John Chadwick recognized the Linear B supersyllabograms ZE & MO:

chadwick reading the past linear b 37 ZE zeugesi

chadwick reading the past linear b 38 MO mono

It is quite obvious from the excerpts above from Chadwick’s masterful, Reading the Past: Linear B and Related Scripts, © 1987 that he clearly recognized the supersyllabograms ZE, corresponding to (archaic) Greek zeu/gesi = yoked and MO mo/noj = single. This being the case, it is also more than likely that he was aware of the existence of at least some of the 39 supersyllabograms in Linear B, and this is significant, because it was he who first latched onto Michael Ventris’ amazing discovery in 1952 that the Linear B syllabary was in fact the script of a very ancient and archaic Greek dialect, which we now know as Mycenaean. This raises the question, did Michael Ventris himself know about supersyllabograms? Brilliant as he was, I am greatly inclined to believe he did, but his untimely death at the young age of 34 in a terrible car accident in 1956 never gave him the chance to further develop and refine his initial decipherment of Linear B in 1952. So we shall never know. But very the idea that he may have known is truly tantalizing.

Preliminary Roster of Editors, Aux Éditions Konoso Press, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Konoso Press on academiaedu

Richard Vallance Janke, University of Western Ontario, Emeritus


Alexandre Solcà

Associate Editor-in-Chief, Université de Genève

Spyros Bakas,

Chief Associate Editor, University of Warsaw

Associate Editors:

Julia Binnberg, University of Oxford, Classical Archaeology

Nic Fields, University of Newcastle, England

Roman Koslenko, National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine

Xaris Koutelakis, Kapodistrian University of Athens

Philipp Schwinghammer, Universität Leipzig, Historisches Seminar

Olivier Simon, Université de Lorraine

Editors Credentials and Degrees, plus their pages or home pages will appear in the Forward to each monograph published. Aux Éditions Konoso Press, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, will publish online monographs only, from 20-100 pages long, each with its own unique ISBN (International Standard Book Number). We shall be accepting our first submissions from the summer of 2018 onward. The first monograph will probably be published in early 2019. If you are interested in becoming an Associate Editor of our already prestigious board of editors, please contact Richard Vallance Janke at:

supplying your credentials and degrees, and the name of the institution from which you obtained your highest degree.

Thank you

Richard Vallance Janke,

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

April 2018


Linear B syllabary with correspondances to the ancient Greek alphabet including digamma:

Linear B syllabary with Greek alphabet assignments

This table of the Linear B syllabary with correspondances to the ancient Greek alphabet including digamma outlines how each series of syllabograms, e.g. A E I O U, DA DE DI DO DU, KA KE KI KO KU, MA ME MI MO MU, TA TE TI TO TU etc. corresponds with the ancient Greek letter series, including the archaic Greek letter digamma, very common in Mycenaean Greek but absent from Classical Greek which are common to them. In some cases, the first consonant of the syllabogram series exactly matches the consonant + vowels of the Greek letters to which that series corresponds. These are:

DA DE DI DO DU = da de dei dh di dh do dw du

MA ME MI MO MU = ma me mei mh mi mh mo mw mu

NA NE NI NO NU = na ne nei nh ni nh no nw nu

SA SE SI SO SU = sa se sei sh si sh so sw su

But there is one significant problem. The Linear B syllabary cannot distinguish between short and long Greek vowels, or Greek double-vowel combinations. Thus,

DE DI DO = de dei dh di dh do dw

ME MI MO = me mei mh mi mh mo mw

NE NI NO = ne nei nh ni nh no nw

SE SI SO = se sei sh si sh so sw

must account for 2 or 3 vowel variations in the ancient Greek alphabet, as seen above. For example, as seen in the D series of syllabograms above, DE = any of 3 = de dei dh DI for either di dh & DO for either do dw. The list of syllabogram series and their Greek alphabetic equivalents above provides several examples of these vowel variations.

Syllabogram series representing multiple consonants + vowels:

Syllabogram series representing multiple consonants + vowels are more complex. These are:

KA KE KI KO KU corresponding to:

ga ge gei gh gi gh go gw gu

ka ke kei kh ki kh ko kw ku

xa xe xei xh xi xh xo xw xu

PA PE PI PO PU corresponding to:

pa pe pei ph pi ph po pw pu

fa fe fei fh fi fh fo fw fu

ya ye yei yh yi yh yo yw yu

QA QE QI QO corresponding to:

ba be bei bh bi bh bo bw bu

ga ge gei gh gi gh go gw gu

RA RE RI RO RU corresponding to:

la le lei lh li lh lo lw lu

ra re rei rh ri rh ro rw ru

TA TE TI TO TU corresponding to:

ta te tei th ti th to tw tu

qa qe qei qh qi qh qo qw qu

Plenty of examples of all of the consonant + vowel variations explained in all instances above are found in the table, following the table of syllabogram series, at the top of this post.

CONVENTIONS in Linear A and ancient Greek orthography:

Linear B is also unable to account for the presence of consonants in the ancient Greek alphabet, especially in the case of final or ultimate consonants, which are extremely common in ancient Greek, and de rigueur in masculine and neuter nouns and adjectives, and in the conjugations of several persons, singular and plural, in all cases of ancient Greek verbs (present, future, imperfect, aorist, perfect and pluperfect in all moods, indicative, optative and subjunctive). But only the present and aorist (CHECK) in the indicative and the present in the optative occur in Linear B.

I shall be posting the Greek equivalents to Linear B nouns, adjectives and verbs in an upcoming post.

The ubiquitous present participle passive in Mycenaean Linear B & in all subsequent ancient Greek dialects:

Here is a chart of attested (A) present participles passive in Mycenaean Greek found on Linear B tablets, and derived (D) present participles passive nowhere to be found extant in Mycenaean Greek:


As anyone familiar with ancient Greek can attest to, the present participle passive was ubiquitous in Mycenaean Linear B and in all subsequent ancient Greek dialects. Since (a) students and researchers with ancient Greek understand the full functionality of the present participle passive and (b) since all others not familiar with any ancient Greek dialect do not understand how the present participle passive functions, I am not bothering to provide examples of its usage in any ancient Greek dialect... although perhaps I should.

