Category: Orthography

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.


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.

Linear A Lexicon 2018 vocabulary only, no definitions: PART 3: entries 801-1166

Linear A Lexicon 2018 entries 801-1116

This lexicon adopts the conventions followed by L.R. Palmer in his ground-breaking work on Linear B, The Interpretation of Mycenaean Greek Texts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, © 1963, 1998. ix, 488 pp. ISBN 0-19-813144-5 (1998). For Palmers glossary, which follows these conventions, see pp. 402-473.  We have adopted these conventions to make the vocabulary of Linear A accessible to any and all, from lay persons not yet familiar with Linear A and non-linguists (somewhat) familiar with Linear B and/or A all the way to professional linguists adept in Linear B, and possibly also in Linear A, in order that everyone, regardless of education or scholastic background may readily access our Linear A Lexicon and come to familiarize him- or herself with at least the rudiments of Linear A, or in the case of professional linguists, with the intricacies of the syllabary.    

This Lexicon represents all of the vocabulary Alexandre Solça and I myself have compiled, plus around 100 additional exograms deciphered by Peter van Soebergen in his superb 4 volume set, Minoan Linear. Amsterdam, Brave New Books, © 2016. ISBN 9789402157574  
Originally published 1987 

801. rosa  
802. rosasiro 
803. rotau  
804. roti 
805. rotwei 
806. rua 
807. rudedi 
808. ruiko 
809. Rujamime 
810. ruka/rukaa/ruki/rukike 
811. Rukito 
812. ruko
813. rukue
814. ruma/rumu/rumata/rumatase
815. rupoka
816. ruqa/ruqaqa 
817. rura2 (rurai)
818. rusa/rusi
819. rusaka
820. rutari 
821. rutia 
822. ruzuna

823. sadi
824. saja
825. sajama/sajamana
826. sajamadi
827. sajea 
828. saka 
829. samidae 
830. samuku 
831. sanitii 
832. sapo/sapi
833. saqa
834. saqeri 
835. sara2 (sarai)/sarara/saro/saru 
836. saradi
837. sarara
838. sareju 
839. saro/saroqe
840. saru/sarutu 
841. sasaja
842. sasame 
843. Sasara(me)  
844. sasupu 
845. sato/sata 
846. sea/sei 
847. sedina 
848. sedire 
849. seikama 
850. Seimasusaa  
851. seitau
852. Sejarapaja 
853. Sejasinataki
854. Sekadidi 
855. Sekatapi 
856. sekidi  
857. Sekiriteseja 
858. sekutu 
859. semake
860. semetu 
861. senu 
862. sepa
863. sere -or- rese 
864. sesapa3
865. Sesasinunaa
866. sesi -or- sise
867.  setamaru 
868.  Seterimuajaku
869.  Setira 
870.  Setoija 
871. sezami 
872. sezanitao 
873. sezaredu 
874. sezatimitu 
875. sia 
876. side/sidi/sidare
877. sidate/sidatoi 
878. sidija
879. sii/siida/siisi 
880. siitau 
881. sija 
882. Sijanakarunau
883. sika 
884. siketapi
885. sikine 
886. Sikira/Sikirita 
887. sima 
888. simara 
889. simeki
890. simita 
891. sina
892. sinada
893. sinae  
834. sinakanau
895. sinamiu
896. sinatakira
897. sinedui
898. sipiki 
899. sipu3ka 
900. sire/siro/siru/sirute
901. siriki 
902. sireneti
903. sirumarita2 (sirumarita1)
904. sita2 (sitai) -or- ta2si (taisi) 
905. sitetu 
906. situ 
907. situra2re 
908. siwamaa
909. sodira
910. sokanipu
911. sokemase  
912. sudaja
913. suja 
914. sukinima
915. Sukirita/Sukiriteija  
916. suniku 
917. supu2ka
918. supa3 (supai)/supa3ra (supaira) 
919. supi/supu/supu2 (supui) 
920. sure  
921. suria
922. suropa 
923. sutu/sutunara
924. suu 
925. suwaresu
926. suzu 

923. taa
924. tadaki/tadati
925. tadeuka 
926. taikama 
927. Tainaro 
928. tainuma
929. tainumapa 
930. Ta2merakodisi (Taimerakodisi)
931. ta2re (raire)
932. ta2reki /ta2riki (aireki/tairiki)
933. Ta2rimarusi (Tairimarusi) 
944. tai2si (taisi) 
945. ta2tare
946. ta2tite
947. ta2u 
948. tajusu
949. takaa/takari 
950. taki/taku/takui
951. Tamaduda 
952.  Tanamaje
953.  Tanarateutinu 
954.  tanate/tanati  
955.  Tanunikina 
956.  tamaru 
957. tami/tamia/tamisi 
958. tani/taniria/tanirizu 
959. tanika
960. taniti 
961. Tanunikina
962. tanurija
963. tanuwasa... 
964. tapa
965. tapiida
966. tapiqe
967. tara/tare
968.  tarasa 
969.  tarawita
970. tarejanai
971. tarikisu 
972. tarina (tawena)
973. taritama 
974. taro 
975. tasa/tasaja 
976. tasaza
977. tasise 
978. tata/tati 
979. tatapa3du (tatapaidu)
980. ta2tare (taitare)
981. ta2tite (taitite)
982. Tateikezare... (truncated)
983. tedasi/tedatiqa 
984. tedekima 
985. teepikia 
986. teizatima
987. teja(i)/teija
988. teijo
989. tejare 
990. tekare
991. teke/teki 
992. tekidia 
993. temada/temadai
994. temeku
995. temirerawi 
996. tenamipi 
997. tenata/tenataa 
998. Tenatunapa3ku
999. tenekuka
1000. teneruda 
1001. teniku 
1002. tenita(ki) 
1003. tenu/tenumi 
1004. tepi
1005. tera/tere
1006. teraseda 
1007. tereau 
1008.  tereza 
1009.  teri (tewe)/teridu
1010.  terikama 
1011.  tero/teroa 
1012.  terota -or- rotate -or- tatero
1013. terusi 
1014.  tesi/tesiqe  
1015. Tesudesekei 
1016. tetita2 (tetitai)
1017. tetu 
1018. Tewirumati  
1019. Tidama  
1020. tidata 
1021. tidiate
1022. tiditeqati
1023. tiduni/tiduitii
1024. tiisako 
1025. tija
1026. tika 
1027. titiku 
1028. tikiqa 
1029. tikuja 
1030. tikuneda
1031. timaruri/timaruwite
1032. timasa 
1033. timi 
1034. timunuta 
1035. tina
1036. Tinakarunau 
1037. tinata/tinita  
1038. tinesekuda 
1039. Tininaka
1040. tinu/tinuka/tinuja 
1041. tinusekiqa 
1042. tio 
1043. tiqatediti
1044. tiqe/tiqeri/tiqeu 
1045. tiraduja 
1046. tira2
1047. tirakapa3 (tirakapai)
1048. tire 
1049. tisa 
1050. tiri 
1051. tiriadidakitipaku
1052. tisiritua
1053. tisudapa
1054. tita 
1055. titema 
1056. titiku 
1057. titima 
1058. titisutisa 
1059. tiu
1060. tiumaja 
1061. tizanukaa
1062. toipa 
1063. tome 
1064.  toraka 
1065. toreqa
1066. toro
1067. totane 
1068. tuda
1069. tui 
1070. tujuma 
1071. tukidija
1072. tukuse 
1073. tuma/tumei/tumi 
1074. tumitizase 
1075. tunada
1076. tunapa
1077. tunapa3ku
1078. tunija

