Tag Archive: East 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.

For the first time in history, the complete conjugations of 5 major derived (D) active indicative tenses of thematic verbs in Linear B progressive grammar:

The tenses of active thematic verbs are:
the present indicative active
the future indicative active
the imperfect indicative active
the aorist indicative active
the perfect indicative active

Here is are the 2 tables (A & B) of the complete derived (D) conjugations of these 5 tenses of the active thematic verb kaue = the archaic ancient Greek kauein (Latinized), to set on fire:


The ability of a linguist specializing in Mycenaean Linear B, i.e. myself, to cognitively restore no fewer than 5 active tenses of thematic verbs by means of progressive Mycenaean Greek derived (D) grammar boils down to one impressive feat. However, I have omitted the pluperfect indicative active, since it was rarely used in any and all of the numerous dialects of ancient Greek, right on down from Mycenaean to Arcado-Cypriot to Aeolic, Ionic and Attic Greek, and indeed right on through the Hellenistic and New Testament eras. So since the pluperfect tense is as rare as it is, why bother reconstructing it? At least, this is my rationale. Other researchers and linguists specializing in Mycenaean Linear B may disagree. That is their perfect right.  

Is Mycenaean Greek in Linear B a proto-Greek dialect? Absolutely not!

There are still a few researchers and historical linguists specializing in Mycenaean Linear B who would have us believe that Mycenaean Greek is a proto-Greek dialect. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact that so many fully developed grammatical forms are attested (A) on Linear B tablets confirms once and for all that Mycenaean Greek is the earliest intact East Greek dialect. Among the numerous grammatical forms attested (A) in Mycenaean Greek, we count: [1] verbs, including infinitives active and some passive for both thematic and athematic MI verbs; a sufficient number of verbs either in the active present or aorist tenses; a considerable number of participles, especially perfect passive; and even the optative case in the present tense, [2] nouns & adjectives, for which we find enough attested (A) examples of these declined in the nominative singular and plural, the genitive singular and plural and the dative/instrumental/ablative singular & plural. The accusative singular and plural appear to be largely absent from the Linear B tablets, but appearances can be deceiving, as I shall soon convincingly demonstrate. Also found on the extant Linear B tablets are the comparative and superlative of adjectives, and [3] almost all of the prepositions to be found in later ancient Greek dialects. Taken altogether, these extant attributed (A) grammatical elements form a foundation firm enough to recreate templates for all of the aforementioned elements in a comprehensive derived (D) progressive Mycenaean Linear B grammar. If you are still not convinced, I simply refer you to the previous post, where examples of many of  these grammatical elements are accounted for.  Moreover, once I have completely recompiled ancient Mycenaean Greek grammar, you should be convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mycenaean Greek was the very first true ancient Greek dialect.

What is progressive derived (D) Mycenaean Linear B grammar? 

By progressive I mean nothing less than as full a restoration as possible of the corpus of ancient Mycenaean Greek grammar by means of the procedure of regressive extrapolation of the (exact) equivalents of any and all grammatical elements I shall have reconstructed from the two major sources of slightly later archaic Greek, namely: (a) the Arcado-Cypriot dialect, in which documents were composed in the Linear C syllabary, a direct offshoot of Mycenaean Linear B (Even though the two syllabaries look scarcely alike, the symbolic values of their syllabograms are in almost all instances practically identical), and from so-called Epic Greek, which was comprised of diverse elements haphazardly drawn from various archaic Greek dialects, in other words yielding nothing less than a mess, but a viable one nonetheless.

At this juncture, I must emphatically stress that, contrary to common opinion among ancient Greek literary scholars not familiar with either Mycenaean Linear B or Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, the gap between the scribal Linear B tablets and the next appearance of written ancient Greek is not around 400 years (1200-800 BCE), as they would have it, but only one century. Why so? Hard on the heels of the collapse of the Mycenaean Empire and of its official script, Linear B, ca. 1200 BCE, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C first appeared in writing a mere 100 years after, give or take. The revised timeline for the disappearance and reappearance of written Greek is illustrated here:

If this is not convincing enough, Mycenaean Greek’s intimate cousin, Arcado-Cypriot, of which the syllabary is Linear C, is even more closely related to Mycenaean Greek than Ionic is to Attic Greek. In fact, you could say that they are kissing cousins. Now it stands to reason that, if Arcado-Cypriot in Linear C is a fully developed East Greek dialect, as it most certainly is (subsisting at least 700 years, from 1100 – 400 BCE), then it follows as day does night that Mycenaean Linear B must also be a fully functional East Greek dialect (in fact, the first). The two factors addressed above should lay to rest once and for all that Mycenaean Greek is merely proto-Greek. That is sheer nonsense.

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. 

