Category: Religion

Rita Roberts’ translation of Knossos tablet KN J 1 f 01, her last tablet for her second year of university:

Linear B tablet KN 1 J f 01 priestess of the winds

Line 1: Deukijojo = month name + temeno = shrine. The damaged first syllabogram looks like TO. The actual word temeno =temple” does not appear on the first line of this tablet, since it appears that the the scribe has made a scribal error, which actually happens quite often on Linear B tablets. The writing is messy, and appears to read teno, which would explain the scribal error, i.e. he missed on one syllabogram. Deukijojo could either be a month name, in which case it means “the tenth month” or more properly in this content, “of the tenth month” or it could simply be a persons name. If it refers to the tenth month, then it follows that the entire tablet refers to this month.

Line 2:

Wakatanujo – or- Dukatanayo = name + newejo = “of something new” + 3 units (probably bales) of barley. Hence the line refers to 3 new units (probably bales) of barley from Wakatanujo – or- Dukatanayo

Line 3:

Padarejode = a place hame, which is a sanctuary = hence, olive oil from Dardare and 2 units (probably bales) of barley.

Line 4:

Pade = name plus olive oil and 1 unit (probably a bale) of barley

Line 5:

Pasiteoi = “to all gods” barley and 1 unit of olive oil

Line 6:

olive oil and barley for Qerasiya = goddess Artemis, with numerals absent because of right truncation.

Line 7:

1 unit of barley to all the gods at Aminiso = Amnisos

Line 8:

2 units (probably pithoi) of olive oil for the goddess Erinu. Note that Erinu references one of the Furies (Erynies) in Greek. So it would appear that the scribe tells us that there was a sacrifice to at least one of or probably all of the Furies to appease them so that crops would thrive.

Line 9:

Gold and olive oil and 1 cyperus plant, probably dedicated to the priestess of the winds in Line 10.

Line 10:

4 cyperus plans dedicated to Anemo Ijereja = to the priestess of the winds

Line 11:

Blank and truncated.

Line 12:

3 units (probably pithoi) of olive oil and 2 units of barely plus 2 cyperus trees (also probably dedicated to the priestess of the winds)

Line 13:

Blank and truncated.


This is the very last tablet Rita Roberts is to translate for her second year of university, and it is by far the most challenging she has ever been confronted with to date. Congratulations to Rita! She is now about to take her final examination for her second year, which is to consist of 25 questions in increasing level of difficulty, the last 5 of which are to be translations of tablets, plus her second year thesis paper, What did the Minoan agricultural sector contribute to the Mycenaean Empire? This paper must be at least 25 pages long, inclusive of the bibliography but excluding illustrations, which will add to the page length of her thesis. Since this thesis paper is much more difficult than her first year thesis, I am allotting her three months to complete it, i.e. Feb. 15 – May 15. However, she must complete the rest of the examination in just 2 weeks (Feb. 15 – March 1 2018).

In the next post, I shall re-inscribe the entire tablet in archaic Greek from the Mycenaean.


Egypt says 4,400-year-old tomb discovered outside Cairo: Sat., Feb. 3, 2018

Wall paintings depict high-ranking official Hetpet observing different hunting and fishing scenes

Egypt_Ancient_Tomb 4440 BCE

CBC News: Science and Technology: (Click all graphics for each article)

CBC News Egyptian tomb 4400 years old

ABC News: High-ranking female official's 4,400-year-old tomb discovered outside Cairo

ABC News Egyptian tomb 4400 years old

Washington Post:

Egypt says 4,400-year-old tomb discovered outside Cairo

Washington Post Egyptian tomb 4400 years old

This image taken from video on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, shows wall paintings inside a 4,400-year-old tomb near the pyramids outside Cairo, Egypt. Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry announced the discovery Saturday and said the tomb likely belonged to a high-ranking official known as Hetpet during the 5th Dynasty of ancient Egypt. The tomb includes wall paintings depicting Hetpet observing different hunting and fishing scenes. (APTN/Associated Press) 


CAIRO — Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a 4,400-year-old tomb near the country’s famed pyramids at the Giza plateau just outside Cairo, the Antiquities Ministry said Saturday, the latest discovery that authorities hope will help revive the country’s staggering tourism sector.