1079. tunu/tunuja

1080. tuqenu… (truncated)

1081. turunu 
1082. Tupadida
1083. tuqe
1044. turaa 
1085. turunuseme 
1086. turusa
1087. tusi/tusu 
1088. tusupu2
1089. tute/tutesi 

1090. udami/udamia
1091. udeza
1092. udimi 
1093. udiriki 
1094. ukanasi... (truncated) 
1095. ukare 
1096. Ukareasesina 
1097. uki 
1098. uminase 
1099. unaa 
1019. unadi 
1100. unakanasi
1101. unana 
1102. unarukanasi/unarukanati
1103. upa 
1104. uqeti 
1105. urewi 
1106. uro 
1107. uso/usu 
1108. uta/uta2 (utai) 
1109. utaise
1110. utaro 
1111. Utinu 

1112. waduko
1113. waduna
1114. Wadunimi 
1115. waja 
1116. wanai 
1117. wanaka
1118. waomi 
1119. wapitinara2 
1120. wapusua  
1121. wara2qa (waraiqa)

1122. wasato

1123. Wasatomaro

1124. + wasukinima

1125. watepidu 
1126. Watumare
1127. wazudu 
1128. weruma/werumati
1129. wetujupitu
1130. widina 
1131. widui 
1132. widunimi 
1133. wija 
1134. Wijasumatiti 
1135. winadu
1136. winipa 
1137. winu
1138.  winumatari 
1139. wiraremite 
1140. wireu 
1141. wirudu 
1142. wisasane 
1143. witejamu 
1144. witero

1145. zadeu
1146. adeujuraa 
1147. zadua 
1148. zakisenui
1149. zama/zame
1150. zanwaija
1151. zapa 
1152. zare/zaredu
1153. zareki
1154. zaresea 
1155. zasata 
1156. zirinima
1157. zokupa
1158. zokutu 
1160. zukupi 
1061. zuma 
1062. zupaku 
1163. zurinima
1164. zusiza 
1165. zusu HT 1
1166. zute 


Linear A Lexicon 2018 vocabulary only, no definitions: PART 2: entries 440-800

Linear A Lexicon 2018 entries 440-800

This lexicon adopts the conventions followed by L.R. Palmer in his ground-breaking work on Linear B, The Interpretation of Mycenaean Greek Texts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, © 1963, 1998. ix, 488 pp. ISBN 0-19-813144-5 (1998). For Palmers glossary, which follows these conventions, see pp. 402-473.  We have adopted these conventions to make the vocabulary of Linear A accessible to any and all, from lay persons not yet familiar with Linear A and non-linguists (somewhat) familiar with Linear B and/or A all the way to professional linguists adept in Linear B, and possibly also in Linear A, in order that everyone, regardless of education or scholastic background may readily access our Linear A Lexicon and come to familiarize him- or herself with at least the rudiments of Linear A, or in the case of professional linguists, with the intricacies of the syllabary.    

This Lexicon represents all of the vocabulary Alexandre Solça and I myself have compiled, plus around 100 additional exograms deciphered by Peter van Soebergen in his superb 4 volume set, Minoan Linear. Amsterdam, Brave New Books, © 2016. ISBN 9789402157574  
Originally published 1987 

440. maa
441. madadu 
442. madati
443. madi HT 3
444. mai/maimi 
445. majutu 
446. makai/makaise 
447. makaita 
448. makarite  
449. mana/manapi 
450. maniki 
451. Manirizu 
452. manuqa
453. maro/maru/maruku/maruri 
454. masa/masaja 
455. masi/masidu 
456. Masuja 
457. masuri 
458. matapu
459. mateti 
460. mati/matiti 
461. matizaite 
462. maza/mazu  
463. medakidi  
464. Mekidi 
465. mesiki -or- sikime – or - kimesi 
466. mepajai
467. mera 
468. merasasaa/merasasaja 
469. mesasa
470. Mesenurutu
471. meto 
472. Meturaa
473. meza 
474. mia
475. midai 
476. midani 
477. midamara2 (midamarai) 
478. midara
479. midemidiu 
480. mie
481. miima  
482. Mijanika
483. mijuke
484. mikidua 
485. mikisana/mikisena
486. minaminapii 
487. minedu
488. mini 
489. miniduwa 
490. minumi
491. minute (sing. minuta2 – minutai) 
492. mio/miowa 
493. mipa
494. mireja
495. miru 
496. mirutarare  
497. misimiri
498. misuma
499. mita 
500. miturea 
501. mizase
502. Mujatewi
503. muko 
504. mupi 
505. murito 
506. muru HT 3

