Tag Archive: breastplate



Linear B tablet K 224 and the new military supersyllabogram QE = woven undertunic & the supersyllabogram IQO ZE = a team of horses:

Knossos tablet K 224 and the new military supersyllabogram QE

Here we encounter the all-new supersyllabogram QE inside (incharged) in the ideogram for linen (under)tunic. It is crucial to understand that this supersyllabogram QE is completely unlike the previous one, QE inside a shield = “a wicker shield”. This new supersyllabogram QE, qeqinomeno, literally means “woven”, hence it refers to “a woven undertunic” or to be more precise, “a woven linen undertunic”, which once again the Mycenaean warriors wore under their toraka = ancient Greek thoraxes, i.e. Their breastplates. These two supersyllabograms are entirely different and must never be confused. This is the one and only instance in Mycenaean Linear B in which the same supersyllabogram appears inside two different ideograms, the first for “a shield” and the second for “an undertunic”. These two supersyllabograms QE + shield and QE + undertunic appear in the military sector only, and in no other sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy.


Linear B tablet at the Ashmolean Museum, An1910_217_O & the supersyllabograms RA = tailor & QE = wicker shield:

Linear B tablet Ashmolean An1910_217_o

You see illustrated here in its actual size the Linear B tablet An1910_217_O at the Ashmolean Museum/British Museum. Like the others we have recently posted, this tablet is concerned with a tailor adding the finishing touches to cloth, more specifically the linen undertunic Mycenaean warriors wore under their breastplates, known as toraka in Mycenaean Linear B or thoraxes in ancient Greek. The first word on the first line after the left-truncated PA is the name of the tailor, Apasakiyo in Linear B. The Greek below the Linear B Latinized text is the translation of the original Linear B text on this tablet. This is followed by the literal & free English translations, with the caveat that I am unable to translate the double syllabogram WE WE following the supersyllabogram QE inside the ideogram for a shield, meaning that the shield is a wicker shield.


Linear B tablet KN 594 R r 11 & the supersyllabogram KI = chiton:

Knossos tablet KN 594 R r 11 and the supersyllabogram KI for chiton

This supersyllabogram (KI) is a variant on the one in the previous post (RI = linen). It would appear that the Linear B scribes used one (RI) or the other (KI) on an equal footing. This appears to be substantiated by Linear B  tablet KN 594 R r 11, in which the word for cloth or textiles appears on the first line, and both the ideogram for cloth or linen and the ideogram for chiton appear side by side on the second. Nothing could be more explicit. In other words, Linear B tablets which employ the supersyllabogram RI for a linen undergarment or undertunic or chiton and those which make use of the supersyllabogram KI for an undergarment or undertunic or chiton pretty much amount to one and the same thing, in spite of the fact that the word linen is not always explicitly mentioned whenever the supersyllabogram KI is used in lieu of the supersyllabogram RI. Although the word rita does not appear anywhere else on any Linear B tablets, its meaning is clear, as the word is found in ancient Greek, and means arms or limbs of a person. Thus, the chiton or undertunic covered the arms. It is also to be noted that both of these supersyllabograms, KI and RI, apply equally to the military and the textiles sectors of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy.  In the military sense, it is understood that the attributive supersyllabogram KI refers to the chiton undertunic which was worn under the “toraka” (Linear B) or “thorax”, i.e. the armoured breastplate.


Knossos tablet KN 281 R w 21 & the supersyllabogram RI = linen undergarment:

Knossos tablet 281 R w 21 linen undergarment or tunic

This is perhaps one of the easiest supersyllabograms I have ever had to translate. It is pretty much self-evident. The supersyllabogram RI stands for “rino” which is the Linear B word for “linen”, referring to the linen undergarment or linen tunic or linen chiton. Mycenaean armour consisted of an outer plated armour called “toraka” in Linear B or “thorax”, which means “breastplate armour” in English. Under the breastplate the Mycenaean warriors wore an undertunic, a.k.a. chiton, which was made of linen.

The only question is, why is the supersyllabogram attributive, appearing as it does inside the ideogram for “tunic”? Attributive supersyllabograms always describe an attribute of the ideogram within which they fall. The ideogram is of course that for “tunic”. But it is more than just a tunic. It is a linen tunic. Hence, “rino” or linen is attributive. The Linear B and ancient Greek for “thorax” appear just below the Linear B, Linear B Latinized, ancient Greek and English for “linen”.

 

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