ka, and cannot be interpreted as anything else.  The problem with Ms. Leonhardt’s so-called methodology in her decipherment of any and all Linear B tablets is that she runs off on wild tangents whenever she is confronted with any word that does not meet her preconceptions. In this instance, she is desperate to cook up a meaning which appeals to her, no matter how much she has to twist the Linear B orthography. She indulges in this very practice on practically every last Linear B tablet she “deciphers”, interpreting Linear B words to suit her fancy, except in those instances where she is faced with no alternative but to accept what is staring her in the face.

For instance, allow me to cite some of her translations of certain words on Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641-1952.  She has no choice but to accept tiripode as signifying “tripod”, eme as  “together/with” and qetorowe as “four year”, even though it properly means “four”, in line with the Latin orthography, quattuor. Linear B regularly substitutes q for t. As for her so-called decipherment of apu, she should know better than to translate it as  “to become bleached/white”. After all, how could a burnt tripod be bleached white, when scorching turns pottery black? It is astonishing that she would overlook the obvious here. What is even more damning is the indisputable fact that apu is the default aprivative preposition for “from/with” in Mycenaean, Arcadian, Arcado-Cypriot, Lesbian and Thessalian, as attested by George Papanastassiou in The preverb apo in Ancient Greek:

preposition apo in ancient Greek dialects

Then we have mewijo, which she interprets as “a kind of cumin”. Why on earth the Mycenaeans would have bothered with naming a specific kind of cumin when the standard word suffices, is completely beyond me. In fact, the alternative word she has latched onto is extremely uncommon in any ancient Greek dialect. Finally, she bizarrely interprets dipa, which is clearly the Mycenaean equivalent to the Homeric depa, as “to inspect”, another wild stretch of the imagination. Sadly, Ms. Leonhardt is much too prone to these shenanigans, which mar all too many of her decipherments. She ought to know better.

This of course applies to her decipherment of Linear B seal BE Zg 1. Finally, we can also interpret the figure on this seal as representing the Horns of Consecration ubiquitous at Knossos. 

Linear A tablet ZA 14 (Zakros) appears to be almost entirely inscribed in Mycenaean-derived Greek:

Linear A ZA 14 Zakros

minoan fashion linen dresses


Linear A tablet ZA 14 (Zakros) appears to be almost entirely inscribed in Mycenaean-derived Greek. The only exception is the word tumitizase, which from the context very likely means linen, one of the most highly prize cloths or textiles in Minoan/Mycenaean times. All of the other Mycenaean derived words have been adjusted to meet the exigencies of Minoan grammar. Comments: Megidi almost certainly is in a Minoan oblique case. Given that I have extrapolated 5 more words with the ultimate di: dimedi, medakidi, mekidi, sekadidi and sekidi, it appears that this case may be the genitive singular, probably masculine. Further research is required to substantiate this claim, if at all possible. Mycenaean-derived punikaso is such a striking match with Linear B poinikiyo that it almost certainly means Phoenician. With reference to textiles, this word signifies “crimson”. In addition, qatiju is a close match with ancient Greek, geitheo (here Latinized) = to delight in, which in Minoan grammar is rendered as qatiju, i.e. gatheiu. Also, we have kupi = xhoufi from xhous, “in liquid measure” and panuke = fanuthe from fanos, meaning “brightly washed” and finally jawi for iawi = in violet (Greek).

To summarize, the decipherment makes perfect sense if all the vocabulary is interpreted as being Mycenaean-derived, except for tumitizase, which context practically demands signifies “linen”, the Old Minoan word corresponding with Linear B rino.

This remarkable decipherment lends even further credence to the hypothesis that a Mycenaean-derived superstratum imposed itself on the Minoan substratum. I have already deciphered at least six Linear A tablets which are primarily inscribed in Mycenaean-derived Greek, along with more inscribed in an admixture of Old and New Minoan.

