Tag Archive: athematic Mi verbs



Revisiting & deciphering 2 (TE & DA) of the 27 supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A in light of the decipherment of 69 additional Minoan words:

Last year (2016), I isolated and categorized all 27 supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A. This was an extremely exhaustive task, as I had to scan through all the extant Linear A tablets and fragments in order to tally them all. This took at least a month. It is important to understand that the Minoans, and not the Mycenaeans, invented supersyllabograms. A supersyllabogram is defined as the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of any given specific Minoan word, economic sector dependent. In other words, when we cross from one economic sector to another, the meaning of any single supersyllabogram can and often does change. The exact same phenomenon recurs in Mycenaean Linear B. For the past year and a half, I have thoroughly covered and deciphered all 36 supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, and I have as well tentatively deciphered 9 or 33 % of the 27 supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A. Yet in spite of my initial attempts at decipherment, I was unable to assign any proto-Greek significance to any of them.

But since I have now deciphered 69 new Minoan Linear A words of putative proto-Greek, proto-Hebrew, proto-Semitic and proto-Scythian origin, I have been able to revisit at least 2 of the 27 supersyllabograms, namely, DA & TE & I have discovered that a proto-Greek reading of them on at least one Minoan Linear A tablet, HT 133, makes perfect, unified sense in translation, as seen in this table:

adu-te-da-tenai-to-cut-dainai-to-distribute

The only observation I should make is the following: the supersyllabogram TE, which is the first syllabogram of the middle voice TENAI = archaic Greek teinai, appears first in the list, because the 55 standard units grains or wheat must be cut down first before they are distributed. For this reason, the middle voice DAINAI (of which the ultimate NAI is identical with that of TENAI), meaning “they are distributed” (i.e. the 55 standard units of grains or wheat). So the word order is entirely rational, and intuitive to the Minoan language. Cut the 55 units of grains or wheat first, and then distribute them. In short, the word order is identical to English. This should come as no surprise in view of the fact that both Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B generally read from left to right, just as does modern English.

This new development raises the number of Minoan Linear A supersyllabograms tentatively deciphered from 9 to 11 or 40.8 % of all 27 Linear A supersyllabograms.


The 3 derived (D) tenses of active optative of athematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, as represented by the template verb, didomi:

Here is the chart of the 3 derived (D) tenses of active optative athematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, as represented by the template verb, didomi:

athematic-mi-optative-active-verbs-template-didomi-in-mycenaean-linear-b

Note that in the second example sentence in Mycenaean Greek, since the verb didomi is in the future active optative, the Mycenaean Linear B infinitive nikase = to defeat, must also be in the future. This is just another one of those remarkable eminently logical subtleties of ancient Greek, including Mycenaean. 
 
As you can see for yourself, I have been unable to reconstruct a paradigm table for the perfect active optative of athematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, as represented by the template verb, didomi. Since I have been unable to find any instances of that tense in any ancient Greek dialect, I am driven to conclude that it could not have existed in Mycenaean Linear B either. This is in contrast with the paradigm table for the active optative tenses of thematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, of which there are 4, as attested to here:

thematic-mi-post

Since in this previous post I outlined almost all of the uses of the active optative in ancient Greek, including Mycenaean Linear B, there is no point rehashing these uses here. Simply refer back to the post to glean as full a grasp the multiple uses of the active optative as you can, on the understanding of course that you are already familiar with least Attic grammar.  If you are not versed in ancient Greek grammar, even if you are in modern Greek (in which there is no optative mood), there is really not much point to mastering all of the uses of the active optative in ancient Greek, except in so far as a basic understanding at least may offer you at least some insight into the more subtle and arcane operations of ancient Greek, of which there are plenty, as you might have already imagined by this point.