The tomb was found in a wider area of Giza’s western necropolis, which is known to be home to tombs from the Old Kingdom.

It likely belonged to a woman known as Hetpet, who archaeologists believe was close to ancient Egyptian royals of the 5th Dynasty.

The tomb, unveiled to the media on Saturday, is made of mud brick and includes wall paintings in good condition depicting Hetpet observing different hunting and fishing scenes.

Other scenes also depict a monkey — in pharaonic times, monkeys were commonly kept as domestic animals — picking fruit. Similar scenes have been found in other tombs belonging to the later 12th dynasty, according to the ministry’s statement. Another scene shows a monkey dancing before an orchestra.

According to the ministry, the archaeological mission behind the discovery started excavation work last October. Archaeologists have been making discoveries near the site since the 19th century, and Mostafa al-Waziri, who led the mission, believes there is still more to be found.This is a very promising area. We expect to find more,” Al-Waziri told reporters at the site. “We have removed between 250-300 cubic meters of layers of earth to find the tomb.”What we see above the earth’s surface in Egypt doesn’t exceed 40 percent of what the core holds,” he added.

Al-Waziri believes Hetpet had another tomb in Giza’s western necropolis and said that excavation work is underway to find that one too.

Hetpet is a previously known figure in Egyptian antiquity though her mummy has not been discovered yet. Fragments of artefacts belonging to Hetpet were found in the same area back in 1909, and were moved to a museum in Berlin at the time, Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said Saturday, speaking at the site to reporters and Western diplomats.

Despite all the discoveries already made about ancient Egypt, experts say they hope to find much more — in part thanks to modern technology — treasures still buried under the vast desert.

The area of the latest discovery is close to a new museum under construction that will house some of Egypt’s most unique and precious artifacts, including many belonging to the famed boy King Tutankhamun.

The first phase of Grand Egyptian museum is expected to be opened later this year while the grand opening is planned for 2022.

In January, Egypt placed the ancient statue of one of its most famous pharaohs, Ramses II at the museum’s atrium, which will include 43 massive statues.
Throughout 2017, the Antiquities Ministry made a string of discoveries across Egypt — including some in the southern city Luxor known for its spectacular temples and tombs spanning different dynasties of ancient Egyptian history.

Comment by moderator:
The discovery of ancient artifacts and monuments is a never-ending story. We have barely scratched the surface. This amazing discovery holds out hope that more Linear A and Linear B tablets will be unearthed in the near future (2018-2035)

Silver pin from Mavro Spelio: A.Y. Nikolaos Museum PL Zf 1:

Minoan Linear APL Zf1 silver pin Nikolaus Museum


This silver pin, PL Zf 1, from Mavro Spelio, now housed in the A.Y. Nikolaos Museum, Crete, bears an inscription which may read dextrograde (left-to-right) or sinistrograde (right-to-left), but either way the text reads the same way. The inscription is a mixture of Mycenaean-derived New Minoan (NM1) and Old Minoan. The words Tanunikina (nom. fem. sing.) and Ninuni (dat. sing.) are almost certainly eponyms, with the former acting in some way as an agent of healing to the latter. Apart from the eponyms, the Old Minoan text is indecipherable. But that does not mean we cannot catch the drift of the inscription, because we can. It certainly makes sense that Tanunikina, despite her best efforts to spin or weave a magic spell, cannot heal Ninuna. We can infer that Tanunikina is a healer priestess. Such personages were extremely common in the ancient world, and certainly in Minoan Crete and on the Mycenaean mainland, with this practice surviving into archaic and classical Greece. She may even be an oracle, such as we find at Delphi much later on in ancient Greek history. If she is an oracle, she probably worked from a Minoan peak sanctuary.   

Linear A haiku: the saffron goddess, her crimson dress adorned with ivy:

Minoan Linear A haiku sea sarai the saffron goddess

In this haiku, all of the words except sarai = “flax or saffron” (the latter in this context) are Mycenaean-derived New Minoan (NM1). The onomatopoeia of the 3 phrases rolls off the tongue. Not only is her dress adorned with ivy, apparently she is as well.