507. naa 
508. nadare
509. nadi/nadiradi/nadiredi 
510. nadiwi
511. nadu
512. Nadunapu2a 
513. Naisizamikao 
514. naka  
515. nakiki 
516. Nakininuta
517. nakuda 
518. Namarasasaja
519. Namatiti
520. nami  
521. namikua/namikuda
522. namine 
523. nanau 
524. nanipa3
525. napa3du
526. nara/naru 
527. narepirea
528. naridi 
529. narita
530. naroka 
531. nasarea
532. nasekimi 
533. nasi 
534. nasisea
535. nataa/nataje 
536. Natanidua
537. natareki 
538. nati
539. nazuku/nazuru 
540. nea 
541. neakoa  
542. nedia
543. nedira
544.  neka/nekisi 
545. nemaduka 
546. Nemaruja
547. nemi -or- mine 
548. Nemiduda 
549. Nemusaa 
550. Nenaarasaja 
551. neqa 
552. Neramaa 
553. nerapa/nerapaa 
554. nere 
555. nesa/nesaki/nesakimi 
556. Nesasawi 
557. Nesekuda  
558. neta 
559. netapa
560. netuqe
561. nidapa
562. nidiki/nidiwa 
563. niduti
564. nijanu
565. niku/nikutitii 
566. nimi
567. nipa3 
568. nira2 (nirai) -or- nita2 (nitai) )
569. niro/niru 
570. nise/nisi 
571. nisudu 
572. nisupu
573. niti/nitinu 
574. nizuka
575. nizuuka
576. nua
577. nude 
579. nuduwa
580. nuki/nukisikija
581. numida/numideqe
582. nupa3ku 
583. nupi 
584. nuqetu 
585. nuti/nutini 
586. Nutiuteranata
587. nutu
588 nuwi 

589. odami/odamia 
590. okamiza
591. Okamizasiina
592. opi  
593. ora2dine (oraidine) 
594. osuqare 
595. otanize
596. oteja 

597. pa/paa
598. padaru
599. padasuti
600. pade
601. padupaa
602. pa3a/pa3ana 
603. pa3da 
604. pa3dipo
605. pa3e
606. pa3karati 
607. pa3kija
608. pa3ku 
609. pa3ni/pa3nina/pa3niwi 
610. pa3pa3ku
611. pa3qa 
612. pa3qe -or- qepa3 i.e. paiqe -or- qepai
613. pa3roka
614. pa3sase 
615. pa3waja 
616. paiki... (truncated right) 
617. Paito 
618. paja/pajai
619. pajare 
620. paka 
621. paku 
622. Pamanuita
623. para 
624. parane 
625. paroda
626. parosu 
627. pasarija 
628. pase
629. paseja 
630. pasia
631. pasu 
632. pata/patu 
633. patada
634. patane  
635. pataqe
636. pazaku
637. pia/pii 
638. pija/pijani/pijawa 
639. piku/pikui/pikuzu 
640. pimata 
641. pimitatira2 (pimitatirai)
642. pina/pini 
643. pirueju
644. pisa 
645. pita/pitaja 
646. pitakase/pitakesi  
647. pitara/pite(ri) 
648. piteza
649. pitisa
650. piwaa
651. piwaja
652. piwi
653. posa 
654. posi -or- sipo 
655. potokuro
656. pu2juzu
657. pu2ra2 (pu2rai)
658. pu2reja
659. pu2su/pu2sutu 
660. pu3pi
661. pu3tama
662. puko 
663. punikaso
664. puqe
665. pura2 (purai)
666. pu2reja... (truncated)
667. pusa/pusi
668. pusuqe
669. putejare

670. Qara2wa 
671. Qa2ra2wa 
672. qajo
673. qaka 
674. qakure
675. qanuma  
676. qapa3 (qapai) 
677. qapaja/qapajanai 
678. qaqada  
679. Qaqaru 
680. qara2wa (qaraiwa)
681. qareto 
682. qaqisenuti
683. qaro  threshold 
684. qasaraku 
685. qatidate 
686. qati/qatiju/qatiki 
687. qedi 
688. qedeminu 
689. qeja 
690. qeka 
691. qekure
692. Qenamiku
693. qenupa
694. qepaka
695. qepita
696. qepu 
697. qequre 
698. qera2u/qera2wa/qera2ja HT 1
699.  qeria/qeriu 
700. qero 
701. qerosa 
702. qesidoe
703. qesite
704. qesizue 
705. qesupu
706. qesusui
707. qeta2e (qetaie)
708. qeti 
709. qetune/qitune 
710. qisi
711. qoroqa 
712. quqani 
713. raa
714. rada/radaa/radakuku/radami 
715. radarua 
716. radasija
717. radizu 
718. radu/rade 
719. ra2ka (raika) 
720. Ra2madami (raimadami)
721. ra2miki (raimiki)
722. ra2natipiwa (rainatipiwa)
723. ra2pu/ra2pu2 (raipu/raipu2)
724. ra2ri (rairi) 
725. ra2rore
726. ra2ru 
727. ra2saa 
728. ra2ti (raiti)
729. Raja/Raju 
730. raka/rakaa
731. ranatusu
732. rani
733. raodiki 
734. rapa/rapu 
735. rapu3ra 
736. raqeda
737. rarasa
738. raride... (truncated right) 
739. rarua
740. rasa/rasi 
741. rasamii 
742. rasasaa/rasasaja 
743. rata/ratapi 
744. ratada
745. ratise (ritise?)
746. razua 
747. rea 
748. reda/redana/redasi 
749. Redamija
750. redise 
751. reduja 
752. reja/rejapa 
753. rekau 
754. rekotuku 
755. reku/rekuqa/rekuqe
756. rema/rematuwa
757. remi
758. renara/renaraa 
759. renute
760. repa
761. Repu2dudatapa 
762. repu3du
763. reqasuo
764. reradu 
765. Rera2tusi (Reraitusi)
766. Reratarumi 
767. rerora2 (rerorai)
768. rese/resi/resu  
769. retaa/retada 
770. retaka 
771. retata2
772. retema 
773. reza 
774. rezakeiteta 
775. ria 
776. ridu 
777. rikata 
778. rima 
779. rimisi 
780. ripaku
781. ripatu 
782. riqesa
783. rira/riruma
784. rirumati 
785. risa
786. Risaia3dai 
787. Risumasuri 
788. ritaje 
789. rite/ritepi 
791. ritoe
792. rodaa/rodaki 
793. roe 
794. roika 
795. roke/roki/roku 
796. romaku
797. romasa
798. ronadi
799. rore/roreka
800. rorota -or- taroro

Linear B syllabograms, homophones and special characters missing from the Linear A syllabary:

Linear B syllabograms and homophones not in Linear A

A considerable number of Mycenaean Linear B syllabograms, homophones and special characters missing from the Linear A syllabary. But the same can be said for a fairly large number of Linear A syllabograms, homophones and special characters missing from Linear B. Thus, students of both syllabaries must master, first the overlap, which accounts for most of the characters in both syllabaries, and secondly, the discrepancies, of which there are scores. There is simply no way around it. If you are a student of both Linear A and Linear B you have to learn the syllabograms, homophones and special characters found in one of the syllabaries but missing in the other.

Notably, the O series of syllabograms in Linear B suffers from several lacunae in Linear A. This is simply because Linear A has an aversion the ultimate O, and nothing more. Words which terminate in O in Linear B, which is to say, masculine and neuters, much more commonly end in U in Linear A. And this includes a great many exograms which are common to both syllabaries.

Above all else, the masculine and neuter genitive singular always terminates in O in Linear B, and always in U in Linear A. The feminine genitive singular ultimate in Linear A, just as we find in Linear B, appears to be ija, and there are plenty of examples (for instance, jadireja, kiraja, kupa3rija, musajanemaruja, namarasasaja, nenaarasaja, nemaruja, nenaarasaja, nukisikija, sejarapaja, sidija, sudaja and Sukirteija, to cite just a few) . The problem is that no examples of masculine or neuter genitive singular with the ultimate ijo exist. Only a few words terminate in iju, (aju, araju, kumaju, kureju, pirueju and sareju), but these are almost certainly masculine and/or neuter genitive singular, hence likely validating the notion that the feminine genitive singular is ija.

The Comprehensive Linear A Lexicon of 1030 New Minoan, pre-Greek substratum and Old Minoan vocabulary, with extensive commentaries, is now in its pre-publication phase:

pre-publication Linear A Lexicon of 1030 words


Preview of the most Complete Linear A Lexicon of 1029 words ever compiled in history soon to be published on just uploaded:

preview of comprehensive Linear A Lexicon

This Preview of the most Complete Linear A Lexicon of 1029 words ever compiled in history soon to be published on is in and of itself a lengthy article (14 pages long), offering full insight into the massive extent and impact of the actual lexicon, Comprehensive Lexicon of 1029 New Minoan, pre-Greek substratum and Old Minoan words, with extensive commentaries, soon to be published on my account (sometime in July 2017). The actual Lexicon will be at least 45 pages long, and will include all of the following elements:

1. An in-depth introduction, comparing this Lexicon, with its 1029 Linear A terms with the Linear A Reverse Lexicon of Prof. John G. Younger, containing 774 intact Linear A words. To date, Prof. Younger’ Lexicon has always been considered the de facto standard of Linear A lexicons; but it falls far short of the mark. From scanning through every last Linear A tablet on Prof. Younger’s site, Linear A texts in phonetic transcription, I discovered scores of Linear A words which he missed in his Reverse Lexicon. I have also spent the last two years ransacking the Internet for every last scrap of evidence of extant Linear A tablets, fragments, roundels, pendants and inscriptions on pottery, only to unearth even more Linear words entirely overlooked by Prof. Younger, to the extent that I uncovered a total of 1029 Linear A exograms, 225 more than he did. Thus, our Comprehensive Linear A Lexicon is 27.7 % larger than his.
2. The Lexicon itself, containing 1029 words, of which over 160 are Mycenaean-derived New Minoan, some 85 are either toponyms or eponyms, a few score fall within the pre-Greek substratum and at least 80 are Old Minoan words I have been able to decipher, more or less conclusively. As for the remainder of the Old Minoan substratum, i.e. the original pre-Greek Minoan language, I have been unable to decipher the rest of its vocabulary. But believe it or not, this factor is less of an impediment to the decipherment of Linear A than we might otherwise believe. I have been able to decipher at least 350 words out of a total of 1029, which is to say about 33 % of Linear A.
3. Each section of the final Comprehensive Lexicon, i.e. A: Mycenaean-derived New Minoan NM1 B: the pre-Greek substratum C: eponyms and toponyms D: Old Minoan vocabulary and E: ligatured logograms is accompanied by a detailed analysis and survey of its contents.
4. The final Lexicon contains a comprehensive bibliography of 84 items on every aspect I have detailed of the decipherment of Linear A as outlined in this preview.  



