A Short Vocabulary of Arcado-Cypriot in Alphabetic Cypriot, with Numerous Putative Linear B Transliterations (Click to ENLARGE):

Arcado-Cypriot in the Greek Alphabet

... and a cry for help! You will have to read this entire post thoroughly if you expect to be able to assist me in any way with this prodigious project.
Preparatory to our in-depth study of the Arcado-Cypriot Linear C syllabary, it is probably wise for us to give you a clear idea of exactly how Linear C words actually look once they have been transliterated from the Linear C syllabary into (in this case) Cypriot words in alphabetic Greek.

A few comments are in order. The first thing you will notice is that I have translated many of the Cypriot words in alphabetic Greek straightaway into their putative Linear B counterparts, and not from their original C. There are two reasons for this, the first unavoidable, as there is no font available for Arcado-Cypriot Linear C. What a drag! And there is no way on earth that I am going to drive myself nuts trying to write all of these words in Linear C.

The second reason is eminently practical and linguistically sound (I sincerely hope). Because my eventual goal in the study of Arcado-Cypriot Linear C is not simply to learn the syllabary, which would be nice in and of itself but hardly necessary, unless I simply had to learn it for an ulterior reason. Unfortunately —  or more to the point, fortunately — I have no other choice but to learn it since I am roundly obliged to read the famous legal decree in Linear C, the Idalion Tablet, illustrated here:

Idalion_tablet 640

Why obliged? I must learn it if I wish to cross-correlate any and all words in Linear C on the Idalion tablet, which have an exact or near exact match, or a very similar counterpart in Mycenaean Linear B. This exercise could conceivably be characterized as regressive extrapolation from a later Greek dialect, Arcado-Cypriot and its syllabary (Linear C) to an earlier, Mycenaean Greek and its own (Linear B), although to term the extrapolation as regressive is a bit of a misnomer here, since only one century or so separates these two East Greek proto-Ionic dialects, from the fall of Mycenae ca. 1200 BCE & the sudden disappearance of Linear B from the scene to the equally sudden, dramatic appearance virtually out of nowhere of its younger cousin, Arcado-Cypriot and its syllabary (Linear C).  Astonishingly (and for my purposes, very conveniently) these two proto-Ionic dialects are as closely allied as their natural descendents, Ionic and Attic Greek, which rose to prominence some 5 centuries after Linear C first popped up out of the clear blue.

Don’t think for a moment that Linear C was to fall by the wayside as precipitously as did its slightly older cousin, Linear B. Not for the world. Linear C in fact tenaciously held its own for at least 700 years (!) after its first appearance ca. 1100 BCE, i.e. until at least 400 BCE, when the Cypriots finally caved in and accepted the (by then) standardized Greek alphabet for Attic Greek. And it does not even end there. The Cypriots cherished the Idalion tablet in Linear C as one of the key documents of their society and its literature, and above all, as a legal document of the highest import. So of course, they translated the whole thing word-for-word, from the Linear C of Idalion tablet, much larger than any in Linear B, and a tablet cast in bronze, no less, into the Greek alphabetic version... for their descendants who would no longer be able to read Linear C, once it fell into disuse almost as abruptly as had Linear B.

The preservation of this invaluable and priceless historical literary heritage was absolutely de rigueur to the Cypriots. As a result, the bronze Idalion has survived 2,500 years virtually intact and in very fine condition, unlike so many Linear B tablets, which were all cast in clay, and furnace fired, saved only by the lucky (for us!) happenstance that Knossos burned to the ground ca. 1450 BCE, charring and hardening some 4,000 tablets and fragments, while being unceremoniously buried by the huge volcanic eruption of the Thera volcano... or at least as many historians believe to have happened in that particular timeline. As a mere Linear B linguist, who am I to question the chronology of the Thera eruption, whether it was (reputedly) ca. 1600 or 1500 or 1450 BCE?  Besides, it suits us linguists just fine, thank you. We gladly accept 1450 BCE or thereabouts as the time of the eruption, since that is when so many Linear B tablets got buried, along with almost all of the 55,000 or so inhabitants of the city of Knossos... a horrible tragedy for them, but a real stroke of good luck for us. Makes you think of Pompeii.  But I am rambling.

As I mentioned above, Linear C held its own for 7 centuries, as the preferred literary script for the Arcadians and Cypriots, alongside the Greek alphabet, and no one thought anything of it. It worked fine, so that was that. No point re-inventing the wheel.  

In fact, for my own purposes, one of the three primary missions of our blog, that of cross-correlating every single Linear C word on the Idalion tablet for which there is an exact, near exact or very similar counterpart in Mycenaean Linear B is obligatory, whether I like it or not. So as I always say, I might as well like it and have fun. The over-riding purpose for this unavoidable exercise will become crystal clear to our blog members in the next few months. Just hang in there, folks.

Still, for the time being, I have done a big favour to everyone who is the slightest bit fascinated by the extremely close relationship of these two proto-Ionic East Greek dialects, Mycenaean & Arcado-Cypriot Greek, by extrapolating the (exact?... hardly!) Linear B counterparts of a great many concrete and semi-abstract words in the alphabetic Greek vocabulary we see above, entirely skipping the absolute requirement of first cross-correlating the actual Linear C words on the Idalion tablet and any other Linear C tablet I can lay my hands on with their Linear B counterparts, before attempting to cross-correlate the Linear B words with the alphabetical counterparts of the Linear C words.

In other words, for the time being, I have reversed the process, flipping it on its head. I must emphatically stress, however, that this is not even remotely a valid experimental approach to the exercise. To clearly illustrate my point, there are two approaches, the first being largely invalid, the second being largely valid. Please understand, and do not forget, that every single one of the Linear B words you see in the vocabulary above is entirely derivative (D), and nothing more, if it even qualifies as that.   

