Linear A fragment from Phaistos with a fish remarkably resembling the ancient Christian-like iconography of the fish

Linear A fragment from Phaistos with a fish remarkably resembling the ancient Christian-like iconography of the fish:

Phaistos Linear A tablet with fish Christian-like iconography

This Linear A fragment from Phaistos, which was found in the same cache as PH 7, is remarkable insofar as we find on it the sole occurrence of the ideogram for fishon any Linear A tablet anywhere, regardless of provenance.

This symbol is remarkable for two reasons. First, it is clearly a reflection of the inscription on Phaistos fragment PH 7, which reads as follows, “(illumined by) the firebrand of the goddess of healing, the bread of healing with water from a cup”. If this is not reminiscent of the Christian communion, I do not know what is. But we can go even further. The resemblance between the fish ideogram on this Linear A fragment from Phaistos to the fragment bearing an anchor, fish and Greek chi ro symbols from the Catacombs of Saint Sebastian

chi-rho fish anchor fragment from catacombs of saint sebastian

is so striking that one is left wondering how this can possibly be. However, there may be less of a mystery here than we might otherwise imagine. It is a well known historical phenomenon in ancient religions that a later religion frequently borrows its iconography from a former.

Additional critical  highly relevant commentary by Daniel Rocha:

It is true that later religions borrow from older religions, but it seems that these symbols kind of run in parallel to Judaism, as far as I know. In any case, the symbols you are mentioning are linked to the worship of Atargatis. This deity used to be the wife of God in the very primitive versions of Judaism. If what you are pointing is true, it seems that the worship of Mary is justified, since she would be the wife of God. But, as far as I know, this cult among Jews did not exist in the 1st century CE.

But look here: “It has also been proposed that the element -gatis may relate to the Greek gados “fish”.[14] (For example, the Greek name for “sea monster” or “whale” is the cognate term ketos. So Atar-Gatis may simply mean “the fish-goddess Atar”.”


But it could be like gados mana, fish food or something along these lines:

Plus an additional comment by Richard Vallance Janke:

The Linear A word keta/kete, which very much appears to be the same word, first in the accusative of aspect (keta) and secondly in the instrumental sing. (kete, meaning “with fish”), of which the masculilne singular in Linear A would have been keto, and which is the equivalent of ancient Greek gados. If this is the case, then the fish ideogram on this fragment from Phaistos echoes even more closely the text of Phaistos PH 7, which as we have already seen is a religious ceremony involving a libation of water along with the bread of healing. If all of this rings true, then the relationship between these two fragments is so striking it simply cannot be ignored. Moreover, the Hebrew, manna (grains, bread), interpreted in Christianity as the bread of Heaven, also appears in Linear A as mana, another astonishing co-incidence.


Knossos tablet KN 497 O a 06 & the supersyllabogram DA = labrys = double axe

Knossos tablet KN 497 O a 06 & the supersyllabogram DA = labrys = double axe:

Knossos tablet KN 497 O a 06 supersyllabogram DA = labrys = double axe

There isn’t much I can say about this tablet, apart from the fact that it inventories 6 double axes. The text on the left side is unintelligible, being left truncated. The importance of the labrys or double axe in the Minoan/Mycenaean religion cannot be over-stressed. This repetitive motif appears the whole length of the Hall of the Double Axes at Knossos – which I personally saw in May 2012 and which is a magnificent work of art. A nearly identical motif re-appears on frescoes at Mycenae. The presence of the labrys is all-pervasive in the Minoan/Mycenaean religious symbolism of the military. It is uncertain whether the religious or the military aspect predominates in such art, but I am inclined to say that it is the religious, since religious symbolism is rampant in the Minoan/Mycenaean pantheon. Moreover, their religion is primarily matriarchal, and not patriarchal. It is to be expected that religious mythology would trump military in matriarchal societies such as this.

Added to The Role of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B

Added to The Role of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B: Click to VISIT

role of supersyllabograms

The Role of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, talk on July 1 at the Third Interdisciplinary Conference, Thinking Symbols, Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, Poland -  my talk centred on the role of what were previously – and erroneously – called “adjuncts” in Mycenaean Linear B. With 35 in total, there are for more of them and they fulfill a role far more significant than had previously been assumed. In the majority of cases, one syllabogram replaces entire phrases and even sentences.  No one had identified, isolated and classified them all until I did so in 2014-2015.

