Tag Archive: archaic Greek



Rule 10b: Converting Linear B to Greek: Q series of syllabograms to Greek p & Rule 10c: Converting Linear B to Greek: Q series of syllabograms to Greek b:

q series b p



Rule 10a: Converting Linear B to Greek: Q series of syllabograms to Greek k:

q series k



Linear B - KN Dd1171, article by Peter J. Keyse on academia.edu 

Click on this graphic to view Keyse’s article:

Linear B - KN Dd1171


Peter J. Keyse provides a thorough analysis of Linear B tablet  KN Dd 1171 in this fascinating article, which is well worth reading for anyone who is familiar with the Linear B syllabary, and certainly for anyone who is studying Linear B in depth. His article is not without errors. For instance, he deciphers PoRo as the name of someone in what he calls the PoMe “worker class” = a shepherd,

Linear B - KN Dd1171 PORO

but his interpretation of of PORO is clearly incorrect, as this word  has 3 distinct meanings, one of which is the Linear B word for “a foal”, as demonstrated by Chris Tselentis in his Linear B Lexicon, here:

Tselentis PORO

(The other 2 meanings of POME offered by Tselentis do not fit the context)

while POME is quite obviously Mycenaean Greek for “shepherd”:

Tselentis POME

Keyse also notes that Michael Ventris identified 3 major styles for incisions - those at Knossos, Pylos and Mycenae. In his own words: The vertical lines are quite faint scratches and not easily seen. The cuts in the clay are ‘under-cut’ i.e. pushed in at an angle . This preoccupation with Linear B scribal hands recurs in a great many articles on Linear B. Keyse also covers the what he ascertains to be the phonetic sounds of the numerics on this tablet. He also emphasizes the nature and particulars characteristics of the scribal hand on this tablet.

But it his conclusion which is most fascinating. He says,

In conclusion: 

What would Dd1171 sound like if read aloud? Po-Ro. 20 OVISm, 72 OVISf. Pa-I-To. Pa 8 OVISm. While it reasonable to say that Linear B was no more the spoken language of its day than ‘double-entry bookkeeping’ speak is for accounting clerks today it is also true to say that accountants do on occasions talk in journals and double-entry (and not only when at dinner parties and down the pub) and they certainly call over inventories to each other. It is clear that Linear B had a sound but perhaps it is unlikely that we can fairly reproduce it today. Considering the importance of numbers within the Linear B archive I find it surprising that no phonic system has been devised to represent them or if devised is not clearly documented in the literature. 

COMMENT by Richard Vallance Janke on the sound, i.e. the general pronunciation of Linear B. In actuality, we probably do have some idea of how Mycenaean Greek was pronounced. Its closest cousin was Arcado-Cypriot, represented both by its own syllabary, Linear C, and by its own archaic alphabet. The Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot dialects were much closer phonetically than even Ionic and Attic Greek. Phonological details of the archaic Arcado-Cypriot dialect appear in C.D. Buck, The Greek Dialects, © 1955, 1998. ISBN 1-85399-566-8, on pg. 144. He provides even more information on Arcado-Cypriot on pp. 7-8, and classifies it as an East Greek dialect, pg. 9. This is highly significant, because if Arcado-Cypriot is East Greek, ergo Mycenaean Greek also is. This places both of the archaic East-Greek dialects, Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot, firmly in the camp of all East Greek dialects, including Arcadian, Aeolic, Lesbian, Cyprian, Pamphylian, Thessalian, Boeotian, and the much later Ionic and Attic dialects. So it is probably fair to say that we may have at least an idea, even if somewhat inaccurate, of how Mycenaean Greek was pronounced. And this has huge implications for the further study of Mycenaean Greek phonology.