Minoan Grammar: Nouns & adjectives: Masculine: ultimate u, nominative masculine singular: Part 2: D-Z depu-tanirizu 86-150

teal banner

nisupu 90
sokanipu 95

dideru = emmer wheat 100
kaporu 105
koiru NM 110
koru NM
naru 115
ra2ru 120
terusi(declension) 125

kunisu = emmer wheat

siitau 130

nutu 135
rera2tusi (declined)
senu 140


duzu 140
nasuru 145
tanirizu 150

Linear A seals: Part 2 + Minoan grammar, nominative singular masculine in u:


Linear A seal HM 570.1g confirms beyond doubt that the word situ is New Minoan, i.e. Mycenaean-derived for “wheat”, a tight match with Mycenaean sito.     But it establishes a lot more than just that. Since there are well over 200 Minoan     words, whether Old Minoan or Mycenaean-derived New Minoan, all of which terminate in u, the circumstantial evidence is very strong that u is the nominative masculine singular of Minoan nouns and adjectives regardless.  I have no idea what jetana means, as it is clearly Old Minoan.

Linear A seals: Part 1 + Minoan grammar, enclitic ne = in/on:


On these Linear A seals we find the word patane, apparently a variant of patos (Greek) = path. But how can we account for the divergence from standard Greek spelling? In the Mycenaean dialect, the preposition “in” was proclitic and expressed as eni, hence eni pati (locative singular). But as I have already pointed out several times in previous posts, when any word is imported from a source superstratum language (in this case, Mycenaean) into a target language (in this case, the Minoan language substratum), its orthography must be changed to comply with the spelling conventions of the target language. This phenomenon also occurs in English, where 10s of thousands of Norman French and French words are imported, but where in a great many cases, the French spelling must be adjusted to conform with English orthography. To cute just a few examples of French orthography adjust to meet the exigencies of English spelling, we have:

French to English:

albâtre = alabaster
bénin = benign
cloître = cloister
dédain = disdain
épître = epistle
forêt = forest
fanatique = fanatic
gigantesque = gigantic
gobelet = goblet
loutre = otter
maître = master
plâtre = plaster
similitude = similarity
traître = treacherous

and on and on. This phenomenon applies to every last substratum language upon which a superstratum from another language is imposed.

Likewise, in the case of Old Minoan, it is inevitable that the orthography of any single superstratum Mycenaean derived word has to be adjusted to meet the exigencies of Minoan orthography.

The most striking example of this metamorphosis is the masculine singular. Mycenaean derived words in Minoan must have their singular ultimate adjusted to u from the Mycenaean o. There are plenty of examples:

Akano to Akanu (Archanes)
akaro to akaru (field)
kako to kaku (copper)
kuruko to kuruku (crocus/saffron)
mare (mari) to maru (wool)
Rado to Radu (Latos)
simito to simitu (mouse)
suniko to suniku (community)
Winado to Winadu (toponym)
woino to winu (wine)
iyero to wireu  (priest)

But these same words terminate in u in Minoan. And there are well over 150 in the extant Linear  A lexicon of slightly more than 950 words. 

As we can clearly see on Linear A seal HM 570.1a, the word patane is typical of several Minoan words, all of which also terminate in ne. These are:


It distinctly appears that all of these words are in the Minoan dative/locative case, and that the enclitic ultimate therefore means “in” or “on”. This will have to be substantiated by further research, but for the time being, let us assum that this conclusion is at least tentatively correct.

Linear A tablet HT 87 (Haghia Triada), apparently in Mycenaean derived Greek:

Linear A tablet HT 87

Linear A tablet HT 87 (Haghia Triada) is apparently inscribed in Mycenaean derived Greek. The literal translation and the free translation derived from it do make sense if we interpret the text as being Mycenaean derived Greek. The only word which is indecipherable is sa?supu -or- ni?supu. I cannot determine what the word is, since the syllabogram on the far left is left-truncated. It may be either ni or sa. On thing is certain: Prof. John G. Younger got it wrong. But it is probably an archaic proto-Greek word, which may mean something along the lines of “perfumed”, resulting in a translation “perfumed unguent”, of which 1 part is saffron. This makes sense in context. 

Badly damaged, but still largely legible Linear A tablet from Gournia in Mycenaean derived Greek:


Gournia Crete

Although this tablet is badly damaged, the text remains legible. The word kadusi is instrumental plural for a bucket or pail, while daro is a piece of wood (burning/on fire). As for the single syllabogram RO on the first line of the RECTO, it looks very much like it is the last syllable for udoro, which is the word for water in Mycenaean Linear A. So while this tablet is inscribed in the Linear A syllabary, it must have been written just before the adoption of Linear B as the new syllabary. 2 roundels from Gournia were composed ca. 1600 BCE, but this damaged tablet must have been inscribed later, ca. 1500-1450 BCE.

