Tag Archive: syllabic scripts

2 Haiku in Mycenaean Linear B, archaic Greek, English & French on the Mycenaean invasion of Troy: Click to ENLARGE =

2 haïkou en linéaire B, en grec archaïque, en anglais et en français sur l’nvasion mycénienne de Troie: Cliquer pour ELARGIR

Mycenaean expedition to Troy warships

 The latinized Linear B texts of these haiku read as follows:

soteria *
aneu Akireyo
mene Toroya


* Note that the archaic dative termination -i- does not appear in Mycenaean Greek.  

PART D: Cross-correlation of the surcharged syllabograms on Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris) with those on Linear A tablets HT 31 and another in the  Ay Nikolaus Museum, Greece:

Given that the premise affirming it is possible and even feasible to cross-correlate the incidence of syllabograms incharged, surcharged or supercharged on ideograms for pottery and vessels in Mycenaean Linear B with the same phenomena in Minoan Linear A — and I believe it is — I see no reason why we cannot take this procedure a step further. Linear A tablet HT 31 supports words identifying vessels either (a) immediately to the left of and immediately adjacent to their ideograms or (b) supercharged or surcharged on the ideograms  with which they are associated.  On the other hand, the Linear A tablet in the Ay Nikolaus Museum, Greece, is inscribed only with ideograms for vessels incharged  with supersyllabograms, with no accompanying  explanatory text. It is not only possible but entirely feasible to cross-correlate the syllabograms and ideograms on these two, not just with those for vessels on Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris) but also with each other. The case for the second approach may well prove to be as convincing as that for the first. Boiling it all down to the essentials, we seriously need to ask ourselves the crucial question whether or not either  of the elements (syllabograms and ideograms) on each and every one of the tablets we have under discussion (Pylos Tablet TA 641-1952 in Linear B & Linear A tablets HT 31 & the one with 5 incharged supersyllabograms) overlap with and any or even all of their counterparts on any of the others.

First, let us take a closer look at the Linear A tablet from Ay Nikolaus Museum, Greece, since on it we observe 5  Linear A syllabograms clearly inscribed inside the ideograms they modify in a particular way: Click to ENLARGE

Fig 1 SSYLs vessels Linear A bwWe have been able to isolate one element and one only, which overlaps on these two Linear A tablets, as illustrated here in Table 1: Click to ENLARGE

Table 1 ideograms for vessels on 2 Linear A tablets
Observe the incidence of (a) the word supaira,  a type of vessel (no. 5  on Linear A HT 31) and (b) the incharged supersyllabogram su  tagged as item 1 in white font — if that is what it is —  on the extract from Linear A tablet in colour we introduced in previous posts. Assuming that the incharged  SSYL on the latter is in fact the Linear A syllabogram su,  we now find ourselves face to face with what appears at the very least to be an amazing coincidence. Both designations,(a) the word supaira  spelled out in full on HT 31 and (b) the single syllabogram (probably) su  on the second tablet appear to delineate one and the same vessel type. But is this mere coincidence? I think not, for the following reasons:

Names of vessel types adjacent on the left to their corresponding ideograms:

(a) in Linear B: to the left but generally not immediately adjacent  

Earlier in this article, we posited the distinct possibility of the two syllabaries, Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B, largely sharing the practice of designating vessels types by name to the left of the ideograms which represent them. In the case of Mycenaean Linear B, the name of the vessel type, for instance, tiripo(de), qeto or dipa (anowe) appears the the left of inserted text denoting an associated process or of at least one of its attributes, and not immediately adjacent to the ideogram upon which it depends.  For instance, as can be seen from Rita Roberts’ erudite decipherment of Pylos tablet TA 641-1952 (Ventris): Click to ENLARGE

Rita Roberts Pylos TA Py 641-1952 Roberts burnt-from-legs-up LBK&M
we have:
tiripode Aikeu keresijo weke + the ideogram for tripod 2 =
Aigeus is working on 2 tripods of the Cretan style,
where tiripode is separated from its ideogram by the inserted 3 word phrase, Aikeu keresiyo weke. So tiripode is deliberately set not immediately adjacent to the left of its ideogram. This is an example of an active (verbal) associated process, since the subject, Aigeus, is working on the tripod.


dipa mewijo qetorowe + ideogram for (a very large) vase = a pithos  1 =
1 very large vase (pithos) with four handles,
where dipa is separated from its ideogram by the inserted 2 word phrase, mewijo qetorowe. Once again, dipa is not immediately adjacent to the left its ideogram. This is an example of attribution, given that that the 4 handles are an attribute of both the word and the ideogram for dipa.  

These two incidences alone of Linear B words explicitly spelling out the vessel types in proximity with their ideograms, in conjunction with the phenomenon of supersyllabograms incharged in ideograms for pottery and vessels in Mycenaean Linear B, well serve to illustrate the extreme sophistication of the Linear B syllabary with its 100 + ideograms to massage inventoried items.
(b) in Linear A: immediately adjacent if to the left -or- supercharged/surcharged on the ideogram to which it is bound:

Turning our attention to Linear A tablet HT 31, we witness a variation of the same phenomenon. Here all of the vessels are accounted for by name ( and type?), and situated either (a) immediately adjacent and to the left of or (b) surcharged or (c) supercharged on top of their bound ideogram: Click to ENLARGE

Table 2 Linear A Tablet HT 31 PUKO tiripode etc
In line 1, puko,  the Linear A word for tripod, is to the left of and immediately adjacent to the ideogram with which it is explicitly bound. In line 2, qapai  is supercharged, i.e. affixed onto the top of its bound ideogram, while in lines 3 5 & 6, kadapai  (if that is what the spelling is), supaira  & pataqe  are surcharged. The Linear A scribe is apparently experimenting with various methods of specifically identifying each type of vessel he is inventorying. In other words, the practice of naming items in inventories in Minoan Linear A is in flux. No standard has yet been established. At variance with Linear B, the only constant appears to be the utter absence of intervening associative or attributive text between the vessel type identified by name in Linear A and its ideogram, which on HT 31 appears either immediately adjacent to the left, or supercharged or surcharged on top of its ideogram. This does not necessarily imply that the Minoan Linear A scribes never resorted to the more complex formula in Linear B, viz:

vessel type spelled out in the LB syllabary + intervening associative or attributive text + corresponding ideogram + the number of vessels,   
algebraically expressed as:

vt + (as or at) = ideogram (vt) n – where n  is the total no. of vessels itemized

It merely means that there are no instances on extant Minoan Linear A tablets of the more complex approach to inventorying vessels so frequently instanced in Mycenaean Linear B. It is conceivable that a few Linear A tablets may be unearthed in the future confirming this hypothesis, but because the Linear A practice for words identifying vessels is itself in such flux, I am very much inclined to doubt it.

Such is far from being the vase with Mycenaean Linear B, in which the practice of  identifying each type of vessel on numerous inventories is standardized, formulaic and fossilized. It seems quite clear that the Mycenaean Linear B scribes inherited the practice from their Minoan forbears, sticking with what they considered to be the best practices for enumerating vessel types, and tossing the rest overboard. 

(c) Cross-correlation of supercharged and surcharged syllabograms on Linear B tablet HT 31 with the incharged supersyllabograms on Linear A tablet from the Ay Nikolaus Museum, Greece:

With reference to Table 1 above, things get downright intriguing. If we cross-correlate the Minoan Linear A word for the vessel type, supa3ra  or supaira,  on tablet HT 31 with the (presumed) incharged syllabogram a.k.a. supersyllabogram su  on the second Linear A tablet illustrated above, we discover that they apparently refer to one and the same vessel type. Recall however the conundrum we are faced with on HT 31.  There are 3 separate words in Minoan Linear A, all of which appear to refer to vessel types for which there is only one equivalent in Mycenaean Linear B, that being, dipa,  a cup or kylix with handles or dipa anowe,  a cup without handles, sup*56  or supaira  being one of them, and qapa3  or qapai?  +  pataqe  the other two. But, as I said before, Minoan, unlike Mycenaean Greek, might very well have differentiated among at least 3 types of cups with or without handles.  All that aside, I am left with the distinct impression that the Minoan scribe who adroitly resorts to inscribing the (super)syllabogram su  incharged in the ideogram to which it is explicitly bound has in effect devised a clever shortcut for the same description in full text used by the scribe who identifies supaira  as a cup with handles on Linear A tablet HT 31, it too apparently equivalent to dipa anowe  in Mycenaean Linear B. If this premise is sound, then what we have here is a finding nothing short of astounding concerning scribal scribal practices in both Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B. If so, we should be able draw the following conclusions:


First, Minoan Scribes writing in Linear A and later, Mycenaean scribes writing in Linear B appear to have both made use, not only of:
(a) words spelled out identifying pottery and vessel types either (nearly) adjacent to the left side or supercharged or surcharged onto the ideograms with which they are associated on some tablets, but
(b) also of syllabograms a.k.a. supersyllabograms bound (incharged) inside the same or very similar ideograms on others, both in their own syllabary and the other (Minoan Linear and Mycenaean Linear B). The scribes have identified the selfsame vessel types — either way — six of one, half a dozen of the other. Take your choice. They did. 

In either case, the end result is the same. In Minoan Linear A, the vessel type under consideration is identified, while in Mycenaean Linear B it is further delineated by class (tripods and cauldrons versus vases, cups etc.) and size through the medium of the text intervening between the vessel type named and its corresponding ideogram. Since in Mycenaean Linear B the identification of the vessel type is clear cut even on those tablets where an incharged syllabogram (supersyllabogram) identifies it in the complete absence of descriptive text, as we see here in Table 3: Click to ENLARGE

Table 3 10 Supersyllabogram in the Vessels Sector of Mycenaean Linear Bwe may infer that this practice runs in parallel with the same two, albeit less sophisticated, practices of denominating vessel types in Minoan Linear A. If that is the case, then the Mycenaean Linear B scribes ostensibly inherited both practices from their Minoan forbears. Not only that, by flinging out the non-essential fluctuating Minoan scribal practices, they greatly streamlined and fully standardized these procedures. What was experimental in Minoan Linear A has become fossilized in Mycenaean Linear B. We are faced here with nothing so much as two primary standard, universal & formulaic accounting practices for inventories in Mycenaean Linear B which were applied across the board, regardless of the sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy with which they were concerned or the provenance of Linear B tablets, Knossos, Pylos, Phaistos etc.  You can count on it. And the Mycenaean scribes owed it all to their Minoan ancestors. The implications of this finding, should corroborative evidence from other Linear A tablets, extant or yet to be discovered in the future, prove its potential validity, are nothing short of profound for the eventual decipherment of at least a portion of Linear A, however minimal.

Moreover, I believe we already have at our disposal the linguistic skills and tools to enable to us to take this ball farther still. More on this in a future installment.

Post-script: These four posts are shortly to be published as a full research paper, replete with references and notes + bibliography, on my academia.edu account.


Part C: an actual decipherment of the words for a few types of vessels in Minoan Linear A on tablet HT 31? Judge for yourselves.

Now that we have dispensed with the most common ideograms and supersyllabograms in Linear B in the pottery and vessels sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy, we can at last move on to considering whether or not the ideograms on the two Minoan Linear A tablets we illustrated in the previous two posts are susceptible of decipherment, if at all.

Let us first turn our attention to Linear A tablet HT 31 from Haghia Triada. The first thing we notice about this tablet is that it contains ideograms for vessels along with the Minoan words in the Linear A syllabary, almost all of which are plainly surcharged on their respective ideograms. With this evidence in hand, I see no reason why we cannot or should not attempt a feasible translation of at least one, if not more, of the words found immediately to the left of their respective ideograms. Let us examine this tablet much more closely. Here is what we find: Click to ENLARGE:

Linear A HT 31 disposition of vessels
With this evidence in hand, we can now take a stab at cross-correlating the words associated with each of the ideograms on this tablet with identical or similar ideograms on Pylos Linear B tablet TA 641-1952 (Ventris) and several others besides: Click to ENLARGE

Linear A Tablet HT 31 PUKO tiripode etcTo our amazement and relief, we discover that the word puko  on Linear A tablet HT 31 appears to correspond exactly with the Linear B word tiripo  on Pylos Linear B tablet TA 641-1952! Is this mere coincidence or have we stumbled on something really big? The most astonishing thing about the parallel we can draw between puko  on Linear A tablet HT 31 and tiripo(de)  on Linear B tablet TA 641-1952 is that, if indeed puko  is the Minoan Linear A word for “tripod”, then the very first word ever deciphered on a Minoan Linear A tablet coincides to a T with the very first word ever deciphered on Pylos tablet TA 641-1952. This coincidence is so unexpected it boggles the mind... or does it? It surely goes almost without saying that tripods predominate on so many Mycenaean Linear B tablets from Pylos alone. There is therefore no reason to assume the contrary for tablets in Minoan Linear A. It is for this reason, among others, that I feel quite confident in my assertion that puko is indeed the word for “tripod” in Minoan Linear A. Unfortunately, as you are about to see for yourselves, it is the only Minoan word for a vessel which I can decipher with confidence either on tablet HT 31 or on the other Linear A tablet which we have given consideration to in the previous 2 posts. I can hazard a guess at the meanings of the other Linear A words for vessels on HT 31, but that is all it is   however crafty my decipherments may appear.

Now the decipherment for 3. karo*56 (karopai?), also appears to be self-evident. It apparently corresponds to the word for a two-handled kylix, qeto, on Pylos tablet TA 641-1952. At least it looks like it has two handles, but I cannot really be sure of that.  

The biggest problem confronting us in any attempt to decipher the other words for vessels appearing on tablet HT 31 is this: there are four (4) entirely different words, 2. qapa3 or qapai? + supu & 4. su*56ra or supraira? & pataqe , all of which appear to represent a cup without handles, equivalent to dipa anowe in Linear B, which in turn the Mycenaean predecessor of the Homeric depa. That is a more than just a bit of stickler in and of itself. However, it is conceivable that the Minoan language, unlike Mycenaean Greek, did differentiate among at least 4 types of cups, with or without handles. We shall never really know, but the possibility is still worth considering.

But there is another rather more vexing difficulty confronting us on Linear A tablet HT 31. Why do the words which apparently signify different types of vessels appear immediately to the left or surcharged on top of the ideograms which represent them, when we know that such is not the case in Mycenaean Linear B, at least on tablet TA 641-1952 from Pylos. On that tablet, the words identifying each type of vessel appear further to the left of the words qualifying them by size and type. It is of course quite possible that the Minoan scribes writing in Linear A followed a different, simpler practice by placing the words for various types of vessels immediately to the left and adjacent to, or surcharged right on top of the ideograms representing them. This practice is all the more tenable, in so far as the words for various sorts of pottery and vessels are never surcharged in this fashion in Mycenaean Linear B. But there are also instances of supersyllabograms, i.e. syllabograms incharged in their own ideograms in Mycenaean Linear B, a more simplified and streamlined approach to the identification of pottery and vessel types in that language, just as we have seen in the previous post. This scribal practice, which until now I assumed was unique to Mycenaean Linear B is at any rate neither more or less sensible than the Minoan practice we have just flagged. But there is even more to all of this than we can see in the example of Linear A tablet HT 31. It just so happens that the other Linear A tablet we have already referenced, Click to ENLARGE

Linear A Ay. Nikolaos Mus

also makes use of incharged supersyllabograms (if that is what they are), giving rise to the obvious question, did the Mycenaean scribes who resorted to the same stratagem on tablets in Linear B inherit this practice from their Minoan forbears? This certainly seems to be the case, given that no fewer than six (6) incharged supersyllabograms appear on the Linear A tablet illustrated above. We shall turn our attention to our findings for that tablet in the next post. They will prove to be even more revelatory than the words for pottery and vessels on Linear A HT 31, and will if anything lend even further credence to the proposition we have posited that it is indeed possible, and even feasible, to extract meanings for at least a few items of pottery and vessels found on Minoan Linear A tablets merely from observing their ideograms in conjunction with the words or surcharged/ incharged supersyllabograms they represent. If it holds any water, this tenet alone constitutes a real breakthrough in the decipherment of at least a few, albeit a very few words signifying vessels in Minoan Linear A. And we will have come to our definitions in spite of the fact that we, like all previous researchers in the field of linguistics struggling to decipher Linear A, havent the faintest idea what the Minoan language is, let alone to which family of ancient languages it may belong, if any.


Part B: a breakthrough in the decipherment of Minoan Linear A? An introduction to supersyllabograms in the pottery and vessels sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy and the implications of their application to Linear A tablets for the earlier Minoan economy. 


Any attempt at deciphering Minoan Linear A is fraught with enormous difficulties which seem all but insurmountable. Obstructions such as the small   number of extant tablets, the most vocabulary which of necessity follows, and the impossibility of cross-correlation with any other ancient language make it all but futile practically to make any headway its decipherment, however partial or sporadic. Yet there is another approach which a researcher in South Africa has adopted: Click to visit SITE

african decipherment
Taking G.J.K. Campbell-Dunn’s method one step further, I propose that we attempt to decipher bits and pieces of Minoan Linear A by relying not only on its ideograms  exclusively,  but on syllabograms  adjacent to or affixed to them forming entire words, but above all where single syllabograms are incharged  in their ideograms, which in fact is the case with at least one extant tablet in Minoan Linear A sporting no fewer than 
5  of them, as we have already noted in the previous post. 

This approach dispenses entirely with the irksome necessity of making any effort to divine what class of languages Minoan linear A belongs to, if any. Almost all researchers have until now focused on asking just this question. Is Minoan linear A Indo-European? Does it belong to the Finnic language family, which falls completely outside the Indo-European orbit? Is it in any way related to Luvian, an ancient language of the Anatolian branch of Indo-European languages, as Sir Arthur Evans surmised it might be? This is what he has to say in Scripta Minoa, with reference to both Minoan Linear A and Linear B:

It would seem, therefore, unlikely that the language of the Cretan scripts was any kind of Greek, and probable that it was related to the early language or languages of  Western Anatolia  –  associated, that is, with the archaeological 'cultures’ of Alaja Hüyük I ( 'proto-hattic’) and  of Hissarlik II and Yortan  ( 'Luvian’)... ” , and a little further, “Though many of the sign-groups are compounded from distinct elements, usually of two syllables each, there is little trace of an organized system of grammatical suffixes, as in Greek. At most, a few signs are notably frequent as terminals... (italics mine)...

Some have surmised that the Minoan language may conceivably be an ancient “rogue” language, but I for one find that assumption a little hard to swallow. 
Of course, in 1952-1953 Michael Ventris finally proved Evans wrong about Linear B. But in retrospect, who can blame Evans for that, in view of the understandable utter lack of evidence to the contrary in his day and age. Anyway, there were (and still are) no extant tablets in either Minoan Linear A or Mycenaean Linear B with parallel text in another known ancient language, as had conveniently been the case with the Rosetta Stone, to come to the rescue towards convincing decipherment of the latter script, if not the former. In spite of this untoward situation, the latter, Linear B, was effectively deciphered by the genius Michael Ventris (1922-1956) in July 1952. 

Moving on then, any word which either precedes immediately or is nearly adjacent to any particular ideogram  in Minoan Linear A may in fact be the actual word corresponding to that ideogram, just as Michael Ventris firmly demonstrated it is in his translation of Pylos tablet 641-1952 (Ventris) in Mycenaean Linear B. So it stands to reason that the translation for a similarly situated word in Minoan Linear A which is (nearly) adjacent to its ideogram is, in fact, the very word the closely situated ideogram pictorially represents. If this notion seems far-fetched, let us stop for a moment to consider whether or not there is any relationship between such a phenomenon, should it exist, in Minoan Linear A and the actual one corresponding to it in Mycenaean Linear B. It just so happens that not only does a strikingly similar construct exist in Linear B, but that it is found on not scores, but hundreds of extant Linear B tablets (in the range of 725 all told from Knossos and Pylos, of which 700 are from Knossos alone).

Now what I am proposing is a cross-correlation  between the unknown meanings of at least a few Minoan words paired with the ideograms with which they are associated and the indisputably known values (meanings) of several Mycenaean words paired with strikingly similar if not identical ideograms in Linear B. In other words, we may very well have at hand an independent variable  in a deciphered ancient language against which we can compare at least a very few Minoan words, and that language is Mycenaean Linear B. Let us say that the latter acts as a sort of Rosetta Stone, in which deciphered words adjacent to ideograms act as a litmus test for (apparently) equivalent lexemes in Minoan Linear A.

