Tag Archive: Attic Greek

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.

The Arcado-Cypriot Linear C keyboard template & the significantly revised timeline for (proto-) historic ancient Greek society:


This image of the Arcado-Cypriot Linear C keyboard template has been downsized to 620 pixels to fit the restrictive exigencies of Word Press image size. You may request the full-sized 1200 pixel Linear C keyboard template by contacting me at:


The Arcado-Cypriot Linear C keyboard template reveals several fascinating characteristics of this extremely important and highly tenacious syllabary. These are:

1. The Arcadians and Cypriots thoroughly redesigned Linear C, almost completely abandoning the Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B syllabograms, but only in superficial appearance.
2. The only Linear C syllabograms which bear resemblance with their Mycenaean Linear B forbears are: NA SE PA & PO.
3. But almost all of the rest of the syllabograms in Linear C bear the same phonetic values as their Linear B forbears. 
4. The DA series of syllabograms in Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B has completely disappeared from Arcado-Cypriot Linear C.
5. The RA RE RI RO (RU) series of syllabograms in Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B has split into 2 discreet, separate series: LA LE LI LO LU & RA RE RI RO RU. But what was the reason for this deliberate split? Here is my hypothesis: it would appear that the Minoans and Mycenaeans were unable to distinguish between the liquids L and R, pronouncing L something along the lines the Japanese did.
6. The syllabograms XA and XE, and the syllabogram GA are non-existent in Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B.
7. Arcado-Cypriot Linear C abandoned ideograms completely. This makes for a much more -
8. streamlined syllabary.
9. The Arcado-Cypriot Linear C syllabary was diachronically extremely tenacious, lasting 7 centuries (ca. 1100 BCE – 400 BCE) co-existing in parallel with the Arcado-Cypriot alphabet.
10. philologists and linguists expert in ancient Greek are accustomed to drawing the timeline for the first appearance of written Greek from 800 BCE onward (ca. the time of Homers Ilad to Attic Greek, ca. 400 BCE).



But I am in fundamental disagreement with this hypothesis. Since Arcado-Cypriot Linear C came to the fore ca. 1100 BCE, a mere 100 years or approximately one century after the fall of Mycenae and the demise of the Linear B syllabary, it is surely open to doubt whether or not the so-called Greek Dark Ages actually lasted at least 400 years (ca. 1200 – 800 BCE). So we have to wonder whether or not that small gap of a mere century or so between the demise of  the Linear B syllabary (ca. 1200 BCE) and the sudden appearance of Arcado-Cypriot Linear C (ca. 1100 BCE) makes much of a difference at all in the actual timeline for written ancient Greek, which to my mind runs from 1600 BCE, with the advent of Mycenaean Linear B, all the way through to 400 BCE, i.e. for 12 centuries – 1 century (because of the 1 century gap between Linear B and Linear C), i.e. for 11 centuries! This makes for a huge difference between the previously held timeline of a mere 4 centuries from 800 – 400 BCE. It sets back the timeline for Greek civilization 500 years, receding back from 1100 BCE to 1600 BCE.  I also strongly object to the commonly held notion that Mycenaean and Mycenaean Minoan Greece was a prehistoric civilization. Since writing did exist in the form of the Linear B syllabary, albeit only in scribal format, I believe we can safely conclude that the Mycenaean civilization was proto-historic. And there is more: if we also take Minoan Linear A into account (which we definitely should), then the proto-historic period, if we are to include the pre-Greek substrate of Minoan society, recedes several centuries more into the distant past, to at least 2,900 BCE! Just because we cannot read the Minoan language does not mean it not also proto-historic phenomenon. 

That Arcado-Cypriot Linear C lasted for such a very long time attests to the fact that syllabaries such as Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C itself were much more suitable to inscribing or writing ancient Greek than most philologists or diachronic historical linguists would care to admit. I shall have plenty to say about this in the article I shall soon be posting on my academia.edu account:

Templates for the layouts of the Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C fonts.

You can download the Linear C font here:



The ubiquitous present participle passive in Mycenaean Linear B & in all subsequent ancient Greek dialects:

Here is a chart of attested (A) present participles passive in Mycenaean Greek found on Linear B tablets, and derived (D) present participles passive nowhere to be found extant in Mycenaean Greek:


As anyone familiar with ancient Greek can attest to, the present participle passive was ubiquitous in Mycenaean Linear B and in all subsequent ancient Greek dialects. Since (a) students and researchers with ancient Greek understand the full functionality of the present participle passive and (b) since all others not familiar with any ancient Greek dialect do not understand how the present participle passive functions, I am not bothering to provide examples of its usage in any ancient Greek dialect... although perhaps I should.

KEY! The all-pervasive present participle active in Mycenaean Linear B & in all subsequent ancient Greek dialects:

Table of attributed (A) and derived (D) present participles actives in Mycenaean Linear B & in Attic Greek:


NOTE: It is crucial that you read all of the notes in this table in their entirety; otherwise, a sound grasp of the conjugation of the present participle, especially of the feminine singular, in Mycenaean Linear B will not make any sense whatsoever.

The present participle active was all-pervasive and extremely common in both Mycenaean Linear B & in all subsequent ancient Greek dialects. It was heavily used to express continuous action in the present tense as well as accompaniment, i.e. to indicate that someone or something was with someone or something else. Thus, in Mycenaean Linear B, the phrase eo qasireu could mean either “being an overlord” or “with an overlord”, just as in Attic Greek eon basileus could mean either “being king” or “with the king”. As I have pointed out in the table above, the word qasireu never meant “king” in Mycenaean Linear B, since king was always wanaka. The qasireu was a lower ranking supernumerary, something equivalent to an overlord or baron.

Another point which we simply must keep uppermost in mind is the fact that digamma (pronounced something like “wau” or “vau”, was extremely common in both Mycenaean Linear B and its kissing cousin dialect, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, only falling permanently out of use in ancient Greek after the decline of these two dialects (Linear B, ca. 1600-1200 BCE & Linear C, ca. 1100-400 BCE). As is clearly attested by the table above, the feminine singular form of the present participle active, which was characterized by the all-pervasive presence of digamma in Mycenaean Linear B & in Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, had completely shed digamma even as early as the artificial amalgam, Homeric Epic Greek, even though digamma was still pronounced in the Iliad. 

