Tag Archive: declensions

Did the archaic nominative and/or genitive singular feminine ending in ja/ya in Mycenaean Greek derive from the Minoan language?

teal banner feminine nominative or genitive

In the glossary below of:
A: masculine Mycenaean Linear B words ending in jo
B: feminine Mycenaean Linear B words ending in ja
C: Minoan Linear A words ending in ja

These are the keys:
nom. = nominative
gen. = genitive

All Linear B entries are drawn Latinized as is from Chris Tselentis’ Linear A Lexicon. 
A: Most Linear B nouns in jo are nominative:

A-da-ra-ti-jo Adrastios nom.
ai-ki-a2-ri-jo aigihalios = coastal, of the coast gen.
a-ka-ta-jo Aktaios nom.
a-ke-re-wi-jo Agrevios nom.
akorajo= used for communal purposes + for the marketplace gen.
a-mi-ni-si-jo Amnisos nom.
a-pi-no-e-wi-jo ethnic name of Amphinoevioi gen.
arejo = areios (divine epithet)nom.
a-te-mi-ti-jo = Artemitios nom.
da-ja-ro = Daiaros nom.
da-mi-ni-jo = Damnios nom.
da-ta-ja-ro = Dataiaros nom.
da-wi-jo = ethnic name of Davios gen.
de-u-ka-ri-jo = Deukalion nom.
di-ka-ta-jo = Diktaios Cf. Linear A nom.
di-u-jo + diwijo = belonging to Zeus gen.
du-ni-jo = Dynios nom.
dwo-jo = of two gen.
e-to-ni-jo = etonion = free-hold nom.
e-wi-ta-jo = ethnic name of Evitaios nom.
kakijo = made of copper gen
ku-te-se-jo = kyteseios = made from ebony gen.

B: Most Linear words in ja are nominative:

a-ko-ra-ja= used for communal purposes + for the marketplace gen.
a-mo-te-wi-ja armothevia = description of a pot (gen. sing.?)gen.
a-ne-moi-ere-ja = priestess of the winds nom.
a-ni-ja = ania = reins (neut. pl.) nom.
a-pa-ta-wa-ja = ethnic name of Aptarfaia nom.
a-ra-ka-te-ja = alakateiai = weavers nom.
a-ra-ru-ja = ararya = bound, equipped nom.
a-re-ja = areia (divine epithet) nom.
a-si-ja-ti-ja = Asiatiai nom.
a-si-wi-ja = Asivia nom.
a-te-re-wi-ja = Atreivia nom.
da-wi-ja = ethnic name of Davia gen.
de-di-ku-ja = dedikyia = being apprenticed adjectival
di-pi-si-ja = ethnic name of Dipsia gen.
di-u-ja = diyia = priestess of the god Zeus nom.
e-qe-si-ja = related to a follower gen.
e-ru-mi-ni-ja = elymniai = roof beams nom.
e-sa-re-wi-ja = Esalevia nom.
e-to-ki-ja = entoihia = fittings for insertion in walls nom.
e-wi-ri-pi-ja = ethnic name of Evripia gen.  
i-je-re-ja = priestess nom.
i-ni-ja = personal name = Inia nomm.
i-pe-me-de-ja = personal name =Iphemedeia nom.
ka-da-mi-ja = somee product related to garden cress nom.
ka-ki-ja/ka-ke-ja = made of copper = khalkia gen.
ka-pi-ni-ja = kapnia = chimney nom.
ke-ra-me-ja = personal name = Kerameia nom.
ke-ro-si-ja = geronsia = council of elders nom. + gen.
ke-se-ne-wi-ja = xenwia adjectival
ko-ki-re-ja = kolhireia = shell=shaped, spiral adjectival
ko-no-si-ja = Knosia = ethnic name of Knossos gen.
nu-wa-i-ja = numfaia = kind of textile of water-lily colour nom. + gen.
pa-ta-ja = paltaia =  arrow nom.
po-si-da-e-ja = Posidaeia nom.
pu-ka-ta-ri-ja = type of cloth nom.
pu2-te-ri-ja = phuteria = planted, cultivated adjectival
qe-ra-si-ja = Kerasia (name of goddess) nom.
ra-e-ja = laheia = made of stone gen.
ra-ja = Raia nom.
ri-ne-ja = lineiai = flax workers nom.
ro-u-si-je-wi-ja = Lousieveia = originating in/from Lousos gen.
se-to-i-ja = Setoia nom.
si-to-po-ti-ni-ja= sitopotnia = goddess of grain nom. + gen.
te-o-po-ri-ja = Theophoria = religious feast nom.
ti-ri-ja= tria = three nom.
we-a-re-ja = vealeia = made of glass adjectival + gen.

C: what are all the Minoan Linear A words below ending in ja supposed to represent? Are all or even some of them either nouns or adjectives? Just because they are in Mycenaean Linear B does not constitute proof that they are in Linear A. Nevertheless, they could be.    

NOTE that it is highly unusual, if not inexplicable, for there to be 57 words with the ultimate ja in Linear A, but none whatsoever ending in jo. This leads me to believe that it is extremely risky to assume that all of these Minoan words with ultimate ja are either nominative or genitive feminine singular. Just because they are in Mycenaean Linear B does not at all necessarily imply that they are so in Linear A. That would be jumping to conclusions. Nevertheless, there may be a case for assuming that Minoan Linear A words with ultimate ja may possibly be either nominative or genitive feminine singular, in which case it would appear that the Mycenaean nominative or genitive feminine singular words with the ultimate ja may possibly be derived from their Minoan precedents. But there is no way of proving this.

C: 57/988 Minoan Linear A words with the ultimate ja:

dija Cf. LB di-u-ja = diyia = priestess of the god Zeus
jadireja 10
kupa3rija *
masaja (of larger? L&S 426)
masuja 20
mireja (belonging to a sheep? L&S 443) 
nukisikija *
paja 30
pasarija *
radasija *
redamija *
reduja 40
sidija *
tikuja 50
waja (land)
zanwaija 57

These 57 Minoan Linear A words may be either:
1 the primordial nominative singular feminine
2 the primordial genitive singular feminine
3 neither

The last scenario is just as probable as the first two.

Linear A tablet ZA 14 (Zakros) appears to be almost entirely inscribed in Mycenaean-derived Greek:

Linear A ZA 14 Zakros

minoan fashion linen dresses


Linear A tablet ZA 14 (Zakros) appears to be almost entirely inscribed in Mycenaean-derived Greek. The only exception is the word tumitizase, which from the context very likely means linen, one of the most highly prize cloths or textiles in Minoan/Mycenaean times. All of the other Mycenaean derived words have been adjusted to meet the exigencies of Minoan grammar. Comments: Megidi almost certainly is in a Minoan oblique case. Given that I have extrapolated 5 more words with the ultimate di: dimedi, medakidi, mekidi, sekadidi and sekidi, it appears that this case may be the genitive singular, probably masculine. Further research is required to substantiate this claim, if at all possible. Mycenaean-derived punikaso is such a striking match with Linear B poinikiyo that it almost certainly means Phoenician. With reference to textiles, this word signifies “crimson”. In addition, qatiju is a close match with ancient Greek, geitheo (here Latinized) = to delight in, which in Minoan grammar is rendered as qatiju, i.e. gatheiu. Also, we have kupi = xhoufi from xhous, “in liquid measure” and panuke = fanuthe from fanos, meaning “brightly washed” and finally jawi for iawi = in violet (Greek).