It just so happens that there are two Minoan Linear A tablets which ideally serve our purpose. These are tablet HT 31 from Haghia Triada, as illustrated here: Click to ENLARGE

Linear A Tablet HT 31
and the Linear A tablet we introduced in the previous post: Click to ENLARGE

Linear A Ay. Nikolaos Mus
which bears an uncanny resemblance to Pylos tablet TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the very first tablet of any length translated successfully by Michael Ventris in 1952-1953, here: Click to ENLARGE

Ventris translation linear-b-tablet-pylos-641-1952 LBK&M
itself re-deciphered in a more refined translation by Mrs. Rita Roberts, a retired archaeologist who resides not far from Heraklion and Knossos, Crete, as we see illustrated here: Click to ENLARGE

Rita Roberts Pylos TA Py 641-1952 Roberts burnt-from-legs-up LBK&M

Her much more recent translation (2015) is so accurate from a strictly archaeological  perspective that it serves an an ideal benchmark for the partial decipherment of at least a few of the words and the so-called incharged supersyllabograms representative of 5  of them on the Linear A tablet from the Ay Nikolaus Museum, Greece.

Yet before we can tackle a fragmentary decipherment of  these vessel types in Linear A, we first need to address (a) the pairing of translated words for 5  types of vessels on Pylos tablet TA 641-1952 (Ventris) as specifically and accurately identified by Rita Roberts, and (b) the even more significant phenomenon of what I refer to as supersyllabograms paired with ideograms on this and other extant tablets in the pottery and vessels sector of the Mycenaean economy, if we are to make any headway at all. We must take particular note of the extremely precise translations she makes of all of the types of vessels found on Pylos TA 641-1952. These are, respectively, tripod   (the most significant of them all, as we shall soon enough discover when we come to Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31, 2 and 3 handled kylixes ,  the 24 and 32 handled pithoi   for the storage of olive oil or wine, and dipae (anowe) ,  small drinking cups, with (or without) handles. We need to to bear all of these vessel types firmly in mind, as they are going to make a cameo appearance in our attempt at the decipherment of at least a few types of vessels in Minoan Linear A infra  (the next post). 

 The implications of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B for a feasible translation of at least a few words for vessels in Minoan Linear A:

To recap a topic which I have addressed over and over on our blog, Linear B, Knossos and Mycenae, I advance the following definition of the phenomenon known as the supersyllabogram in Mycenaean Linear B. By default and without exception, supersyllabograms are the first syllabogram, in other words, the first syllable of one Mycenaean Linear B word or phrase in particular and no other, which is always solely dependent on the specific context of the economic sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy in which it appears. Change the context of the economic sector, for instance from the agricultural to the military or the vessels sector, and you automatically change the significance of the supersyllabogram, with very few exceptions, the most notable being the syllabogram ne , invariably meaning newo   (masc.), newa   (fem.) or “new” in all sectors. This clear-cut definition makes so much sense there is little or no reason to contest it.

Moreover, all such single syllabograms, a.k.a. supersyllabograms, without exception, appear either (a) adjacent to or (b) inside the ideogram they qualify, and (c) they are repeated over and over, like clockwork, on hundreds of tablets in almost every major sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy, by which I mean, the agricultural and its sub-sectors (livestock of all sorts and primary crops), the military, the household, the vessels and pottery and the religious sectors.

Supersyllabograms appearing adjacent to their ideograms are invariably associative  , while those bound inside their ideograms are invariably attributive.  Associative supersyllabograms, which are found in droves in the agricultural sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy, are either surcharged ,  adjacent to the top right or  occasionally to the top left, or supercharged  ,  situated right on top of the ideogram they qualify. Unfortunately, the scope of our present investigation does not leave us any room to focus on the equally significant phenomenon of associative supersyllabograms which are found on some 700  of 3,500  or fully 20 %  of extant tablets from Knossos alone! This we must leave until later on, since they too call for in-depth analysis of them in all sectors of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy, but most notably in the agricultural sub-sector livestock, especially where sheep (rams & ewes) are concerned, to which they apply on 90 %  of all tablets in that sector.

Attributive supersyllabograms are invariably incharged , bound inside the ideogram they qualify.  It is these we are concerned with here, as they are eminently characteristic of the pottery and vessels sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy, the very sector with which we are dealing, as we address their critical rôle in Mycenaean Linear B and Minoan Linear A, in which they apparently also appear, taking the tablet we addressed in the last post as our example.

Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B and the profound implications they may very well have on at least a minimal decipherment of a few (super) syllabograms in Linear A in the pottery and vessels sector in the Minoan economy: 

In 2014, extrapolating my findings to the vessels sector alone of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy, I was quick to isolate and classify the supersyllabograms-cum-ideograms in the vessels sector alone of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy. There are 10 all told, and they are: Click to ENLARGE

10 Supersyllabograms in the Vessels Sector of Mycenaean Linear B

Here, two supersyllabograms in particular call for clarification.

The fist of these is ka , to which I have assigned four (4) possible variants. The most obvious of these is the first, kako or kakeyapi = copper. This SSYL (supersyllabogram) ka  might also possibly refer to kapo = fruit, hence, to a fruit jar, or to a stirrup jar, sometimes referred to as kararewe in Linear B or even to kati, a kind of (water) vessel or flask. Since the last under consideration here obviously overlaps with the incharged SSYL u,  which clearly designates a water jug, flask or flagon, I have no choice but to dispense with that meaning. While the vessel could be of copper, it is just as likely that the scribes were referring to the stirrup jar.  Of the latter two explanations, the last strikes me as the most convincing.

Next we have the SSYL po , which could refer to any of the following: posedao(ne) -or- (ni) = Posedaon i.e. Poseidon (god’s name) or to posidaewe, related to a cult apparently associated with Poseidon, potiniyaweya (adjectival/attributive), referring to the priestess or follower of the Minoan-Mycenaean/Homeric goddess, Potnia, to porenaya, attendants in sacrificial ceremonies, to porupode, an octopus, generally on a vase or amphora, to ponike, decorated with a griffin or ponikeya, crimson, and finally, to popureya, purple. Since we are confronted yet again with the conundrum, what did the scribes themselves intend the SSYL po   to signify, I felt obliged to account for all of these variants. Yet in light of the research literature on religious and sacrificial rites in the Minoan and Mycenaean societies, it strikes me that the most tenable translation or the SSYL po   is the adjectival attribute potiniyaweya, referring to a priestess or follower of the Minoan-Mycenaean/Homeric goddess, Potnia, since only only was their religion eminently matriarchal, but also this goddess in particular is frequently mentioned on extant tablets.

Now because we were not there when the scribes so often resorted to employing these supersyllabograms, we cannot ever really know what the SSYL po   or others like it resistant to interpretation meant to them. They certainly knew, and as a guild, they invariably assigned one meaning and one only to each supersyllabogram they deployed on the Linear B tablets. The supersyllabograms are therefore all standardized and all formulaic .  No variations were countenanced. Not that they ever cared one jot whether or not any one would understand their meaning in the future, since after all they were accountants, and accounts are by definition ephemeral. The extant inventory tablets from Knossos, Pylos and elsewhere only survive due to massive conflagration or other preservative factors at each archaeological site. But we still owe it to ourselves to make every effort to reconstitute a few variants on putative meanings assigned to each supersyllabogram which remains ambiguous, otherwise we learn nothing new of further value in the field of archaeological linguistics in either Mycenaean Linear B or Minoan Linear A.

Supersyllabograms (SSYLS) in Mycenaean Linear B are so information rich that they call for further clarification.

1. Previous researchers, most of them linguists specializing in Mycenaean Linear B, have, without exception, referred to supersyllabograms as “adjuncts” to the ideograms they qualify. But many of these are in fact far more than merely that. Close examination of a small cross-section of extant Linear B tablets concerned with pottery and vessels from Knossos, as illustrated  in the chart above, clearly demonstrates that this is the case. Here are just a few tablets in the pottery and vessels sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy illustrative of what I mean: Click to ENLARGE each illustration

supersyllabogam Libation DI in Linear B
supersyllabogram water flask U udor in Linear B

2. My translations of even these few tablets alone reveals this astonishing finding: supersyllabograms replace not only single words but often entire phrases in Mycenaean Linear B. Effectively, they telescope what would have otherwise been discursive and space-wasting text on what are ostensibly small tablets in Linear B (ranging from 15 cm. wide to a maximum of 60 cm. by 60 cm deep), into a single discrete element, namely, themselves.

3. This reveals another prime characteristic of Linear B tablets deploying supersyllabograms as replacements or stand-in markers, i.e. subject headings, for Mycenaean words or phrases. Supersyllabograms in the pottery and vessels sector alone (as in every other sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy) boil down to being shorthand . This discovery sets back the time frame for the first known use of shorthand some 3,300 years from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when it was previously assumed shorthand originated. In this respect alone Mycenaean Linear B attains a high degree of versatility and sophistication virtually unknown to any other contemporaneous script, hieroglyphic or syllabogrammatic, inclusive of Linear C, which abandoned ideograms altogether as the very last step in the evolution from the pre-alphabetic syllabaries (Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B and Arado-Cypriot Linear C) into the earliest known forms of the ancient Greek alphabet.

4. Above all other considerations, the majority of supersyllabograms in Linear B in the pottery and vessels sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy are attributive, dependent on the ideograms they qualify. Attributive dependent supersyllabograms are never adjacent to the ideogram they qualify, but are always bound inside it. Without exception, they describe an actual attribute of the ideogram.

For instance, as we can see from the table of the 10  supersyllabograms in the pottery and vessels sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy, the syllabogram a  inside the ideogram for a vessel with 2 handles is the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of the Mycenaean word apiporewe, clearly identifying the vessel as an amphora. But why even bother tagging vessel as an amphora, when it is obvious that the ideogram in question looks so remarkably like an amphora in the first place? Recall that the Mycenaean scribes never used any linguistic device without a reason. In this case, the reason, I believe, is that the scribe deliberately inserts the syllabogram  a  inside the ideogram for what is probably an amphora anyway to call our attention to the fact that this vessel in particular is an extremely valuable, more than likely ornate specialty amphora intended for the Minoan or Mycenaean nobility in any one of the major palace complexes. I can see no other reason why any Mycenaean scribe would resort to such a tactic other than to identify it as a precious commodity.

