Tag Archive: agri-economy



Linear A tablet HT 18 (Haghia Triada) in Old Minoan fully deciphered:

Linear A ideogams for wheat and barley

Linear A tablet HT 18 Haghia Triada

Except for the word pase which introduces this tablet, and which is probably Mycenaean-derived, the entire tablet is in Old Minoan, i.e. the Minoan substratum. Since we know what all of the ideograms and supersyllabograms mean, the decipherment is straightforward. On the first line, we have the ideogram for wheat followed by the associative supersyllabogram QE, which stands for qeria, Old Minoan for “emmer roasted wheat”. Next we have the ideogram for “roasted einkorn”, which Prof. John G. Younger incorrectly identifies as the ideogram for “olives”. They are sometimes confused. In this context, it makes no sense whatsoever for this ideogram to signify “olives”, in view of the fact the rest of the tablet deals with wheat, except at the very end, where figs are introduced. The associative supersyllabogram KI with the ideogram for “roasted einkorn” may reference one of two things, either kiretana, which is apparently Old Minoan for “Cretan” or more likely than not kireta2 (kiretai), meaning “with barley”. In other words, the roasted einkorn is mixed with barley. Finally, we have the supersyllabogram NI for “figs”. In old Minoan, this word is either nire or nite in the plural. The assignment of “bushel-like units” to the wheat and barley on this tablet is merely an approximation, since we have no idea what the standard unit for the measurement of grains, wheat or barley was in Minoan or for that matter in Mycenaean Crete. But it gives us an approximation of the amounts we are dealing with on this tablet.


Archaeology and Science annual: the Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, the last & most formidable frontier in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B:

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For the past 65 years since Michael Ventris first deciphered Linear B, one phenomenon has eluded historical linguists and philologists. This is the supersyllabogram, which is always a single syllabogram, being the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of a particular Mycenaean word in any one or more of the major economic sectors of the Mycenaean economy: agriculture, military, textiles and the vessels and pottery sector, along with a few religious supersyllabograms. Supersyllabograms are always independent; they always stand alone on extant Linear. My discovery, isolation and classification of supersyllabograms represents the final frontier in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B. Some 800 tablets from Knossos alone contain primarily supersyllabograms, with a subset of these incised with supersyllabograms and nothing else. It is difficult to decipher the former, and impossible to decipher the latter without fully accounting for the presence of supersyllabograms. The decipherment of supersyllabograms accounts for the last and most difficult remaining 10 % of Mycenaean Linear B to be deciphered.

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You may also download The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B here:

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This article is 35 pages long (pp. 73-108) in a 29 cm. x 22 cm. format, which is far oversized compared with the standard north American format for research journals (ca. 20 cm. vertical), meaning that if it had been published in the standard north American format, it would have run to some 50 pp., which is the size of a small book.

The Editorial Board consists of 21 peer reviewers, all of them matriculated professors and researchers at the Ph.D. level or higher, from Ancona, Belgrade, Belgium, Bologna, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A., Moscow, Münich, Philadelphia, U.S.A., Rome, Warsaw & Trieste. Every author must pass muster with the majority of these peer reviewers if his or her article is to be published in Archaeology and Science. That is one tall hurdle to overcome.

Note also that I am ranked in the top 0.5 % of all researchers and publishers on academia.edu

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3 of my articles in Archaeology and Science ISSN 1452-7448 (2014, 2015, & 2016) + Vol. 12 (2016) Figure 1 & 2 Tables:

Figure 1

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and

2 Tables (nos. To be assigned)

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as they will appear in the prestigious international hard-bound annual Archaeology and Science ISSN 1452-7448. Vol. 12 (2016). This annual generally runs to 250-300 pp. 

It is impossible to cross-correlate Minoan Linear A tablets from Mycenaean Linear B tablets by means of retrogressive extrapolation without explicitly taking into account the fact that almost all Minoan Linear A tablets are vertical in their orientation (just as with modern inventories), while the vast majority of Mycenaean Linear B tablets are horizontal in their orientation. For more on this critical factor in the reasonably accurate decipherment of Minoan Linear A tablet, see (Click on the banner):

orientation-of-linear-a-tablets

Articles published and to be published in Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448:

[1] My article, “An Archaeologist’s Translation of Pylos Tablet 641-1952 (Ventris)” has already been published in  Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448 Vol. 10 (2014). pp. 133-161 (Click banner to download it):

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[2] My article, “The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B” is already slated for publication in the prestigious international annual Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448 Vol. 11 (2015), to be released in the spring of 2017. (Click the banner for the announcement):

archaeology-and-science-vol-11-2015

[3] My article,  “Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the ‘Rosetta Stone’ for Minoan Linear B tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) vessels and pottery” is to be published in the prestigious international annual Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448 Vol. 12 (2016) (Click the banner for the announcement):

archaeology-and-science-vol-12-2016

This major announcement is shortly to appear on my academia.edu account.

richard-vallance-academia-edu


Symbaloo/Google search ranks Minoan Linear A, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae as fourth largest on the Internet:

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Since this is a Boolean AND search, if we omit sites dealing with only Minoan Linear A or only Mycenaean Linear B, which do not fulfill this requirement, our site ranks fourth. But since the site, Linear A and Linear B script: Britannica.com is a minor site, we actually rank third.

Also, our PINTEREST board is ranked fifth (actually fourth). We have over 1.7 K Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B translations, photos, maps & images on our PINTEREST board, Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B, Progressive Grammar and Vocabulary. Click the banner to visit and join if you like!


Minoan Linear A Linear B


   

The 70 Minoan Linear A terms MAXIMUM I shall be featuring in my article on the partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A in Vol. 12 (2016) of Archaeology and Science: 

Here is a list of the 70 out of 106 Minoan Linear A terms I shall be zeroing in on in my article in Vol. 12 (2016), “Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the ‘Rosetta Stone’ to Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) vessels and pottery” of the prestigious international annual, Archaeology and Science ISSN 1452-7448 (release date spring 2018), to be submitted by Nov. 15, 2016.

In an article of this nature, which is to be the first of its kind in the world ever to deal with the partial (by no means definitive) decipherment of Minoan Linear A, I must of necessity focus on those Minoan Linear A words which offer the greatest insight into the vocabulary of the language. It is, of course, impossible to decipher the Minoan language, and anyone who dares claim he or she has done so is skating on very thin ice, actually, no ice whatsoever. All we can hope to do at the present juncture is to decipher some of the vocabulary, that and nothing else. This is possible because the syllabary has already been deciphered, though as far as I know, no researchers or decipherers to date have taken any note of this vital factor. It is precisely because the syllabary itself has been deciphered that we have any access at all to Minoan vocabulary. We must recall that for Michael Ventris, the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B was far more difficult at the outset, because no-one in the world, including himself, knew what the Linear B syllabic signs signified. It took him two years or so to figure them out and he never actually got them until he realized that Linear B was a very early form of Greek, which we now know as Mycenaean Greek.

But the situation is far different with Minoan Linear A. We can read the syllabary. We can “read” the words, but we cannot understand what they mean... at least to date. I have taken upon myself to decipher, more or less accurately (probably more often less than more) as many Minoan Linear A words as I possibly can. Even after months of strenuous travail, I have only been able to extrapolate the potential meanings of 106 Minoan Linear A words from a lexicon of about 510 intact Linear A words in John G. Younger’s Lexicon. These terms I have managed to decipher more or less accurately thus amount to only 20 % of the complete lexicon. But 20 % is far more than anyone else has managed to decipher  to date.  

Here then are the 70 terms (MAXIMUM) excerpted from my complete Glossary of Minoan Linear A:           
 
p-glossary

KEY:

Minoan Linear A words deciphered with certainty (90% - 100%) are in BOLD.
Minoan Linear A words deciphered with a reasonable degree of certainty (75% - 85%) are in italics.