KEY! The all-pervasive present participle active in Mycenaean Linear B & in all subsequent ancient Greek dialects:

Table of attributed (A) and derived (D) present participles actives in Mycenaean Linear B & in Attic Greek:


NOTE: It is crucial that you read all of the notes in this table in their entirety; otherwise, a sound grasp of the conjugation of the present participle, especially of the feminine singular, in Mycenaean Linear B will not make any sense whatsoever.

The present participle active was all-pervasive and extremely common in both Mycenaean Linear B & in all subsequent ancient Greek dialects. It was heavily used to express continuous action in the present tense as well as accompaniment, i.e. to indicate that someone or something was with someone or something else. Thus, in Mycenaean Linear B, the phrase eo qasireu could mean either “being an overlord” or “with an overlord”, just as in Attic Greek eon basileus could mean either “being king” or “with the king”. As I have pointed out in the table above, the word qasireu never meant “king” in Mycenaean Linear B, since king was always wanaka. The qasireu was a lower ranking supernumerary, something equivalent to an overlord or baron.

Another point which we simply must keep uppermost in mind is the fact that digamma (pronounced something like “wau” or “vau”, was extremely common in both Mycenaean Linear B and its kissing cousin dialect, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, only falling permanently out of use in ancient Greek after the decline of these two dialects (Linear B, ca. 1600-1200 BCE & Linear C, ca. 1100-400 BCE). As is clearly attested by the table above, the feminine singular form of the present participle active, which was characterized by the all-pervasive presence of digamma in Mycenaean Linear B & in Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, had completely shed digamma even as early as the artificial amalgam, Homeric Epic Greek, even though digamma was still pronounced in the Iliad. 

The 3 derived (D) tenses of active optative of athematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, as represented by the template verb, didomi:

Here is the chart of the 3 derived (D) tenses of active optative athematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, as represented by the template verb, didomi:


Note that in the second example sentence in Mycenaean Greek, since the verb didomi is in the future active optative, the Mycenaean Linear B infinitive nikase = to defeat, must also be in the future. This is just another one of those remarkable eminently logical subtleties of ancient Greek, including Mycenaean. 
As you can see for yourself, I have been unable to reconstruct a paradigm table for the perfect active optative of athematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, as represented by the template verb, didomi. Since I have been unable to find any instances of that tense in any ancient Greek dialect, I am driven to conclude that it could not have existed in Mycenaean Linear B either. This is in contrast with the paradigm table for the active optative tenses of thematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, of which there are 4, as attested to here:


Since in this previous post I outlined almost all of the uses of the active optative in ancient Greek, including Mycenaean Linear B, there is no point rehashing these uses here. Simply refer back to the post to glean as full a grasp the multiple uses of the active optative as you can, on the understanding of course that you are already familiar with least Attic grammar.  If you are not versed in ancient Greek grammar, even if you are in modern Greek (in which there is no optative mood), there is really not much point to mastering all of the uses of the active optative in ancient Greek, except in so far as a basic understanding at least may offer you at least some insight into the more subtle and arcane operations of ancient Greek, of which there are plenty, as you might have already imagined by this point.

CRITICAL POST! The 4 major tenses of the derived (D) optative mood of thematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B:

Here is the paradigm of the 4 major tenses of the optative mood in Mycenaean Linear B, based on the derived (D) template verb, naie (ancient Greek, naiein) = to dwell in, inhabit:


Note that we have provided two examples of derivative (D) sentences in this table of the paradigms for the 4 tenses of the optative mood in Mycenaean Linear B and ancient Greek in order to facilitate a better understanding of its functionality.

As can be seen from the table above, there are only 4 primary tenses for the optative mood of thematic (and indeed for athematic) verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, as well as in ancient Greek. These are:

the optative present
the optative future
the optative aorist (or simple past)
the optative perfect

There is no optative imperfect. It is a contradiction in terms. How is it possible that something was in fact happening, kept on happening or used to happen, when it is readily apparent that the optative mood always runs contrary to reality. The optative mood only and always refers to potentialities or possibilities, never to actual situations, which of course strictly call for the indicative mood. 

The optative mood has no equivalent whatsoever in any modern Centum or Occidental language, including modern Greek. It lapsed out of use before the advent of modern Greek. The optative mood sometimes plays a similar role to the subjunctive mood in ancient Greek, but by no means always. As a matter of course, we shall not be deriving a table of the tenses of the subjunctive mood in Mycenaean Linear B, for two conclusive reasons:
1. The subjunctive mood occurs nowhere on any Linear B tablets, i.e. it is not attested, or so it would seem so... because...
2. The subjunctive mood is virtually indistinguishable from the active in Mycenaean Linear B, whether or not we are dealing with thematic or athematic verbs, for the simple reason that Mycenaean Linear B cannot distinguish between short and long vowels. In other words, while ancient Greek allows for the subjunctive mood, which calls for the lengthening of the vowel in any person of the present tense, this is impossible in Mycenaean Linear B.

So there would simply be no point in attempting to reconstruct a mood which could not even be observed on Mycenaean Linear B tablets, even it were present. But it never is to be found on any extant tablet, i.e. it is nowhere attested (A), because Mycenaean Linear B tablets almost exclusively deal with inventories, which are by nature factual, thereby automatically calling for the indicative, and precluding the subjunctive.

It may seem counter-intuitive to find the optative on at least one Linear B tablet, but there is a tenable explanation for this phenomenon. Since the tablet in question deals with religious matters, it makes sense for the optative to be present. For instance, it is possible to say in Mycenaean Linear B,

May we all worship the Goddess of the Winds.
If only they believed in the gods!