Knossos tablet KN 894 N v 01 (Ashmolean) as a guide to Mycenaean chariot construction and design

KN 894 An1910_211_o.jpg wheel ZE

In spite of my hard gained experience in translating Linear B tablets, the translation of this tablet on chariot construction and design posed considerable challenges. At the outset, several of the words descriptive of Mycenaean chariot design eluded my initial attempts at an accurate translation. By accurate I not only mean that problematic words must make sense in the total context of the descriptive text outlining Mycenaean chariot construction and design, but that the vocabulary entire must faithfully reconstruct the design of Mycenaean chariots as they actually appeared in their day and age. In other words, could I come up with a translation reflective of the actual construction and design of Mycenaean chariots, not as we fancifully envision them in the twenty-first century, but as the Mycenaeans themselves manufactured them to be battle worthy?

It is transparent to me that the Mycenaean military, just as that of any other great ancient civilization, such as those of Egypt in the Bronze Age, of the Hittite Empire, and later on, in the Iron Age, of Athens and Sparta and, later still, of the Roman Empire, must have gone to great lengths to ensure the durability, tensile strength and battle worthiness of their military apparatus in its entirety (let alone chariots). It goes without saying that, regardless of the techniques of chariot construction employed by the various great civilizations of the ancient world, each civilization strove to manufacture military apparatus to the highest standards practicable within the limits of the technology then available to them.

It is incontestable that progress in chariot construction and design must have made major advances in all of the great civilizations from the early to the late Bronze Age. Any flaws or faults in chariot construction would have been and were rooted out and eliminated as each civilization perceptibly moved forward, step by arduous step, to perfect the manufacture of chariots in their military. In the case of the  Mycenaeans contemporaneous with the Egyptians, this was the late Bronze Age. My point is strictly this. Any translation of any part of a chariot must fully take into account the practicable appropriateness of each and every word in the vocabulary of that technology, to ensure that the entire vocabulary of chariot construction will fit together as seamlessly as possible in order to ultimately achieve as solid a coherence as conceivably possible. 

Thus, if a practicably working translation of any single technical term for the manufacture of chariots detracts rather than contributes to the structural integrity, sturdiness and battle worthiness of the chariot, that term must be seriously called into question. Past translators of the vocabulary of chariot construction and design who have not fully taken into account the appropriateness of any particular term descriptive of the solidity and tensile strength of the chariot required to make it battle worthy have occasionally fallen short of truly convincing translations of the whole (meaning here, the chariot), translations which unify and synthesize its entire vocabulary such that all of its moving and immobile parts alike actually “translate” into a credible reconstruction of a Bronze Age (Mycenaean) chariot as it must have realistically appeared and actually operated. Even the most prestigious of translators of Mycenaean Linear B, most notably L.R. Palmer himself, have not always succeeded in formulating translations of certain words or terms convincing enough in the sense that I have just delineated. All this is not to say that I too will not fall into the same trap, because I most certainly will. Yet as we say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.      

And what applies to the terminology for the construction and design of chariots in any ancient language, let alone Mycenaean Linear B, equally applies to the vocabulary of absolutely any animate subject, such as human beings and livestock, and to any inanimate object in the context of each and every sector of the economy of the society in question, whether this be in the agricultural, industrial, military, textiles, household or pottery sector.

Again, if any single word detracts rather than contributes to the actual appearance, manufacturing technique and utility of said object in its entire context, linguistic as well as technical, then that term must be seriously called into question. 

When it comes down to brass tacks, the likelihood of achieving such translations is a tall order to fill. But try we must.

A convincing practicable working vocabulary of Knossos tablet KN 894 N v 01 (Ashmolean):

While much of the vocabulary on this tablet is relatively straightforward, a good deal is not. How then was I to devise an approach to its translation which could conceivably meet Mycenaean standards in around 1400-1200 BCE? I had little or no reference point to start from. The natural thing to do was to run a search on Google images to determine whether or not the results would, as it were, measure up to Mycenaean standards. Unfortunately, some of the most convincing images I downloaded were in several particulars at odds with one another, especially in the depiction of wheel construction. That actually came as no surprise. So what was I to do? I had to choose one or two images of chariots which appeared to me at least to be accurate renditions of actual Mycenaean chariot design. But how could I do that without being arbitrary in my choice of images determining terminology? Again a tough call. Yet there was a way through this apparent impasse. Faced with the decision of having to choose between twenty-first century illustrations of Mycenaean chariot design - these being the most often at odds with one another - and ancient depictions on frescoes, kraters and vases, I chose the latter route as my starting point. 

But here again I was faced with images which appeared to conflict on specific points of chariot construction. The depictions of Mycenaean chariots appearing on frescoes, kraters and vases unfortunately did not mirror one another as accurately as I had first supposed they would. Still, this should come as no real surprise to anyone familiar with the design of military vehicles ancient or modern. Take the modern tank for instance. The designs of American, British, German and Russian tanks in the Second World War were substantially different. And even within the military of Britain, America and Germany, there were different types of tanks serving particular uses dependent on specific terrain. So it stands to reason that there were at least some observable variations in Mycenaean chariot design, let alone of the construction of any chariots in any ancient civilization, be it Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece throughout its long history, or Rome, among others.

So faced with the choice of narrowing down alternative likenesses, I finally opted for one fresco which provided the most detail. I refer to the fresco from Tiryns (ca 1200 BCE) depicting two female charioteers.