All terms in Minoan Linear A and in Mycenaean Linear B have been Latinized for ease of access to persons not familiar with these syllabaries. 


Terms to which I shall assign special treatment are followed by an asterisk (*). 

adureza = unit of dry measurement (grain, wheat, barley, flour)
aka = wineskin (two syllabograms overlaid)
akii = garlic
darida = large vase *  
daropa = stirrup jar = Linear B karawere * 5
datara = grove of fig trees *
datu = olives See also qatidate = olive trees = Linear B erawa *
daweda = medium size amphora with two handles
dikise = a type of cloth = Linear B any number of types of cloth
ditamana = dittany (medicinal herb) 10
dureza = unit of measurement (unknown amount)*
kanaka = saffron = Linear B kanako
kapa = follower or (foot) solder = Linear B eqeta *
karopa3 (karopai) = kylix (with two handles & smaller than a pithos) *
kaudeta = to be distributed (fut. part. pass.) approx. = Linear B, epididato = having been distributed (aorist part. pass.)15 
keda = cedar
kidema*323na = type of vessel (truncated on HT 31) *
kidapa = (ash) wood, a type of wood. On Linear B tablet KN 894 N v 01 *
kireta2 (kiritai) = delivery = Linear B apudosis
kiretana = (having been) delivered (past participle passive) = Linear B amoiyeto 20
kireza = unit of measurement for figs, probably 1 basket *
kiro = owed = Linear B oporo = they owed
kuro = total             
kuruku = crocus
maru = wool (syllabograms superimposed) = Linear B mari/mare 25
mitu = a type of cloth 
nasi = a type of cloth
nere = larger amphora size *
nipa3 (nipai) or nira2 (nirai) = figs = Linear B suza *
orada = rose 30
pazeqe = small handle-less cups = Linear B dipa anowe, dipa anowoto *
puko = tripod = Linear B tiripode *
qapa3 = qapai = large handle-less vase or amphora *
qatidate = olive trees See also datu = olives = Linear B erawo *
qareto = Linear B onato = “lease field” * 35
quqani = medium size or smaller amphora *
ra*164ti = approx. 5 litres (of wine)
rairi = lily 
reza = 1 standard unit of measurement *
sajamana = with handles = Linear B owowe * 40
sara2 (sarai) = small unit of measurement: dry approx. 1 kg., liquid approx. 1 litre 
sata = a type of cloth
sedina = celery
supa3 (supai) = small cup = Linear B dipa mewiyo *
supu = very large amphora * 45
tarawita = terebinth tree
tejare = a type of cloth
teki = small unit of measurement for wine @ 27 1/2 per tereza *
tereza = larger unit of liquid measurement (olive oil, wine) *
tesi = small unit of measurement * 50
tisa = description of pot or pottery = Linear B amotewiya/yo
udimi = a type of cloth 
uminase = harbour (cf. French “Le Havre”), famous Atlantic port in France * 
usu = a type of cloth

Eponyms:

Sirumarita2 = Sirumaritai 55
Tateikezare
Tesudesekei
Turunuseme

Toponyms:

Almost all the toponyms do not require decipherment as they are either identical or almost identical in Mycenaean Linear B:

Akanu = Archanes (Crete)
Dikate = Mount Dikte 60
Idaa = Mount Ida
Idunesi
Kudoni = Kydonia
Meza (= Linear B Masa)
Paito = Phaistos ( =Linear B) * 65
Radu = Lato (= Linear B Rato)
Setoiya = Seteia (= Linear B) 
Sukirita/Sukiriteija = Sybrita
Uminase = Linear B Amnisos * 
Winadu = Linear B Inato 70

COMMENTARY:

This Glossary accounts for 20 % of all intact Minoan Linear A terms.

The principle of cross-correlative cohesion operates on the assumption that terms in Minoan Linear A vocabulary should reflect as closely and as faithfully as possible parallel terms in Mycenaean Greek vocabulary. In other words, the English translations of Minoan words in a Minoan Linear A Glossary such as this one should look as if they are English translations of Mycenaean Greek terms in a Linear B glossary. I have endeavoured to do my best to achieve this goal, but even the most rational and logical approach, such as I take, does not and cannot guarantee reciprocity between Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B terms. It is precisely for this reason that I have had to devise a scale of relative accuracy for terms in this Linear A Glossary, as outlined in KEY at the top of it.

The best and most reliable Linear B Lexicon is that by Chris Tselentis, Athens, Greece. If you wish to receive a  copy of his Lexicon, please leave a comment in Comments, with some way for me to get in touch with you.

Are there any words in Mycenaean Greek of putative Minoan origin? It should surely not strike us as so surprising that there are. After all,  

kidapa = ash? (Linear B tablet KN 894 N v 01)

Several Minoan Linear A words very likely survived into Mycenaean Linear B. The problem is, if they did, we do not know which ones did.... except perhaps kidapa, which has a distinctly Minoan feel to it. Cf. kidata = to be accepted (for delivery to) = Linear B dekesato


Translations of 2 Linear B tablets from Knossos dealing with rams by Rita Roberts:

Here we see translations of 2 Linear B tablets from Knossos dealing with rams by Rita Roberts, Crete, who is now in her second year of university. Bravo, Rita!

linear-b-kn-1069-f-b-09-rita-roberts-2016

linear-b-kn-1094-h-b-22-rita-roberts-2016



PINTEREST boards of interest related to Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B:

This is a reasonably comprehensive directory of PINTEREST boards of interest related to Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B. To visit each board, simply CLICK on its banner, and sign up, if you like:  

MAJOR BOARDS

Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B: Progressive Grammar & Vocabulary (Click BANNER to visit): 

Minoan Linear A Linear B


Knossos & Mycenae, Sister Civilizations

Knossos & Mycenae sister

Cultura Minoica

Cultura minoica

Antiche scritture

Antiche scritture


Minoan

Minoan

Minoan | Mycenaean

Minoan Mycenaean

SCR Lineare prealfabetica

SCR Lineare

Minoan: the Art and Culture of Knossos, Crete


Minoan Art and Culture

Archaeology  – Minoan

Archaeology Minoan

Minoan Civilization

Minoan Civilization

Minoan & Mycenaean Arts & Architecture

Minoan & Mycenaean Arts & Architecture

Mycenaean, Minoan, Hittite

Mycenaean Minoan Hittite



Rita Roberts’ first two translations of Linear B tablets for her second year of university, rams and ewes on a lease field:

Here we see Rita Roberts’ first two translations of Linear B tablets for her second year of university, both of them concerning rams and ewes on a lease field:

KN 1069 F b 09

KN 1084 E e 321

Rita made a couple of small errors in her translations, which I have corrected on the tablets as illustrated above. Her first error was to have omitted the ideogram for “rams” on the first line of Linear B tablet KN 1069 F b09. Although the ideogram is partially effaced, it is clearly that for “rams”, because we can still see the two parallel bars. In addition, the number of rams given in the effaced part of the tablet is lost. Since we shall never know what their number was, I have replaced it by a question mark (?) on the tablet above. On the same tablet, she refers to “units” of wool, which are generally referred to as “bales”.

On Linear B tablet KN 1084 E e 321, for some strange reason, she omitted “at Phaistos” on the second line.

Nevertheless, her initiation into Linear B tablets in the agricultural sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean may be considered a success. We look forward with anticipation to her future translations.  Although I cannot possibly post all of them, as they run into the hundreds, I shall be posting some of the most intriguing in the near future and beyond.