Inscription from Malia in New Minoan Linear A, Tainaron, a town with authority:

Mallia text in Linear A dealing with Tainaron with Linear B transcription

Here we have yet another inscription from Malia in New Minoan Linear A, which appears to invoke the supreme authority of Tainaron, a town at the southern tip of Laconia, with the blessings of the gods. If this tablet is indeed inscribed in Mycenaean-derived new Minoan, then it is the fourth of the tablets from Malia I have deciphered, all of them in New Minoan. It would thus appear that the Mycenaeans had assumed suzerainty over Malia before these tablets were inscribed, and that the scribes there were still using the Linear A syllabary to inscribe tablets in Mycenaean Greek, just before the switch-over to the new official syllabary, Linear B. It cannot simply be co-incidental that all of the inscriptions from Malia, including the famous IDAMATE labrys from the Archalochori Cave, appear to be inscribed in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan. In fact, the word Idamate can easily be rendered as the mother (goddess) of Mount Ida”. It is also a matter of great interest to note that Tainaron itself is the toponym of Cape Tainaron,

Tainaron ancient Greece

where there was a sanctuary of Poseidon, who may very well be the god who has brought blessings on the town. It is to be noted that the Archalochori axe inscribed in proto-Greek is also in a sanctuary where a horde of bronze votive weapons, mostly axes, were discovered. Moreover, Malia tablet MA 1 appears to deal with Minos, the legendary king of Knossos offering gold to Rhea, mother of Zeus. In other words, all of the inscriptions from Malia deal with religious rites. This should come as no surprise, as more Linear A than Linear B tablets appear to focus on religious symbolism or rites.

Except for Tainaro, which is equivalent to the nominative neuter in Linear B, all proto-Greek spellings on this inscription have been adjusted to meet the exigencies of Old Minoan syntax. It would thus appear that etanasu is the Minoan orthography for hestanwn (standing, Greek Latinized), while pijani is the dative or instrumental singular in Minoan of the noun derived from the Greek verb, piainw, to enrich. The orthography of Tainaro appears to confirm that the nominative neuter in Linear B underwent no change in Minoan. This conclusion conforms with the table of 45 apparent Minoan masculine and neuter nominatives I recently posted:

Decipherment of the Linear B seal BE Zg2:

Linear B seal BE Zg 2

This decipherment is straightforward. It certainly makes sense that a Linear B seal could deal with 5 torches, more than likely in the context of a religious or royal rite.

Decipherment of Haghia Triada tablet HT 11 entirely in Mycenaean derived Greek:

HT 11

If we read this tablet as if it were inscribed in Mycenaean derived Greek, it does actually make sense. While the tablet is partially an inventory, the rest of it is a religious ceremony for (farmed?) land leased out, blessed by 3 priests. It is much more complex than most tablets either in Linear A or in Linear B.


in commemoration of the savage attack on a Muslim mosque
in Quebec City, Sunday, January 29, 2017


3 So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you,
rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 
4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day, and seven times
come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” 

Luke 17: 3-4

Is humankind so kind or so unkind
we have embraced and have abandoned love
we harmonized ... or despotize to blind
ourselves to pitying the mourning dove? —
or mob ourselves with xenophobic crime? —
and chase our dreams but chase them all away? —
We pillorize our neighbours half the time,
while terrorizing those for whom we pray.
Come on! What, come again?  Can you explain
why our religion has to reign supreme,
while theirs and yours must suffer mindless pain
to kill our worlds that no one can redeem. 
     Excuse me, God... Hey, do You give a damn
     as we expose our souls to another scam?

Richard Vallance,

January 30, 2017

Réponse par Richard Vallance Janke à la recherche très récente sur la tablette AN PY 55 = AN 724, menée par Tina et Enriqueta Martinotti, dont leur étude : 

Tina MARTINOTTI, Enriqueta MARTINOTTI. Poétique Mycénienne dans la Tablette PY 724 An ( PY 55) de Pylos, classfiée comme " liste de rameurs ". Épigraphie mycénienne: traduction de la tablette en linéaire b Py 55=An 724 de Pylos classifiée c.. 2015. 