CRITICAL Links to KEY PERSEUS/Tufts ancient Greek pages for persons knowledgeable in ancient Greek:

1. Homer, Iliad, Book II, The Catalogue of Ships:


If you are wondering why I have deliberately zeroed in on Book II, the Catalogue of Ships of Homers Iliad, as I am sure you are, wonder no more. Only Book  II alone, the Catalogue of Ships of Homers Iliad, can provide us with sufficient examples of Homeric grammar with distinctly Mycenaean characteristics, from which we can thereby retrogressively extrapolate numerous examples of grammatical forms in many of the major categories of Homeric Greek to their putative, and in fact, actual, Mycenaean ancestral roots.

2. Jeffrey A. Rydberg-Cox, Overview of Greek Syntax:


is a superb source for the study of ancient Greek grammar. The link is parsed into the major sub-categories of ancient Greek grammar, i.e. nouns, verbs, participles etc. etc., and is thus an extremely valuable and highly practical source for ancient Greek grammar, all but eliminating the necessity of having to buy a hard-copy or e-book publication on ancient Greek grammar. In short, it is a perfectly sound source for ancient Greek grammar aficionados.

CRITICAL POST: The active middle voice template, akeomai = I repair or I make amends for...  in the five major tenses in Mycenaean Linear B & ancient Greek:

In all of the ancient East Greek dialects, right on down from Mycenaean Linear B to Arcado-Cypriot, its closest cousin (ca. 1100-400 BCE), through to Homeric Greek (ca. 800 BCE, a hodgepodge amalgam of various early ancient Greek dialects), to Ionic and Attic Greek (ca. 500-400 BCE), right on through to Hellenistic Greek (ca. 300-100 BCE) to New Testament Koine Greek (ca. 100 AD) and even to modern Greek, the active middle voice was extremely common, playing an indispensable role in the expression of verbal actions. In fact, it was probably even more common than the standard active voice, which we have already covered under the verb kauo = to burn.

In Mycenaean Linear B and in all subsequent ancient Greek dialects, the template for active middle voice is here represented by the verb, akeomai = I repair -or- I make amends (for myself). The 5 major indicative active tenses represented are, once again:

the present active middle voice
the future active middle voice
the imperfect active middle voice
the aorist (or simple past) active middle voice
the perfect active middle voice

all conjugated in full in this table:


What is the function of the active middle voice in Mycenaean Linear B & ancient (as well as modern) Greek?

It is a very good thing to ask — in fact, it is crucial to the proper understanding of the critical difference between the standard active voice and the middle voice of verbs in Greek. The two voices are simply not the same. The standard active voice, as in the verb, kauo (present), kauso (future), ekauon (imperfect), ekausa (aorist or simple past) & kekausa (perfect) simply indicates something that someone does, will do, was doing, did or has done, with no further qualifications.

The active middle voice is quite another kettle of fish. It is much more active (quite literally!) and much more dynamic. The active middle voice denotes any of the following activities:

1. Any action undertaken by the subject, in which the subject takes a powerful personal interest in whatever action he or she is undertaking;
2. Any action undertaken by the subject, in which the subject acts strictly on his or her own behalf, without any direct influence of or consideration of whatever anyone else may think or adjudge about said action;
3. Any action undertaken by the subject, in which the subject acts independently, of his or her own volition, regardless;
4. Any action undertaken by the subject, which is of a reflexive nature, ie. by means of which the subject does something for or to oneself.

It goes without saying that an active present voice as so utterly complex as the active middle voice exists in no modern language, except for the fourth (4th.) application. The middle voice was of primal importance to the ancient Greeks because they were highly individualistic and egocentric (as opposed to being egoistic, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the active middle voice, except in rare instances). Reflexive verbs (4) are common in practically all modern languages. Thus, we have:

in English: I wash myself, you wash yourself, we wash ourselves etc.
et en français : je me lave, tu te laves, nous nous lavons – et ainsi de suite,
to cite just two examples.

On the other hand, the strict emphasis on personal responsibility for one’ s actions which is the preeminent characteristic of the active middle voice in Mycenaean Linear B and in ancient and modern Greek is nowhere to be found in modern Centum (Occidental) Indo-European languages such as English, French, Italian, Spanish, German etc. etc. In order to express the emphasis on direct personal responsibility innate to the active middle voice in ancient and modern Greek, modern languages have to resort to (sometimes cumbrous) circumlocutions. For instance, to express the first (1.) function of the active middle voice in ancient Greek, English has to resort to this circumlocution:

I am taking a powerful personal interest in repairing... etc.

And for the second (2.) function, this is what English has to resort to:

I am acting strictly on my own behalf in repairing (regardless of what anyone else thinks of it)

And for the third (3.) function:

I am acting entirely on my own (or independently) to repair etc.

Quite the circumlocutions in comparison with the active middle voice in ancient Greek, which is always so compactly and eloquently expressed by a single word, regardless of tense!

Consequently, it is virtually impossible to grasp the several meanings (at least 4) inherent to the active middle voice in ancient Greek, unless one has a firm grasp on the 4 principal functions I have outlined here. I repeat, the distinction between the simple active voice and the active middle voice in both ancient and modern Greek is fundamental to a proper understanding of the divergent functioning of these two active tenses, the simple active and the active middle.

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.


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. 

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.




The third supersyllabogram PE = periqoro = a sheep pen, the “magic bullet”!

the magic bullet Linear B periqoroyo

The third supersyllabogram PE = periqoro = “a sheep pen” is truly the “magic bullet”! Linear B tablet KN 1232 E d 462 gives it all away!

