Orientation of Minoan Linear A inventories is identical to modern inventories & plays a critical role in their decipherment: The orientation of Minoan Linear A inventories is identical to modern inventories & plays a critical role in their decipherment. This fact has been entirely overlooked by all previous researchers and so-called decipherers of Minoan Linear A tablets. It must not be ignored under any circumstances. It is precisely this vertical (not horizontal) orientation of Minoan Linear A tablets that makes it easier for us to decipher some of them (not all of them by far). The Linear A tablet most susceptible to an almost complete decipherment on account of its vertical orientation is HT 31 (Haghia Triada) on vessels and pottery. When we compare this Linear A tablet with the most famous inventory of vessels and pottery in Mycenaean Linear B, Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), also on vessels and pottery, we instantly see how streamlined is the orientation and layout of the former and how clumsy (at least by our modern standards) is the orientation and layout of the latter. Why the Mycenaean Linear B scribes abandoned the far more streamlined and practical layout of the Minoan Linear A inventories is perhaps a mystery to some... but not to all, and certainly not to me. What the Linear B inventories sacrifice by way of orientation they make up for in droves in space saving economy. Additionally, the Linear B scribes had plenty of other tricks up their sleeves to obviate the clumsy orientation of their inventory tablets. The most significant of these ploys was their deployment of supersyllabograms in droves, a feature largely missing from the Minoan Linear A tablets. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. It is impossible to properly cross-correlate the contents of Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) by means of retrogressive extrapolation with those of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) without taking their appositive orientations into account. Finally, we need only compare the orientation of HT 31 (Haghia Triada) with a modern inventory (this one on textiles) to immediately realize the practice is one and the same, past and present: Very little escapes my penetrating scrutiny. I shall be discussing the profound implications of the vertical orientation of almost all Minoan Linear A inventories versus the horizontal of most Mycenaean Linear B inventories in my upcoming article, “Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the ‘Rosetta Stone’ to Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) vessels and pottery”, definitively slated for publication in Vol. 12 (2016) in the prestigious international annual, Archaeology and Science ISSN 1452-7448 (release date spring 2018). To be submitted by Nov. 15, 2016.
Minoan Linear A puko = “tripod” versus tiripode in Mycenaean Linear B: the first step towards decipherment of Minoan Linear A: Even first glance at Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 makes it clear that the Minoan Linear A word for “tripod” is puko, as the first line on the recto side (left) illustrates. The word puko immediately precedes the ideogram for tripod. This is highly significant, because on Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris) the very same configuration occurs, with the Mycenaean Linear B word tiripode appearing at the head of line 1, followed by 3 more words, Aikeu keresiyo weke = “Aigeus is working on 2 tripods of Cretan origin”, again followed in turn by the ideogram for “tripod” and the number 2, accounting for the translation here. The only difference between Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) and Linear B Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris) is that there is intervening text on the latter, and no text on the former. But this does not make any real difference between the disposition of the word for “tripod” on each of these tablets, puko in Minoan Linear A and tiripode in Mycenaean Linear B, since the word for “tripod” on both tablets is followed by its ideogram, which is practically identical on both tablets. I believe it is important to take note of the fact that almost all Minoan Linear A tablets are rectangular in shape, with the vertical almost always longer than the horizontal is wide, as is illustrated in these 2 composites of Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada and Zakros. How this will affect the decipherment of Minoan Linear A I cannot say, but it may (or may not) play an important role. It is highly advisable that visitors to this blog refer back to my previous post on this same question here: https://linearbknossosmycenae.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/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/ In the next post, I shall put forward my tentative decipherments for the next five types of vessels mentioned on Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) with possible correlations between at least some of them with the vessel types mentioned on Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris). But that is merely the beginning. Other Minoan Linear A tablets lend further credence to our translations, as we shall see in the next few posts. These translations make for the first inroads into at least the eventual partial decipherment of Minoan Linear B, a task which I intend to undertake with all due diligence in the next few years.