These sentences make perfect sense in Mycenaean Greek.

But this still leaves us with the burning question, what on earth is the optative mood?

This is no easy question to answer. But I shall do my level best. To begin with, it is highly expedient to consult the Wikipedia article on the optative mood in ancient Greek:


since doing so will expedite your understanding of the functions of the optative. Essentially, these are as follows:

1. to express a wish on behalf of the welfare of someone, e.g.:

May you be happy.
May you live long and be prosperous.

2. to express the wish or hope,... if only (which is contrary to reality, as it never happened anyway, no matter how much or how dearly one might have wished it had happened), e.g.:

If only the Mycenaeans had not conquered Knossos.
If only Donald Trump had not won the U.S. Election! (Fat chance of that!)

3. The potential optative expresses something that would or could happen in a hypothetical situation in the future, e.g.

I wouldnt be surprised if the fortress of Mycenae were to fall in the next few years.
I wouldnt be surprised if Donald Trump were impeached. (Good luck for that one!)

4. Potential in the aorist or the past tense, e.g.     

The king of Knossos fled the city for fear that he might be caught and imprisoned.

5. For purpose clauses in past time, the optative can follow the conjunction so that:

The king has brought us all together so that we might discuss the situation regarding the possibility of an outbreak of war.

6. After verbs expressing fear: 

I was afraid that he had gone out of his mind.

7. for formal benedictions or prayers (primarily in the New Testament), e.g.:

May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
May the Lord grant you mercy.

There are even more uses of the optative, but I do not wish to belabour the point. Suffice it to say, this mood is extremely flexible in ancient Greek. It always references actions or situations contrary to reality. It is often quite difficult for us in this present day and age to really get a grip on the various functionalities of the optative tense in ancient Greek, but get a grip we must if we are ever to really, clearly grasp what ancient Greek sentences relying on the optative actually mean, once we have embarked on that most challenging of journeys, to learn ancient Greek, to easy matter, let me tell you from personal experience.

CRITICAL POST: The active middle voice template, akeomai = I repair or I make amends for...  in the five major tenses in Mycenaean Linear B & ancient Greek:

In all of the ancient East Greek dialects, right on down from Mycenaean Linear B to Arcado-Cypriot, its closest cousin (ca. 1100-400 BCE), through to Homeric Greek (ca. 800 BCE, a hodgepodge amalgam of various early ancient Greek dialects), to Ionic and Attic Greek (ca. 500-400 BCE), right on through to Hellenistic Greek (ca. 300-100 BCE) to New Testament Koine Greek (ca. 100 AD) and even to modern Greek, the active middle voice was extremely common, playing an indispensable role in the expression of verbal actions. In fact, it was probably even more common than the standard active voice, which we have already covered under the verb kauo = to burn.

In Mycenaean Linear B and in all subsequent ancient Greek dialects, the template for active middle voice is here represented by the verb, akeomai = I repair -or- I make amends (for myself). The 5 major indicative active tenses represented are, once again:

the present active middle voice
the future active middle voice
the imperfect active middle voice
the aorist (or simple past) active middle voice
the perfect active middle voice

all conjugated in full in this table:


What is the function of the active middle voice in Mycenaean Linear B & ancient (as well as modern) Greek?

It is a very good thing to ask — in fact, it is crucial to the proper understanding of the critical difference between the standard active voice and the middle voice of verbs in Greek. The two voices are simply not the same. The standard active voice, as in the verb, kauo (present), kauso (future), ekauon (imperfect), ekausa (aorist or simple past) & kekausa (perfect) simply indicates something that someone does, will do, was doing, did or has done, with no further qualifications.

The active middle voice is quite another kettle of fish. It is much more active (quite literally!) and much more dynamic. The active middle voice denotes any of the following activities:

1. Any action undertaken by the subject, in which the subject takes a powerful personal interest in whatever action he or she is undertaking;
2. Any action undertaken by the subject, in which the subject acts strictly on his or her own behalf, without any direct influence of or consideration of whatever anyone else may think or adjudge about said action;
3. Any action undertaken by the subject, in which the subject acts independently, of his or her own volition, regardless;
4. Any action undertaken by the subject, which is of a reflexive nature, ie. by means of which the subject does something for or to oneself.

It goes without saying that an active present voice as so utterly complex as the active middle voice exists in no modern language, except for the fourth (4th.) application. The middle voice was of primal importance to the ancient Greeks because they were highly individualistic and egocentric (as opposed to being egoistic, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the active middle voice, except in rare instances). Reflexive verbs (4) are common in practically all modern languages. Thus, we have:

in English: I wash myself, you wash yourself, we wash ourselves etc.
et en français : je me lave, tu te laves, nous nous lavons – et ainsi de suite,
to cite just two examples.

On the other hand, the strict emphasis on personal responsibility for one’ s actions which is the preeminent characteristic of the active middle voice in Mycenaean Linear B and in ancient and modern Greek is nowhere to be found in modern Centum (Occidental) Indo-European languages such as English, French, Italian, Spanish, German etc. etc. In order to express the emphasis on direct personal responsibility innate to the active middle voice in ancient and modern Greek, modern languages have to resort to (sometimes cumbrous) circumlocutions. For instance, to express the first (1.) function of the active middle voice in ancient Greek, English has to resort to this circumlocution:

I am taking a powerful personal interest in repairing... etc.

And for the second (2.) function, this is what English has to resort to:

I am acting strictly on my own behalf in repairing (regardless of what anyone else thinks of it)

And for the third (3.) function:

I am acting entirely on my own (or independently) to repair etc.

Quite the circumlocutions in comparison with the active middle voice in ancient Greek, which is always so compactly and eloquently expressed by a single word, regardless of tense!

