Is the Minoan Linear A labrys inscribed with I-DA-MA-TE in Minoan or in proto-Greek? PART A: Is it in the Minoan language? In my previous post on the Minoan Linear A labrys inscribed with I-DA-MA-TE, I postulated that the wordIdamatewas probably either the name of the king or of the high priestess (of the labyrinth?) to whom this labrys has been ritually dedicated. But in so doing I was taking the path of least resistance, by seeking out the two most simplistic decipherments which would be the least likely to prove troublesome or controversial. In retrospect, that was a cop-out. No sooner had I posted my two alternate simplistic translations than I was informed by a close colleague of mine in the field of diachronic historical linguistics focusing on Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B that at least two other alternative decipherments came into play, these being: 1. that the term Idamate may be the Minoan equivalent of the Mycenaean Linear BDamate, which is apparently an early version of the ancient Greek,Demeter, who was the goddess of cereals and harvesting: 2. that the termIdamatemay be Minoan for Mount Ida, in which case, the wordMate= “mount”, such that the phrase actually spells out “Ida mount(ain)” : Since both of these decipherments make eminent sense, either could, at leasttheoretically, be correct. But there is a third alternative, and it is far more controversial and compelling than either of the first two. 3. It is even possible that the four syllabograms I DA MA & TE are in factsupersyllabograms, which is to say that each syllabogram is thefirstsyllabogram, i.e. thefirst syllableof a word, presumably a Minoan word. But if these 4 supersyllabograms represent fourconsecutiveMinoan words, what on earth could these words possibly signify, in light of the fact that we know next to nothing about the Minoan language. It appears we are caught in an irresolvable Catch-22. Yet my own recent research has allowed me to tease potential decipherments out of 107 or about 21 % of all intact words in Prof. John G. Younger’sLinear A lexiconof 510 terms by my own arbitrary count. Scanning this scanty glossary yielded me numerous variations on 3 terms which might conceivably make sense in at leastonesuppositious context. These terms (all of which I have tentatively deciphered) are: 1.For I:itaja= unit of liquid volume for olive oil (exact value unknown) 2.FOR DA:either:daropa= stirrup jar = Linear Bkarawere(high certainty) ordatara= (sacred) grove of olive trees ordata2 (datai)= olive, pl. date = Linear Berawoordatu= olive oil ordaweda= medium size amphora with two handles 3.For TE:tereza= large unit of dry or liquid measurement ortesi= small unit of measurement But I cannot find any equivalent for MA other thanmaru, which seemingly means “wool”, even in Minoan Linear A, this being the apparent equivalent of Mycenaean Linear Bmariormare. The trouble is that this term (if that is what the third supersyllabogram inidamatestands in for) does not contextually mesh at all with any of the alternatives for theother threewords symbolized by their respective supersyllabograms. But does that mean the phrase is not Minoan? Far from it. There are at least 2 cogent reasons for exercising extreme caution in jumping to the conclusion that the phrase cannot be in Minoan. These are: 1. that the decipherments ofallof the alternative terms I have posited for the supersyllabograms I DA & TE above arealltentative, even if they are more than likely to be close to the mark and some of them probably bang on (for instance,daropa), which I believe they are; 2. that all 3 of the supersyllabograms I DA & TEmayinstead stand for entirely different Minoan words,none of which I have managed to decipher. And God knows there are plenty of them! Since I have managed to decipher only 107 of 510 extant intact Minoan Linear A words by my arbitrary count, that leaves 403 or 79 % undeciphered! That is far too great a figure to be blithely brushed aside. The > impact of combinations of a > number of Minoan Linear A words on their putative decipherment: To give you a rough idea of the number of undeciphered Minoan words beginning with I DA & TE I have not been able to account for, here we have a cross-section of just a few of those words from Prof. John G. Younger’s Linear A Reverse Lexicon: which are beyond my ken: For I:iininuniijadiimetuirimaitakiFor DA:dadanadainidakidakudaqaqaFor MA:madadumajasamanuqamasuriFor TE:tedatiqatedekimatenamipitenerudaBut the situation is far more complex than it appears at first sight. To give you just a notion of the enormous impact ofexponentialmathematical permutations and combinations on the potential forgross errorsin any one of a substantial number of credible decipherments ofany given numberof Minoan Linear A terms as listed even in the small cross-section of the 100s of Minoan Words in Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon, all we have to do is relate the mathematical implications of the chart on permutations to any effort whatsoever at the decipherment of even a relatively small no. of Minoan Linear A words: CLICK on the chart of permutations to link to the URL where the discussion of both permutations and combinations occurs: to realize how blatantly obvious it is thatany number of interpretationsof anyoneof the selective cross-section of terms which I have listed here can be deemed the so-called actual term corresponding to the supersyllabogram which supposedly represents it. But, and I must emphatically stress my point, this is just a small cross-section of all of the terms in the Linear B Reverse Lexicon beginning with each of the supersyllabograms I DA MA & TE in turn. It is grossly obvious that, if we allow for theenormousnumber of permutations and combinations to which the supersyllabograms I DA MA & TE must categorically be subjected mathematically, it is quite out of the question to attempt any decipherment of these 4 supersyllabograms, I DA MA & TE,without taking contextabsolutelyinto consideration. And even in that eventuality, there is no guarantee whatsoever that any putative decipherment of each of these supersyllabograms (I DA MA & TE) in turn in the so-called Minoan language will actually hold water, since after all, a smaller, but still significant subset of an extremely large number of permutation and combinations must still remain incontestably in effect. The mathematics of the aforementioned equations simply stack up to a very substantial degree against any truly convincing decipherment of any single Minoan Linear A term,exceptfor one small consideration (or as it turns out, not so small at all). As it so happens, and as we have posited in our first two alternative decipherments above, i.e. 1. thatIdamateis Minoan for MycenaeanDamate,the probable equivalent of classical GreekDemeter, or 2. thatIdamateactually means “Mount Ida”, these two possible decipherments which do make sense can be extrapolated from the supersyllabograms I DA MA & TE, at least if we take into account the Minoan Linear A terms beginning with I DA & TE (excluding TE), which I have managed, albeit tentatively, to decipher. However,far too many putativedecipherments of the great majority of words in the Minoan language itself are at present conceivable, at least to my mind. Yet, this scenario is quite likely to change in the near future, given that I have already managed to tentatively decipher 107 or 21 % of 510 extant Minoan Linear A words, by my arbitrary count. It is entirely conceivable that under these circumstances I shall be able to decipher even more Minoan language words in the near future. In point of fact, ifIdamateactually does mean eitherIdamate(i.e. Demeter) orIda Mate(i.e. Mount Ida), then: (a) with only 2 possible interpretations for IDAMATE now taken into account, the number of combinations and permutations is greatly reduced to analmost insignificantamount & (b) the actual number of Minoan Linear A words I have deciphered to date rises from 107 to 108 (in a Boolean OR configuration, whereby we can add either “Demeter”or“Mount Ida” to our Lexicon, but not both). A baby step this may be, but a step forward regardless.