Alan Turing & Michael Ventris: a Comparison of their Handwriting I have always been deeply fascinated by Alan Turing and Michael Ventris alike, and for obvious reasons. Primarily, these are two geniuses cut from pretty much the same cloth. The one, Alan Turing, was a cryptologist who lead the team at Bletchley Park, England, during World War II in deciphering the German military’s Enigma Code, while the other, Michael Ventris, an architect by profession, and a decipherment expert by choice, deciphered Mycenaean Linear B in 1952. Here are their portraits. Click on each one to ENLARGE: Having just recently watched the splendid movie, The Imitation Game, with great pleasure and with an eye to learning as much more as I possibly could about one of my two heroes (Alan Turing), I decided to embark on an odyssey to discover more about each of these geniuses of the twentieth century. I begin my investigation of their lives, their personalities and their astounding achievements with a comparison of their handwriting. I was really curious to see whether there was anything in common with their handwriting, however you wish to approach it. It takes a graphologist, a specialist in handwriting analysis, to make any real sense of such a comparison. But for my own reasons, which pertain to a better understanding of the personalities and accomplishments of both of my heroes, I would like to make a few observations of my own on their handwriting, however amateurish. Here we have samples of their handwriting, first that of Alan Turing: Click to ENLARGE and secondly, that of Michael Ventris: Click to ENLARGE A few personal observations: Scanning through the samples of their handwriting, I of course was looking for patterns, if any could be found. I think I found a few which may prove of some interest to many of you who visit our blog, whether you be an aficionado or expert in graphology, cryptography, the decipherment of ancient language scripts or perhaps someone just interested in writing, codes, computer languages or anything of a similar ilk. Horizontal and Vertical Strokes: 1. The first thing I noticed were the similarities and differences between the way each of our geniuses wrote the word, “the”. While the manner in which each of them writes “the” is obviously different, what strikes me is that in both cases, the letter “t” is firmly stroked in both the vertical and horizontal planes. The second thing that struck me was that both Turing and Ventris wrote the horizontal t bar with an emphatic stroke that appears, at least to me, to betray the workings of a mathematically oriented mind. In effect, their “t”s are strikingly similar. But this observation in and of itself is not enough to point to anything remotely conclusive. 2. However, if we can observe the same decisive vertical (—) and horizontal (|) strokes in other letter formations, there might be something to this. Observation of Alan Turing’s lower-case “l” reveals that it is remarkably similar to that of Michael Ventris, although the Ventris “l” is always a single decisive stroke, with no loop in it, whereas Turing waffles between the single stroke and the open loop “l”. While their “f”s look very unalike at first glance, once again, that decisive horizontal stroke makes its appearance. Yet again, in the letter “b”, though Turing has it closed and Ventris has it open, the decisive stroke, in this case vertical, re-appears. So I am fairly convinced we have something here indicative of their mathematical genius. Only a graphologist would be in a position to forward this observation as a hypothesis. Circular and Semi-Circular Strokes: 3. Observing now the manner in which each individual writes curves (i.e. circular and semi-circular strokes), upon examining their letter “s”, we discover that both of them write “s” almost exactly alike! The most striking thing about the way in which they both write “s” is that they flatten out the curves in such a manner that they appear almost linear. The one difference I noticed turns out to be Alan Turing’s more decisive slant in his “s”, but that suggests to me that, if anything, his penchant for mathematical thought processes is even more marked than that of Michael Ventris. It is merely a difference in emphasis rather than in kind. In other words, the difference is just a secondary trait, over-ridden by the primary characteristic of the semi-circle flattened almost to the linear. But once again, we have to ask ourselves, does this handwriting trait re-appear in other letters consisting in whole or in part of various avatars of the circle and semi-circle? 4. Let’s see. Turning to the letter “b”, we notice right away that the almost complete circle in this letter appears strikingly similar in both writers. This observation serves to reinforce our previous one, where we drew attention to the remarkable similarities in the linear characteristics of the same letter. Their “c”s are almost identical. However, in the case of the vowel “a”, while the left side looks very similar, Turing always ends his “a”s with a curve, whereas the same letter as Ventris writes it terminates with another of those decisive strokes, this time vertically. So in this instance, it is Ventris who resorts to the more mathematical stoke, not Turing. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. Overall Observations: While the handwriting styles of Alan Turing and Michael Ventris do not look very much alike when we take a look, prime facie, at a complete sample overall, in toto, closer examination reveals a number of striking similarities, all of them geometrical, arising from the disposition of linear strokes (horizontal & vertical) and from circular and semi-circular strokes. In both cases, the handwriting of each of these individual geniuses gives a real sense of the mathematical and logical bent of their intellects. Or at least as it appears to me. Here the old saying of not being able to see the forest for the trees is reversed. If we merely look at the forest alone, i.e. the complete sample of the handwriting of either Alan Turing or Michael Ventris, without zeroing in on particular characteristics (the trees), we miss the salient traits which circumscribe their less obvious, but notable similarities. General observation of any phenomenon, let alone handwriting, without taking redundant, recurring specific prime characteristics squarely into account, inexorably leads to false conclusions. Yet, for all of this, and in spite of the apparently convincing explicit observations I have made on the handwriting styles of Alan Turing and Michael Ventris, I am no graphologist, so it is probably best we take what I say with a grain of salt. Still, the exercise was worth my trouble. I am never one to pass up such a challenge. Be it as it may, I sincerely believe that a full-fledged professional graphological analysis of the handwriting of our two genius decipherers is bound to reveal something revelatory of the very process of decipherment itself, as a mental and cognitive construct. I leave it to you, professional graphologists. Of course, this very premise can be extrapolated and generalized to any field of research, linguistic, technological or scientific, let alone the decipherment of military codes or of ancient language scripts. Many more fascinating posts on the lives and achievements of Alan Turing and Michael Ventris to come! Richard
Linear A: The Search for New Solutions – All 38 Tablets geometrically tabulated by sub-totals and percentage (Click to Enlarge): Finally, we see that of the 38 Tablets we have examined for their geometric alignment or shapes, fully 30 are Rectangular Vertical, another 4 are Rectangular Horizontal, and yet another 4 Circular or Signets, so to speak. This little survey is far from being scientific, but at least it gives us our first insight into the probable proportion of tablets by geometric alignment or shape, and it's a lot better than nothing. Finally, the spreadsheet Table below allows for a margin of – 5 % for Rectangular Vertical, since a margin of + 5 % would be patently ridiculous. So our results vary enough to allow for at least some degree of assurance. Here is my Table of Margins of Error for our 38 Tablets. I hope it looks at least reasonably credible. Naturally, you don't have to see it that way, though, and some of you certainly won't. And if you don't, pray tell my why, so that I can better understand things, and work with you to bring some resolution to the huge problems facing me in my "thinking out of the box" research into linear A. Anyway, to each his or her own. You can contact me by e-mailing me privately at: email@example.com (Click to ENLARGE): Since I will henceforth be honoured and greatly blessed with the support and encouragement of 4 volunteers, you should keep your eyes peeled for our next survey much larger cross-section of Linear A Tablets by the summer of 2014. With this in mind, I urge, exhort and beg anyone who has a baby bear, momma bear or father bear cache of Linear A Tablets, which do NOT include these 38, to zap them my way. Anyone who does so will be fully credited for participating in the scope & comprehensiveness of our “final” survey. My volunteers are to remain strictly anonymous and all of their hard work and contributions to my research into Linear A will remain confidential and secret for at least 2 years (March 2014 – summer 2016). Some of our major research results and outcomes will remain totally secret, and I will not post them at all until all our research is over and done with, and that could take as long as 4 to 6 years (2018-2020 ). Still, I've a helluva lot more up my sneaky little sleeve, as you shall all soon see, starting with the “Numbers Game”, for which our results should be compiled and verified for accuracy for these 38 Tablets sometime in May or June 2014. Anyone who can guess what I mean by the “Numbers Game” will receive from me a prize of 100s of Linear A & B Tablets and scores of lovely pictures I have assiduously collected over the past 11 months, since the advent of this Blog, now the premier Linear B Blog on the entire Internet. Then you can fiddle around with, decipher, translate or do whatever you like with them, so long as it isn't illegal. Enjoy!