Likewise, the simplified, streamlined syllabogram sa  (stripped of its small arms at 90 degrees to its Y arm) incharged   in the ideogram for a vessel is almost certainly the supersyllabogram for an unknown pre-Greek, probable Minoan word beginning with the syllabogram sa   (a distinct clue in and of itself) for raw flax, the agricultural crop the Mycenaeans Greeks called rino = flax (as an unrefined agricultural crop) or the refined product, linen cloth. Both of these supersyllabograms are incharged,  in other words, attributive,  as can clearly be deduced from their significance noted here. Although we can readily cite further examples from the table illustrative of the 10 supersyllabograms in the pottery and vessels sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy, I must leave that analysis for another time and place. However, it is worthwhile noting that I have discovered, isolated and classified some twenty-five (25) attributive supersyllabograms alone (exclusive of associative) in all sectors of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy to date. That is a very great deal from a syllabary consisting of 61  syllabograms all told.

The phenomenon of ambiguity in the meaning of certain syllabograms incharged or surcharged to their ideograms in Mycenaean Linear B is a really nasty stickler in the interpretation of incharged supersyllabograms (if that is what they actually are) on extant tablets in Linear A in the Minoan language, which has stubbornly resisted all attempts at decipherment to date. Any attempt to decipher incharged supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A amounts to a daring plunge into an unknown sea. But I for one love to dive, and I swim well enough to take the plunge.   

Now it just so happens that everything we have just noted about supersyllabograms in the pottery and vessels sector in Mycenaean Linear B may indeed apply just as well to the same sector in the earlier Minoan economy. This we shall demonstrate in the next post.

Are there “adjuncts” a.k.a. Supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A? Apparently so... at least in the pottery and vessels sector of the Minoan economy. But what do they mean?

Part A: Preamble

I recently searched Google for as many Minoan Linear A tablets as I could find which might conceivably support the phenomenon I refer to as supersyllabograms, a.k.a as “adjuncts” in the research literature on Mycenaean Linear B, and to my utter surprise and astonishment I discovered one rather long intact Linear A tablet fitting the bill. There are on it what appear to be several “incharged adjuncts”, which is a contradiction in terms when you stop to think about it, since an adjunct, an element adjacent to an ideogram in either Mycenaean Linear B or (possibly) Minoan Linear A cannot be bound inside said ideogram, because if it were so, it would no longer be an adjunct, i.e. adjacent. Among other reasons, this is why I have chosen to refer to so-called “adjuncts” in Linear B as supersyllabograms. I have defined this term over and over on our blog, and if you wish to learn what a supersyllabogram is, I urge you to go to the section, Supersyllabograms, flagged here at the top of our blog. Just click on the word to jump to that section: Click to ENLARGE

LBKM menu
Now if we turn our attention to supersyllabograms in the pottery and vessels sector alone in Mycenaean Linear B, here is what we find: Click to ENLARGE
10 Supersyllabograms in the Vessels Sector of Mycenaean Linear B
Without our delving nto details re. the specific meaning of each and every one of these 10 supersyllabograms out of a total of 35 which I have discovered to date in all sectors of the  Minoan-Mycenaean economy, we can still see that each one clearly delimits the actual type of vessel with which the incharged supersyllabogram is concerned. For instance, the syllabogram di incharged in the ideogram for a two-handled kylix indicates that this is a libation vessel either to Poseidon or Potnia, two major Minoan/Mycenaean gods, whole so incharged in its vessel would in all probability indicates that this is a funerary urn.

Now when turn to we examine the Minoan Linear A you see illustrated here: Click to ENLARGE: 

Linear A Ay. Nikolaos Mus
from the site: Study Questions: Biers, Chapter 1: "Archaeology in Greece" and Biers, Chapter 2: "The Minoans" , which you can visit here:

site with tablet

we at once see that it too contains a total of 6 syllabograms, all of which are incharged in the ideograms for pottery or vessels which they represent. By “incharged” I mean that the supersyllabogram is bound inside the ideogram with which it is associated. In Mycenaean Linear B at least, all incharged supersyllabograms without exception are attributive, that is to say, they describe an actual (adjectival) attribute of the ideogram within which they are found.

The question is, what do they mean? In other words, (a) how does each of these incharged syllabograms delimit the vessel they are attributes of to one and one only specific type of vessel? This leads us directly to the next obvious question, (b) what can each of these incharged supersyllabograms mean? Can we glean from each of them the actual meaning, i.e. the type of vessel with which they are concerned? — because if there is even a chance that we can, then we shall have discovered for the first time ever the actual meanings of  a possible maximum of 6 Minoan words, and that would constitute a breakthrough, however minimal, in the decipherment of the Minoan language, which has to date resisted all attempts whatsoever at decipherment.

Two of the characters, 2 and 5 on this tablet may not be Linear A syllabograms. I am unable to identify them as such. 1 appears to be the syllabogram su, but I cannot be sure. 3 is definitely the syllabogram for the vowel u, while 4 appears to be that for po. 6 is definitely the syllabogram for  the vowel a. Even though this syllabogram clearly signifies an amphora in Mycenaean Linear B, no such conclusion can be safely drawn for Minoan Linear A, since the language is not Greek — unless the word for amphora is pre-Greek, which is highly unlikely. But the question remains, what kinds of vessels do the Minoan syllabograms su & po (which are tentative on this tablet), and u and a, which are certain, signify?  With reference to the so-called certainty of the syllabograms a in u in Minoan Linear A, we of course have to rely on the premise that all or at least the vast majority of syllabograms in Minoan Linear A are either  identical or nearly identical to their Mycenaean Linear B counterparts. But unfortunately even that is not so certain, although most linguists and researchers into Minoan Linear A believe this to be the case. For the sake of uniformity and consistence with the prevailing views on the actual phonemic value of each Minoan Linear A syllabogram, let us assume this is the case. If this scenario is indeed tenable, I propose in the next 3 posts to unravel the putative meanings of a maximum of 4 types of vessels as found on the Minoan Linear A tablet illustrated above, down to a minimum of one, the word for “tripod” in Linear A, perhaps the only one for which the definition would appear to be sound.


Double-Edged Sword - Haiku in Mycenaean Linear B: the sea, the wind & the navy... Who is the victor?

While this haiku is possible in Mycenaean Greek, it is impossible in any later ancient Greek dialect. This happens to be the case because in the Linear B syllabary all syllables must perforce end with a vowel, never a consonant. Hence, it is impossible to distinguish the subject from the object in the second declension in o in Mycenaean Greek composed in Linear B. But that is just what makes this haiku so intriguing. See the notes following the first translation into archaic Greek for my explanations. Click to ENLARGE:

Haiku in Mycenaean Linear B the sea the wind the victor
Prospectus on my Presentation, “The Rôle of Supersyllbograms in Mycenaean Linear B”, exactly one month from today.

Supersyllabograms by Richard Vallance Janke Pultusk Academy Humanities Warsaw
aka Surcharged Adjuncts, to be held at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, just outside of Warsaw, Poland, June 30-July 2,

Pultusk Academy and logo

Prospectus link

sponsored by the Department of Classics of the University of Warsaw and by the Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes (Athens), with particular acknowledgement of the superb research Marie Louise Nosch in the domain of textiles in Mycenaean Linear B, whom I have cited 12 times in the bibliography of the paper. See Section A, page 4, July 1, 2015

Prospectus July 1 20154


Just uploaded to academia.edu, An Introductory Glossary of General Linguistics Terminology (PDF)


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,

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.


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.

Rita Roberts academia.edu

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:

Rita Roberts Py 641-1952 translation

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%.

Just uploaded to academia.edu:
The Gezer Agricultural Calendar Almanac in Paleo-Hebrew (ca. 925 BCE) and its Translation into Mycenaean Linear B, Coupled with the Profound Implications of the Powerful Impact of Supersyllabograms aka Surcharged Adjuncts on Linear B:

category Linear B 
This highly significant article, which is the ultimate lead up to my talk,"The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B", which I will be giving at the interdisciplinary Conference,"Thinking in Symbols", at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, Pultusk, Warsaw, on July 1st. or 2nd., is highly revealing of the primary focus my presentation at that time: Click on the banner below to visit the academia.edu page, where it is presently posted and available for download in PDF format. here: Click the banner below to retrieve it:

Paleo-Hebrew Gezer Calnder translated into Mycenaean Linear B
I am quite sure that anyone genuinely interested in Mycenaean Linear B will find it fascinating reading.

I would also like to point out that, even though I have been on academia.edu for less than a month, my papers have skyrocked to the top 1% of all research documents on the that site, which has surprised and astonished me beyond my wildest expectations. The number of followers I have garnered has risen from 55 last week to 90 today.


Just added to my academia.edu: Did you know you speak Mycenaean Greek? You do! An amusing read too!
Click on the banner to read, bookmark or download the article:

Did you know you speak Mycenaean Greek

To my utter astonishment, in the first two weeks alone I have been present on academia.edu, my little research corner has already been visited 552 times, and I now have 75 followers.

I would be delighted if you were to follow me on academia.edu, and if you yourself are already a member, please be sure to send me a message on site, and I shall follow you back.  



New article on academia.edu. My translation of Sappho’s Ode, “The Moon has set, and the Pleiades...” from Aeolic Greek to Mycenaean Linear B, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, English and French, here: Click to OPEN

This article with my translation of Sappho’s Ode, “The Moon has set, and the Pleiades...” into two archaic Greek dialects (Linear B & Linear C), as well as into English and French, is the first of its kind ever to appear on the Internet.

Osbert sapho ou  la poésie lyrique
It will eventually be followed by my translations of several other splendid lyrics by Sappho, as well as by serial installments of my translation of the entire Catalogue of Ships in Book II of the Iliad by Homer, and several haiku which I have already  composed in parallel Mycenaean Linear B, English & French (I kid you not!)