Linear A tablet ZA 14 (Zakros) appears to be almost entirely inscribed in Mycenaean-derived Greek:

Linear A ZA 14 Zakros

minoan fashion linen dresses


Linear A tablet ZA 14 (Zakros) appears to be almost entirely inscribed in Mycenaean-derived Greek. The only exception is the word tumitizase, which from the context very likely means linen, one of the most highly prize cloths or textiles in Minoan/Mycenaean times. All of the other Mycenaean derived words have been adjusted to meet the exigencies of Minoan grammar. Comments: Megidi almost certainly is in a Minoan oblique case. Given that I have extrapolated 5 more words with the ultimate di: dimedi, medakidi, mekidi, sekadidi and sekidi, it appears that this case may be the genitive singular, probably masculine. Further research is required to substantiate this claim, if at all possible. Mycenaean-derived punikaso is such a striking match with Linear B poinikiyo that it almost certainly means Phoenician. With reference to textiles, this word signifies “crimson”. In addition, qatiju is a close match with ancient Greek, geitheo (here Latinized) = to delight in, which in Minoan grammar is rendered as qatiju, i.e. gatheiu. Also, we have kupi = xhoufi from xhous, “in liquid measure” and panuke = fanuthe from fanos, meaning “brightly washed” and finally jawi for iawi = in violet (Greek).

To summarize, the decipherment makes perfect sense if all the vocabulary is interpreted as being Mycenaean-derived, except for tumitizase, which context practically demands signifies “linen”, the Old Minoan word corresponding with Linear B rino.

This remarkable decipherment lends even further credence to the hypothesis that a Mycenaean-derived superstratum imposed itself on the Minoan substratum. I have already deciphered at least six Linear A tablets which are primarily inscribed in Mycenaean-derived Greek, along with more inscribed in an admixture of Old and New Minoan.

Rational partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 117 (Haghia Triada)  & the first real glimpse of Minoan grammar actualized:

LinearA tablet HT 117 Haghia Triada 620

This albeit partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 117 (Haghia Triada) incorporates an approximately equal admixture of Old Minoan, i.e. the original Minoan language, also known as the Minoan substratum (of which I am unable to decipher most of the words) and of New Minoan, i.e. the superstratum of words of probable Mycenaean provenance, most of which I have been able to decipher with relative ease. While some of the New Minoan translations obviously appear to break the grammatical rules of Mycenaean Greek, such as mitu for “mint”, which is after all mita (and feminine) in Mycenaean Greek or daminu for “in 1 village”, which is damo in the nominative in Linear B, these adjustments can be readily accounted for by the fact that Old Minoan grammar is not at all the same beast as Mycenaean grammar. Although we are not yet familiar with much of Old Minoan grammar, which is after all the grammar of Minoan, just the same as modernized Anglo-Saxon grammar is the grammar of English, in spite of the enormous superstratum of French, Latin and Greek words in the latter language, this tablet alone perhaps affords us a first glimpse into the mechanics of Minoan grammar. Thus, it would appear that mitu may be the Minoan accusative of mita, and daminu may be the locative of damo in Minoan. Although there is no scientific way for me to substantiate this claim, I believe I am onto something, and that I may be making the first cracks in the obdurate wall of the grammar of the Minoan language substratum.  If this is so, then I may be actually pointing the way to unravelling at least a subset of Old Minoan grammar.  To illustrate my point, let us take a look at these phrases in English, as adapted from their Norman  French superstrata.  In French, the phrases would read as follows: avec la menthe”& “ dans le village”, whereas in English they read as “with mint” & “in the village”. Take special note of the fact that, while the Norman French superstrata words in English, “mint” and “village” are (almost) identical to their Norman French counterparts, the grammar of the phrases is entirely at odds, because after the grammar of French, which is a Romance language, and of English, which is a Germanic, cannot possibly coincide.  But here again, I must emphatically stress that English grammar is an entirely different matter than English vocabulary, of which the latter is only 26 % Germanic, but 29 % French, 29 % Latin and 4 % Greek, the latter 3 languages, namely, the superstrata, accounting for fully 64 % of all English vocabulary! We must always make this clear distinction between English grammar, which is essentially Anglo-Saxon modernized, and English vocabulary, which is only minimally Germanic.

If we carry this hypothesis to its logical outcome, we can readily surmise that the same phenomenon applies to the Linear A syllabary. Where grammar is concerned, the Linear A syllabary is Old Minoan, i.e. the original Minoan language or substrate. Where vocabulary is concerned, Linear A represents an admixture of Old Minoan vocabulary, such as uminase, kuramu, kupa3nu (kupainu), tejare and nadare (all of which I cannot decipher) and of New Minoan Mycenaean derived vocabulary, such as makarite, mitu, sata, kosaiti and daminu on this tablet alone. The orthography of the latter words is not actually consistent with Mycenaean grammar, because constitutionally it cannot be. Once again, the grammar is always Minoan, whereas the vocabulary often falls into the New Minoan (Mycenaean derived) superstratum.

In the case of makarite, it would appear that, if the word is dative in Minoan, the Minoan dative is similar to the Mycenaean, ending as it seems to in i. The ultimate te in makarite appears to be the Mycenaean or ancient Greek enclitic te (and). In the case of mitu, which is mita and feminine in Mycenaean Greek, it would appear that the Minoan word is either masculine or that in this case at least, it is instrumental, meaning “with mint”, in which case the Minoan feminine instrumental appears to terminate with u. The word kosaiti appears to follow the same lines. The first two syllables, kosai, apparently are Mycenaean, but the ultimate ti is Minoan, and once again, instrumental (plural). Again, daminu appears to repeat the same pattern. The word damo is masculine (or neuter) in Mycenaean. But the ultimate is inu here, which appears to be the Minoan locative, inu. To summarize, we must make a clear-cut distinction between any New Minoan vocabulary on any Linear A tablet, and its orthography, which must of necessity follow the orthographic conventions of the Minoan language, and not of the Mycenaean, from which any such words are derived. I intend to make this abundantly clear in subsequent posts.  

