new Linear A nodule, on the brim of a cup or tripod + a spice cup: As the graphics above make it clear enough, this decipherment is pretty straightforward, much to my relief, considering how so many Linear A inscriptions are such tough nuts to crack.
Cretan pictograms, Medallion E, Knossos, after Sir Arthur Evans:
A few of the Cretan pictograms on Medallion E, Knossos, lend themselves to possible/probable/definite decipherment. These are:
definite: 5. & 8. (adze, labrys)
probable: 3. & 7. (spice container, saffron)
possible: 9. 11. 12. (olive oil lamp, some kind of floral crop, dagger)
Everything else is indecipherable.
Tablet, Malia Palace MA/P Hi 02 in so-called Cretan hieroglyphs, dealing with crops and vessels (pottery):
Tablet, Malia Palace MA/P Hi 02 in so-called Cretan hieroglyphs, which are not hieroglyphs at all, but rather ideograms and logograms, is highly intriguing. Actually, this tablet is partially decipherable. The front side definitely deals with the produce of olive trees, i.e. olive oil and also with wheat crops. If anyone is in any doubt over the meaning of the logogram 5. TE, which looks exactly like the Linear A and Linear B syllabogram TE, this doubt can easily be swept away by mere comparison with the logogram/ideogram for “wheat” in several ancient scripts, some of which are hieroglyphic, such as Egyptian, others which are cuneiform and yet others which bear no relation to either hieroglyphs or cuneiform, or for that matter, with one another, as for instance, the Harrapan and Easter Island exograms.
In fact, the recurrence of an almost identical ideogram/logogram across so many ancient scripts is astonishing. It is for this reason that I am in no doubt over the interpretation of 5. TE as signifying what in the Cretan script.
Next up, we have 3a. & 3b., which I interpret, and probably correctly, as signifying “ewe” and “ram” respectively. In fact, the resemblance of 3b. to a ram’s head is uncanny. What is passingly strange is this: the ram’s head figures so prominently on the second side of the tablet, being much larger than any other ideogram/logogram on the tablet. Why is this so? There simply has to be a reason. But for the time being, I am stumped. Since 3a. & 3b. Relate to sheep, it stands to reason that 6. is another type of livestock. My money is on “pig”. 7. and 9. are both vessels, 7. probably being either a wine or water flask and 9. being a spice container, as it is strikingly similar to the Linear B ideogram for the same. 8. looks like some kind of grain crop, and so I take it to be so.
As for the rest of the ideograms/logograms, they are still indecipherable.
Minoan Linear A poetic vocabulary (11 pages): Thematic: Agriculture/crops: adara/adaro/adaru = having to do with the measurement of grain crops ade/adu = large unit of measurement for grains, something like bales? adureza = dry unit of measurement, usually for grains akara/akaru a1kra (arch. acc.) - or - = end, border + akaru a0gro/j = field
akiro a1kairoj = not in season, unseasonable -or- a1grioj = living in the fields; uncultivated, unreclaimed
amaja a3maca= wagon arura a0rou/ra = unit of land -or- plough Cf. Linear B arura arudara a1lutra <- a1lutron = threshing instrument (arch. acc.) asesina = sowing or harvesting asadaka a1staxa (arch. acc.) <- a1staxu (Minoan nom. sing.)= ear of corn Asara2 TOP = Linear B Asaro A0sa/roj -or- may refer to Assur, hence Assyria -or- asara2 (asarai) = without flax atare a0ta=lei/ <- a0ta=lo/j = tender; delicate (of crops?) -or- a0qa/lei <- a0qa/loj = without a branch, twig; without an olive branch -or- a9dro/j = full-grown – or – a0qa/rh = groats, meal, green fodder, forage, provender Cf. kupari = galingale atiru a0te/lu <- a0te/loj = without boundaries dame/dami/daminu OM dame = a type of grain -or- da/mei = in the village data2 (datai) = olive datu = olive tree dideru = einkorn wheat Cf. Linear B didero durare = a type of grain, durum wheat? dureza/durezase = unit of dry measurement? (variation of: adureza?) ero e0llo/j = young deer, fawn etori e1tori <- e1toj = for a year itaja = unit of liquid volume for olive oil? (exact value unknown) kami ka/mi (dat./instr. sing.) <- ka/ma = (on a) unit of land Cf. Linear B ka/ma kasaru = surviving? (drought) kasitero kasite/loj = boundary of...? kikadi = cicada (cricket) kireta2 (kiretai) kri/qai = barley kiretana kriqani/aj = like barley, barley (attributive) kiro/kirisi/kiru = owed Cf. Linear B oporo = they owed kunisu = emmer wheat (derivation: Semitic kunnisu) madi = a ram? (probably, because it appears to be masculine and is used in conjunction with the ideogram for “sheep” maru/maruku/maruri mallo/j = flock of wool Cf. Linear B mali mali/ = wool meza me/za (fem. sing.) = greater, bigger Cf. Linear B mezo me/zwn me/zoj minute (sing. minuta2 – minutai) = type of grain – or – Mi/nute\ <- Mi/noste\ = and Minos mireja mhle/a = apple tree -or- mh/leia (gen. sing.) = belonging to a sheep miru mh=lon = a sheep or goat -or- mh1lon = apple, tree fruit mirutarare = sheep pen? -or- apple orchard? naka na/ka (arch. acc) <- na/koj = sheep’s fleece nea ne/a = new Cf. Linear B ne/#a = new pa3ni/pa3nina/pa3niwi = millet -or- spelt pa3qe -or- qepa3 i.e. paiqe -or- qepai (+ ideogram for “wheat”) = a kind of grain similar to wheat paja/pajai/pajare = contracted, indentured, hired? para para\ = beside, from beside, by the side of, beyond etc. pasarija = pa=sa + rija = all-encompassing, international? pura2 = a type of grain qanuma = a type of grain qareto = lease field? Cf. Linear B onato qaqisenuti xalkei/a=senuti = with bronze craftsmanship qera2u/qera2wa = a type of grain, probably millet or spelt qeria = probably millet or spelt reza = standard unit of linear measurement rima lei=mac = garden -or- lei=mma = remnant, remains -or- lh=mma = income, receipts (dative/instrumental plural) ruma/rumu/rumata/rumatase lu=matase <- lu=ma = offscourings from grain, i.e chaff sara2 (sarai)/sarara/saru = flax saro/saru/sarutu sa/ron = broom, threshing floor sato sa/ton = Hebrew unit of measurement. sedina = celery Cf. Linear B serino se/linon seikama = seika/ma = a unit of land dedicated to a/the goddess setamaru = something to do with wool/spun wool? sika shka/ (arch. acc.) <- shko/j = fold, enclosure; (sheep) pen; sacred precinct, shrine = <- zhka/zw = to pen in Cf. Linear B periqoro peri/boloj = sheep pen Sikine TOP loc. sing. of Sikinos -or- OM = a type of grain simita = mouse (arch. acc.) simito/simitu PGS = zmi/nqoj mouse sitetu See situ below situ si/tu si/tun = wheat Cf. Linear B sito si/ton suniku (common) su/noiku <- su/noikoj living together, joint inhabitant, dweller suzu su/zuc = yoked together; paired Cf. Linear B zeukesi zeu/gesi = yoked (instr. pl.) taikama taika/ma = a unit of land, something like an acre? ta2re/ta2reki sta=rei<- stai=j wheaten flour mixed into dough + tasise sta/sisei tai2si (taisi) stai=sei <- stai=j = with wheaten flour mixed into a dough (instr. pl.) teke/teki = small unit of measurement for wine @ 27 1/2 units per tereza tereza = liquid unit of measurement terikama te/leika/ma = extent of land, i.e. something like acreage, lit. land to its extent or boundary tero/teroa te/loj = end, boundary Tumitizase TOP -or- = linen Cf. Linear B rino li/non udiriki u3driki <- u3droj = with water ukare = sowing or harvesting Uminase TOP Cf. Linear B Aminiso = harbour waja #ai/a = earth, land Flowers/fruit/spices etc: adakisika a0dakissi/ka = adorned with ivory adoro a1doroj = receiving no gifts; unpaid; giving no gifts akumina a0ku/mina = without cumin? (arch. acc.) amawasi a3mai#asi = with violets asidatoi a0si/datoi = without pomegranate (dat. sing.) atade a1ttade = from father ditamana = dittany dudama = a kind of fruit = dates? (found in context with figs) ia i0a/ (n. pl.) = an arrow (sing.) & i1a (n. pl.) = violets/ija See i0a/ (n. pl.) = an arrow (sing.) & i1a (n. pl.) = violets (variation) kanaka kna/ka (arch. acc. of respect) = saffron Cf Linear B kanako kna/koj kapa/kapaqe/kapate/kapi karpa/ (arch. acc.) + karpa/te\ = fruit, and fruit, with fruit -or- kara kera/kero ke/raj = horn (ivory) -or- khr/oj = bees-wax Cf. Linear B kera kikina = some kind of fruit, quite likely grapes (from context) kireza = measurement of figs = 1 basket of figs carried on a shoulder kitai/kitei = kestai/ kestei/ = embroidered (lit.), but in context = basketry, basket(s) kupari ku/pairi (instr. sing.) <- ku/pairoj = marsh-plant used to feed horses, galingale or ginger kuruku kro/koj = crocus, saffron mera mela/j = black - or – me/la (arch. accus.) = honey merasasaa/merasasaja (very common) = something to do with honey/ honeycomb or honey drink? meto mesto/j = full, filled mireja mhle/a = apple tree -or- mh/leia (gen. sing.) = belonging to a sheep miru mh=lon = a sheep or goat -or- mh1lon = apple, tree fruit mirutarare = sheep pen? -or- apple orchard? mita mi/nqa = mint Cf. Linear B mita muru mu/ron = sweet oil extracted from plants; sweet oil; unguent; perfume Cf. Linear B musaja nira2 (nirai) -or- nita2 (nisai) OM = figs + ideogram = NI (in both Linear A & B) oteja o1steia <- o1streia = oyster pigment; oyster purple Cf. Linear B otawero o1streioj para para\ = beside, from beside, by the side of, beyond etc. patane OM = lentils? (fem. pl.) pimata PGS = pimento pita/pitaja pista/kion = pistachio-nut pitakase/pitakesi pista/kesi = with pistachio-nuts (instr. pl.) punikaso funi/kasoj = crimson, red (of wine) Cf. Linear B ponikiya ponikiyo foini/kioj = crimson ra2ri (rairi) = lily rima = lei=mac = garden -or- lei=mma = remnant, remains -or- lh=mma = income, receipts (dative/instrumental plural) rimisi See above (instr. pl.) rosa = rose rosirasiro = rosebush? sasame sasa/me = sesame Cf. Linear B sasa/ma sedina = celery Cf. Linear B serino se/linon tuma/tumei/tumi qumi/a = incense turunu qo/rnoj = throne Cf. Linear B tono qo/rnoj unana = penny royal? uro ou0=loj = entire, total. Cf. kuro ku=rwn = reaching, attaining i.e. = total waja #ai/a = earth, land Military: ia i0a/ (n. pl.) = an arrow (sing.) & i1a (n. pl.) = violets/ija See i0a/ (n. pl.) = an arrow (sing.) & i1a (n. pl.) = violets (variation) ima i9ma/c = leather strap, thong; lash of a whip ira2 i1la=i = troops, companies, squadrons kara kara/ = head Cf. Linear B kara(pi) kara/afi kipisi ci/fisi <- ci/foj = with swords (instr. pl.) kito xitw/n = chiton Cf. Linear B kito koiru koi/ru <- koi/roj = hollow (ships) koru ko/ruj = helmet Cf. Linear B koru kuro/kurotu ku=roj = supreme power, authority & ku=rwn = reaching, attaining i.e. = total Cf. Linear B tosa to/sa kuto/kutu ku/toj = shield, cuirass qaro ba=lo/j = threshold qero be/loj = arrow, dart radu r9a/bdu <- r9a/bdoj = rod, switch; spear-staff or shaft ra2ti (raiti) r9aisth/r = a hammer, crusher sama/samaro sama/ro = burial ground Cf. Linear B Sama/ra sama/ra = place name -or- monument -or- grave mound OR sa/meron = today sere -or- rese seirei/ <- seira/ = with a cord or rope (instrumental sing.) tarasa = sea Cf. Linear B tarasa qa/lassa toraka qw/rac = breastplate, cuirass = Linear B toraka toro tau/roj = bull -or- qolo/j = dome or circular vault; vaulted building zuma zw=ma girdle, belt; girded tunic Pottery/vessels: aresana a1leisana <- a1leison = an embossed cup (arch. acc.) = de/paj (Homeric) Cf. Linear B dipa/arisu a1leisu <- a1leison = embossed cup daqera = a type of vase? darida = large vase, slightly smaller than a pithos daropa = stirrup jar depa/depu de/paj de/pu (acc.?)= cup Cf. Linear B dipa di/paj & Homeric de/pa dipa3a (dipaia) di/paia <- di/paj de/paj = from a cup dipaja di/paia <- di/paj de/paj = from a cup (alternate?) ipinama/ipinamina i0pneume/na (fem. sing.) = baked (bread)
itisapuko i1tija = round + pu/coj = box-wood -or- NMOM i1tija = round + puko = tripod = round tripod Cf. puko below
kadi kadi/ (instr. sing.) <- ka/doj = with a jar or vessel for water or wine kadusi ka/dusi <= ka/doj = with buckets or pails (instr. pl.) kairo kairo/j = due measure kaki/kaku xalku/ <- xalko/j = copper, bronze kakunete = bronze alloy - or – crafted in bronze karopa2 (karopai) = kylix with 2 handles-or- ka/rdoph = wooden vessel/vase kataro ka/nqa=roj = scarab (Egyptian) + drinking cup kera/kero ke/raj = horn (ivory) -or- khr/oj = bees-wax Cf. Linear B kera meto mesto/j = full, filled meza me/za (fem. sing.) = greater, bigger Cf. Linear B mezo me/zwn me/zoj nere = larger amphora size (fem. plural) posa po/sa= (arch. acc.) <- poi/si=j = drink(ing), beverage -or- po/sa <- po/soj = how great, how much, of what value? posi -or- sipo posi/ = on, upon Cf. Linear B posi -or- sipo = si/fwn = reed, straw, siphon puko= tripod Cf. Linear B pukoso pu/coj = box-wood. Apparently unrelated qapa3 (qapai) = (large) handle-less vase or amphora qapaja/qapajanai qapaja (genitive sing. of qapa3 (qapai)) qaqisenuti xalkei/a=senuti = with bronze craftsmanship qedi = a flagon (for wine) qeti (instr. sing.)/qetiradu = a very large pot, pithos Cf. Linear B PGS qeto pi/qoj supa3 (supai)/supa3ra (supaira) =small cup with handles Cf. Linear B dipa mewiyo supi/supu/supu2 = largest size pithos -or- supu/h sipu/h sipu/a i0pu/a = meal tub = suropa = some kind of vase? tisa = pottery worker/working on pottery/pottery wheel (tourney) Religious: ara a0ra/ = a prayer araju a0ra=u <- a0ra=oj = prayed for arati a0ra=ti/ <- a0ra/toj = with something unblessed Cf. makarite ― below atanate a0qa/na=te = with an immortal (instr. sing.) damate Da/mate = Damater Cf. Linear B Damate -or- da/matei = in the village dare da=lei/ <- da=lo/j = (with) a firebrand or torch/daro LIG da=lo/j = firebrand dewa -or- wide de/#a = goddess? dija/dije Di/ #a Cf. Linear B Diwija Di#i/a = priestess of Zeus dumitatira2 (dumitatirai) = left or right side of a spindle? (or verso) dura2 dou/lai = slaves (fem.) Cf. Linear B doera doe/la esija e3sti/a = hearth of a house Idamate/Idamete 0Idama/te = Mother goddess of Mount Ida Idarea 0Idar9ea = Rhea, goddess of Mount Ida ijate i0a/ter = doctor, physician Cf. Linear iyate i0a/ter iruja i0e/ruia = priestess Cf. Linear B iyereya i0e/reia jamauti i1amauti = as a means of healing <- i1ama i1amatoj = healing, remedy jarisapa = some kind of dress? Cf. Linear B sapa jasaja 0Ia=sai/a <- 0Ia=sw/ of/from the goddess of healing and health jasidara i0a=sida=la/ = healing torch/firebrand (arch. acc.) jate/jateo i0a=th/r = physician jatimane i0a=th/j mannei= = with the bread of healing mana/manapi (common) Hebrew manna= = (of spiritual food) bread from heaven, the supernatural food eaten by the Israelites in the desert maza/mazu ma=za = kneaded or unbaked bread, barley bread/cake miturea mi/toj 9Re/a= thread of a warp for Rhea narepirea narepir9e/a = Rhea, goddess of the snake/ snake goddess? pimitatira2 (pimitatirai) = right of left side of a spindle? -or- verso qajo ba/i"on = a palm branch (Kafkania pebble) ranatusu (agglutinative?) -or- r9anatusu < - r9anti/zw = to cleanse, purify rani r9a=ni/j = anything sprinkled (as in a libation); rain drop See also ratise ratise (ritise?) = la/tise <- la/taj = with drops of wine (instr. pl.) rea r9e/a = goddess, Rhea sea/sei se/a se/ei (dat. sing.) = snake goddess (from K. Bouzanis) seikama= seika/ma = a unit of land dedicated to a/the goddess taro tau=roj = bull tejai qei/ai = goddesses tuma/tumei/tumi qumi/a = incense turunu qo/rnoj = throne Cf. Linear B tono qo/rnoj wanaka = king wireu #i0eru/ <- #i0ero/j = priest Cf. Linear B iyero i0ero/j Textiles: arako a0ra/c = weaver Cf. Linear B arakateya a0laka/teiai = weavers
arakokuzu = weaver’s establishment?
