winter haiku d’haiku – have you ever seen = as-tu jamais vu, translation of Hermippus, an ancient Greek poet have you ever seen a pomegranate seed in drifts of snow? as-tu jamais vu une graine de grenade dans une congère ? Hermippus traduction en français par Richard Vallance I converted this beautiful poem by Hermippus, an ancient Greek poet, into a haiku. It is not my original work at all, but I just love this poem! I think you will agree. J’ai transformé ce beau poème par Hermippus, poète grec de l’antiquité, en un haiku. Ce n’est guère une oeuvre originale de ma part, mais je l’aime passionnément ! Je crois que vous serez d’accord.
Linear B tablet from Mycenae translated by Rita Roberts
Linear B tablet from Mycenae translated by Rita Roberts: Translation: 1. Wodiyeya Deminiya l [NOTE 1] 2. Mano *  + Arekasadaraqe = Mano * and Arekasadara 2 3. Risura + Qotaqe = Risura and Qota 2 4. Eritupina + Teodoraqe = Eritupina and Theodora 2 5. Otowowije + tukateqe = Otowowije and her daughter 2 6. Anea + tukateqe = Anea and her daughter 2 7. Pirowona + Kiraqe **  = Pirowona and Kira 2 8. Pukaro *  + Ketideqe = Pukaro and Kedite 2 9. ? Scratched ...?moqe = and …?mo 2 10. ... Maraqe = and Mara 2 11. scratched ? 1 12. ? + Kiraqe ** = and Kira 2  13. blank NOTES:  Since in Line 1, Wodiyeya Deminiya l is followed by the number 1, this can only be one person. Thus, her name is Wodiyeya Deminiya.  * Mano * and * Pukaro * are men's names. Line 11 also refers to only 1 person, but the name of the person is truncated, i.e. it no longer appears on the tablet.  ** kira ** - or Kira = Ki/ra or Kei/ra = onomastics. Also appears on a Linear A tablet as Kira (onomastics). Complements of Rita Roberts Greek transliteration: 1. a / #odie/ia Deminei/a 2. b / Ma/noj A0leca/ndra te/ 3. b / Risu/ra Bo/ta te/ 4. b / E0riqoupi/na Qeodo/ra te/ 5. b / O0qo#o#iei/ej quga/ter te/ 6. b / A0ne/a quga/ter te/ 7. b / Piro#o/na Kei/ra te/ 8. b / Puka/roj Keti/dej te/ 9. b / ... moj te/ 10. b / ... M/a/ra te/ 11. ... a / 12. b / Kei/ra te/
Translation of Linear B tablet Knossos KN 854 K j 11 by Rita Roberts
Translation of Linear B tablet Knossos KN 854 K j 11 by Rita Roberts:
For the first time ever in history, a conjectural full restoration of an entire Linear A tablet, ZA 20 (Zakros)
For the first time ever in history, a conjectural full restoration of an entire Linear A tablet, ZA 20 (Zakros):
In the previous post, I conjectured how the text of the missing top of Linear A tablet ZA 20 (Zakros) might have read. While we shall never know for certain, one thing is sure: we do know that the entire tablet dealt with grain crops. It therefore stands to reason that the missing text on the top must have inventoried grains. With this firmly in mind, I have endeavoured to reconstruct what I believe how the missing text may have read. It could very well have run something along these lines:
kireta2 (kiretai) 11 dideru 42 dideru 30 qerie 22 qerie 6
NOTE that kireta2 (kiretai) is the Minoan orthography for Greek krithai (Latinized), which of course is barley.
Translation: 11 bushel-like units of barley, 42 units of emmer wheat, 30 units of emmer wheat mixed with 22 units of roasted einkorn, and 6 units of pure roasted einkorn
for a total of 111
which when taken into account with total of 19 on the bottom half of the tablet yields a grand total of 130.
Hence the decipherment of the entire tablet with the top half restored as conjectured, reads as follows:
11 bushel-like units of barley, 42 units of emmer wheat, 30 units of emmer wheat mixed with 22 units of roasted einkorn, and 6 units of pure roasted einkorn + ro? with dry units of measurement (i.e. bushel-like units) + 4 units of mi? + ? + ? + along with 1 bushel-like unit of wheat 7 12 bushel-like units of te*123 (flax?) + 2 bushels of rumatase (spelt?) for a grand total of 130.
As you can readily see, this decipherment makes perfect sense, and in any case, even if the text of original tablet did not read quite this way, it must have read very much like this.
You will forgive my awful scribal hand. I cannot hope to be able to replicate the finer hand of the original scribe.
Locations of Linear A tablets at Haghia Triada, including the 14 I have deciphered
Locations of Linear A tablets at Haghia Triada, including the 14 I have deciphered:
This general plan of Haghia Triada with the locations of Linear A tablets incorporates the 14 tablets which I have managed to decipher more or less accurately to date.
A partial rational translation of another Minoan Linear A tablet on crops
A partial rational translation of another Minoan Linear A tablet on crops:
Ms. Gretchen Leonhardt has correctly pointed out that this decipherment I have assayed of what I took to be one Linear A tablet is in fact two entirely unrelated Linear A tablets, and as such it must be considered as completely invalid. I am truly grateful to Ms. Leonhardt for bringing this serious gaffe to my attention. Once I have cleared the matter up, I shall repost my decipherment of both of these tablets in two separate posts.
This Linear B tablet clearly deals with various crops, with the lead in crop being grains or wheat, just as one would expect on either a Mycenaean Linear B tablet. By the same token, there is no reason to suppose that a Minoan Linear A tablet dealing with crops would not deal first and foremost with grains and wheat. The units of measurements identified on this tablet accord with those tentatively tabulated by Andras Zeke on the
I have already tentatively deciphered both adu and adaru in my Glossary of 107 Minoan Linear A words to appear in Archaeology and Science, Vol. 16 (2016), which is to be published sometime in 2018, since the publication date of this compendious international annual always lags behind by at least 18 months from the approximate date of submission of articles by authors, which in my case was November 2016.
Tentative confirmation of 10 possible proto-Greek words out of 18 under the first vowel, A, in Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon
Tentative confirmation of 10 possible proto-Greek words out of 18 under the first vowel, A, in Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon:
When I subjected the first alphabetical entries under A in Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon to rigorous analysis in order to determine whether or not any of the entries under A just might have been proto-Greek, or more likely than not, proto-Mycenaean. I was able to extrapolate tentative archaic Greek “definitions”, if you like, for no fewer than 10 of the 18 entries under A. That is quite a staggering return! However, in spite of these encouraging findings, we must exercise extreme caution in assigning proto-Greek significance to any number of Minoan words.
Of course, the discovery right fro the outset of 10 words which might possibly be proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean, is highly tempting. One could, if one were so inclined, that as a consequence of this discovery, the Minoan language must have been proto-Greek. But I would warn us away from such a rash assumption, for several cogent reasons, all of which will become clear as we run alphabetically through the Reverse Linear A Lexicon. One of the most obvious roadblocks to accepting, even on a tentative basis, a proto-Greek reading of words such as the 10 I have isolated under A above is the extreme paucity of consecutive, running text and, what is even worse, the even rarer instances of extant Linear A words providing sufficient context on the tablets for us to be able to extract any real meaning at all from the tablets. This is the brick wall we run up against again and again in any endeavour at deciphering any Minoan word, taken as a single entity.
There is one tenet at least which bears out confirmation or abnegation, and it is this: if we continue to discover a considerable number of potential proto-Greek under subsequent initial syllabograms alphabetically from DA on through to ZU, then there might very well be a case for concluding that either (a) the Minoan language was entirely proto-Greek or (b) the Minoan language was pre-Greek and very probably non Indo-European, but which contained a great many proto-Greek words, for reasons which will become apparent as we proceed through our extrapolative analysis of Minoan words from DA to ZU.