Linear A: The Search for New Solutions: Vertical Rectangular Tablets 14 Zakros + 9 Hagia Triada = 23 Click to ENLARGE: This post is self-explanatory. To the 9 vertical rectangular Tablets from Hagia Triada, we simply add the 14 from Zakros, for a total of 23. But there are more to come, from Knossos & Malia, and few more besides, the origins of which I cannot identify. I sincerely hope someone can help identify their sources. Richard
Linear A: The Search for New Solutions. What on Earth am I up to? NOTE! If you do not read this commentary in its entirety, none of this will make no sense whatsoever. What? You ask. I thought this Blog was supposed to be all about Mycenaean Linear B. Well, if that were the case, why would I keep bringing up Arcado-Cypriot Linear C? There are plenty of reasons for that, which will become much clearer to us all as I progress through 2014. As it stands, I now have no other alternative but to learn Linear C, if I am to translate the Idalion Tablet and other Linear C Tablets, which as you will eventually discover I must do if I am to confirm beyond a doubt the relative authenticity of my Theory of Progressive Mycenaean Grammar and Vocabulary, which I sincerely hope will become absolutely transparent sometime in 2015. What about Linear A? What? You have to wonder! Is this guy absolutely mad? God knows. However, I have been wracking my brains out for at least 9 months trying to figure out how I might be able to tackle Linear A in some sort of minimal way, until yesterday, when the lights came on, and I suddenly realized what my unique contribution to research on Linear A can be. First of all, I know next to zilch about Linear A, and I intend to keep it that way. After all, Michael Ventris knew nothing of Linear B, when he began his long trek to eventually deciphering it in June-July 1952, having discovered to his utter astonishment that the language behind it was, of all things, Greek, a very early Greek indeed, but none the less Greek. And I am no Michael Ventris. Now, if he started from scratch, then I suppose I might as well. Let me make it perfectly clear: I do not intend to even attempt to learn any more about Linear A than past and current research has already revealed. What on earth is the point of that? The most famous exponent of and researcher into Linear A is none other than Prof. John G. Younger of the University of Kansas, and there is no point whatsoever in my making even the slightest attempt to duplicate his extensive knowledge of Linear A, nor that of other highly respected researchers who have preceded him. You will find new links to the corpus of research by Prof. Younger and other eminent researchers in Linear A at the bottom of this page, links which I positively urge you to follow up on. In the meantime, what is to be my own approach to the study of Linear A? It is actually quite simple: I am going to start from scratch, from my rickety platform with nothing whatsoever on it, proceeding thus: I intend to approach Linear A in an entirely novel way, by exploring avenues which no-one else has followed before, subject to any reproof to my total absence of knowledge, or if you like, my patent all out ignorance of Linear A. How does he intend to do that, I hear you asking? I cannot afford to duplicate any approaches or avenues of research already followed, to whatever extent. In other words, if anyone whatsoever has peered into the arcane mysteries of Linear A, and discovered anything about its structure, syllabary etc. etc., why on earth would I duplicate it? It is for this reason that I must take a fresh approach to the study of Linear A by calling on absolutely every contemporary researcher into the field to assist me in completely eliminating any and all avenues already taken in the extensive research of Linear A, since there is simply no point in rehashing what so many others have done before. In light of my firm decision to follow this rather peculiar path in the study of Linear A, I must be absolutely certain that I am not duplicating anything whatsoever so many other highly competent researchers have so extensively accomplished. With this in mind, I beg and exhort any researcher who is deeply committed to the study of Linear A to help me confirm that I am not pursuing any avenue or approach to the field which literally anyone has already taken.... because if I am, this completely invalidates any idea that pops into my busy little head. So once again, I fervently appeal to you, if you are deeply committed to research in Linear A, to contact me as soon as you possibly can, so that I can co-ordinate my ideas with you. Actually, the only thing you ever need do is to inform me in no uncertain terms that someone, anyone, has already pursued the avenue I wish to take. Otherwise, it is a complete waste of time for me and all of you. In other words, I have no intention whatsoever of learning Linear A, but merely cooking up notions, however far-fetched, absurd or even laughable they may appear to the community of Linear A specialists. In this perspective, my methodology is ridiculously simple, possibly even simplistic or, to all appearances, positively zany, even to me. My approach is as follows: 1. If any expert or amateur researcher deeply committed to the field of research into Linear A informs me I am merely duplicating what has already been done, then I shall drop any assumption I make like a hot potato. 