Exquisite golden pin Zf 1 (Ayios Nikolaos Museum) fully deciphered in New Minoan: 

golden floral pin Linear A Zf 1 inscription Ayios Nikolaos Museum Crete in derived Mycenaean

Minoan Lilies Akrotiri and pancratium maritmum

This inscription, which appears to be entirely in Mycenaean derived New Minoan, is one of the loveliest I have ever come across, whether in Minoan or Mycenaean. There are similar inscriptions on Linear B tablets from Phaistos. The text waxes almost poetic and is quintessentially suited to the magnificent craftsmanship of this exquisite golden pin. The text in its entirety is utterly coherent, and is probably spot on. The syntax of the Greek had to be adjusted to meet the grammatical exigencies of the Minoan language. This explains the anomaly of qakisenuti, which is probably Minoan instrumental, hence “with (fine) craftsmanship”. And the craftsmanship is certainly that!

This decipherment lends greater credence than I had previously imagined to the distinct probability that at least a few Minoan inscriptions were in fact written entirely in Mycenaean derived proto-Greek with the syntax adjusted to the requirements of the Minoan language. I have already fully addressed this phenomenon in a previous post, which I urge you to reread, in order to place this decipherment in its proper perspective. You can read that post here:

Partial decipherment of Partial decipherment of Linear A tablet ZA 15 (Zakros) and the phenomenon of orthographic adjustment of superstratum words in the substratum language:


I am therefore finally convinced that decipherment of Mycenaean derived New Minoan is an eminently attainable goal.

Comprehensive Linear A Lexicon of 969 words, the most complete Linear A Lexicon ever by far, with at least 250 terms more than Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon:

comprehensive Linear A Lexicon of 969 words

At this juncture in my ongoing endeavour to decipher Linear A, I have run across so many tablets with New Minoan Mycenaean derived superstratum words that I am confident I am well on the way to deciphering New Minoan. Such is not the case with Old Minoan, i.e. the original Minoan language a.k.a. the Minoan substratum. But even there I have managed to decipher at least 100 words more or less accurately, bringing the total of Old Minoan, New Minoan and pre-Greek substratum vocabulary to around 250 out of the 969 Linear A words I have isolated in my Comprehensive Linear A Lexicon, by far the most complete Linear A Lexicon ever to appear online, exceeding Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon by at least 250.

Since this new Lexicon is so large and I intend to publish it soon in its entirety on my academia.edu account, there is no point rehashing it here. Instead, I shall tantalize you with just a few excerpts, to give you at least a notion of how far I have taken this labour-intensive project.   


Excerpta from the Complete Linear A lexicon of 969 words:

This lexicon comprises all of the intact words in John G. Younger’s Linear A Reverse Lexicon (which is far from comprehensive) plus every last intact word on every single tablet at his site, wherever any of the latter are not found in the former. By my count, there are 969 words, some 250 more than in Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon. Words which are apparent variants of one another are listed as one entry, e.g.


The following entries have been deliberately omitted:
1 Words containing any syllabograms which are either partially or wholly numeric, since we do not know what the phonetic values of these syllabograms are.
2 Strings of syllabograms > than 15 characters.

OM = Old Minoan, the original Minoan language, denominated the Minoan substratum. Words are tagged OM only where I have been able to decipher any of them.
PGS = pre-Greek substratum, i.e. words, man of which are non-Indo-European, in existence before Mycenaean and ancient Greek, but which entered Greek and were probably present in Old Minoan, even if many of them do not appear on Linear A tablets or fragments. 
NM = New Minoan, Mycenaean derived or words of Mycenaean origin in Linear A

adara/adaro/adaru OM
ade/adu OM -or- NM = ades-, ados- sort of cereal 
adureza OM
aju 10
Akanu PGS = Archanes (Crete) 

... passim ...
dame/dami (sing. damai) PGS
danasi 80
daqera OM
darida OM
daropa OM
dasi OM
datapa 90
data2 OM
datu OM 
Dawa PGS (Haghia Triada) 
daweda OM

... passim ...

kanaka PGS
kapa/kapaqe/kapi NM 
kaporu NM
kapusi NM?
kara NM
karona NM?
karopa2 (karopai) OM 260
karu NM?
kasitero NM

... passim ...