This is bound to be one exciting journey of discovery!
New Testament in Greek & Meditations of Marcus: Aurelius, Meditations: II,4
New Testament in Greek & Meditations of Marcus: Aurelius, Meditations: II,4 Beginning today, and posting every two weeks or so, I shall be quoting alternately from the New Testament and from the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius in Greek. Wherever possible I shall also translate sentences and phrases in each citation. This is a very tricky manoeuvre, but at the same time it close to ideally serves me in writing in natural, not tabular, Mycenaean Greek. The next citation will be drawn from the New Testament in Greek in early January 2017. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations: II,4 The Greek text is taken from Haines, C.R. ed. & trans. Marcus Aurelius. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. 1953, with several revisions, the last of which was published in 2003. ISBN 0-674-99064-1. xxxi, 416 pp. Think of your many years of procrastination; how the gods have repeatedly granted you further periods of peace, of which you have taken no advantage. It is time now to realize the nature of the universe to which you belong, and of that controlling power whose offspring you are; and to understand that your time has a limit to it. Use it, then, to advance your enlightenment; or it will be gone, and never in yourf power again. Translation by Maxwell Staniforth = Marcus Aurelius Meditations. London: the Folio Society, 2002.
International Historical Linguistics journals I will contact to review my articles in Archaeology and Science, 2016 & 2017
International Historical Linguistics journals I will contact to review my articles in Archaeology and Science, 2016 & 2017: Following is a list in 2 PARTS of international Historical Linguistics journals I will contact to review my articles in Archaeology and Science:  Janke, Richard Vallance. The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, Archaeology and Science. Vol. 11 (2015), pp. 73-108. As soon as this ground-breaking article is published in early 2017, I shall submit it for review in every one of the international journals below.  Janke, Richard Vallance. Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the “Rosetta Stone” to Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) vessels and pottery, Archaeology and Science. Vol. 12 (2016) Since this article is not going to be published before mid-2017, and as yet has no pagination, I shall have to wait until then before I submit it for review to all of the periodicals below.
Another failed attempt at “deciphering” Minoan Linear A & a warning to myself!
A few cracks in the Berlin Wall of Linear A. How far can we decipher it?
A few cracks in the Berlin Wall of Linear A. How far can we decipher it? Even if I have have made a few small cracks in the Berlin Wall of Linear A, the burning question remains, “How far can we decipher it?” The short answer and the long answer are both, “If you think you can decipher Minoan Linear A, you have another think coming!” (including yours truly). The bulk of the vocabulary of Minoan Linear A remains a closed door, firmly nailed shut and locked with padlocks. The following tablets make this all too painfully obvious: I haven’t the faintest idea what they mean. Unless we are able to apply at least one of the 5 principles applicable to even a minimal decipherment of a very few Minoan Linear A words (we have managed to decipher 30 so far – more or less – and it was like extracting teeth in most of the cases!), there is simply no way we can ever make any real progress towards deciphering the majority of Linear A words. It is just out of the question... at least for the foreseeable future. What the more distant future will bring no one knows. The 5 principles for the decipherment of even a minimal cross-section of Minoan Linear A are: 1. (The so-called negative factor). Do not attempt to correlate the Minoan language with any other ancient language except for the Linear B syllabary and indirect derivation from Mycenaean Greek terms (2. below). 2. Basing our technique on that of the French philologist, Jean-François Champellion, who deciphered the Rossetta Stone in 1822, cross-correlate words in the Minoan Linear A syllabary with parallel words in the Linear B syllabary on strikingly similar tablets in Mycenaean Greek, squarely taking into account the meanings of such words in the latter script and their potential adaptation to vocabulary in a very similar context on Minoan Linear A tablets. 3. Take direct cues from parallel ideograms on reasonably similar Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B tablets. 4. Turn to reliable archaeological evidence where this is available and finally; 5. (the most important principle of all). It is critical to understand that Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B both dealt with inventories and the process of inventorying livestock, crops, military matters and commodities such as vessels and pottery and textiles. Even if we rigorously apply these 5 principles, either singly or much better, jointly (the more principles we can call up the better), there is no guarantee that our decipherments a.k.a. Translations are accurate or even correct. While some are indisputably right on the mark, for instance, Linear A puko definitely means “tripod” and most of the Minoan Linear A words for plants and spices are on the money, as for the rest of the words I have attempted to decipher to date, some are more or less accurate, and some are wide open to academic dispute. This is as it should be in an imperfect world, especially in light of the fact that my attempts at decipherment constitute what I sincerely hope is the first rational approach to the decipherment of Minoan Linear A. As far as I am concerned, even managing to (more or less) decipher 30 Minoan Linear A words is a fine start, but this small vocabulary amounts to little more than a few cracks in the Berlin Wall of Minoan Linear A.