HAL Id: hal-01147208
Submitted on 29 Apr 2015

Depuis Chadwick, la tablette en linéaire b, classifiée Py 55=An 724 a été interprétée à partir de la lecture des séries de signes ro-o-wa comme le nom du port de Pylos et e-re-ta comme « rameur/s » ; plusieurs auteurs pensent que ce texte est une liste de rameurs. Mais la présence de la série ki-ti-ta, interprétée d’abord comme « agriculteur », a produit des controverses : Que faisait le mot « agriculteur » dans une liste de rameurs ? Finalement ki-ti-ta a été interprétée, de manière un peu téméraire comme «unité fiscale»3. Cette dernière hypothèse imagine le cas de l’infortune des agriculteurs qui, ne pouvant payer leurs taxes foncières, s’engageaient dans la marine.

Néanmoins, la tablette n’a aucune similitude avec une liste, elle présente des lignes complètes. Toutes ces approximations théoriques, en étant arbitraires, suggèrent une défaillance dans l’interprétation. Ainsi, cette tablette est l’objet de l’analyse que nous exposons ici, en prenant la méthode épigraphique des systèmes syllabaires dont un signe est homophonique, polysémique et logographique. La traduction, ici proposée, suit la méthodeinterprétative4 des phonèmes, et recherche l’énoncé produit pour l’homophonie. Notre analyse démontre que la tablette PY 55 ne traite pas d’une liste de rameurs, mais qu’il s’agit d’un admirable texte littéraire où le mythe, le culte et la tradition se trouvent étroitement liés aux données philologiques, archéologiques, iconographiques et géographiques. Cette tablette est une oeuvre littéraire mycénienne et une des premières chansons épiques ; un texte narratif qui renvoie aux rituels et offrandes dans la grotte dite aujourd’hui « Grotte de Nestor », ainsi que le sacrifice du taureau « auprès de la mer salée », tel que nous l’a transmis la tradition homérique. On verra que ce texte décrit l’épique d’une figure héroïque divine ; les exploits d’un dieu qui étaient dignes de mémoire pour les pyliens. Ce texte décrit un héros divin mythique, guérisseur, guerrier, fécondant, en étroit rapport avec la déesse Terre, et représentant, à ses yeux, l’idéal de la valeur et des vertus bienfaisantes...

à laquelle ma réponse à mon compte sur, ici :


Bonjour, Tina !

Je tiens à vous répondre cette fois de la manière la plus respectueuse, vu que je viens de lire très attentivement deux de vos articles. J’en lirai les autres dès que j’aurai le temps libre de les assimiler avec le plus grand soin.
Je dois vous avouer franchement que je suis très impressioné de votre recherche concernant le déchiffrement du syllabaire Linéaire B. Mais en dépit de mon admiration considérable de vos efforts énergiques à cet égard, je suis toujours constraint de garder plusieurs réservations relatives à votre hypothèse essentielle, là où il s’agit de la nature polysémiotique des syllabogrammes et des mots mycéniens, surtout à la lumière du syllabaire Linéaire C du dialecte arcado-chyprien, qui n’obéit en aucune manière à votre hypothèse essentiel, ce qui me rend plutôt soupçonneux, voire méfiant de quelques-unes des conclusions auxquelles vous souscrivez. De l’autre part, je suis ravi que mes propres hypothèses vous incitent finalement à promulguer les votres, car il est carrément évident que le monde international de la recherche historique et diachronique des syllabaires ne tire pas avantage de votre perspicacité pénétrante depuis je ne sais combien d’années. Néanmoins, il est vraiment à regretter que vous conduisez vos recherches, paraît-il, uniquement en français, étant donné que la plus grande proportion de loin des recherches dans tous les domaines scientifiques et techniques est menée, comme vous le savez très bien, uniquement en anglais.  Cela signifie en un mot que la très grande majorité des rechercheurs en linguistique historique et diachonique sont par forfait dépourvus des implications à grande portée, à fort impact et certes à long terme de vos recherches si importantes. Et cela, presqu’inutile de dire, c’est vraiment grand dommage ! Et c’est dans cette optique que presque toute la communauté mondiale de la recherche en linguistique restera  malheureusement dépourvue de l’impact considérable, voire, révolutionnaire, de vos recherches sur les syllabaires du monde antique. 