This fresco would go a long way to resolving issues related in particular to the manufacture and design of wheels, which are the major sticking point in translating the vocabulary for Mycenaean chariots.

Turning now to my translation, I sincerely hope I have been able to resolve most of these difficulties, at least to my own satisfaction if to not to that of others, although here again a word of caution to the wise. My translation is merely my own visual interpretation of what is in front of me on this fresco from Tiryns. Try as we might, there is simply no escaping the fact that we, in the twenty-first century, are bound to impose our own preconceptions on ancient images, whatever they depict. As historiography has it, and I cite directly from Wikipedia:      

Questions regarding historicity concern not just the issue of "what really happened," but also the issue of how modern observers can come to know "what really happened."[6] This second issue is closely tied to historical research practices and methodologies for analyzing the reliability of primary sources and other evidence. Because various methodologies categorize historicity differently, it's not possible to reduce historicity to a single structure to be represented. Some methodologies (for example historicism), can make historicity subject to constructions of history based on submerged value commitments. 

wikipedia historicity
The sticking point is those pesky “submerged value commitments”. To illustrate even further, allow me to cite another source, Approaching History: Bias:

approaching history

The problem for methodology is unconscious bias: the importing of assumptions and expectations, or the asking of one question rather than another, by someone who is trying to act in good faith with the past. 

Yet the problem inherent to any modern approach is that it is simply impossible for any historian or historical linguist today to avoid imposing not only his or her own innate unconscious preconceived values but also the values of his own national, social background and civilization, let alone those of the entire age in which he or she lives. “Now” is the twenty-first century and “then” was any particular civilization with its own social, national and political values set against the diverse values of other civilizations contemporaneous with it, regardless of historical era.

If all this seems painfully obvious to the professional historian or linguist, it is more than likely not be to the non-specialist or lay reader, which is why I have taken the trouble to address the issue in the first place.  

How then can any historian or historical linguist in the twenty-first century possibly and indeed realistically be expected to place him— or herself in the sandals, so to speak, of any contemporaneous Bronze Age Minoan, Mycenaean, Egyptian, Assyrian or oriental civilizations such as China, and so on, without unconsciously imposing the entire baggage of his— or -her own civilization, Occidental, Oriental or otherwise? It simply cannot be done.

However, not to despair. Focusing our magnifying glass on the shadowy mists of history, we can only see through a glass darkly. But that is no reason to give up. Otherwise, there would be no way of interpreting history and no historiography to speak of. So we might as well let sleeping dogs lie, and get on with the task before us, which in this case is the intricate art of translation of an object particular not only to its own civilization, remote as it is, but specifically to the military sector of that society, being in this case, the Mycenaean.

So the question now is, what can we read out of the Tiryns fresco with respect to Mycenaean chariot construction and design, without reading too much of our own unconscious personal, social and civilized biases into it? As precarious and as fraught with problems as our endeavour is, let us simply sail on ahead and see how far our little voyage can take us towards at least a credible translation of the Tiryns chariot with its lovely belles at the reins, with the proviso that this fresco depicts only one variation on the design of Mycenaean chariots, itself at odds on some points with other depictions on other frescoes. Here you see the fresco with my explanatory notes on the chariot parts:


as related to the text and context of the facsimile of the original tablet in Linear B, Linear B Latinized and archaic Greek, here:

Knossos tablet KN 894 N v 01 original text Latinized and in archaic Greek
This is followed by my meticulous notes on the construction and design of the various parts of the Mycenaean chariot as illustrated here:

Notes on Knossos tablet 894 N v 01 Wheel ZE

and by The Geometry of chariot parts in Mycenaean Linear B, to drive home my interpretations of both – amota - = - (on) axle – and – temidweta - = the circumference or the rim of the wheel, referencing the – radius – in the second syllable of – temidweta - ,i.e. - dweta - , where radius = 1/2 (second syllable) of – temidweta – and is thus equivalent to one spoke, as illustrated here:

The only other historian of Linear B who has grasped the full significance of the supersyllabogram (SSYL) is Salimbeti, 

The Greek Age of Bronze chariots

whose site is the one and only on the entire Internet which explores the construction and design of bronze age chariots in great detail. I strongly urge you to read his entire study in order to clarify the full import of my translation of – temidweta – as the rim of the wheel. The only problem remaining with my translation is whether or not the word – temidweta – describes the rim on the side of the wheel or the rim on its outer surface directly contacting the ground. The difficulty with the latter translation is whether or not elm wood is of sufficient tensile strength to withstand the beating the tire rim had to endure over time (at least a month or two at minimum) on the rough terrain, often littered with stones and rocks, over which Mycenaean chariots must surely have had to negotiate.  