The 5 principles applicable to the rational partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A
The 5 principles applicable to the rational partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A: If we are to make any headway at all in the eventual decipherment of Minoan Linear A, there are certain principles which should be strictly applied. There are 5 of them: 1. (The so-called negative factor). Do not attempt to correlate the Minoan language with any other ancient language except for the Linear B syllabary and indirect derivation from Mycenaean Greek terms (2. below). 2. Basing our technique on that of the French philologist, Jean-François Champellion, who deciphered the Rossetta Stone in 1822, cross-correlate words in the Minoan Linear A syllabary with parallel words in the Linear B syllabary on strikingly similar tablets in Mycenaean Greek, squarely taking into account the meanings of such words in the latter script and their potential adaptation to vocabulary in a very similar context on Minoan Linear A tablets. 3. Take direct cues from parallel ideograms on reasonably similar Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B tablets. 4. Turn to reliable archaeological evidence where this is available and finally; 5. (the most important principle of all). It is critical to understand that Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B both dealt with inventories and the process of inventorying livestock, crops, military matters and commodities such as vessels and pottery and textiles. 1. The attempt to correlate Minoan with known ancient language (negative principle or factor): All too many past researchers and philologists attempting to decipher Minoan Linear A have made the assumption that they had first to determine what class of language it must or may have belonged to before they even began to attempt decipherment. This is, as we shall see, a false premise, a non starter, a dead end. The very first of these researchers to make such an assumption was none other than Sir Arthur Evans himself, though he could hardly be blamed for doing so, being as he was at the very frontier of the science of archaeology at the outset of the twentieth century, up until the First World War when he had to suspend archaeological work at Knossos (1900-1914). I made this clear in my article, “An Archaeologist’ s Translation of Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris)”, in Vol. 10 (2014) in the prestigious international journal, Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448, in which I emphasized and I quote from Evans: 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) and this in spite of its great antiquity, given that it preceded the earliest known written Greek, The Iliad and The Odyssey of Homer by at least 600 years! It was a perfectly reasonable and plausible assumption, in view of the then understandable utter lack of evidence to the contrary. Returning to my own analysis: Besides, there were no extant tablets in either Minoan Linear A or Linear B with parallel text in another known ancient language, as had conveniently been the case with the Rosetta Stone, which would have gone a long way to aiming for a convincing decipherment of at least the latter script. Yet Evans was nagged by doubts lurking just below the surface of his propositions. (pp. 137-138) So Evans was vacillating between the assumption that the Minoan language may have been related either to Luvian or Hittite (a brilliant assumption for his day and age) and that it was an ancestral form of proto-Greek. Both assumptions were wrong, but if only he had known that Linear B was alternatively the actual version of a very ancient East Greek dialect, namely, Mycenaean Greek, how different would the history of the decipherment of Linear B at least have been. To complicate matters, Michael Ventris himself, following in the footsteps of Evans, began by making the same assumption, only this time correlating (italics mine) Linear B with Etruscan, stubbornly sticking with this assumption for almost 2 years before Linear B literally threw in his face the ineluctable conclusion that the script was indicative of Mycenaean Greek (June 1952). My point is and here I must be emphatic. It is a total waste of time trying to pigeon-hole the lost Minoan language in any class of language, whether Indo-European or not. It will get us absolutely nowhere. So I have concluded (much to my own relief and with positive practical consequences) that it does not matter one jot what class of language Minoan belongs to, and that it serves us best simply to jump into the deep waters without further ado, and to attempt to decipher it on its own terms, i.e. internally. 