Tag Archive: athematic



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. 

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 O = 254 + 36/Total = 290

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

mycenaean-derived-infinitives-in-o-620

Be absolutely sure to read the extensive NOTES I have composed for the vowel O, as  there a a number of issues surrounding this vowel (O).

We are also introducing the middle voice, which never appears on any extant Linear B tablet. This voice exists only in Greek (ancient and modern), a centum (Occidental) and Sanskrit, a satim (Oriental) language. Greek and Sanskrit are essentially the Western and Eastern versions of the same proto-Indo-European language from which they both derive. Hence, the middle voice exists in both these languages, but in scarcely any other language in the world, ancient or modern.

But what is the middle voice? The middle voice is essentially self-referential, meaning that the person(s) any middle voice verb represents is or are acting of his or their own accord or in her or their own interest or that they are actively involved in the action the verb signifies. The middle voice is also used in reflexive verbs, such as dunamai, oduromai, onomai etc. etc., whereas the present indicative is found in Greek verbs such as oarizein, odaien, hodeuein = Mycenaean oarize, odaie, odeue. It is not the same thing as the present indicative, which is much simpler. Ancient and modern Greek both contain thousands of middle voice verbs, probably as many as thematic verbs, of which the infinitive always ends in ein in Greek and e in Mycenaean. READ ALL of the NOTES in the chart of Mycenaean verbs in O. Otherwise, what I am explaining here will not make much sense.  The complete conjugation of middle voice verbs in Mycenaean Linear B appears in the chart above.     

The 4 sentences following Greek verbs in O 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.

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 = 290.


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 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 I = 18/Total = 114

In this post we find 18 derived (D) infinitives in I in natural Mycenaean Greek.

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

i-derived-infinitives620

It is absolutely essential to read the 2 Notes [1] and [2] in the table above, since they explain critical differences between ancient archaic Greek and Mycenaean Linear B orthography of the same verbs (or any words, for that matter).

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. 

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 + 18 I for a TOTAL of 114. 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.


Table of Athematic Third Declension Nouns & Adjectives in “eu” in Mycenaean Linear B: Click to ENLARGE

Nouns & Adjectives in EU Athemtic Third Declension Mycenaean Greek Linear B

NOTE: this table took me 12 hours (!) to compile. I sincerely hope that some of our visitors will acknowledge this in some way or other, by tagging the post with LIKE,  assigning it the numbers of STARS they believe it merits, by re-blogging it, posting it on Facebook, tweeting it, posting it on Scoopit, whatever...  
 
Based on the template declension of the noun qasireu = “viceroy” in Mycenaean Linear B, itself derived in large part from extant archaic forms in The Catalogue of Ships of Book II of the Iliad by Homer, we have here all of the nouns, including proper, and adjectives I have been able to cull from various sources, all of which are referenced in the KEY at the top of the table.

There are a few items in particular we need to take into consideration:

(a) Apart from proper nouns, there are very few extant or derived nouns or adjectives in “eu” in Mycenaean Linear B;
(b) The astonishing thing about the extant proper nouns is that a considerable number of them are also found in The Catalogue of Ships of Book II of the Iliad, in the most archaic Greek, hence, the most reliable source for derived Mycenaean proper names. While some proper names which are found in the Linear B Lexicon by Chris Tselentis are not found in The Catalogue of Ships, they are nevertheless Homeric. When I say “Homeric”, I refer specifically to proper names solely from The Catalogue of Ships, as those which are found elsewhere in the Iliad or the Odyssey may not be authentic Mycenaean eponymns or names, unless of course they are replicated in The Catalogue of Ships. I am, in short, extremely reticent to accept proper names as Mycenaean, unless they occur in The Catalogue of Ships.
(c) On the other hand, the rest of the proper names found in this table may very well be, and some of them must be authentic Mycenaean proper names. Given this, it is quite probable that at least some of these names not to be found anywhere in Homer are nevertheless the names of original Mycenaean heroes and warriors, which might have been mentioned in an original Mycenaean epic of the Trojan War, almost certainly oral. It is absolutely critical in this scenario to underscore one point in particular: that if there ever did exist a Mycenaean epic upon which the Iliad was based, such a (stripped-down) epic could only have seeded The Catalogue of Ships, and no other part of the Iliad or Odyssey, since it is in The Catalogue of Ships alone that we find far and away the greatest number of occurrences of archaic Greek, and not in the remainder of the Iliad or the Odyssey. Some will of course argue that some archaic remnants still pop up here and there in the the remainder of the Iliad and Odyssey, but it is important to realize in this particular that Homer most likely – indeed, almost certainly – (unconsciously) carried over the habit of using bits and pieces of archaic Greek, much more common in The Catalogue of Ships, to the rest of the epic cycle.

In fact, there is real doubt that he ever did compose outright The Catalogue of Ships. Rather, it appears, he may very well have had access to an earlier, archaic epic, which had indeed been copied from its original Mycenaean template. He then in turn copied the whole thing lock-stock-and-barrel, embellishing it with his own peculiar style in so-called Epic Greek, as he went along. That seems the more likely scenario to me. At any rate, the more simplistic structure, and above all other considerations, the characteristically Mycenaean inventory have stamped themselves prominently on The Catalogue of Ships alone. If nothing else, there can be little or no doubt that the entire Catalogue of Ships (exclusive of the rest of Book II of the Iliad,  which was a later addition) was composed well before the rest of the Iliad, and long before the Odyssey.

So the question remains, Who were all those Mycenaean warriors? Which ones had Homer forgotten, or conveniently omitted from The Catalogue of Ships? One thing appears almost undeniable. The proper names we see in this table, which are not in The Catalogue of Ships, are very likely those of Mycenaean wanaka or kings, qasirewe or viceroys, heroes and other assorted warriors. Why they do not appear anywhere in the Iliad is beyond our reckoning. But they do appear on extant Mycenaean Linear B tablets, and this constitutes enough evidence for me that they were important figures to the Mycenaeans.

Richard


REVISED: Archaic Declensions in “eu” in Mycenaean Greek = “eus” in Homeric Greek: Click to ENLARGE

Mycenaean Linear B Third Declension in EU

One of the most archaic declensions in ancient Greek is the Athematic Third Declension in which nouns in the nominative end in “eus” in Homeric Greek or “eu” in Mycenaean Greek, as illustrated by the complete declension table above of the noun “qasireu” = “viceroy” in Mycenaean Linear B, and of “basileus” = “(lesser) king” in Homeric Greek. The process whereby I can reasonably reconstruct any verb conjugation or any nominal or adjectival declension from the Homeric Greek of The Catalogue of Ships in Book II of the Iliad or, failing that, from Book II of the Iliad, I call regressive extrapolation. In the table of the athematic third declension above for “qasireu” = “viceroy” in Mycenaean Linear B, very few forms are already attested on the tablets (mainly the nominative singular), but all of the cases, singular, dual and plural, can be reconstructed with almost complete accuracy by means of regressive extrapolation. It is critical in this regard to understand that, if at all possible, the forms derived in this manner must reflect their most archaic equivalents in Homer, which is why I always resort to The Catalogue of Ships in Book II, and also why I have taken it upon myself to translate The Catalogue in its entirety (although I still have 4 more sequential sections to translate).

Once I have reconstructed any conjugation or declension, and the table is complete, as seen above, the process of reconstruction in Mycenaean Linear B forward through all the cases (nominative, genitive, dative/locative/instrumental & accusative) and all three numbers (singular, dual & plural) I call progressive extrapolation. Starting this month, and working through the spring of 2015, I shall attempt to reconstruct as many declensions of nouns and adjectives as I am convinced can stand the test of regressive-progressive extrapolation, without resulting in absurdities, i.e. without falling into the trap of reductio ab adsurdum. Unfortunately, such reconstruction can be and sometimes is open to precisely that pitfall. So where it is impossible to reconstruct any verbal conjugation or nominal/ adjectival declension without unsubstantiated Homeric or Arcado-Cypriot forms, I shall not do so.

Last year (2014), we successfully reconstructed verb tables for the present, future, imperfect, aorist & perfect tenses of the active voice of both thematic and athematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, of which the complete tables can be consulted in the CATEGORY, PROGESSIVE LINEAR B, of this blog.

In the next post, I shall provide a reasonably comprehensive list of nouns and adjectives in the Athematic Third Declension, ending in “eu” in Mycenaean Greek.

The likelihood that the Mycenaean Linear B syllabogram for WE is indicative of the nominative plural of certain Mycenaean nouns and adjectives of the athematic third declension was first brought to my attention by Ms. Gretchen Leonhardt, whose site is: Click on this Banner to visit -

Konosos.net
By extapolation, the same principle can be applied to the Mycenaean Linear B syllabogram for WA, which is reperesentative of the accusative plural of certain nouns and adjectives of the athematic third declension, among others. 