How to read entries in The Linear B Lexicon by Chris Tselentis (Greece):

Linear B Lexicon frontispiece

Here is a table illustrating exactly how to read entries in The Linear B Lexicon by Chris Tselentis (Greece)

how to read entries in the Linear B Lexicon620

You can download the entire Lexicon from my academia.edu account here. CLICK on the title to download it:


Linear B Lexicon academia.edu



Converting Linear B to ancient Greek, Level 1b:

converting Linear A to ancient Greek level1b

Table 2 above illustrates further refinements in the conversion of Linear B spelling to (archaic) ancient Greek orthography. We note in particular Linear B pedira, which becomes pe/dila in ancient Greek. This is because there exists no L series of syllabograms, i.e. LA LE LI LO LU, in Linear B. On the other hand, a great many (archaic) ancient Greek words contain the letter l (lambda) = l Latinized. One such word is pe/dila. So it is to be expected that the l (lambda) = l Latinized in words such as pe/dila must be represented by R in Linear B. There is just no way around it. Next, we have the word onata in Linear B, which of course turns out to be o/nata in (archaic) ancient Greek, just as we would naturally expect. But this word has an alternative spelling o/naton, which is not feminine at all, but rather neuter. Now it just so happens that almost all neuter words in ancient Greek must terminate in n, Latinized as n. But since Linear B is a syllabary, it is impossible for any Linear B word to end in a consonant. However, since almost all neuter ancient Greek words end in n, this consonant must be added to the ancient Greek equivalent of the Linear B word to which it corresponds.
    

How to convert Linear B vocabulary into (archaic) ancient Greek: PART A: feminine

PART A: Level 1a

converting Linear A to ancient Greek level1a

We note in the Table 1 above that in many instances the correlation between the Linear B and (archaic) ancient Greek orthography is (practically) one on one, i.e. the spelling is identical or almost identical in Linear B and in (archaic) ancient Greek. The attribute (archaic) is optional, since sometimes the Greek word parallel to the Linear B is simply ancient Greek, whereas at other times, the word parallel to the Linear B is archaic ancient Greek. But it really does not make any difference in the end, because the Greek spelling to the right of the Linear B word is the preferred orthography, as simple as that. Thus, in Table 1, the Greek for aiza, eneka, kama, meta and Samara is identical to the Linear B. Since Samara is capitalized, Greek S or sigma is also upper case, S rather than lower case, s. In the case of Linear B arura, the ancient Greek has an additional vowel, ou as in arou/ra. There is nothing at all unusual in such a small discrepancy in spelling between Linear B and ancient Greek, since Linear B u may be expressed as simply u or as ou in ancient Greek, because the pronunciation of u and ou is identical in ancient Greek.

In the case of Linear B Manassa (also capitalized, because it is a theonym), Linear B single s becomes double ss in ancient Greek. This is because it is impossible for two adjacent consonants to follow one another in Linear B, which is a syllabary, in which absolutely all syllabograms must end in a vowel, whereas ancient Greek, which is an alphabet, far more frequently doubles consonants, i.e. allows for adjacent consonants. While this seems counter-intuitive at first sight, once we have covered all Linear B words in the feminine, masculine and neuter genders, this will become transparent.

Finally, we note the / above one of the syllables in each of the Greek words in this table. This is called the acute accent (/), indicating on which syllable the stress must fall in that word. So ai/za (Latinized) is pronounced AIza in ancient Greek, e/neka Eneka, ka/ma KAma, Ma/nassa MAnassa, meta/ meTA and Sama/ra SaMAra.

This phenomenon is identical to the stress on the primary syllable in English, except that English never uses accents, not even / acute. So in English we have HOUsing, deCIpherant, deCIsion, Elephant, instiTUtion and SEparation etc. etc. To English-speaking people, this is intuitive, but to people learning English as a second language (ESL) the position of the accented syllable is far from intuitive, because English simply has no accents of any kind. In this sense, English is very odd, because almost all other modern languages have accents (for whatever reason, stress or not). On the other hand, the stressed syllable in ancient Greek is glaringly obvious, because it always bears the acute accent / above it.    


THE MYCENAEAN LINEAR B “ROSETTA STONE” TO MINOAN LINEAR Tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) Vessels and Pottery

Richard Vallance

has just been uploaded to my academia.edu account, here:

Mycenaean Rossetta Stone for Linear A tablet HT 31

To DOWNLOAD it, click on the DOWNLOAD button on the top right hand side of the page.