datu = olive tree keda = cedar kidapa = ash wood? (a type of wood) Appears only on Linear B tablet KN 894 N v 01 kidaro kidaro ke/dron = juniper berry-or- kedri/a = oil of cedar Cf. Linear B kidaro kitanasija/kitanasijase kitanisija (gen. sing.) ki/rtanasia <- ki/rtanoj = terebinth tree Cf. Linear B kitano ki/rtanoj tarawita = terebinth tree Cf. Linear B kitano ki/rtanoj & timito ti/rminqoj tarina qalli/na (arch. acc.) <- qallo/j = a young shoot, twig; festive olive-branch Wine: aka -or- kaa a0ska/ (arch. acc.) <- a0sko/j = leather bag, wine skin apero a1mpeloj = a vine Cf. Linear B apero kupazu kou/fazu <- kou/fazoj = light (of wine) kuqani = a type of (fine) wine kuwa -or- waku ku/#a = girl Cf. Linear B kowa ko/#a – or – #a0sku/ <- #a0sko/j = leather bag or wineskin punikaso funi/kasoj = crimson, red (of wine) Cf. Linear B ponikiya ponikiyo foini/kioj = crimson qesizue (plural) = wine goblets? ratise (ritise?) = la/tise <- la/taj = with drops of wine (instr. pl.) unaa oi0nai/a = wine vessel, wine jug, wine jar winadu #i1nadu = vineyard Cf. Linear B winado winu #i/nu = wine Cf. Linear B wono #oi/noj winumatari #i/numa/tari = wine dedicated to Mother Earth ONOTOP: Adunitana Akanu/Akanuzati OP A0rxa/nej = Archanes (Crete) Arenesidi Asasumaino Asasumaise Asuja Cf Linear B Asiwiya A0si/#ia Demirirema Dawa = place name Cf. LB dawo Da/#oj / Da/#on Dikate = Mount Dikte Cf. Linear B Dikatade Diktai/oj Dupu3re Cf. Linear B Dupu2razo Dupurai/zoj Ida/Idaa/Idada/Idapa3 = Mount Ida Idunesi Ikurina Inajapaqa Itinisa = female resident of Itanos? Izurinita Kana/kanatiti/kanau Kanna Kanijami Kaniamis (female name)? Ketesunata Kina Kinna Kiso Kissos Kosaiti Cf. Linear B Kutaito Ku/taistoj (not necessarily the same place) Masuja Mekidi Megi/di <- Me/gaj = the Great Mesenurutu Midemidiu Pamanuita Raja/Raju 9Rai/a = Raia Cf. Linear B Raja rea PGS r9e/a = goddess, Rhea Rujamime Rukito Seimasusaa Setoija Sewaude Sezanitao Sikira/Sikirita Sima Suria Tainaro Ta2rimarusi Tejare TOP Cf. Linear B Tejaro qei/aroj = place of the gods? Tita = Ti=ta/n Uminase Waduna Wadunimi
Linear A tablet dealing with wheat and spices:
Note that on this tablet, the word toesato/totaesato/toekito/totaekito (whichever one of these 4 alternatives it is and whatever it means) is conjectural, since I find it difficult to determine how many syllabograms there are in it.
Linear B seal BE Zg 1 as erroneously interpreted by Gretchen Leonhardt, corrected here: Gretchen Leonhardt, a self-styled Linear B expert, has erroneously deciphered Linear B seal BE Zg 1. As she so often does, she misinterprets syllabograms, all to often blatantly violating their phonetic values. It is clear from this seal that the last syllabogram must be either ru or ne, and certainly not me, by any stretch of the imagination. Leonhardt is also in the habit of recasting the orthography of Linear B words she interprets to suit her own purposes. In this instance, she translates what she mistakenly takes to be the word on the VERSO to be dokame as dokema in Latinized Greek, flipping the vowels. But the second syllabogram is clearly ka, and cannot be interpreted as anything else. The problem with Ms. Leonhardt’s so-called methodology in her decipherment of any and all Linear B tablets is that she runs off on wild tangents whenever she is confronted with any word that does not meet her preconceptions. In this instance, she is desperate to cook up a meaning which appeals to her, no matter how much she has to twist the Linear B orthography. She indulges in this very practice on practically every last Linear B tablet she “deciphers”, interpreting Linear B words to suit her fancy, except in those instances where she is faced with no alternative but to accept what is staring her in the face. For instance, allow me to cite some of her translations of certain words on Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641-1952. She has no choice but to accept tiripode as signifying “tripod”, eme as “together/with” and qetorowe as “four year”, even though it properly means “four”, in line with the Latin orthography, quattuor. Linear B regularly substitutes q for t. As for her so-called decipherment of apu, she should know better than to translate it as “to become bleached/white”. After all, how could a burnt tripod be bleached white, when scorching turns pottery black? It is astonishing that she would overlook the obvious here. What is even more damning is the indisputable fact that apu is the default aprivative preposition for “from/with” in Mycenaean, Arcadian, Arcado-Cypriot, Lesbian and Thessalian, as attested by George Papanastassiou in The preverb apo in Ancient Greek: Then we have mewijo, which she interprets as “a kind of cumin”. Why on earth the Mycenaeans would have bothered with naming a specific kind of cumin when the standard word suffices, is completely beyond me. In fact, the alternative word she has latched onto is extremely uncommon in any ancient Greek dialect. Finally, she bizarrely interprets dipa, which is clearly the Mycenaean equivalent to the Homeric depa, as “to inspect”, another wild stretch of the imagination. Sadly, Ms. Leonhardt is much too prone to these shenanigans, which mar all too many of her decipherments. She ought to know better. This of course applies to her decipherment of Linear B seal BE Zg 1. Finally, we can also interpret the figure on this seal as representing the Horns of Consecration ubiquitous at Knossos.