To summarize, the decipherment makes perfect sense if all the vocabulary is interpreted as being Mycenaean-derived, except for tumitizase, which context practically demands signifies “linen”, the Old Minoan word corresponding with Linear B rino.

This remarkable decipherment lends even further credence to the hypothesis that a Mycenaean-derived superstratum imposed itself on the Minoan substratum. I have already deciphered at least six Linear A tablets which are primarily inscribed in Mycenaean-derived Greek, along with more inscribed in an admixture of Old and New Minoan.

Minoan Grammar: Nouns & adjectives: Masculine: ultimate u, nominative masculine singular: Part 1: A adu-winu 1-85

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Apparently, there are fewer than the 200 nouns and adjectives for the nominative, masculine singular of nouns and adjectives than I had estimated. However, 150 is still a significant cross-section of of our Minoan Linear A Lexicon of 950+  words, accounting for 15.8 % of all vocabulary in the Lexicon.
jadu 5
napa3du 10
reradu 15
wazudu 20

araju NM 25
sareju 30

japaku 35
kaku NM
kuruku NM 40
pa3ku 50
paku NM?
qenamiku 55
ripaku 60
suniku NM
taku NM
temeku 65
zapaku 70


daminu 75
nutu 80
winu 85

Gretchen Leonhardt is up against some stiff competition from Urii Mosenkis concerning her so-called proto-Japanese origins of Minoan Linear A:  

Urii Mosenkis makes a very strong case for Minoan Linear A being proto-Greek, and he does it over and over, like clockwork. This includes his own completely different interpretation of Ms. Leonhardts highly contentious decipherment of kuro as so called proto-Japanese. I strongly suggest that Ms. Leonhardt read his articles. He is much more qualified than I am in Linear A (and, I contend, than Ms. Leonhardt as well), and I admit it without a shadow of hesitation. I am forced to revise my predictions about the partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A as I outlined them in my first article on Linear A, and I admit openly that Mosenkis is probably right, by and large. Ms. Leonhardt would do well to read all of his articles, as they flat-out contradict everything she claims about the so-called proto-Japanese origins of the Minoan language. I at least have the humility to lay down my cards when I am confronted with convincing evidence to the effect that my own partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A is defective, even though I have already reached many of the same conclusions as Mosenkis.

Not that he would ever convince Ms. Leonhardt of the infallibility of her own dubious decipherments of Linear A tablets. I have a very great deal more to say about Ms. Leonhardt’s contentious claims to eventual fame with respect to her clearly flawed interpretations of Linear A tablets, and to drive my points home, I shall have occasion to cite Mosenkis whenever and wherever he contradicts her, and that is always. 

To view all of Mosenkis superbly conceived research papers, please visit his academia.edu account here:

Urii Mosenkis academia.edu

Here is a selective electronic bibliography of the highly qualified decipherments Mosenkis has made of several Minoan Linear A inscriptions:


Mosenkis, Urii. Flourishing of the Minoan Greek State in the Linear A Script
1700 – 14560 BCE.

Mosenkis, Urii. Graeco-Macedonian goddess as Minoan city queen.

Mosenkis,Urii. Linear A-Homeric quasi-bilingual

Mosenkis, Urii. ‘Minoan-Greek’ Dialect: Morphology

Mosenkis, Urii. Minoan Greek Farming in Linear A. https://www.academia.edu/27669709/MINOAN_GREEK_FARMING_IN_LINEAR_A_Iurii_Mosenkis

Mosenkis, Urii. Minoan Greek hypothesis: A short historiography https://www.academia.edu/27772316/Minoan_Greek_hypothesis_A_short_historiography

Mosenkis, Urii. Minoan Greek phonetics and orthography in Linear A 

Mosenkis, Urii. Minoan-Greek Society in Linear A.

Mosenkis, Urii. Researchers of Greek Linear A.  

Mosenkis, Urii. Rhea the Mother of Health in the Arkalokhori Script

PS I came to almost exactly the same conclusions as Mosenkis re. this
inscription, although my Greek translation is different.

I wonder what Ms. Leonhardt has to say for herself in light of so many astonishingly insightful decipherments by Urii Mosenkis of a large number of Linear A tablets. I look forward to cogent and rational counter arguments on her part, which stand up to rigorous scientific criteria.

KEY POST! The truly formidable obstacles facing us in even a partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A:

Any attempt, however concerted, at even a partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A is bound to meet with tremendous obstacles, as illustrated all too dramatically by this table:


These obstacles include, but are not prescribed by:

1. The fact that there are far fewer extant Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments, of which the vast majority are mere fragments (no more than 500), most of them un intelligible, than there are extant tablets and fragments in Mycenaean Linear B (well in excess of 4,500), of which the latter are mostly legible, even the fragments.

2. The fact that Mycenaean Linear B has been completely deciphered, first by Michael Ventris in 1952 and secondly, by myself in closing the last gap in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B, namely, the decipherment of supersyllabograms in my article, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, in the illustrious international archaeological annual, Archaeology and Science, ISSN 1452-7448, Vol. 11 (2015), pp. 73-108, here:


This final stage in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B has effectively brought closure to its decipherment.

As illustrated all too conspicuously by this table of apparent roots/stems and/or prefixes of Minoan Linear A lexemes and their lemmas, we are still a long way off from being able to convincingly decipher Minoan Linear A.

At the categorical sub-levels of the syntax and semiotics of Minoan Linear A, we cannot even begin to determine which categories to isolate, let alone what these categories are. Allow me to illustrate in discriminative terms:

3. As the table of Minoan Linear A so-called roots & stems + prefixes above all too amply highlights, we cannot even tell which first syllable or which of the first 2 syllables of any of the Minoan Linear A words in this list is/are either (a) roots or stems of the Minoan Linear A lexemes or lemmas which it/they initiate or (b) prefixes of them, even if I have tentatively identified some as the former and some as the latter (See the table).