As for the meaning of the supersyllabogram (SSYL)TE oncharged directly onto the top of the ideogram for wheel, it cannot mean anything other than – temidweta -, in other words the circumference, being the wheel rim, further clarified here:

wheel rim illustration

Hence my translation here:

Translation of Knossos tablet KN 984 N v 01 Wheel ZE

Note that I have translated the unknown word **** – kidapa – as – ash (wood). My reasons for this are twofold. First of all, the hardwood ash has excellent tensile strength and shock resistance, where toughness and resiliency against impact are important factors. Secondly, it just so happens that ash is predominant in Homer’s Iliad as a vital component in the construction of warships and of weapons, especially spears. So there is a real likelihood that in fact – kidapa – means ash, which L.R. Palmer also maintains. Like many so-called unknown words found in Mycenaean Greek texts, this word may well be Minoan. Based on the assumption that many of these so-called unknown words may be Minoan, we can establish a kicking-off point for possible translations of these putative Minoan words. Such translations should be rigorously checked against the vocabulary of the extant corpus of Minoan Linear A, as found in John G. Younger’s database, here:

Linear A texts in transciption

I did just that and came up empty-handed. But that does not at all imply that the word is not Minoan, given that the extant lexicon of Linear A words is so limited, being as it is incomplete.

While all of this might seem a little overwhelming at first sight, once we have taken duly into account the most convincing translation of each and every one of the words on this tablet in its textual and real-world context, I believe we can attain such a translation, however constrained we are by our our twenty-first century unconscious assumptions. As for conscious assumptions, they simply will not do. 

In conclusion, Knossos tablet KN 894 N v 01 (Ashmolean) serves as exemplary a guide to Mycenaean chariot construction and design as any other substantive intact Linear B tablet in the same vein from Knossos. It is my intention to carry my observations and my conclusions on the vocabulary of Mycenaean chariot construction and design much further in an article I shall be publishing on academia.edu sometime in 2016. In it I shall conduct a thorough-going cross-comparative analysis of the chariot terminology on this tablet with that of several other tablets dealing specifically with chariots. This cross-comparative study is to result in a comprehensive lexicon of the vocabulary of Mycenaean chariot construction and design, fully taking into account Chris Tselentis’ Linear B Lexicon and L.R. Palmer’s extremely comprehensive Glossary of military terms relative to chariot construction and design on pp. 403-466 in his classic foundational masterpiece, The Interpretation of Mycenaean Texts.

So stay posted. 

Just uploaded to academia.edu - Annotated Translation of the Introduction to Book II of the Iliad and of lines 484 to 652 of The Catalogue of Ships

Just uploaded to academia.edu - Annotated Translation of the Introduction to Book II of the Iliad and of lines 484 to 652 of The Catalogue of Ships into fluent twenty-first century English, with reference to the significant impact of Mycenaean Greek on its archaic Greek. This is followed by a “modern” poem, Ode to the Archangel Michael in Mycenaean Linear B, English & French.

Click on this banner to download the translation:

Iliad 2 academia edu 2015-12-09 17-29-12

This is my revised translation of the Introduction to Book II of the Iliad and of lines 484 to 652 of The Catalogue of Ships, which replaces the former one which I had uploaded to academia.edu. The former translation, which was incomplete, omitting a continuum of lines appearing in the revised translation, has been deleted from academia.edu and from this blog. So if you wish to read my revised translation, you will need to download the one referred to in this post.

Thank you


Just added to my academia.edu: Did you know you speak Mycenaean Greek? You do! An amusing read too!
Click on the banner to read, bookmark or download the article:

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.  



Just added to my academia.edu page, Translation of the Introduction to Book II of the Iliad, and its Profound Implications in the Regressive-Progressive Reconstruction of Unattested, Derived (D) Mycenaean Greek Vocabulary and Grammar, here:

The Iliad of Homer in academia edu Richard Vallance
This is the first of a series of several papers I shall be publishing this year and next (2016) on my hypothesis underpinning the theoretical and proposed actual links between the archaic Greek of Book II of the Iliad by Homer, and in particular of the Catalogue of Ships (lines 459-815). These papers are of extreme significance to the methodology, process and procedure of regressive extrapolation of Mycenaean Greek vocabulary or grammatical constructs derived from the most archaic Greek in the Iliad, considered by many researchers to be an in)direct offshoot of Mycenaean Greek itself. Vocabulary or grammatical constructs thus derived are then progressively applied to reconstruct parallel elements missing from any attested Linear B sources regardless.

I cannot stress too much the extreme significance of this particular line of research I am pursuing in the reconstruction of numerous elements (possibly even into the hundreds) of Mycenaean Greek derived from these sections alone of the Iliad.


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.



TBP spring 2015: English — Mycenaean Linear B Lexicon of Military Affairs A — cargo (Draft): Click to ENLARGE


Here you see the very first draft of the English — Mycenaean Linear B Lexicon of Military Affairs, covering only the entries from A to cargo. Moreover, in this draft, only the English, Linear B and latinized Linear B are given, whereas in the final version of the English — Mycenaean Linear B Lexicon of Military Affairs, when it is published, each entry will contain:

English — Mycenaean Linear B + latinized Linear B + archaic ancient Greek + modern Greek

In other words, what you see here is only the SKELETON ENTRY for each word you see in this draft of the Lexicon.  