The virtual invariability of the most archaic athematic MI verbs in ancient Greek from 1200 BCE (Linear B) – New Testament Koine Greek (ca. 100 AD):

The following table clearly illustrates that the most archaic of ancient Greek verbs, namely, athematic verbs in MI, underwent only barely perceptible changes over a span of 1,700 years.

didomi-linear-b-archaic-new-testament

This is because these verb forms were already fully developed even as early as in the Mycenaean Greek dialect, written in Linear B (ca. 1600-1200 BCE). This phenomenon falls under the purview of diachronic historical linguistics, whereby the term diachronic means “linguistic change or lack of it over an extended period of time”. The importance of the minimal changeability of archaic athematic MI verbs cannot be over stressed. Regardless of the period and of any particular dialect of ancient East Greek (early: Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot, middle: Homeric Epic, an amalgam of various dialects, Classical: Ionic & Attic) & late (Hellenistic & Koine Greek), very little change occurred.  In fact, only the second & third person singular underwent any change at all. In Mycenaean Greek alone, the second person singular was didosi & the third person singular was didoti. In all subsequent dialects, the form of the 2nd. person singular became that for the third, while the second person singular itself morphed into didos in all ancient East Greek dialects pursuant to Mycenaean. This was the one and only change the conjugation of the present tense of archaic athematic verbs such as didomi underwent diachronically from 1,600 BCE to 100 AD. The verb didomi effectively serves as the template for the conjugation of the present active of all athematic verbs in MI throughout this historical period.  This is just one notable aspect of progressive (D) derived Linear B grammar. There are many others, which of course we shall address in the gradual reconstruction of ancient Mycenaean Greek grammar over the next few months. 

For the first time in history, the conjugation of athematic MI verbs in 5 active tenses in Mycenaean Linear B:

We now continue with the conjugations of 5 active tenses for athematic MI verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, represented here by the athematic verb, didomi (Latinized), which was  extremely commonplace right on down from Mycenaean Greek through to Attic and Hellenistic Greek and beyond, to New Testament Greek. We can safely confirm that the conjugation of athematic MI verbs underwent almost no perceptible changes (if any at all) from the Mycenaean era to the New Testament. The reason for this is apparent. Since the conjugation of athematic MI verbs was already cemented, in other words, fossilized, by as early as the Mycenaean era, there would have been no need whatsoever to change, modify or supposedly improve on its conjugations. For this reason alone, regressive extrapolation of the conjugations of 5 active tenses of athematic MI verbs is a simple matter. So in the case of athematic MI verbs, the method of retrogressive extrapolation we normally apply to grammatical elements in Mycenaean Linear B derived (D) from later ancient Greek dialects does not apply. Since the conjugations  of MI verbs were already fully consolidated in Mycenaean Greek, it is quite beside the point. It The 5 tenses of the indicative active we have accounted for in our table of conjugations of athematic MI verbs are:

the present active
the future active
the imperfect active
the aorist active (both first and second)
the perfect active

as illustrated in this table of paradigms:

athematic-mi-verbs-in-linear-b-conjugations-in-5-tenses

As I have already pointed out in the previous post on thematic active verbs in 5 tenses, I  have deliberately omitted the pluperfect tense active, as it was extremely rare in all ancient Greek dialects. Note that it is assumed that scholars, researchers and linguists reviewing our tables of conjugations of verbs in Mycenaean Greek are well versed in ancient Greek, and hence familiar with the subtle distinction between the first and second aorist (simple past tense). For this reason, we shall not attempt to differentiate between the two. Should anyone wish to do so, that person can refer him or herself to the Wikipedia articles on this topic. As for those of you who are not yet versed in ancient Greek, most notably, the Attic dialect, you will have to learn ancient Greek in the first place before you can even hope to grasp the distinction between the first and second aorist, let alone understand so many other elements of ancient Greek grammar.


CRITICAL POST: What is Mycenaean Linear B progressive grammar & how do we derive it from attested (A) grammatical forms?