ABSTRACT

In partnership with The Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes (Athens), we address past and current prospects for the decipherment of the Minoan language, which has never met with any credible success in the 117 years since the ?rst discovery of Minoan Linear A tablets by Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos in 1900. A considerable number of philologists and historical linguists, some of them amateurs, claim to have deciphered the Minoan language, yet no one has ever formulated a convincing decipherment. We advance a unique and entirely untested approach to unravelling the text of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada), based on the principle of cross-correlative retrogressive extrapolation (CCRE) from Mycenaean Linear B to Linear A. HT 31 so closely parallels Mycenaean Linear B tablet, Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) that the latter effectively serves as a kind of “Rosetta Stone” for the former. There is also credible evidence that a Mycenaean derived superstratum imposed itself on Linear A as the result of the Mycenaean conquest of Knossos and Crete ca. 1500 – 1450 BCE or, failing that, their all but absolute suzerainty over Knossos and its dependencies. Approximately 300 or 26 % of 1166 intact words in Linear A are very likely of Mycenaean origin.

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.


Just uploaded to academia.edu = Exhaustive Linear A lexicon of 1030 New Minoan and Old Minoan words, with extensive sectional commentaries.pdf 


exhaustive linear a lexicon of 1030 Minoan words with extensive sectional commentaries


What with its 1030 entries of New Minoan (NM1), Pre-Greek substratum and Old Minoan terms, this is the most exhaustive Linear A Lexicon ever published in history, exceeding Prof. John G. Younger’s (at 774 intact words) by 226, with the emphasis squarely on intact exograms (words). Every possible origin of Linear A words is investigated, with extensive sectional commentaries. This lexicon, 65 pp. long, includes 4 appendices and a bibliography of 108 items. 

You will not want to miss out on reading this paper, representing one of the most significant historical breakthroughs in the decipherment of the Linear syllabary. If you are a member of academia.edu, please download it, and read it at your leisure. If you are not already a member of academia.edu, you can sign up for free, and then download it.

My recent research into (Minoan) Linear A has meant that I have been catapulted from the top 5 % to the top 0.1 % of users on academia.edu in the past three weeks, here:

Richard Vallance profile academia.edu




Supersyllabograms on the large Linear A tablet in the A.Y. Nikolaos Museum, Crete:

AY Nikolaos Museum tablet with supersyllabograms

There are a total of 6 supersyllabograms on the large Linear A tablet in the A.Y. Nikolaos Museum, Crete, far more than on any other Linear A tablet. In fact, there is no text at all on this tablet, which makes it unique in the Linear A repertoire. All in all, there are 27 supersyllabograms in Linear A, versus 36 in Linear B. The Minoans and not the Mycenaeans invented supersyllabograms. Since many visitors to our site are unfamiliar with supersyllabograms, even though they have been defined here on several occasions, a supersyllabogram is the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of a particular word of major import in any of the major sectors of the Minoan economy. On this tablet, we find 7, of which one is not actually a syllabogram but a symbol. They are as follows:

1 SU (a) OM (Old Minoan) supa2 (supai) + supa2ra (supa2ra) = a small cup with handles

2 A2/AI OM? unknown, currently indecipherable

3 U NM1 (New Minoan) udiriki = with water (instr. Sing.) = hudriki (archaic Greek Latinized

4 PO NM1 potokuro = reaching a full drink, i.e. a draught (agglutinative) = poton + kurwn (archaic Greek latinized)

5 a hook which symbolizes a handle

6 A NM1 aresana = an embossed cup (archaic acc.) = aleissana (archaic Greek Latinized)

SU (b) OM sup1/supu/supu2 = the largest size pithos

NOTE that all of the supersyllabograms on this tablet deal with vessels and pottery.

Linear A contains 27 supersyllabograms, some of which are Mycenaean-derived New Minoan (NM1) and others Old Minoan, i.e. in the original Minoan substratum, as illustrated in this table:

620 Table 5 Table of 27 supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A

The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear A will be the feature article in Vol. 13 (2017) of Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448 , to be published early in 2019. This article is to be the follow-up to The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, Vol. 11 (2015), currently online on academia.edu here:

decipherment supesyllabograms archaeologyand science Belgrade

 

 


6 Minoan Linear A words from KE to KO which might be proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean:

Here is the table of Minoan Linear A words from KE to KO in Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon.

miinoan-linera-a-words-ki-ko-of-possible-proto-greek-origin

As is the usual case, there are inherent problems with the “Greekness” of almost all of the Minoan Linear A words I have tagged as possibly being proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean. This should come as no surprise in view of the fact that I made myself crystal clear on this account in the previous post. The most convincing Minoan Linear A word by far of apparent proto-Greek origin is keite, which is highly likely to be the equivalent of archaic Greek keithen = “thence/from there”.  The least credible is [6] koiru, which is far enough off in its orthography from ancient Greek, kairos = “due measure” to cast sufficient doubt on it.