This is a beautifully illustrated Mycenaean Linear B tablet on 5 carpenters who owe the tax collector:

KN 826 A c 11 and tax collection

The illustrations at the top are (left) several designs for Minoan houses (Knossos). Notice that many of them are 3 stories high, which is unusual for the ancient world, except for Rome, with its shabby multi-storied insulae (islands) or apartment buildings, which frequently collapsed. Such can scarcely be said of the Minoan houses, which were built to withstand earthquakes. You can see this for yourself from the top left picture, where the windows in the last 2 houses on the bottom display the heavy wooden beams, both vertical and horizontal, used to reinforce the windows. A cute clay model of a Minoan house at Knossos appears at the top right. The Minoans at Knossos were just as fussy about their typical beautifully fluted Minoan columns and sturdily reinforced doors, as can clearly be seen in these two photos I took when I was in Knossos on May 2, 2012:

Knossos, Third Palace, Late Minoan IIIb ca. 1450 BCE reinforced windows and doors

Knossos, Third Palace, Late Minoan IIIb ca. 1450 BCE fluted columns

I am particularly impressed by the text in Mycenaean Greek, which is easily rendered into Archaic Greek.

10 Mycenaean Linear B & Minoan Linear A words for plants & spices (grand total = 27):

Linear B and Linear A plants and spices

This chart lists 10 Mycenaean Linear B & Minoan Linear A words for plants & spices, with the Linear B in the left column, its Minoan Linear A in the middle column, and the English translation in the right column. It should be noted that I had to come up with a few Mycenaean Linear B words for plants on my own, because they are nowhere attested on Linear B tablets, regardless of provenance. Nevertheless, the spellings I have attributed to these words are probably correct. See the chart above. While most Mycenaean Linear B words and their Minoan Linear A words are equivalent, some are quite unalike. For instance, we have serino for celery in Mycenaean Greek and sedina in Minoan, and kitano in Mycenaean Greek versus tarawita in Minoan. There is a critical distinction to be made between Minoan Linear A kuruku, which means crocus, from which saffron is derived, and kanako, its diminutive, referring to its derivative, saffron,  which is identical in form and meaning to its Mycenaean Linear B counterpart. The ultimate termination U in Minoan Linear A always refers to larger objects. Hence, kuruku must mean “crocus” while its diminutive, kanako, means “saffron”, just as in Mycenaean Greek. This latter discovery is my own.

I wish to emphasize as strongly as I can that I did not decipher these words in Minoan Linear A. Previous researchers were able to do so by the process of regressive extrapolation in most of the cases. Regressive extrapolation is the process whereby later words in a known language, in this case Mycenaean Greek, are regressively extrapolated to what philologists consider to have been their earlier equivalents in a more ancient language, in this case, the Minoan language, which is the best candidate which can be readily twinned with Mycenaean  Greek. The primary reason why all of these words can be matched up (relatively) closely in the Minoan language and in Mycenaean Greek is that they are all pre-Indo-European. In other words, Mycenaean Greek inherited most of the words you see in this chart from the Minoan language. It is understood that these words are not Greek words at all, not even in Mycenaean Greek. Almost all  of them survived into classical Greek, and are still in use in modern languages. For instance, in English, we have: cedar, celery, cypress, dittany, lily & olive oil, all of which can be traced back as far as the Minoan language (ca. 3,800 – 3,500 BCE), or some 5,800 years ago.

It is to be noted, however, that I am the first philologist to have ever written out these words in both the Linear A and Linear B syllabaries.

This brings the total number of Minoan Linear A words we have deciphered to at least 27.

Gender in Minoan Linear A

Gender in Minoan Linear A:

This is a tentative list of words in Minoan Linear A by gender, in so far as I have been able to determine gender to this point. I am not sure whether I am correct, but I would rather take the chance than not, as per my usual. Note that I am of the opinion that in the Minoan language, as in modern Italian, (almost) all words ended in an ultimate vowel. My reason for this tentative conclusion is simple: in the Linear A syllabary all syllabograms end in a vowel. When Mycenaean Linear B largely inherited the Linear A syllabary, with quite a few necessary adjustments, all of its syllabograms still ended in vowels, which made the syllabary (Linear B) awfully clumsy for representing even archaic Mycenaean Greek, in which most words, just as in later ancient Greek, probably ended in consonants. 

Minoan vessels


datu (HT 123-124) + ideogram for “olive(s)”
supu = very large amphora
tetu = large amphora


adureza = basic standard unit of dry measurement (barley share?)
daweda = 2 handled cup its contents = wine 
reza = basic standard unit (for linear?) measurement
tereza = basic standard unit for liquid measurement (of wine)

Feminine Diminutive:

kiretai2 = kiretai
dapa3 = dapai
sara2 = sarai (frequent!) + with grain + man
supa3ra = supaira (See supu masc. above) = smaller cups

Neuter (and Masculine?):

kuro = total
puko = tripod

The second supersyllabogram in Linear B, KI = an owned & settled plot of land:

Knossos tablet KN 928 G c 301 supersyllabogram KI = kotona kitimena

The second supersyllabogram in Linear B, also a subset of land tenure is KI = “an owned & settled plot of land”. What is particularly remarkable about this second supersyllabogram in the agricultural sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy is that it, KI, replaces not just one, but two Linear B words, viz. (a) kotona = “a plot of land” & (b) kitimena = “owned”, “settled” or more likely “owned and settled”. Concatenate the two Linear B words, kotona kitimena (in the natural Mycenaean Linear B and archaic Greek word order, noun + adjective) and we wind up with “an owned and settled plot of land.”  That sure is one long phrase in English covered by a single supersyllabogram, i.e. KI, and it even replaces two Linear B words, kotona kitimena. This unique supersyllabogram, KI is the one and only SSYL in all of Mycenaean Greek which replaces two Mycenaean Linear B words (though only in the agricultural sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy). 

