The Supersyllabogram PA... a huge challenge but... (Click to ENLARGE):

d1342 RATOYO PAITO ram

If I thought the other supersyllabograms we have “deciphered” to date (O, DI, KI, PE, ZA & ZE) were a challenge, I had better think again! Before I show you the possible “translations” for this sypersyllabogram (PA) — there are 3 of them — I should first explain my somewhat unorthodox methodology. Faced with the fact that nowhere does there appear the full word which this pesky little sypersyllabogram (PA) can account for on any extant Linear B tablets or in any currently available Linear B Lexicon, I was completely stumped... at first. But then the light came on. I simply had to bite the bullet, and thoroughly scan every single entry in Liddell È& Scott, 1986, beginning with the Greek letters transliterated into Latin as PA, and encompassing no less than 37 pages of this voluminous lexicon (pp. 511-538), in the desperate hope that something, anything, might miraculously pop up and rescue me from my conundrum. And a few, a very few, words did. These are all to be found on the illustration of this tablet above.

Although all of these alternatives make at least some sense in the specific context of sheep (rams and ewes), I eventually had to narrow down my choices from 6 (actually 5) to 3. This is how I did it. The putative translation “furnishing, supplying” is, after all, a bit of a stretch in the context of sheep, unless of course someone has supplied all of the sheep listed on this tablet (i.e. 300 of them all told), not just 3 of them. That doesn’t really make much sense. It is either all of them or none of them supplied, at least as far as I am concerned. The translation “by the sea” must also fall by the wayside, for the same reason. Why would 3 rams be by the sea, and the other 297 not?

That leaves: [1] rams who have wandered off, wandered back, and are thus safely recovered, combining the first two meanings in the list below the tablet (see above) into one, since in effect they do constitute one meaning, amounting one and the same thing: if the 3 rams have wandered off and wandered back, then they are safely recovered. [2] then we have 3 rams enclosed by a fence, which makes an awful lot of sense in the context of sheep, especially when we recall the supersyllabogram PE, PERIQORO, which means virtually the same thing, (in) an enclosure or a pen or sheep pen. This is the most tenable translation, as it almost perfectly matches the translation we easily found for all the tablets using the supersyllabogram PE (and there are plenty of them). [3] off a trodden or beaten way or beaten path. This translation matches up well with [1], and is therefore admissible. In fact the tablet could feasibly be saying that these 3 little rams had wandered off on a trodden or beaten path, and wandered back safe & sound. Makes perfect sense in the context. However, given a choice, I prefer [2], for the simple reason that it matches the 2 syllabograms PA & PE into a unified field (pardon the pun!).

We should also be sure to take note that on all of the Linear tablets using this syllabogram PA,s the number of sheep (all rams) it refers to is always very small (no more than 10), usually out of 100s, which makes the preceding translations all the more tenable.

However, in spite of the apparent cleverness of all three of these translations, all of which nicely fit the bill, a strong word of caution. Caveat: since there exists no word in the extant Linear B lexicon, whether from the extant tablets themselves, or in the two major lexicons currently available online, this opens my interpretations or so-called “translations” to (serious) doubt. I can perfectly understand that a considerable number of researchers in the field of Linear B will protest my choices (some somewhat loudly). This is perfectly reasonable. On the other hand, I would have been remiss, had I not made a valiant attempt to come up with any kind of feasible translation(s) in the context of sheep. But I did this, because that is my way. Better venture into unknown territory, and possibly be right (on 1 of 3 counts, but which one is anybody’s guess). After all, someone can and, I believe, should take this risk, and that someone is me. 

On the other hand, we should take into account that the discovery of new Linear B tablets in the future may just possibly supply a word or two to fill the gap and truly account for our little faux PAs, in a funny sort of way. Folks will surely object, the chances of that ever happening are pretty slim, if you ask me. And again, they would be right. But nothing ventured, nothing gained, I always say.

Anyway, of these 3 translations, the one referring to our 3 little rams being fenced in has a remarkable ring of plausibility to it, especially in light of the much sounder translation of the sypersyllabogram PE, infra: