Tag Archive: ancient Greek alphabet



Translation of Linear B tablet Knossos KN 710 Ma 05 by Rita Roberts:

Linear B tablet KN 710 MA 05 by Rita Roberts

This translation is self-explanatory. The translation of the supersyllabogram O on top of the water jug is entirely appropriate. Notice that Rita Roberts is beginning to master the (archaic) ancient Greek alphabet.


Converting Linear B to ancient Greek, Rule 6a, TA TE TI TO TU:

Rule 6a t = t

Rule 6a is very simple. In the majority of Linear B words containing TA TE TI TO TU, these syllabograms must be converted to ta te ti to tu in (archaic) ancient Greek. However, by now it is becoming obvious that almost all or all of the previous rules we have already learned (1-5) also apply to almost all Greek words, and so we must always keep this in mind. In other words, multiple rules almost always apply to almost all Linear B words converted into Greek. The best way to confirm this is simply to check the Greek spelling in Tselentis of every single word you convert from Linear B into Greek. This requires perseverance and above all, practice, practice, practice, until it sinks in. From here on in, as we learn each additional rule, from 6b upwards, the number of multiple rules applying to almost every Linear B word converted into Greek will increase by 1 with each new rule. So far the number of multiple rules applying to each Linear B word converted into Greek = 1 2 3a 3b 4 5 6a for a maximum of 7 possible variations. With rule 6b, the maximum number of multiples will increase to 8.  Rule 6b follows in the next post.


Converting Linear B into ancient Greek: Rule 5, neuter gender: 

Linear B O to Greek on neuter620


The table above makes it painfully obvious that archaic Greek neuter nouns MUST end in n, and there is no exception to this rule. It is impossible for Linear B to express this final n, because Linear B is a syllabary, and in a syllabary all words can end only in a vowel. But in archaic and ancient Greek, all neuter words MUST end with n. Rule 5 (neuter) is similar to Rule 4 (masculine), except for the final letter, which is j for masculine is n for neuter. This is the last rule for July 2018. 

   

Converting Linear B into ancient Grreek: Rule 4, masculine gender:


Rule 4 masculine Linear B O to Greek OS620

The table above makes it painfully obvious that archaic Greek masculine nouns MUST end in j, and there is no exception to this rule. It is impossible for Linear B to express this final j, because Linear B is a syllabary, and in a syllabary all words can end only in a vowel. But in archaic and ancient Greek, all masculine words MUST end with j.


Linear B R to ancient Greek l, Rule 3b, not quite so intuitive but still easy!

Linear B to ancient Greek r = l620

Rule 3b is as almost as easy as Rule 3a. In Rule 3b Linear B R always = ancient Greek l. This is because there is no L series of syllabograms in Linear B, i.e. no LA LE LI LO LU, so the only way to express L in Linear B is through the R series, RA RE RI RO RU.


Linear B R to ancient Greek r, Rule 3a, extremely easy!

Linear B to ancient GreekRule 3a r= r620

Rule 3a is as easy as Rule 1. Nothing to it. Linear B R always = ancient Greek r.


Converting Linear B into ancient Greek: Rule 2, single S in Linear B becomes double SS in ancient Greek:

Rule 2 the double consonant Linear B S = ss in ancient Greek620

In a very few cases, Linear B words with a single S convert into a double SS ss in ancient Greek, as illustrated in the chart above. This is not very common. Most of the time, a single S in Linear B remains a single S s in ancient Greek.


Converting Linear B into ancient Greek: Rule 1, the stressed acute accent /

Rule1 acute accent = stress in ancient Greek620

Rule 1 is by far the easiest Rule to remember in converting Linear B spelling into ancient Greek orthography. Simply put, you must always place the acute accent / where the stress falls on the ancient Greek word. This stressed acute accent / must never be omitted from the ancient Greek word.


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.

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