Linear B tablet KN 1232 E d 462 the code breaker for PE = periqoro = sheep pen

It contains no supersyllabogram at all, but that is just the point. What it does is spell out the word periqoroyo, which is the genitive singular of periqoro, corresponding to the Athenian Greek word, peribolos (here Latinized), which means “an enclosure”. But how does that work out to mean “a sheep pen” in Mycenaean Linear B, you ask? As we recede further and further into the past in any (ancient) language, the words which are generally abstract or at the very least generically concrete, as is peribolos “an enclosure” in Attic Greek become ever more concrete as the timeline regresses. Since Mycenaean Greek is the very earliest of the East Greek dialects (of which the much later Attic Greek is also a member ) it stands to reason that the meaning of the word periqoroyo (genitive on this tablet) or periqoro (nominative) is almost certain to mean “a livestock pen” and in the even more specific context of sheep husbandry “a sheep pen”. Which is precisely what it does mean.

I repeat. The scribe has not used a supersyllabogram (namely, PE) on Linear B tablet KN 1232 E d 462 at all. He has chosen to write out the word in full. This is just the stroke of luck I was fervently dreaming of when I was in the early stages of deciphering supersyllabograms in the agricultural sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy, since I desperately needed at least some circumstantial evidence that what I chose to call supersyllabograms were in fact the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of a Linear B word or phrase. And this tablet gave it all away. An obliging Linear B scribe had, on this tablet alone of the 3,000+ tablets and fragments from Knossos, actually written out in full the word the supersyllabogram PE symbolized. The word periqoroyo is in the genitive singular on this tablet, which literally means  “from a sheep pen”. In other words, all of the 23 rams and 27 ewes on this tablet come from a sheep pen, or if you like, were originally in a sheep pen. Must have been great fun!

But, you must be asking, how does this tablet prove that the supersyllabogram PE actually means “from a sheep pen” or “in a sheep pen”? It does so because every other tablet, including the very next one in this series, KN 1233 E n 224

Linear B tablet KN 1233 E n 234 the real Mccoy

do not spell out the word periqoro(yo), but instead deliberately substitute the supersyllabogram PE for it. And there are some 20 tablets in the series!

There is no other instance anywhere on any other Linear B tablets, regardless of provenance (Knossos, Pylos etc.) where the supersyllabogram is spelled out in full on one tablet in a given series and then replaced by its supersyllabogram,  except in this sole case where one tablet does spell the word out in full, only to be followed by its paradigmatic SSYL PE in the next and the next and the next tablet... and so on, and indeed on the tablets preceding it. 

INVITATION to Classical Sites (Greek & Roman) including Twitter to join us as * PARTNERS  *

FROM: Richard Vallance Janke of Linear B, Knossos and Mycenae

Invitation to join the new Premier Network of Classical Sites on the Internet

NOTE! If you are a regular visitor to Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae, please leave the LINK to your site in Comments, and I will add it to our * PARTNERS *


To accept, please send me an e-mail at: vallance22@zoho.com
OR vallance22@gmail.com

We have just invited today (Wed. June 15 2016):
Archaeology of the Mediterranean World
Federico Aurora, DAMOS, Database of Mycenaean at Oslo
Michael Cosmopoulos, Iklaina Archaeological Project
MNAMON: Ancient Writing Systems in the Mediterranean
Res Gerendae

5 invitees to the Premier Network of Classical Sies 15062016

See below no. 4

First, a few significant developments with our organization in the past two years:

1. We are now by far the largest Linear B & Linear C site on the Internet.
2. We have translated at least 500 tablets, mostly from Knossos, some from Pylos and Mycenae.
3. I am now being published on a regular basis in key archaeological and historical linguistic sites. My most significant article to date is “An Archaeologist's Translation of Pylos Tablet TA 641-1952 (Ventris) with an Introduction to Supersyllabograms in the in the Vessels & Pottery Sector of Mycenaean Linear B” in, 
Archaeology and Science. Vol. 10 (2014) pp. 133-161. Belgrade: Institute of Archaeology, 2016. ISSN 1452-7448
NOTE that I am to be published again in next years issue of Archaeology and Science. And that article is going to be a ground-breaker in the refinement of the decipherment of Linear B.
Another of my recent publications is, “The Role of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B”, here:

4. ** We are setting up a new Premier Network of Classical Sites on the Internet, which for the time being is subsumed under the Category ** PARTNERS **, the very first Category at the top of the first page of our site:


We are in full partnership with (Koryvantes) The Association of Historical Studies (Athens) http://www.koryvantes.org/en/
and with Sententiae Antiquae

and with The Institute of Archaeology (Belgrade).

+ one other site. We have just begun establishing the Network and we hope to expand it to at least 25 sites in the next year.

We will be contacting scores of other invitees in the next few weeks.

PS could you add our site to your list of sites under Linear B, as Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae is one of the major Linear B sites on the Internet?

Thank  you

Richard Vallance Janke

New MAJOR Category, * PARTNERS * added here:


We have just added the new Category, * PARTNERS *, which is the very first Category on our site, because it links you to all other Classical Greek & Latin sites which are in partnership or are associated with Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae. For the time being, there are only three major sites in this Category, but as we invite more and more major Classical sites on the Internet, it will grow rapidly. All you need to do is hover your cursor over * PARTNERS * and the 3 sites which are already there will display. Simply click on the name of the site you wish to visit.  

Invitation to join The Premier Network of Major Classical Greek and Latin sites on the Internet:

Linear B, Knossos and Mycenae

Linear B, Knossos & MycenaeLINK

is spearheading a major initiative to bring together and co-ordinate a brand new  Premier Network of Major Classical Greek and Latin Sites on the Internet, which will be comprised of as many major Classical sites as we can reach in the next few months, in order to build a research network unlike any other yet seen on the Internet, apart from academia.edu itself. To date, our site and Koryvantes, the Association of Historical Studies


Rita Robert's Blog LINK

Sententiae Antiquae

and a major European Institute of Archaeology, in anticipation of their acceptance of membership. Our strategy is to ask as many major Classical sites that we can reach ourselves to join in our new Network, and then in turn to appeal to those new members who have already joined up to contact other key sites with which they are closely linked or in partnership with.