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

CRITICAL POST: The Present and Imperfect Tenses of Reduplicating – MI – Verbs in Linear B [Click to ENLARGE):

linear b mi verbs present and imperfect tense
NOTE: If you are a researcher in Linear B, it is highly advisable that you read and thoroughly digest this post in its entirety, as it constitutes a major milestone in the exegesis of my Theory of Regressive Linear B Grammar & Vocabulary.  Failure to read this post may result in an inability to further confirm or reject, either in whole or in part, the premises upon which my entire theory rests.
 
Athematic – MI –verbs are shared in large part by Greek and and Sanskrit, respectively the Occidental & Oriental agnates or close/near descendents of the same extremely ancient (proto-) Indo-European class.  All verbs of this athematic class invariably share the standard ending –  mi –  in the 1st. person sing. of the present tense.

Ancient Greek and Indic (Sanskrit) are similar in many respects, which may strike some as surprising since they cross the hypothetical “satem/centum” line, which the Occidental sub-class (all ancient Greek dialects & Latin & its dialects) treats the Proto IE gutturals as hard (Gr.e9kato/n Lat. centum = 100,) as against Sanscrit, chatam, and Old Persian, satem. But there are so many structural affinities, from parallel verb forms down to musical pitches, that some special connections must have existed between and prior to these two groups, which appear to have almost certainly sprung from the same Proto IE ancestral language. On the other hand, while Sanskrit is normally considered solidly IE, less than 40% of Greek vocabulary and grammar appears to derive directly from Proto IE roots, giving rise to the hypothesis that other extra-structural factors are surely involved in the evolution of ancient Greek. This phenomenon, peculiar to Greek alone, may also have significant implications for the eventual decipherment of Linear A. But this is mere speculation on my part.  Still... you never know. At any rate, I intend eventually to follow this avenue of approach, my small contribution to the eventual decipherment of at least a tiny substrate (superstrate?) of Linear A sometime in 2016.

Seminal Characteristics of Athematic MI Verbs:

Athematic MI verbs are characterized, for the most part, by their own unique set of endings, although the 2nd. and 3rd. plurals are virtually the same as those of the Thematic so-called “regular” verbs in ancient Greek. It would appear, then, that “regular” verbs retained the athematic 2nd. and 3rd. plurals of their ancestors, the athematic Mi verbs, while casting all other athematic endings aside.

Reduplication in the Present Tense:

The most striking phenomenon of MI verbs is reduplication in the present tense, which is restricted to perfect formations of “regular” thematic verbs in ancient Greek. This state of affairs raises two critical questions in my mind: [1] are so-called “regular” verbs in ancient Greek derived from the more ancient athematic  MI verbs, or did they simply borrow the athematic endings of the athematic 2nd. and 3rd. plurals the ancestral MI verbs? Later this year, I shall demonstrate the apparent yet quite possibly significant link between the SI endings of the present indicative and san endings of the perfect indicative in both classes of verbs, thematic and athematic. Another truly striking similarity between the more archaic and early “regular” forms in Homeric Greek is the sharing of the SI ending in the dative plural. I am highly inclined to stress the statistically probable significance of these endings, in both their verbal and nominal forms, shared by their more ancestral and and early “regular” forms in both Mycenaean and Homeric Greek.

This phenomenon will re-appear frequently in both the attested [A] and derivative [D] forms of the 3rd. person plural of all verbs, thematic or athematic regardless and in the SI ending of the dative plural, not only in Homeric, but also in Mycenaean Linear B, which attests to their extreme antiquity in ancient Greek. The fact that these forms were already fully developed in Mycenaean Greek strongly points to the likelihood that they arose from the earliest ancestral (proto-) Greek of Mycenaean and Homeric Greek alike (above all in the Catalogue of Ships in Book II of the Iliad). All of these grammatical constructs are already firmly rooted in Mycenaean and Homeric Greek, giving rise to my hypothesis that it is not only possible, but highly feasible to regressively reconstruct huge chunks of Mycenaean Greek grammar and vocabulary from their (quasi-direct) descendent, the Homeric Greek of (the Catalogue of Ships) of the second Book of the Iliad.