We must first extrapolate as many elements of attested (A) grammar from extant Linear B tablets as we possibly can before even thinking of addressing Mycenaean Linear B derived (D) progressive grammar.  I shall significantly expand this post in a new article soon to appear on my academia.edu account. Pardon the pun, but keep posted. This article, which is to serve as the formal introduction to derived (D) Mycenaean Linear B grammar, is bound to have a decisive impact on the Linear B research community. If this is not enough, just wait until researchers are confronted with the entire corpus of derived (D) Mycenaean Linear B grammar, which is much larger and more comprehensive than anyone can currently imagine, apart from myself.  Since no one to date has ever assayed a relatively complete reconstruct of Mycenaean grammar, THAT will really hit home! The essays on derived (D) Mycenaean Linear B grammar will need to be subdivided by grammatical categories, verbs first, then nouns, etc., to prevent us from overwhelming our readers with the substantial mass of data we shall be covering.    

Before we can even pose the question, “What is Mycenaean Linear B derived (D) progressive grammar?”, we must account for any and all traces of Mycenaean grammar on the extant tablets. If we are to rely on the Mycenaean Linear B tablets, regardless of provenance, for signs of Mycenaean grammar, we are bound to be somewhat disappointed. Nevertheless, there remains on the Linear B tablets a corpus of Mycenaean grammar, considerably more substantial than we might have suspected, which is sufficiently viable for the reconstruction from the ground up of significant corpus of Mycenaean derived (D) grammar. In fact, the attributed (A) elements of Mycenaean grammar on extant Linear B tablets provide us with more than enough ammunition to reconstruct a wide spectrum of derived (D) Mycenaean grammar, as we shall soon see. From scanning through Chris Tselentis’ splendid Linear B Lexicon and other extant sources of Mycenaean Greek, I have been able to isolate the following snippets of extant, i.e. attributed (A), Mycenaean grammar.  These I have categorized by the discrete grammatical categories with which we are all familiar. 

Synopsis:

NOTE that I am resorting to Prof. L.R. Palmer’s convention of LATINIZING all Linear B syllabograms, hence, words and phrases, since listing as many Mycenaean Linear B as I have even for attested (A) grammatical forms is a very tedious process not worth my trouble, let alone anyone else’s. However, I am providing in this post a few examples of actual attested (A) Linear B words, along with the complete derived (D) conjugation of didomi (I give), derived from the attested (A) didosi (they give) below. Here is the conjugation in the present active tense of the athematic verb didomi, fully restored:

didomi-derived-d-conjugation-present-tense-in-mycenaean-linear-b

Here you see examples of some of the grammatical forms listed in the attested (A) glossary below:

examples-of-a-few-attested-a-grammatical-categorues-found-on-linear-b-tablets

For Prof. L.R. Palmer’s extremely comprehensive glossary of Mycenaean Linear B words, see The Interpretation of Mycenaean Texts (1963), pp 403-466. Apart from Chris Tselentis’ Linear B Lexicon, this is far and away the most useful source of Mycenaean Linear B. 

KEY to abbreviations:

ps = person singular; pp = person plural; f = future; o = optative; dat = dative; pi (siffix)= instrumental or primeval ablative case e.g teukepi = with instruments or paraphernalia

Verbs:

Infinitives:

Present:
akee = to send
akere = to gather, collect
apieke – to be covered all over
apudoke = to deliver
ekee = to have, hold
eree = to row
ereuterose = to set free, deliver from  
pere = to bring
piriye = to saw
woze = to work

Future passive:
dekasato = to be accepted

Future:
eureuterose = to set free (in the future)

Present indicative active:
ake 3 ps = he or she guides (sends?)
apeeke 3ps = he or she lets go
apieke 3ps = it contains???
apudoke 3ps = he or she delivers
didosi 3pp = they give, devote, grant
dose(i) 3ps = he or she gives
dososi 3pp = they give
ekamate 3ps = he or she stays
eke 3ps = he or she has
eko 2ps = I have
ekome 1pp = we have
ekote 2pp = you have
ekosi 3pp they have
eesi 3ps 3pp = he or she is, there is/they are?
ereutero 1ps = I set free
kitiyesi 3pp = they cultivate 
operosi 3pp = they owe
oudidosi 3pp = they do not give, are not giving
pasi 3pp = they say 
pere = he or she brings
piriyo = I saw (i.e. a log)
ponike 3ps = he or she decorates with a griffin
teke = he or she puts or sets
toqide 3ps = it has spirals
weke = he or she works
wide = he or she sees
zeukesi 3pp = they yoke or span  