Our eventual goal is to establish a new LINKS page on each of the participating sites to all other sites in the Network, which is to be multilingual, if at possible. Since LBK&M is a Canadian site, we hope to call our network:

The Premier Network of Major Classical Greek and Latin sites on the Internet = Le premier réseau des sites les plus importantes des études classiques grecques et latines.

And we are of course open to adding the title in other languages as well. 

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.

Just added to my academia.edu: Did you know you speak Mycenaean Greek? You do! An amusing read too!
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Did you know you speak Mycenaean Greek

To my utter astonishment, in the first two weeks alone I have been present on academia.edu, my little research corner has already been visited 552 times, and I now have 75 followers.

I would be delighted if you were to follow me on academia.edu, and if you yourself are already a member, please be sure to send me a message on site, and I shall follow you back.  



Did you know you speak Mycenaean Greek? You do! K-Z = kunaya to zeukesi

Mycenaean Greek in Modern English: korete to zeukesi: Click to ENLARGE

korete to zeukesi

[1] kunaya – Mycenaean Greek has no “g”, but ancient Greek does. Many English words begin with Greek words, as for instance gynecology + all others in this table marked with [1] 
[2] The same goes with prefixes. Many English words begin with the Greek prefix “peda”.
[3] The ancient Phoenicians were famous for their purple cloth, which they inherited from the splendid purple cloth, the finest in the entire then known world (the middle Mediterranean & the Aegean) the Minoans at Knossos had produced before them. Hence, Phoenician is a synonym for “purple”.
[4]The Mycenaean syllabary can express words beginning with “te”, but for some reason, they spelled 4 the same was the Romans did, “qetoro”, and there is nothing wrong with that. Archaic Greek sometimes expressed the number 4 with “petro” and sometimes with “tetro”. This too is not at all unusual with early alphabetic Greek, in which the various East Greek dialects derived from Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C flipped between these two spellings. Orthography was uncertain in archaic Greek, in other words, it had not yet fossilized into the final spelling used in Attic Greek in Classical Athens = tettares.
[5] The English word “quartet” is derived from the Latin “quattro”, which in turn was preceded historically by the Mycenaean “qetoro”, although the Latin spelling is unlikely to have derived from the latter. It is just that Mycenaean Greek and Latin happened to resort to the same basic spelling for 4. 
[6] Since Mycenaean Greek had no “l”, words beginning with “lambda” in (archaic) Greek had to be spelled with “r” + a vowel in the syllabary. Hence, “rewo” = archaic Greek “lewon” = English “lion” & “rino” = ancient Greek “linon” = English “linen”
[7] The ancient words “sasama” = “sesame” & Mycenaean “serino” = ancient Greek “selinon” = English “celery” are in fact not Greek words, but proto-Indo European. 
[8] While “sitophobia” = “fear of eating” in English does not seem to correspond with “sitos” = “wheat” in ancient Greek, in fact it does, since wheat was one of the main staples of their diet, just as it was for the Egyptians, Romans and most other ancient civilizations. In other words, wheat was a staple food.
[9] Although the Mycenaean infinitive “weide” = archaic Greek “weidein” = English “to see”, the aorist began with “weis”, hence “vision” in English.


Did you know you speak Mycenaean Greek? You do!

Mycenaean Greek in Modern English: akero to kono: Click to ENLARGE

akero to kono


[1] The Mycenaean word “anemon” is genitive plural (“of the winds”) for “anemo” = “wind”, and like so many other Mycenaean words, it serves as the first part of English words dealing with various aspects of wind (generation), such as “anemometer”. All other entries with the tag [1] are of this type.
[2] The first syllabogram i.e. the first syllable of the Mycenaean word for “labyrinth” begins with “da”, since it is impossible for any Mycenaean word to begin with “la”, as they had no “l”. Normally, the “r” + vowel series of syllabograms replaces a Greek lambda, but in this case, the Mycenaeans opted for “da”  instead of “ra” (which would have been “rapuritoyo”). This is not unusual. 
[3] “at the teacher’s” = French chez le professeur, with is an archaic version of either the dative or the instrumental singular. 
[4] “duwo” is Mycenaean for ancient Greek “duo”. It must be expressed by the special syllabogram for “talent, scale or two”, which in fact does look like a scale.   
[5] A great many modern English words begin with the ancient Greek preposition “epi”. I have provided two examples here. 
[6] The original Mycenaean & Homeric meaning of the English word for “elephant” meant “ivory”, but the meaning gradually changed to the former by the time of Classical Athens. In the Attic dialect, the word meant “elephant”. Remember, Mycenaean Greek had no “l” series of syllabograms, using the “r” series instead. There is confusion in many languages over the liquids “l” & “r”, modern Japanese being a prime example of this phenomenon.
[7] Many English words begin with the Mycenaean and ancient Greek prefix “eu”, which always means “well” (healthy) or “positive” or similar notions. Hence the English word you see here.
[8] Mycenaean “kadamiya” is a pre-Greek, proto-Indoeuropean word. 
[9] The Mycenaean word “kono” omits the initial “s” in the ancient Greek word “schoinos”. This is very common in Mycenaean Greek. Since the ancient Greek work means “rush” (plant), the modern English scientific word is also a plant, although a different one.



Review of the Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary for General Users & for Researchers in Mycenaean Linear B: Click cover to order


Morwood, James & Taylor, John, eds. Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary. Oxford, New York etc.: Oxford University Press, © 2002. xii, 449 pp. ISBN 13:978-0-19-860512-6

I just bought the Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary yesterday, and I can tell you I am fairly pleased with it. It has its drawbacks. The most notable of these is found in the paucity of vocabulary in the English-Greek section, pp. 357-431, which contains only about 5,000 words. Such a lexicon is probably more than adequate for beginners in ancient Greek, at whom this dictionary appears to be mainly aimed, though I cannot say that for sure. On the other hand, the English-Greek section is prefaced with a glossary of proper names, pp. 357-365, which is quite useful to Graecophiles, whether they be beginners or not. The pronunciation guide for the ancient Greek alphabet, pp. ix-xii, is the one of the best I have ever encountered, as it takes into consideration not only Classical Attic, but also early Homeric pronunciation. This feature has real implications for theoretical considerations, as well as practical applications of pronunciation, for not only the Mycenaean Linear B syllabary, but the Arcado-Cypriot syllabary as well, as you shall soon discover for yourselves on upcoming posts on our blog relevant to Mycenaean Linear B and Arcado-Cypriot orthography, considerations that have to date been largely overlooked by linguists, translators and researchers in the field of the archaic Greek dialects, Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot. 