The actual English — Mycenaean Linear B Lexicon of Military Affairs will contain at least twice as many words as found in the first draft, of which this is only the first part. For the moment, all words here are derived only from the:

MYCENAEAN (Linear B) — ENGLISH Glossary

- with numerous corrections, since this glossary is replete with errors and unreliable.


(AME) = attested Linear B word from the MYCENAEAN (Linear B) — ENGLISH Glossary
(D) = derived Mycenaean Linear B words, not found anywhere on any Linear B tablets
NOTE: indicates that the original MYCENAEAN (Linear B) — ENGLISH Glossary entry is erroneous.

* The special use of “WE” as the final syllabogram of SOME Mycenaean Linear B words:

Many Mycenaean Linear B ending with “WE” indicate that “WE” as the last syllable of such Mycenaean words is actually the consonantS”, for the plural form. I have deduced this from several Linear B entries from several sources. This is the one and only instance in Mycenaean Linear B where a syllabogram, i.e. “WE” can also be construed as the consonant “S”, but only at the end of a word to indicate its plural. There are many examples of this phenomenon in Mycenaean Linear B: for instance, in this draft,

TARAWANUWE = beams (plural)
So also:
APOREWE = amphorae or amphoras (plural)
KAKEWE = coppersmiths
KERAMEWE = workers of ceramics.

If this strikes you as peculiar, or even peculiar to Mycenaean Linear B, it is not. In fact, this phenomenon is far more common in Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, in which several syllabograms ending in “E”, such as ME RE (especially) SE & TE append the “E” as a filler vowel. Moreover, it is always a silent “E”. When these same words are written in the Arcado-Cypriot alphabet instead, the silent “E” disappears.   

WARNING! With the aforementioned exception, “WE” as the last syllable of any Mycenaean Linear B usually means “WE”. 

** is a special note on declension...    
What is the English — Mycenaean Linear B Lexicon of Military Affairs?

When it is published in the spring of 2015, the English — Mycenaean Linear B Lexicon of Military Affairs will be at least twice as long as the first draft, which is already 10 pages single-spaced.

The English — Mycenaean Linear B Lexicon of Military Affairs is also the first section ONLY of the much more comprehensive English — Mycenaean Linear B Lexicon, which we will publish sometime in 2017-2018, and which will be modeled to some extent on Liddell & Scott, Greek-English Lexicon. The full Lexicon will also contain the following sections:

PARTS OF SPEECH (adjectives, nouns, adverbs, verbs, prepositions & conjunctions etc.) + NOTES on CONJUGATIONS & DECLENSIONS where applicable

The final English — Mycenaean Linear B Lexicon (2017-2018) should run to at least 150 pages, possibly as many as 200. There will be nothing even remotely like it in print, online or in PDF format. 

When it is finally published, our English — Mycenaean Linear B Lexicon will be by far the largest Mycenaean Linear B lexicon, dictionary or glossary ever published in print, online or in PDF. It should at least double the current Mycenaean vocabulary of some 2,500 Attested (A) words to 5,000 or even as much as 7,000 Attested (A) and Derived (D) words, from the following sources, in order of precedence:

(a) Attested (A) Mycenaean Linear B vocabulary;
(b) Mycenaean Linear B vocabulary Derived (D) from Attested (A) Mycenaean Linear B vocabulary;
(c) Mycenaean Linear B vocabulary Derived (D) from Arcado-Cypriot Linear C or Arcado-Cypriot alphabetic vocabulary. Arcado-Cypriot takes precedence even over (d) because of all ancient Greek dialects, no two are more closely allied than are the Mycenaean & Arcado-Cypriot. They are in fact “kissing cousins”.  Even Ionic and Attic Greek are much less intimately related. 
(d) The most archaic Greek found only in The Catalogue of Ships in Book II of The Iliad.

NO OTHER ancient sources will be considered, as almost all other ancient Greek dialects arrived on the scene too late for serious consideration for the derivation (D) of Mycenaean Linear B vocabulary. 


An Easy Guide to Learning the Linear C Syllabary for Arcado-Cypriot & a Plea to our Followers: Click to ENLARGE

Easy Guide to Learning Linear C Arcado-Cypriot
I have just spent 3 hours compiling this Easy Guide to Learning the Linear C Syllabary for Arcado-Cypriot. There is nothing like it on the entire Internet. I have obviously done this for the benefit of those of you who wish to learn the syllabary, and for those of you who are already familiar with it, but who would like to see for yourselves just how elegant the geometric economy of Linear C is, even in comparison with Linear B for Mycenaean Greek. Linear C contains only syllabograms, whereas Linear B has 61 syllabograms, numerous homophones, logograms something like 100 ideograms, which makes for a much more challenging learning curve. In fact, Linear C represents the final step in the two syllabic scripts (B & C) before the various avatars of the ancient Greek alphabet were adopted ca. 800-700 BCE. And we must remember that the relative simplicity of Linear C allowed it to last from ca. 1100 BCE to at least 400 BCE, since the Arcadians and Cypriots could see no real reason to abandon what was after all a very easy syllabary for the Greek alphabet, although they did start using the Greek alphabet alongside the syllabary by about the seventh century BCE. The Idalion Tablet, for instance, is composed in both Linear C and in the Greek alphabet, the latter acting as a check on the accuracy of the Linear C syllabograms, and in turn, as we shall see later on this year, as a check on the Linear B syllabograms as well, facilitating more accurate translations of tablets in the latter syllabary.