# Tag: permutations

## Before we can decipher even a single Linear A tablet on olive oil, we must decipher as many as we can in Linear B, because… PART A: delivery of olive oil

Before we can decipher even a single Linear A tablet on olive oil, we must decipher as many as we can in Linear B, because... PART A:deliveryof olive oil Before we can plausibly (and frequently tentatively) decipher even a single Linear A tablet on olive oil, we must decipher as many as we can in Linear B, because there areso many facets to be taken fully into considerationin the olive oil sub-sector of the agricultural sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy related to the production of olive oil which on an adequate number of Linear B tablets (at least 10), mostly from Knossos, dealing with harvesting from olive oil trees and the production and delivery of olive oil that we must account for every single term related to olive oil on the Linear B tablets, and then compile a list of all of these terms in order tocross-correlatethese with equivalent terms on the Linear A tablets, mostly from Haghia Triada. Another vital factor which just occurred to me is that the Minoan economy appears to have been primarily centred in Haghia Triada, while the Mycenaean primarily in Knossos, with valuable contributions from Pylos as well. In other words, theeconomic centreor power house, if you will, of the Minoan economy appears to have been Haghia Triada and not Knossos. I am somewhat baffled by the fact that researchers to date have not taken this important factor adequately into account. It appears to reveal that Knossos had not yet risen to prominence in the Minoan economy in the Middle Minoan Period (ca. 2100-1600 BCE): The gravest challenge confronting us in the cross-correlation of the several economic terms related to olive oil production in the late Minoan III 3a period under Mycenaean suzerainty (ca. 1500-1450 BCE) with potentially equivalent terms in Minoan Linear A arises from the mathematical theoretical constructs ofcombinationsandpermutations. Given, for instance, that there are potentially a dozen (12) terms related to olive oil production on an adequate number (10-12) Linear B tablets to afford effectual cross-correlation, how on earth are we to know which terms in Mycenaean Linear B correspond to apparently similar terms in Minoan Linear A? In other words, if we for instance extrapolate a total of12terms from Mycenaean Linear B tablets, how are we to line or match up the Mycenaean Linear B terms in a “Column A” construct with those in Minoan Linear B in “Column B”? There is no practical way that we can safely assert that term A (let us say, for the sake of expediency, that this word isapudosi= “delivery”) in Mycenaean Greek corresponds to term A in Minoan Linear A, rather than any of B-L,in any permutation and/or in any combination. This leads us straight into the trap of having to assign ALL of thesignified(terms) in Mycenaean Linear A to all of thesignifiedin Minoan Linear B. I shall only be able to definitively demonstrate this quandary after I have deciphered as many Linear B tablets on olive oil as I possibly can. For the time being, we have no choice but to set out on our search with these 3 tablets, all of which prepend the first termapudosi= “delivery” to the ideogram for olive oil. In closing, I wish to emphatically stress that this is precisely the signified I expected to turn up in the list of terms potentially related to olive oil production in Mycenaean Linear B. It is alsothe most important of all Mycenaean Linear B terms prepended to the ideogram for“oliveoil”on the Linear B tablets.When we come to making the fateful decision to assign the the “correct” Minoan Linear A term meaning just that, “delivery” on the Linear A tablets dealing with olive oil, how are we to know which Linear A signified corresponds to Linear B apudosi = “delivery”? Still the situation is not as bad as you might think, at least for this term. Why so? Because if it appears (much) more often on the Linear B tablets (say, theoretically,5times versusless than5 for all the other terms in Linear B related to olive oil), thenthe term appearing the most frequently on Minoan Linear A tablets related to olive oil is more likely than not to be the equivalent of, i.e. to mean “delivery”. The less frequent the occurrence of any particular term relative to olive oil on the Mycenaean Linear B tablets, the greater the room there is for error, to the point that where a term appearsapudosionly onceon all of the Linear B tablets we can manage to muster up for translation, it becomes next to impossible to properly align that term with any of the terms occurringonly onceon the Minoan Linear A tablets, especially where more than onesignifiedoccurs on the Mycenaean Linear B tablets. If for example,3terms occur only once on the Linear B tablets, which one(s) aligns with which one(s) on the Linear A? A messy scenario. But we must make the best of the situation, bite the bullet, and cross-correlate these 3 terms in all permutations and combinations (=9!) from the Linear B to the Linear A tablets containing them. This I shall definitively illustrate in a Chart once I have translated all terms related to olive oil production in Mycenaean Linear A.

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