4. In the case of roots or stems, which ones are roots and which are stems? What is the difference between the two in Minoan Linear A? Let us take a couple of entries as examples to illustrate my point:

4.1 The 3 words beginning with the apparent root or stem asi, (I cannot tell which is which), the first 2 syllables of asidatoi, asijaka & asikira may not even be roots or stems of these words at all, but prefixes of 3 probably unrelated words instead. Who is to know?
4.2 If asidatoi, asijaka & asikira are either nouns or adjectives, what is the gender and number of each one? To say the very least, it is rash to assume that asidatoi is plural, just because it looks like an ancient Greek masculine plural (as for example in Mycenaean Linear B teoi (gods) or masculine plurals in any other ancient Greek dialect for that matter, since that assumption is based on the most likely untenable hypothesis that Minoan Linear A is some form of proto-Greek, in spite of the fact that several current linguistic researchers into Minoan Linear A believe precisely that. The operative word is “believe”, since absolutely no convincing circumstantial evidence has ever come to the fore that Minoan Linear A is some form of proto-Greek.
4.3 The conclusion which I have drawn here, that Minoan Linear A may not be proto-Greek, arises from the fact that almost all of the Minoan words in this table bear little or no resemblance at all even to Mycenaean Greek.
4.5 But there clearly exceptions to the previous hypothesis, these being words such as depa and depu, of which the former is a perfect match with the Homeric, depa, meaning  “a cup”.

On the other hand, depu is less certain. However, in my preliminary tentative decipherment of 107 Minoan Linear A words (which are to appear in my article to be published in Vol. 12 of Archaeology and Science, 2017-2018), I have come to the tentative conclusion that the ultimate u in almost all Minoan Linear A words is quite likely to be a macro designator. If this were so, depu would be larger than depa. So a translation along the lines of [2] “a large cup” or “a libation cup” might be in order. Still, I could be dead wrong in this assumption.
4.6 However, the lexeme depa does appear to reveal one probable characteristic of Minoan Linear A grammar, that the ultimate for the feminine singular may very well be a, as in so many other languages, ancient or modern (let alone Greek). If that is the case, then words such as asijaka, asikira, keta, kipa, saja, sina and tamia may possibly all be feminine singular... that is to say, if any, some or even all of them are either nouns or adjectives, clearly a point of contention in and of itself. Who are we to say that one or more of these words may instead be adverbs or some person, singular or plural, of some conjugation in some tense or mood of some Minoan Linear A verb? On the other hand, at least one or more or even most of these words and the other words in this table ending in a may be nouns or adjectives in the feminine singular. But one again, who can say at all for sure?
4.7 If the ultimate u is supposed to be a macro designator, how then are we to account for the fact that [3] maruku, which very much looks like a (declensional) variant of maru, means “made of wool”, which itself has nothing whatsoever to do with a macro designator, if at the same time the apparent lexeme maru actually does mean “wool”? After all, one might conclude, maru looks a lot like Mycenaean Linear B mari or mare, which as everyone knows, does mean “wool”. But it is just as likely as not that the assumption that maru means “wool”, and its variants maruku “made of wool” ? (a guess at best) and maruri = “with wool” have nothing whatsoever to do with wool in Minoan Linear A.
4.8 In fact, the hypothesis that maruri = “with wool” is based on yet another assumption, namely, that the termination ri is dative singular, similar to the commonplace dative singular oi, ai or i in Mycenaean Linear B. But if that is the case, this implies that Minoan Linear A is probably proto-Greek, for which there is no substantive evidence whatsoever. So we wind up mired in a flat out contradiction in terms, in other words, an inescapable paradox.  
4.9a Next, taking all of the words beginning with the root or stem? - or prefix? sina [4], what on earth are we to make of so many variants? Perhaps this is a conjugation of some verb in some tense or mood. If that is the case, we should expect 6 variations, first, second and third persons singular and plural. Or should we? What about the possible existence of the dual in Minoan Linear A? But here again we find ourselves smack up against the assumption we have just made in 4.5, 4.6, 4.7 & 4.8, that the putative Minoan verb beginning with the so-called root or stem sina is itself proto-Greek.

But I have to ask out loud, are you aware of any verb in ancient Greek which begins with the root or stem sina? Well, according to  Liddell & Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon, there are in fact 2, which I have Latinized here for ease of access to those of you who cannot read Greek, and these are, (1) sinamoreo (infinitive sinamorein), which means “to damage wantonly” and (2) sinomai, “to plunder, spoil or pillage”. The problem is that neither of these ancient Greek verbs bears any resemblance to or corresponds in any conceivable way with the 7 Minoan Linear A variants post-fixed to sina. So I repeat, for the sake of emphasis, are these 7 all variants on some Minoan Linear A verb or are they not?

4.9b What if on the other hand, all 7 of these variants post-fixed to sina are instead a declension of some Minoan noun or adjective in Linear A? It is certainly conceivable that there are 7 cases in the Minoan language, in view of the fact that plenty of ancient and modern languages have 7 cases or more. Latin has six: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, ablative and vocative. But ancient Greek has only 5, nominative, genitive, dative and accusative and vocative, the ablative absolute (which occurs in Latin) subsumed under the genitive absolute. From this perspective, it would appear quite unlikely that the 7 Minoan Linear A variants on sina are proto-Greek declensions, especially in light of the fact that, once again, none of them bears any resemblance to the ancient Greek, sinapi = “mustard”, sinion = “sieve” or sinos = “hurt, harm, mischief, damage” (nominative).

5. Moving on to taniria and tanirizui [5], we could of course once again draw the (most likely untenable) conclusion if taniria is a feminine singular noun, then tanirizui must be/is dative singular, following the template for the dative singular in Mycenaean Linear B (i, ai or oi). But once again, there is no word in ancient Greek bearing any resemblance to these critters. And once again, even if Minoan Linear A had a dative singular, why on earth would it have to end in i?

6. However, when we come to the 4 words reza, adureza, kireza and tireza, we are confronted with another phenomenon. 3 of these 4 words (adureza, kireza and tireza) each in turn apparently are prefixed by adu, ki and ti. Makes sense at first sight. However, once again, appearances can be terribly deceiving. 

Nevertheless, in my preliminary decipherment of Minoan Linear A, I have drawn the tentative conclusion that all four of these words are intimately interconnected. And in the actual context of the few extant Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments in which these 4 terms appear, it very much looks as if they are all terms of measurement. But you will have to await the publication of my article on the tentative decipherment of 107 Minoan Linear A words in Vol. 12 (2017-2018) of Archaeology and Science to discover how I came to this conclusion.

7. Notwithstanding the fact that almost all of the words in this highly selective table of Minoan Linear A lexemes and lemmas (whichever ones are which), with the exception of depa and depu, as well as winu, which may be the Minoan Linear A equivalent of Mycenaean Linear B woino = “wine”, appear not to be proto-Greek, that does not imply that at least a few or even some are in fact proto-Greek, based on this hypothesis: a number of words in Mycenaean Linear B, all of which appear to be proto-Greek, disappeared completely from later ancient Greek dialects. Among these we count a number of Mycenaean Greek words designating some kind of cloth, namely, pawea, pukatariya, tetukowoa and wehano [pg. 94, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, in Archaeology and Science, Vol. 11 (2016)], plus several other Mycenaean Linear B words listed in the same article, which I do not repeat here due to space limitations. However, I must toss a wrench even into the assumption that the words designating some kinds of cloth (but which kinds we shall never know) are Mycenaean Linear B Greek or even proto-Greek, when they may not be at all! What if a few, some or all of them are in the pre-Greek substratum? If that is the case, are they Minoan, even if none of them appear on any extant Minoan Linear A tablet or fragment? Who is to say they are not?

