Tag Archive: Egyptian hieroglyphics



Total number of words derived from languages antecedent to Linear A in Linear A: 

banner antecedents to Linear A in Linear A
Below we find the potential total of the number of words derived from languages antecedent to Linear A in Linear A. This figure = 87 or 8 % of Linear A may need to be revised downwards upon re-checking each word against each and every Linear A tablet on which it may appear.
This is also true of the total of 305 = 28 % of the Greek-like words in the previous post. It is likely that the grand total of 36 % will thus also eventually need to be revised downwards. I will only be able to verify the final results after the exercise of cross-correlation with Linear A tablets, prior to the publication of the Revised Linear A Lexicon early in 2018.

Akanu/Akanuzati  PGS TOP A0rxa/nej = Archanes (Crete) – or- a large bowl, from Semitic akanu
akara/akaru = akaras/akarus NM a1kra - or - = end, border + akaru a0gro/j = field, from Hittite, akkala = furrow  
ama OM = armas = moon? (Hittite/Luwian origin?)
ana not NM a0na/ ana = upwards, above, through; according to etc. OM = tin, from Hittite, anna, Akkadian, anaku 
api NM a0spi/j = shield – or- OM plough, from Hittite apin  = 5
Arenesidi  ONO = for Nesidis (Hittite)
ari/arinita OM = flower? + arinata = flowery, from Hittite alil 
arisu OM = cow or bull or ox, permuted. See also qaqaru, riruma
asadaka asadakas MOSE NM a1staxa <- a1staxu (Minoan nom. sing.)= ear of corn
asamune OM = goblet, from Semitic assummun 
Asara2 TOP = Linear B Asaro A0sa/roj -or- may refer to Assur, hence Assyria -or- asara2 (asarai) = without flax – or- OM = white, from Hittite asara = 10
asasarame NM? Used in conjuction with the Mycenaean attempt to translate the name of the Minoan goddess, Atana, Greek Athena A-ta-no-dju-wa-ja – or- Asherah (Semitic) 
asijaka – used in conjunction with – uminasi – OM asijaka = entrance to a port? - or- Sfardak = from Sardis (Luwian)
asona = possibly Asona peoples of Africa, whose totem is a crow or snake, thus possibly snake. atu NM a1stu/ = town See also Luwian atiwati = in the town
daka/daki/daku/dakuna/dakusene(ti) (last agglutinative) OM = black? (Luwian, dakkuis) + Dakusene OM ONO Cf. Takusenni (Khurritic)
damate PGS NM Da/mate = Damater Cf. Linear B Damate Cf. damate = Earth Mother = 15 (Pelasgian) - or- da/matei = in the village 
darunete – See also dirunete. See also Hittite, daru = tree, wood
depa/depu PGS de/paj de/pu= cup Cf. Linear B dipa di/paj & Homeric de/pa (Luwian = bowl, cup)
dideru OM PGS = einkorn wheat – or- oats (Semitic) Cf. Linear B didero
etori NM? e1tori <- e1toj = for a year – or – OM = food, from Hittite etri
Idamate/Idamete PGS ONO  0Idama/te = Mother goddess of Mount Ida  Cf. Idaian Mother (Pelasgian) = 20
ija OM = ram from Hittite iya
jako/jaku/jakute OM = grain? from Hittite, halki
Kanijami ONO Kaniamis fem. (Ugaritic)
kanuti OM ONO = Kanuties (Phrygian)
karopa2 (karopai) OM = kylix with 2 handles-or- MOSE NM ka/rdoph = wooden vessel/vase – or – karpu = vessel name (Semitic) = 25
kataro NM ka/nqa=roj = scarab (Egyptian) + drinking cup
kiro/kirisi/kiru OM = deficit, owed Cf. Linear B oporo = they owed Cf. kilu, kalum = deficit (Semitic)
kunisu OM = emmer wheat (derivation: Semitic kunnisu) 
kupa/kupi NM ku=fa/ ku=fi/ <- ku=fo/j = bent, curved, with something bent, possibly a scythe. See also – kupaja (genitive singular) – below – or – OM cypergrass, henna (Semitic)
Kupa3nu OM ONO (Ugaritic) = 30
kupari OM = legume. Cf. gopali = annual legume (Sanskrit)
kuro/kurotu NM ku=roj = supreme power, authority & ku=rwn = reaching, attaining i.e. = total Cf. Linear B tosa to/sa Cf. kol = total (Semitic)