If you would like to keep up with my ongoing research on academia.edu, you should probably sign yourself up with them, and follow me. Additionally, you can follow anyone else you like, especially those researchers, scholars and authors who are of particular interest to you (not me). And of course, once you have signed up with academia.edu, which is free, you can upload your own research papers, documents, articles, book reviews etc. to your heart’s content.

Oh and by the way, we have a surprise coming up for you all, a research paper by none other than my co-administrator, Rita Roberts of Crete. 


Uploaded to academia.edu, my research on: Alan Turing & Michael Ventris: a Cursory Comparison of their Handwriting

Although I originally posted this brief research paper here on our blog about two months ago, I have just uploaded a revised, and slightly more complete version of it here:

Alan Turing and Michael Ventris handwriting title
which anyone of you visiting our blog may download at leisure, provided that you first sign up with academia.edu, which is a free research clearinghouse, replete with thousands of superb research articles in all areas of the humanities and arts, science and technology and, of course, linguistics, ancient and modern. The advantages of signing up with academia.edu are many. Here are just a few:

1. While it is easy enough to read any original post on our blog, it is very difficult to upload it, especially since almost all of our posts contain images, which do not readily lend themselves to uploading into a word processor such as Word or Open Office.
2. On the other hand, since almost all research articles, papers, studies, journal articles and conference papers are in PDF format, they can be uploaded from academia.edu with ease. You will of course need to install the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to download any research paper or article, regardless of author(s) or source(s). You can download it from here:

adobe acrobat reader download 
3. academia.edu is the perfect venue for you to set up your own personal page where you may upload as many of your research papers as you like.
4. academia.edu is also one of the best research resource hubs on the entire Internet where you can find not just scores, but even hundreds of papers or documents of (in)direct interest to you as a researcher in your own right in your own field of expertise.
5. Of course, you will want to convey this great news to any and all of your colleagues and fellow researchers, whether or not they share your own interests.

My own academia.edu home page is:

Richard Vallance academia.edu

I would be most grateful if you were to follow me and if you would like me to follow you back, please let me know.


Now on academia.edu: References, Notes & Bibliography for the Presentation, “The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B”

Has just been uploaded as my second research paper at (click to VISIT):

References Notes Bibliography Supersyllabograms Pultusk Poland

Comments, observations and criticisms welcome here at Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae and on my academia.edu pages.

The next paper I upload to academia.edu will deal specifically with the Gezer Algricultural Almanac in Paleo-Hebrew and its translation into Mycenaean Linear B.[


Bibliography (Part A: citations 1-69) for the Presentation, The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, by Richard Vallance Janke at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, Pultusk, Poland, June 30-July 2 2015 

Supersyllabograms by Richard Vallance Janke Pultusk Academy Humanities Warsaw


1. The following abbreviations are always used for the sources they represent:

AJA		American Journal of Archaeology
ANCL		L’Antiquité classique
ASSC		Actes del XV Simposi de la Secció Catalana de la S.E.E.C.
BCH		Bulletin de correspondance hellénique
CAMB		Proceedings of the Cambridge Colloquium on Mycenaean Studies.
		Palmer, R.L. & Chadwick, John, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University
		Press, © 1966. First paperback edition, © 2011. vii, 309 pp.
		ISBN 978-1-107-40246-1 (pbk.)
CMLB		Duhoux, Yves and Morpurgo Davies, Anna, eds. A Companion to
                Linear B: Mycenaean Greek Texts and their World. Vol. I.
                (Bibliotheque des Cahiers de l’Institut de Linguistique de
                Louvain 120). Louvaine-la-Neuve, France: Peeters, © 2014.
                292 pp.	ISBN 978-2-7584-0192-6 (France)
CRAN		Creta Antica		
CRR      	Colloquium Romanum: atti del XII colloquio internazionale di
		micenologia, Roma, 20 - 25 febbraio 2006
ECR     	Economic History Review
JHS      	Journal of Hellenic Studies	
KADM            Kadmos: Zeitschrift für Vor- und Frühgriechische Epigraphik
KOSM            Kosmos: Proceedings of the 13th. International Aegean Conference/
                13e Rencontre égéenne internationale. University of Copenhagen,
                Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textile Research,
	        21-26 April 2010. Leuven-Liège: Peeters. Ix, 807+ pp. © 2012
KTMA   	        KTEMA, civilisations de l’orient, de la Grèce et de Rome antique.
	        Strasbourg: Université Marc Bloch de Strasbourg, Centre de
                recherches sur le proche orient et la Grèce antiques
MIN       	Minos: Revista de Filología Egea. ISSN: 0544-3733 	
MINR 		Minerva: Revista de Filología Clasíca
MYCAa		Risch, E. & Mühlestein, H., eds. Colloquium Mycenaeum. Actes du
		sixième colloque international sur les textes mycéniens et égéens
		tenu à Chaumont sur Neuchâtel du 7 au 13 septembre 1975, Neuchâtel.
		Genève : Librairie Droz. © 1979
MYCAb           Olivier J.-P., éd. Mykenaïka: Actes du IXe Colloque international
                sur les textes mycéniens et égéens, organisé par le Centre de
                l’Antiquité Grecque et Romaine de la Fondation Hellénique de
                l’École française d’Athènes (sic) (Athènes, 2-6 octobre 1990).
		Paris: BCH, Suppl. 25. © 1992
MYCAc 	        Carlier, P., de Lamberterie, C., et al. Etudes Mycéniennes 2010.
		Actes du XIIIè colloque	international sur les textes égéens,
                Sèvres,	Paris, Nanterre, 20–23 septembre 2010. Pisa et Roma,
                © 2012
OPUS		Opuscula, Annual of the Swedish Institutes at Athens and Rome
PALM		Palmer, L. R. The Interpretation of Mycenaean Texts. Oxford: Oxford
		University Press, © 1963. Special Edition for Sandpiper Books Ltd.,
		© 1998. xiii, 488 pp. ISBN 0-19-813144-5
PASR		Pasiphae: Rivista di filologia e antichità egee
REVC		Revista del Departament de Ciències de l’Antiguitat de
                l’Edat Mitjana  
SMEA		Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici  

2. Bibliographic Conventions for References & Notes and the Bibliography:

2.1 Monographs follow this convention:
Author(s) or Editor(s) -surname, first name-. Title. Place of publication: Publisher. no. of pages. © year of publication. ISBN(s) (if any. Books prior to 1965 do not have ISBNs)
2.2 Serials and Journals follow this convention:
Author(s) -surname, first name-. “Article Title”, pp. aa-bb (if any) in Journal Title. Vol. no., (issue no., if any), month (if any), year
2.3 Conventions and Colloquiums follow this convention, as far as possible, depending on the amount of bibliographical data provided:
Author(s) or Editor(s) -surname, first name-. Title. Place of publication: Publisher. no. of pages. © year of publication. ISBN(s) (if any. Books prior to 1965 do not have ISBNs) 
2.4 If the same author(s) or editor(s) with exact same title is/are cited a second time, or more than twice, each entry subsequent to the first one is tagged, Op. Cit. = opero citato, Latin for “in the work already cited”
2.5 If the same author(s) or editor(s) is/are cited under a title different from the first one or in a previous identical title or reference not immediately preceding the current one , each entry subsequent to the first one is tagged, Ibid. = Latin adverb ibidem, approximately equivalent to the English “by the same author(s) or editor(s) ”.
2.6 Monographs and articles, for which I have been unable to find sufficient bibliographical date are tagged (PDF) and may be downloaded in PDF format.
2.7 If there are more than two (2) or (3) Author(s) or Editor(s) for any given entry, the first two are named, followed by the tag, et al. = et alii, Latin for “and others”. 
2.8 If there is any error in any entry, orthographic or other, it is followed by the tag (sic) Latin for “thus”. 


1. Alberti, M.E. “The Minoan Textile Industry and the Territory from Neopalatial to Mycenaean Times: Some First Thoughts”, pp. 243-263 in CRAN, Vol. 8, 2007 

2. Aravantinos, V.L., Godart Louis & Sacconi, A. Thebes. Fouilles de la Cadmee I. Les tablettes en lineaire B de la Odos Pelopidou. Édition et commentaire. Pisa and Rome: Istituti editoriali e poligrafici internazionali, © 2005. xii, 339 pp.
ISBN 88-8147-421-2.(hb) & ISBN 88-8147-434-4 (pbk.)

3. Barber E. J. W. Prehistoric Textiles. The Development of Cloth in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages with Special Reference to the Aegean. Princeton: Princeton University Press © 1991. 504 pp. ISBN-10: 069100224X & 13: 978-0691002248

4. Bernabé, A. & Luján, Eugenio R. “Mycenaean technology” pp. 201-233 in CMLB. (n.d.) undated. PDF 

5. Bennett E. L. Jr. “A Selection of Pylos Tablets Texts”, pp. 103-127 in Olivier Jean.-Paul, ed. MYCAb. Paris: BCH (Suppl. 25), 1992

6. Ibid. “The Structure of the Linear B Administration at Knossos”, pp. 231-249 in AJA. Vol. 94, no. 2, April 1990

7. Bennet, John. “ ‘Collectors’ or  ‘Owners’, An Examination of their Possible Functions Within the Palatial Economy of LM III Crete”, pp. 65-101 in Oliver, Jean-Pierre, ed. BCH (Supplément XXV). ISSN 0304-2456  

8. Ibid. “Knossos in Context: Comparative Perspectives on the Linear B Administration of LM II-III Crete”, pp. 193-211 in AJA. Vol. 89, no. 2, April 1985

9. Ibid. “Space Through Time: Diachronic Perspectives on the Spatial Organization of the Pylian State”, pp. 587-602. Plates LXIX-LXXI. PDF (bibliographic information lacking) 

10. Bennett, E.L. “The Landholders of Pylos”, pp. 103-133 in AJA. Vol. 60, 1956

11. Ibid. “The Olive Oil Tablets of Pylos. Texts of Inscriptions Found”, in MIN. Supp. 2, 1955

12. Ibid. The Pylos Tablets: A Preliminary Transcription. Princeton: Princeton University Press. xii, 117 pp. © 1951
13. Ibid. The Pylos Tablets: Texts of the Inscriptions Found, 1939-1954. London: Institute of Classical Studies. xxxiii, 252 pp. © 1955 