For instance, there is another so called Mycenaean or proto-Greek word, kidapa, which may very well mean “(ash) wood” or “a type of wood”, found only on Linear B tablet KN 894 N v 01. This word has a suspiciously Minoan ring to it. Just because it does not appear on any extant Minoan Linear A tablet or fragment does not necessarily imply that it is not Minoan or that it at least falls within the pre-Greek substratum.

It must be glaringly obvious from all of the observations I have made on the Minoan Linear A terms in the table above that the more we try to make any sense of the syntactic and semiotic structure of the Minoan language in Linear A, the more and more mired we get in irresolvable contradictions in terms and paradoxes. Moreover, who is to say that the so-called proto-Greek words which surface in Minoan Linear A are proto-Greek at all, since they may instead be pre-Greek substratum words disguised as proto-Greek. We can take this hypothesis even further. Who is to say that the several so-called proto-Greek words we find in Mycenaean Greek, all of which disappeared completely from the ancient Greek lexicon in all Greek dialects after the fall of Mycenae ca. 1200 BCE, are also not proto-Greek but are instead in the pre-Greek substratum or even, if they fall into that substratum, that they are instead Minoan words or words of some other non Indo-European origin? We have landed in a real quagmire.

So I find myself obliged to posit the hypothesis that, for the time being at least, any attempt at the putative decipherment of Minoan Linear A is inexorably bound to lead straight to a dead end. I challenge any philologists or linguist specializing in ancient languages to actually prove otherwise even with circumstantial evidence to the contrary.

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:


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.


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.

An Introductory Glossary of General Linguistics Terminology: Part A: A-G

introductory glossary of general linguistics terminology Part A A-G 

NOTE: This glossary is ostensibly not comprehensive in any sense of the term, but it serves as a solid baseline introduction to linguistics terminology.   


abstract noun: a noun that denotes something viewed as a non-material referent, as opposed to a concrete noun. Examples: abstraction, attitude, communication, constitution, dependency, language, linguistics, magic, proliferation, rectitude, telecommunications.

acrolect: the variety of speech that is considered the standard form. For example: the Attic dialect by the fourth century BCE.

affix: a functional bound morpheme, typically short and with a functional meaning. Example: re in re-write. 

ambiguity: the property of words, terms, and concepts (within a particular context) as undefined, undefinable, or without an obvious definition, thus having an unclear meaning. A word, phrase, sentence, or uttered communication is called “ambiguous” if it can be interpreted in more than one way. Ambiguity is distinct from vagueness, which arises when the boundaries of meaning are indistinct. See also, connotation

analytic language: language that conveys grammatical relationships without using inflectional morphemes. A grammatical construction can similarly be called analytic if it uses unbound morphemes, which are separate words, and/or word order. English, which began as a synthetic language, has become more & more analytic over time. Afrikaans & Hebrew are also analytic. Contrast with synthetic language (below). 

anaphora: anaphora is the co-reference of a second expression with its antecedent. For example: This lexicon of Greek terms is comprehensive; it is very useful.

anthroponymy: the study of personal names.

antonym: from Greek anti ("opposite") and onoma ("name") are word pairs that are opposite in meaning, such as -hot- -cold- + -fat- -skinny- & -down- -up-. Words may have different antonyms, depending on the meaning. Both -long- and -tall- are antonyms of -short-. Antonyms are of four types:
Gradable antonyms stand at opposite ends ends of the spectrum: Examples: -cold- -hot- +  -slow- -fast
Complementary antonyms are pairs that express absolute opposites, like mortal and immortal.
Relational antonyms are pairs in which one describes a relationship between two objects and the other describes the same relationship when the two objects are reversed, such as parent and child, teacher and student, or buy and sell.
Auto-antonyms are the same words that can mean the opposite of themselves under different contexts or having separate definitions. Examples:  to enjoin (to prohibit, issue injunction -or- to order, command) + fast (moving quickly -or- fixed firmly in place) + sanction (punishment, prohibition -or- permission) + stay (remain in a specific place -or- postpone) 

aspect: a grammatical category associated with verbs, which expresses the temporal view of the event or state expressed by the verb. Examples: she learns (simple present aspect + she is learning (progressive present aspect) + she has learned (present perfect aspect)

auxesis:  an exaggeration of the importance of a referent by the use of a referring expression that is disproportionate to it. Example: referring to a scratch as a wound. Synonym: exaggeration 

basilect: a variety of a language that has diverged greatly from the standard form. For instance, the West Greek Doric dialect is a basilect quite far removed from the standard East Greek Attic dialect of the fifth century BCE. Doric Greek is also a basilect of Mycenaean Greek, for the obvious reason that the latter was predominant prior to the Doric invasion of Greece. 

bound morpheme: a morpheme which cannot stand alone to make a word, but must be combined with something else within a word. Examples: the -s- in the plural for tree = trees is a bound morpheme. Similarly, -cran- in cranberry.  
See also, free morpheme.


case: the grammatical category determined by varying syntactics or semantic functions of a noun, adjective or pronoun. Case is a function of only those languages which indicate certain functions by the inflection of nouns, adjectives, pronouns, or numerals. Greek, German, Latin & Russian are inflected languages.
circular definition: definitions can be circular or recursive. The definition refers to itself, thus defining an infinite number of things. Example: a thing is an object and an object is a thing. Circular definitions are always self-referential, hence closed. They can be dangerous traps. See also, recursive definition.

classifier: is an affix (often a suffix) that expresses the classification of a noun. Examples: Italian -raggazzo, raggazzi - (boy, masculine, sing. & pl.) + raggazza, raggazze (girl, feminine, sing. & pl.), where nouns are classified by gender & number.

collocation: a grouping or juxtaposition of words that commonly occur together. Example: by me, on a, with & the. 

comitative case: this is the case expressing accompaniment, expressed in inflected languages such as Greek & Latin by a preposition with the meaning "with" or "accompanied by." In Greek, meta = with + para = by (plus other prepositions expressing subtle distinctions). The usage of the comitative case in Greek is complex, and must be determined by context.

concrete noun: a noun that refers to what is viewed as a material entity, i.e. a thing . Examples: box, car, flag, lumber, post, rock, stump, table.     

connotation: 1. a meaning that is suggested or implied, as opposed to a denotation, or a literal definition. A characteristic of words or phrases, or of the contexts that words and phrases are used in. Connotations of the phrase, "You are a dog" = you are physically unattractive or morally reprehensible, not that you are a canine. 2. In semiotics, connotation arises when the denotative relationship between a signifier and its signified is inadequate to serve the needs of the community. A second level of meanings is termed connotative. These meanings are not objective representations of the thing, but new usages produced by the language group.