En plus de tout cela, il me reste à assumer la responsabilité de répondre nettement et de façon strictement logique à plusieurs de vos conclusions, non pas en français, mais en anglais, pour que les rechercheurs allophones en anglais puissent suivre la trame de notre discussion continue en ce qui regarde le déchiffrement des syllabaires Linéaire A et B, nonobstant le Linéaire C, dont je ferai au fur et à mesure plusieurs observations et commentaires d’extrême importance et pertinence à ce même égard.

Reste à constater qu’à partir d’aujourd’hui, je me sentirai obligé de discuter en anglais tout aspect des trois syllabaires dont il s’agit (les Linéaires A, B, et C)  de telle sorte que nos collègues allophones puissent suivre et comprendre notre dialogue soutenu.


Merci bien, ma collègue très estimée

Richard Vallance Janke

More gems of Bahai’ wisdom!

More gems of Bahai wisdom!






The famous Serenity Prayer!

The famous Serenity Prayer!




Bahai’ = the latest Dispensation from God = Progressive Revelation

Imagine my astonishment when I happened across the teachings of the Bahai’ Faith, which came into being in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Its teachings are revolutionary. It allows one to keep the faith of one’s birth, in my case, Christian, but it opens up so many avenues to a faith greater than all religions, including itself. The Bahais firmly believe that theirs is not the last revelation, that more are to come. This sets them apart from all past religions.  Unlike all previous religions of the past, the Bahai’ faith firmly counsels universal education, the education of women and the equal rights of women and men, the promotion and teaching of technology and science, and the list goes on and on. This sort of religion truly appeals to an intellectual such as myself. I shall be posting the tenets of the Bahai’ faith on a regular basis here on Minoan Linear A, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae.

Here are the first three observations from the faith:




They are real eye-openers!

3 alternatives in Minoan Linear A for pasiteoi = “to all the gods” in Mycenaean Greek:

pasiteoi pasi

I rummaged through every last of the scores of Minoan Linear A tablets I have on file, searching for any rendition possible commensurate with the phrase pasiteoi = “to all the gods” in Mycenaean Greek. I have made the assumption, however misplaced, that since this a 5 syllabogram or syllable phrase in Mycenaean Linear B, the cross-correlated phrase in Minoan Linear A should run to approximately the same number of syllabograms or syllables, give or take. I found 3 alternatives. I had little choice, as there is simply no way or knowing whether or not any one of these 3,  iqa*118, dadumata or *47nuraja  corresponds to the Mycenaean phrase, if indeed any of them do. However, the chances are pretty good that one of them does.

So take your pick. I lean towards dadumata, as it looks like it might be plural, though certainly not necessarily neuter plural, corresponding to the ultimate “a”, which imposes itself on any word in the neuter or feminine plural in Mycenaean Greek. One simply cannot transpose the last vowel “a” for the neuter plural in Linear B to Linear A. The same problem obtains with *47nuraja.  On the other hand, transposition of “a” for Greek “ai” in Mycenaean Greek is a (somewhat remote) possibility in Minoan Linear A. But here again we cannot and must not leap to any premature conclusions. 

Each of these terms qualifies as the sixty-ninth (69) term I have deciphered, more or less accuracy, in Minoan Linear A.

Linear B tablet Pylos TA Ae 08 offerings of gold from her slaves to the priestess at Pylos:

Linear B tablet Pylos Ae 08 offerings by slaves to the priestess at Pylos

The Linear B tablet Pylos TA Ae 08 offerings of gold from her slaves to the priestess at Pylos is one of the most famous of all Linear B tablets. It rounds out our survey of 6 religious tablets in Mycenaean Linear B which may very well serve as templates for the decipherment of Minoan Linear A tablets in the same vein.