Michael Ventris & Prof. John Chadwick were fully aware of the urgent need for cross-correlation of the values of the Linear C syllabary used for writing Arcado-Cypriot Greek as a check on the correctness of the Linear B syllabary for Mycenaean Greek. We must always keep in mind that of all the ancient dialects, no two were more intimately related than the Mycenaean and the Arcado-Cypriot, which were in fact, kissing cousins, much more closely related even than Ionic and Attic Greek. Here is what Prof. Chadwick so aptly points out in The Decipherment of Linear B (Second Edition) Cambridge University Press, © 1970:The conclusion was already advanced that the new dialect was most closely related to Arcadian and Cypriot, as had been predicted...” (pg. 78) & again, “We know not only that the Mycenaeans were Greeks, but also what sort of Greek they spoke. They were not Dorians,... passim...  But at least we can say that linguistically their nearest relatives were the Arcadians and Cypriots, and next to them the Ionians.” Thus, any attempt to correlate the East Greek Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot dialects with the West Greek Dorian dialect is bound to prove a failure.

I WOULD LIKE TO NOTE IN PASSING THAT, AFTER ALMOST TWO YEARS OF MARKED SUCCESS WITH OUR BLOG ON THE INTERNET, ALMOST NO-BODY EVER TAGS OUR POSTS WITH “LIKE” OR FAVORITES THEM, OR FOR THAT MATTER EVEN BOTHERS TO RETWEET THEM MORE THAN A COUPLE OF TIMES, ALL THIS IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THERE IS NO RICHER SOURCE FOR SO MANY ASPECTS OF MYCENAEAN LINEAR B, ARCADO-CYPRIOT LINEAR C & THE TRANSLATION OF THE ENTIRE CATALOGUE OF SHIPS IN BOOK TWO OF THE ILIAD ON THE INTERNET. That this is a huge disappointment and source of discouragement to both myself and my research colleague, Rita Roberts, is an understatement, to say the very least. I sincerely hope that our devoted followers and other folks involved in research into Linear B & C will rectify this sad state of affairs all through this year, 2015.

Thank you


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.


20 Greek Words in the Arcadian Dialect Translated into Tentative & Actual Linear B: (Click to ENLARGE):

Arcadian Linear C Linear B

As I just did in our previous post with a much larger vocabulary of the Cypriot dialect, from which I extracted as many putative or hypothetical Linear B concrete and semi-abstract words as I could, leaving purely abstract words aside (as they almost never appear in in Linear B in Mycenaean Greek), I am providing 20 hypothetical Linear B equivalents to everyone on our blog or on the Internet fascinated by the near intimate relationship between the Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot dialects, written in Linear B and C respectively, with a vocabulary in the Arcadian dialect, somewhat briefer than that I posted for the Cypriot.

By way of introduction, I should like to draw your attention to some highly pertinent facts. In his ground-breaking exhaustive survey of all of the ancient Greek dialects, C. D. Buck, in The Greek Dialects (a), has this to say about the relationship of the Arcadian and Cypriot dialects, which are fact but minor variants on the same dialect (all italics mine):No two dialects, not even Attic and Ionic, belong together more obviously than do those of Arcadia and the distant Cyprus. They share in a number of notable peculiarities which are unknown elsewhere. See 189 and Chart I. This is to be accounted for by the fact that Cyprus was colonized, not necessarily or probably from Arcadia itself, as tradition states, but from the Peloponnesian coast, at a time when its speech was like that which in Arcadia survived the Doric migration. This group represents, beyond question, the pre-Doric speech of most of the Peloponnesus whatever we choose to call it... passim...

... There are in fact notable points of agreement between Arcado-Cypriot and Aeolic (see 190.3-6 and Chart I,) which cannot be accidental... passim... and there are certain points of agreement with Attic-Ionic...”  

C.D. Buck’s comments pretty much speak for themselves. But it is extremely important to stress the very intimate relationship between Arcado-Cypriot Greek (being the natural conflagration of the Arcadian and Cypriot dialects into one almost seamless continuum) on the one hand to Aeolic and Attic-Ionic on the other, all of these dialects inclusive falling squarely within the orbit of East Greek, as we move chronologically forward in time. On the other hand, along the same timeline, only in reverse chronological order, we can confirm that (proto-)Arcadian and Mycenaean Greek also unquestionably belong to the same class of ancient Greek dialects, namely, the East Greek. This is precisely why I choose to term both Mycenaean and (proto-)Arcadian as proto-Ionic, since that is in fact what these dialects were. 