consonant: a speech sound produced with a significant constriction of the airflow in the oral tract. 

co-ordination: the linking of two or more elements as conjuncts in a coordinate structure such as -and- or -or- + in a list.   
corpus: a collection of writings, often on a specific topic, of a specific genre, from a specific demographic, a single author etc. 

co-reference: a reference in one expression to the same referent in another expression. Example: You said that you would come (English). Est-ce que vous me dites que vous viendrez? (French).  

corruption: word that has adopted from another language but whose spelling has been changed through misunderstanding, transcription error, mishearing, etc.  

continuous aspect: the imperfect(ive) aspect that expresses an ongoing, but not habitual, occurrence of the state or event expressed by the verb. Examples: he is running, he was running (English) + amant, amabant (they love, they loved: Latin). Ancient Greek & Latin cannot distinguish between continuous habitual & inceptive aspects in the present, future & imperfect tenses, and their compounds.    

copula: an intransitive verb which links the subject with an adjective, a noun phrase or a predicate. Examples: The book is on the table (English) Le livre est sur la table (French).    


definite pronoun: a pronoun that belongs to a class whose members indicate definite reference. Examples: the, this, that in English. The indefinite pronoun -the- is non-existent in Latin, in Mycenaean Linear B & in Homer but existent in Arcado-Cypriot, Classical Ionic, Attic, Hellenic & Koine (New Testament) Greek.

denotation: 1. The act of denoting, or something (such as a symbol) that denotes. 2. the primary or explicit meaning of a word, phrase or symbol. 3. something signified or referred to; a particular meaning of a symbol. 4. In semiotics, denotation is the surface or literal meaning encoded to a signifier, and the definition most likely to appear in a dictionary.

derivation: 1. formation of new words by adding affixes. Example: -singer- from -sing- + -adaptation- from -adapt- 2. derivation in linguistics is the process of changing the meaning and/or lexical class of a lexeme by adding a morpheme. 

derivative: 1. In a lexical database or lexicon, a derivative is sub-entry. Only irregular, semantic derivatives are entered as separate major entries. 2. a stem formed by combining a root with an affix to add a component of meaning that is more than inflectional. The meaning of a derivative is determined by its context, not its parts. Also known as: derived form, derived stem 3. A derivative is a stem formed by derivation, which is a morphosyntactic operation.
Kinds of derivatives:
1. Grammatical derivatives: Example:
nominalized stems, such as encouragement from encourage
adverbialized stems, such as courageously from courageous
2. Semantic derivatives such as generation from generate + isolation from isolate.  

diachronic linguistics: the study of language change over time, is also called historical linguistics. This is extremely important to research in ancient Greek, which was subject to significant changes in all of its dialects over time, especially when the time frame is extreme (i.e. a millennium, from Mycenaean to Attic Greek).   

diachrony: the study of change over time, especially changes to language.

dialectology: the study of dialects.

diphthong: a phonetic sequence, consisting of a vowel and a glide, that is interpreted as a single vowel. Examples: ai, ei, oi in English.

dummy word: a grammatical unit that has no meaning, but completes a sentence to make it grammatical. Examples: It is raining + Do you understand? 


elision:  the omission of sounds, syllables, or words in spoken or written discourse. Unstressed words are the most likely to be elided. Examples: camra for camera + evry for every in English. Elision is very common in ancient Greek, but not in Mycenaean Linear B or in Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, since the latter are both syllabaries, in which all syllabograms must end with a vowel, making elision impossible.

enclitic: a clitic (suffix) that is phonologically bound to (i.e. inseparable from) the end of a preceding word to form a single unit. Examples: can’t, won’t & shouldn’t in English. Aminisode & Konosode (towards Amnisos, towards Knossos) in Mycenaean Greek. Enclitics are very common in ancient Greek.
epigraphy: from the Greek: epi-graph, literally "on-writing", "inscription" is the study of inscriptions or epigraphsas writing + the science of identification, classification, dating & drawing conclusions about graphemes.

epigrapher: person using the methods of epigrapher or epigraphist, who studies inscriptions, most of which are brief. 

epistemic modality: a modality that connotes how much certainty or evidence a speaker has for the proposition expressed by his or her utterance. Examples: We will  come (certainty) + She must have come + He may have come (uncertainty) + They might come (uncertainty) (English). The subjunctive expresses uncertainty in several languages, including English (rarely), German, French, Italian, Latin & Greek. Greek also has the optative to express uncertainty. In a lexicon as general as this one, it is not expedient to attempt to express the distinctions between the optative and the subjective in ancient Greek, as the relationship between the two is complex. In other words, you have to know ancient Greek very well to understand these distinctions and their several applications. 

etymology: 1 the study of the historical development of languages, particularly as manifested in individual words. 2 an account of the origin and historical development of a word. 3. the study of the origins of words. Through old texts and comparison with other languages, etymologists reconstruct the history of words — when they entered a language, from what source, and how their form and meaning have changed. From Greek: true meaning = etymos (true) + logos (word). Etymology is extremely important in the archaic in Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot, which in turn determine the etymology of a number of words in several later ancient Greek dialects.

extraposition: the movement of an element from its normal place to one at the end, or near the end, of a sentence.


family: a group of languages believed to have descended from the same ancestral language, e.g. the Indo-European language family from Proto-Indo-European.

finite verb: a verb form that occurs in an independent clause, and fully inflected according to the inflectional categories marked on verbs in the language. 

fossil: in linguistics, a fossilized word or term is extremely old, extinct, or outdated. Some words in Mycenaean Greek were already fossilized by the time Homer wrote the Iliad, and a much more significant number of Mycenaean words completely disappeared from later ancient Greek dialects. On the other hand, a number of Mycenaean words, such as apudosi (delivery) were never fossilized. 

free morpheme: 1. a grammatical unit that can occur by itself. Additional morphemes such as affixes (prefixes, suffixes) can be attached to it. Examples: berry, blue, cat, colour (hence: colourful, colourless), dog, elephant, green (hence: greenery), house, intern (hence: internship), orange, red, white, yellow. 2. a morpheme which can stand alone to make a word by itself. Example: -blue- in -blueberry- See also, bound morpheme.  

function word: a word which has little or no meaning of its own but which has a grammatical function. Examples in English: a, of, on, in, the. Function words play a key obligatory role in all languages. They are the glue that hold languages together syntactically.


gender. See, grammatical gender

gloss: A gloss (from Koine Greek glossa, meaning 'tongue') is a note made in the margins or between the lines of a book, in which the meaning of the text in its original language is explained, sometimes in its own language, sometimes in another language. Glosses vary in comprehensiveness and complexity, from simple marginal notations of difficult or obscure words, to entire interlinear translations of the original text and cross references to similar passages.