The dictionary also features an appendix of Numerals (pp. 433-435), although it is very basic, as well as appendix of the elementary conjugational paradigms for the “Top 101 irregular verbs ” (pp. 436-447), as arbitrary yet as eminently useful as any other so-called basic table of the top ancient Greek verbs. While persons at the intermediate or advanced level in ancient Greek will find this table inadequate, it is more than adequate for beginners. The dictionary also has a generic map of ancient Greece on pp. 448 & 449, which once again serves its purpose well enough for beginners, but is less than adequate for persons more familiar with ancient Greek. This, however, is understandable for an introductory dictionary for ancient Greek, which we can be sure is all it claims to be, especially in light of the fact that Oxford University Press has had the prescience to co-publish both An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon and an Abridged Greek-English Lexicon, the latter presumably aimed at scholars proficient in ancient Greek. I look forward to reviewing the latter two dictionaries later on, once I have come up with the resources to purchase them.

Of course, this dictionary also has its strengths, which the editors were careful to make the most of. These are:

(1) The Greek-English section, the first in the dictionary, is much more comprehensive than the English-Greek, containing far in excess of 5,000 words and phrases. The editors have even taken into account early Homeric Greek vocabulary to complement the Classical Attic. While the entries in the Greek-English section are not as heavily annotated as they otherwise are in an advanced ancient Greek dictionary such as the Greek-English Lexicon, by Liddell & Scott (1986), I would argue that too much lexical, grammatical and etymological information would amount to nothing less than overkill in a basic ancient Greek dictionary such as this one. Aficionados with advanced knowledge of ancient Greek, being perfectly aware of this, always have recourse to more sophisticated tools for translation and research, including Liddell and Scott, as well as the numerous online lexical resources available at the Perseus Catalog, here:

perseus catalog
(2a) The font is quite large and eminently readable. This is an extremely important consideration in the compilation of any Greek dictionary, ancient or modern, given that Greek accents (acute, grave & circumflex) and especially the initial breathings, soft or unaspirated () and aspirated (), as well as the numerous compound accents, are so annoyingly difficult to see in small font. The editors of this dictionary are to be congratulated for having the foresight to realize this. If there is anything I cannot stand, it is the use of fonts which are too small to adequately display (ancient) Greek accents. Sadly, most editors of ancient Greek dictionaries and lexicons blithely ignore this most paramount of considerations in the format and presentation of entries. Even the eminently renowned Greek-English Lexicon (1986) by Liddell and Scott, the very last Greek dictionary which should be guilty of this practice, makes use of a font far too small for readers to easily read accents, even those with good reading vision. To my mind, this falls just short of being unforgivable, unless the editors of any such dictionary or lexicon passed over the issue of adequate font size by sheer oversight – something I find quite difficult to swallow. So a word to the wise. If the editors of an inexpensive paperback dictionary could make a real effort to make certain the entries would be readable off the top, why wouldn’t – or shall we say, shouldn’t – the editors of top-end hard-cover dictionaries and lexicons take the same trouble? This is even more obvious when the publisher of the inexpensive editions is the same one as the one for the expensive, hard-bound ones – by which I mean Oxford University Press, in this particular instance.

(2b) In the Greek-English section, the Greek entries are in bold, set in Greek 486 Polytonic, while in the English-Greek section the English entries are in Monotype Arial bold, so that they stand out very clearly on the page. Once again, kudos to the editors.

(3) Likewise, the layout of the entries, at 1.5 line spacing, in both the Greek-English and the English-Greek sections is very attractive. 

(4) Throughout the dictionary, the alphabetical entries are flagged with gray tags running vertically down the page, from left to right from alpha to omega in the Greek-English section, and from a to z in the English-Greek. Once again, a big plus.

To summarize, this Greek-English, English-Greek dictionary of ancient Greek, in its physical layout and format, including all font formatting, is very pleasing to the eyes, hence, much easier to consult than practically any other ancient Greek dictionary I have ever encountered in print. The English-Greek section is woefully inadequate for anything but the most basic of ancient Greek vocabulary, so that even beginners are bound to outstrip its usefulness very quickly.

On the other hand, the Greek-English section is more than sufficient for the needs of beginners, and adequate for those scholars at the intermediate level in ancient Greek studies and literature. Given its reasonable price, $17.95 USD, I would recommend it for students who are also beginners in Mycenaean Linear B or Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, given the very restricted lexical base of both these archaic Greek dialects. On the other hand, it is readily apparent that this dictionary alone cannot possibly serve as the sole resource for researchers in Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot Greek. It must be complemented by other resources, such as:
1. Chris Tselentis’ thorough Lexicon of Linear B, available free online in PDF.
2. Chadwick, John. The Decipherment of Linear B (second edition). Cambridge University Press, © 1970 x, 164 pp.
3. Palmer, R.L. & Chadwick, John, eds. The Proceedings of the Cambridge Colloquium on Mycenaean Studies. Cambridge University Press, © 1966. 309 (310) pp. First paperback edition, © 2011. ISBN 978-1-107-40246-1 (pbk.)
4. A Companion to Linear B: Mycenaean Greek Texts and their World. Volume 3. Peeters: Louvain-La-Neuve: Bibliothèque des cahiers de l’institut de linguistique de Louvain. © 2014. 292+ pp. ISBN 978-2-7584-0192-6 (France)   

I leave aside any comparison with online dictionaries and lexicons in the same class, preferring not to compare apples with oranges.

