Rita Roberts’ translation of Knossos Linear B tablet, KN 897 D a 11


Rita Roberts’ translation of Knossos Linear B tablet, KN 897 D a 11:

Linear B tablet KN 897 D a 11

Rita Roberts’ translation of Knossos Linear B tablet, KN 897 D a 11 reveals a brilliant insight on her part. She surmises that the single syllabogram PO may actually be the first syllable of Linear B pome poimh/n, which means “shepherd” or “herdsman”, and taht is one brilliant insight! If she is correct — and I believe she is — PO is a brand new supersyllabogram which I have not as yet accounted for.

4-sided Cretan pictogram bar with end shown & interpretations of pictograms


4-sided Cretan pictogram bar with end shown & interpretations of pictograms:

4-sided Cretan pictogram bar with end shown

 

Cretan pictograms – 24-29: livestock (possibly/probably/definitely) known


Cretan pictograms – 24-29: livestock (possibly/probably/definitely) known:

Cretan pictograms livestock agricultural

The Cretan pictograms in the livestock sector pretty much speak for themselves. The only definite one is that for rams. The rest are probable, and open to dispute.

Linear B tablet HT 118 (Haghia Triada), livestock on plots of land


Linear B tablet HT 118 (Haghia Triada), livestock on plots of land:

Minoan Linear A tablet HT 118 Haghia Triada

While this tablet does present some problems in the decipherment of the kinds of livestock on it, that does not mean we do not have a relatively reasonable picture of which ones they are. Beside madi, which appears to mean “pig” from the context, the other 3 are qaqaru, arisa and riruma. Now these 3 probably mean “cow”, “bull” and “ox” in turn. But if they must be permuted. In other words, if the first word, qaqaru, means “cow”, then the other two mean “bull” and “ox”, but in which order we cannot tell. Thus, it is necessary to permute all 3 words for all 3 kinds of livestock at each occurrence. The supersyllabogram KI almost certainly refers to “a plot of land”, because it is repeated twice, and after all, we do find livestock on plots of land.

I have now deciphered, in whole or in part, 17 tablets from Haghia Triada alone, and somewhere in the order of 35 altogether, regardless of provenance.

Knossos clay bar P103, Cretan hieroglyphics, predating Linear A


Knossos clay bar P103, Cretan hieroglyphics, predating Linear A:

Knossos clar bar P103 Cretan hieroglyphics

While some of the signs on this clay bar resemble Linear A syllabograms and ideograms, the meaning of almost all of them is entirely a mystery. However, .3 looks like the Linear A & B ideogram for “hide/leather/fleece” .4 probably represents wheat .5 so strongly resembles the Linear A ideogram for “olives/olive tree” that I take it to signify just that. .7 looks like the Linear A ideogram for “bull/ox(en)”. Except for the numerics, the rest is indecipherable. 

POST 1,500: Phaistos fragments in Linear A, # 3 = 8a/8b (recto/verso), harvesting olives and wheat with a team of oxen


POST 1,500: Phaistos fragments in Linear A, # 3 = 8a/8b (recto/verso), harvesting olives and wheat with a team of oxen:

Phaistos PH 8a 8b PD20 PO35 36

Phaistos fragments in Linear A 8a/8b apparently deal with the harvesting of olives from 8 olive trees + 2 bushel-like units of grains or wheat by 11 harvesters employing a team of oxen. It certainly makes perfect sense. There is also mention of 1 bushel-like unit of sharia wheat.  When I say “bushel-like”, I am merely making an approximation, since we have no idea of the exact actual standard unit of dry measurement for grain was in Mycenaean times.  Note that since this fragment is from Phaistos, it is much more likely that it is inscribed primarily in Mycenaean than in Old Minoan, since Phaistos was a Mycenaean settlement. So once again, we are faced with the prospect that we have here a fragment inscribed in Linear A just prior to the adoption of Linear B as the official Mycenaean syllabary, and once again, the fragment probably dates from ca. 1450 BCE. This happenstance, if that is what it is, lends further credence to the hypothesis that a number of Linear A tablets were inscribed either in an admixture of Old Minoan, the original Minoan language, and New Minoan, the Mycenaean derived superstratum. In this particular case, I would even go so far as to contest that even the word sara2 (sarai) is an Old Minoan hold out which leaked into Mycenaean Greek. As I shall demonstrate in the next post, there appear to be at least two score Old Minoan words which survived into Mycenaean Greek. This phenomenon is analogous to Anglo-Saxon words surviving into Medieval and Modern English, even though Germanic (i.e. Old English or Anglo-Saxon) comprises only 26 % of all English vocabulary, the other 64 % + being either of Norman French, Latin or Greek provenance.  

The probability that latter-day Linear A fragments appear to be inscribed in a mixture of Old Minoan and New Minoan (the Mycenaean derived superstratum) lends further credence that the Linear A syllabary, in its latter-day existence, just prior to its abandonment in favour of the new official Linear B syllabary, was simultaneously the syllabary of both Old Minoan and New Minoan, at least by ca. 1450 BCE.  

This is post 1,500, in a long run of posts since the inauguration of our major Linear A, Linear B and Linear C site in the spring of 2013, making this the premier Internet site in its league. 

Linear B tablets dealing with teams of bulls or oxen (Post 2): three more tablets


Linear B tablets dealing with teams of bulls or oxen (Post 2): three more tablets

Knossos KN 898 D o 04 opxen ZE

KN 899 D o 22 oxen ZE


900 D o 01 oxen ZE

Not much to say here. I said it all in the last post.

Linear B tablets dealing with teams of bulls or oxen (Post 1): two tablets


Linear B tablets dealing with teams of bulls or oxen (Post 1): two tablets

Knossos tablet KN 896 D o 21 oxen ZE

897 oxen ZE

Unlike Linear B tablets on sheep, of which there are over 500, those dealing with teams of bulls or oxen are very rare, amounting to no more than 7 all told. Although this seems to defy common sense, it actually does not, since the raising of sheep was by far the most important activity of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy. In addition, the text on these tablets on bulls or oxen is so simple and so predictably repetitive that one wonders whether or not the scribes attached much importance to them. The mere fact that two of the tablets repeat the same name, Stomarchos, makes me wonder why any scribe would bother repeating text which is almost identical on two tablets, since this practice is almost unheard of on the tablets dealing with sheep, and on military, vessels and textiles tablets, which are the standard. The two tablets with his name on it do not appear here. Only one of them. But there you have it.