2. Cross-correlation between the Minoan language and the Mycenaean syllabary: Notice that in 1. above I italicized the word correlating. This is no accident at all. It is only by the process of cross-correlation with a known language that we can even begin to decipher an unknown one. And of course, the known language with which the Minoan language must be cross-correlated is none other than Mycenaean in Linear B, if not for any reason other than that Linear B uses basically the same syllabary as its predecessor, with only a modicum of changes required by the latter to represent Mycenaean Greek, more or less accurately. This assumption or principle, if you like, is squarely based on the approach used by the renowned French philologist, Jean-François Champellion, who finally deciphered in 1822, 23 years after it was discovered in Egypt in 1799. How did he do it? He made the brilliant assumption that the stone, on which was inscribed the identical text in Demotic and ancient Greek, must have the exact same text in Egyptian hieroglyphics on it. And of course, he was right on the money. Here is were the principle of cross-correlation comes charging to the fore. If a given text in an unknown ancient text is on the same tablet as at least one other known language (and in this case two), a truly observant and meticulous philologist cannot but help to draw the ineluctable conclusion that the text of the unknown language must be identical to that of the known. Bingo! But I hear you protest, there are no media upon which the identical text is inscribed where Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B are concerned. The medium on which texts in both Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B are inscribed is the clay tablet. While it is indisputably true that there exist no tablets on which the identical text is inscribed in Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B, upon close examination, we discover to our amazement that there is at least one tablet in Minoan Linear A which is potentially very close to another in Mycenaean Linear B, and that tablet is none other than Linear A HT 31 from Haghia Triada, on which the text, at least to a highly observant philologist, would appear to be very close to a text on a particular Linear B tablet. And that tablet, we discover to our amazement, is none other than Pylos tablet TA Py 631-1952 (Ventris). Armed with this assumption, I forged right ahead and made a direct comparison between the two. And what did I discover? Both tablets mention (almost) the very same types of vessels in at least 4 instances. Armed with this information, I simply went ahead and found, this time not to my amazement or even surprise, that I was – at least tentatively – correct. In the case of at least two words on both tablets, as it turned out, I was right on the money. These are (a) puko = tripod on HT 31 and tiripode = tripod on Py TA 631-1952 (Ventris). This was the very first word I ever managed to decipher correctly in Minoan Linear A. My translation, as it turns out, is without a shadow of a doubt, correct. My excitement mounted. (b) The second is supa3ra or supaira on HT 31, which would appear to be almost if not the exact equivalent of dipa mewiyo = a small(er) cup on Py TA 631-1952 (Ventris), but without the handles on the latter. And as it turns out, I was again either close to the mark or right on it. Refer to our previous posts on the decipherment of these two words, and you can see for yourselves exactly how I drew these startling conclusions. Another Linear B tablet which is a goldmine of Mycenaean vocabulary from which certain Minoan words may be indirectly extrapolated is Pylos tablet TA Py Un 718 L. By extrapolation of Minoan Linear A terms from their Mycenaean Linear B equivalents, I certainly do not mean that the former can be directly divined from the latter, since that is impossible, given that Mycenaean Greek is a known language whereas Minoan Linear A is unknown. What I mean is simply this: there is a good chance that a word which appears on a Minoan Linear A tablet which shares (almost) identical ideograms and relatively similar placement of (quasi-)identical text with its reasonably similar Mycenaean counterpart may share (approximately) the same meaning as its Mycenaean Greek counterpart. The clincher here is context. If the (quasi-)identical ideograms on both the Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B tablets appear strikingly alike, then we may very well have something substantial to go on. Pylos tablet TA Py Un 718 L is as close to an ideal candidate as there comes for such cross-correlation with tablets with similar text on one or more Minoan Linear A tablets. 3. Parallel ideograms on Linear A and Linear B tablets: The presence of apparently (very) similar ideograms for vessels on both of the aforementioned tablets only serves to confirm, at least tentatively for most of the words on vessels I have attempted to decipher, and conclusively for the two words above, that I am (hopefully) well on my way to a clear start at deciphering at deciphering a small subset of Minoan Linear A. For lack of space, I cannot give details this post, which is already long enough, but once again, previous posts reveal in much more detail this principle on which my decipherments are founded, and the methodology behind it which lends further credence my translations. 4. Archaeological evidence lends yet further credence to my decipherments of 4 of the largest vessel types on HT 31, namely, karopa3 or karopai, nere, qapai & tetu. The problem here is, which one of the largest is the largest of them all, being approximately equivalent to the Greek pithos? I cannot tell from the tablet. However, since my initial stab at decipherment, I have tentatively concluded that Minoan Linear A words terminating in the ultimate U are masculine singular for the very largest in their class. Hence, it would appear at least that tetu is the most likely candidate for the equivalent to the ancient Greek pithos. I cannot as yet determine with any degree of certainty that this is so, but it is at least a start. 5. (the most important principle of all). It is critical to understand that Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B both dealt with inventories and the process of inventorying livestock, crops, military matters and commodities such as vessels and pottery and textiles. Based on this assumption, it only makes sense that a particular inventory on a Mycenaean Linear B tablet which appears very close to a similar one on a Minoan Linear A tablet (Cf. Linear B Pylos tablet TA Py 641-1952 (Ventris) and its strikingly similar counterpart Linear A tablet Haghia Triada HT 31) is quite likely to bear some fruit in at least a partial decipherment of the latter. And this proves to be the case, as I have amply illustrated in previous posts. I am therefore committed to working on the operating assumption and principle that Minoan Linear A tablets (approximately) parallel to their Linear B counterparts (See principle 2. above). These five principles form the foundation of the first steps that appear to yield relatively convincing results in the decipherment of the 18 words in Minoan Linear A I have tackled so far. Relying on the application of these four principles, either singly or in combination, we can, I believe, make some real headway in the decipherment of roughly 5% to 10 % of the terms on the Linear A tablets. The greater the number of these principles entering into the equation for the decipherment of any Minoan word in particular, the greater are our chances of “getting it right”, so to speak. This is a very good start. Warning! Caveat: yet even the application of these 5 principles, singly or in tandem (and the more we can apply, the better) cannot guarantee that at least some of our “translations” are incorrect or even way off the mark, because some of them are bound to be just that. I have already discovered that my initial translation of kaudeta on Linear A tablets HT 13 and HT 31 is probably off-base. Time to return to the drawing board. On the other hand, at least to date, it is virtually impossible to decipher any Linear A words on any tablet to which any or all of the aforementioned principles cannot be safely applied. This leaves hundreds of Minoan terms virtually beyond our reach. In other words, tablets on which Minoan vocabulary appears, but without any reference or link to the 4 principles mentioned above remain a sealed mystery. But that does not trouble me in the least.
