Prof. Thomas G. Palaima Isolates 5 Single Syllabograms as Cities & Settlement Names (Click to ENLARGE):

linear-b-heidelberg-he-fl-1994thomas-g--palaima

When Prof. Thomas G. Palaima translated Heidelburg Tablet HE FL 1994, he hit upon something truly revelatory, namely, that 5 syllabograms in a row, as illustrated in the facsimile of this tablet above, were single syllabograms, which were in actuality the first syllable of the word each represented, and that each of these words was to prove to be the name of a major Minoan/Mycenaean city or settlement. These places, Knossos, Zakros, Palaikastro (or possibly Phaistos), Pulos & Mycenae, all played a key role in Minoan/Mycenaean economy and society.

The real question is, why did the scribe who inscribed this tablet, use abbreviations consisting of the first syllabogram, which is always the first syllable of a Linear B word to represent the entire word?  Was this a phenomenon limited to Heidelburg tablet HE FL 1994, or could it be found on other tablets, and if so, how many... just a few or many? As it turns out, I have discovered this phenomenon occurring on not just a few Linear B tablets, not even a fairly wide cross-section, but — hold your breath — on literally hundreds of tablets. So what is going on here? Why would the Linear B scribes resorted to using single syllabograms on hundreds of tablets over and over again, unless they had very good reason to do so? But that is exactly what they did, and with astounding frequency. It is critical to recognize here that no Linear B scribe alone, let alone so many scribes, would resort to using just one single syllabogram just for the fun of it. That single syllabogram must have meant something, in fact, must have meant a very great deal, and have been a big deal; otherwise, the scribes would not have used them so very often.

The next obvious question is why did they resort to using single syllabograms so often?... & to represent what?  Prof. Palaima’s translation of Heidelburg Tablet HE FL 1994 makes it abundantly clear that what these syllabograms represent is entire words, in the case of this tablet, names of Minoan/Mycenaean cities and settlements. 

But, as it turns out, when I went to investigate several other single syllabograms (8 in all), I discovered to my astonishment that they could and did represent much more than just the names of cities and settlements.  Of the 8 new syllabograms of this type or class, I was able to at least tentatively decipher 6 of them, and I found that none of these represented merely city or settlement names, but something quite different. I recognized a specific word, one word and one word only, in a specific context, in that context and that context alone, for each and every one of the syllabograms I was able to decipher, even if my decipherment was not necessarily “correct”, whatever that is supposed to mean. What was astounding was this: in the specific context which each of these syllabograms appeared in, the word they represented always fits the context like a glove. For instance, the syllabogram for O stands for the word “onaton” = lease field, the syllabogram for KI stands for “kitimena” = plot of land & the syllabogram PE for “periqoro” = enclosure or pen, i.e. a sheep pen, and I emphatically stress, all three of them in the specific context of sheep. In this context and this context alone all three of these translations fit like a glove. For this reason, although my decipherment or translation of each one of these syllabograms (O, KI & PE) may be viewed as tentative by some, I truly believe that they have gone beyond that point, and may in fact be entirely sound, having the very meaning which I have assigned them. 

Now, since single syllabograms such as these are all, without exception, the first syllable by default of the Mycenaean Greek word in Linear B which of which they are the abbreviation, I feel obliged to assign them a name, calling them “supersyllabograms”.  As it now stands, my co-researcher and I have isolated 8 sypersyllabograms, of which we have managed to tentatively decipher 6, in addition to the 5 sypersyllabograms identified by Prof. Thomas G. Palaima, for a total of 13.

Richard