All of this raises another hypothetical question in my mind: did there exist ancestral forms of thematic verbs in ancient Greek which shared all or most of their endings, in all tenses, with their (apparently) more ancient MI counterparts, giving rise to the hypothesis that both athematic and thematic verbs were derived from even more ancient verbal constructs, in which all remotely ancient (proto-) Greek verbs were in fact athematic? That this is possible, and even probable, is reinforced by the uncontested fact that in Sanskrit both MI and O verbs alike share reduplication, meaning there is no marked distinction between “thematic” and “athematic” verbs in Sanskrit, in other words, they are of one and the same class. This phenomenon then reappears in a restricted number of Latin perfects, like tutudi from tundo "beat", old tetuli from thw stem tul- which supplements the forms of Latin. fero (Gr.fe/rw ). Since Latin developed in parallel with ancient Greek, but independently from the latter, this then raises the question yet again, how on earth can it be that such reduplication occurs in Latin but not in Greek, unless there is a possibility (however remote) that reduplication occurred in both thematic and athematic verbs of their proto-Greek and proto-Latin ancestors?

If indeed that is the case, then it would appear that proto-Greek and proto-Latin shared this seminal characteristic with not only Sanskrit, but proto-Sanskrit, and hence, by inference, with the proto IE ancestor of all three of these languages. If this is that case, it necessarily follows that both the thematic O endings and athematic MI endings share one and the same singular ancestor, which must have been neither thematic nor athematic, but one and the very same root of both classes. So I have to wonder out loud whether thematic O and athematic MI verbs in Sanskrit, Mycenaean Greek and Homeric Greek alike all derive from a single class of verbs, embodying the characteristics of both of these classes of verbs. If that is even remotely a possibility, then we cannot afford to ignore it, since it allows us to regressivly reconstruct, to some degree at least, even some of the tenses of the Proto-IE ancestor of all of these languages. Wouldn't that be a revelation? Of course, all this is speculation on my part, but I love to indulge in speculative hypotheses, if there is even a remote chance that someday some of them may prove to be sound.

Only time and future refinements in the science of linguistics may lend some credence to the hypotheses I am making here. If anything, computational linguistics and the great leaps in the application of artificial intelligence to linguistic theory (-ies) are likely to give rise to even more speculative hypotheses, hypotheses which may yet prove to rest on a much more solid foundation in applied linguistics than we can hope to approach at present. We shall see.

In other words, the foundation of my theory of the Regressive Reconstruction of Mycenaean Linear B grammar and vocabulary rests firmly on the regressive extrapolation of all such forms from he Homeric Greek of (the Catalogue of Ships) of the second Book of the Iliad or from any of the following dialects, Cypriot Linear C (above all others), Aeolic, Arcadian and early Ionic Greek, all of which appear to have been (quasi-) direct descendents of Mycenaean Greek. Doric Greek does not properly enter into the equation.

Conclusions:

On thing, however, is certain: the athematic – mi – verbs, in all tenses & moods, and in the all-pervasive participial constructions in ancient Homeric Greek must have been already firmly entrenched in Mycenaean Greek, from the simple observation of the facts, namely, that at least some these forms of all tenses, moods and participles are already almost all attested [A] on Mycenaean Linear B tablets. And even where some forms of all tenses, moods and participles in verbs are not to be found on any Linear B tablets, enough of them are attested for us to be able to reasonably reconstruct them in their entirety or at least in part from the attested forms.

And what applies to verbs, applies also to all other parts of speech in Mycenaean Linear B (nouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and even formulaic phrases shared with Homeric Greek). These happily fortuitous antecedents in Linear B to their later counterparts in Homeric Greek recur quite frequently enough for me to be able to regressively reconstitute the Linear B forms from their subsequent Homeric forms. This, in a nutshell, is the entire premise of the Theory of Regressive Linear B as I intend to clearly demonstrate in the reconstruction of large chunks of ancestral Mycenaean Greek grammar and vocabulary, both attributed [A] and derivative [D] from its direct descent, Homeric Greek, and in particular the frequent occurrences of archaic Greek in Book II of the Iliad, in which in turn even more archaic forms frequently recur in the Catalogue of Ships (lines 484-789), the most reliable source for ancestral Mycenaean Greek grammar and vocabulary in the entire Iliad. Concomitantly, and once again happily, any of the following dialects, Cypriot Linear C (above all others), Aeolic, Arcadian and early Ionic Greek also well serve the purpose as direct and indirect descendents of Mycenaean Greek, from which it is feasible to regressively extrapolate grammatical and terminological constructs in Linear B.  Doric Greek, however, does not enter into the equation, since the Dorian invasion transpired after the fall of Mycenaean civilization.

Richard 

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