mana/manapi (common) PGS Hebrew manna= = (of spiritual food) bread from heaven, the supernatural food eaten by the Israelites in the desert, or simply bread” -or- Mana = Minos (Luwian)   
maro/maru/maruku/maruri NM  mallo/j = flock of wool Cf. Linear B mali mali/ = wool  = 410
masa/masaja NM ma/=ssa  ma/=ssaia <= ma/=sswn = larger, bigger  - 0r – OM = goat, from Hittite, mas = 35
matiti OM = with a mat? (instrumental sing.) Cf. matta (Phoenician)
Mekidi ONO Megi/di <- Me/gaj = the Great – or – OM = income, revenue, from Hittite melkitu 
mesiki -or- sikime -or- kimesi etc. LIG  Cf. Hittite, mekki = much, many  
midai OM = red, from Hittite mida = red, ochre
minute (sing. minuta2 – minutai) OM = pulse crop, any one of broad beans (faba/fava), chick peas, lentils or vetch (permuted) See minutum = standard type of grain (Semitic) = 40
nesa/nesaki/nesakimi + OM nesidi = Hittite (Pelasgian) 
Paito NM1 Phaistos Faisto/j = Phaistos Cf. Linear Paito Faisto/j See also Payata (Luwian) = paka OM =  (very common)/paku (very common)/pakuka Cf. pancha  = drink from alcohol, sugar, lemon, water, tea or spices (Sanskrit) – or – OM = whole, entire, from Hittite, panku
paku NM paxu/j = great, large; rich, wealthy – or- OM, paku, = holy, sacred from Hittite, parkui
para NM para\ = beside, from beside, by the side of, beyond etc. - or- viceroy, prince -or- double axes (Luwian)
pata/patada/pataqe/patu OM = small handle-less cups Cf. Linear B dipa anowe, dipa anowoto Cf. pataqu = wine cup (Semitic) = 45
pisa OM TOP?  Cf. Luwian, Pisaru = Pisaros
potokuro NM poto/n +  ku/rwn = reaching a full drink, a full draught (agglutinative) – used with no. 65 – or – OM = grand total Cf. putu kol = grand total (Semitic)
punikaso PGS NM funi/kasoj = crimson, red (of wine) Cf. Linear B ponikiya ponikiyo foini/kioj = crimson Cf. Phoenician
qaqaru OM = a livestock animal, probably a cow or bull or ox – or – talent (gold) (Pelasgian)
qati/qatiki OM = portion Cf. bhakti = portion Sanskrit)
qera2u/qera2wa/qera2ja... (truncated)  OM = a type of grain, probably millet or spelt (inflected) – or – toasted grain, from Semitic qalu = 50
qeria/qeriu OM = probably millet or spelt – or - – or – toasted grain, from Semitic qalu
qero NM be/loj = arrow, dart -or- beryl	vaidūrya (Sanskrit, Dravidian)
qeti (instr. sing.)/qetiradu OM/PGS = a very large pot, pithos Cf. Linear B PGS qeto pi/qoj
qetune/qitune OM = linen, from kutum (Semitic)   
raki/rakii/rakisi/raku OM = lacquer Cf. lākṣā (Sanskrit)
ruqa/ruqaqa (common) OM = to kindle? from Hittite ruki ?
saka sakas NM sa/kka <- sa/kkoj = coarse cloth of hair from goats; sackcloth -or- sa/ka <- sa/koj a shield made of wicker See also saqqu (Akkadian) See also – saqa – below = 55
saqa saqas OM = sack Cf. saqqu (Akkadian)
saro/saru/sarutu NM sa/ron = broom, threshing floor -or- flax (inflected) – or- barley, from saru (Semitic)
sasaja OM = of a seal, from Luwian, sasa = seal
sasara(me) OM ONO = Sasarah (a god) from Asherah (Lycian)  
sato/sata PGS Hebrew sa/ton = Hebrew unit of measurement = 60
ive) 
semetu PGS ONO= Semitic?
sija NM si/a <- si/a = goddess – or- seed, from Hittite siya
suniku (common) NM su/noiku <- su/noikoj  living together, joint inhabitant,  dweller
supa3 (supai)/supa3ra (supaira) OM =small cup with handles Cf. Linear B dipa mewiyo – or -   sapu = vessel name  (Semitic)
supi/supu/supu2 OM = largest size pithos but not MOSE NM supu/h sipu/h sipu/a i0pu/a = meal tub, because no tablet justifies this interpretation – or- sappu = bowl (Semitic)
takaa/takari = large container for liquid Cf. tadaga-m (Sanskrit) = 65
taki/taku/takui NM ta=xei/ <- ta=xu/j = quick, swift, speedy -or- with a large container
for liquid (instr. singular) Cf. tadaga-m (Sanskrit) – or – OM = tax, from Hittite taksessar = tax
tara = possibly a cat/also zatara,  found in modern English