Minoan Linear A tablet HT 12 & qatidate = Mycenaean Linear B erawa = olive tree(s):

HT 12 qatidate olive tree

On Minoan Linear A tablet HT 12, we find the word qatidate, which in all likelihood is the equivalent Mycenaean Linear B erawa = olive trees. This decipherment is substantiated by or earlier decipherment  of datu = small olives. Notice the direct correlation between qatidate and datu.

This raises the scalar value of both of these translations to > 60% (very reliable).

This is term 110 I have deciphered in Minoan Linear A, more or less accurately (in this case, more).


Minoan Linear A tablet HT 19 & dadumata = Linear B sitokowo = grain/wheat measurers?

HT 91 b dadumata  rain measurers

Does dadumata on Minoan Linear A tablet HT 19 = Linear B sitokowo = grain/wheat measurers? It is a long shot, but at least I am willing to take it. The likelihood that this decipherment is correct is < 50%.

This is term 108 in Minoan Linear A I have deciphered more or less accurately (in this case, less).


Minoan Linear A tablet HT 40 the terms nudu*331 = Linear B rino? = flax? & kidata = Linear B dekesato = to be accepted (for delivery):

HT 40 nudu331 TE grains

On Minoan Linear A tablet HT 40 the term nudu*331 appears to mean Linear B rino? = flax, while kidata = Linear B dekesato = to be accepted (for delivery). Given that there are 201 bushel-like units, which is a moderate amount, I have interpreted nudu*331 as signifying “flax”. Flax is not as common as wheat or barley. Since the participle kidata terminates in the ultimate “ta”, it is not a past participle passive. Past participle passives in Minoan Linear B end in “na”, for instance, kiretana = “having been delivered”.  Of these two words, nudu*331 is the less certain (<50% scalar value, not necessarily reliable), whereas kidata is more certain (probably 60%+ a reasonably reliable scalar value).

These two new terms are nos. 106 & 107. Decipherment is more or less certain.  


Minoan Linear A tablet HT 17 (Haghia Triada) & ra*164ti  = approx. 5 litres (of wine):

ra164ati wine litres gallons

Close examination of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 17 (Haghia Triada), on which 38 units of wine + the supersyllabogram TE = tereza, which is the standard unit for liquid measurement in Minoan Linear A, appears ra*164ti  = approx. 5 litres (of wine), reveals that this total (38) would amount to something in the order of 190 litres of wine, which is a pretty substantial amount. An equally close look at the heading of this tablet, the illustration of the wine magazines at Knossos, would seem to validate our findings. All we need to do is compare the amount of 190 litres or so on this tablet with the sizes of the 11 amphorae in this magazine to get a fair idea of which of these 11 amphorae is most likely to contain 190 litres or so. That is the one which I have flagged. I cannot be sure whether that amphora is the closest in size to 190 litres or so, because I have never had occasion to fill any amphora of any size with wine. Perhaps one of our archaeologist friends can carry out this experiment (or may have already done so for a certain amount of litre-like units of measurement for amphorae). Such a person would be in a solid position to enlighten us on this account. I am thinking, for instance, of our archaeologist colleague Rita Roberts, who may be willing to fill a few small amphorae with 190 litres of water until she finds the one that does not spill over... if she can find enough small amphorae to carry out such an experiment. Just a thought.

Caveat: as is the usual case, we can never be sure what the standard liquid unit of measurement for wine or other liquids was in Minoan or Mycenaean times, particularly at Knossos, but this approximation will do.

This is term 105 I have deciphered, more or less accurately in Minoan Linear A. Since I am reasonably confident of this definition, I am assigning it a scalar value of 60% +.