In this perspective, we need to add one more critical comment, again quoting directly from C.D. Buck (although he and I would certainly mirror one another, if we either of us were to say this, even without knowing the other one had. He did say this, and I do.) So allow me to steal the words right out of his mouth, in the sure realization that this is precisely what I, and for that matter, all linguists worldwide would say about the relationship between the ancient Greek dialects would assert... save for a few lone renegades, whom I won’t even bother with, as it is a waste of my breath and our time. C.D. Buck has this to say:The most fundamental division of the Greek dialects is that into the West Greek and the East Greek dialects, the terms referring to their location prior to the great migrations. The East Greek are the “the old Hellenic” dialects, that is, those employed by the peoples who held the stage almost exclusively in the period represented by the Homeric poems, when the West Greek peoples remained in obscurity in the northwest. To the East Greek belong the Attic and Aeolic groups... passim... And to the East Greek (dialects) also belong the Arcado-Cyprian.” And, of course, just to be certain we have the whole picture clearly in focus, we must also include Mycenaean Greek and early Arcadian as proto-Ionic, both of which dialects held sway “prior to the great migrations.” Here C.D. Buck is referring specifically to the great Doric invasion of the Greek peninsula ca. 1200-1100 BCE or thereabouts.

The following summary can be drawn with relative ease from C.D. Buck’s linguistic analysis:
1. The division between the East Greek dialects, among which we count the Arcado-Cypriot (subsumed by its slightly different Arcadian and Cypriot variants) plus the Aeolic, Ionic and Attic dialects, as representative, there being others as well... and the West Greek dialects, under the generic, Doric, is clear and distinct. Never the twain shall meet.
2. Since Mycenaean, proto-Arcado-Cypriot and its later metamorphoses, Arcadian and Cypriot, are all in the same dialectical class, i.e. East Greek, any consideration of the function(s), historical rôle and influences of any and all of these dialects in particular play, must be decisively distinguished from the rôle the Doric dialects played, since the former were all firmly in place and fully operative all over the Greek peninsula well before the Doric invasions ca. 1200-1100 BCE. In fact, in the case of Mycenaean Greek, that dialect held sway for at least 300 years prior to the Doric invasions, so that any putative influence or impact of the latter on the former is de facto impossible.
3. The proto-Arcado-Cypriot dialect is clearly the younger cousin of Mycenaean Greek, as is its later evolution into literary Arcado-Cypriot (Arcadian/Cypriot) as found on the Idalion tablet (fifth century BCE). This fact alone serves to reinforce beyond a shadow of a doubt that Doric Greek could have had no influence on Mycenaean Greek any more than it did on Arcado-Cypriot, as both of the latter were, as C.D. Buck underlines, the “the old Hellenic” dialects. Thus, the intimate relationship between Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot doubly reinforces the total exclusion of Doric influences, however meagre.  
4. It naturally follows from 3., as day follows night, that documents composed in Mycenaean Linear B and in Arcado-Cypriot Linear C are soundly ensconced in the framework of the very same class of ancient Greek dialects, the East Greek.

Henceforth, in this blog, any discussion of the intimate relationship between the Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot dialects and of the application of their respective scripts, Linear B and Linear C is firmly set in the framework of this hypothesis, which bears extensive historical linguistic evidence mitigating strongly in its favour.

A few final comments are in order with respect to the actual Linear B correlatives of Arcadian words in the vocabulary above. These observations revolve around the methodological process of cross-correlation between Arcadian documents, in this case in alphabetical Greek, with those in Linear B. What we have already discovered, to our great astonishment and delight, even without taking the requisite step of a thorough methodology of cross-correlation, as discussed at length in our previous post on the relationship between Cypriot and Mycenaean Greek, is that at least one of the words in Linear B extracted from this vocabulary of Arcadian, and very probably two, are clearly and indisputably real attested (A) Linear B words. They are, of course, the Linear B for “and” (QE) and for “girl” (KOWA).

By extension, we may as well add a third, “boy” KOWO, since it is simply the masculine of the former. KOWA appears both in Linear B and in Linear C, and is therefore, by default, attested (A) in both.

KOWA KOWO in Linear B & Linear C

This is a rare jewel of a find, and to my mind, it is the very first instance of actual confirmation of any word in the vocabulary of Linear B & C common to Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot. This in effect constitutes our very first, albeit baby, step in the cross-correlation of Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot vocabulary by means of a tried-and-tested linguistic methodology. How many Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot will eventually (nearly) match up, whether scores, some or just a few, I cannot possibly predict right now. But it is certain that we shall eventually be able to compile at least a small vocabulary of equivalent Mycenaean & Arcado-Cypriot words, and as soon as we can (b), I shall be sure to let you know. Such a vocabulary will prove of inestimable value in going a long way to confirming attested Linear C = derivative Linear B words (ALC+DLB), as explained in the previous post.

(a) Buck, C.D. The Greek Dialects. London: Bristol Classical Press, © 1955, 1998. ISBN 1-85399-566-8. xvi, 373 pp.
(b) sometime in 2015 or at the latest, early 2016.
(c) All italics mine.