taro MOSE NM tau=roj = bull – or- OM = tree, from Hittite, taru = tree

tenita(ki) OM Tanit, Tinnit (Semitic) = 70
teri/teridu OM = three, from Hittite teriyas
terota -or- rotate -or- tatero etc. LIG – variation of the above?
terusi OM = delivery (Akkadian/Luwian) (extremely common) 
tiditeqati (agglutinative) rel. Cf. qati above 
tinata (common)/tinita OM =  tithe (Luwian)  = 75
titiku OM = ONO = Titiku = Titis (Pelasgian)
toreqa OM = ball of wool? (from Luwian, tolype?) 
Utinu OM ONO = personal name Cf. itti (Proto-Canaanite) 
Wadunimi TOP = the place or town of Waduna? (locative sing.?) Cf. Badunimis (Pelasgian)

wasato NM #a/stu a1stu = town Cf. Lnear B wato #a/stu. See also, Luwian, ati wati = in the town) = 80

winu NM #i/nu = wine Cf. Linear B wono  #oi/noj Cf. Luwian wainu & Hittite, wiyana
witero = with, found in modern English
zute NM  zu=qe <- ζῦθος = with beer  See also Hittite, sessar= beer

TOTAL number of words from languages antecedent to Linear A in Linear A = 83/1076
Percentage of of words from languages antecedent to Linear A in Linear A = 8 %
TOTAL  percentage of all words (Greek-like) and from languages antecedent to Linear A in Linear A = 28 % + 8 % = 36 %


CRITICAL POST: Ancient words from 3,000 – 1,200 BCE in modern English:

First the ancient words in modern English, and in the next two posts, how words infiltrate from earlier to diachronically close later languages. These posts are real eye-openers, explaining how words from earlier languages trickle into later, e.g. Akkadian and Sanskrit into Linear A (Minon) and Linear B (Mycenaean) + how all of the ancient words here infiltrate English.

Akkadian/Assyrian (3,000 BCE):

Akkadian

babel babilu = Babylon; gate of God (Akkadian)

bdellium budulhu = pieces (Assyrian)

canon, canyon qanu = tube, reed (Assyrian)

cumin kumunu = carrot family plant (Akkadian)

natron sodium (Akkadian)

myrrh murru (Akkadian)

sack saqqu (Akkadian)

shalom = hello sholom/shlama = hello (also Hebrew)

souk saqu = narrow (Akkadian)

Semitic (2,000-1,000 BCE):

arbiter arbiter (Latin from Phoenician)

byssus bwtz = linen cloth, to be white (Semitic)

chemise gms = garment (Ugaritic)

deltoid dalt (Phoenician)

fig pag (paleo-Hebrew)

iotacism iota (Phoenician)

map (Phoenician)

mat matta (Phoenician)

shekel tql (Canaanite)

Egyptian (2690 BCE):

Egyptian-Papyrus 19k BCE

http://www.egyptologyforum.org/AEloans.html

adobe

alabaster

alchemy

ammonia

baboon 5

barge, bark, barque, to embark

basalt

behemoth

bocal

chemistry 10

copt, coptic

desert

Egypt

ebony

endive 15

gum

gypsy

ibis

ivory

lily 20

oasis

obelisk

manna

mummy

myth 25

papyrus

paper

pharaoh

pharmacy

phoenix 30

pitcher

pyramid

sack See also saqqu (Akkadian)

sash

Susan(na), Phineas, Moses, Potiphar, Potiphera 35

sphinx

stibium = eye paint

tart

uraeus (emblem on the headdress of the pharaoh)39

Sanskrit (2,000 BCE):

Sanskrit

aniline nili (Sanskrit)

