PUBLISHED! Archaeology and Science. Vol. 10 (2014). An Archaeologist's Translation of Pylos Tablet 641-1952 pp. 133-161 (academia.edu): Click on banner to view the article: pp. 133-161 THIS IS A MAJOR ARTICLE ON MYCENAEAN LINEAR B & ON THE NEWEST AND MOST ACCURATE TRANSLATION EVER OF PYLOS TABLET 641-1952 (VENTRIS), THE VERY FIRST TABLET EVER TRANSLATED, BY MICHAEL VENTRIS HIMSELF, IN MYCENAEAN LINEAR B. ABSTRACT: In partnership with The Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes (Athens), our organization,Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae (WordPress), conducts ongoing research into Mycenaean archaeology and military aff airs and the Mycenaean Greek dialect. This study centres on a fresh new decipherment of Pylos tablet TA 641-1952 (Ventris) by Mrs. Rita Roberts from Crete, who brings to bear the unique perspectives of an archaeologist on her translation, in all probability the most accurate realized to date. We then introduce the newly minted term in Mycenaean Linear B, the supersyllabogram, being the first syllabogram or first syllable of any word or entire phrase in Linear B. Supersyllabograms have been erroneously referred to as “adjuncts” in previous linguistic research into Mycenaean Linear B. This article demonstrates that their functionality significantly exceeds such limitations, and that the supersyllabogram must be fully accounted for as a unique and discrete phenomenon without which any approach to the interpretation of the Linear B syllabary is at best incomplete, and at worse, severely handicapped. KEYWORDS: MYCENAEAN LINEAR B, SYLLABOGRAMS, LOGOGRAMS, IDEOGRAMS, SUPERSYLLABOGRAMS, ADJUNCTS, LINEAR B TABLETS, PYLOS, PYLOS TA 641-1952 (VENTRIS),DECIPHERMENT, TRANSLATION, POTTERY, VESSELS, TRIPODS, CAULDRONS, AMPHORAE, KYLIXES, CUPS, GOBLETS. Introduction to the article: Why are there so many ideograms in Mycenaean Linear B, 123 all told, with 30 in the pottery and vessels sector alone? This is no idle question. Of the 123 Linear B ideograms listed in Wikimedia Commons,1 fully 30 or 24.5 % are situated in the pottery and vessels sector of the Mycenaean economy, as illustrated in Table 1. But why so many? As I emphatically pointed out in the talk I gave at The Third Interdisciplinary Conference, “Thinking Symbols”, June 30-July 1 2015, at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, just outside of Warsaw, Poland, in partnership with The Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes (Athens), with whom our organization, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae (WordPress), is in full partnership, “No-one deliberately resorts to any linguistic device when writing in any language, unless it serves a useful purpose beneficial to more eff ective communication, contextual or otherwise.” (italics mine)... SOME ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE ARTICLE:
Just uploaded to academia.edu, An Introductory Glossary of General Linguistics Terminology (PDF) Abstract: This glossary serves as a baseline introduction to linguistics terminology. As such, at first glance, it may not appear to be of much value to those of us who are linguists. However, if you are a professor or teacher of linguistics, you may find this little glossary of benefit to your students, especially undergraduates. As for those of you who are archaeologists and whose field of specialization is not linguistics, you will more than likely find this little lexicon of some real practical value if ever you have need to have recourse to linguistics terminology. There are as well plenty of other people whose specialization is not linguistics, but who would like to familiarize themselves with at least some of the most generalized terminology of linguistics. Moreover, there are those among you who are not professional linguists at all, but who may have contributed something of real merit to the field, or are about to to do so. Recall the astonishing contribution of Michael Ventris, an architect and not a professional linguist at all, who single-handedly deciphered the Linear B syllabary as the script of the earliest East Greek dialect, Mycenaean Greek, not to mention many other geniuses outside the orbit of linguistics who have also made revelatory if not revolutionary discoveries that no linguist ever realized. We should keep firmly in mind that Michael Ventris alone managed to decipher Linear B, after a half-century of utterly fruitless attempts by professional linguists to accomplish this astounding feat of the intellect. This is not to say that a great many academic linguists have not accomplished similar remarkable breakthroughs in the field, because they most certainly have. Still, linguistics, like any other field of study in the humanities or sciences, is not the exclusive purview of the so-called ivory tower league. Whether or not we are ourselves matriculated linguists, we should always bear this in mind. Finally, lest we forget, there are many among us may simply be curious about general Linguistics Terminology, in order to familiarize yourself with it, just in case a glossary such as this one, however limited, may whet your appetite for more. You never know. Nothing venture, nothing gained. END of ABSTRACT
Because this little glossary is in PDF format, it is very easy for you to download it, save it on your computer so that you can view it in Adobe Acrobat, and even print it out at your leisure. To download this glossary, click on this LINK: As for my own status on academia.edu, of which I have been a member for just under a month, yesterday I had 94 followers, today I have 100, while at the same time my page has already been viewed 1,215 times as of the time of this writing. Yesterday I was in the top 1% of researchers cited, or whose work was downloaded on academia.edu, while now I am in the top 0.5%. The most astonishing thing is that my paper, Did you know you speak Mycenaean Greek? You do! sas already been downloaded 373 times from academia.edu, placing it firmly in the top 2% of all articles, documents, research papers etc. downloaded from there in the past 30 days. And it has only been online for three weeks at most.