It was not quite so straightforward a matter to translate this intriguing Linear B tablet. Several issues jumped to the fore. In the first place, the word anano on the first line appears nowhere in any Greek Lexicon, and so I have to assume (and probably correctly) that it is a variant of anono, which means “not leased”. The reason why I believe this to be a variant spelling is that this is the sole Linear B tablet on which the supersyllabogram KI appears all alone, all by itself . On every other tablet I have found, the supersyllabograms KI & O appear in conjunction. And since O = onato = “a leased plot of land”, it stands to reason, in the absence of the SSYL O on this particular tablet, and in the presence of the word anano = anono = “not leased”, that this tablet is the only one with the supersyllabogram KI on it which deals with land which is not leased. On all the other tablets with the SSYL KI, the SSYL O = onato = “a leased field” also appears, in contraindication with this one.

Secondly, the word Rawoqonoyo also appears nowhere in any Linear B Lexicon, and so I really had to put my thinking cap on!   The first two syllables of this word are easy to decipher. They are the Mycenaean Linear B rawo = “the host”, “the army” or “the people.”  It is duly found in Chris Tselentis’ Linear B Lexicon. However, what are we to make of “qonoyo”? To begin with, it is immediately obvious that these last three syllabograms are in the genitive, ending as they do with “oyo”. That raises the question, what is the nominative? Nowhere to be found on any extant Linear B tablet other than this one, and nowhere in any Linear B Lexicon. Me, stumped? Of course not!  Checking the Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary, I discovered the Classical Greek word goneus (here Latinized), which means “parent” or “ancestor”, for which the Mycenaean genitive singular would have been gonoyo. Looks like a bingo, with the caveat, however, that this word actually existed in Mycenaean times. In my view, the chances are very high it did. So then this word is apparently a name, an eponym which roughly translates as “The Father of the People”, in other words the (shaman) overseer of the clan owning this flock of ewes.  Grandpa in the Spirit.  He does not even have to be alive. By virtue of being the revered worshipped ancestor of the folks who own these ewes, he merits his title, Most High Dude (so to speak). The translation makes sense, and so that is why I am sticking to my guns on this one. I simply have an intuitive feel for this one. In passing I should also like to explain why I opted for the free translation “owned by the Father of the Host”, which looks like it should be dative, whereas it is actually genitive, as we have seen. But if a plot of land is that of the Father of the Host, that implies he owns it. Simple as that. Besides, this construction (genitive standing in for dative for “by”) is common not only to Mycenaean and Homeric Greek, but to Classical Greek as well.

According to Tselentis, the village name is either Dawos or Dawon. Dawos makes more sense to me,  as toponyms are usually masculine in Mycenaean Greek: Knossos, Amnisos and Pylos, or feminine, Mycenae.

This was a lot of ground to cover, but then again, this supersyllabogram. KI = kotona kitimena = “an owned and settled” plot of land is not only the only SSYL which concatenates two Linear B words, kotona + kitimena, but is also one of the most heavily used SSYLs in Mycenaean Linear B, along with its cousin counterpart, O = onato = “lease field” .

Introduction to supersyllabograms in Linear B – what is a supersyllabogram?

In brief, a supersyllabogram is the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of any Linear B word (or phrase) used in conjunction with any one of scores of Linear B ideograms. In a sense, almost all supersyllabograms are dependent on the ideogram which they modify, hence they are called dependent supersyllabograms. However, it is not as simple as that. In actual fact, it is the supersyllabogram which modifies the meaning of the ideogram, sometimes drastically.

Additionally, in the field of agriculture, all supersyllabograms without exception are said to be associative, which is to say that they are associated by happenstance with the ideograms they modify as indicators of geographic location, land tenure, land disposition, sheep raising and husbandry, as dictated by each supersyllabogram. The tablet shown here clearly illustrates the disposition of an associative supersyllabogram, in this case O = Linear onaton = “a usufruct lease field” or more simply “a lease field”, which as you can see is an entire phrase in English, even though it is only one word in Mycenaean Linear B. Here is how the supersyllabogram O = onaton in particular functions. Where the ideograms alone (accompanied by no supersyllabogram) signifying rams and ewes appear on any Linear B tablet, as on the first line of KN 1371 E j 921, they simply mean what they are, rams and ewes, which is why the first line of this tablet simply translates as 80 rams and 8 ewes. Period. Nothing more, nothing less. Simple.

Linar B tablet KN 1371 E j 921 O supersyllabogram = onaton = lease field

The supersyllabogram O, the first of 36: 

The first supersyllabogam in Mycenaean Linear B = O = onaton = lease field

However, as soon as the scribe places a supersyllabogram, in this case O, which as we have just noted above is the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of a certain Linear B word, the meaning changes, often  dramatically. The problem is, what does O mean? Upon consulting Chris Tselentis’ excellent Linear B Lexicon, we discover (not much to our surprise) that there is one word and one word only which fits the context and that word is of course onato. Every other entry under the vowel syllabogram O in his Lexicon comes up cold. They are dead ends. This leaves us with only one alternative. The vowel syllabogram O must mean onato = “a lease field”, and absolutely nothing else. So the second line on this tablet can only mean one thing, “12 rams on a (usufruct) lease field”. Nothing else. Period.  However, take away the ideogram, in this case for “rams”, and leave the O all by itself on the tablet, it means absolutely nothing. It is just the vowel syllabogram O, and there is no Mycenaean Linear B word  with the single vowel “O”. This is precisely why the supersyllabogram O (and all other supersyllabograms in the agricultural sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy are tagged as associative (because they just so happen to be associated with the ideograms they modify) and dependent on the ideogram they modify (because once they are associated with a particular ideogram, they distinctly modify its meaning). This phenomenon takes some getting used to, because it does not exist in any other language or script, ancient or modern... which is astounding when you think of it.