Overall Rating: 3.75/5

Richard Vallance Janke
April 2015

The Suitability of Mycenaean Linear B, Classic & Acrophonic Greek, Hebrew and Latin Numeric Systems for Calculation

Here is the Mycenaean Linear B numeric system (A:) Click to ENLARGE

Mycenaean Linear B Numerics
Here are the 2 ancient Greek numeric systems, the so-called Classical (BA:) and the (CA:) Acrophonic, side by side: Click to ENLARGE

Classic Greek & Acrophonic Numerals
This table compares the relative numeric values of the so-called Classical Greek numeric (BA:) & the Hebrew numeric (BB:) systems, which are strikingly similar: Click to ENLARGE 

Greek & Hebrew Numerals

Finally, we have the Latin numeric system (CB:) Click to ENLARGE

L Latin Numerics

The question is, which of these 5 numeric systems is the the most practical in its application to the (a) basic process of counting numbers, (b) to accounting and inventory or (c) geometry & (d) algebra? Let's briefly examine each of them in turn for their relative merits based on these criteria. We can take the Classical Greek & Hebrew numeric systems together, since they are patently based on the same principle, the application of letters of the alphabet to counting. For the same reason, it is expedient to lump the Acrophonic Greek & Latin systems together. There are other ways of classifying each of these systems, but for our purposes, and for the sake of clarity and consistence, we have opted for this approach.

A: the Mycenaean Linear B numeric system:

Merits: well suited to accounting and inventory; possibly suited to geometry, but only in limited contexts, though never used for that purpose
Demerits: space-consuming, discursive; totally unsuitable for algebra. While their numeric system seems never to have been applied to geometry, the Minoans and Mycenaeans who relied on this system were, of course, not only familiar with but adept in geometry, as is attested by their elegant streamlined rectilinear & circular architecture. We must also keep firmly in mind the point that the Minoan scribes never intended to put the Mycenaean Linear B numeric accounting system to use for algebra, for the obvious reason that algebra as such had not yet been invented. But we mustn’t run away with ourselves on this account, either with the Mycenaean system or with any of the others which follow, because if we do, we seriously risk compromising ourselves in our own “modern” cultural biases & mind-sets. That is something I am unwilling to do.    

B = (BA:+BB:) the Classical Greek & Hebrew numeric systems: 

Merits: well-suited to both geometric and algebraic notation & possibly even to basic counting.
Demerits: possibly unsuitable for counting, but that depends entirely on one's cultural perspective or bias. Who is to say that the modern Arabic system of counting (0...9) is in any way inherently superior to either the Classical Greek or Hebrew numeric systems? Upon what theoretical or practical basis can such a claim be made? After all, the Arabic numerals, universally adopted for counting purposes in the modern world, were simply adopted in the Middle Ages as an expedient, since they fitted seamlessly with the Latin alphabet. Nowadays, regardless of script (alphabet, syllabary or oriental) everyone uses Arabic numerals for one obvious reason. It is expedient. But is it any better than the Classical Greek & Hebrew numeric systems? I am quite sure that any ancient Greek or Hebrew, if confronted with our modern Arabic system of numerics, would probably claim that ours is no better than theirs. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

However, in one sense, the modern Arabic numeric notation is probably “superior”. It is far less discursive. While the ancient Greeks  & Hebrews applied their alphabets in their entirety to counting, geometry and algebra, the Arabic numerals require only 10 digits. On the other hand, modern Arabic numerals cannot strictly be used for algebra or geometry unless they are combined with alphabetic notation. The Classical Greek alphabetic numeric system has been universally adopted for these purposes, as well as for the ease of application they bring to calculus and other complex modern systems such as Linear A, B & C, which have nothing whatsoever in common with the ancient Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B or Arcado-Cypriot Linear C syllabaries, except their names.  Regardless, it is quite apparent at this point that the whole question of which numeric system is supposedly “superior” to the others is beginning to get mired down in academic quibbling over cultural assumptions and other such factors. So I shall let it rest.  

C = (CA:+CB:) the Acrophonic Greek & Latin numeric systems:

Before we can properly analyze the relative merits of these two systems, which in principle are based on the same approach, we are obliged to separate them from one another for the obvious reason that one (the Acrophonic Greek) is much less discursive than the other (the Latin). Looking back through the lens of history, it almost seems as if the Athenian Greeks took this approach just so far, and no further, for fear of it becoming much too cluttered for their taste. After all, the ancient Greeks, and especially the Athenians, were characterized by their all-but obsessive adherence to “the golden mean”. They did not like overdoing it. The Romans, however, did not seem much concerned at all with that guiding principle, taking their own numeric system to such lengths (and I mean this literally) that it became outrageously discursive and, in a nutshell, clumsy. Why the Romans, who were so eminently practical and such great engineers, would have adopted such a system, is quite beyond me. But then again, I am no Roman, and my own cultural bias has once again raised its ugly head.     

CA: Greek Acrophonic
Merits: well-suited to both geometric and algebraic notation & possibly even to basic counting.
Demerits: See alphabetic Classical Greek & Hebrew systems above (BA:+BB:)

CB: Latin
Merits: easy for a Roman to read, but probably for no one else.
Demerits: extremely discursive and awkward.  Useless for geometric or algebraic notation.

This cartoon composite neatly encapsulates the dazzling complexity of the Latin numeric system. Click to ENLARGE:

Composite 4 Cartoons Roman numerals 


Categories now Separated into MAJOR (in CAPS) & Regular on Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae, to Facilitate Serious Research into Linear B: Click to ENLARGE

Categories Classification Linear B Knossos & Mycenae 2014 REVISED
I have just separated the Categories on our blog, as listed above, into MAJOR Categories (in CAPS or UC), and Regular. To search any Category, just click on its name. A few words of explanation. I have had to make this distinction between Major and Regular Categories because, as of 2015, Rita, my research colleague and I, shall be focusing our attention more and more on the Major Categories, and less and less on the Regular. In particular,

I myself will be translating the entire Catalogue of Ships in Book II of the Iliad, in which we find the most archaic Greek in the entire Iliad. It is therefore of utmost significance in the confirmation of Attested (A) vocabulary, found on any and all Linear B tablets discovered to date, and in the restoration of Derived (D) Mycenaean Greek vocabulary, nowhere Attested (A).