Present passive:
ekeyoto = they are included

Present optative:
epikowo 3ps = that he or she may pay attention to
euketo 3ps = that he or she may wish (for)
qiriyato = that he or she may buy
uruto = he or she may guard

Aorist:
didosi = they gave = 3rd. person plural present tense
odoke = he or she gave
oporo = they owed
teke = he or she assigned
owide (wide) = he or she saw

Participles:

Present Active:
apeaso/a 3ps = absent 
diuyo/a or diwiyo/a 3ps = belonging
eko/ekontes 3ps/3pp = having
eo 3ps = being
iyote 3pp = coming
kesenewiyo/a = hospitable (a divine epithet)
opero 3ps & operoso/a + operote 3pp = owing
oromeno/a = watching over
ouwoze = not working
temidweta/te = having rims, i.e. with rims  
tetukuwoa/tetukuwea2 = well prepared, ready (for distribution on the market)
toqideyo/a + toqideweso/a = with spirals
zesomeno/a = boiling

Present passive:

anono = not rented
audeweso/a = decorated with rosettes?
dedemeno/a = bound
dedomeno/a = (things) being offered
dedukuyo/a = being apprenticed to
epididato/a = distributed
erapameno/a = sown (as of cloth)
ereutero/a = set free
kuparisiyo/ya = made of cypress
pitiro2weso/a = adorned with feathers 
zeukesi 3ppdat = yoked, spanned
wozomeno/a = being fashioned/well made  

Passive:
tetukuwo/a = well prepared, ready Cf. etoimo/a (D)

Perfect passive:
aetito/a = not used?
akitito/a = untitled?
amoiyeto/a = just delivered
anamoto/a = not assembled
apato/a = not sown?
emito/a = hired, paid
epididato/a = distributed
epizoto/a = bound, tied on top of
iyeto/a = delivered, offered up (religious connotation)
kakodeto/a = bound with copper?
kekaumeno/a = burned, razed to the ground
metakekumeno/a = dismantled?
qeqinomeno/a = made by twisting

Future perfect passive:
ewepesesomena = things to be returned *

pi (siffix)= instrumental or primeval * ablative case:
We refer to the ablative case as primeval, since it had completely disappeared from ancient Greek as early as Homer.

teukepi = with instruments or paraphernalia
seremokarapi  = decorated with sirens

In the next post, we shall be addressing the present, future, imperfect, aorist and perfect tenses of thematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B.  


Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Derived (D) Verbs/Infinitives in U = 516

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


linear-b-infinitives-in-u-620

This constitutes the very last table of present infinitives active we are posting. The grand total of present infinitives we have tabulated thus comes to 516. Of course, this is but a small representative cross-sampling of the present infinitives we could have covered. However, I decided from the very outset to limit myself to those present infinitives which would be the most likely to have been used the most frequently in natural, spoken and written Mycenaean Greek. So the list is of necessity arbitrary.

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 GRAND TOTAL of natural Mycenaean Greek derived (D) infinitives we have posted comes to 516.

Now that we are finished with both present and future infinitives active in Mycenaean Greek, the next step is to address aorist or simple past infinitives. If anything, the aorist infinitive active, which was used very frequently in ancient Greek, right on down from the Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot dialects to the Ionic, Athenian and New Testament Greek, is conceptually rather difficult for modern day students of Greek to grasp. However, we shall do our best to make the experience less painful.

Once we have tabulated a dozen or so examples of aorist infinitives, we shall then proceed to reconstruct Mycenaean Greek grammar from the ground up. This is a huge undertaking which of course has never been assayed before. But it is my profound belief and conviction that it must be done. The post immediately following the one on the aorist infinitive will introduce the outline of all aspects of Mycenaean grammar I intend to cover... and there is a lot of it.     


Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Derived (D) Verbs/Infinitives in S = 487

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

mycenaean-linear-b-nfinitives-in-s-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 = 487.


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 P Part B =  407

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

mycenaean-linear-b-infinitives-in-p-part-b-620

SPECIAL NOTES:
Since the first chart was so full of errors, I have had to extensively revise it.
* Since it is impossible for two consonants to follow one another in Linear B, the Greek prefix pro must be rendered as poro in Linear B.
** The verb prodokei is an impersonal perfect verb in the third person singular only. All impersonal verbs in Mycenaean Greek are in the third person singular. Some are in the passive.   

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 = 407.


Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Derived (D) Verbs/Infinitives in N = 235 + 19/Total = 254 + Dative Singular

In this post we find derived (D) infinitives in N and the combinatory Greek consonant ks in natural Mycenaean Greek.

Here is the table of attested thematic and athematic infinitives starting with the Greek letters n & ks in Mycenaean Greek:

mycenaean-derived-infinitives-in-n-620

Be absolutely sure to read the extensive NOTE I have composed for the combinatory Greek vowel ks, as it embodies an entirely new principle in the Mycenaean orthographic convention for combinatory vowels. This convention must be firmly kept in mind at all times.

Dative Singular Masculine introduced for the first time ever: 

Note also that we introduce here for the first time the masculine dative singular in Mycenaean Greek. The sentence Latinized with Knossos in the dative reads:

Aikupitiai naumakee kusu Konosoi etoimi eesi.

In this sentence, the word Konosoi must be dative, because it follows the Mycenaean  Linear B preposition kusu. This is the first time ever that the masculine dative singular has ever appeared in Mycenaean Greek. Note that the ultimate i for the masc. dative sing is never subscripted in Mycenaean Greek, just as it was not in most other early ancient Greek alphabetic dialects.

The 4 sentences following Greek verbs in M 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.

We have managed to come up with some really intriguing sentences for the letters N and KS. One of them could have been lifted from the Mycenaean epic (if ever there was one) corresponding to the Iliad. It was highly likely anyway 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 = 254. I shall indicate the running total as we proceed through the alphabet.


							

Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Derived (D) Verbs/Infinitives in M = 36/Total = 235

In this post we find 36 derived (D) infinitives in M in natural Mycenaean Greek.

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

mycenaean-d-derived-infinitives-in-m-620

I have not bothered with notes on Mycenaean orthography under M, since there are no new examples of spelling in Linear B peculiar to Mycenaean Greek. Henceforth, I shall add new notes on Mycenaean orthography only as new peculiarities arise, regardless of the Greek letter under which the Mycenaean vocabulary falls.  

The 4 sentences following Greek verbs in M 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 = 235. I shall indicate the running total as we proceed through the alphabet.


Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Derived (D) Verbs/Infinitives in Z, EI, TH = 25/Total = 96

In this post we find 25 derived (D) infinitives in Z, EI & TH in natural Mycenaean Greek.

Here is the table of attested thematic and athematic infinitives starting with the Greek letters Z, EI & TH in Mycenaean Greek:

z-ei-th-derived-infinitives620

It is vital to note that Mycenaean Greek had no long E (EI Latinized in Greek) or theta (TH Latinized in Greek). Thus, Mycenaean Linear B had to substitute E for EI and T for TH. In addition, there is no syllabary series for the Greek letter lambda  = L, and so Mycenaean Greek had to use the R series of syllabograms for L, i.e. RA, RE, RI, RO, RU. Read the complete notes in the table above.

The 4 sentences 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 = 24 A + 12 D + 35 E + 25 Z, EI, TH for a TOTAL of 96. I shall indicate the running total as we proceed through the alphabet.


Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Verbs/Infinitives:

As of this post, we shall be reconstructing natural Mycenaean Linear B grammar from the ground up. When I refer to natural Mycenaean Linear B, I mean not merely the Linear B extant grammatical forms in the standardized, formulaic and fossilized language of inventories which we encounter on extant Linear B tablets, but grammatical forms common to the entire natural, spoken language. While we do not have any direct evidence of the syntactical construction of the spoken language, we can nevertheless largely reconstruct grammatical forms in natural Mycenaean Greek.  Such reconstructed forms are referred to as derived.