Aryan aryas = noble, honourable

atoll antala

aubergine vātigagama = eggplant, aubergine

avatar avatara = descent

bandana bandhana = a bond

banyan vaṇij = merchant

basmati vasa

beryl vaidūrya (Sanskrit, Dravidian)

bhakti bhakti = portion

candy khaṇḍakaḥ, from khaṇḍaḥ = piece, fragment

cashmere shawl made of cashmere wool

cheetah chitras = uniquely marked

chintz chitras = clear, bright

cot khatva

cobra kharparah = skull

crimson krmija = red dye produced by a worm

crocus kunkunam = saffron, saffron yellow

datura dhattūrāh = a kind of flowering plant

dinghy dronam = tiny boat

ginger srngaveram, from srngam “horn” + vera = body

guar gopali = annual legume

gunny goni = sack

guru gurus = bachelor

jackal srgalah = the howler

Java/java = island/coffee Yavadvipa= Island of Barley, from yava

= barley + dvipa =island

juggernaut jagat-natha-s = lord of the world

jungle jangala = arid

jute jutas = twisted hair

karma karman = action

kermes kṛmija = worm-made

lacquer lākṣā

lilac nila = dark blue

loot lotam = he steals

mandala mandala = circle

mandarin mantri = an advisor

mantra mantras = holy message or text

maya maya = illusion

Mithras mitrah = friend

mugger makara = sea creature, crocodile

musk mus = mouse

nard naladam = nard

nirvanas nirvanas = extinction, blowing out (candle)

opal upalah = opal

orange narangas = orange tree

pal bhrata = brother

palanquin palyanka = bed, couch

panther pāṇḍara = pale

pepper pippali = long pepper

punch pancha = drink from alcohol, sugar, lemon, water,

tea or spices

pundit paṇdita =learned

rajah rajan = king

rice vrihi-s = rice, derived from proto-Dravidian

rupee rūpyakam =silver coin

saccharin sarkarā

sandal wood candanam = wood for burning incense

sapphire sanipriya = sacred to Shani (Sanskrit) = Greek,

Saturn

sari sati = garment

shawl sati = strip of cloth

sugar sharkara = ground sugar

swami svami = master

tank tadaga-m =pond, lake pool, large artificial

container for liquid

thug sthaga = scoundrel

tope stupah

yoga yogas = yoke, union

yogi yogin = one who practices yoga, ascetic

zen dhyana = meditation

Linear A (1,800-1,500 BCE):

linear a tablet kh5 khania

cedar keda = cedar

cumin kuminaqe = and cumin See also Linear B kumino

kumi/non Cf. kumunu = carrot family plant

(Akkadian)

lily rairi (also Egyptian) -or- nila = dark blue

(Sanskrit)

pimento			pimata = pimento
rose				rosa  = rose 
sack				saka sa/kka  <- sa/kkoj = coarse cloth of hair from 
				goats; sackcloth -or- sa/ka <- sa/koj a shield made
				of wicker See also saqqu = sack (Akkadian)

Linear A & Linear B (1,800-1,200 BCE):

Linear B tablet with ideogram

agriculture akara/akaru a1kra (arch. acc.) – or – = end, border

+ akaru a0gro/j = field Cf. Linear B akoro a0gro/j

democracy		dima/dimaru dh=maj <- dh=moj = land, country;
				people Cf. Linear B	damo = village da=moj
				Mother goddess of Mount Ida	Idamate/Idamete
				  0Idama/te
Rhea, goddess of Mount Ida Idarea  0Idar9ea 
healer			ijate i0a/ter = doctor, physician Cf. Linear iyate
				i0a/ter
calligraphy		karu = ka/llu <- ka/lloj = beautiful, fine,
				ornamental
copper			kaki/kaku xalku/ <- xalko/j = copper, bronze
crimson			punikaso funi/kasoj = crimson, red (of wine)
				Cf. Linear B ponikiya ponikiyo foini/kioj
				= crimson Cf. krmija = red dye produced by a
				worm (Sanskrit)
crocus			kuruku kro/koj = crocus, saffron Cf. crocus
				kunkunam = saffron, saffron yellow (Sanskrit)
Lykinthos			Rukito Cf. Linear B Rukito Lu/kinqoj
minth			mita mi/nqa = mint Cf. Linear B mita 
nard				naridi na/ridi <- na/rdoj = with nard. See also
				naladam (Sanskrit)
new				nea ne/a (feminine) = new Cf. Linear B ne/#a = new     
pistachio-nut		pitakase/pitakesi pista/kesi = with pistachio-nuts
				(instr. pl.) 
Phoenician		punikaso funi/kasoj = crimson, red (of wine)
				Cf. Linear B ponikiya ponikiyo foini/kioj
				= crimson Cf. krmija = red dye produced by a
				worm (Sanskrit)
Phaistos			Paito Faisto/j Cf. Linear Paito 
Rhea			rea r9e/a = goddess, Rhea
sack				saka sa/kka (arch. acc.) <- sa/kkoj = coarse cloth of
				hair from goats; sackcloth -or- sa/ka <- sa/koj
				a shield made of wicker Cf. See also
				saqqu (Akkadian)
sesame			sasame sasa/me = sesame Cf. Linear B sasa/ma
terebinth tree		tarawita = terebinth tree Cf. Linear B kitano 
				ki/rtanoj & timito ti/rminqoj 
thalassian		tarasa = sea Cf. Linear B tarasa qa/lassa
thorax			toraka  qw/rac  = breastplate, cuirass = Linear B
				toraka
throne			turunu qo/rnoj = throne Cf. Linear B torono
				qo/rnoj
wine 			winu  #i/nu = wine Cf. Linear B wono = wine, vine
				#oi/noj
wine dedicated to Mother Earth winumatari NM #i/numa/tari = wine
				dedicated	to Mother Earth
yoked			zokutu zogutu/ <- zogwto/j = yoked, with a cross-		
				bar 
zone				zuma zw=ma girdle, belt; girded tunic 