Unfortunately, not all supersyllabograms are that easy to crack. In fact, the majority of them are not. But we can leave that prickly problem to later, much later. In case you are wondering , out of 61 syllabograms + 1 homophone (AI) in Mycenaean Linear B, no fewer than 36 (!) or  59 % are supersyllabograms. That is a huge investment on the part of Mycenaean Linear B scribes. But why, I hear you asking, would they even bother doing this? The answer stares us in the face... to save precious space on what are after all tiny tablets. Linear B tablets are rarely more than 15 cm. wide,  with only a few being 30 cm. So rather than spell out onato in full, in this case onato = a lease field, they simply placed the supersyllabogram O in front of the ideogram for any of sheep or rams or ewes, and left it at that. And what goes for the supersyllabogram O goes for every last one of the 36 supersyllabograms.

This phenomenon may seem a little weird to you all at first sight. But you will rapidly become accustomed to it as I post more and more supersyllabograms (a.k.a. SSYLs) pursuant to this post.

Note that until I myself deciphered all 36 supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B between 2014 & 2016, no one in the field of linguistic research into Linear B had ever deciphered any more than a scattered few or them, let alone isolated, identified and classified all 36. In fact, no researcher to date has ever even understood what the phenomenon of the supersyllabogram is. Not until I cracked them wide open.

This is the most significant breakthrough in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B in the 64 years since its initial decipherment by Michael Ventris in 1952. In 2017, I will be publishing the definitive article on The Theory and Application of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, but in which publication and precisely when remains a closely guarded secret never to be whispered until it meets the light of day.

Linear B tablet KN 791 G c 101, ewes and rams & what it signifies:

Knossos tablet KN 791 G c 101 ewes and rams

Linear B tablet KN 791 G c 101, as with most Linear B tablets dealing with sheep, takes stock of ewes and rams. There are literally 100s of such tablets, far more than all the tablets put together in every other sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy (military, textiles & vessels or pottery). This goes to show the critical importance of sheep raising and sheep husbandry in the Minoan/Mycenaean economy. It is by far and away the most important sector of their economy. I first translated this tablet back in 2014, when I was just familiarizing myself with supersyllabograms. I made a fundamental error in my then translation, by conflating KI with pakoso, giving pakososi, which is meaningless. In actual fact, the separate syllabogram KI is the supersyllabogram for kitimena = a plot of land.

On another point. Those of you who visit our site may find it odd that the nouns on Linear B tablets are almost always in the nominative, even when one modifies another, such as onato kitimena which literally means “a lease field, a plot of land”, but freely and accurately translated means “on a leased plot of land”,  where onato becomes attributive. The difficulty here is that these are both associative supersyllabograms, both of which must be nominative regardless of context. Why so? Since the Linear B tablets are inventories, the scribes could not be bothered with inflected cases, unless it was absolutely unavoidable.  As far as they were concerned each “item” on the inventory stood on its own, as a nominative, in other words, as a naming marker.  Although this seems very peculiar to us, that does not matter one jot, because here we are in the twenty-first century and there they were in the thirteenth or fourteenth century BCE, and never the twain shall meet. After all, they, the scribes, wrote the tablets, so whatever we may think about their “style” (which is also irrelevant because they could have cared less about that too), we have to put up with their formulaic conventions, because that is what these phenomena and others similar to them amount to. Take it or leave it. But if you leave it does not make a hill of beans worth of difference.

New feature on Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae: famous quotes from Greek & Latin authors in Linear B:

We begin this new “column” with our first 6 translations of quotes from Latin authors, because it is much easier to transform Latin into Linear B, given that Latin words primarily contain a lot of consonants immediately followed by vowels, which is a prime characteristic of a syllabary such as Mycenaean Linear B. The only caveat is that Linear B words always end in a vowel, whereas Latin vocabulary, which is declined, often ends with consonants. But the oblique cases in Latin very often end with vowels, which makes it much easier to translate Latin quotations than Greek into Linear B. The only real problem other than the complete absence of terminal consonants in Linear B is that there is no L series of syllabograms (la, le, li, lo, lu) but only an R series (ra, re, ri, ro, ru), which must make do for all words in Greek or Latin which contain syllables beginning with the consonant L. Examples of quotations as illustrated here make this quite clear:

Greek and Latin quotations in Linear B Part A

The translations of each of the Latin quotes are as follows:

de rerum natura = on the nature of things
Senatus populusque Romanus = the Senate and the People of Rome
aura popularis = a popular breeze (gossip)
Causa causarum miserere mei. = May the causes of causes have mercy on me.
Cicero pro domo sua. = Cicero prefers his own home.
The Linear B translations are a pretty good match with the Latin quotations, nest-ce pas?

The beautiful “Prince of Lilies” Fresco, Knossos, showing his belt = ZONE:

KN 433 R w 11 ZO

The Prince of Lilies Knossos with his belt

This stunning fresco from the Late Minoan IIIb Palace at Knossos (ca. 1450 BCE) shows us the famous so-called “Prince of Lilies” wearing his beautiful azure belt.  Note that the supersyllabogram, the single syllabogram ZO, is the first syllable of the Linear B word zone, which is equivalent to its ancient Greek counterpart as illustrated on the tablet and on the fresco. This is the one and only tablet in the entire Linear B repertoire on which this SSYL appears, but I am quite convinced that it means what I take it to mean, i.e. a belt.

Example of a Linear B tablet on vessels without supersyllabograms:

Knossos table KN 434 M r 01 vessels

Here you see an example of a Linear B tablet without supersyllabograms from Knossos. The text on the tablet is piecemeal and so much of it defies decipherment. So I did not bother even trying to decipher what was beyond me. For instance, the two words wapi kononipi appear nowhere in any Linear B glossary or lexicon, nor in ancient Greek. So they are probably archaic Mycenaean, and lost to us forever. Still, enough of the original text remains intact for us to make a sensible translation of it.

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

KN 386 & 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.

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