In this post, we introduce attested Mycenaean Linear B infinitives only, i.e. those which are found on extant tablets. In the next post, we shall feature a considerable number of derived infinitives, which are nowhere to be found on the extant tablets, but which nevertheless can be reconstructed with relative ease.

Linear B verbs, just as all verbs in every East Greek dialect down from Mycenaean to early and late Ionic and Attic, among other dialects, are classified as follows:

Thematic Verbs:

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. 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.

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).

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.

Here is the table of attested thematic and athematic infinitives in Mycenaean Greek:

mycenaean-linear-b-infinitives-620



CONSOLIDATION OF MYCENAEAN GRAMMAR: Part 1 – Verbs in the Active Voice: Click to ENLARGE:

CONSOLIDATON of Conjugations of Thematic & Athematic Verbs in the Active Voice in Mycenaean Greek

NOTE: if you are already very familiar with Mycenaean Linear B grammar, or if you are a serious student of the same, it is highly advisable to print out this Consolidated Table & keep it for your records.

Just as I promised in our last post, the time has come for us to start consolidating Mycenaean Grammar in Linear B, beginning with the Conjugations of both Thematic and Athematic Verbs in the Active Voice for all of these tenses: Present, Future, Imperfect, First & Second Aorist & Perfect tenses.

The obvious question many of you will be asking is: why on earth has Richard omitted the Future Perfect & Pluperfect, let alone any other oblique tenses... and the answer is as simple as Mycenaean Greek on the extant tablets practically and logically permits. Nowhere on the tables will we find any usage of even the future & perfect tenses (at least so far as I know), so the inclusion of these tenses might seem a bit of a stretch. But is it really? I for one emphatically say, not so. Why so? It is a quite straightforward, and indeed, highly plausible hypothesis to assume, and on fair evidence, that the Mycenaean Greeks made us of all of these tenses liberally in the spoken language. What evidence can I possibly have for that? The evidence we have is in the frequent recurrence of participles in all of these tenses on extant tablets, circumstantial evidence which, by association, fairly well confirms that the Mycenaeans spoke all of these tenses all the time.

This conclusion I have drawn is further buttressed by the fact that some of the aforementioned tenses do occur, even if only in partial conjugation(s) on extant tablets, and here of course, I speak of the present tense (extensively used on the tablets, to no-one’s great surprise, given that the vast majority of the tablets are accounting records for the current year ("weto”) or, as we call it the "current fiscal year”.

But the scribes also had to make reference to (recent) historical events, especially in the realms of trade and commerce (for which there exist scores of tablets, some of them very extensive, especially from Pylos), to the trades & crafts, to agricultural production and certainly to military matters and war. Thus the aorist plays a real role on the extant tablets. But what about the perfect tense? What evidence is there for it? Plenty. Even the most cursory look through even the smallest Mycenaean glossary, namely, The Mycenaean (Linear B) – English Glossary, reveals 3 examples of uses of perfect participles passive (dedemeno = corded, kekaumeno = burnt, muyomeno = initiates (part. as a noun), and there are plenty of examples pf present participles active and passive, which you can root out for yourself, by consulting this meagre glossary. However, we can easily ferret out plenty more participles from the much larger and more comprehensive glossary by Chris Tselentis, Athens, Greece, Linear B, 149 pp. long! My point is simply this: if the Mycenaeans were so "into” having recourse to participles, both active and passive, especially in the present, aorist and perfect tenses, it practically goes without saying that they used those tenses liberally in their spoken language... to my mind at least.

Richard

 

First and Second Persons Singular of Athematic Verbs Fully Restored in Mycenaean Linear B!

