Progressive Linear B: Level 4.3 Accounting List Ideograms of Crops & Produce (Click to ENLARGE):


This soi-disant (i.e. unattested) “tablet” written in Linear B, presumably from Pylos, amply serves to illustrate the eminently practical methodology for shorthand the Mycenaean scribes followed to compile accounting lists of any kind, as we can see for instance in this specific example. The “tablet” you see here never did exist, but there can be no doubt whatsoever that Mycenaean scribes, whether here, at Pylos, or anywhere else they worked (Knossos, Chania, Mycenae etc.) could have, and probably did compile lists very much like the one you see here. I compiled this accounting list of agricultural crops and produce to clearly illustrate the almost universal application the scribes made of ideograms – instead of syllabograms – to compile lists, usually for accounting purposes. As we have previously demonstrated on this blog, the use of syllabograms only for such long lists would have proven to be wasteful in the extreme on the small baked tablets the Linear B scribes used in an agro-thalassocratic economy as prosperous as that of the Minoans and Mycenaeans, so heavily reliant on widespread international trade to all parts of the he Mediterranean (Egypt, Phoenicia, Tyre, the Hittite Empire and beyond), which they seem to have dominated for at least two centuries from ca. 1450 – ca. 1200 BCE.