14. Bennett, E.L. & Olivier, Jean-Paul. “The Pylos Tablets Transcribed”, in Incunabula Graeca. Vol L1. Roma: Edizioni Dell’Ateneo. Moulos. Vol. 63, 1973 

15. Bennett E. L. Jr., Driessen J. M., et al. “436 raccords et quasi-raccords de fragments inédits”, pp. 199-242 dans KT 5, MIN. Vol 24, 1989

16. Bernabé, A. & Luján. Eugenio R. “Mycenaean Technology”, pp. 201-233 in CLMB

17. Bunimovitz, S. “Minoan-Mycenaean Olive Oil Production and Trade: A Review of the Current Research”, pp. 11-15 in Eitam, D., ed. Olive Oil in Antiquity: Israel and Neighboring Countries from Neolith (sic) to Early Arab Period. Haifa: University of Haifa. © 1987

18. Burke, B. 2010. From Minos to Midas: Ancient Cloth Production in the Aegean and in Anatolia. (Ancient Textiles Series, Vol. 7). Oxford: Oxbow Books. © 2010.
240 pp. ISBN: 9781842174067 

19. Carington-Smith, J. Weaving, Spinning and Textile Production in Greece: The Neolithic to Bronze Age. Australia: University of Tasmania.
(Ph.D. Dissertation) © 1975

20. Chadwick, John,  Killen, John T. & Olivier, Jean Paul. The Knossos Tablets.
4th ed. London: Cambridge University Press. © 1971. 486 pp. ISBN-10: 0521080851 & 13: 978-0521080859

21. Chadwick John. “Pylos Tablet Un 1322”, pp. 19-26 in Bennett E. L. Jr., ed. Mycenaean Studies. Proceedings of the Third International Colloquium for Mycenaean Studies Held at ‘Wingspread’, 4 -8 September 1961. Madison, Wisc. © 1964  

22. Davies, Lyn. A is for Ox: A short history of the alphabet. London: The Folio Society. 127 pp. © 2006. no ISBN  

23. Del Freo, Maurizio & Rougemont, Françoise. “Observations sur la série Of de Thèbes”, pp. 263-280. PDF (bibliographic information lacking)

24. Del Freo, Maurizio, Nosch Marie-Louise & Rougemont Françoise. “17. The Terminology of Textiles in the Linear B Tablets, including Some Considerations on Linear A Logograms and Abbreviations”, pp. 338-373 in Michel, C., Nosch Marie-Louise, eds. Textile Terminologies in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean from the Third to the First Millennia BC. Oxford: Oxbow Books. (Ancient Textile Series, Vol. 8). Oxford: Oxbow Books. ©  2010. xix, 444 pp. ISBN: 978-1-84217-975-8

25. Demsky, Aaron. Jacob’s Herds in Light of Ancient Near Eastern Sources. n.d. (undated). PDF (bibliographic information lacking) 

26. Driessen, Jan. “The Arsenal of Knossos (Crete) and Mycenaean Chariot Forces” pp. 481-498 in Acta Archaeologica Anensia. Monographiae 8, 1995, in Lodewijckx, Marc, ed. Archaeological and Historical Aspects of West-European Societies. Album Amicorum André van Doorselaer. Leuven: Leuven University Press, © 1996

27. Driessen, Jan, et al. “107 raccords et quasi-raccords dans CoMIK 1 et II”, in BCH, Vol. 112, 1988

28. Duhoux, Y.  Aspects du vocabulaire économique mycénien (cadastre – artisanat – fiscalité). Amsterdam: A. M. Hakkert © 1976. 202 pp.
ISBN-10: 9025607128 & 13: 978-9025607128

29. Ibid. “Idéogrammes textiles du Linéaire B *146, *160, *165, et *166”, pp. 116-132 in MIN, Vol. 15, 1974

30. Duhoux, Y. “Mycenaean anthology”, pp. 243-393 in CMLB. Vol. I, no pagination.

31. Feinman, G.M. “Crafts, Specialists, and Markets in Mycenaean Greece. Re-envisioning Ancient Economies: Beyond Typological Constructs.” pp. 453-459 in AJA, Vol. 117, no. 3, 2013

32. Fine, John V.A. “The Early Aegean World”, pp. 1-23 in, Ibid. The Ancient Greeks: a Critical History. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ix, 720 pp. © 1983. ISBN 0-674-03314-0 (pbk.)

33. Finley, M.I. “The Mycenaean Tablets and Economic History”, pp. 128-141 in ECR. Vol. 10, 1957

34. Firth, R.J. “Re-considering Alum on the Linear B Tablets”, in Gillis, C. & Nosch Marie-Louise. Ancient Textiles: Production, Craft and Society: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Ancient Textiles, held at Lund, Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark, on March 19-23, 2003. Oxford: Oxbow Books. © 2007. 288 pp. ISBN-10: 1842172026 & 13: 978-1842172025

35. Firth, R.J. & Nosch Marie-Louise. “Scribe 103 and the Mycenaean Textile Industry at Knossos: The Lc(1) and Od(1)-Sets”, in MIN, Vol. 37-38, 2002-2003
36. Foster, E.D. “The Flax Impost at Pylos and Mycenaean Landholding”, pp. 549-560 in Vegetation History and Archaeobotany. Vol. 20, no. 6, 2011. ISSN 0939-6314
& e-ISSN 1617-6278

37. Foxhall, L. “Cargoes of the Heart's Desire: The Character of Trade in the Archaic Mediterranean World”, pp. 295-309 in Fisher, N. & Van Wees, H. eds. Archaic Greece, New Approaches and New Evidence. Duckworth: The Classical Press of Wales.
© 1998, reprint © 2008. 464 pp. ISBN 0715628097 & 978-0715628096 

38. García, Carlos Varias. “Festes i banquets a la Grièga antiga: orígens d’una tradició ininterrompuda”, pp. 517-532 in, Danés, J. et al. Estudis Clàssics: Imposició, Apologiao o Sedducció? Llieda, 21-23 octubre de 2005. © 2005
ISBN 678-84-690-9931-5

39. Ibid. “Industria y comercio en la sociedad Micénica”, pp. 11-37 in MINR, Número 16, 2002-2003

40. Ibid. La Metodología actual en el Estudio de los Textos micénicos: un Ejemplo práctico. pp. 353-365. PDF (bibliographic information lacking)

41. Ibid. “Observaciones sobre algunos textos gastronómicos de Micenas”, pp. 831-842 in, Aldama, Javier Alonso, et. al., eds. Stij a0mmoudiej tou Omhrou. Homenaje a la Professora Olga Omatos. Spain: Universidad del País Vasco. © n.d. (undated)

42. Ibid. “Un texto micénico singular sobre la industria textil de Cnoso: la tabilla Kn LN 1568”, pp. 442-446 in Zaragoza, Joana; Senmartí, Antoni González, edd. Homatge a Josep Alsina. Actes del Xè Simposi de la Secció Catalana de la SEEC. Tarragona, 28 a 30 de novembre 1990 

43. Godart Louis, Killen John T., et al. “43 raccords et quasi-raccords de fragments”, pp. 377-389, dans le volume I du Corpus of Mycenaean Inscriptions from Knossos. BCH, Vol. 110, 1986 

44. Ibid. “501 raccords et quasi-raccords de fragments dans les tablettes de Cnossos post KT-V”, pp. 373-410. PDF (bibliographic information lacking)

45. Greco, Allesandro. “Omologazione, integrazione, sostituzione: le procedure di  aggiornamento dei documenti inerenti alle greggi del palazzo di Cnoso (Standardization, Integration, Replacement: Procedure for Updating the Documents Pertaining to Knossos Flocks)”, pp. 217-246 in CRAN. (Centro di Archeologia Cretese, Università di Catania). Vol. 2., 2002

46. Ibid. Scribi et Pastori, Amministrazione et gestione nell’archivio di Cnosso. Athens: SAIA (Italian Archaeological School of Athens), Series: Tripodes (Archeologia Antropologica Storia). © 2011. iii, 732pp. ISBN: 978-960-98397-7-8

47. Gregersen, Marie Louise Bech. “Craftsmen in the Linear B Archives”, pp. 43-55 in Gillis, Carole, Risberg, Christian & Sjöberg, Birgitta, eds. Trade and Production in Premonetary Greece. Proceedings of the 4th. and 5th. International Workshops, Athens, 1994 and 1995. Paul Åströms förlag, © 1997

48. Gulizio, Joann. Mycenaean Religion at Knossos. Austin: University of Texas at Austin. (Phd. Thesis), August, 2011.
This dissertation addresses methodological issues in the archaeological and textual evidence for religion in Knossos (LM II-LM IIIB1). The economic focus of Linear B tablets means that there is limited information about religion. It is difficult to assess archaeological evidence for phases of cult practice at Knossos in light of the time line of palace administration. Thus archaeological and textual evidence appears in two temporal phases, allowing for a more accurate assessment of the evolution of religious beliefs and practices in the late Bronze Age culture of Knossos. While earlier Minoan shrines persist, they are incorporated into the pantheon of the new Indo-European deities at Knossos introduced by the newly-established Greek elite. Eventually, the epithets of several Minoan divinities often replace the Greek theonyms in ritual offerings, although Minoan shrines fade from use. Consequently, the nature of Mycenaean religious observances at Knossos represents a unique blend of both Minoan and Mycenaean religious beliefs and practices. 

49. Hammond, N.G.L. Chapter 2, “The Greek Mainland and Mycenaean Civilization”,
pp. 36-71 in Ibid. A History of Greece to 322 B.C. Oxford: Clarendon Press. xxi, 691 pp. Third Edition, © 1986. ISBN 0-19-873093-0 (pbk.)