LEXICONS & GLOSSARIES: At the moment, there are only two Linear B lexicons of any note on the Internet, (a) The Mycenaean (Linear B) – ENGLISH Glossary, which although useful is extremely unreliable, riddled as it is with over 25 errors in the Mycenaean Linear B entries alone, and with at least 100 more errors in either ancient Greek or English. Students of Linear B should use this glossary with the utmost of caution, as they are liable to make serious errors in deciphering or translating Linear B tablets, if they rely on it solely. 

You can download the .PDF file of this unreliable Glossary here:

Explore Crete
And you definitely should check out all the errors I highlighted in the Linear B entries alone in our previous post here:

Mycenaean Linear B English Gliossary ERRORS!
On the other hand, Chris Tselentis’ Linear B Lexicon is not only far more comprehensive, it is also extremely accurate and very well researched. The Title Page of Chris Tselentis’ extremely reliable Linear B Lexicon: Click to ENLARGE:

Tselentis Linear B Lexicon
Both are available in .PDF format on the Internet. If you must insist on using the first glossary (a), you should be certain to cross-check every single reference you find in it against the Lexicon (b).

In order to compensate for the unreliable Glossary (a), Rita Roberts, my research associate, and I shall be compiling an all new Topical English – Mycenaean Value-Added Linear B Lexicon throughout 2015 and into 2016, which we hope to release in PDF format sometime in 2016 or at the very latest in 2017. Our Lexicon is meant to complement, and not replace Chris Tselentis’ fine Lexicon. Whereas Tselentis has laid particular emphasis on the inclusion of as many personal names and toponyms (place names) as he could possibly find on extant Linear B tablets, our Lexicon is to focus instead on these particular areas:

(a) the correction of absolutely all errors in the sloppily conceived Mycenaean (Linear B) – ENGLISH Glossary +
(b) the addition of 1,000s of new Mycenaean Linear B Derived (D) words, not Attested (A) on any extant Linear B tablets, vocabulary which nevertheless we believe almost certainly was in regular use in Mycenaean Greek. The criteria for inclusion of any and all such Derived (D) Vocabulary will be clearly defined in the introduction to our new Linear B Lexicon, which is bound to at least double the current Mycenaean Linear B corpus from about 2,500 discreet words (non-inclusive of personal names & toponyms) to at least 5K. +
(c) We shall not, however, duplicate the excellent work Chris Tselentis has done with personal name & toponyms in his fine Linear B Lexicon, because to do so would simply be a waste. On the other hand, we shall include all major Minoan & Mycenaean personal names & toponyms which play a critical rôle in extant Linear B texts.

MICHAEL VENTRIS: It goes without saying that I regard absolutely any information and research, original or new, relevant to my hero, Michael Ventris, as of critical importance. I hope you do so too.

PROGRESSIVE LINEAR B: Progressive Linear B is a brand new Theory of Mycenaean Greek Grammar and Vocabulary in Linear B. This theory enables me to reconstruct large swaths of Mycenaean Greek grammar and vocabulary, by means of the techniques of Regressive Analysis from later Greek textual resources, in the following order of relevance, highest to lowest: Arcado-Cypriot Linear C sources (that dialect being the closest cousin to Mycenaean Greek); The Catalogue of Ships in Book II of the Iliad (See Iliad above); the Iliad itself; and finally, all of the East Greek dialects other than Arcado-Cypriot related to Mycenaean Greek, the older dialects taking precedence over the later, in this approximate order: early Ionic, Aeolic, Ionic & Attic Greek.

Having regressively extrapolated grammatical forms (conjugations, declensions, prepositions & adverbs, numerics etc.) from their latter-day equivalents in the aforementioned dialects, I shall then proceed to reconstruct as much of the corpus of Mycenaean Greek grammar as I safely can, within strict parameters based on equally strict criteria, which I shall of course detail in my Introduction to the grammar, whenever I am finally able to release it in.PDF format on the Internet (2017-2018).

Naturally, the reconstruction of Mycenaean vocabulary in our new Lexicon first (2015-2016) and of the most complete Mycenean grammar ever seen to date (2017-2018) are both immense undertakings, so please do not hold either myself or Rita to account if we take longer to release them than we might have anticipated. This is so simply because we expect from ourselves only the finest quality. And you should expect the same, nothing less.

SUPERSYLLABOGRAMS: Finally comes the biggest surprise of them all, an entirely new Theory of Linear B Supersyllababograms, which we seriously believe will prove to be a major breakthrough in the decipherment of much of the remaining 10 % of Linear B single syllabograms (i.e. where we find only 1 syllabogram all by itself written on a Linear B tablet, heretofore entirely resistant to decipherment). But as it turns out almost all of these single syllabograms, of which – get ready for this! - at least 31 of 61 Linear B syllabograms – are actually supersyllabograms. Trust me on this one, a supersyllabogram, as you shall all soon enough discover, is much more than a simple syllabogram.

Moreover, the implications of the impact of sypersyllabograms on our understanding of just what (kind of syllabary) Linear B is are bound to be profound and wide-reaching. I would even venture to go so far as to claim that Supersyllabograms (SSYs) will represent the first major breakthrough in the decipherment of Linear B in the 64 years since Michael Ventris’ astonishing achievement in cracking Linear B with the decipherment of Linear B Tablet Pylos PY 641-1952 in that year (1952). And just to whet your appetite, I shall be posting the completely revised Linear B Syllabary (2014), which I myself recently posted on our blog and on the Internet, with all the Supersyllabograms highlighted in BOLD, but without letting you know what these Supersyllabograms actually mean... although you can already find out for yourself what they mean simply by reading all the posts under the Major Category, SUPERSYLLABOGRAMS. So go for it. More news on this exciting breakthrough in the next post, which you are going to have to read anyway, if you are a Linear B researcher or translator really, really serious about new, unexpected developments into the Linear B syllabary.