But in almost all cases, appearances can be, and often are, deceiving. I have said this already, and I repeat it for the sake of emphasis. We cannot be too overcautious.

This brings the total number of so-called proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean words I have managed to isolate in Minoan Linear A to 22.

Tentative confirmation of 10 possible proto-Greek words out of 18 under the first vowel, A, in Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon:

a-minoan-linear-a-possible-greek

When I subjected the first alphabetical entries under A in Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon to rigorous analysis in order to determine whether or not any of the entries under A just might have been proto-Greek, or more likely than not, proto-Mycenaean. I was able to extrapolate tentative archaic Greek “definitions”, if you like, for no fewer than 10 of the 18 entries under A. That is quite a staggering return! However, in spite of these encouraging findings, we must exercise extreme caution in assigning proto-Greek significance to any number of Minoan words.

Of course, the discovery right fro the outset of 10 words which might possibly be proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean, is highly tempting. One could, if one were so inclined, that as a consequence of this discovery, the Minoan language must have been proto-Greek. But I would warn us away from such a rash assumption, for several cogent reasons, all of which will become clear as we run alphabetically through the Reverse Linear A Lexicon. One of the most obvious roadblocks to accepting, even on a tentative basis, a proto-Greek reading of words such as the 10 I have isolated under A above is the extreme paucity of consecutive, running text and, what is even worse, the even rarer instances of extant Linear A words providing sufficient context on the tablets for us to be able to extract any real meaning at all from the tablets. This is the brick wall we run up against again and again in any endeavour at deciphering any Minoan word, taken as a single entity.

There is one tenet at least which bears out confirmation or abnegation, and it is this: if we continue to discover a considerable number of potential proto-Greek under subsequent initial syllabograms alphabetically from DA on through to ZU, then there might very well be a case for concluding that either (a) the Minoan language was entirely proto-Greek or (b) the Minoan language was pre-Greek and very probably non Indo-European, but which contained a great many proto-Greek words, for reasons which will become apparent as we proceed through our extrapolative analysis of Minoan words from DA to ZU.

This is bound to be one exciting journey of discovery!


Rita Roberts’ translation of Knossos Linear B tablet KN 946 G a 303 (mid-term, second year university):

knossos-tablet-kn-946-g-a-303-620

Trust me, this is not an easy tablet to translate.

... with a translation into archaic ancient Greek added by Richard Vallance Janke.


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

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


mycenaean-linear-b-infinitives-in-r-620

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

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

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


Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Derived (D) Verbs/Infinitives in Q = Greek B b =  413:

In this post we find derived (D) infinitives in Q, corresponding to initial B b in ancient Greek. Here is the table of derived (D) thematic and athematic infinitives starting with the Greek letter B b (Q in Mycenaean Greek):

mycenaean-linear-b-infinitives-in-q-b

Since there is no B series of syllabograms in Linear B (BA, BE, BI, BO) but only the Q series (QA, QE, QI, QO), the latter must stand in for the former. Read the notes in the Q  chart  above.

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

The total number of natural Mycenaean Greek derived (D) infinitives we have posted so far = 413.

Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Derived (D) Verbs/Infinitives in K = 85!/Total = 199

In this post we find 85 derived (D) infinitives in K in natural Mycenaean Greek, of which there are far more than with any other letter in the Mycenaean dialect and all other later ancient Greek dialects alike, with the possible exception of verbs beginning with P (or PI in ancient Greek). This is because many more words in both ancient and modern Greek, for that matter, begin with the letter K. Why so? The prepositional prefix KATA is prepended to more verbs in Greek, ancient and modern alike, than any other prepositional prefixes, with the possible exception of PERI and PRO, which we will encounter soon.