Is academia.edu for you? You bet it is!
If nothing else, I have come to the definitive conclusion that academia.edu is a far better venue than any other on the entire Internet for students and researchers in any academic field whatsoever. If you wish to see your research papers downloaded more often than anywhere else on the Internet, this is the place to be. It is far more efficient in attracting the attention of the international open research community than any other place on the Internet, bar none. So if you are an academic or even a student in any discipline whatsoever, you really should sign up for academia.edu, and it is free! Go here to sign up: I am truly grateful for the attention that researchers, academics and students on this prestigious site are giving to my research, yet surely not mine alone, but also that of my distinguished colleague and fellow researcher, Rita Roberts of Crete. Keep your eyes on Rita's own academia.edu page, where she will soon be uploading her seminal article on her translation of Pylos Tablet Py 641-1952, the very first that Michael Ventris himself translated in 1952. Rita's translation is bound to arouse a lot of attention on academia.edu, since she is an archaeologist with a unique perspective on the import of this famous tablet, thus in a position to produce a translation which those of us as linguists may have overlooked. I for one would never have been able to accomplished a translation in the manner Rita Roberts has finessed hers. Please remember to follow Rita on academia.edu, as that the place where she will eventually be publishing all of her research articles and documents on Mycenaean Linear B. Until such time as it appears on academia.edu, to review her excellent translation, please click here: Our special offer to assist in the promotion of our fellow researchers who often visit our blog: By the way, if any of you who often visit us here at Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae would like us to promote you on academia.edu (once you have signed up there), we will be delighted to do so, regardless of your own area of research, even if it has nothing to do with linguistics. We shall post the links to the academia.edu pages of the first 5 people who request this of us, once that many have contacted us with this in mind (but not before). So please be patient and bear with us. We are behind you all 100%. Richard
What is a Top-Notch Translation? Is there any such thing? Pylos Tablet 641-1952 (Ventris) Those of you who are regular readers of our blog, and who take the trouble to really delve into the fine points of our posts on the decipherment of scores of Linear B tablets which we have already translated, will have surely noticed by now that I never take any translation for granted, yes, even down to the very last word, phrase, logogram or ideogram, while strictly taking into account whether or not the tablet itself is completely intact, or – as is far more often the case - left- or right-truncated. In every instance of the latter, any decipherment, however carefully devised, is likely to be considerably more inaccurate than any translation of an intact tablet. Not to follow these strict procedures would be tantamount a one-sided, highly subjective and excessively biased exercise in imposing a single, strictly personal, interpretation on any extant Linear B tablet, a practice which is fraught with so many pitfalls as to invite certain error and misinterpretation. I would much rather offer all alternative translations of every single last word, phrase, logogram, ideogram etc. in any and all Linear B tablets, than to rashly commit myself to any single translation. It is only in this way that you, our readers, can decide for yourselves which of my translations appears to be the most feasible or appropriate to you in the precise (or more likely than not, not so precise) context of the tablet in question. No decipherer or translator of Mycenaean Linear B extant tablets or text in his or her right mind has a monopoly on the so-called “right” or “correct” translation of any Mycenaean source, because if that individual imagines he or she does, that person is dreaming in technicolour or – dare I say - even high on psychedelics. The only people who had the very real monopoly, in other words, the actual precise meaning of each and every tablet or source firmly in hand in Mycenaean Linear B were – you guessed it – the Mycenaean scribes themselves. We absolutely must bear this critical consideration in mind at all times whenever we dare approach the translation of any Linear B source, if we are to maintain any sense of the rational golden mean, of our own glaring linguistic inadequacies at a remote of some 3,500 years, and our own decidedly limited