Mycenaean Linear B (1,600-1,200 BCE):

aeon eo e0wn = being

anemometer anemo a0ne/mwn = wind

angel akero a0ngge/loj = messenger

agora akora a0gora/ = market

axles akosone a1conej = axles

amphorae aporowe a0mfore#ej

armaments amota a3rmo/ta = chariot

anthropology atoroqo a0nqrw/poj = man, human being

aulos (musical instrument)auro a0ulo/j = flute, musical instrument

cardamon kadamiya kardami/a = cardamon

celery serino se/linon = celery

chiton kito xitw/n = chiton

circular kukereu kukleu/j = circle

coriander koriyadana koli/adna

cumin kumino kum/minon Cf. kumunu = carrot family plant

(Akkadian)

curator korete kore/ter = governor

cypress kuparo ku/pairoj

divine diwo Di/#oj = Zeus

duo dwo du#o/ = two

elephant erepa e0le/faj = ivory (in Mycenaean)

eremite eremo e1remoj = desert

foal poro pw/loj = foal

gynecology kunaya gunai/a = woman

heterosexual hatero a3teroj e3teroj = other

hippodrome iqo i3ppoj = horse

labyrinth dapuritoyo = labyrinth laburi/nqoj

linen rino li/non

lion rewo le/#wn = lion

mariner marineu marineu/j = sailor, mariner

maternal matere ma/ter = mother

Mesopotamia Mesopotomo Mesopota/moj = Mesopotamia

metropolis matoropuro matro/puloj = mother city

nautical nao nau/j = ship

non-operational noopere nwfe/lioj = useless

operation opero o1feloj = operation

paternal pate pa/ter = father

paramedic 		para para\ = beside, from beside, by the side of,
				beyond etc.
pharmaceutical	pamako fa/rmakon = medicine
polypod			porupode polu/pode polu/pouj = octopus
progressive		poro pro\ = in front of 
purple			popureyo pofurei/a = purple
quartet			qetoro tetta/rej = four

schinus kono skoi/noj (flowering pepper)

strategic tatakeu startageu/j = general

stylobate			tatamo staqmo/j = standing post, door post
temenos			temeno (piece of land assigned as an official
				domain (to royalty)
theological		teo qe/oj = god
trapeze			topeza to/rpeza tra/peza = table
tripod			tiripode tri/pwj = tripod
vision			wide #ei/de = to see 
xenophobic		kesenuwiyo ce/n#ioj = stranger

© by Richard Vallance Janke 2017


Cretan pictograms 118-156 represent the complex forms of unknown, indecipherable pictograms:

complex unkown Cretan pictograms

Of these pictograms, a few might be susceptible to some sort of interpretation. These have note numbers following them in this form [1] [2] [3] [4]. [1] appears to be a variant of the pictogram, later the Linear A and Linear B syllabogram NI, which means figs. Both [2] and [3] could represent a bee, since the bee insignia is commonplace on Minoan pendants and necklaces. [4] appears to represent ships.

All 156 of the pictograms I have posted here on Linear A, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae, are Class B pictograms, because they are incised on tablets, nodules and pendants in the same way Linear A and Linear B texts are incised in their respective syllabaries. Class A pictograms are more archaic than Class B, and appear mostly on stamps and seals. I shall display a few of the latter in upcoming posts. Class A pictograms, which often resemble Egyptian hieroglyphics, are all but indecipherable, although a very few may lend themselves to tentative decipherment. A few Class B pictograms, especially in the moderately complex to complex range, also close mirror Egyptian counterparts, and may convey similar or the same meanings. On the other hand, some, most or all of them may not. There is simply no way of knowing.