While sitting out on my patio sipping tea this afternoon for the first time this spring, I was astonished to discover that the archaic second person singular of Athematic verbs ended in in “si”, while the third person singular ended in “ti”, in other words, in a syllable, the second person singular ending having precisely the same value as the Linear B syllabogram SI  & the third person singular ending having precisely the same value as the Linear B syllabogram TI, as illustrated here (Click to ENLARGE):

Linear B Athematic Verbs Present Future Imperfect Restored

To my mind, this is a significant step forward in the genesis of a comprehensive Mycenaean Greek grammar, lending further weight to my hypothesis that archaic Greek conjugations seem to be virtually identical to their Mycenaean forerunners. But there is even more to this than first meets the eye. This is no mere happenstance. It confirms almost beyond a shadow of a doubt that certain verb conjugations and adjectival/nominal declensions in archaic (or Homeric) Greek were (almost) exactly the same as their predecessors in Mycenaean Greek some 400-700 years earlier. And the more archaic the alphabetic Greek grammatical form, the more likely it is that it will be (almost) identical to its Mycenaean “ancestor”.

This raises the appurtenant question whether Mycenaean Greek is all that different from archaic Greek, and even whether they are one and the same dialect, the latter being a later avatar of the former.  A striking parallel is found in the proximity of Ionic Greek with Attic, even though the former dates to ca. 800 – 700 BCE, somewhat earlier the latter, ca. 600 BCE – 450 BCE. One could possibly even make a case for a historical (quasi-) linear continuity right on through from the Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot dialects, to the early Ionic Greek we find in Homer, to Attic, Hellenic and, finally the “koine” Greek of the New Testament. In other words, the timeline from Mycenaean Greek to the “koine” Greek of the New Testament may indeed constitute a continuum in the evolution of the Greek language. Given that modern Greek is the “terminus post quem” of “koine” Greek, one might even hypothesize that modern Greek is  the “final” stage in the evolution of East Greek dialects from Mycenaean Greek to the present (ca. 1500 BCE – 2014 AD), i.e. some  3,500 years. Of course, while all this is, at least tentatively, pure speculation on my part, you have to wonder why the conjugation of “didomi” in Mycenaean Greek is so astonishingly similar to the “koine” conjugation of the New Testament, some 1,600 years in the future (Click to ENLARGE):

DIDOMI Linear B Archaic & New Testament
      
If confirmed, my hypothesis would be a real revelation! It would at least appear that Mycenaean Greek grammar changed very little over the 400 years after the fall of Mycenae itself in 1200 BCE to the first appearance of archaic alphabetical Greek around 800 BCE. If this is the case, it follows that we will be able to reconstruct a good deal more Mycenaean Greek grammar in Linear B than I had first imagined possible. However, a word of warning! I must test this hypothesis over and over with practical applications (paradigms) for as many categories of Mycenaean grammar as I can possibly survey and reconstruct, including above all else verb conjugations and nominal and adjectival declensions. If the results turn out to be as I presently project them in my busy-bee mind, the implications and ramifications for a truly comprehensive reconstructed grammar will be enormous, if not revolutionary. If nothing else, we may discover that there is a far greater affinity between grammar behind the Linear B syllabary and and that of archaic alphabetical Greek than we ever imagined to date.

On the other hand, the affinity may be weaker than I imagine, hence, probably invalid.

It will take me at least a year to carry this hypothesis to its “logical” outcome. In the meantime, I shall have to completely revise the complete conjugational tables for Athematic Verbs (present, future, imperfect, first & second aorist and perfect) I previously posted.  These necessary revisions will affect both the Athematic conjugational tables and at least some of the text of that post.