Just uploaded to 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

Just uploaded to
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 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 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.


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

My first research paper now uploaded to my 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 page, here:

Introduction to thew complete bibliography

I shall be uploading several research papers in PDF format to my 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

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


Photos of Michael Ventris (1922-1956) & Richard Vallance Janke (1945 – )

Photos of Michael Ventris (1922-1956) & Richard Vallance Janke (1945 - ): Click to ENLARGE each composite

Here is a composite of 2 photos, one of Michael Ventris (1922-1956) just before his tragic death in a car accident in 1956, and one of myself, Richard Vallance Janke, still younger, at age 23, upon my graduation for my first degree, Honours Bachelor of Arts in Latin and French (majors), English and German (minors) from Sir Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 1968.

Michael Ventris age 30 & Richard Vallance Janke age 23

I have no hesitation whatsoever in declaring that I consider Michael to be my patron saint, and that I pray to him instead of to God, because he is the greatest inspiration in my entire life. I shall do so until God informs me otherwise.

And here is another composite of myself, first as a Reference Librarian, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, taken at the age of 43 in 1988, and the second of a lovely couple and  myself at the age of 63, taken while I was on holidays in Quebec in the summer of 2008.

Richard 1989 and 2008

I will be using these photos for my talk on The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Linear B at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, University of Warsaw, Poland, June 29 – July 2, 2015.



Conference on Symbolism: The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B: Selected Appendices A-C

Conference on Symbolism: The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B: Selected Appendices A-C

Since the presentation I shall be giving at the Conference, Thinking Symbols, at the Pultusk Academy, University of Warsaw, is under wraps until then, I am posting for your information just 5 of the 11 Appendices to that talk (3 in this post), to give you at least some idea of where I shall be leading the attendees at the Conference in the course of my talk. In this post, you can see the first three Appendices. The first one (Appendix A) illustrates the use of what I choose to call Modern International Superalphabetic Symbols, as you see here:

A Appendix

It is readily apparent from this appendix that we are dealing with modern ideograms, all of which are international standards, and which are recognized as such world-wide. For instance, everyone in the world knows that the first symbol or ideogram means “under copyright protection”, while the fourth means “no parking”.

Proceeding to Appendix B, we have:

B Appendix

The abbreviations in this appendix are so strikingly similar to what I have identified as supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B that it is immediately obvious to anyone seeing the latter for the first time can instantly correlate the former with the the city codes or supersyllabograms in Linear B, as seen here in Appendix C:

C Appendix

Clearly, the abbreviations for modern city codes, even though they consist of the first two letters only of the 10 city names are identical in structure and format to the ancient city names, represented by the first syllabogram, in other words, the first syllable in each, which we find in Appendix C.  This astonishing co-incidence reveals something of the sophistication of Mycenaean Linear B taken to its limits.

It was in fact Prof. Thomas G. Palaima who first identified these city names (Knossos, Zakros, Pylos etc.) in his superb translation of Linear B tablet Heidelburg HE Fl 1994. What he failed to realize was that he had in fact discovered the sypersyllabogram, which I finally came to realize in 2014 was always the first syllabogram, in other words, the first syllable only of a particular Mycenaean Greek word, in this instance, a city or settlement name. In retrospect, we cannot blame him for this apparent oversight, because that is all it was, apparent. He never got around to a meticulous examination of the 3,000 relatively intact tablets from Knossos, which I took upon myself to carry through to its ultimate revelation(s). And what a revelation they proved to be, when in the course of over a year (2014-2015), I discovered to my utter astonishment that some 700 (23.3%!) of the 3,000 tablets I examined all had at least one supersyllabogram on them, and some as many as four!

Some of the tablets I examined had supersyllabograms only on them, and no text whatsoever. The question was, I had to wonder – and I mean I really had to wonder – what did they all mean? The answer was not long in coming. Within 2 weeks of identifying the first new supersyllabogram, I had already isolated & defined more than 10 of them!

When I speak of supersyllabograms, I do not mean simply city or settlement names. Far from it. These are just the tip of the iceberg, and they are atypical. There are at least 30 supersyllabograms in all, out of a syllabary comprised of only 61 syllabograms, in other words 50% of them. That is a staggering sum. Supersyllabograms range in meaning from “lease field” to “plot of land” to “sheep pen” to “this year” (among the first 10 I discovered) referring to sheep husbandry in the agricultural sector, from “cloth” to “well-prepared cloth” to “gold cloth” and “purple dyed cloth” in the textiles sector, and on and on. That this is a major discovery in the further decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B goes practically without saying. In fact, nothing like it has been achieved in the past 63 years since the decipherment of the vast majority of Mycenaean Linear B by the genius, Michael Ventris, in 1952-1953.

michael ventris 1922-1956 at work in hisstudy
More Appendices to follow in the next post.


Breaking NEWS: Conference “Thinking Symbols”, University of Warsaw, Pultulsk Academy of Humanities, June 30 – July 2, 2015: Click to ENLARGE

Breaking NEWS: Conference “Thinking Symbols”, University of Warsaw, Pultulsk Academy of Humanities, June 30 – July 2, 2015: Click to ENLARGE

Thinking Symbols Pultusk University of Warsaw June 29-July 2 2015

Richard Vallance Janke, the moderator of this blog, has been cordially invited to give a talk on The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B at the Conference “Thinking Symbols”, University of Warsaw, Pultulsk Academy of Humanities, June 30 – July 2, 2015. His talk will serve as the official public announcement of his discovery of some 30+ supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B throughout 2014 and early 2015.

This is the probably the most significant breakthrough in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B in 63 years since the genius, Michael Ventris, first deciphered the vast majority of the syllabary in 1952-1953. Although Michael Ventris and his mentor Prof. John Chadwick were able to decipher almost all of the syllabary, and there have been significant developments in further decipherment since then, one very large chunk of the syllabary (consisting of some 700/3,000 or 27 % of intact tablets from Knossos I meticulously examined in the course of 2014) have remained recalcitrant to decipherment for the past 63 years. From my intensive analysis of these 700 tablets, I have come to the conclusion that there has been no serious concerted effort in the past 63 years to thoroughly inspect the 3,000 or so tablets which I took the trouble to examine so closely. No doubt the task was not undertaken, since to do so would have required a team effort on the part of several specialists in Linear B linguistics.

But I could not wait on the problem any longer. So I took it upon myself alone to meticulously examine that many tablets! And what an exhausting job it was! But the pay-off in the exciting discovery I made was more than well worth the effort, to say the very least. When the Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes, in Athens, Greece, happened upon our blog late in 2014, they were immediately impressed by the extensive research I had carried out, and very soon asked me whether I would like to participate in the Conference “Thinking Symbols”, at the Pultulsk Academy of Humanities, University of Warsaw, between June 30 & July 2, 2015. Of course, I accepted.

I shall be giving a 20 minute talk, more like a presentation, on the discovery of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, and the significant rôle they play in the decipherment of at least 700 tablets which had previously proven recalcitrant. This talk is to serve as the premier public forum for the official international announcement of the rôle of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B. The University of Warsaw will consequently be publishing the presentation in its entirety, along with those of all the other speakers at the Conference. The University of Warsaw is in the ideal position to publish our book, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, likely to run to 200 pp. or more, sometime late this year or early in 2016. This would be a huge feather in their cap, as the book itself represents the most significant breakthrough in the further decipherment of Linear B since 1952. Cambridge University Press had the honour of publishing the original book by Prof. John Chadwick, The Decipherment of Linear B (1958, 1970). So the University of Warsaw has much to celebrate in the publication of the second major book, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, which takes the inspiration of its title directly from the title of the original.