The Minoan Linear A word, kuruku, almost certainly means “crocus” :
Moreover, it is more likely than not pre-Greek and not proto-Greek. This implies that the Mycenaean Linear A word, kuruku or kuroko, is also pre-Greek.
Nothing surprising there at this point.
The failures of Gretchen Leonhardt’s translation of Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris): (Click to read) Gretchen Leonhardt’s translation of Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) is unfortunately riddled with errors in interpretation and with lexical errors, all of which are frankly inexcusable. This sad state of affairs is attested to by her own Poll, in which she asks her readers: We note that her own translation has garnered only 1 vote versus 5 votes for “Janke’s” translation, which is not his translation at all, but rather that of Rita Roberts, Crete, who is a professional archaeologist, and whose translation is published in Richard Vallance Janke’s in-depth and thoroughly meticulous article recently published in the prestigious international hard-cover annual, ISSN 1452-7448 It is to be stressed that Mrs. Roberts, as a life-long archaeologist, is eminently qualified to decipher the famous Ventris tablet (Pylos Py TA 641-1952). Her translation surpasses even that of Michael Ventris himself: Not only that, it flatly contradicts the translations Mrs. Leonhardt, who is not an archaeologist, brings to bear on practically every single word on this tablet, with the sole exception of those terms which are so transparent that it is impossible to interpret them otherwise than they appear. Such words are tiripode, qetorowe (quattuor in Latin) , dipa (with this word, Ms. Leonhardt’s translation flatly defies logic) and apu, in which case she is so far off the mark that it is amazing she cannot have seen how far astray she has gone in interpreting this preposition, apu, common to Mycenaean Greek, and the Arcadian, Cypriot, Lesbian & Thessalian dialects [NOTE below]. Now what is particularly striking here is the fact that the Arcadian and Cypriot dialects are practically identical, and that their parent, Arcado-Cypriot, is the dialect of the Linear C syllabary, in which once again apu appears. So how Ms. Leonhardt could possibly cook up her translation of apu as “to become bleached or white” simply baffles me beyond credulity. Why on earth would anyone fashioning pottery such as tripods, vases and cups ever want to bleach them? And there is more, much more. Her translation falls prey to several more startling errors, of which I have flagged only a few:  aikeu, which she claims is somehow “related to aikia (here Latinized) | injurious, insulting treatment...” But how on earth would insulting or injurious treatment have anything remotely to do with fashioning pottery? It is quite beyond me.  anowe, which she falsely interprets as “last year’s, one year”, again flying in the face of reason, flatly flying in the face of the definition Chris Tselentis, who is a professional Greek lexicologist, attributes to it in his excellent Linear B Lexicon: which in this case is to be interpreted as “without handles”.  apu. See above. dipa, which she, for some bizarre reason which totally escapes me and which Tselentis would find ludicrous, interprets as “to inspect, inspection”. She should make up her mind. Is this a verb or a noun? At any rate dipa is clearly the Mycenaean Greek equivalent of the Homeric depa, which everyone knows means “a cup”. Period.  See . No further comment.  mewijo, which she imagines is “a kind of cumin”. In the first place, Mycenaean Greek never makes a distinction between kinds of cumin. It just has the one word, kumino, and that’s that. At any rate, why bother parsing the word down to a specific “kind of cumin”? Additionally, it is particularly difficult to imagine why anyone would put cumin in a tripod or cup, since it would simply blow away. OK, I grant that it would probably stay put in a vase, but... mewiyo, again according to the Greek expert Tselentis, simply means “small(er)”.  Mezoe she has as “barley”, but here again she is in flat contradiction with Tselentis, who has it that kirita means “barley”. I for one am not about to question the expertise of a Greek-born lexicologist.  owowe, she would have us believe, “is perhaps related to damage, hurt” (italics mine). But here again, Tselentis defines owowe as “with handles”, which makes perfect sense in light of  above, anowe, which means “without handles”. These two words are clearly opposites. Anowe is after all a-privative. There are plenty of other such errors in her translation, but I simply leave these aside for our readers versed in ancient Greek to interpret as they see fit. NOTE: Buck, C.D. The Greek Dialects. Bristol: Bristol Classical Press. xvi, 373 pp. ISBN 1-85399-556-8... apu pg. 352. Arcadian, Cypriot, Lesbian & Thessalian
Does this Minoan Linear A tablet refer to the Linear A word karopa3 (karopai) for a kylix?