1. (as I have done the extrapolation from the Greek alphabet directly into Linear B, illustrated above), entirely missing the obligatory steps: 
Linear B words < -------------- (from) the same words in alphabetic Greek)


2. Extrapolation from the vocabulary in Linear C on the Idalion Tablet and any other, first from Linear C into its alphabetic counterpart, and then regressively extrapolating every single word on the Idalion tablet from its Greek alphabetic version directly into its (putative) equivalent in Mycenaean Linear B, and then taking the final third step of double-checking my translations of every single word transliterated into Linear B, by cross-correlating the Linear B versions with their original Linear C counterparts and (yet again) with their alphabetic counterparts in the Cypriot alphabet (which differs somewhat from the Attic), like this:

From the  Linear C words --------------> to the same words in alphabetic Cypriot Greek --------------> to their (putative) counterparts in Linear B, then reversing the entire process: Linear B --------------> Linear C --------------> alphabetic Cypriot,

as a confirmation that I have not made any egregious errors, and if necessary (as is  certain to be the case) to repeat the entire process all over again,

Linear C --------------> alphabetic Cypriot Greek --------------> (putative) Linear B, (flip) Linear B --------------> Linear C --------------> alphabetic Cypriot

This procedure is far sounder than the first, which hardly qualifies as a procedure at all. However, 1. above is surely better than nothing, as it gives those of us who are really familiar with Linear B a bit of a handle on what the Cypriot words in this vocabulary might look like in Linear B. I say, might, because the second approach, which is linguistically sound, is the only way to confirm or at least to firm up the (putative) Linear B words you see in the Cypriot vocabulary above.

Every single one of the Linear B words flagged in this Cypriot vocabulary is entirely derivative (D), and not attested (A) in any way whatsoever. Any (close) match with an attested Linear B word (A), i.e. an actual Mycenaean word on any extant Linear B tablet is entirely accidental and fortuitous. This means that even if any of the words I have transliterated from the Cypriot vocabulary using (the sloppy) method 1. above look like (real) words in Linear B, their validity as attributed Linear B words cannot be confirmed in the least. After all, the so-called Linear B words I have cross-correlated with their alphabetic counterparts in this vocabulary are merely astute guesses, nothing more.  So it would be inadvisable, if not downright stupid, to assume that in fact any of the Linear B words you see in the vocabulary above are in fact really exactly the same as any real, i.e. attested (A) Mycenaean word in Linear B, even if they look identical. There is simply no way to confirm this, unless we follow the strict methodology in 2. above, and there is no way I can do that right now. I have not even mastered Linear C. It is going to take quite some time, probably six months to a year, so don’t hold your breath.

On the other hand, I would be only too happy to receive feedback from my fellow Linear B translators on whether or not any of my guestimates of (putative) Linear B words is potentially well-grounded or just some fanciful notion I have cooked up in my head. So why not share what you have cooked in your head, so that I can compile a list or alternatives for each word. That way, when I finally get around to completing exercise 2. above, we shall all know which version(s) of any so-called Mycenaean word in Linear B any of us have cooked up really can be cooked and please our linguistic palates. One of 4 things is bound to happen with each derived (D) word in Linear B at the end of our research:

1. one of the versions of any word in Linear B in this vocabulary will prove to be correct (but whose we cannot say yet) or
2. one of the versions of any word in Linear B in this vocabulary may prove to be a reasonable candidate as a derived (D) Linear B word or
3 none of the versions we have cooked up will amount to anything but a hill of beans or
4 one (or possibly even more than 1) of the versions of any derived (D) Linear B word will prove to be (a near) exact match with its Linear C counterpart, in which case that word can be reclassified as derivative Mycenaean, attested Linear C, as follows: word (LBD+LCA). Such a word will come a long way from being merely derivative (D), and a long shot at that, to being a sure candidate for a Mycenaean word that probably did exist, even though it is not attested on any Linear B tablet or fragment. But, since it has proven to be attested on the Idalion tablet or any other in Linear C, we have at least a half-confirmation or better that there is a high probably that this word was Mycenaean. So at the culmination of this long process, while none of the so-called Mycenaean words in Linear B we have successfully cross-correlated with their Linear B counterparts can strictly be classified as attributed (D) in Mycenaean Greek, several, possibly even a great many will, I trust, be classified as partially derivative (D), and partially attributed (A), but only if they are definitely attributed (A) in Linear C (not in alphabetical Greek!) These words will then be classified as LBD+LCA, and tentatively added to the vocabulary of Mycenaean Greek, pending confirmation from future archeological finds. To my mind, such confirmation from attested (A) vocabulary on new tablets or fragments in the future is one heck of an exciting prospect, because even if 2 or 3 words match up perfectly with newly discovered attested (A) Mycenaean words, that circumstantial evidence alone will set in actual context some of my own discoveries of certain LBD+LCA words which match up (almost) perfectly with newly discovered Mycenaean words. What an exciting prospect indeed!       

And there you have it, my methodology in a nutshell. If anyone can find any way(s) to improve on this methodology any time in the next six months or so, fire away. Please do not be shy, even if you are just learning Linear B. It would be disastrous for this project if the methodology were full of loopholes. There is no real way I can determine this for myself, because I am looking at it subjectively from the inside out, whereas any of you can at least lend some objectivity to the procedure by helping me iron out the bugs. If you do not come forward, there is simply no way I can be sure I have got this down pretty much pat.

Thanks so much.