Linear B tablet K 04-22 N b 05 from the Knossos “Armoury”
Linear B tablet K 04-22 N b 05 from the Knossos “Armoury” This is one of the most significant tablets from Knossos dealing with chariots. At least two really perplexing words plague any reasonable translation of this tablet. The first of these is – peqato – on the first line, which according to Chris Tselentis in his Linear B Lexicon just might mean – a foot-board -. But this is speculative. L.R. Palmer is unable to offer any plausible translation at all for this word. At the end of the second line we find the truly bizarre concoction – posieesi – which is utterly alien to ancient Greek and quite unlike any combination of vowels I have ever encountered in Mycenaean Greek. It is the juxtaposition of – iee – i.e. three vowels in a row which really throws us off. I have never seen anything like it in Mycenaean Greek. It just might possibly be instrumental plural, but that is a real stretch. So is my translation. I would take it with a hefty grain of salt. But everyone who knows me is perfectly aware that I will dive right in where others shy away. As long as the words just might make sense both in the textual and the actual construction context of Mycenaean chariots, then there is no harm trying on a translation. If the shoe fits, wear it. Here is the original tablet from the Ashmolean Museum (approximate actual size).
Linear B tablet 04-81 N a 12 from the Knossos “Armoury”
Linear B tablet 04-81 N a 12 from the Knossos “Armoury” While most of the Linear B tablets from the Knossos “Armoury” we have translated so far this month have posed few problems of any significance, and a few occasional problems of some significance, this tablet stubbornly defies an accurate translation, for the following reasons: 1 the literal word order on the first line is so jumbled up that it is almost impossible to determine what adjectives modify what nouns. So I have had to come up with at least two alternate interpretations of this line in my free translation. We are saddled with the burning question – 1.1 Is the chariot equipped with straps and bridles made of leather and horse blinkers made of copper? OR 1.2 Is the chariot equipped with straps and horse blinkers made of leather and bridles made of copper? OR 1.3 even some other probable concatenation? Then we are confronted with the mysterious Mycenaean word – (ko)nikopa – (if indeed the first syllabogram, which is partially obscured, is in fact – ko – ), leaving me no alternative but to rummage through an ancient Greek dictionary, in the hope that I just might be able to come up with a word concatenated from two ancient Greek words, and to my slight relief, I found both of the ancient Greek words you see in the illustration of the tablet above, transliterated into Latin script here for those of you who cannot read ancient Greek. These are the words – koniatos – , which means – whitewashed – or – painted white – and – kopis – which means – sword/axe – . See The Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary, pg. 189, for these definitions. But it is quite clear to any ancient Greek linguistic scholar that I am stretching the putative meaning of – (ko)nikopa – just about as far as one can without crossing over into the realm of ridiculous speculation. So please take my translation of this word with a very large grain of salt. I merely took this meaning because the word has to mean something, so why not at least try and take a stab at it? Every one and anyone who knows me is perfectly aware that I am always the first one to take the plunge and to attempt to translate even the most recalcitrant unknown words found on Linear B tablets. Someone has to, and I am a most willing guinea pig. Nevertheless, it is still possible, however remotely, that the word may mean just that, especially if we assume (and that is all it is, an assumption) that the chariot builder painted an axe motif onto both sides of the chariot body, just as we find the same motif painted onto frescoes in the Hall of the Double Axes at Knossos. This motif of the double axe, which is dubbed a – labrys – by the Minoans and Mycenaeans, is characteristic of wall frescoes at both Knossos and Mycenae, as illustrated here: clarified in turn by the illustration below of the ideogram – dapu – for – labrys – and with a similar ideogram of a labrys incharged with the supersyllabogram WE, which I have as yet been unable to decipher:
Translation of tablets K 04.40 N u 03 & K 04.41 from the Knossos “Armoury”
Translation of tablets K 04.40 N u 03 & K 04.41 from the Knossos “Armoury” While the translation of these two tablets is quite straightforward, there is a little problem with the second one, since it is unsure whether or not the chariot body or the chariot wheels are made of willow. However, I prefer the first translation over the second, given that on almost all other Linear B tablets from the Knossos “Armoury” are made of elm. On the same tablet (04.41), it is obvious to the observant translator that we may be dealing with anywhere from 50 to 59 sets of wheels on axle, ergo, 50 to 59 chariots.