cognitive, associative powers of translation, which are in fact extremely circumscribed at the level of the individual translator. It is only through the greatest sustained, systematic international co-operative effort on the part of all translators of Linear B, let alone of Linear C or of any other ancient language, regardless of script, that we as a community of professional linguists, can ever hope to eventually approximate a reasonably accurate translation. The greater the number of times a (Linear B) tablet is translated, the greater the likelihood that our sustained, combined co-operative efforts at translation is bound to bear positive fruit. Those who insist on being loners in the decipherment or translation of any texts in any in any ancient language run the severe risk of exposing themselves to sharp critical responses and, in the worst case scenario, to public ridicule in the research community specializing in ancient linguistics. Caveat interpres ille. That sort of translator should watch his Ps & Qs. An excellent case in point, the translation of the very first tablet ever deciphered by our genius code-breaker, Michael Ventris, in 1952 & 1953, Pylos Tablet PY 641-1952 (Ventris): Click to ENLARGE: We previously discussed the letters between Emmett L. Bennett and Micheal Ventris in June 1952 which effectively broke the code for Mycenaean Linear B, when Bennett first brought to Ventris’ attention his correct translation of the very first word on this famous tablet, tiripode, which unequivocally meant “tripod”. With this master key to Linear B, Ventris was able to decipher the entire tablet in no time flat, making it the first tablet ever to have been translated end-to-end into English. For our commentary on the letters, please click on this banner: Since that time, the tablet has been translated scores and scores of times. Several translators have gone so far as to claim that theirs “is the best translation”. If you will forgive me for saying this, people making such an injudicious claim are all, without exception, wrong. It is only by combining, cross-checking and cross-correlating every last one of the translations attempted to date on this fascinating tablet, Pylos Tablet PY 641-1952, that we can ever hope to come up with at least one or two translations which are bound to meet the criteria for a really top-notch translation. Those criteria are several. I shall address them one by one, finally summarizing all such criteria, throughout the coming year. In the meantime, stay posted for the latest carefully considered, extremely well-researched and eminently consistent translation of this famous tablet, with fresh new insights, by Rita Roberts, soon to be posted right here on this blog. It is not my own translation, but trust me, it is a highly professional one, fully taking into account a number of historical translations, one of the best of which is that by Michael Ventris himself. I freely admit I could not have matched Rita’s translation myself, for reasons which will be made perfectly clear when we come to post her excellent decipherment early in March 2015. To my mind, it is one of the finest translations of Pylos PY 631-1952 ever penned. Subsequently, we shall rigorously examine Gretchen Leonhardt’ s translation of the same tablet, to which she assigns the alternative identifier, Pylos PY Ta 641, rather than its usual attribution. It strikes me as rather strange that she would have resorted to the alternate identifier, almost as if she intended - consciously or not - to distance herself from the original translation by Ventris himself. For her translation, please click on this banner: Ms. Leonhardt’ s decipherment is, if anything, unique and - shall we say - intriguing. We shall see how it stacks up against Michael Ventris’ and Rita Roberts’ translations, meticulously cross-correlating her own translation of every word or ideogram which is at variance with that of the same word or ideogram in either of the other two decipherments. Each translation will then be subjected to a range of rigorous criteria to determine in which respects it is as sound as, or inferior or superior to its other 2 counterparts. Of course, the table of merits and demerits of each of the three translations is strictly my own interpretation, and as such is as subject to sound linguistic, logical, contextual and practical counter-criticism as any other. Anyone who (strongly) disagrees with my assessments of each of these 3 translations should feel free to address his or her critiques of them. I shall be more than happy to post such criticisms word-for-word on our blog, with the proviso that both Rita Roberts and I myself are free to counter them as we see fit under the strict terms enumerated above. Richard