For the table of standard dry and liquid units of measurement in Mycenaean Linear B by Andras Zeke, click on the figure below:

Mycenaean-measurement-system




Minoan Linear A tablet KH 10 (Khania/Chania) & akipiete = Mycenaean Linear B kekemena = “common, shared, allotted”:

Linear A KH 10 akipiete = shared plot of land Linear B ktonia

Minoan Linear A tablet KH 10 from Khania/Chania contains the word akipiete, which is very likely the equivalent of Mycenaean Linear B kekemena = “common, shared, allotted”. Note the number 90 following the number of “bushel-like” units of wheat. That number is too small to refer to anything other than something rather small in common, or if you like, shared or allotted to an equally small number of farmers or (more likely) tenant farmers sharing a rather small plot of land = ktoina. I had previously defined akipiete as “harvest”, but such an interpretation is quite out of the question in light of the small no. of “bushel-like” units of wheat = 90. Such a piddly amount of wheat would never be sufficient to victualize all of the inhabitants of Khania/Chania, not even for a month! So we have no alternative but to greatly reduce the number of people who can reasonably be fed by 90 bushels to a few farmers or more likely tenant farmers on a small plot of land.

It is crucial to understand that the number of items following any object on a Minoan Linear A tablet is a critical factor determining the definition of said object. This factor will become clearer when I publish my draft article on our Minoan Linear A Glossary on academia.edu.

This is term 105 I have deciphered, more or less accurately. I feel comfortable enough assigning a scalar value of 60%+ to this term, indicating a reasonable degree of accuracy.


Minoan Linear A tablet Zakros ZA 11 & kupa or sa*301ri = planter:

Zakros Linear A tablet ZA 11 planter

On Minoan Linear A tablet Zakros ZA 11, we run across 2 terms which are likely to mean “planter”, kupa or sa*301ri. The problem is, which one does mean this? I really had no choice but too tag both of these words as candidates for “planter”. This predicament has faced me more than once in attempting to attribute suitable meanings to Minoan words. However, a decision must be made. In this case, the more appropriate term for “planter” appears to be sa*301ri rather than kupa, since the latter is more likely to be feminine.

Whichever of these two terms is the more a propos remains an open question. At any rate, the term is no. 104 in our Glossary of Minoan Linear A.


Mycenaean Linear B tablet KN 160a J j 11 as a template for Minoan Linear A large unit of liquid measurement, tereza:

Mycenaean Linear B tablet Knossos KN 160a J j 11 wine PE wine DI

Mycenaean Linear B tablet KN 160a J j 11 serves as a useful template for Minoan Linear A large unit of liquid measurement, tereza, which was one of the very first words I deciphered with reasonable accuracy back in May 2016. Moreover, the supersyllabogram DI following the ideogram (ID) for “wine” specifically references dipa, the Mycenaean word for “cup”, which in turn appears as supa3 (supai) for a small cup (300 of them) and pazeqe for a small cup without handles (3,000 of them) on Linear A tablet HT 31, which we have already translated in its entirety.  In addition, this particular Mycenaean Linear B tablet on wines is information-rich.


Minoan Linear A ADU on tablets dealing with grain & wheat refer to the TOTAL harvest:

Minoan Linear A ADU = ALL units grains wheat   &amp; ALL men

Minoan Linear A ADU on tablets dealing with grain & wheat apparently refer to the TOTAL harvest. After spending the past three months wracking my brains out over this term, ADU, I have finally settled on its being the approximate, if not exact, equivalent of the Mycenaean Linear B terms, toso, tosa, as illustrated in the figure above. All this amounts to nothing more or less than taking into account the total harvest of grains or wheat, as seen on tablets HT 92, with no fewer than 680 “bushel-like” units of wheat! I say “bushel-like” because there is no way on earth that we in the twenty-first century can ever know what the standard unit for measuring wheat was for the Minoans. But there can be little doubt but that these tablets all deal with the standard unit for measuring grans and wheat, because the first two use the term tereza and the last one reza, which are the actual Minoan standard units for measuring large quantities.  On the first two tablets (HT 92 & HT 133) the total number (ADU) refers to the actual  large units of wheat measured (something like our modern “bushels”). But on Linear tablet HT 92. we are faced with a different scenario. Here ADU refers to all the men who are carrying out the measurement of 55 large “bushel-like” units of grains or wheat. So it is quite reasonable to assume that the occupational title (so to speak) of these folks would be something like surveyor or comptroller, since these are in fact the métiers of people who undertake such measurements. But remember. We are not just dealing with some of the comptrollers measuring the 55 large units of wheat. We are dealing with all 20 of them. In other words, ADU is the approximate, if not exact, equivalent of the Mycenaean Linear B term toso (masc. sing. & pl. & neut. sing.) and tosa (neut. pl.), which correspond precisely with the same forms of the ancient Greek words meaning all you see in the figure above. 