Translation of Linear B tablet K 04-28 from the Knossos “Armoury”
Translation of Linear B tablet K 04-28 from the Knossos “Armoury” The translation of this tablet is relatively straightforward. The first line speaks for itself. On the second line we have “opoqo kerayapi opiiyapi”, which could mean either “with horse blinkers of horn with parts of the reins” or “with horse blinkers with horn parts of the reins”, since the Mycenaean Greek does not make it clear which part of the phrase – kerayapi – = “horn” modifies, the first or the second. Nevertheless, the second makes considerably more sense, since the poor horses might suffer injury if their blinkers were made of horn and they happened to shatter. Certainly, the reins could be at least partly made of horn. So there you have it. Finally, we are confronted with the perfect participle passive – metakekumena – . Chis Tselentis takes a wild guess that it means “dismantled?” , though it is quite obvious that he is very unsure of himself, given that his translation is followed by a question mark (?). Besides, when we consider the context of the physical attributes of the chariot in which this word is set, it does not make much sense that anyone would want to dismantle a chariot which has been painted crimson by someone else, as that would simply undo the work of the painter. Not a pretty scene. The scribe would have had one angry painter on his hands. On the other hand, the translation “(fully) refurbished”, which is practically identical with L.R. Palmer’s, makes a lot more sense. In said case, the scribe and the painter would have gotten along fine with one another. I am not saying that Tselentis’ translation is outright wrong. But the problem is that there exists no ancient Greek verb which fits the orthographic conditions of the perfect participle passive – metakekumena – . On the other hand, the ancient Greek verb – komizo – is a pretty close match, even though its own perfect participle passive does not match. But – komizo – is Classical Greek, while – metakekumena – is far more archaic Mycenaean Greek. So there really is no way to tell for sure. But since the translation matches up so well with the context of the actual physical appearance of the chariot, I am much more inclined to favour it over that of Chris Tselentis.
Linear B tablet K 04-16 N b 01 from the Knossos “Armoury”
Linear B tablet K 04-16 N b 01 from the Knossos “Armoury” There are a couple of oddities in the Linear B on this tablet, as illustrated by the Notes in the illustration of it above. Since Chris Tselentis lists “reins” as – aniyapi – one would expect the instrumental plural to be – aniyapisi - . But I am not the scribe, and I was not there when he inscribed the tablet. So who knows? On the other hand, his spelling of – araromotemena – is definitely wrong. He has it as – araromotomena – and that spelling turns up neither in L.R. Palmer, The Interpretation of Mycenaean Texts (1963) nor in Chris Tselentis’ excellent Linear B Lexicon. Other than that, everything’s cool. So there you have it.
January 2016 is “chariot” month. So let’s take you for a ride!
January 2016 is “chariot” month. So let’s take you for a ride! Here is the first tablet illustrating a chariot with 2 stallions being driven by a fellow whose name translates something like “longshoreman”, which makes sense if the fellow is a post messenger who frequently drives to and from Knossos and its harbour, Amnisos. Rita Roberts and I shall be posting at least a dozen chariot-related tablets in January. So keep posted. Richard
BING images search reveals that the majority of Linear B tablets from Knossos & Pylos are from our own blog:
BING images search reveals that the majority of Linear B tablets from Knossos & Pylos are from our own blog: from Knossos: Click to run the search: Now that is some accomplishment! It confirms that Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae is indeed the premier Linear B blog on the Internet. And if that were not enough, the same goes for the BING images search for Linear B tablets from Pylos: Click to run the search: So if you wish to search for images of Linear B tablets from Knossos or Pylos, simply run the searches above, and voilà, off you go! You will find a treasure trove of Linear B tablets of these provenances, regardless of the site where they are found. Translations of tablets from both sites are by Richard Vallance and Rita Roberts. We have done ourselves proud. Richard
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
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. 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. Richard
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