Here is the table of attested thematic and athematic infinitives starting with the Greek letter K in Mycenaean Greek. As you can see, the number of verbs I have selected from a far larger vocabulary of verbs beginning with KATA stands at 85:

mycenaean-linear-b-thematic-present-infinitives-k-620i

It is absolutely essential that you read the notes on the Mycenaean Linear B orthography of ancient Greek verbs; otherwise, you are bound to misinterpret the spelling of Mycenaean verbs in Linear B. The two most important characteristics of verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, regardless of the letter with which the first syllable or syllabogram starts (let alone K), are as follows:

1. It is impossible for two consonants to follow one another in any Mycenaean verb in Linear B, because Linear B is a syllabary, and all syllabograms must end in a vowel. See the table for K above for concrete examples.
2. It is impossible for Mycenaean present infinitives in Linear B to end in ein, because once again, this is a syllabary, and no syllable can ever end in a consonant. For this reason, ancient Greek thematic present infinitives which always end in EIN must end in E in Mycenaean Greek. See the table for K above for concrete examples.
3. For the other two so-called rules for Mycenaean Greek spelling of thematic present infinitives, see the table for K above for concrete examples. 
 
The 4 sentences following Greek verbs in K make it perfectly clear that we are dealing with natural Mycenaean Greek as it was actually spoken. Note that the natural plural in OI is to found in spoken Mycenaean, rather than the singular in O we find almost (but not always) exclusively on the extant Linear B tablets. See infinitives in D for a further explanation for this phenomenon.

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

The total number of natural Mycenaean Greek derived (D) infinitives we have posted so far = 199, of which 85 or 42.7% fall under the Greek letter K alone! I shall indicate the running total as we proceed through the alphabet.


Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Derived (D) Verbs/Infinitives in D = 12:

In this post we find 12 derived (D) infinitives in natural Mycenaean Greek.

Here is the table of attested thematic and athematic infinitives starting with the Greek letter D in Mycenaean Greek:

d-derived-infinitives-620

The 4 sentences after the 12 verbs in D make it absolutely clear that we are dealing with natural Mycenaean Greek as it was actually spoken. It is also highly likely that official documents, poetry (if any) and religious texts were written in natural Mycenaean Greek on papyrus. However, the moist climate of Crete and the Greek mainland meant that papyrus, unlike in the arid climate of Egypt, was doomed to rot away. So we shall never really know whether or not there were documents in natural Mycenaean Greek. But my educated hunch is that there were.

Thematic Verbs:

Active Voice:

These are the so-called standard verbs, which are by far the most common in all ancient Greek dialects. Thematic verbs are sub-classed into three voices, active, middle and passive.

Middle Voice:

The middle voice is unique to ancient Greek, and is self-referential, by which we mean the subject acts upon him- or herself or of his or her own volition. The middle voice also includes reflexive verbs. I am posting the first person singular of verbs in the middle voice, as it is far more common than the infinitive.

Athematic Verbs:

Athematic verbs are far less common than thematic, but they are the most ancient of ancient Greek verbs. They have already appeared completely intact by the time Mycenaean Greek has entrenched itself. The Mycenaean conjugations of athematic verbs are very similar, and in some cases identical to, their conjugations in much later Ionic and Attic Greek, and must therefore be considered the root and stem of the same class of verbs in later classical Greek. The fact that athematic verbs were already fully developed by the era of Mycenaean Greek is a strong indicator that the Mycenaean dialect is not proto-Greek, but the first fully operative ancient East Greek dialect. We shall demonstrate over and over that Mycenaean Greek was the primordial fully functional East Greek dialect which was to be adopted and adapted by the later East Greek dialects (Ionic and Attic among others). I am posting the first person singular of athematic verbs, as it is far more common than the infinitive.

The reconstruction of natural language Mycenaean grammar by means of the methodology of progressive grammar is to be the subject of my fourth article in the prestigious international journal, Archaeology and Science, Vol. 13 (2017). The concept of progressive grammar is actually quite easy to grasp. It merely designates the reconstruction of natural, as opposed to inventorial, Mycenaean Greek grammar from the ground up. By the time I have finished with this project, I shall have reconstructed a huge cross-section of natural Mycenaean grammar, approaching the grammar of later East Greek dialects in its comprehensiveness.