Which Greek Dialects are the Descendents of Mycenaean Greek? (Click to ENLARGE):


Allow me to cite at some length four authoritative sources for the close-knit relationship between Mycenaean Greek (ca. 1500-1200 BCE) and the East Greek dialects which sprang up later, spreading out, first to Arcadia itself, as the Arcado-Cypriot dialect, which then in turn spread westward to Cyprus in the period of the great Greek migrations through colonization (ca. 750-550 BCE), also northwards towards Ionia and Attica, and eastwards to the island of Lesbos and its environs (Aeolic).

Arcado-Cypriot, as C.D. Buck states in his ground-breaking study, The Greek Dialects (University of Chicago Press, 1955; republished in 1998 by Bristol Classical Press, © 1998 – ISBN 1-85399-556-8. xvi, 373 pp.), belongs to “The East Greek... Old Hellenic dialects, that is, those employed by the peoples who held the stage almost exclusively in the period represented by the Homeric poems, when the West Greek peoples remained in obscurity in in the northwest. To the East Greek division belong the Ionic and Aeolic groups.. [and].. also the Arcado-Cyprian.” Then he makes a point of stressing that “no two dialects, not even Attic and Ionic, belong together more obviously than do those of Arcadia and the distant Cyprus.” (pg. 7), and goes on to say, “There are, in fact, notable points of agreement between Arcado-Cypriot and Aeolic... which cannot be accidental.” (pg. 8, all italics mine). I have taken pains to quote all of these observations to make it abundantly clear that following dialects, Mycenaean, Arcado-Cypriot, Attic-Ionic, Aeolic and Lesbian, are all East Greek dialects, as illustrated by his table on page 9, as opposed to the West & North-West Greek dialects, which include all of the Doric dialects, such as Argolic, Megarian, Cretan etc.

while Egbert J. Bakker. in his A Companion to the Ancient Greek (Wiley-Blackwell, © 2010. 704 pp. ISBN 978-1-4051-5326-3), asserts that “Mycenaean is clearly, therefore, an East Greek dialect, along with Attic-Ionic and Arcado-Cypriot... passim ... Some features align Mycenaean more closely with Arcado-Cypriot... passim... Mycenaean is therefore a dialect directly related to Arcado-Cypriot – not unexpected, given the geography...” (pp. 198-199),

and again, Roger D. Woodward, in The Ancient Languages of Europe (Cambridge University Press, © 2008 ISBN 9780521684958), states that “Of the first-millennium dialects, it is Arcado-Cypriot to which Mycenaean Greek is most closely related.” (pg. 52)

I wish to stress emphatically that there is no direct relationship between the East Greek dialects (Mycenaean, Arcado-Cypriot, Attic-Ionic or Aeolic) and the West Greek dialects, most notably, the Doric dialect, since the earliest of the East-Greek dialects, Mycenaean Greek, was widely spoken in the Peloponnese and around the Saronic Gulf well before the Doric invasion, and that consequently since all of the other East Greek dialects, Arcado-Cypriot, Attic-Ionic & Aeolic, spread out from the Mycenaean epicentre, they too are not and cannot be directly related to the West Greek dialects.  To add further fuel to the fire, allow me to conclude with  these highly pertinent observations Denys Page makes in, History and the Homeric Iliad (University of California Press, © 1966. 350 pp.) He says:

The new theory maintains, in briefest summary, the following position. “The dialect which we call Ionic is fundamentally akin to Arcadian; the peculiar features which differentiate it from other dialects as Ionic are all (or most) of relatively late development. In the Mycenaean period one dialect was predominant in southern Greece: when the Dorians occupied the Peloponnese, part of the Mycenaean population stayed at home, part emigrated; the stay-at-homes, to be called “Arcadians”, retained their dialect with comparatively little change through the Dark Ages, ...”

Now, from all we have just seen here, I feel I can safely draw the following conclusions:
1  there is no direct relationship between the East Greek dialects (Mycenaean, Arcado-Cypriot, Attic-Ionic or Aeolic) and the West Greek dialects, most notably, the Doric dialect;
2  All of the East Greek dialects migrated from their original home base during the great age of Greek colonization (ca. 750-550 BCE), as witnessed by the spread of the Arcadian dialect to Cyprus in the historical period, and of Attic-Ionic eastwards as Aeolic towards Lesbos and its environs.
3 these patterns of migration of the East Greek dialects were paralleled by the migration of the West Greek dialects to colonies as prosperous and large as the great city of Syracuse (Doric) and other Greek cities along the west coast of Italy.
4  Confirmation of Denys Page’s “new theory” (1966) has been re-affirmed and validated over and over again all the way through to the present day (Cf. Woodward, 2008 & Bakker, 2010), so that there remains little doubt, if any, that his  “new theory”, which is no longer new at all, having persisted a half century, is here to stay. 


Tabular Comparison of the Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C Syllabaries (Click to ENLARGE):

Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriiot Linear C Syllabograms Grid

Mycenaean Greek, which was written in the Linear B syllabary, and Arcado-Cypriot, which used the Linear C syllabary, both belong to the family of East Greek dialects, which were to spread from these two into Ionic-Attic and Aeolic during the period of Greek colonization (ca. 750-550 BCE). For more on this, see the next post, “Which Greek dialects of Mycenaean Greek”? 

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