This brings the number of Minoan Linear A words I have deciphered, more or less accurately, to an even 100.


What is the Minoan Linear A word for “figs”? It only appears as a logogram on Linear A tablets, so we do not know how it might be spelled. However, informed speculation leads me...

What is the Minoan Linear A word for figs

What is the Minoan Linear A word for “figs”? As it only appears as a logogram on Linear A tablets and is never spelled out, we do not know its orthography. Or so it appears. However, informed speculation leads me to infer the following from what we already know about the syllabogram-cum-logogram for “figs” in Mycenaean Linear B, which just so happens to be exactly the same syllabogram/logogram as that for “figs” in Minoan Linear A. All this in spite of the fact that the Mycenaean Greek word for “figs” is suza, which is the same word as in many other ancient Greek dialects. So what is going on here? There is no doubt but that Mycenaean Linear B inherited the logogram for “figs” from Minoan Linear A. They simply lifted it lock-stock-and-barrel from the earlier syllabary. But why? Why didn’t they turn to their own word for “figs”, suza, and use its first syllabogram, SU, as the syllabogram/logogram for “figs”? It seems passingly strange. But is it?

Turning to our Glossary of 95 Minoan Linear words, we set our sights on examining Minoan Linear A words which are typically diminutives. This we do because after all, figs are very small; hence, we can infer that the word referencing them, beginning with the syllabogram NI, should display orthographic characteristics reminiscent of other Minoan Linear A diminutives. Let us examine the latter in turn. In the Glossary, we find:

dumitatira2 (dumitatirai) = right or inner spindle wheel on one side of the distaff
karopa3 (karopai) = kylix (with two handles & much smaller than a pithos)
kireta2 (kiritai) = delivery = Linear B apudosis
kita2 (kitai) = scented olive oil? 
pimitatira2 (pimitatirai) = left or outer spindle wheel on one side of the distaff
sara2 (sarai) = small unit of measurement: dry approx. 1 kg., liquid approx. 1 litre
supa3 (supai) = small cup = Linear B dipa mewiyo

All of the terms above refer to small, i.e. diminutive, items. Hence, it is reasonable to assume that the Minoan Linear A word for “figs” may quite possibly be similar to any of the above. There are  3 diminutive ultimates in Minoan Linear A, pa3 (pai) and ra2 (rai) and ta2 (tai). Thus, the Minoan Linear A word for “figs” is likely to be one of these alternatives:

nipai3 (nipai)
-or- 
nira2 (nirai)
-or-
nita2 (nitai)

However, the last alternative (nita2/nitai) seems to be the least likely candidate. This is because one of the terms ending in ta2 (tai),  kireta2 (kiritai) = delivery = Linear B apudosis is abstract, while the other, kita2 (kitai) = scented olive oil? , apparently describes a something to which size cannot be directly attributed. One can have a little bit, a moderate amount, or a great deal of scented olive oil. The amount cannot be pinned down. This attribute is semi-abstract in and of itself, at least is kita2 (kitai) = scented olive oil. I cannot be sure of this meaning.

So it appears we are now down to two alternatives for the orthography of  “figs” in Minoan Linear A, i.e.

nipai3 (nipai)
-or- 
nira2 (nirai)
  
Of course, we can never be certain which of these 3 alternatives might hit the proverbial target. We still can never really know what the Minoan term for “figs” is. But there are times when speculation leads us to a leap of faith which just might be grounded somewhere in the realm of reality.