Tablet, Malia Palace MA/P Hi 02 in so-called Cretan hieroglyphs, dealing with crops and vessels (pottery):

Cretan tablet Malia Palace MAP hi 02

Tablet, Malia Palace MA/P Hi 02 in so-called Cretan hieroglyphs, which are not hieroglyphs at all, but rather ideograms and logograms, is highly intriguing. Actually, this tablet is partially decipherable. The front side definitely deals with the produce of olive trees, i.e. olive oil and also with wheat crops. If anyone is in any doubt over the meaning of the logogram 5. TE, which looks exactly like the Linear A and Linear B syllabogram TE, this doubt can easily be swept away by mere comparison with the logogram/ideogram for wheat in several ancient scripts, some of which are hieroglyphic, such as Egyptian, others which are cuneiform and yet others which bear no relation to either hieroglyphs or cuneiform, or for that matter, with one another, as for instance, the Harrapan and Easter Island exograms.

comparison of Cretan TE with symbol for wheat or barley in various ancient scripts

In fact, the recurrence of an almost identical ideogram/logogram across so many ancient scripts is astonishing. It is for this reason that I am in no doubt over the interpretation of 5. TE as signifying what in the Cretan script.

Next up, we have 3a. & 3b., which I interpret, and probably correctly, as signifying “ewe” and “ram” respectively. In fact, the resemblance of 3b. to a ram’s head is uncanny. What is passingly strange is this: the ram’s head figures so prominently on the second side of the tablet, being much larger than any other ideogram/logogram on the tablet. Why is this so? There simply has to be a reason. But for the time being, I am stumped. Since 3a. & 3b. Relate to sheep, it stands to reason that 6. is another type of livestock. My money is on “pig”. 7. and 9. are both vessels, 7. probably being either a wine or water flask and 9. being a spice container, as it is strikingly similar to the Linear B ideogram for the same. 8. looks like some kind of grain crop, and so I take it to be so.

As for the rest of the ideograms/logograms, they are still indecipherable.


How can so-called Cretan hieroglyphs be hieroglyphs when there are only 45 of them?

Until now most researchers have simply assumed that the 45 Cretan symbols (by my count), exclusive of numerics, must be hieroglyphs. But the evidence appears to gainsay this hypothesis. As the table below makes quite clear, there are only 45 Cretan symbols, to which

only 27 may possibly/probably/definitely be assigned meanings.

possible or probable or definite known Cretan hieroglyphs

The significance of the remaining 18 are currently beyond the bounds of decipherment:

ALL unknown Cretan seal symbols

So this lands us with a total of only 45 Cretan symbols. If and when we compare this number with the approximately 1,000 Egyptian hieroglyphs, the whole notion that the Cretan symbols are hieroglyphs comes apart at the seams and is shattered.

sample of 1000 Egyptian hieroglyphs

And that is not the end of it. There are anywhere between 600 and 1,000 symbols in Cuneiform.

akkadianpersiansumeriancuneiform1kto600

So once again, the massive proliferation of symbols, i.e. hieroglyphs, in Egyptian, and of symbols in Cuneiform make a mockery of the notion that the Cretan symbols are hieroglyphs. But if they are not hieroglyphs, what are they? It would appear that they are ideograms or logograms on seals and nodules which serve to tag the contents of the (papyrus) documents they seal. This hypothesis makes a lot of sense, since almost all Cretans and Minoans, administrators, merchants and consumer, were illiterate. These people were probably able to master the minimal number of 45 ideograms and logograms which we find on 100s of surviving seals. But while the illiterate hoy polloi could not read the script on the sealed papyrus (or leaf tablets sometimes), the scribes most definitely could. This leaves us open to yet another hypothetical question? What is the script of the texts? How many symbols or syllabograms (if the latter yet existed) would have been required to write the papyrus or inscribe the leaf tablets? Was this script, if script it was, an early form of Linear A, such as Festive Linear A? Or was it actually Linear A? This question or hypothesis demands further investigation.