Interdisciplinary CONFERENCE on “Thinking Symbols”, Pultusk, Poland, June 30 June 30 – July 2 2015: Click to ENLARGE the Announcement:

Interdisciplinary CONFERENCE on “Thinking Symbols”, Pultusk, Poland, June 30 June 30 - July 2 2015: Click to ENLARGE the Announcement:

A Koryvantes Announcement Symbolism Poland June-July 2015

an interdisciplinary conference on “Thinking Symbols” under the auspices of the Pultusk Academy of Humanities, Pultusk, Poland, June 30 - July 2 2015 & with the participation of speakers Mrs. Christy Emilio Ioannidou & Mr. Spyros Bakas from The Association of Historical Studies: KORYVANTES, Athens, Greece: click on their banner to visit them:



All About Sypersyllabograms: Their Enormous Impact on the Nature of Linear B – Everything you ever wanted to know, but were afraid to ask!

All About Sypersyllabograms: Their Enormous Impact on the Nature of Linear B – Everything you ever wanted to know, but were afraid to ask!

Given that supersyllabograms invariably display the characteristics highlighted in the previous post, they must also be formulaic by nature. The several restrictions placed on their disposition next to or inside ideograms, the invariability of their meanings within each sector, and other such considerations means they are always formulaic. Although the language of Homer is also very often formulaic in the Iliad, especially in The Catalogue of Ships in Book II, there is probably little or no relationship between the formulaic nature of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B and his archaic formulae. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that formulaic language is a particular characteristic of both Mycenaean Linear B and of Homer’s own so-called Epic Greek. However, the nature of the formulaic language of Linear B and that of Homeric Greek are of a different order.

In the chart which follows, we see for the first time ever on our blog the disposition of each supersyllabogram in each sector of Minoan/Mycenaean society, with repetitions of certain supersyllabograms, which re-appear in different sectors, usually with different meanings from one sector to the next, with the exception of the supersyllabogram “newo/newa”, which always means “new”, regardless of sector. It alone appears in three sectors: agriculture (livestock, mainly sheep, rams & ewes), textiles & vessels, as seen in the chart here: Click to ENLARGE


While the meanings of some supersyllabograms are firmly established, due primarily to their high frequency on Linear B tablets from Knossos, others are less firmly demonstrable. For instance, in the sector, agriculture, sub-sector sheep husbandry, the meanings of the supersyllabograms O = lease field, KI = plot of land , NE = new & PE = enclosure or sheep pen, are firmly established with a very high degree of probability, if not total accuracy. In the case of PE, the definition is 100 % confirmed, since on one of the tablets in that series, the scribe conveniently spelled out the word in full, instead of using the simple superyllabogram PE. It is this very tablet which establishes beyond a doubt the authenticity of supersyllabograms as a phenomenon innate to Linear B alone, and not found in Arcado-Cypriot Linear C. As for Minoan Linear A, no-one knows whether SSYLS exist, because the language remains recalcitrant to decipherment.

In the military sector, the supersyllabogram ZE almost certainly means “a pair of..” or “a team of...”, with a 90 % or greater probability. However, once we get past the two primary sectors in which supersyllabograms are used extremely frequently, given that there are so many tablets to be found in these two primary sectors of Minoan/Mycenaean society, the situation devolves by degrees into less certainty.

Supersyllabograms found adjacent to any ideogram, as for instance those with the ideograms for sheep, ram, ewe (livestock), or horse or chariot (military) are considered to be associative. Associative Supersyllabograms are those which define characteristics of the environment or specific context in which their associative ideograms appear. For instance, it is natural and logical to associate sheep with lease fields, plots of land & sheep enclosures. The same goes for military ideograms. The ideograms for horse and chariot naturally associate with pairs or teams of... (fill in the blanks).    

There are still quite a large number of tablets in the textiles sector; so the meanings of most of the supersyllabograms in that sector are more than likely still very reliable, not the least because each of them still makes good sense: KU = gold cloth, PA = dyed cloth, PU = purple or Phoenician cloth (amounting to pretty much the same thing, anyway) & RI = linen. I would assign at least a 70 % to 90 % degree of probability to each of the definitions I have deduced for each of these supersyllabograms in textiles. The supersyllabograms in the sector of vessels (amphorae, drinking cups, water jugs etc.) may be a little less firm, but I am still convinced that I deduced most of them accurately, yielding a probability of 70 % - 80 %.