The co-dependent supersyllabograms KI = kitimena kotona & O = onaton in Linear B:

Knossos tablet KN 930 G a 302 &amp; the supersyllabograms KI &amp; O

The two supersyllabograms KI = kitimena kotona & O = onaton in Linear B are very frequently concatenated on Linear B tablets in the agricultural sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy. This combination of supersyllabograms KI + O occurs on scores of tablets from Knossos alone. These two supersyllabograms always precede the ideogram they modify, and this ideogram is always either the one for “rams” (most often) or “ewes” and occasionally for “sheep” (the generic ideogram).  When linked together in this fashion they always mean “a usufruct lease field which is a plot of land”, in other words “a usufruct leased plot of land” within the context of a larger “lease field” of which this plot of land is one among several. How many we cannot say, because we were not there when the Minoan/Mycenaean overlords parcelled out their fields to be leased as smaller plots of land to their tenants.

The number of leased plots per lease field may have been as few as 4 or as many as 10 or 20. If the number were to have run to the latter end of the spectrum, that would have meant that the lease fields themselves, which were to have been sub-parcelled into leased plots must have been quite large, even if the size of the separate leased plots might have been as small as approx. 1 hectare. In that scenario, a lease field with 20 leased plots of approx. 1 hectare would be about 20 hectares in size. It is to be clearly understood that we have no yardstick or should I say metric stick by which to determine exactly or even approximately the Minoans at Knossos or Phaistos or the Mycenaeans at Mycenae, Pylos and elsewhere actually measured the size of their fields. The hectare is just an approximation, nothing more. But it will do as well as any measure.

On another count, we note that on this tablet, the land tenant is Siadyweis. He is not the land owner because he is clearly leasing a plot of land on a much larger lease field owned by the overseer.  Also, we note that the person connected with the Minoan Goddess, Potnia, must be her priest, because it is in the masculine. This seems a rather odd arrangement to me, since in almost all other instances where this famous Minoan goddess is mentioned, it is with reference to her Priestess(es) and not her Priest(s). The Minoan religion was substantively matriarchal, not patriarchal. That said, this tablet clearly defines her attendant as her Priest.

Several illustrations of the the Minoan goddess, Potnia:

Potnia Theron Minoan Snake goddess and Artemis


A partial Linear B tablet from  Knossos illustrating 542 amphorae or pithoi! 

KN 712 M p 01

This is a partial Linear B tablet from  Knossos illustrating 542 amphorae or pithoi, a staggering number. Since the pithoi at Knossos are all huge, it is impossible that these 542 amphorae an all be pithoi. Far from it. Probably 500 at least were smaller amphorae, and the rest (42 or so) possibly pithoi, but we cannot be sure. I have deduced that teyo to the left side of this partial tablet is the genitive singular of the Linear B word teo = “Zeus” or “a god”, hence in this context it means, “of Zeus” or “of the god”, implying that all of these amphorae and pithoi are the property of said god. 

Here we see a fabulously wrought Minoan bee pendant with what appears to be the image of a Minoan priest or god in the centre.

Minoan bee pendant god ca 1850 - 1550 BCE Aigina

Rams for ritual slaughter: KN 386 A 87 & KN 387 X c 57 joins:

KN 386 &amp; KN 387 tablet joins sacrificial rams

Here I am really digging deep into unknown waters in the decipherment of Linear B, deeper than I ever have.

These two fragments were originally one tablet. The central part is missing. This has got to be one of the most fascinating challenges I have ever encountered in the decipherment of Linear B text, since, as with all Linear B joins, it requires the decipherer to attempt to fill in the blanks, so to speak, i.e. the missing part of the original tablet, which as you can see is in an inverted V shape. If at all possible, as much the text that originally was located within that V has to be restored. Since as everyone knows who visits our blog that I am never one to skip a challenge, no matter how tough, I took it upon myself to make a serious attempt at a plausible reconstruction of at least part of the missing text, and to my satisfaction, I believe I succeeded, in the sense that I have recovered what might plausibly have been some of the original text, at least conjecturally. Any other interpretation might suffice, provided that (a) it made sense in the context of the text preserved on the two adjacent sides & (b) that the missing vocabulary was consistent with the ritual of religious sacrifice of sheep, a common practice in many civilizations of the ancient world.

