Happy Second Anniversary to Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae! Now the largest Linear B blog on the Internet

Happy Second Anniversary to Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae! Now the largest Linear B blog on the Internet

We are delighted to announce that Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae

Linear B Knossos & Mycenae May 2015
reaches its second anniversary on May 1 2015.

What have we accomplished in the past two years? A great deal indeed. Here are the highlights.

1. The discovery, extrapolation, collation and classification of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, of which there are 34 (to date) out of 61 syllabograms in Linear B, excluding counting homophones (with the sole exception of RAI = saffron).

2. We have entered into close partnership with The Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes (Athens, Greece), here:

Koryvantes Association of Historical Studies
where we have been assigned our own category for posting on their blog,

Linear B & the Iliad


3. As a direct result of 1. & 2. above, Richard, our blog moderator, has been invited to give his talk

at the Conference, “Thinking Symbols” (June 30-July 2 2015), sponsored by The Association of Historical Studies (Koryvantes), Athens:

Supersyllabograms by Richard Vallance Janke Pultusk Academy Humanities Warsaw

at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, just outside of Warsaw.

Pultusk Academy and logo

His talk, and those of all other presenters at the Conference will be published by the University of Warsaw. The University of Warsaw also plans to publish the General of Supersyllabograms and its application to the translation of some 700+ Mycenaean Linear B tablets across the board, in a book to be titled, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, to appear sometime in 2016.  

4. In the past two years, Richard and his research colleague, Rita Roberts of Crete, have translated in excess of 100 Linear B tablets, most of them from Knossos, along with some from Pylos, Mycenae and Thebes.

5. Richard has compiled the following elements in his ongoing project to reconstruct as much as possible of Mycenaean Greek grammar from the ground up:
5.1 the complete table for the conjugations of the active voice, present, future, imperfect, aorist & perfect of Mycenaean verbs;
5.2 the table of adjectives and nouns ending in the archaic “eus” in the nominative singular.
5.3 Richard plans to continue with the compilation of Mycenaean Greek grammar throughout the remainder of 2015 and into 2016.

6. Richard has translated most of The Catalogue of Ships from Book II of the Iliad by Homer, and will finish off his translation this year (2015). This will be followed by his translation of Book I of the Iliad in its entirety (2015-2016).

7. We are in the process of compiling the largest Lexicon of both attested and derived Mycenaean Greek in Linear B ever to have appeared anywhere, in print or on the Internet. We have already finished with the draft of the first Section on Military Affairs, which is to appear on our blog and on the blog of The Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes (Athens, Greece) sometime in the summer or autumn 2015. It is to be subdivided into several primary Sections, (1) Agriculture (2) Crafts, Trade and Commerce (3) Military Affairs (4) Domestic Affairs, including the production of vessels and pottery & (5) Religious  Affairs. This is such a huge undertaking that it is unlikely that we will be able to complete it before 2018.

8. Richard has offered his services as Professor to Rita Roberts, Crete, who is now in her first year of university, working towards her three-year Bachelor of Arts in Linguists (BAL) in the field of Mycenaean Linear B. Both Rita and I can assure you that the curriculum is of the highest order and extremely demanding. Already, in her first semester of her first year, Rita has been tasked with the tough chore of translating several difficult Linear B tablets from Knossos on military affairs, and this is just the beginning! As far as we can tell, this online university undergraduate course, specifically focusing on Mycenaean Linear B, will be the first ever of its kind ever to have been offered worldwide. I am of course open to inviting others who are seriously committed to learn Mycenaean Linear B, but just as Rita has had to do, new students will have to first finish their secondary school level in Linear B before moving onto university studies. It took Rita two years to fulfill the requirements for a secondary school matriculation in Linear B. This and the full course of studies (secondary school and a bachelor’s degree) requires 5 full years of unstinting commitment to the mastery of Mycenaean Linear B.  At the end of these five years, the student (Rita being our first) will possess the credentials to be an expert in the field.  

9. We have begun posting on Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, having already translated 3 tablets in that syllabary. We have also made available for the first time ever the standard keyboard layout for Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, which you may download free at your convenience. We plan on continuing with posts on Linear C throughout 2016 & 2016, eventually tackling the famous Idalion Tablet of the 5th. Century BCE. Throughout 2015 and 2016, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, the closest cousin dialect to Mycenaean Linear B, will play a significantly greater rôle than it presently does on our blog. Both Linear B and Linear C will be thoroughly cross-compared with the archaic grammar and vocabulary of the Catalog of Ships in Book II of the Iliad, the latter generally being considered as an indirect descendant of the Mycenaean & Arcado-Cypriot Greek dialects, at least in these two respects. This cross-comparative study will help us to properly situate the Mycenaean & Arcado-Cypriot Greek dialects in the diachronic time line of ancient Greek dialects. 