NOTES:
[1]There are two (2) verbs in the middle voice under D. These are dekomai and dunamai.
[2] There are no athematic MI verbs under D.
[3]In the natural Mycenaean Greek language, the nominative masculine plural always ends in oi, e.g. tosoi. This is in contrast to the formalized, fossilized Greek of Linear B inventories, which very rarely give any words in the nominative masculine plural. Instead, the extant Linear B tablets simply give the words in the singular, e.g. toso.
[4]In the natural Mycenaean Greek language, the nominative feminine plural always ends in ai, e.g. heketai (which is actually a masculine noun with feminine endings). This is in contrast to the formalized, fossilized Greek of Linear B inventories, which very rarely give any words in the nominative masculine plural. Instead, the extant Linear B tablets simply give the words in the singular, e.g. heketa.

There are exceptions to attested plurals on the tablets. The nominative masculine plural of teo (god) is teoi, exactly as it appears in natural Mycenaean Greek. This is because the word teo is not a word found in inventories, but rather in religious texts, mimicking the natural language. It is the template upon which the nominative masculine plural of all words in natural Mycenaean Greek is formed.  

The total number of natural Mycenaean Greek derived (D) infinitives we have posted so far = 24 A + 12 D for a TOTAL of 36. I shall indicate the running total as we proceed through the alphabet.


Progressive Linear B Grammar: Verbs/Derived (D) Infinitives: A = 24

Beginning with this post, we shall be constructing a Lexicon of Derived (D) Infinitives in Mycenaean Linear B. This post lists all 24 derived verbs I have selected classed under A. The methodology whereby we reconstruct derived verbs, not attested (A) anywhere on any Linear B tablets, is termed retrogressive extrapolation, by which I mean that we draw each entry in alphabetical order from an ancient Greek dictionary, accounting for throwbacks to archaic East Greek, since that is what the Mycenaean dialect is. The dictionary we are using is the Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary. Since the entries in the classical dictionary are in Attic Greek, they frequently require readjustment to reflect their much earlier orthography in archaic Greek. I have also taken the liberty of selecting only those verbs of which the spelling is identical or very close to what would have been their orthography in Mycenaean Greek. This is because Mycenaean orthography is often problematic, insofar as it frequently omits a consonant preceding the consonant which follows it. Additionally, since Mycenaean Greek is represented by a syllabary, in which each syllable must end in a vowel, it is impossible for the spelling of a great many words (let alone verbs) to accurately correspond to the orthography of the same words in later ancient Greek dialects. So I have decided to omit such verbs for the sake of simplicity. Finally, since there are so many verbs under each letter of the Greek alphabet, I have had to be very selective in choosing the verbs I have decided to include in this Lexicon, omitting scores of verbs which would have qualified just as well for inclusion as the verbs I have chosen.

a-derived-infinitives-620

 

 


Linear B tablet Sd 4401 from the Knossos “Armoury”, a fully assembled chariot:

Knossos tablet SD 4401

Apart from the very first tablet on chariots we posted this month, namely, Linear B tablet Kn 894 N v 01, here:

Link to Knossos tablet Kn 894 N v 01

This is one of the most detailed of the Linear B tablets from the Knossos “Armoury”, zeroing in on more parts of a Mycenaean chariot than can be found on any of the other tablets we have already translated on the same subject, apart from Linear B tablet Kn 894 N v 01. There are a couple of peculiarities in the Linear B text of this detailed tablet which require clarification. The first is that the ideogram for chariot on the right side of the tablet is right truncated; so we do not know whether or not the chariot is equipped with a set of wheels. But common sense tells us that it is almost certain that this is a chariot equipped with wheels on axle, since the scribe explicitly states that the chariot is fully assembled. Secondly, the word for chariot on the second line = - iqiya – is feminine, which is quite strange, given that all of the modifying attributes following this word are in the masculine. This leads me to confidently conclude that the scribe meant to inscribe – iqiyo - = a double chariot, i.e. a chariot for two drivers, rather than – iqiya -. Otherwise, the grammatical constructs on the second line do not jibe.

As we have already noted in our translations of at least a few of the other chariot tablets, the scribes are prone to make errors, usually in case agreement or in orthography. But that is nothing unusual, given that writers past and present are prone to the same liability. After all, we are only human.