Supersyllabograms in the textile and vessels sector are another kettle of fish. Since they appear inside the ideograms they modify, they are attributive in nature. In other words, they describe attributes of the textiles or vessels which they modify, and are, in almost all instances, adjectival in nature. Their placement inside the ideograms makes it quite clear that this is what the scribes actually indented, since a symbol inside another always describes attributes of the ideogram in which it appears. Should anyone doubt this, we have only to appeal to symbols appearing inside others as they are found in today’s world, since they follow the exact same principle. For instance, we have: click to ENLARGE:

Modern Superalphabetical Symbols

Need I say more?     

On the other hand, I have been quite unable to decipher at least one supersyllabogram, SE, which sadly appears only 3 times on extant tablets from Knossos. For this reason alone, I dare not assign it a meaning, since I am quite sure that if I did, I would probably be (way) off the mark.

There remain the supersyllabograms for place names, which are in a category of their own, since none of them appear with ideograms, and all of them are found on only 1 tablet, Heidelburg HE Fl 1994, which Prof. Thomas G. Palaima so expertly deciphered in 1994. Click on this banner to read his translation and my explanatory POST in its entirety:


There can be no question whatsoever that these are in fact supersyllabograms, the very first ever to have been isolated, for which we owe Prof. Palaima full credit. Of course, he did not define them as supersyllabograms, as he was unaware of the high frequency of the rest of them as adduced above in this post. Nevertheless, they are what they are, supersyllabograms. We have KO for Konoso (Knossos), MU for Mukene (Mycenae), ZA for Zakros etc.

And if a few of you are still in doubt as to the viability of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, remember: the very same phenomenon applies to internationally standardized signs nowadays.

Once again, nowadays, we have a symbol within a symbol, or if you like, a symbol inside an ideogram. It is truly amazing how such a practice has resurfaced after at least 32 centuries, even if it was only the Minoan/Mycenaean scribes in the ancient world who figured out the system in the first place, leaving it interred for 32 centuries before it re-appeared in the twentieth century. So once again, we find ourselves face to face with a very ancient script, namely the Linear B syllabary, which was so systematic, formulaic and logical that it can only be considered as a brilliant breakthrough in the art of writing. After all, supersyllabograms are not the only phenomenon Linear B sported with such bravado. Ideograms in and of themselves abounded (over 100 of them!). They even used ideograms as the equivalent of subject headings as they resurfaced in nineteenth century libaries, in the Dewey Decimal & Library of Congress systems.

Witness just one tablet alone, namely, Pylos 641-1952 (Ventris), the very first tablet ever translated with complete success by none other than the great Michael Ventris himself, and you can see these “subject headings” for yourself, plastered all over that amazing tablet! Why did the scribes use so many ideograms for vessel types on this single tablet? The answer was obvious, at least to them... the ideograms for vessels were the signposts or indexing markers of this tablet which instantly allowed the scribes to identify the precise type of vessel described in the full text immediately preceding each one, even before they bothered reading the descriptive text. That this is a very clever indexing system goes without saying. And it re-appears over and over on so many tablets that it is without question one of the hallmarks of the Linear B syllabary. Finally, their numeric accounting system was the most efficient ever devised in the ancient world. Summarizing all of the streamlined characteristics of Linear B we have just enumerated, it becomes obvious that Linear B was, first and foremost, a carefully devised form of shorthand for Mycenaean Greek. Once again, the Mycenaean scribes anticipated a methodology for writing business transactions which would not re-appear as modern shorthand – you guessed it – until the nineteenth century AD.

All of this adds up to one inescapable conclusion: Linear B was the world’s fist ever commercial shorthand, and until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there was nothing even remotely as efficient, logical and practical ever to be found throughout history until... the modern era. This is precisely why I am so in awe of Linear B, a script which was millennia ahead of its time. It is also why I refuse to characterize Linear B as being prehistoric. It is nothing of the sort. It is in a word, a proto-historic writing and accounting system, leading me to the inexorable conclusion that Minoan/Mycenaean society was in fact not prehistoric at all, but proto-historic. I am not the first linguist specializing in ancient linguistics to have asserted this claim, but I am the first to speak up as emphatically and unequivocally as this.        

This then has been a brief summary of the functions and the key rôle supersyllabograms play in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B.