50. Hiller S. “A-pi-qo-ro amphipoloi”, pp. 239-255 in Killen J. T., Melena, José. L. & Olivier J.-P., eds. Studies in Mycenaean and Classical Greek presented to John Chadwick, Salamanca, in MIN, Vol. 20-22, 1987

51. Hutton, William F. The Meaning of QE-TE-O in Linear B. pp. 105-131. PZN INT CANADA (University of Calgary, Department of Classics). nd. (undated). PDF (bibliographic information lacking)

52. James, S.A. “The Thebes tablets and the Fq series: a contextual analysis”,
pp. 397–417 in MIN. Vol. 37–38, 2006

53. Jones, D.M. “Land tenure at Pakijane: some doubts and questions”. pp. 245-249 in CAMB.

54. Killen John T. “The Knossos Ld(1) Tablets”, in MYCAa

55. Ibid. “The Knossos Nc Tablets”, pp. 33-38 in CAMB

56. Ibid. “Last year’s debts on the Pylos Ma tablets”, pp. 173-188 in SMEA.
Vol. 25, 1984

57. Ibid. “Linear B a-ko-ra-ja/-jo”,  pp. 117-125 in Morpurgo Davies A. & Meid W., eds. Studies in Greek, Italic and Indo-European Linguistics offered to Leonard R. Palmer on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday. Innsbruck: Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft, 16. © 1976

58. Ibid. “The Linear B Tablets and Mycenaean Economy”, in Morpurgo, Davies A. & Duhoux Y., eds. Linear B: A 1984 Survey: Proceedings of the Mycenaean Colloquium of the VIIIth Congress of the International Federation of the Societies of Classical Studies (Dublin, , 27 August -1st September 1984). Louvain-La-Neuve: Peeters.
© 1985. 310 pp. ISBN 2870772890 & 9782870772898 

59. Ibid. “Mycenaean economy”, pp. 159-200 in CMLB. Vol. I. 

60. Ibid. “Some thoughts on ta-ra-si-ja”, pp. 161-180 in Voutsaki S. & Killen John T., eds. Economy and Politics in the Mycenaean Palace States. Proceedings of a Conference held on 1-3 July 1999 in the Faculty of Classics, Cambridge. Cambridge: (TCPhS Suppl. 27). ©  2001

61. Ibid. & Olivier, Jean-Paul. “The Knossos Tablets. A Transliteration”, pp. 292-294 in ANCL. Vol. 34, no 1, 1965

62. Ibid. Studies in Mycenaean and Classical Greek presented to John Chadwick, pp. 319-323 in MIN. Vol. 20-22, 1987

63. Ibid. “388 raccords de fragments dans les tablettes de Cnossos”,
pp. 47-92 in CAMB

64. Lane, Michael Franklin. 14. From DA-MO to DHMOS: Survival of a Mycenaean Land Allocation Tradition in the Classical Period? pp. 110-116 n.d. (undated). 

65. Ibid. “Landholding at PA-KA-JA-NA: Toward Spatial Modeling of Mycenaean Agricultural Estates”, pp. 61-115 in PASR. Vol 6. 2012.
ISSN 1974-0565 & ISSN elettronico 2037-738

66. Ibid. Linear B pe-re-ke-u, pe-re-ke and  pe-re-ko: Contextual Analysis and Etymological Notes. pp. 76-99. PDF (bibliographic information lacking)

67. Lejeune, M. “Chars et Roues à Cnossos: Structure d 'un inventaire”, pp.287-330 in Ibid. Mémoires de philologie mycénienne, lll. Rome, 1972, in Minos.
pp. 9-61. Vol. 9, 1968

68. Ibid. “Le récapitulatif du cadastre Ep de Pylos”, pp. 260-264 in CAMB

69. Ibid. “Sur quelques termes du vocabulaire economique mycenien”, pp. 77–109 in Bennett, E.L., ed. Mycenaean studies. Proceedings of the third international colloquium for Mycenaean studies held at “Wingspread”, 4–8 September 1961. Madison, Wisconsin  © 1964

Part B, Citations 70-138 to follow in the next post.


My first research paper now uploaded to my academia.edu page. Many more to follow

The previous post, 

Introduction to the Complete Bibliography of 138 Citations for “The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B”, Presentation by Richard Vallance Janke at the 2015 Conference in the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, Pultusk, Poland, June 30-July 2, 2015

has been uploaded as my first research paper on my academia.edu page, here:

Introduction to thew complete bibliography academia.edu

I shall be uploading several research papers in PDF format to my academia.edu page on a variety of topics related to Mycenaean Linear B, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C and other topics of interest to users of our Blog. By visiting my page,

Richard Vallance academia.edu

where you can download any of these papers in PDF format.


Introduction to the Complete Bibliography of 138 Citations for “The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B”, Presentation by Richard Vallance Janke at the 2015 Conference in the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, Pultusk, Poland, June 30-July 2, 2015.

In the next 2 posts, I shall present my exhaustive bibliography of 138 items (79 citations in each of the two parts) for the talk I shall be giving on “The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B” at the 2015 Conference, “Thinking in Symbols” in the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, Pultusk, Poland, June 30-July 2, 2015. It is so exhaustive that I doubt I have missed any sources of any significance to the topic at hand. Of course, the paper of the talk itself cannot be released at this time, as it is still under wraps.

Certain researchers past and present, above all Marie-Louise Nosch, have made significant contributions towards the realization of the General Theory of Supersyllabograms which I have just finalized this year, after a year of intensive research (spring 2014 – spring 2015). Previous researchers have sometimes come right up to the edge of a general theory correlating the single or multiple syllabograms they usually designate as “adjuncts” or “endograms” to the Linear B ideograms to which they are “surcharged” (i.e. attached), and which they invariably qualify. But all of these definitions are lacking in one sense or another, for the following reasons:

1. Although designated as (mere) “adjuncts” to the ideograms they invariably qualify, these associative single or multiple syllabograms (up to a maximum of 5!) are far more than that. Standing in as first-syllable abbreviations for words and even entire phrases in Mycenaean Greek, they play an absolutely critical rôle in significantly qualifying the ideograms to which they are attached, all the more so when the tablet on which they are found contains no text whatsoever, but only ideograms with these so-called “adjuncts”. But since these “adjuncts” invariably replace either Mycenaean words or (very often) entire phrases, they cannot be relegated to the status of simple adjuncts. In far too many instances, these single syllabograms encompass so much text that their inherent meaning as such turns out to be much more comprehensive and significant than that of the ideograms to which they are presumably attached. In other words, the single syllabogram(s) embodies/embody so much more than what would have otherwise been nothing but wasteful discursive text. So it appears that we should expediently and practically refer to as the ideogram as the adjunct, rather than the other way around.

On tablets with no text whatsoever and with 3 or more syllabograms performing this function, it is more than apparent that all of the single syllabograms functioning as the first syllable of a Mycenaean Greek word or an entire phrase replace so much discursive text that they literally cut down the amount of space used on the tablet in question by as much as two-thirds! Since the Linear B scribes at Knossos and Pylos in particular were real sticklers for saving as much space as they possibly could on what were (and are) extremely small extant tablets (rarely more than 15 cm. or 6 inches wide), they resorted to this stratagem so often (on at least 23% of the Linear B tablets at Knossos) that the practice is, if anything, of far greater importance to an accurate decipherment of those tablets on which they appear than was previously thought. It is for this reason that I have come to designate syllabograms playing this rôle as supersyllabograms, and certainly not as mere “adjuncts” or “endograms”, since that is patently what they are – supersyllabograms.

2. The designation of supersyllabograms as “endograms” is extremely misleading and quite inaccurate, since as many of these supersyllabograms precede as follow the ideograms to which they are attached. So “endograms” account for only half of supersyllabograms at best. Besides, what are we to call the supersyllabograms which precede the ideograms to which they are attached? Has anyone thought of that or even mentioned it in previous research? Not that I have ever seen, and I have read every single document (monographs, journal articles and articles in every past conference) I could lay my hands on. The reason for this lacuna is clear enough. Past researchers have focused solely on “adjuncts” or “endograms” related solely to the field of research in Mycenaean Linear B which is of primary and frequently exclusive interest to themselves. Even Marie-Louise Nosch, who has done an astonishing amount of truly remarkable research in this area, has restricted herself to the textiles sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy, as that is her primary field of interest. Fair enough. 

Given this scenario, it appears to me that researchers past and present have been focusing exclusively on the trees or even sometimes, as with Marie-Louise Nosch, on whole clearings in forest. But none have ever concentrated on the entire forest, at least until last year, when I myself decided to ransack every single syllabogram on some 3,000 tablets (not fragments) from Knossos, in order to hypothesize, if at all possible, a general pattern to the use of supersyllabograms with ideograms. I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. So far, I have discovered that at least 33 of the 61 syllabograms plus one of the homophones (“rai” for saffron) frequently function as supersyllabograms. Under the circumstances, and given that so many scribes so often resorted to this strategy, I soon enough concluded that it was not only a standard convention in the compilation of some 700 tablets at Knossos, but that the supersyllabograms found on these tablets were almost invariably formulaic codes. And in ancient Greek – witness Homer alone - any practice which was both conventional and formulaic was always deliberate. No-one ever resorts to such strategies in any language, unless they have abundant reason to do so.

This is all the more true for the practices the Linear B scribes routinely ascribed to, given that they would do absolutely anything, if they possibly could, to save precious space on their tiny clay tablets. This too is another crucial factor past researchers have overlooked. Linear B scribes only recorded information which was absolutely essential to the precise compilation of what were (and are) after all statistical accounts and inventories. We can take the far-reaching consequences and implications of this conclusion even further. Have you ever seen a modern-day inventory which resorts to similar tactics to conserve precious space and to make the inventory as clear, precise and accurate as possible? Of course you have. As illustrated in the following two examples, the most efficient of modern inventories resort to the same tactics, the formulaic use of code abbreviations as substitutes for wasteful discursive text with predictable frequency – which is almost always: Click to ENLARGE each one with its relevant notes

aircraft inventory 

liquor inventory

In other words, just as abbreviations serve as default codes in modern inventories, supersyllabograms function pretty much the same way on the Linear B tablets. Supersyllabograms are in fact inventory codes for the Mycenaean Linear B words or entire phrases they replace. This revelation surely substantiates the claim I am now going to make: the Linear B scribes were far ahead of their time in the compilation of inventories and statistics. No other ancient language, including classical Greek and even Latin, came remotely close to this extremely advanced practice the Linear scribes so brilliantly and consciously contrived for their astonishing ability to create practical templates they consistently applied to inventorial management. And no-one until the Italian bankers in Renaissance was to revive the practice with equal skill. As for the standard practices of the Linear B scribal inventories, they are so remarkably alike modern 20th. & 20st. Century practices that it is uncanny.         

3. But there is more. Why previous researchers have not drawn attention to the fact that many supersyllabograms, especially in the field of textiles, neither precede nor follow the ideograms they qualify, but are almost invariably inside them, is beyond me. Once again, no one in any language resorts to any stratagem without solid practical and even logical reason(s). Such is the case with the textile “intragrams”, as opposed to “exograms” in Linear B, the latter of which invariably qualify pretty much all ideograms in the field of agriculture. Again, this raises the critical, hardly hypothetical, question, why. And again, there are substantive and strictly functional reasons why the Linear B scribes made this critical distinction – because they knew they had to. Supersyllabograms functioning as “exograms” are always associative, while those operating as “intragrams” are invariably attributive. The Linear B scribes made this fundamental distinction between the two sub-classes of supersyllabograms for the simple reason that they, as a guild, knew perfectly well what the operative distinction was which each of these types of supersyllabograms played on the tablets on which they were inscribed. The talk I am giving at the Conference in Pultusk between June 30 and July 2 2015 will make this perfectly clear.

4. I have no objection to the designation “surcharged” for “exograms” as supersyllabograms, because they are not only literally surcharged onto the ideograms with which they are always associated, they also figuratively surcharge the meaning(s) of these ideograms, in a sense somewhat akin to super-charged gasoline or petrol which beefs up engine performance in cars - or by symbolic association, something along those lines. But I am forced to object to the designation of “intragrams” as surcharged in the textiles sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economies, for the obvious reason that they are both literally and figuratively not surcharged at all. Again, the scribes never resorted to “intragrams”, unless they were absolutely critical to an actual attribute, whenever required in a particular case, such as the frequent designation of colour for textiles. Ask yourselves, why would any scribe in his right mind write out the full name of the default colour white for linen, when he did not have to? He simply would not. On the other hand, the Linear B scribes did make use of an attributive supersyllabogram when they knew perfectly well that it was critical to the economic class status of the cloth so designated. For instance, purple cloth, designated by the supersyllabogram PU for Mycenaean Linear B pupureyo – a royal colour par excellence – was much more refined and far more expensive than the heavier and coarser plain white linen cloth (rino) spun for the hoi polloi (the lower classes). So they had to mention that for the sake of the “wanaka” or King (of Knossos or Mycenae) to whom this distinction was all too important, given that neither he nor his Queen no any of the princes royal would ever be caught dead wearing cheap cloth.

There is much more to this than meets the eye, as I shall clearly illustrate in the book, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, which is to appear sometime in 2016, if all goes well.

I would be truly remiss were I not to acknowledge the major contributions the French researcher, Marie-Louise Nosch, whom I have cited 15 times (!) in my bibliography, has made to fundamentally accurate definitions of supersyllabograms in the textile sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy. Although I happened upon all of her astonishingly insightful research articles only after I had deciphered 32 of the 34 supersyllabograms (the other two being beyond me, as well as her), the truly accurate and intrinsically logical conclusions she came to on her own back up my conclusions on the meanings of practically all the intragrams for textiles almost to the letter. This amazing co-incidence, if that is merely what it is, serves as solid circumstantial collateral evidence to substantiate my Theory of Supersyllabograms. Co-incidence? I rather doubt that. It is a given that researchers in any scientific field tend to strike their bearings in the same general direction in any age, including our own. Like Odysseus, we are all heading for the same shore. The most convincing conclusions which will eventually be drawn from the research we are all sharing in now are yet in the offing. But in my eyes one thing is certain. Everything we researchers in Mycenaean Linear B, as a community, are aiming for now is bound to make a ground-breaking, perhaps even profound, contribution in the near future to make the further decipherment of Linear B considerably much more accurate than any we have seen to date.

The Bibliography to follow in two parts (1-69 & 70-138) in the next two posts.

ADDENDUM: I shall be publishing this post & the next two in academia.edu very soon, prior to my presentation at the Conference in Pultusk, Poland, June 30 - July 2, 2015.

Translation of the Gezer Agricultural Almanac into Mycenaean Linear B: Click to ENLARGE

Gezer Almanac left and translation into Mycenaean Linear B  right

This is the first ever attempt to translate the Gezer Agricultural Almanac in Paleo-Hebrew (ca 925 BCE) into Mycenaean Linear B. My reasons for doing so are manifold:
1. While the text in Paleo-Hebrew is written in the proto-Hebrew alphabet, which for all intents and purposes is practically identical to the Phoenician alphabet, the translation is of course in the Linear B syllabary.
2. The Gezer Agricultural Almanac has no vowels, since Paleo-Hebrew, like the Phoenician alphabet, had none. On the other hand, the translation into Linear B, which is a syllabary, automatically guarantees that every single syllable contains a vowel.
3. The alphabetical text of The Gezer Agricultural Almanac takes up considerably more space than the translation into Mycenaean Linear B, since alphabetic scripts use up more space than syllabaries, even though syllabaries contain considerably more syllabograms than alphabets do letters. In the case of the Phoenician and Proto-Hebrew alphabets alike, there are 22 letters, all consonants. The reason why syllabaries take up less space than most alphabets is simple: each single syllabogram consists of a consonant + a vowel, whereas most alphabets must express consonants and vowels as separate entities. However, in the case of the Phoenician and Paleo-Hebrew alphabets, this distinction does not apply, since the number of consonants in the latter approximate the number of syllabograms in Linear B.
4. But the question remains, if this is the case, then why is the Linear B translation still noticeably shorter than the proto-Hebrew original? This is no idle question. There are three primary reasons for Linear B’s uncanny capacity to telescope long text into shorter. These are:
4.1 While alphabetic scripts, regardless of whether or not they contain vowels, and irrespective of their antiquity or modernity, are generally incapable of telescoping text into smaller entities, Linear B does this with ease, first by using ideograms, which appear on every single line of the Linear B translation you see here of the Gezer Almanac. I could have written out the text in full, but had I done so, I would not have reflected the spirit and the commonplace practice of Linear B scribes to replace long text with ideograms, because they were forced to save precious space of what were, without exception, very small tablets (most running to no more than 15 cm. wide, and only a few as wide as 10 cm.)
4.2.1 For the precise same reason, Linear B scribes also frequently resorted to replacing entire Linear B words, such as “rino” = Greek “linon” = English “linen”, the Mycenaean Greek word for both the raw product “flax” and the finished, “rino” with logograms. You can see the single syllabogram = logogramNI” = “flax” on line 3, immediately preceding the ideogram for “meno” = “month”.
4.2.2 If this practice is a clever ploy, what are we make of the same procedure carried even further, when in line 7, the scribe (me) replaces the word for “fruit” = “kapo” in Mycenaean Linear B, with the very same word with the exact same number of syllabograms = 2, but by placing one (po) on top of the other (ka)! That way, the scribe uses the space for only 1 syllabogram while in reality writing 2. If this isn’t a brilliant ploy, I don’t know what is. But it goes even further. Although we do not see an example of this practice carried to its extreme in this translation, scribes even resorted to piling 3 syllabograms on top of one another! A prefect example of this is the Mycenaean word  “arepa” = Greek “aleifa” = English “ointment”, consisting of 3 syllables. In this instance, scribes almost always wrote “arepa” as a logogram, by piling the syllabogram “pa” on top of “re” on top of “a”. Now that takes some gymnastics! In this case, the scribes used the space for 1 syllabogram to replace an entire word of 3 syllabograms. Talk about saving space! All of these clever little tricks are illustrated here: Click to ENLARGE

space saving Linear B ideograms and logograms

5. The scribes also replaced entire Mycenaean Greek words with supersyllabograms on about 27 % of all Linear B tablets. SSYLS save even more space than logograms and ideograms, in some cases, far more, since they can replace entire phrases in Mycenaean Greek. Yet, even without resorting to SSYLS in this translation, l managed to telescope the discursive alphabetic Proto-Hebrew text into a much shorter Linear B translation.

Now the most amazing thing about Linear B’s amazing capacity to shortcut text by telescoping it into the much smaller discrete elements, logograms, ideograms and supersyllabograms, is that the Linear B syllabary preceded both the Phoenician and Paleo-Hebrew alphabets by at least 4 centuries!

So who is to say that alphabets are superior to syllabaries? I for one would not even dare.


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.


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.


Did you know you speak Mycenaean Greek? You do!

Mycenaean Greek in Modern English: akero to kono: Click to ENLARGE

akero to kono


[1] The Mycenaean word “anemon” is genitive plural (“of the winds”) for “anemo” = “wind”, and like so many other Mycenaean words, it serves as the first part of English words dealing with various aspects of wind (generation), such as “anemometer”. All other entries with the tag [1] are of this type.
[2] The first syllabogram i.e. the first syllable of the Mycenaean word for “labyrinth” begins with “da”, since it is impossible for any Mycenaean word to begin with “la”, as they had no “l”. Normally, the “r” + vowel series of syllabograms replaces a Greek lambda, but in this case, the Mycenaeans opted for “da”  instead of “ra” (which would have been “rapuritoyo”). This is not unusual. 
[3] “at the teacher’s” = French chez le professeur, with is an archaic version of either the dative or the instrumental singular. 
[4] “duwo” is Mycenaean for ancient Greek “duo”. It must be expressed by the special syllabogram for “talent, scale or two”, which in fact does look like a scale.   
[5] A great many modern English words begin with the ancient Greek preposition “epi”. I have provided two examples here. 
[6] The original Mycenaean & Homeric meaning of the English word for “elephant” meant “ivory”, but the meaning gradually changed to the former by the time of Classical Athens. In the Attic dialect, the word meant “elephant”. Remember, Mycenaean Greek had no “l” series of syllabograms, using the “r” series instead. There is confusion in many languages over the liquids “l” & “r”, modern Japanese being a prime example of this phenomenon.
[7] Many English words begin with the Mycenaean and ancient Greek prefix “eu”, which always means “well” (healthy) or “positive” or similar notions. Hence the English word you see here.
[8] Mycenaean “kadamiya” is a pre-Greek, proto-Indoeuropean word. 
[9] The Mycenaean word “kono” omits the initial “s” in the ancient Greek word “schoinos”. This is very common in Mycenaean Greek. Since the ancient Greek work means “rush” (plant), the modern English scientific word is also a plant, although a different one.




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