10 Mycenaean Linear B & Minoan Linear A words for plants & spices (grand total = 27): This chart lists 10 Mycenaean Linear B & Minoan Linear A words for plants & spices, with the Linear B in the left column, its Minoan Linear A in the middle column, and the English translation in the right column. It should be noted that I had to come up with a few Mycenaean Linear B words for plants on my own, because they are nowhere attested on Linear B tablets, regardless of provenance. Nevertheless, the spellings I have attributed to these words are probably correct. See the chart above. While most Mycenaean Linear B words and their Minoan Linear A words are equivalent, some are quite unalike. For instance, we have serino for celery in Mycenaean Greek and sedina in Minoan, and kitano in Mycenaean Greek versus tarawita in Minoan. There is a critical distinction to be made between Minoan Linear A kuruku, which means crocus, from which saffron is derived, and kanako, its diminutive, referring to its derivative, saffron, which is identical in form and meaning to its Mycenaean Linear B counterpart. The ultimate termination U in Minoan Linear A always refers to larger objects. Hence, kuruku must mean “crocus” while its diminutive, kanako, means “saffron”, just as in Mycenaean Greek. This latter discovery is my own. I wish to emphasize as strongly as I can that I did not decipher these words in Minoan Linear A. Previous researchers were able to do so by the process of regressive extrapolation in most of the cases. Regressive extrapolation is the process whereby later words in a known language, in this case Mycenaean Greek, are regressively extrapolated to what philologists consider to have been their earlier equivalents in a more ancient language, in this case, the Minoan language, which is the best candidate which can be readily twinned with Mycenaean Greek. The primary reason why all of these words can be matched up (relatively) closely in the Minoan language and in Mycenaean Greek is that they are all pre-Indo-European. In other words, Mycenaean Greek inherited most of the words you see in this chart from the Minoan language. It is understood that these words are not Greek words at all, not even in Mycenaean Greek. Almost all of them survived into classical Greek, and are still in use in modern languages. For instance, in English, we have: cedar, celery, cypress, dittany, lily & olive oil, all of which can be traced back as far as the Minoan language (ca. 3,800 – 3,500 BCE), or some 5,800 years ago. It is to be noted, however, that I am the first philologist to have ever written out these words in both the Linear A and Linear B syllabaries. This brings the total number of Minoan Linear A words we have deciphered to at least 27.
Linear A tablet dealing with spices (unknown provenance): coriander or delivery The word ti?redu on the left hand side of the top line of this Linear A tablet of unknown provenance dealing with spices may mean either “coriander” or “delivery”, but my bet is on the latter, since the word “coriander” is almost certainly pre Indo-European, and therefore probably existed in the Minoan language as well, along with the three words cited on the Linear A tablet above. I cannot for the life of me figure out what the second syllabogram on this tablet is. If there is anyone out there who can clinch it for me, please do so. Compare the text on this tablet in Linear A with those on Linear B tablets Kn 415 Lc 01, KN 4176 L c 01 & KN 418 Lc 11 below for the reason why I prefer the translation “delivery” over “coriander”.
3 Linear B tablets on coriander, 1 from Knossos, 1 from Lykinthos, 1 from Surimos: These 3 tablets on coriander are the final 3 to be posted here. I actually posted them back in 2015, but I am reposting them with additional comments. The first tablet, KN 415 L c 01, is quite straight-forward, simply mentioning the spice shaker with 6 grams of coriander from Lykinthos. The second, KN 417 L c 01, informs us of the person who has (or owns) the spice shaker. His name is Qamos. The spice shaker contains 3 (grams) of coriander. The tablet is partially illegible. The adjective “crimson” pops up, and presumably refers to the colour of the coriander, which seems to be in powder form. The last tablet, KN 418 L c 11, is double sided. The recto side, which is again partially illegible, again deals with delivery of coriander. On the verso side, we have the adjective “purple”. I am not sure what purple is supposed to refer to, as I am unsure whether or not powderized coriander can be purple. Perhaps someone visiting our blog can enlighten me on this point. The top refers to coriander, the amount of which is equivalent to 2 X 6 grams, on the bottom we have 7 grams. The verso of the tablet appears to indicate that all of the coriander there is from Surimo.
Linear B tablet KN 416 L c 02, spices at Phaistos: Not much to say about this one, except that it refers to Phaistos. If tablets concerning spices do not refer to a place name, they are understood to be from Knossos. Since the word -gram- did not exist in the ancient world, I have replaced it with pauron = a small amount.
Knossos tablet KN 421 K m 12, delivery of coriander: Well, I dare say those Minoans at Knossos and Mycenaeans certainly knew wonderful spices when they saw them. Coriander is one of the most delicious spices there are. It is fantastic on salads. I wonder what sort of dishes they served coriander with. Notice that this tablet deals with delivery of coriander (to market). They did a lot of that. Folks must have gathered in the open air markets at Knossos and Amnisos, its fabulous port, and bought the stuff by the bagfulls!
A Mind Blower! Monthly Statistics on Wheat & Barley at Knossos, Amnisos & Phaistos in Linear B: Click to ENLARGE Ambiguities pop up as a matter of course in any attempt to translate all too many tablets in Mycenaean Linear B. These ambiguities arise for a number of reasons, such as: (a.1) The scribes routinely omitted any word(s) or phrase(s) which they as a guild implicitly understood, since after all no-one but themselves and the palace administration would ever have to read the tablets in the first place. The regular formulae involved in the production of Linear B accounting, inventory or statistical texts of whatever length were commonly understood by all, and shared (or not, as the case may be) by all the scribes. Formulaic text, including the same Linear B stock phrases, the same logograms & the same ideograms appearing over and over again, are routine. But even that does not give us the whole picture. Some text, which would have otherwise explicitly appeared as per the criteria just mentioned, was deliberately omitted. This bothers us today, in the twenty-first century, because we expect all text to be there, right on the tablet. Sorry. No can do. The scribes merely wrote what were routine annual accounts only, and nothing more (to be summarily erased at the end of the current fiscal year and replaced by the next fiscal year’s inventories). That was their job, or as we would call it today, their job description, as demanded by the palace administration. Nothing more or less. It would never have entered the minds of the scribes or the palace administrations of any Mycenaean city, trade centre, harbour or citadel to preserve inventories beyond one fiscal year, because they never did. Routine is routine. So if we take it upon ourselves to complain that “vital information is missing”, we mislead ourselves grossly. That information was never “missing” to the personnel concerned. It is only absent to us. It is up to use to try and