Our Long-Term Project: Translations & Transliterations of up to 1,000 or more Knossos Tablets & Fragments # 1

In the next 3 years, it is our intention to translate or transliterate at least several 100, if not more than 1,000, of the some 3,500 tablets & fragments unearthed by the famous archaeologist, Sir Arthur Evans, at the site of Knossos, all of which are catalogued in his famous “Scripta Minoa”, originally published by Oxford University Press in 1909, and re-released in 1952, and available online in their entirety here:

Heidelberg University
 
This is a huge undertaking, never before assayed. Our task will be daunting, but not overly-stressful, provided that we tackle only a few tablets or fragments at a time, for fear of overwhelming you, our blog visitors, readers and researchers of Mycenaean Linear B (let alone ourselves).  Each new post will display no more than 10 Knossos Fragments from the “Scripta Minoa”, and where entire Tablets are concerned, we will of course, limit ourselves to 1 Tablet only per post.

For the first 9 fragments from the “Scripta Minoa”, with my tentative translations and transliterations, click here to ENLARGE:

Knossos Scripta Minoa Tablets first 9 fragments of 100s
The distinction between a translation and a transliteration is as follows. A translation is just that, however tentative or (im)plausible. On the other hand, a transliteration simply consists of rendering the syllabograms in a fragment (& always in a fragment) into their Latin equivalents.  A great many fragments simply defy translation, for several reasons:

1 the fragment contains only 1 syllabogram or vowel, as in the example above of the fragment with the vowel “u” only;
2 the fragment contains a word which is truncated on the right;
3 the fragment contains a word which is truncated on the left;  
4 the fragment contains a word which is truncated on both the left and the right;
5 the fragment contains words which may be in any combination of 1-4 above;
6 some or all of the words in the fragment are practically illegible.

In all such cases, context, which is the prime determinant of effectual translation, should be present in its entirety or clearly established. The only exceptions to this guideline occur where the meaning of a word is completely transparent, in spite of inadequate contextuality, as in the case of the word for “a hollow (of a) bowl” in [2] above, as well as “so much = total” in [7] above.

Any other attempts at translation are entirely conjectural, and open to serious contention, or even implausibility, as in the case of  [1] [3] [4] & [5] above.  So, you ask, why even bother?  I am willing even to take a shot at any (im)plausible translation of any word(s) or phrase(s) in a fragment or tablet, provided that they at least make some sense, and given that at some point in the future, someone will be able to authenticate or reject the “translation” as realistic or not.
  
My colleague, Rita Roberts, who is a retired archaeologist in Crete, and I shall be undertaking this fascinating and highly informative new project as a team. I am sure the long-term results will be of great interest to Linear B scholars and researchers worldwide. 


Richard