Consequently, it is virtually impossible to grasp the several meanings (at least 4) inherent to the active middle voice in ancient Greek, unless one has a firm grasp on the 4 principal functions I have outlined here. I repeat, the distinction between the simple active voice and the active middle voice in both ancient and modern Greek is fundamental to a proper understanding of the divergent functioning of these two active tenses, the simple active and the active middle.

The virtual invariability of the most archaic athematic MI verbs in ancient Greek from 1200 BCE (Linear B) – New Testament Koine Greek (ca. 100 AD):

The following table clearly illustrates that the most archaic of ancient Greek verbs, namely, athematic verbs in MI, underwent only barely perceptible changes over a span of 1,700 years.


This is because these verb forms were already fully developed even as early as in the Mycenaean Greek dialect, written in Linear B (ca. 1600-1200 BCE). This phenomenon falls under the purview of diachronic historical linguistics, whereby the term diachronic means “linguistic change or lack of it over an extended period of time”. The importance of the minimal changeability of archaic athematic MI verbs cannot be over stressed. Regardless of the period and of any particular dialect of ancient East Greek (early: Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot, middle: Homeric Epic, an amalgam of various dialects, Classical: Ionic & Attic) & late (Hellenistic & Koine Greek), very little change occurred.  In fact, only the second & third person singular underwent any change at all. In Mycenaean Greek alone, the second person singular was didosi & the third person singular was didoti. In all subsequent dialects, the form of the 2nd. person singular became that for the third, while the second person singular itself morphed into didos in all ancient East Greek dialects pursuant to Mycenaean. This was the one and only change the conjugation of the present tense of archaic athematic verbs such as didomi underwent diachronically from 1,600 BCE to 100 AD. The verb didomi effectively serves as the template for the conjugation of the present active of all athematic verbs in MI throughout this historical period.  This is just one notable aspect of progressive (D) derived Linear B grammar. There are many others, which of course we shall address in the gradual reconstruction of ancient Mycenaean Greek grammar over the next few months. 

Reduplication in the perfect active of the verb pine = to drink, derived (D) from the attested (A) perfect active of kaue = to burn in Mycenaean Linear B:

The attested perfect active of the Mycenaean Linear B verb, kaue = to burn, serves as the template upon which any number of derived (D) verbs in the active perfect may be extrapolated. This table illustrates this process:


In order to form the active perfect tense, the ancient Greeks usually (but not always) resorted to the technique of reduplication, whereby the first syllable of the verb is prepended to the initial syllable of the conjugation of the same verb in the aorist (simple past), with this proviso, that the orthography of first syllable, or in Mycenaean Linear B, the vowel of the first syllabogram, is morphed into e from the initial vowel of the first syllable of the aorist, which is usually a or o in the aorist, prior to reduplication. Thus, in Mycenaean Linear B, the first syllabogram must reflect the same change. Hence, ekausa (aorist) = I burned (once only) becomes kekausa (perfect) = I have burned, while epoka (aorist) = I drank (once only) becomes pepoka= I have drunk. This transformation is critical, since both the aorist and the perfect active tense are very common in ancient Greek.

For the first time in history, the conjugation of athematic MI verbs in 5 active tenses in Mycenaean Linear B:

We now continue with the conjugations of 5 active tenses for athematic MI verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, represented here by the athematic verb, didomi (Latinized), which was  extremely commonplace right on down from Mycenaean Greek through to Attic and Hellenistic Greek and beyond, to New Testament Greek. We can safely confirm that the conjugation of athematic MI verbs underwent almost no perceptible changes (if any at all) from the Mycenaean era to the New Testament. The reason for this is apparent. Since the conjugation of athematic MI verbs was already cemented, in other words, fossilized, by as early as the Mycenaean era, there would have been no need whatsoever to change, modify or supposedly improve on its conjugations. For this reason alone, regressive extrapolation of the conjugations of 5 active tenses of athematic MI verbs is a simple matter. So in the case of athematic MI verbs, the method of retrogressive extrapolation we normally apply to grammatical elements in Mycenaean Linear B derived (D) from later ancient Greek dialects does not apply. Since the conjugations  of MI verbs were already fully consolidated in Mycenaean Greek, it is quite beside the point. It The 5 tenses of the indicative active we have accounted for in our table of conjugations of athematic MI verbs are:

the present active
the future active
the imperfect active
the aorist active (both first and second)
the perfect active

as illustrated in this table of paradigms:


As I have already pointed out in the previous post on thematic active verbs in 5 tenses, I  have deliberately omitted the pluperfect tense active, as it was extremely rare in all ancient Greek dialects. Note that it is assumed that scholars, researchers and linguists reviewing our tables of conjugations of verbs in Mycenaean Greek are well versed in ancient Greek, and hence familiar with the subtle distinction between the first and second aorist (simple past tense). For this reason, we shall not attempt to differentiate between the two. Should anyone wish to do so, that person can refer him or herself to the Wikipedia articles on this topic. As for those of you who are not yet versed in ancient Greek, most notably, the Attic dialect, you will have to learn ancient Greek in the first place before you can even hope to grasp the distinction between the first and second aorist, let alone understand so many other elements of ancient Greek grammar.

For the first time in history, the complete conjugations of 5 major derived (D) active indicative tenses of thematic verbs in Linear B progressive grammar:

The tenses of active thematic verbs are:
the present indicative active
the future indicative active
the imperfect indicative active
the aorist indicative active
the perfect indicative active

Here is are the 2 tables (A & B) of the complete derived (D) conjugations of these 5 tenses of the active thematic verb kaue = the archaic ancient Greek kauein (Latinized), to set on fire:


The ability of a linguist specializing in Mycenaean Linear B, i.e. myself, to cognitively restore no fewer than 5 active tenses of thematic verbs by means of progressive Mycenaean Greek derived (D) grammar boils down to one impressive feat. However, I have omitted the pluperfect indicative active, since it was rarely used in any and all of the numerous dialects of ancient Greek, right on down from Mycenaean to Arcado-Cypriot to Aeolic, Ionic and Attic Greek, and indeed right on through the Hellenistic and New Testament eras. So since the pluperfect tense is as rare as it is, why bother reconstructing it? At least, this is my rationale. Other researchers and linguists specializing in Mycenaean Linear B may disagree. That is their perfect right.  