put ourselves into the mindset of the palace administration(s) and of the scribes, and not the other way around. Tough challenge? You bet it is. But we have no other choice. (a.2) In the case of this tablet specifically, the text which is annoyingly “missing” is that in the independent nominative variable upon which the phrase in the dative, “for barley-by-month” (kiritiwetiyai) directly depends. The “whatever” (nominative) ... “for barley-by-month” (dative) has to be something. But what? I translated the missing nominative independent variable as “ration” on the illustration of the tablet above, but this is a very rough translation. (b) What is the semantic value of the implicit independent nominative variable? If we stop even for a second and ask ourselves the really vital question, to what step or element or procedure in barley production do our average monthly statistics refer, then we are on the right track. Note that the word “average” is also absent, since it is obvious to all (us scribes) that monthly statistics for any commodity are average, after all. It is impossible for these monthly statistics for Knossos, Amnisos & Phaistos to refer to the barley crop or harvest, because that happens only once a year. The scribes all knew this, and anyway it is perfectly obvious even to us, if we just stop and consider the thing logically. So to what does the dependent dative variable refer? There are a few cogent alternatives, but here are the most likely candidates, at least to my mind. First, we have (a) ration. Fair enough. But what about (b) consumption of barley -or- (c) monthly metropolitan (market) sales of barley for the city of Knossos alone -or- (d) routine monthly trade in barley, by which I mean, international trade? All of these make sense. In fact, more than one of these alternatives may apply, depending on the site locale. Line 1 refers to the independent variable in the nominative for Knossos. That could easily be the monthly metropolitan market (akora) sales of barley. However, line 2 refers to Amnisos, which is the international harbour of Knossos, and the major hub of all international trade and commerce between Knossos and the rest of the Mycenaean Empire, and between Knossos and the rest of the then-known maritime world, i.e. all empires, nations and city states surrounding at least the mid-Eastern & South Mediterranean, especially Egypt, Knossos’s most wealthy, hence, primary trading partner. So in the case of Amnisos (line 2), the independent variable in the nominative is much more likely to be the average monthly figure for international trade in or for barley-by-month. As for Phaistos, it is probably a toss-up, although I prefer international trade. (c) Hundreds of Units of Barley or is it Wheat? But how many Hundreds? (c.1) Before we go any further, it is best to clear one thing up. While line item 1 on this tablet refers specifically to barley, and not to wheat, I find it really peculiar that, in the first place, the ideogram used in line 1 (Knossos) is the ideogram for wheat and not for barley. This appears to be a contradiction in terms. The only explanations I can come up with are that (a) the scribe used the ideogram for wheat in line item 1, because he used it in both line items 2 & 3 (for Amnisos and Phaistos), where he actually did intend to reference wheat specifically, and not barley, or (b) the other way around, that he meant to reference barley in all 3 line items, but did not bother to repeat the phrase kiritiwetiyai = “for barley-by-month”, because (as he perceived it) he did not have to. Wasn’t it obvious to all concerned, himself and his fellow scribes, and their overseers, the palace administration, that is exactly what he meant? Of course it was. But which alternative was obvious (a) or (b)? We shall never know. (c.2) Since the right hand side of this tablet is sharply truncated immediately after the appearance of the numeric syllabogram for 100, we are left high and dry as to the value of the total number of units for each of lines 1 to 3. The number must be somewhere between 100 & 999. Ostensibly, it cannot possibly be the same for Knossos, Amnisos & Phaistos. The problem compounds itself if we are referring to sales or consumption of barley at Knossos versus international trade for Amnisos and Phaistos or, for that matter, any combination or permutation of any of these formulae for each of these line items in the inventory. This being the case, there is obviously no point wasting our breath trying to figure out which is which (consumption, sales or international trade) because it will get us nowhere. One thing is certain, however. The scribes themselves knew perfectly well what the figures in each of lines 1 to 3 referred to. We are the ones who are the poorer, not the wiser. (d) You will have noticed that, whatever the semantic value of the implicit nominative independent variable is in lines 1 & 2, which reference Knossos and Amnisos respectively, I mentioned on the illustration of the tablet above that the line item figure for Amnisos could either be lower than or higher than that for Knossos. And that is a correct observation. Assuming that the figure for Knossos probably refers to either average monthly consumption or metropolitan market sales of barley in the city itself, with a population estimated at some 55,000 at its height, the average monthly figure for consumption or sales alone would probably have been quite high, ranging well into the multiple hundreds. But how high? I wouldn’t dare hazard a guess. Likewise, the average monthly volume in international trade of barley (let alone wheat and all other major commodities such as wool, olive oil, spices, crafts and fine Minoan/Mycenaean jewelry) would have been very significant, probably at least as great if not greater than the the average monthly figure for consumption or sales of barley, wheat etc. etc. in the city market (akora) of Knossos. Regardless, the monthly figures for Amnisos and Knossos almost certainly do not reference the same economic activity, so we are comparing apples with oranges. As for Amnisos and Phaistos, the average monthly figures are more likely to reference the same economic phenomenon, namely, international trade. If this is the case, the monthly figures would have been far greater for Amnisos, the primary port of the entire Mycenaean Empire, for international commerce and trade, than for Phaistos, which was an important centre for commerce, but certainly not the hub. However, once again, we have no idea of the average ratio for monthly international trade and commerce between Amnisos and Phaistos, although I surmise it was probably in the order of at least 4:1. Richard
Mycenaean Linear B Units of Measurement, Liquid & by Weight: Click to ENLARGE Aside from the fact that we cannot be at all sure how much each of these units of measurement is supposed to represent, I am still operating on the premise that the Mycenaean system of measurement is 10-based or decimal, hence, something along the lines of the modern metric system. However the units are configured, it is quite certain that in the case of these two tablets, the units must be small, because the items measured, saffron (on the left) and olive oil (on the right) are usually dispensed in small amounts. Since saffron is very light, I assume that the weight is something like 10 grams, while the liquid measurement for the olive oil is in the range of about 2 litres, or whatever amount the Minoans & Mycenaeans used to house these commodities. Richard