As for the rationale behind the Mycenaean Linear B scribes
 to retain the syllabogram/logogram NI from Minoan Linear A, we shall never know why they chose to do that. It may have been a matter of expediency, or it may have been that the Minoans at Knossos had used the word for “figs” beginning with NI so intensively that the Mycenaean scribes could see no point changing the syllabogram/logogram NI, or it may have been for some other less obvious, possibly esoteric, reason. Yet, we must keep firmly in mind that the Mycenaean word for figs was suza, regardless of their decision to keep on relying on the independent supersyllabogram NI to represent “figs”, as seen in this Linear B tablet:  

K 841 NI independent



Minoan Linear A tablet GO Wc 1 (Gournia) asasumaise = “cattle-driver”:

Even at first glance, from Minoan Linear A tablet GO Wc 1 (Gournia), sporting the word asasumaise, it appears very much like this word means “cattle-driver” or “shepherd (of cattle)”.  Of course, it is also possible that this is just the cattle-driver’s name. So I have to account for both possibilities. Nevertheless, I am inclined to lean strongly on “cattle-driver” or “shepherd (of cattle), if only for the reason that it is a rather long word, just as are its equivalents in Mycenaean Linear B, qoukoro & qoukota, as illustrated here:

Linear A table GO wc 1 cows

This is the eighty-ninth (89) Minoan Linear A term I have deciphered, more or less accurately.


Minoan Linear A tablet HT 88 (Haghia Triada), ripe figs & fig gatherers in pay/hired: the next decisive step in the partial decipherment of Linear A


HT 88 facsimile

Minoan Linear A tablet HT 88 (Haghia Triada), which was quite out of my reach just a week ago, has now become accessible to decipherment. This is a direct result of the fact that I had already deciphered these words on this tablet, namely, reza (standard unit of measurement), kiro (owed) & datare (fig overseer). This outcome has for the first time facilitated the task of deciphering Linear A tablets in and of themselves which do not contain enough clues or indicators to trigger a plausible decipherment. Thus, I was able to extrapolate 2 news terms from this tablet alone.

kikina ostensibly means “purple” or, more accurately, “ripe” = Linear B popureyo.
pajare = “in pay” or “hired”  = Linear B emito.

This development may prove to be decisive, triggering a cascading domino effect, opening up preciously inaccessible vocabulary as a direct result of the 88 terms I have already managed to decipher, more or less accurately.

Here is an abbreviated version of Prof. John G. Younger’s version of HT 88:

HT 88 Figs

							

Linear A tablet HT 123+124, kitai = scented olive oil? + saru = large olives + datu = small olives:

HT 123-124 KITAI SARU DATU KURO OLIVES!!! ADPDOSI 31

I have had to give a great deal of thought to the decipherment of this tablet, the contents of which have frustrated and eluded me for weeks. Finally, the light came on. Eureka! I figured it out. Well, almost... The first word I struggled to decipher on this tablet was kitai, which was and remains a stickler.  I have settled for “scented olive oil”, which seems to make sense in the context, although I really have no choice but to assign it a scalar value of < 50%. On the other hand, the next two words, saru & datu, seem much clearer. It makes a lot of sense to list different sizes of olive oil on a tablet, and it makes  just as much sense to list the large(r) ones before the small(er) ones. Hence, to my mind, saru = large olives and datu = small olives. These two terms can be assigned a scalar value of 60-75% (a reasonable degree of accuracy). The word kuro was one of the very first words I deciphered, and it has a perfect scalar value of 100%. It means what it says and says what it means.

Here is Andras Zeke’s restored version of HT 123+124 on the Minoan Language Blog:

Haghia Triada HT 123-124 a according to Andras Zeke

These three (3) new terms constitute items 82-84 in my Glossary of Minoan Linear A words.

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