Is Mycenaean Greek in Linear B a proto-Greek dialect? Absolutely not!

There are still a few researchers and historical linguists specializing in Mycenaean Linear B who would have us believe that Mycenaean Greek is a proto-Greek dialect. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact that so many fully developed grammatical forms are attested (A) on Linear B tablets confirms once and for all that Mycenaean Greek is the earliest intact East Greek dialect. Among the numerous grammatical forms attested (A) in Mycenaean Greek, we count: [1] verbs, including infinitives active and some passive for both thematic and athematic MI verbs; a sufficient number of verbs either in the active present or aorist tenses; a considerable number of participles, especially perfect passive; and even the optative case in the present tense, [2] nouns & adjectives, for which we find enough attested (A) examples of these declined in the nominative singular and plural, the genitive singular and plural and the dative/instrumental/ablative singular & plural. The accusative singular and plural appear to be largely absent from the Linear B tablets, but appearances can be deceiving, as I shall soon convincingly demonstrate. Also found on the extant Linear B tablets are the comparative and superlative of adjectives, and [3] almost all of the prepositions to be found in later ancient Greek dialects. Taken altogether, these extant attributed (A) grammatical elements form a foundation firm enough to recreate templates for all of the aforementioned elements in a comprehensive derived (D) progressive Mycenaean Linear B grammar. If you are still not convinced, I simply refer you to the previous post, where examples of many of  these grammatical elements are accounted for.  Moreover, once I have completely recompiled ancient Mycenaean Greek grammar, you should be convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mycenaean Greek was the very first true ancient Greek dialect.

What is progressive derived (D) Mycenaean Linear B grammar? 

By progressive I mean nothing less than as full a restoration as possible of the corpus of ancient Mycenaean Greek grammar by means of the procedure of regressive extrapolation of the (exact) equivalents of any and all grammatical elements I shall have reconstructed from the two major sources of slightly later archaic Greek, namely: (a) the Arcado-Cypriot dialect, in which documents were composed in the Linear C syllabary, a direct offshoot of Mycenaean Linear B (Even though the two syllabaries look scarcely alike, the symbolic values of their syllabograms are in almost all instances practically identical), and from so-called Epic Greek, which was comprised of diverse elements haphazardly drawn from various archaic Greek dialects, in other words yielding nothing less than a mess, but a viable one nonetheless.

At this juncture, I must emphatically stress that, contrary to common opinion among ancient Greek literary scholars not familiar with either Mycenaean Linear B or Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, the gap between the scribal Linear B tablets and the next appearance of written ancient Greek is not around 400 years (1200-800 BCE), as they would have it, but only one century. Why so? Hard on the heels of the collapse of the Mycenaean Empire and of its official script, Linear B, ca. 1200 BCE, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C first appeared in writing a mere 100 years after, give or take. The revised timeline for the disappearance and reappearance of written Greek is illustrated here:

If this is not convincing enough, Mycenaean Greek’s intimate cousin, Arcado-Cypriot, of which the syllabary is Linear C, is even more closely related to Mycenaean Greek than Ionic is to Attic Greek. In fact, you could say that they are kissing cousins. Now it stands to reason that, if Arcado-Cypriot in Linear C is a fully developed East Greek dialect, as it most certainly is (subsisting at least 700 years, from 1100 – 400 BCE), then it follows as day does night that Mycenaean Linear B must also be a fully functional East Greek dialect (in fact, the first). The two factors addressed above should lay to rest once and for all that Mycenaean Greek is merely proto-Greek. That is sheer nonsense.

CRITICAL POST: What is Mycenaean Linear B progressive grammar & how do we derive it from attested (A) grammatical forms?

We must first extrapolate as many elements of attested (A) grammar from extant Linear B tablets as we possibly can before even thinking of addressing Mycenaean Linear B derived (D) progressive grammar.  I shall significantly expand this post in a new article soon to appear on my account. Pardon the pun, but keep posted. This article, which is to serve as the formal introduction to derived (D) Mycenaean Linear B grammar, is bound to have a decisive impact on the Linear B research community. If this is not enough, just wait until researchers are confronted with the entire corpus of derived (D) Mycenaean Linear B grammar, which is much larger and more comprehensive than anyone can currently imagine, apart from myself.  Since no one to date has ever assayed a relatively complete reconstruct of Mycenaean grammar, THAT will really hit home! The essays on derived (D) Mycenaean Linear B grammar will need to be subdivided by grammatical categories, verbs first, then nouns, etc., to prevent us from overwhelming our readers with the substantial mass of data we shall be covering.    

Before we can even pose the question, “What is Mycenaean Linear B derived (D) progressive grammar?”, we must account for any and all traces of Mycenaean grammar on the extant tablets. If we are to rely on the Mycenaean Linear B tablets, regardless of provenance, for signs of Mycenaean grammar, we are bound to be somewhat disappointed. Nevertheless, there remains on the Linear B tablets a corpus of Mycenaean grammar, considerably more substantial than we might have suspected, which is sufficiently viable for the reconstruction from the ground up of significant corpus of Mycenaean derived (D) grammar. In fact, the attributed (A) elements of Mycenaean grammar on extant Linear B tablets provide us with more than enough ammunition to reconstruct a wide spectrum of derived (D) Mycenaean grammar, as we shall soon see. From scanning through Chris Tselentis’ splendid Linear B Lexicon and other extant sources of Mycenaean Greek, I have been able to isolate the following snippets of extant, i.e. attributed (A), Mycenaean grammar.  These I have categorized by the discrete grammatical categories with which we are all familiar. 