glossary: 1. a collection of glosses is a glossary 2. a collection of specialized terms with their meanings. Example: An English-Mycenaean Linear B Glossary 3. a list of terms defined in a particular domain of knowledge. Glossaries often appear at the end a book and often include either newly introduced or uncommon terms. 

glottochronology: the study of languages to determine when they diverged from being the same language. For instance, the divergence of Italian from Latin.

glottogony: 1. the genesis of language, i. e. the emergence of a system of verbal communication from proto-linguistic or non-linguistic means of communication 2. the study of language origins.

grammatical gender: a class system for adjectives & nouns, composed of two or three classes, whose nouns have at least human male and female referents and in some languages an inanimate referent (neuter). In many languages, gender is very often not classed by any correlation with natural sex distinctions. The genders of nouns classified in this fashion (masculine, feminine, neuter) do not necessarily refer to the masculine (male gender), feminine (female gender) or inanimate (neuter gender). In many cases a masculine noun can also be feminine or even neuter, or any other combination of genders. Genders for the exact same word may differ in different languages.  Examples: il mare (sea, masculine Italian) + la mer (sea, feminine, French), mare (sea, neuter, Latin) le tour (walk, stroll,  run, e.g. le Tour de France) + la tour (tower, French) etc. Examples of languages with two genders are French, Italian & Spanish & with three genders: German, Greek & Latin.

by Richard Vallance Janke, 2015

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.


LOL! LATIN Cartoons A : Caecilius est in Metella! (Composite): Click to ENLARGE! (Ahem!)


Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae 2014: The Year in Review and then some, our new blog, Transcendence and The Singularity, in 2015

Although our blog is only 20 months old, it has assumed a prominent rôle as one of the Internet’s primary resources on current research into Mycenaean Linear B and much more besides. We are also the fist and foremost source for the ongoing study of Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, for which until now very few adequate resources have existed on the Internet. We have carefully classified our blog into several main Categories, which appear right at the top of the Home Page of our blog, as you see here: Click to ENLARGE

Linear B Knossos & Mycenae Categories 2014
The Categories of PRIMARY concern to ourselves and, we hope, to all of us worldwide who are deeply committed to the furtherance of research into Mycenaean Greek & Linear B, as well as into Arcado-Cypriot and Linear C, are highlighted in UPPER CASE. This does not imply that the other Categories are not important. They are. It is just that we devote less of our time and resources to them than to the PRIMARY Categories. 

In our first full year of operation, 2014, we set out to reach certain goals, and we are pleased to announce that we have attained or exceeded them all.

These are prioritized as follows:

1. The theory and practical implementation of the new theory of SUPERSYLLABOGRAMS in Mycenaean Linear B. While Prof. John Chadwick, Michael Ventris, Prof. Thomas G. Palaima and Chris Tselentis were all aware of the existence of supersyllabograms in one form or another, and while the latter three had each isolated certain instances of their appearance in Linear B, none of them actually “defined” them as such, since none of them was aware of all of the practical applications of supersyllabograms in Linear B, of which there are three, as we shall soon enough see in 2015. It is my intention to publish, in concert with my research colleague, Rita Roberts, a full-length research article in PDF format, The Theory and Applications of Sypersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, sometime in 2015, probably no earlier than the summer, as we fully intend to have it peer-reviewed by at least 2 of the world’s leading experts or institutions intimately involved with Linear B prior to publication, among whom we can hopefully count on Prof. Thomas G. Palaima, Chris Tselentis and the Heraklion Museum: Click to ENLARGE

2007-02-16 23.56.22
2. The translation of as many extant Linear B tablets as we could reasonably hope to handle, without over-stretching our human resources. There are two translators of Linear B on our Blog, my now advanced student of Linear B, Rita Roberts, and myself. Between us, we have managed to translate into English scores of Linear B tablets from Knossos, four from Pylos, and one each from Mycenae and Thebes. You can review all of our translations for yourself by clicking on the Categories SCRIPTA MINOA for tablets from Knossos and Tablets for Linear A, B & C tablets and fragments from anywhere else.
3. Throughout the spring of 2014, I also began reconstructing the grammar of Mycenaean Greek from the ground up, successfully building complete verb conjugations for the active voice in all of the these tenses of both thematic and athematic verbs: present, future, imperfect, aorist & perfect, leaving other tenses aside for reasons which will be made clear later in 2015: Click to ENLARGE

Mycenaean Greek active voice tenses thematic athematic verbs
I intend to continue with the reconstitution of derived forms for the declensions of nouns and adjectives, and for the use of cases with prepositions, including the early instrumental case which fell into disuse by the time alphabetic Greek came to the fore in the eighth century BCE.

4. We also believe that a successful decipherment of Minoan Linear A may be around the corner (i.e. within the next five years or so), for reasons which will become apparent with the creation of our new blog, TRANSCENDENCE, as of early 2015:

Transcendence the Singularity
The title of our new blog is, of course, based on the movie of the same name, Transcendence & The Singularity, 2014, starring Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall. Our new Blog is to serve as an international online forum for the sharing of novel ideas, new theories and advances in the following areas of scientific research now dominating the world scene: the implications of the Curiosity Project on Mars and of the search for exoplanets for the potential and probable discovery if life elsewhere in the universe; the active involvement of NASA, other major international Space agencies and organizations in extraterrestrial communication; the emergence of cosmic consciousness beyond our earthly sphere of knowledge for the first time in human history and, of course, the search for the practical application of artificial intelligence and its implications for human affairs in all spheres of life, with reference to the likelihood that the well-touted Singularity will occur sometime in our century, possibly as early as 2025-2030, more likely around 2040-2050. These will be our primary concerns on that blog. It is not so much a question of I myself sharing my own knowledge, pitifully limited as it is, of these critical advancements in the sphere of our scientific knowledge-base as of seeking as much input and as variegated feedback from the scientific and technological community worldwide, as well as from amateurs such as ourselves, on these amazing developments now sweeping over the planet.

5. Concurrent with the creation of our Blog, Transcendence and the Singularity, we shall be pursuing the possibilities for the practical application of Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C on this blog to extraterrestrial communication, a project which is already well underway here under the rubric, NASA at the top of our home page. Click on the NASA banner to read more about this truly fascinating research project:


6. We shall also be taking our first steps towards the compilation of the most comprehensive vocabulary of Mycenaean Linear B ever yet developed, A Topical English-Mycenaean Greek Lexicon. We intend to double the Mycenaean Greek lexicon of some 2,500 attested (A) words currently known to 5,000 attested (A) and derived (D) at the very minimum, with a large number of derived (D) words regressively extrapolated from these sources in descending order of priority:
(a) the extant vocabulary of Arcado-Cypriot, in both Linear C and in the alphabetical Arcado-Cypriot dialect, since this dialect is more closely related to Mycenaean Greek than even Attic Greek is to Ionic;
(b) The Catalogue of Ships in Book II of Homer’s Iliad, in which we find the most archaic Greek after the Arcado-Cypriot dialect, a Greek which still contains a number of grammatical elements left over from Mycenaean Greek. I shall have translated the entire Catalogue of Ships into English before the end of winter 2015 as the framework or template, if you like, for the regressive extrapolation of derived (D) Mycenaean Greek;
(c) from the rest of the Iliad and (d) from the early Aeolic, Ionic and Attic dialects, prior to the fifth century BCE. I must lay particular stress on the fact that Mycenaean Greek vocabulary can only be derived (D) from these dialects alone, since all are East Greek dialects, right on down from Mycenaean to Attic Greek. Mycenaean Greek words emphatically cannot be derived (D) from West Greek dialects such as the Doric, as these are not directly related to it.


