Progressive Linear B Ideograms: Level 4.4 (Advanced) Household & Surroundings (Click to ENLARGE):

Progressive Linear B Level 4.4 Vocabulary Ideograms Household & Surroundings

While there are a few ideograms at Level 4.4, by far most of the vocabulary related to the household and its surroundings is supplied by syllabograms. This situation is somewhat dissimilar to that which we encountered at Levels 4.2 & 4.3 (Agriculture), where there were significantly more ideograms related to various key agricultural practices, including animal husbandry and crop management.  This would seem to suggest that the Mycenaean-Minoan scribes were more concerned with agricultural than with household affairs, though I for one would not venture to cast such an assumption in stone.  When we turn to ideograms and syllabograms for commerce, trade and the economy, we will once again discover a larger number of ideograms, as indeed when we come to discuss ideograms versus syllabograms for military matters.  The point I wish to make is simply this, that the Mycenaean-Minoan scribes did in fact appear to lay more emphasis on ideograms based on agriculture; commerce, trade and the economy; and on the military establishment than they did on household, which is to say, personal, affairs. We shall see whether my assumptions are borne out as we progress through Levels 4 & 5 (Advanced).

What about that tiny minority of dissidents who still maintain that Mycenaean Greek is not Greek, but some other abstruse ancient language?  Read on, read on... 

The second point I wish to stress – even more emphatically – is this, that those paltry few  who like to claim that a good deal of Mycenaean Greek vocabulary is not Greek, may find themselves erring rather too far onto the wrong side of the tracks. Anyone familiar with ancient Greek, and especially experts and scholars in the field, are perfectly aware of the run of quirky idiosyncrasies which plague the “language” -  if you can even call it that.  Ancient Greek was in fact a hodge-podge of dialects (some of them widely disparate from others), in which the “same” words vary so widely from one dialect to the next as to drive anyone who tries to make sense of the mess half mad.  Add to this the fact that so-called “archaic” words persisted in many dialects (for instance, Doric), while they simply disappeared from the more “advanced” literary dialects (especially Attic-Ionic), and we are faced with a linguistic “landscape” as full of stones and outcrops as were the pastures and farmlands all over Greece.

What about that sacred cow, the Greek Alphabet?

There was even one dialect of ancient Greece which stubbornly resisted the Greek alphabet for some 700 years (!), clinging to a variant of Linear B, yes, another syllabary!  I speak of course of Cyprian Greek or Cypriot [1], also called Linear C, which was in in constant use from ca. 1100 – ca. 400 BCE before the Cypriots finally caved in and resorted to the Attic-Ionic alphabet.  What is even more symptomatic of Cypriot is this, that this dialect, using the Cypriot/Linear C syllabary, retained the essential structure of Mycenaean Greek intact, including a good chunk of its “archaic” vocabulary. This fact is of utmost significance in the positive correlation of Mycenaean Greek with the incipient alphabetic Greek dialects of the ninth to eighth centuries BCE, most notably, the Dorian dialect of the northern Doric invaders who over-ran the Mycenaean civilization and destroyed it in the thirteenth to twelfth centuries BCE.

Those idle naysayers - so few and far between - who still claim that Mycenaean Linear B is not Greek, but some other unknown ancient language, and that Michael Ventris, as mathematically and logically gifted as he so surely was, was indulging in sheer guesswork in his years-long quest to decipher Linear B, are - to put it bluntly - flat-earthers tilting at windmills.  I shall eventually turn to a final, devastating refutation of their “pet theories” later this year, when I address:
1. the tightly woven bond between Linear B and Linear C, in which some of the archaic vocabulary is virtually identical, in spite of superficial differences in the syllabaries, and
2. between Linear B and Linear C on the one hand, and Homeric Greek on the other, in which the similarities and consistencies far outweigh the discrepancies, proving once and for all, and beyond any reasonable doubt that Homeric Greek, "artificial" though it was, sprung from Mycenaean Linear B, Cypriot Linear C and the early Dorian dialects.
3 In addition, other key considerations relative to the genesis of early Greek in both its syllabic forms (Linear B & Linear C) and its alphabetic form, Homeric Greek, will make it abundantly clear that Mycenaean Linear B can be Greek and only Greek, and nothing else whatsoever.

[1] For more on the Cypriot dialect & syllabary, See The Greek Dialects. C.D. Buck. London: Bristol Classical Press, (c) 1955 & 1998. xvi, 373 pp. Part II: Selected Inscriptions. Cyprian, pp. 210-213.

Richard