10. We have begun a thorough-going investigation of the relationship between the Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B syllabaries, which are almost identical in most respects, the latter being derived from the former with other major Bronze Age scripts and alphabets, including the Phoenician and Proto-Hebrew alphabets, soon the Proto-Arabic, and any others which bear up well under comparison with Linear A & Linear B.

12. We have posted some information on Minoan Linear A, but it is not our intention to attempt to decipher this unknown language – at least for the next five years. However, certain aspects of Linear A itself are of prime importance to our concerns, especially its intimate relationship with Linear B, as well as its place in the development of ancient scripts in the context of 10. above.

13. We have begun exploring the possibilities for the application of Linear B & C to extraterrestrial communication. If this sounds wacky or even peculiar to you, think twice. NASA itself has already begun its own investigation of such intriguing prospects for Linear B and Linear C.

As the direct result of our unflagging commitments to these areas of research into Mycenaean Linear B, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C and several other areas relating to these, our blog has grown to be the largest on the entire Internet devoted to the study of Mycenaean Linear B. I had hope for 50,000 visitors in the first two years, but these were exceeded, as we have had over 51,000. We thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for your interest in what is manifestly an extremely specialized and narrow area of interest in the vast sea of linguistics, ancient and modern, and we look forward to seeing more of you visit our site throughout our third year, May 2015-April 2016. I am confident that we shall exceed 100,000 visits by the end of our third year. With our gratitude. Richard 	     


These are the primary concerns of our Blog, but there are others, which are intriguing to special interest groups. Our goals are ambitious but we mean to fulfill them.

At the same time, our Twitter account has attracted some 920 followers, compared with about 500 at the end of first year (May 1 2014). We have sent out over 13,600 tweets in the past 2 years. Click here to visit our Twitter account:

Knossos KONOSO twitter May 2015

Our research colleague, Rita Roberts, now has over 380 followers on her Twitter account, here:

Rita Roberts Twitter

This makes for some 1,300 followers for us both on Twitter, a considerable number indeed, in light of the fact that the study of Linear B and the specialized interests in archaeology and similar arcane fields which Rita follows are rare birds indeed!

I also urge you to follow Rita’s superb blog, here:

Ritaroberts blog May 2015

Finally, we have set ourselves up on Google +, where you can find our page here:

Google + Richard Vallance Janke
We started up on Google + just a couple of months ago, and we already have 383 followers in our Circle.



Comparison Between the Paleo-Hebrew Alphabets and Hieratic Egyptian & the Phoenician Alphabet: Click to ENLARGE

Comparison Between the Paleo-Hebrew Alphabets and Hieratic Egyptian & the Phoenician Alphabet: Click to ENLARGE

Phoenician Paleo-Hebrew Hieratic-Paleo

This chart clearly illustrates the comparison between both Early (right) and Late (left) Paleo-Hebrew with Hieratic Egyptian & Ancient Phoenician. The comparison between the Late Paleo-Hebrew with the Phoenician alphabet establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that they are virtually one and the same alphabet, based on the soundly reasoned inference that they developed simultaneously in the historical time line, implying in turn that the cross-cultural and cross-economic exchanges between these two civilizations was very intense. This quotation from Wikipedia is particularly telling,

Phoenician had long-term effects on the social structures of the civilizations which came in contact with it. As mentioned above, the script was the first widespread phonetic script. Its simplicity not only allowed it to be used in multiple languages, but it also allowed the common people to learn how to write. This upset the long-standing status of writing systems only being learned and employed by members of the royal and religious hierarchies of society, who used writing as an instrument of power to control access to information by the larger population.

Click the banner below to read the entire article.

Wikipedia Phoenician Alphabet
The Phoenician alphabet is also often tagged Proto-Canaanite for inscriptions anterior to 1050 BCE. It is the first ever consonantal proto-alphabet, otherwise known as abjad.  The Phoenician alphabet was derived from Egyptian hieroglyphics on the one hand and from cursive Hieratic Egyptian on the other. What is particularly striking about the Phoenician and Proto-Hebrew alphabets, which are mirror images of one another, is the fact that the former was used to write one of the earliest Semitic languages, while the latter was confined to Hebrew (also Semitic, but eventually to become completely unlike Arabic).
This may come as somewhat of a shock to die hard Jews and die-in-the-wool Muslims alike, but it is an incontestable historical fact which cannot be lightly brushed aside. It is absolutely essential to understand that these twin alphabets were far more ancient than the latter-day Hebrew alphabet, which was nevertheless a descendant of the Proto-Hebrew and the Phoenician alphabets alike. While the Phoenician alphabet was the scriptural medium for early Semitic Phoenician, that civilization, being far more ancient than Islam, was in intimate contact with Judeo-Palestine, with whom it cultivated friendly cultural and economic ties. In other words, the religious overlay imputed to the latter-day Hebrew alphabet, itself indirectly derived from the Phoenician alphabet versus the Arabic alphabet, was utterly absent from the consciousness of both the early Semitic Phoenicians and Hebrews. Of course, the Arabic alphabet eventually did develop on its own from the 6th. century AD, characteristically unlike the Phoenician and Proto-Hebrew alphabets in every conceivable way.