Translation of the Silver Spoon Inscription in Linear C, “Clotho, the Spinner” at the British Museum: Click to ENLARGE

spoon amusekatateteketaitioitakolokiai

This is a truly difficult inscription to translate. In the first place, we cannot be sure that the subject is a person actually called “Ammus”, a name, apparently Egyptian, which sounds suspiciously like that of the Egyptian deity Amun Ra, King of the gods, god of the wind and patron deity of Thebes, who rose to prominence in the 11th. dynasty in the twenty-first century BCE (ca.  4,200 years ago): Click on the image of Amun-Ra for the Wikipedia article on him:

Amun Ra

It is also abundantly clear that the Linear C syllabary, which was frequently used alongside the Arcado-Cypriot dialectical Greek alphabet, had made huge strides over Mycenaean Linear B, especially by the 6th. century BCE, when the inscription you see on this spoon was composed. As for the silver spoon itself, the inscription appears only in Linear C; so it is impossible to cross-correlate with an equivalent in the Arcado-Cypriot Greek alphabet. Had there been a version of this inscription in alphabetic Greek, we would have been certain of an unequivocal, indisputable translation of the text on this silver spoon. As it stands, with the inscription appearing only in Linear C, we are left to our best devices. The translation you see here is my own interpretation, and is at least in part subject to dispute. As you can see, I have interpreted the verb as the Arcado-Cypriot aorist middle corresponding to the same tense of the Attic Greek verb, kathisteimi. I had serious problems interpreting the last word in the sentence, but I finally settled on what I suspect is probably the Arcado-Cypriot dative singular for the Attic name of the Muse, Clotho, the youngest of the three Fates or Moirai, the same who spun the thread of life: click to ENLARGE her image

Clotho by William Russell Smith 1880-1969 Scottish

Structural and Grammatical Considerations:

It is immediately obvious to anyone familiar with ancient Greek dialects contemporaneous with the 6th. century BCE Ionic and Attic, that Linear C had made huge strides over the much older Mycenaean Linear B syllabary. First off, the Linear C syllabary was from the outset in the 11th. century BCE, structurally much simpler than Linear B, having abandoned once and for all time all logograms and ideograms characteristic of both Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B. Linear C is simply a syllabary and nothing more. Grammatical Considerations: While we can be pretty much certain that the earliest Arcado-Cypriot documents in Linear C could not possibly have made use of the definite article, the typical later ancient Greek construction of a verb + ta (these things) in the neuter plural, the advanced dative singular with the definite article or the use of the definite article preceding names of gods and abstract words, all of these characteristics are firmly in place on this tablet, which was after all composed in the sixth century BCE, some 500 years after the first appearance of Linear C on the scene.

These developments are extremely significant. In the first place, even if we did not know the precise dating for this inscription, we would still know that it had to have been written no earlier than the sixth century BCE, since all of the grammatical elements we have flagged in the notes on the tablet above only appeared in ancient Greek (regardless of dialect) from that century onwards. The telltale signs for this dating are:

(a) Whereas in Mycenaean Linear B it is not possible to clearly identify the gender of the nominative singular for nouns which are either masculine or neuter, such is not the case in Linear C. All nouns of any gender end in “se” in the nominative singular.

(b) the use of the definite article twice in the same inscription. The definite article never appeared in early Greek writings, not even in the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer.

(c) Radically unlike texts on in Mycenaean Linear B, inscriptions in latter-day Linear C not only sported the definite article, but made frequent use of the typical Ionic-Attic verbal construction of a verb (in any tense) + the definite article in the neuter plural (ta) to denote abstract constructions, i.e. abstract thought. Abstractions are almost totally absent from Mycenaean Linear B tablets.

(d) Finally, the dative singular, again used with the definite article for the names of gods & goddesses, city names and the like, was a huge leap forward from equivalent constructions in the dative singular on tablets in Mycenaean Linear C, where it is often difficult at best even to identify the dative singular, let alone distinguish it from the nominative singular. The same holds true for the nominative and dative plural, and indeed for all the cases. It is easy to isolate cases in Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, not only because the syllabary clearly demarcates them, but also because the definite article frequently appears in all cases. The same can scarcely be said of tablets or inscriptions in Mycenaean Linear B, in which the cases are all too often ambiguous, making it difficult to determine which is subject, which is direct and which is indirect object. Note that in the last instance of the dative singular on the silver spoon, I have translate the Greek for – the = + the feminine dative sing. of the number one as: for the one and only, because – miai – uncharacteristically follows the noun, i.e. the name of the muse, Clotho, adding extra emphasis to it.  Although she is only one of the three Fates or Moiroi, she is in her own right the one and only of her kind. An earlier translation of this tablet which I found on the Internet tells us that the dedication is to the Golgian goddess, whoever that is supposed to be. Yet my own translation makes much more sense, given the century in which this inscription was composed, the 6th. cent. BCE, when the Three Fates or Moiroi were familiar fare to Greeks everywhere.      

The only case which is clearly demarcated in Linear B is the genitive, which appears as “oyo” in the masculine singular, “oya” in the feminine singular & “isi” in the plural. Otherwise, we are left to our own devices. The same cannot be said of inscriptions in Linear C, unless they are very early. There is only one such inscription that I know of, which I have already translated, dating from the eleventh century BCE. The Profound Implications of Cross-Correlation of Equivalent Vocabulary in Mycenaean Greek Arcado-Cypriot: All other extant inscriptions in Arcado-Cypriot Linear C date from the sixth to the fourth centuries BCE. Of these, the extremely long Idalion Tablet, an official decree, leaves little or no room for doubt with respect to the grammatical clarity or the vocabulary of documents written in the Arcado-Cypriot dialect. The vocabulary of such inscriptions cannot be in doubt in those instances where the inscription exists both in Linear C and in the Arcado-Cypriot alphabet, as is the case with the Idalion tablet. The vocabulary on that tablet cannot be interpreted as meaning anything other than what it says in the alphabetic version, leaving no room for alternative interpretations in the Linear C version.