Mycenaean Linear B Units of Dry Measure, Knossos Tablet KN 406 L c 02: Click to ENLARGE The translation of this tablet from Knossos into English is relatively straightforward. The problem is that no one really knows what exactly the unit of measure designated by the Linear B symbol that looks like a T means. My best guess is that the 9 shakers of coriander (I say, shakers, because the ideogram looks like a shaker & it is most likely folks used shakers back in the good old days in Knossos, just as we do nowadays). However, the problem remains, how do 9 shakers of coriander add up to only 2 units. My best guess is that the shakers were boxed, 5 units per box. So 9 shakers would have filled one box and most of another... something along those lines. Andras Zeke of the Minoan Language Blog gives a value of approx. 3 kilograms per unit, meaning we would end up with about 5 kg. or so for 9 shakers of coriander. They would have had to be really huge shakers! No one could have held them. So it is quite apparent that the measured value Andras Zeke has assigned to our wee little T is in fact way off the mark, if we are to believe our eyes. On the other hand, that T might very well have been divisible by 10 or even 100, given that the Mycenaean numeric system is based on units of 10, just like our own. So it is conceivable that we are dealing with some kind of metric system here. Given that the Mycenaean numeric is base 10, that would make sense. So we could be dealing with something like 50 grams and not 5 kilograms of coriander... that would make a hell of a lot of sense. But since we were not there to see how the scribes allocated the spice jars into so-called units, we shall never really know. Still, there is no harm in speculating. Now, as for my translation of the ideogram for a spice container (spice shaker), I have translated it specifically as a “a coriander spice shaker”, since on every single every tablet, bar none, from Knossos mentioning spice containers, it is always coriander that is spelled out. The folks at Knossos must have been crazy about coriander! Since there are only 2 or 3 tablets which do not mention coriander outright, that leaves us with around 95 % of all tablets referring to spices which do spell it out. Linear B scribes were very fussy about having to spell out the names of spices, or for that matter, anything on Linear B tablets which could be easily represented, i.e. symbolized by an ideogram. The ideogram appears on this tablet, but the word does not. This is practically beside the point. It appears that the scribe simply did not bother writing it, for some reason or another. The practice of spelling out the name of any item on a Linear B tablet which can easily be illustrated with an ideogram is very unusual. The scribes were sticklers for saving space at all costs on what is admittedly a very small medium, rarely more than 30 cm. wide by 15 cm. deep, and more often than not, even smaller than that! So the fact that the scribes generally did spell out coriander as the spice of choice for Minoan Knossos seems to imply that the king, queen, princes and the palace attendants prized it very highly. Another point: almost all of the tablets mentioning koriyadana = coriander also use the word apudosi = delivery, i.e. they tabulate the actual delivery of so many units of coriander to the palace. So this tablet can be translated any of these ways: Achareus delivers to Phaistos 9 shakers of coriander for a total of 2 units or Achareus delivers for deposit at Phaistos 9 shakers of coriander for a total of 2 units. or even Achareus delivers for deposit at the palace of Phaistos 9 shakers of coriander for a total of 2 units. These are all valid translations, since after all everyone who was anyone, meaning the scribes, the nobility and the wealthy businessmen) knew perfectly well that such precious commodities as coriander could only be consumed by the well-to-do, and that these folks all lived – you guessed it – in the palace! There was absolutely no need in the minds of the scribes, meaning, in practice, for them to write out what was obvious to everyone. This is precisely why nowadays we need to learn to read out of the tablets what the scribes were actually inventorying, rather than trying to read into them. If this sounds like a tough slog, you bet it is. But it is far better to aim at getting the actual gist of the message on the tablet (whether or not spelled out in text, or simply with logograms and ideograms) than to strip down your translation to the point where it becomes unintelligible. This is all the more true in light of the fact that at least 800 of 3,000 tablets I meticulously consulted from the Scripta Minoa from Knossos contain very little if any text at all, and rather a lot of supersyllabograms (single syllabograms), ideograms and logograms. The reason for this is obvious: in order to save as much space as humanly possible, the Linear B accountants (scribes) never wrote out what was obvious to them all as a guild. In other words, Mycenaean Linear B, as an inventory and statistical accounting language – which is what it basically is – combines two notable features: (a) the language is highly formulaic & (b) the greater part of it is shorthand for Mycenaean Greek text inferred but rarely explicitly spelled out. If this sounds peculiar to us nowadays, we need only recall that this is exactly how modern shorthand functions. All too many Linear B translators have completely overlooked this fundamental characteristic of Mycenaean Linear B, which in large part explains its almost total uniformity over a wide geographic area, from Knossos to Phaistos and other Mycenaean sites on the island to Crete itself to Pylos on the opposite coast, all the way to Mycenae and Tiryns on the far side of the Peloponnese and even as far away as Thebes in Boeotia, which was a key Mycenaean centre and which has been continually occupied from then on right through to today. Click on the map to ENLARGE: All of this further implies that, while Linear B, the accounting and inventorying language for Mycenaean Greek, was homogeneous, uniform and formulaic to the teeth, the actual Mycenaean dialect may very well have not been. In fact, I sincerely doubt it was, since it is symptomatic of all ancient Greek dialects, even those which are closely related (such as the Ionic and Attic) to diverge and go their own merry way, regardless of the structure, orthography and grammatical quirks of their closest relatives. Since that was surely the case with every ancient Greek dialect with which we are familiar – and God knows it was! - then it must have also been the case with Mycenaean Greek and with its closest, kissing cousin, Arcado-Cypriot Greek, the latter written in Linear C or in the quirky Arcado-Cypriot alphabet. Even though no other ancient Greek dialects were as closely related as were Mycenaean and its kissing cousin, Arcado-Cypriot, these dialects were somewhat different. What is more, it is almost certain that there were notable variations within each of these dialects, the further afield you went. In other words, the Mycenaean Greek spoken at Knossos and Phaistos, which would have been much more influenced by its forbear, the Minoan language, was a little different from that spoken at Pylos, and doubtless even more from the Mycenaean Greek at Mycenae, Tiryns and especially Thebes. But spoken Mycenaean Greek and the Mycenaean Linear B accounting and inventorying language are not the same beast. The latter is a homogeneous, formulaic and largely shorthand subset of the former. I shall have a great deal more to say about this extremely important distinction between the two in future. Richard