Let us walk through my decipherment of the so-called missing text step by step. First of all, we have the left truncated syllabograms ... NO heading the first line of the right hand side of the original tablet (KN 387 X c 57). It is no easy matter to even make a stab at what the rest of this word could possibly have meant, or for that matter, how many syllabograms, in other words, syllables, it contained. So I had to take the only recourse available to me, and that was to ransack Chris Tselentis’ excellent Linear B Lexicon of at least 2,500 Linear B words for any word ending in NO which might possibly suit the context, keeping firmly in mind that this is the scene of a religious ceremony involving the ritual sacrifice of a ram or rams. I finally found the term which ideally suited the context, and it is temeno, which means a religious shrine or temple. It fits the context like a glove. So the likelihood that this was indeed the missing word ending with left-truncated NO is reasonably assured. On the second line of the same fragment (the right side), we have repa, the last two syllabograms or syllables of another missing word. The term which immediately leaped to mind was arepa = “cream” or “ointment”, and if that is a putative “correct” translation, it can be interpreted as meaning an  “anointing cream”. Fits the bill. The third word on the third line of the right hand side of the fragment, ending in the single syllabogram WE, was much harder to divine. It could be one of a dozen things, but I finally settled on duwowe, meaning  “a two handled vessel or urn”.  This again suits the context, but it is only one of scores of possible interpretations, all of which would have equally suited the context.  I was working on the assumption that the person making the sacrifice, presumably a priest, would have cremated the ashes of the ram(s) after the sacrifice. But this is definitely going out on a limb, since in most ancient societies, sacrificial slaughter of  sheep or rams involved killing them and then roasting them on a spit for subsequent consumption in a religious feast honouring the god” or if Hebrew, God. On the other hand, the Minoans and Mycenaeans may have (also) cremated the ashes of the sacrificed ram. If there is any researcher or archaeologist out there who visits this blog and can refute the notion of post-sacrificial cremation among the Minoans and Mycenaeans, please have at it and I shall revise my decipherment accordingly. 

Moving over to the left hand side of the join (KN 386 A 87), which contains considerably less text, we have on the second line the syllabogram QE, which by itself means “and”, but which in this case might possibly be the last syllabogram, i.e. last syllable of a Linear B word... except that scarcely any Linear B words end in QE,  and any way the syllabogram QE in this context is written huge. So I am left with no other alternative than to interpret it as I have done = “and”.  But “and” what? There you have me. I am stumped. On the next line, the third one down, we have the ideogram for “man” or “person” followed by the number 1, for “one person”, this in turn followed by the supersyllabogram SA, and then by the ideogram for “ram” and the number 1. The SSYL SA I have previously established on another tablet posted on this blog as most likely meaning sapaketeriya = “for ritual slaughter” or “for ritual sacrifice”. This too suits the context very well.  You can see the downwards pointing arrow from the ideogram for “man” to the word Towaune = “Towaunes”, presumably the name of the man, on the fourth line. His name in turn is followed by a Linear B word, which, if complete, is doke, a variation on odoke, the aorist (simple past) of the verb didomi (in Linear B), which means “to give” or “to offer”, and in this context “to offer up” (for ritual sacrifice). So now the sense is complete, except for all those single syllabograms (qe wa & po) on the left side of the join, which I can make no sense of at all. And that is a pitfall. However, within these restraints, I have been able to come up with one possible, even plausible interpretation (among God knows how many others), which you can see in translation at the bottom of the figure above.

The famous “Bulls Head” sacrificial Rhyton, Ashmolean Museum, translated:

KN 872 M o 01 libation cup and Nestor

This is one of the most well-known of all Linear B tablets. It was unearthed by Sir Arthur Evans from the debris at Knossos in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, so much of the text is missing or badly mutilated (left truncated) that it is difficult to translate it. In addition, the words “neqasapi” and “qasapi”, which are variants of one another, are to be found nowhere in Tselentis or any other Mycenaean Greek lexicon, including the most comprehensive of them all, that of L.R. Palmer in The Interpretation of Mycenaean Greek Texts (1963). However, I was able to make sense of the right side of the tablet, which fortunately is largely intact. The Bulls Head is not just a bulls head, it is a sacrificial Bulls Head rhyton, as you can see from my archaic Greek text, here transliterated into Latin characters, “rrhuton kefaleiia tauroio” = “a rhyton of the head of a bull”. There are also 3 kylixes or cups with handles, presumably made of gold. So I was able to extricate enough text to make reasonable sense of this fine tablet.

The homophone supersyllabogram AI = goat:

Kn 913 D k 01 AI Aiza

The supersyllabogram AI is the only homophone (not a regular syllabogram) which qualifies as a supersyllabogram. But it presents an unusual special case. As you can see from the Linear B text, the scribe uses the supersyllabogram for “goat” actually “billy goat” and then, strangely enough (as it would first appear, the ideogram for the same, “billy” goat, followed by the number 1. Then on the second line he uses the ideogram for “she goat”, again followed by the number 1 and by the syllabogram PA right truncated.

If all this seems a mystery to you, it is not to me. The syllabogram PA right truncated on the second line almost certainly means pasi teoi = to all the gods, which in turn implies sapaketeriya = sacrificial rites. That is precisely the reason why the scribe repeats “billy goat”, first as a supersyllabogram and then as an ideogram on line 1. This is no ordinary billy goat. And she is no ordinary she goat. This is a “sacrificial billy goat to all the gods”. The reason why the scribe does not even bother to repeat the supersyllabogram AI for “goat” on the second line is that the SSYL for “goat” on the first line includes both the billy goat and the she goat, his partner. No Linear B scribe in his right mind would ever repeat the same supersyllabogram, in this case AI, twice on the same tablet, for the simple reason that the scribes routinely omitted text (and in this case the SSYL AI on the second line) to save precious space on the tiny Linear B tablets, which rarely (like this one) exceeded 15 cm. (6 inches) in width.

This is the only possible decipherment. I am so sure of it that I would bet my life on it... well, not literally.

Happy Third Anniversary to Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae!

Happy Third Anniversary to Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae!

Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae was founded in March 2013, and since then it has grown to become the premier Linear B blog on the entire Internet. Our blog covers every conceivable aspect of research into Mycenaean Linear B, including, but not exclusively, decipherment of hundreds of tablets from every single sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy (agriculture, military, textiles, spices & condiments, vessels and pottery and the religious sector); the translation of the introduction to Book II of the Iliad, plus the entire Catalogue of Ships in Book II, with particular emphasis on the extensive influence of Mycenaean Linear B and of he Mycenaean world on the Catalogue of Ships; extensive vocabulary, lexicons and glossaries of Linear B; lessons in Linear B; progressive grammar of Linear B; extensive research into the 3,500 Scripta Minoa tablets from Knossos; and above all other considerations, the isolation, classification and decipherment of all 35+ supersyllabograms in every sector of the Minoan/Mycenaen economy (see above). Supersyllabograms were previously and erroneously referred to as “adjuncts” in Mycenaean Linear B. The decipherment of supersyllabograms is the major development of the further decipherment of Linear B since the genius, Michael Ventris, first deciphered it in 1952.

But that is not all. Our blog also zeroes in on Minoan Linear A, with at least one successful attempt at deciphering at least one word on a major Linear A tablet, and that is the Linear A word for “tripod”, a truly serendipitous development, given that the same word was the first word ever translated in Mycenaean Linear B. Our blog also focuses on Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, with a few translations of tablets in that script. In short, no other blog on the Internet deals as extensively with all three of these scripts, Linear A, Linear B and Linear C together.

It is also remarkable that we have had in excess of 80,000 visitors since our blog’s inception in March 2013. While this figure may seem rather smallish to many visitors, may I remind you that Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B and Arcado-Cypriot Linear C are extremely esoteric in the field of ancient linguistics. To put it another way, how many people in the entire world do you imagine can read Mycenaean Linear B, and even fewer who can read Arcado-Cypriot Linear C? Scarcely more than a very few thousand out of a population of 7+ billion. So I believe that we have made great strides in the past three years, and I fully expect that we shall top 100,000 visitors by the end of this year, 2016.

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