This fact alone has immense implications for tablets and inscriptions in Mycenaean Linear B, on which there appears any word which has an exact or nearly equivalent Linear C version. In such cases, the meaning of the Mycenaean word equivalent to its Arcado-Cypriot counterpart is relatively fixed, once and for all. Once put into practical application, this development will have a profound impact on the interpretation of many Mycenaean words which have (near) exact equivalents in Arcado-Cypriot, leaving little or no room for interpretations of their meanings, and effectively invalidating such interpretations where they clearly clash with their Arcado-Cypriot equivalents, either in Linear C or in the Arcado-Cypriot Greek alphabet. Recall that these two dialects are far more closely related than any other ancient Greek dialects, even the Ionic and Attic. Once you know and accept this fact, it becomes next to impossible to deny the evidence of Arcado-Cypriot words for which there are (exact) equivalents in Mycenaean Linear B. We intend to carry this hypothesis to its logical terminus, settling once and for all at least some of the disputes that have occurred over the “meanings” of a number of Mycenaean Greek words since the decipherment of the syllabary by the genius, Michael Ventris, in 1952-1953. Any word which says what it clearly says in Linear C or in the Arcado-Cypriot alphabet must almost certainly mean (almost) precisely the same thing in Mycenaean Greek. A rose is a rose is a rose.


The Linear B Ideogram for “wheat” = SITO. Ideograms are fun! (Click to ENLARGE):

KN 777a  K b 01 sitos wheat

I don’t know about you, but I think learning Linear B ideograms is fun. Since there are so many of them (at least 100!), it makes for easier translation of a lot of Linear B tablets. As is their usual practice, Linear B scribes writing Mycenaean Greek frequently resorted to ideograms, since they were a great way to save precious space on those small tablets they used. Once again, we see Linear B scribes resorting to what I prefer to call Linear B shorthand. Ideograms are only 1 way to achieve this goal. Logograms and supersyllabograms are another. Scribes also routinely did not even bother with nominal and adjectival declensions and verb conjugations, because what was the point when (yes, here we go again!) they could save valuable space on the tablets. These scribes were a clever bunch, who had the routine down pat, following strict standard universal guidelines which apply to tablets, no matter what their provenance (Knossos, Phaistos, Pylos etc.).

The use of a script, in this case, a syllabary as shorthand is a highly unusual trait for ancient writing systems, unless of course they are hieroglyphic, in which case they are automatically shorthand. We must nevertheless make a clear distinction between so-called hieroglyphic “shorthand”, since the Egyptian scribes almost certainly were not conscious that this is what hieroglyphics actually are.  Since the entire system of Egyptian writing was hieroglyphic, from top to bottom, it was simply writing to them, and nothing more. On the other hand, it is quite clear that the Minoan scribes writing Mycenaean Greek in Linear B almost certainly were conscious that they were using shorthand, because they deliberately mixed logograms, ideograms and supersyllabograms with regular text spelled out, a practice totally unheard of in Egyptian writing, or for that matter in cuneiform and other earlier scripts prior to Linear B. Whether Linear A shared this characteristic with Linear B is an open question, but if it did, this would give us yet another clue to the eventual decipherment of Linear A. We note also that when the Greek alphabet was finally adopted ca. 900 – 800 BCE, shorthand, as practised in Linear B, disappeared, because it was no longer needed, being impractical and redundant in the earliest alphabetic system.   

In fact, I am now quite confident to postulate that Linear B is in fact to a large extent a shorthand for Mycenaean Greek. Yes, the scribes did spell out words, but they just as often did not, resorting instead to the totally innovative, clever tricks I have mentioned above.

It also strikes me that the practice of cultivating grain and wheat right at the port of Knossos, Amnisos, was a truly intelligent economic practice. By so doing, the Minoans were able to expedite the international shipping of grain and wheat supplies, especially in the case of emergencies or famine abroad. This is yet another reminder that the Minoans were eminently practical businessmen, familiar at least with some of the fundamental principles of economics, as we understand that term nowadays.   

Incidentally, my translation “cultivation practices for grain” is entirely speculative, and probably wrong. But as is my usual practice, I would much rather take a shot at some sort of translation that at least makes contextual sense than not try at all.  After all, nobody’s going to shoot me for doing this... I hope!



Significance of the Statistical Frequency of Syllabograms in % according to Michael Ventris (1952)
Michael Ventris was on to much more than even he imagined when he began to unravel the mysteries of the Linear B script by the spring of 1952, when he constructed the following table, in which he extrapolated the statistical frequency in percentage (%) of most of the syllabograms [Click to ENLARGE]:

Michael Ventris Frequency of Syllabograms in Percentages 1952
What he didn't realize then, and what has become not only apparent but of paramount importance to myself and, I sincerely hope, to other researchers in the field of Linear B today is that most of the syllabograms with high or moderate frequencies (in %) play an enormous role in the progressive-regressive reconstruction of Mycenaean grammar and vocabulary alike. I cannot stress this point too much.

Some syllabograms, in fact, play such a decisive role in the grammar and vocabulary of Mycenaean Greek that they cannot be safely ignored in the reconstruction of the language. Of these, for the time being, the most significant for our purposes are, above all, JO (genitive sing. masc. & neut. adjs. & nouns) and SI (dative plural & endings for several forms of verb conjugations, as well as U (nom. sing. masc. nouns), YA (fem. sing. nom. & gen. adjs. & nouns), TA (fem. sing. nom. & neut. pl. nom.) and TE (verb conjugations).

Keep posted for our analyses of the contextual significance of each of these syllabograms in turn, beginning with the 2 most relevant to the reconstruction of both Mycenaean grammar & vocabulary, i.e. JO & SI.

We shall address the rest of the high and moderate frequency syllabograms late this year.


KEY POST! Complete Conjugations in the Active Voice of Thematic Verbs in Mycenaean Linear B (Click to ENLARGE):

Linear B Thematic verbs all tenses with KAUO as template
It is of vital importance to researchers and serious students of Mycenaean Linear B grammar to carefully read and study this post, as it serves as the basis and starting point for the complete reconstruction of both Mycenaean Linear B grammar & vocabulary, following the tenets of my Theory of Regressive-Progressive Linear B Grammar, by the end of 2015. This reconstruction encompasses, but is not necessarily limited to, the recovery of:
1 All tenses in all voices of Mycenaean verbs, active, middle & passive, and of the optative and (possibly) the subjunctive moods.
2 The recovery of as much of the system of participles as can be reasonably achieved.
3 The restoration of as many adverbs as can be reasonably expected.
4 The restoration of the first, second & third declensions of adjectives and nouns, in so far and to the extent that this is feasible. There are several roadblocks and gaping holes in declensions which I will address later this year or early in 2015. 
5 The use of prepositions and the cases they govern.
6 Any other aspects of Mycenaean grammar which I have not addressed here.
7 A considerable increase in the corpus of Mycenaean vocabulary, both attributed and derived, from the current 2,500 words or so to at least double that, i.e. at least 5,000 words.


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