RE Cretan “hieroglyphs”: Brewminate: a Bold Blend of News & Ideas: We're Never Far from Where we Were:
Form Follows Function: Writing and its Supports in the Aegean Bronze Age 
by Dr. Sarah Finlayson, Archaeologist/Historian
Posted March 29 2017

Brewinmate


form follows function writing in the Aegean Bronze Age

Excerpta from the source with COMMENTS by Richard Vallance Janke inserted where necessary:

...a starting point from which to unpick the complex and changing relationships between writing and its material supports during the Aegean Bronze Age, [is] the basic hypothesis that the shape of objects which bear writing, the Bronze Age ‘office stationery’ so to speak, derives from the use to which they, object + writing, are put and the shape changes as this purpose changes. 

COMMENT:

The shapes of incised objects (exograms) derive from the uses to which they are put. In other words, if the exograms, which, contrary to popular belief, are not hieroglyphs, change not only their form (i.e. shape) but have specific shapes tailored to the functions they perform. For this reason, among others, I cannot accept the hypothesis that they are hieroglyphs. They appear rather to be ideograms and logograms specifically designed to represent the contents of “packages” or “official documents”, sometimes apparently written on papyrus, and therefore subsequently lost due to the climate of Crete which as not conducive to the preservation of papyrus. What the exograms were which were inscribed on the lost documents for which the clay forms served as content indicators we shall never know, but chances are that the papyrus contents were written in Linear A. The incised objects, and I quote, “noduli, flat-based sealings, cones, medallions, labels, three- and four-sided bars, and tablets” specifically served as incised “subject headings” for the contents on papyrus which they represented. Since most people in the palace administration in the Minoan era in which Linear A was the standard syllabary were illiterate, the so-called Cretan “hieroglyphs”, of which there only 45 by my count, exclusive of numerics, served as ideogrammatic guideline markers for the contents of the documents which were once attached to them. Illiterate people could “read” ideograms; they could not read Linear A.  (all italics mine throughout this post)

Finlayson continues:      

The clay documents comprise crescents (all terms are defined below), noduli, flat-based sealings, cones, medallions, labels, three- and four-sided bars, and tablets (Olivier and Godart 1996: 10–11; Younger 1996–1997: 396). There are also substantial numbers of direct object sealings, which show seal impressions but no incised writing (Krzyszkowska 2005: 99).

COMMENT:

The “substantial numbers of direct object sealings” are seal impressions without incised writing because the contents, probably written and not incised on papyrus, which they seal have been lost forever. Thus, the script in which the actual sealed documents has been lost. But what was that script? Was it more of the same? ... Cretan “hieroglyphs”? I very much doubt that, because not a single Cretan seal can be read as syllabic text in a syllabary. What script was the writing on papyrus of the sealed documents? That is the whole point, and the whole mystery. Could it have been an early version  of Linear A, a.ka. as Festive Linear A? Quite possibly.

Finlayson continues:      

Easier to understand are the gable-shaped hanging nodules (Figure 3d). These sealings are carefully shaped around a knotted string, and carry a seal impression on one face (Krzyszkowska 2005: 280). The majority are uninscribed (only 22 out of the 164 sealings from Pylos carry an inscription), but on those examples with incised text, an ideogram is usually written over the seal impression, and additional sign-groups can appear on the other faces (Palaima 2003: 174; Krzyszkowska 2005: 280). Analysis of the cache of 60 nodules from Thebes, 56 of which have inscriptions, has enabled a convincing reconstruction of their use. The gable shape of the nodules results from the way the clay is held between the fingers while impressing the seal and writing the inscription (Piteros et al. 1990: 113). This shape, together with its suspension cord, give (sic) a small, solid, virtually indestructible and very portable document (Piteros et al. 1990: 183). In this instance, form does not strictly follow function, but rather the two aspects are intertwined in a more complex way. A key part of these documents’ function is their portability, and this governs their very small size, which in turn means only the most important information is recorded, namely the seal impression, the ideogram which identifies the goods, and, rarely, a small amount of additional data, such as anthroponyms, toponyms, transactional terms (Piteros et al. 1990: 177). The formula ‘personal name (here represented by the seal impression) + object + toponym / second personal name’ is equivalent to that recorded on the ‘palm-leaf ’ tablets. Numerals are rare, because that information is supplied by the object itself. It is suggested that each nodule accompanies a single item, mostly livestock in the Theban examples, from the hinterland into the palatial centre, with the nodule acting as a primary document, recording the most crucial information about its object, the sex of the animal, for example, and also certifying or authenticating, by the seal impression, who is responsible for it (probably in the sense of ‘owing’ the item to the palace; Piteros et al. 1990: 183–184). 

It is important to note, however, that, except at Thebes, there are considerably fewer inscribed than uninscribed nodules. Sealings of this type would therefore seem to be primarily recording instruments within transactions that do not require the use of writing (Palaima 2003: 174), although this is not incompatible with their being primary documents as described above.

