Proposed decipherment of a Trojan roundel in Linear A illustrating a bronze shield:
This is my proposed decipherment of a Trojan roundel in Linear A illustrating a bronze shield. It is highly probable that a roundel of Trojan origin inscribed in Linear A would have been entirely composed in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan Linear A, since after all the Trojan War occurred near the end of the Mycenaean Era (ca. 1250-1200 BCE). Given the late date, it is improbable that it would have been inscribed in Old Minoan. Why it is inscribed in Linear A rather than in Linear B, which would have been the expected syllabary, remains a mystery. However, there is evidence that Mycenaean scribes switched back and forth between Linear A and Linear B indiscriminately.
Supersyllabograms in the Military Sector of Mycenaean Linear B:
The Table above illustrates all of the supersyllabograms in the military sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy. These are identified in Linear B first, then in archaic Greek, and then translated into English. The Linear B Latinized names for each of the supersyllabograms follow, starting TOP DOWN with the left column and then the right.
dapu = double axe
kito = chiton
mono = single, spare
qero (ouisia) * = (wicker) shield
qeqinomeno = made by twisting, woven
rino = linen
rousiyewiya = a part of the reins made of leather
perekeu ** = axe
wirineo = leather
zeukesi = a pair of, a set of wheels, a team of horses (derived from the Greek zeugos for “yoke”
* The supersyllabogram is simply QE, but it stands for qero ousiya = “a wicker shield”
** The supersyllabogram is actually WE, which may not seem to make much sense, given that the word it represents is perekeu = “an axe”, but there you have it. That is what it is.
And these are the actual supersyllabograms in the military sector.
PS This is for you, Rita!
Linear B tablet K 224 and the new military supersyllabogram QE = woven undertunic & the supersyllabogram IQO ZE = a team of horses:
Here we encounter the all-new supersyllabogram QE inside (incharged) in the ideogram for linen (under)tunic. It is crucial to understand that this supersyllabogram QE is completely unlike the previous one, QE inside a shield = “a wicker shield”. This new supersyllabogram QE, qeqinomeno, literally means “woven”, hence it refers to “a woven undertunic” or to be more precise, “a woven linen undertunic”, which once again the Mycenaean warriors wore under their toraka = ancient Greek thoraxes, i.e. Their breastplates. These two supersyllabograms are entirely different and must never be confused. This is the one and only instance in Mycenaean Linear B in which the same supersyllabogram appears inside two different ideograms, the first for “a shield” and the second for “an undertunic”. These two supersyllabograms QE + shield and QE + undertunic appear in the military sector only, and in no other sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy.
Linear B tablet at the Ashmolean Museum, An1910_217_O & the supersyllabograms RA = tailor & QE = wicker shield:
You see illustrated here in its actual size the Linear B tablet An1910_217_O at the Ashmolean Museum/British Museum. Like the others we have recently posted, this tablet is concerned with a tailor adding the finishing touches to cloth, more specifically the linen undertunic Mycenaean warriors wore under their breastplates, known as toraka in Mycenaean Linear B or thoraxes in ancient Greek. The first word on the first line after the left-truncated PA is the name of the tailor, Apasakiyo in Linear B. The Greek below the Linear B Latinized text is the translation of the original Linear B text on this tablet. This is followed by the literal & free English translations, with the caveat that I am unable to translate the double syllabogram WE WE following the supersyllabogram QE inside the ideogram for a shield, meaning that the shield is a wicker shield.
Linear B tablet 04-59 D j 13 & the supersyllabograms RA = tailor & QE = wicker shield:
This tablet poses the same problems as the previous ones we have posted on these two supersyllabograms, RA & QE. First off, as I have already said, it is well nigh impossible for me to determine what the two syllabograms WE WE following the second instance of the supersyllabogram QE for “wicker shield” mean? As I pointed out in the previous post, the double occurrence of WE (WE WE) usually references measurement. But I am unable to harmonize their incidence in this context with terms of measurement. Apart from that, there are two other glitches in the decipherment. What does rawa following the first instance of QE = “wicker shield” refer to. The word rawaketa = “leader of the host” or “commander in chief” where “host” = “army”, as we find in Homer as well, is extant on the Linear B tablets. I have derived the subset rawa = “host” from the latter. It may or may not be the correct interpretation in this context. Secondly, if the last syllabogram, truncated right, on the first line is in fact DU, then it may be the first syllable of the word duo = “two”. But this is entirely conjectural. Although the rest of the translation appears to be relatively straightforward, it is still open to question, especially in light of the fact that I am quite unable to decipher WE WE.
K 04-58 D j 31 & the supersyllabograms RA A & QE (military and textiles):
This particular tablet presents us with a new associative supersyllabogram DA, which is the first syllable of the Linear B word, dameusi = “distribution”, a synonym of the more common Linear B word for “distribution” = apudosi. Dameusi appears nowhere else on any Linear B tablet, not even as the supersyllabogram = DA. But I am satisfied that this is its meaning. The first word on this tablet, Dawano, appears to be the name of the tailor = “Dawanos”. The word okamo on the left side of the tablet appears nowhere else in Linear B, and I cannot determine its meaning. As with the other tablets in this series, the double appearance of the syllabogram WE (WE WE) is a mystery to me. So I have left these 2 syllabograms untranslated. Generally, the appearance of WE WE on a Linear B tablet refers to measurement. But I cannot be sure this is the case with this tablet. It bears further investigation.
Linear B tablet K 04-56 D j 04 and the supersyllabograms RA = tailor & QE = wicker shield:
This Linear B tablet, which falls within the purview of both the military and textile sectors of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy, presents us with what are certainly 2 of the most unusual of all the supersyllabograms with ideograms in Linear B. Not only do we have the supersyllabogram RA inside the ideogram for “unfinished cloth” = putakariya, but also the supersyllabogram for a wicker shield. Let’s take a look at the supersyllabogram RA. This is the most unusual of all supersyllabograms I have ever encountered. Unusual because the syllabogram RA is incharged inside an ideogram which looks for all the world like that for textiles, but with the left and bottom sides lopped off. Hence “unfinished cloth”. At least that is what it looks like to me. This supersyllabogram has never been deciphered before my present attempt at translating it.
Next, we find the supersyllabogram QE inside an ideogram which looks vaguely like a shield. And that is what I think it is meant to be. QE indicates that not only is this a shield, but a wicker shield = qero. This supersyllabogram has never been deciphered before, This is followed by the ideogram for “horn”, hence my translation. There is no known ancient Greek word corresponding to the Linear B “numoro”, which is almost certainly left-truncated at any rate.
There are no fewer than 6 more Linear B tablets with both of these supersyllabograms.