NOTE that I am resorting to Prof. L.R. Palmer’s convention of LATINIZING all Linear B syllabograms, hence, words and phrases, since listing as many Mycenaean Linear B as I have even for attested (A) grammatical forms is a very tedious process not worth my trouble, let alone anyone else’s. However, I am providing in this post a few examples of actual attested (A) Linear B words, along with the complete derived (D) conjugation of didomi (I give), derived from the attested (A) didosi (they give) below. Here is the conjugation in the present active tense of the athematic verb didomi, fully restored:


Here you see examples of some of the grammatical forms listed in the attested (A) glossary below:


For Prof. L.R. Palmer’s extremely comprehensive glossary of Mycenaean Linear B words, see The Interpretation of Mycenaean Texts (1963), pp 403-466. Apart from Chris Tselentis’ Linear B Lexicon, this is far and away the most useful source of Mycenaean Linear B. 

KEY to abbreviations:

ps = person singular; pp = person plural; f = future; o = optative; dat = dative; pi (siffix)= instrumental or primeval ablative case e.g teukepi = with instruments or paraphernalia



akee = to send
akere = to gather, collect
apieke – to be covered all over
apudoke = to deliver
ekee = to have, hold
eree = to row
ereuterose = to set free, deliver from  
pere = to bring
piriye = to saw
woze = to work

Future passive:
dekasato = to be accepted

eureuterose = to set free (in the future)

Present indicative active:
ake 3 ps = he or she guides (sends?)
apeeke 3ps = he or she lets go
apieke 3ps = it contains???
apudoke 3ps = he or she delivers
didosi 3pp = they give, devote, grant
dose(i) 3ps = he or she gives
dososi 3pp = they give
ekamate 3ps = he or she stays
eke 3ps = he or she has
eko 2ps = I have
ekome 1pp = we have
ekote 2pp = you have
ekosi 3pp they have
eesi 3ps 3pp = he or she is, there is/they are?
ereutero 1ps = I set free
kitiyesi 3pp = they cultivate 
operosi 3pp = they owe
oudidosi 3pp = they do not give, are not giving
pasi 3pp = they say 
pere = he or she brings
piriyo = I saw (i.e. a log)
ponike 3ps = he or she decorates with a griffin
teke = he or she puts or sets
toqide 3ps = it has spirals
weke = he or she works
wide = he or she sees
zeukesi 3pp = they yoke or span  

Present passive:
ekeyoto = they are included

Present optative:
epikowo 3ps = that he or she may pay attention to
euketo 3ps = that he or she may wish (for)
qiriyato = that he or she may buy
uruto = he or she may guard

didosi = they gave = 3rd. person plural present tense
odoke = he or she gave
oporo = they owed
teke = he or she assigned
owide (wide) = he or she saw


Present Active:
apeaso/a 3ps = absent 
diuyo/a or diwiyo/a 3ps = belonging
eko/ekontes 3ps/3pp = having
eo 3ps = being
iyote 3pp = coming
kesenewiyo/a = hospitable (a divine epithet)
opero 3ps & operoso/a + operote 3pp = owing
oromeno/a = watching over
ouwoze = not working
temidweta/te = having rims, i.e. with rims  
tetukuwoa/tetukuwea2 = well prepared, ready (for distribution on the market)
toqideyo/a + toqideweso/a = with spirals
zesomeno/a = boiling

Present passive:

anono = not rented
audeweso/a = decorated with rosettes?
dedemeno/a = bound
dedomeno/a = (things) being offered
dedukuyo/a = being apprenticed to
epididato/a = distributed
erapameno/a = sown (as of cloth)
ereutero/a = set free
kuparisiyo/ya = made of cypress
pitiro2weso/a = adorned with feathers 
zeukesi 3ppdat = yoked, spanned
wozomeno/a = being fashioned/well made  

tetukuwo/a = well prepared, ready Cf. etoimo/a (D)

Perfect passive:
aetito/a = not used?
akitito/a = untitled?
amoiyeto/a = just delivered
anamoto/a = not assembled
apato/a = not sown?
emito/a = hired, paid
epididato/a = distributed
epizoto/a = bound, tied on top of
iyeto/a = delivered, offered up (religious connotation)
kakodeto/a = bound with copper?
kekaumeno/a = burned, razed to the ground
metakekumeno/a = dismantled?
qeqinomeno/a = made by twisting

Future perfect passive:
ewepesesomena = things to be returned *

pi (siffix)= instrumental or primeval * ablative case:
We refer to the ablative case as primeval, since it had completely disappeared from ancient Greek as early as Homer.

teukepi = with instruments or paraphernalia
seremokarapi  = decorated with sirens

In the next post, we shall be addressing the present, future, imperfect, aorist and perfect tenses of thematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B.  

CRITICAL POST! Progressive Linear B grammar: active thematic aorist infinitives in Mycenaean Linear B: Phase 3

With the addition of this table of active thematic aorist infinitives:


we have completed the first 3 stages in the reconstruction of the grammar of natural Mycenaean Greek as it was spoken between ca. 1600 (or earlier) and 1200 BCE. These stages are: 1. the present infinitive 2. the future infinitive & 3. the aorist infinitive. Although there were other infinitives in ancient Greek, they were rarely used, and so we are omitting them from our progressive grammar.

While it is a piece of cake to physically form the aorist infinitive either in ancient alphabetic Greek or in Mycenaean Linear B, the same cannot be said for the innate meaning of the aorist infinitive. What does it signify? Why would anyone even bother with a past infinitive when a present one does just fine? What are the distinctions between the present, future and aorist infinitives in ancient Greek and in Mycenaean Linear B?


What is the meaning of the aorist infinitive or, put another way, what does it signify?

While the use of the present infinitive corresponds exactly with infinitives in almost all other Occidental languages, ancient and modern, the same cannot be said of the future and aorist infinitives in ancient Greek and Mycenaean, for which there are, in so far as I know, no equivalents in modern Centum languages.