Richard



 


Honouring Michael Ventris: Conjugations of All Tenses in the Active Voice of Athematic MI Verbs in Mycenaean Greek

                                                   Honouring Michael Ventris

Michael Ventris at work in his study
In honour of Michael Ventris for his astounding achievement in his brilliant decipherment of the Mycenaean Linear B script and syllabary, I am taking the first major step on a long journey to recover as much of the corpus of Mycenaean Greek grammar & vocabulary as I possibly can squeeze out of the evidence from extant Linear B tablets and from Book II of Homer's Iliad, above all, from the Catalogue of Ships, in which the most archaic Greek Homer had recourse to abounds. Needless to say, I do all this in honour of the memory of Michael Ventris, one of the greatest geniuses of the twentieth century, a man whose stellar intelligence and prodigious powers of concentration I cannot help but admire in the extreme.  In fact, I wouldn't go far wrong in asserting that I practically idolize the man (... might as well tell the truth).

Conjugations of All Tenses in the Active Voice of Athematic MI Verbs in Mycenaean Greek (Click to ENLARGE):

Active Voice Conjugations all Tenses Athematic Mi verbs
As far as I know, this is the first time that anyone has ever attempted to reconstruct the entire verbal system of all tenses in the active voice of Athematic MI verbs in Mycenaean Greek. Much more is to follow. I shall have reconstructed the middle and passive voices of both Thematic and Athematic verbs by the summer of this year (2014).

With this table of all tenses in the active voice of Athematic MI verbs, using the verb "didomi" (I give, to give) as our paradigm, we have succeeded in the regressive reconstruction of these tenses in the active voice from their (approximate) Homeric forms, as used in the Iliad. By regressively extrapolating as many of the “original” Mycenaean forms as we possibly can from their Homeric descendents, we have been able to  move forward to the progressive reconstruction of each of the tenses of the active voice of Athematic verbs, as illustrated in this table.

This constitutes the first major step in our long journey to reconstruct as much of Mycenaean Greek grammar as far as we possibly can, for all parts of speech: verbs and adverbs, nouns & adjectives, as well as prepositions and the cases they govern. I have already progressively reconstructed most of the tenses of Thematic verbs in Mycenaean Greek, and will post the complete table shortly.  This will finalize our reconstruction of the active voice of the Mycenaean Greek verbal system.

But why, I hear you asking, aren't you reconstituting the subjunctive and optative moods? The answer is simple: since Mycenaean Linear B Greek seems to have been almost exclusively used for economic, accounting and fiscal records (including manufacturing and agriculture) and for some religious observances, it would appear that the Mycenaeans did not resort to the subjunctive and optative moods in writing on Linear B tablets, though they certainly must have used them regularly in spoken Mycenaean Greek.  A few straggling forms pop up in the Mycenaean Linear B vocabulary, but by no means enough of them to warrant any plausible reconstruction of the  subjunctive and optative moods. As I have repeatedly pointed out, I cannot and will not make any effort to regressively-progressively reconstruct any parts of speech for which there is (almost) no evidence on the extant Linear B tablets. Such an endeavour is foolish and hazardous. The only Mycenaean grammatical constructs we  can safely and reasonably delineate are those for which adequate evidence either appears on extant tablets or which is attested in Homer's Iliad, and above all other considerations, in the Catalogue of Ships in Book II. This is precisely why I am translating the Catalogue of Ships in its entirety, as it is riddled with archaic remnants of Mycenaean Greek grammar, thus serving as the “perfect” (so to speak) point of reference or departure, if you like, for regressive extrapolation of the most ancient grammatical forms to be found in Homer's Iliad into their ancestral counterparts in Mycenaean Greek. I shall also have recourse to the "Idalion Tablet" in Cypro-Minoan Linear C as a secondary point of reference for the reconstruction of Mycenaean Greek grammar, since, as I have already demonstrated, these two very ancient Greek dialects are more closely intertwined than any other Greek dialects whatsoever, including the Attic and Ionic dialects.     

It is with all of this firmly in mind that I intend to reconstruct as much of the corpus of Mycenaean Greek grammar as is feasibly possible by the end of 2015, after which I will go on to publish my book, Mycenaean Linear B: Progressive Grammar and Vocabulary, sometime in 2016-2017. This volume will not only greatly enhance our knowledge of Mycenaean Greek grammar, but will significantly expand Mycenaean Greek vocabulary, both attested and derived, to at least 5,000 words.  Keep posted.  

Richard
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