The Similarities Among Hieratic Egyptian, the Phoenician alphabet, Early Proto-Hebrew and Late Proto-Hebrew:

Now let’s take a good close look at the alphabets in this chart.

1. Oddly enough, Early Proto-Hebrew bears but a faint resemblance with the Phoenician and Late Proto-Hebrew alphabets, but it does have some points in common with Hieratic Egyptian. Given this scenario, it somehow strikes me that Early Proto-Hebrew was anterior to both the Phoenician and Late Proto-Hebrew alphabets; otherwise, how are we to explain all these bizarre discrepancies? Not that I would know, as I am no expert in Egyptian hieroglyphics or Hieratic Egyptian. I leave it to the expert linguists in that domain to enlighten us, and I certainly hope they will.  

2. For all intents and purposes, the Phoenician and Late Proto-Hebrew alphabets are identical.

3. Except for lamedth and tav (taw), neither the Phoenician and Late Proto-Hebrew alphabets resemble Hieratic Egyptian and the Early Proto-Hebrew in any significant way, which is particularly surprising to this author. The early Proto-Hebrew letter vav mirrors both its Hieratic and Phoenician equivalents, as well as the letter waw in Proto-Hebrew, the latter merely being an avatar of the previous three. Lamedh is also equivalent in all four scripts. If we take it as oriented right, Hieratic Egyptian tadhe bears a close resemblance to early Proto-Hebrew nun & tsade, which instead are oriented left. There is absolutely nothing unusual in this phenomenon, which is so common to so many ancient scripts that it boggles the mind. Early Proto-Hebrew qof, horizontally oriented, bears a close resemblance to its equivalent, the vertically oriented Phoenician letter koph, while its tav resembles one of the two versions of the Phoenician tav. Just to complicate matters or to frustrate the living daylights out of us, taw in the Late Paleo-Hebrew alphabet resembles the other version of Phoenician tav.

PS If anyone who is an expert in Egyptian hieroglyphics or Hieratic Egyptian is willing to enlighten us poor ignorant folk on the finer points of their relationship with the other scripts we have discussed here, please do contact us, commenting on the inevitable errors in this post. 


Did you know you speak Mycenaean Greek? You do! K-Z = kunaya to zeukesi

Did you know you speak Mycenaean Greek? You do! K-Z = kunaya to zeukesi

Mycenaean Greek in Modern English: korete to zeukesi: Click to ENLARGE

korete to zeukesi

[1] kunaya – Mycenaean Greek has no “g”, but ancient Greek does. Many English words begin with Greek words, as for instance gynecology + all others in this table marked with [1] 
[2] The same goes with prefixes. Many English words begin with the Greek prefix “peda”.
[3] The ancient Phoenicians were famous for their purple cloth, which they inherited from the splendid purple cloth, the finest in the entire then known world (the middle Mediterranean & the Aegean) the Minoans at Knossos had produced before them. Hence, Phoenician is a synonym for “purple”.
[4]The Mycenaean syllabary can express words beginning with “te”, but for some reason, they spelled 4 the same was the Romans did, “qetoro”, and there is nothing wrong with that. Archaic Greek sometimes expressed the number 4 with “petro” and sometimes with “tetro”. This too is not at all unusual with early alphabetic Greek, in which the various East Greek dialects derived from Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C flipped between these two spellings. Orthography was uncertain in archaic Greek, in other words, it had not yet fossilized into the final spelling used in Attic Greek in Classical Athens = tettares.
[5] The English word “quartet” is derived from the Latin “quattro”, which in turn was preceded historically by the Mycenaean “qetoro”, although the Latin spelling is unlikely to have derived from the latter. It is just that Mycenaean Greek and Latin happened to resort to the same basic spelling for 4. 
[6] Since Mycenaean Greek had no “l”, words beginning with “lambda” in (archaic) Greek had to be spelled with “r” + a vowel in the syllabary. Hence, “rewo” = archaic Greek “lewon” = English “lion” & “rino” = ancient Greek “linon” = English “linen”
[7] The ancient words “sasama” = “sesame” & Mycenaean “serino” = ancient Greek “selinon” = English “celery” are in fact not Greek words, but proto-Indo European. 
[8] While “sitophobia” = “fear of eating” in English does not seem to correspond with “sitos” = “wheat” in ancient Greek, in fact it does, since wheat was one of the main staples of their diet, just as it was for the Egyptians, Romans and most other ancient civilizations. In other words, wheat was a staple food.
[9] Although the Mycenaean infinitive “weide” = archaic Greek “weidein” = English “to see”, the aorist began with “weis”, hence “vision” in English.