We have a new student of Mycenaean Linear B, our third, Dante Aramideh of Holland:
We have a new student of Mycenaean Linear B, our third, Dante Aramideh of Holland. Here are Dante’s first 2 translations.
She is 17 years old, and the youngest of our 3 students, the first being Rita Roberts of Crete, who is the senior of the three, and who has been with us since 2014, and who is by far our most advanced student, being as she is in her second year of university studies. Our second student to come on board is Thalassa Farkas of Canada, whose age falls in between that of Dante Aramideh and Rita Roberts. Thalassa is making rapid progress in learning how to decipher Mycenaean Linear B, as attested by her translation of these two tablets:
Both Dante and Thalassa are familiar with alphabetical ancient Greek, while Rita Roberts is learning it.
More gems of Bahai’ wisdom!
Beautiful photos of some of the magnificent frescoes at Knossos, taken by Richard while he was there on May 1 2012:
Minoan Costume History synopsis: a wonderful site!
You simply have to check this site out! I have never seen such an in-depth study on Minoan costume, female and male alike, on the Internet. Here is just a small excerpt:
An era of great development, contemporaneous with the civilization of ancient Egypt and Phoenicia, and which may be dated about 2000-1500 B.C., had preceded the civilization that came from Asia Minor into Crete and Greece. Such fragments of Cretan culture as have come down to us reveal a beauty of technique and a delicate sense of form to which no contemporaneous civilization provides any parallel. (italics mine). It is certainly true that the Minoans were far more style-conscious than people of any other contemporaneous civilization, such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians and Hittites. No question about it.
Owing to the lack of written records, the processes and methods of manufacture are still wrapped in obscurity, but although we are thus reduced to surmise regarding the materials used, the dress of that time is of the highest interest in view of its connexion with the costumes of other peoples. Our attention is especially attracted by the dress worn by the women. The slim, wiry figures of the men are clothed almost universally with a loincloth, richly patterned and splendidly decorated. Here and there we see wide cloaks that clothe the whole body, giving it a large appearance. Women also, it would seem, wore the short loincloth, but we find them wearing in addition skirts put together in an almost fantastic manner that betrays a highly developed knowledge of the technique of dressmaking. These skirts are constructed in tiers, separated by strips of rich ornamentation.
Illustrations from this site (there are many more, just as striking as these!)
Stunning Minoan fresco, Akrotiri, figs & Linear A tablet Zakros ZA 1, kireza = measurement of figs by the basket:
This stunning fresco from Akrotiri, featuring the typical Minoan “blue monkey” motif, fanciful animals on a celestial backdrop of figs is truly amazing! It is one of my favourite Minoan-style frescoes by far. Immediately below it we find Linear A tablet Zakros ZA 1, on which the word kireza is inscribed. This word is so strikingly similar to the standard Minoan Linear A units of measurement,
reza = standard unit of (linear) measurement
adureza = standard unit of dry measurement
tereza = standard unit of liquid measurement (e.g. Wine)
that it is rather difficult to imagine it could be anything but a unit of measurement. However, I have only seen it used in conjunction with figs on any Minoan Linear tablet, and in fact, this is the only Minoan Linear A tablet on which kireza appears. Now the question is, what is the base unit of measurement of figs kireza refers to? Given that the number of kireza on this tablet is 42, it would appear that it is a relatively large standard unit of measurement. And the unit which leaped to my mind was (and is) a basket of figs, by which I mean a basket which can be carried on one’s shoulders. Additionally, as can be inferred from the Akrotiri fresco, women were tasked with gathering figs.
This is the fifty-sixth (56) word in Minoan Linear A I have deciphered more or less accurately.
The lovely Minoan Camp Stool or Footstool Fresco fragment KN 1521 X m 50:
This is a particularly fascinating fragment. First of all, I never imagined I would ever be able to find a picture, and better than that, an actual fresco of a Minoan camp stool or footstool. Mais une fois l’affaire cherchée, les voilà trouvés, deux tabourets exquis ! Once searched, once found, two exquisite stools! Just my luck. Secondly, have a look at the scribe’s hand. Beautiful!... especially the way he stylizes NU. Three florid variations on just one syllabogram. For that matter, the same phenomenon recurs with RA. He must have been in love and wanted to give a least one of the footstools to his darling. Just kidding! Quite impressive and quite an impressive fragment, unique, one of a kind.
Linear B tablet KN 641 R j 02, textiles painted red:
Linear B tablet KN 641 R j 02 repeatedly refers to textiles painted red (3 times) and apparently to textiles painted purple, once only. The word Oapapa appears to be a woman’s name (very likely Minoan), which suits the context quite well. The word kekareareiyo, in the genitive case, also appears to be a type of cloth, given that it is (probably) followed by the word POpureya (right-truncated after the initial syllabogram PO), meaning that whatever type of cloth it is, it is not purple. The word papeya = farpeia on line 4 is also almost certainly a type of cloth, since it is painted red. The units of textiles referred to are most likely rolls or skeins. Several place names are mentioned, so the textile industry for dying cloth is apparently widespread. The peculiar thing is that the toponyms are all minor place names.
Linear B tablets on wheat: KN 36 K c 33:
This is a typical Linear B tablet from Knossos dealing with wheat.
Linear B tablets dealing with gold cloth (supersyllabogram KU incharged):
The 3 Linear B tablets above all deal with gold cloth. The supersyllabogram KI incharged in the ideogram for pawea = textiles indicates that the cloth is made of gold = kuruso in Linear B. The translations are completely transparent. The only problem is with the right-truncated syllabogram A on the first fragment. This could be the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of at least 5 Mycenaean Greek words as illustrated above. Take your choice. My favourite is “decorated”, although I also particularly like “silver”, since cloth woven with silver and gold would be extremely precious. The following picture illustrates two Minoan women wearing dresses with gold weaving.
The lovely soi-disant fresco “Les Parisiennes” (Knossos) original and on papyrus
Original Fresco: Click to ENLARGE
Notice the fresh, white-washed, sun-bleached translucence of the original fresco, even after 3,500 years!
My replica of the fresco on papyrus: Click to ENLARGE
Notice the warm earthen colours of the papyrus version. You can also clearly see the texture of the papyrus on my own picture above. Sadly, I dropped it once and tore it and when I put it back together, it came out a bit crooked. But it is still lovely, and that is all the matters. I though to myself, what better way to begin the month of February, when Valentine’s is just 14 days away, right in the middle of the month, and so here you have them.
Enjoy them as much as I do.