Stay posted!


My Twitter account completely updated, new header new photo, and new, wider perspectives: Click to Visit:

Twitter Richard Vallance
I have just updated and completely revised not only the appearance but the contents of my Twitter account, to reflect my widely expanding interests as related, either directly or indirectly, to Mycenaean Linear B, Minoan Linear A, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, ancient Greek etc. etc. I have posted a new header, which you see above, incorporating the Linear B word for Knossos, and part of the stunning dolphins fresco in the Queen’s Megaron at Knossos, which you can see here: Click to ENLARGE

As it now stands, in its short lifetime of less than two years, our Linear B (A & C) blog has become one of the primary Linear B resources on the entire Internet, with visits already running into the tens of thousands (an astounding figure for something as bizarre and esoteric as Linear B!). Soon approaching 40K, we expect at least 60K hits by our second anniversary, if not more.  The reasons for this are obvious to anyone with even a passing interest in Linear B (A &C). Nothing is off-limits on our blog. Neither Rita Roberts, my research colleague, nor I, take anything for granted. We are both “doubting Thomases” to the core, casting doubt not only on translations of Linear B tablets by other Linear B researchers, but on one anothers as well, given that neither of us is in the least impervious to committing errors, sometimes egregious. Such errors must be drawn to our attention, come what may. If you are an expert in Linear B decipherment, and you do not like any translation either of us has made, feel free to give us a shout.

The other principal concerns and issues our blog frequently focuses on are:
1. keeping the Linear B syllabary right up to date. The syllabary chart most commonly used on the Internet is way out-of-date, and must be replaced by this one: Click to ENLARGE

Linear B Syllabary Completely Revised 2014
2. the introduction of the completely new theory of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, of which there are at least 30 from the store of 61 syllabograms. We have plenty of posts on our theory on our blog.  Rita Roberts and I shall be publishing a major research article on supersyllabograms sometime in 2015 or 2016. If tenable, it should prove to be a revolutionary step forward in the decipherment of the remaining 10% or so of the Linear B syllabary, its homophones, logograms and ideograms as yet undeciphered over the past 62 years since Michael Ventris successfully and amazingly deciphered the other 90%. Our research will be widely available in PDF format on the Internet, and although copyrighted, will be free for use by any Linear B aficionados.  Here is an example of just a few supersyllabograms, all dealing with sheep, rams & ewes, the primary concern of Linear B scribes by a long shot: Click to ENLARGE

Linear B Supersyllabograms Chart for sheep rams and ewes
3. Progressive Linear B Vocabulary and Grammar, another all-new approach to the study of Linear B, whereby I intend to re-construct as much of the lost grammar of Mycenaean Greek as I possibly can. I have already completely mapped the active voice of both Thematic and Athematic verbs in Mycenaean Greek. Nouns, adjectives, adverbs and prepositions with cases are to follow in 2015. To view all posts on this topic, visit our PINTEREST Board, Mycenaean Linear B Grammar and Vocabulary:

Mycenaean Linear B PINTEREST 
4. Rita Roberts and I shall be constructing an all new English-Linear B Lexicon sometimes between 2016 & 2018, which will be vastly superior to the currently available Mycenaean (Linear B) – ENGLISH Glossary on the Internet, of which the less said the better, as it is riddled with at least 100 errors! I strongly dis-advise anyone using it. If you must use a Mycenaean dictionary, be sure to avail yourselves of Chris Tselentsis’ far superior Linear B Lexicon.

5. the all new field of the feasibility of the possible application of the Linear syllabaries, especially B & C but also, to a lesser extent, Linear A, to the emerging field of extraterrestrial communication, by which I mean serious research as undertaken by NASA: Click to read the entire PDF

and other space administration, research facilities and professional online sites, and not crackpot nonsense such as UFOs, alien abductions and the like. Here are a few comic strips just to make it clear exactly what I think of extraterrestrial crackpots: Click to ENLARGE

Universe makes a lot of people angry and Dakeks
followed by this famous quotation by Werner Karl Heisenburg: Click to read the Wikipedia article on him: 

Heisenburg universe stranger
These are just the 5 major ventures we are undertaking on our blog, but we do not shy away from anything whatsoever which advances our knowledge of Linear B in general and in particular.

My Twitter account has expanded its scope to include not only my primary pursuits, research into Linear A, B & C and ancient Greek, especially the archaic Greek of the Catalogue of Ships in book II of Homer’s Iliad, which I am in the process of translating in its entirety, as you can see here: Click to ENLARGE


but also the following areas of great interest to me:

1. posting of major research articles, not only in English, but in French and Italian as well, the latter two of which I shall translate into English whenever I deem it necessary for our blog readers;     
2. ancient Greek vocabulary, but exclusively in the East Greek dialects, Mycenaean Greek, Arcado-Cypriot, Aeolian, Ionic and Attic;
3. Decipherment of ancient languages in general, insofar as these related, either directly or indirectly, to Linear syllabaries;
4. Cryptology, such as the Bletchley Circle project in World War Two, and the key rôle the brilliant genius, Alan Turing, the equal of Michael Ventris in intellect, played in the decipherment of the Enigma Code, especially as this astounding achievement relates to...
5. thorough investigation and in-depth analysis of the possible suitability of of syllabic scripts such as Linear A, B & C into extraterrestrial communication (NOT UFO’s, which are crackpot nonsense suitable only to... I will not fill in the blanks!);
6. astronomy, Mars, exoplanets etc. (not reflected on this blog, of course, except insofar as it may possibly relate to Linear syllabaries),  linguistics in general, including translation from one language to another, especially between English & French, in which as a Canadian I am fluent, Latin & Greek and Italian, which I read very well & Spanish, fairly well. I have forgotten my Russian, which I learned 50 years ago, but I can still read the Cyrillic alphabet with no difficulty. Linguistics and translation posts on this blog must in some way be related to Linear syllabaries, but not on my Twitter account, where anything important about linguistics in general is just fine with me.


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... από την περιπέτεια της θεωρίας, της ερμηνείας και της διδασκαλίας

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