The impact of understanding the future infinitive on grasping the aorist in ancient Greek.

First, the future infinitive. We feel obliged to review its function in order to prepare you for the even more esoteric aorist infinitive. The future infinitive is used when the sentence is in either the present or the future. How can it be used with a verb in the present tense? The reason is relatively straightforward to grasp. If the speaker or writer wishes to convey that he or she expects or intends the infinitive modifying the principle verb to take effect immediately, then the infinitive too must be in the present tense. But if the same author  expects or intends the action the infinitive conveys to take place in the (near) future, then the infinitive must be future, even though the main verb is in the present tense.  The distinction is subtle but critical to the proper meaning or intent of any Greek sentence employing a future infinitive with a verb in the present tense. The best way to illustrate this striking feature of ancient Greek is with English language parallels, as we did in the post on future infinitives. But to make matters as clear as possible, we repeat, here in the present tense, the 2 sentences I previously posted in Latinized Linear B along with the English translation. First we have,

Konoso wanaka eqetai qe katakause etoimi eesi.
The King and his military guard are prepared to set about burning Knossos to the ground.
Compare this with:
Konoso wanaka eqetai qe katakaue etoimi eesi.
The King and his military guard are prepared to burn Knossos to the ground. 

In the first instance, the subjects (King and military guard) are prepared to raze Knossos in the near future, but not right away. This why I have translated the infinitive katakause as – to set about burning Knossos to the ground.

But in the second case, the King and his military guard are prepared to burn Knossos to the ground immediately. The future does not even enter into the equation.

In the second example, we have:

Wanaka tekotono wanakatero peraise poroesetai.
The King is allowing the carpenters to soon set about finishing the palace.
(future infinitive)... versus   
Wanaka tekotono wanakatero peraie poroesetai. (present infinitive)...
The King allows the carpenters to finish the palace. (i.e. right away).

The distinction is subtle. But if you are to understand ancient Greek infinitives, including Mycenaean, you must be able to make this distinction. The question is, why have I resorted to repeating the synopsis of the future infinitive, when clearly the subject of our present discussion is the aorist or past infinitive? The answer is... because if you cannot understand how the future infinitive works in ancient Greek and Mycenaean, then you will never grasp how the aorist infinitive functions.

What is the aorist infinitive and how does it function?

The aorist infinitive describes or delineates actions or states dependent on the main verb which have already occurred in the (recent) past. It can be used with principal verbs in the present or past (aorist or imperfect), but never with those in the future. Once again, the distinction between the present and aorist active thematic infinitives is, if anything, even subtler than is that between the future and present infinitives. Allow me to illustrate with two examples in Latinized Linear B.


Wanaka poremio taneusai edunato.
The King was in a position to have put an end to the war (clearly implying he did not put an end to it).
Note that the main verb, edunato = was able to, is itself in the past imperfect tense.  But this sentence can also be cast in the present tense, thus:

Wanaka poremio taneusai dunetai. 
The King is in a position to have put an end to the war.
In this case, the use of the aorist infinitive is not mandatory. But if it is used, it still signifies that the aorist infinitive operates in the past, and it is quite clear from the context that he could have ended the war, but never did.

Compare this with the use of the present infinitive in the same sentence. 

Wanaka poremio taneue dunetai.
The King is able to put an end to the war (immediately!)
To complicate matters even further, even if the main verb is in the simple past (aorist) or the imperfect (also a past tense), you can still use the present infinitive, as in:

Wanaka poremio taneue edunato. 
The King was able to put an end to the war (right away).
This clearly calls for the present infinitive, which always takes effect at the very same time as the primary verb.

Although the analysis and synopsis above makes perfect sense to students and researchers familiar with ancient Greek, it is difficult for newcomers to ancient Greek to grasp the first time they are confronted with it. But patience is the key here. By dint of a large number of examples, it will eventually sink in.

So as the old saying goes, do not panic! 

Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Derived (D) Verbs/Infinitives in U = 516

In this post we find derived (D) infinitives in U. Here is the table of derived (D) thematic and athematic active present infinitives starting with the Greek letter U:


This constitutes the very last table of present infinitives active we are posting. The grand total of present infinitives we have tabulated thus comes to 516. Of course, this is but a small representative cross-sampling of the present infinitives we could have covered. However, I decided from the very outset to limit myself to those present infinitives which would be the most likely to have been used the most frequently in natural, spoken and written Mycenaean Greek. So the list is of necessity arbitrary.

It was highly likely that official documents, poetry (if any) and religious texts were written in natural Mycenaean Greek on papyrus. However, the moist climate of Crete and the Greek mainland meant that papyrus, unlike in the arid climate of Egypt, was doomed to rot away. So we shall never really know whether or not there were documents in natural Mycenaean Greek. But my educated hunch is that there were.

The GRAND TOTAL of natural Mycenaean Greek derived (D) infinitives we have posted comes to 516.

Now that we are finished with both present and future infinitives active in Mycenaean Greek, the next step is to address aorist or simple past infinitives. If anything, the aorist infinitive active, which was used very frequently in ancient Greek, right on down from the Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot dialects to the Ionic, Athenian and New Testament Greek, is conceptually rather difficult for modern day students of Greek to grasp. However, we shall do our best to make the experience less painful.

Once we have tabulated a dozen or so examples of aorist infinitives, we shall then proceed to reconstruct Mycenaean Greek grammar from the ground up. This is a huge undertaking which of course has never been assayed before. But it is my profound belief and conviction that it must be done. The post immediately following the one on the aorist infinitive will introduce the outline of all aspects of Mycenaean grammar I intend to cover... and there is a lot of it.     