mini/miniduwa NM
minute (sing. minuta2 - minutai)
mio/miowa 400
mita PGS

Paito = Phaistos
pa3a/pa3ana NM?
pa3kija 510

... passim ...

pimitatira2 (pimitatirai) OM
pita/pitaja 540
pitakase/pitakesi NM
posa NM
potokuro NM?
pu3tama 550
puko OM = tripod

... passim ...

rosa PGS = rose
rosirasiro PGS = planted rose (rose + hole sunk in the ground)
rotau 680
roti OM = a type of grain or wheat (Petras)
Rukito (topo) PGS
ruko NM?
rukue 690
ruqa/ruqaqa (common)
rusa (common/rusaka

... passim ...

saja/sajama/sajamana OM 700
saka NM
samidae PGS?
samuku OM
sara2 (sarai)/sarara PGS = sharia wheat 690 710

... passim ...

taikama OM PGS
tajusu 800
taki/taku/takui NM
tanate/tanati NM
tami/tamia/tamisi NM 
taniti 810 
tapa NM = Linear B

... passim ...

udami/udamia NM?
uju NM?
uki NM?
uminase OM 
unadi (common) 920
uro NM
utaro 930

waja NM
wanaka PGS
watepidu NM
watumare 940
wija NM
Winadu PGS (topomastics)
winu NM
winumatari NM 950
wireu NM
witero NM?

zapa 960
zute 969 

Partial decipherment of Linear A tablet ZA 15 (Zakros) and the phenomenon of orthographic adjustment of superstratum words in the substratum language:

Linear A tablet Zakros ZA 15

This decipherment of Linear A tablet ZA 15 seems to add up overall. I have divined that the word qesizue, of which there are 57, means “goblets”. The plural in e is common in Linear A, and appears to be the plural of feminine diminutives, which in the case would imply that the singular is qesizuai = “goblet”. The decipherment certainly fits the context. The translation of itinisa as “in wicker/baskets” is less certain. Samidae can be construed as Old Minoan genitive singular for “from Samos”. Recall that when words derive from the superstratum, which means Mycenaean derived words in the case of Linear A, the orthography of the derived words must be altered from their Mycenaean spelling to Old Minoan Linear A spelling conventions. So in this case, Mycenaean Samoio (genitive sing.) could conceivably become Samidae in Minoan. 

We should not be at all surprised at this metamorphosis of orthography from the superstratum (Mycenaean derived vocabulary) to the substratum (Minoan vocabulary derived from the Mycenaean superstratum). After all, when superstratum French words are imported into English, their orthography undergoes the same metamorphosis. For instance, we have:

French to English:

albâtre = alabaster
bénin = benign
cloître = cloister
dédain = disdain
épître = epistle
forêt = forest
fanatique = fanatic
gigantesque = gigantic
gobelet = goblet
loutre = otter
maître = master
plâtre = plaster
similitude = similarity
traître = treacherous

and on and on. This phenomenon applies to every last substratum language upon which a superstratum from another language is imposed. So in the case of Old Minoan, it is inevitable that the orthography of any single superstratum Mycenaean derived word has to be adjusted to meet the exigencies of Minoan orthography.

The most striking example of this metamorphosis is the masculine singular. Mycenaean derived words in Minoan must have their singular ultimate adjusted to u from the Mycenaean o. There are plenty of examples:

Akano to Akanu (Archanes)
akaro to akaru (field)
kako to kaku (copper)
kuruko to kuruku (crocus/saffron)
mare (mari) to maru (wool)
Rado to Radu (Latos)
simito to simitu (mouse)
suniko to suniku (community)
Winado to Winadu (toponym)
woino to winu (wine)
iyero to wireu  (priest)

Invitation by Cultural Anthropology and Ethnosemiotics ISSN 2411-6459 to submit my first article:

Click on the banner to visit their site:

Cultural Anthropology and Ethnosemiotics

I have just been invited by the international quarterly, Cultural Anthropology and Ethnosemiotics ISSN 2411-6459, to submit my first article. Since this is the second new journal to have invited me to submit, I will not be able to write my first article for them until the autumn of 2017. Thus my article will not appear in Cultural Anthropology and Ethnosemiotics until the summer of 2018.  I am deeply honoured by this unsolicited invitation. This article will doubtless focus on my ongoing efforts to decipher Linear A, at least partially. 

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