Linear B tablet K 04.5 from the Knossos Armoury: the redoubtable challenges for translation

04.5 iqiya piriniyo opoqo keryapi opiiyapi

 Linear B tablet K 04.5 from the Knossos Armoury: the redoubtable challenges for translation

While some of the military tablets from the Knossos Armoury dealing with the construction and design of chariots pose a few problems in the translation of certain words which yield at least two or possibly even three different possible meanings, others are much more of a challenge to the translator. Some vocabulary in the more challenging tablets proves to be much more fractious. There are several reasons for this phenomenon when we are dealing with Mycenaean Greek vocabulary, let alone that of any truly archaic ancient language, such as Babylonian and Assyrian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphics. These are:

1 Some words in Mycenaean Greek may closely or somewhat resemble their later counterparts in Homeric Greek or Classical Greek, conveying the same or a similar meaning. Such is the case with – wanax – = “king” in Mycenaean Greek.
2 Some of the words in Mycenaean Greek may closely or somewhat resemble their later counterparts in Homeric Greek, and yet not convey precisely the same meaning or might even mean something more remotely associated, such as – qasireu – , which does not mean the same thing as “basileus” = “king” in Homeric Greek. A – qasireu – in Mycenaean Greek is merely a local leader of a town, citadel, redoubt or similar small centre and nothing more.   A king in Mycenaean Greek is a – wanax – , for which there is an almost exact match in Homer’s Iliad.  
3 Some words in Mycenaean Greek may look like variants of later Homeric or Classic Greek words, although they are spelled in a fashion alien to the latter, never appearing in them. 
4 Some of the words in Mycenaean Greek may closely or somewhat resemble their later counterparts in Classical Ionic or Attic Greek, and yet convey an entirely different meaning.
5 Some vocabulary in Mycenaean Greek may be archaic Greek which later fell entirely out of use even prior to Homeric Greek, in which case it may be next to impossible to confirm that such words are even archaic Greek at all.
6 Some vocabulary in Mycenaean Greek may possibly be proto-Greek or even more ancient proto Indo-European, but we can never be certain of this at all.
7 Some vocabulary in Mycenaean Greek may possibly or even likely be Minoan or of Minoan origin. Such is the case with the word – kidapa – on tablet KN 894 N v 01, the very first tablet I translated in this series of tablets on chariots. L.R. Palmer assumes this word refers to a kind of wood, and I agree. This assumption is based on the fact that two other kinds of wood are referenced on the same tablet, i.e. elm and willow. With this evidence in hand, I have gone even further than L. R. Palmer and have taken the calculated risk to identify this word as meaning “ash (wood)”, a wood which Homer uses for weapons.
8 Just as is the case with Classical Greek, in which a few thousand words are not of Indo-European origin, Mycenaean Greek contains a fair proportion of such vocabulary. Words such as – sasama –  (sesame) & – serino –  (celery) come to mind.

This is the scenario which confronts us in the translation of at least two of the words on this tablet, namely, – piriniyo – and – mano –, both of which are certainly open to more than one possible interpretation. The first word - piriniyo – meets the criteria outlined in 1 & 3 above. It probably means “an ivory worker”, but we cannot be sure of this. Since the latter – mano – may not have any relation to later Homeric or Classical Greek at all, it is a crap shoot to try and translate it. This word meets the criteria in 1,2 and 4 above. But I took the chance (as I always do), on the assumption, however fanciful, that – mano – may be related to the Classical Greek word – manos – , meaning “thin”, as defined in Liddell & Scott.

And what applies to Mycenaean vocabulary on this and all other tablets dealing with chariots, whether or not they originate from Knossos, equally applies to all of the vocabulary on each and every tablet in the military sector of the Mycenaean economy. By extension, this principle must also apply to all of the vocabulary on Linear B tablets, regardless of provenance (Knossos, Pylos, Mycenae, Thebes etc.) and regardless of the sector of the Mycenaean economy with which they are concerned. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. In short, the 8 criteria outlined above must be applied on an equal footing, through the procedure of cross-comparative extrapolation, to all of the vocabulary of Mycenaean Greek.

We shall return to this phenomenon in our article on chariot construction and design, which is to appear on my

 account under the auspices of Koryvantes, the Association of Historical Studies (Athens):

Koryvantes Association of Historical Studies Athens Category Linear B & the Iliad
sometime later this winter.

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