Progressive Mycenaean Linear B derived (D) grammar, Phase 2: the future infinitive

In the table below you will find the future infinitive form of thematic (so-called regular) verbs in ancient Greek along with their counterparts in derived (D) Mycenaean Greek. The Mycenaean Greek is said to be derived (D), since there are no attested (A) forms of future infinitives on any extant Linear B tablets. However, the future infinitive is so easily formed from the present that it is certain that the Mycenaean forms I have provided below are correct:


Here, the future infinitive is provided only for verbs of which the stem of the present infinitive terminates with a vowel. Thus, damauein => damausein, eisoraiein => eisoraisein etc., and the shift from the Mycenaean Linear B present infinitive to the future is identical, thus:

damaue => damause, eisoraie => eisoraise etc.

It is imperative that you read the three notes at the end of the table above; otherwise, you will not understand why ancient Greek resorted to future infinitives when it was strictly called for. Since ancient Greek is the mother of all modern Centum (Occidental) languages, it contains every possible variant in conjugations and declensions to be found in the latter, except that modern Occidental languages never contain all of the elements of ancient Greek grammar. The lack of a future infinitive in modern Centum languages (at least as far as I know) bears testimony to the fact that ancient Greek contains more grammatical elements than any modern language. Each modern language borrows some, but never all, grammatical elements from ancient Greek. The upshot is that ancient Greek grammar is significantly more complex than ancient Latin and all modern Occidental languages. This will become painfully obvious as we progress through each grammatical element, one after another in ancient Greek, including Mycenaean. For instance, the next grammatical form we shall be addressing is the aorist or simple past infinitive, another one which does not appear in any modern Western language.

Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Derived (D) Verbs/Infinitives in T = 502

In this post we find derived (D) infinitives in T. Here is the table of derived (D) thematic and athematic infinitives starting with the Greek letter T:


It was highly likely that official documents, poetry (if any) and religious texts were written in natural Mycenaean Greek on papyrus. However, the moist climate of Crete and the Greek mainland meant that papyrus, unlike in the arid climate of Egypt, was doomed to rot away. So we shall never really know whether or not there were documents in natural Mycenaean Greek. But my educated hunch is that there were.

The total number of natural Mycenaean Greek derived (D) infinitives we have posted so far = 502.

Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Derived (D) Verbs/Infinitives in S = 487

In this post we find derived (D) infinitives in S. Here is the table of derived (D) thematic and athematic infinitives starting with the Greek letter S:


It is absolutely de rigueur to read the NOTES on Mycenaean versus ancient archaic Greek orthography in the chart above. Otherwise, the Linear B sentences will not make any sense.

It was highly likely that official documents, poetry (if any) and religious texts were written in natural Mycenaean Greek on papyrus. However, the moist climate of Crete and the Greek mainland meant that papyrus, unlike in the arid climate of Egypt, was doomed to rot away. So we shall never really know whether or not there were documents in natural Mycenaean Greek. But my educated hunch is that there were.

The total number of natural Mycenaean Greek derived (D) infinitives we have posted so far = 487.

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Serendipitously happening on this account put a bee in my bonnet. I simply had to send you all on the fast track to downloading and installing the Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C + several beautiful ancient Greek fonts, of which the most heavily used is SPIonic, used for Ionic, Attic, Hellenistic and New Testament writings and documents.  Hre are the links where you can download them, and much more besides!

Colour coded keyboard layout for the Mycenaean Linear B Syllabary:


includes font download sites for the SpIonic & LinearB TTFs


The first ever keyboard map for the Arcado-Cypriot Linear C TTF font!


which also includes the direct link to the only site where you can download the beautiful Arcado-Cypriot Linear B font, here:


How to download and use the Linear B font by Curtis Clark:


Easy guide to the Linear B font by Curtis Clark, keyboard layout:
Here is the Linear B keyboard. You must download the Linear B font as instructed below:


And here is the actual cursive Linear B font as it actually appears on the most famous of all Linear B tablet, Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris):


What’s more, you can read my full-length extremely comprehensive article, An Archaeologist’s Translation of Pylos Tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) by Rita Roberts, in Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448, Vol. 10 (2014), pp. 133-161, here: 


in which I introduce to the world for the first time the phenomenon of the decipherment of what I designate as the supersyllabogram, which no philologist has ever properly identified since the initial decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B by Michael Ventris in 1952. Unless we understand the significance of supersyllabograms in Linear B, parts or sometimes even all of at least 800 Linear B tablets from Knossos alone cannot be properly deciphered. This lacuna stood out like a sore thumb for 64 years, until I finally identified, categorized and deciphered all 36 (!) of them from 2013 to 2014. This is the last and most significant frontier in the complete decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B. Stay posted for my comprehensive, in-depth analysis and synopsis of The Decipherment of  Supersyllabograms in Linear B, which is to appear early in 2017 in Vol. 11 of Archaeology and  Science. This ground-breaking article, which runs from page 73 to page 108 (35 pages on a 12 inch page size or at least 50 pages on a standard North American page size)  constitutes the final and definitive decipherment of 36 supersyllabograms, accounting for fully 59 % of all Linear B syllabograms. Without a full understanding of the application of supersyllabograms on Linear B tablets, it is impossible to fully decipher at least 800 Linear B tablets from Knossos.

Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Derived (D) Verbs/Infinitives in R = Greek = 423:

In this post we find derived (D) infinitives in R. Here is the table of derived (D) thematic and athematic infinitives starting with the Greek letter R:


It is absolutely de rigueur to read the NOTES on Mycenaean versus ancient archaic Greek orthography in the chart above. Otherwise, the Linear B sentences will not make any sense.

It was highly likely that official documents, poetry (if any) and religious texts were written in natural Mycenaean Greek on papyrus. However, the moist climate of Crete and the Greek mainland meant that papyrus, unlike in the arid climate of Egypt, was doomed to rot away. So we shall never really know whether or not there were documents in natural Mycenaean Greek. But my educated hunch is that there were.

The total number of natural Mycenaean Greek derived (D) infinitives we have posted so far = 423.

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