2. If any expert or amateur researcher deeply committed to the field of research into Linear A informs me I am merely duplicating what has already been done, but done only once or twice and then dropped like a hot potato, because everyone agrees it is patently silly, then I shall not drop any such assumption if it is even remotely possible that it might not prove to be silly some day in the (far) future. I just have to hang onto it, just as a cat hangs on with its claws dug into a branch refuses to let go, because after all, it is a cat, and cats never like to be made fools of... even when they are. That’s about it, in a nutshell. Now if this approach to Linear A sounds nutty to you, remember that no-one, absolutely no-one, including Michael Ventris himself, was even the least bit willing to entertain the “crazy” notion that the language behind Linear B was an early dialect of Greek. Anyone who did entertain such a notion was written off was being nutty as a fruit-cake. Well, there was one “fruit-cake” who was forced to admit that the language written in the Linear B syllabary was in fact the earliest known dialect of ancient Greek, and he accepted the stark evidence in all humility. We all know who he is... Michael Ventris. Shortly after his astonishing discovery, another “fruit-cake”, namely; the illustrious Prof. John Chadwick enthusiastically followed up on Ventris’ astonishing revelation, and between the two them, they established practically beyond a reasonable doubt that the language of Linear B was Greek. Shortly after Ventris’ tragic death in a car accident on Sept. 6, 1956, Prof. Chadwick (1920-1998) of Cambridge University valiantly took up the standard, and eventually published his ground-breaking book, The Decipherment of Linear B (Cambridge University Press, 1958), which literally turned the study of ancient Greek history on its head, so that it had to be entirely re-written. Theories of Ancient Greek history as it was known before 1952-1953, dating from ca. 900-800 BCE, as everyone perfectly “knew” was firmly established, suddenly had to be substantially revised and, in some cases, completely abandoned, since the timeline for ancient Greek history was suddenly shoved, in one fell swoop, back to a much remoter antiquity, something like 1500 BCE, practically doubling itself. Ever since then, scarcely anyone takes seriously the suddenly passé notion that Greek History reaches back to only 900-800 BCE, chucking it right out the window, when the evidence overwhelmingly supports current knowledge that it is far more ancient, going way back to ca. 1500 BCE. Well, I guess I am more than willing to be the dunce in the corner of the classroom. Why not?... when no-one else will. But this wing-nut has a (I suppose) few cards up his sleeves, one of which I have no intention of sharing with anyone, until I am convinced there is even a shred of evidence that it might lead somewhere. That’s my wee secret. Meanwhile, here is my first so-called revelation. I have gone over scores of Linear A Tablets, and discovered to my astonishment, that practically all of them are vertical rectangular in shape, as you can see for yourself here (Click to ENLARGE):
This is a far-cry from Linear B tablets, which assume any old shape the scribes figured would fit the bill. Is there anything to this at all? Am I barking up the wrong tree? Has anyone whatsoever pursued this notion even half-seriously? Well, if anyone has, I will have to chuck this one out the window. On the other hand... So please, please, I urge and exhort you, if you are a serious Linear A researcher, to let me know whether this has all been done before... “Been there. Done that. Forget it.”... for if no-one has, I claim first rights to this observation, whether it leads anywhere or not. P.S. I will be following up on this post with plenty more examples of vertical rectangular Linear A tablets from Knossos, Malia and Zakros (especially Zakros), where there are scores of Linear A Tablets), and a few other sites where 1 or 2 tablets have been unearthed. Richard