So few noduli survive that it is difficult to understand how they functioned (Krzyszkowska 2005: 284). I discuss this form below as they are significantly more common in LA administration. (Italics by Richard Vallance Janke)


Roundels (Figure 2c) are clay disks with one or more seal impressions around their rim, and usually with a LA inscription on one or both faces, but with no trace of having been hung from or pressed against another object (Hallager 1996: 82). The number of seal impressions on the rim probably specifies the quantity of the commodity recorded in the inscription (livestock, agricultural produce, cloth, vessels and so on), with each impression representing one unit (Hallager 1996: 100–101, 113). Analysis of impressions and inscriptions suggests that at least two people made a roundel, one wielding the seal and another, the stylus (Hallager 1996: 112). These two factors have led to the interpretation of these documents as receipts, created and held by the central administration to record goods disbursed; the seal user would be the recipient, certifying with his or her impression the quantity of goods received (Hallager 1996: 116). Significantly, the physical limitations of these documents necessarily restrict the size of transactions, with 15 units being the largest amount attested (Palaima 1990: 92).

COMMENT on the sentence “a roundel, one wielding the seal and another, the stylus (Hallager 1996: 112). These two factors have led to the interpretation of these documents as receipts, created and held by the central administration to record goods disbursed; the seal user would be the recipient, certifying with his or her impression the quantity of goods received...”

In other words, the actual contents of the documents (apparently written with a stylus on papyrus) to which these seals were affixed may have been administrative receipts or possibly even inventories, in which case the contents of the documents were probably not written in so-called Cretan hieroglyphs, limited as these are to 45. And by 45 I mean 45 ideograms and logograms + additional numerics and nothing more than that. Given that these 45 signs never form any legible sentence or phrase, it is highly unlikely they would have been used for the writing of the contents on papyrus for which they serve as seals.

Finlayson continues:  

Noduli (Figure 2e), disk- or dome-shaped lumps of clay with a seal impression but no perforation, imprints of objects, or other visible means of fastening (“sealings that do not seal” [Weingarten 1986: 4]) are a very long-lasting document form, found from the early First Palace through to the Late Bronze Age, but they are particularly common in Second Palace Period LA administration, with around 130 examples known (Krzyszkowska 2005: 161; Weingarten 1990a: 17). Only eight have LA inscriptions or countermarks over the seal impression (Hallager 1996: 127). As they are clearly not attached to anything, noduli are independent documents, and their primary purpose seems to be to carry a seal impression, that is to authenticate or certify something. By analogy with Old Babylonian practice, Weingarten (1986: 18) suggests they are originally dockets, receipts for work done, with the seal impression being made by the overseer to authorise ‘payment’; as the form becomes more widespread in the Second Palace Period, they become more like tokens, to be exchanged for goods or services, or as laissez-passer, with the seal impression identifying the carrier as legitimate (Weingarten 1990a: 19–20).

COMMENT: 

The previous sentence, beginning with “By analogy...” and ending with “as legitimate” gives us a clearer impression the function(s) of the seals as these relate to the contents they seal. Old Babylonian tablets were incised or written in Cuneiform, which is a readable script meant for the eyes of literate scribes only. Note that the inventorial contents of the Babylonian tablets were clearly written out in Cuneiform. Although this practice is at variance with that of the Cretan seals, it still all boils down to the same thing. The actual contents of the documents to which the Cretan seals were affixed were written out in a language, possibly unknown, possibly Linear A. So in either case, the Babylonian or the Cretan, contents appear to be intended for literate scribes. 

Finlayson continues:    

Moving on to the ‘passive’ sealed documents, single-hole hanging nodules (Figure 2g) are roughly triangular clay sealings, formed around a knot at the end of a piece of string or cord (Hallager 1996: 160–161). They have a seal impression on one face, and a single incised LA sign, or very rarely another seal impression, on one of the other faces (Hallager 1996: 161). There are five sub- categories of single-hole nodule, differentiated by shape and position of seal impression or inscription (pendant, pyramid, cone, dome / gable and pear, see Figure 2g) with pendant being by far the most common (Hallager 1996: 162–163). About 13 signs or ligatures are found on these nodules, but it is very difficult to discern their meaning; the restricted range might suggest they are acting as arbitrary symbols, along the lines of ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, rather than as syllabograms (Krzyszkowska 2005: 160). These nodules hang from something, although there is no evidence for what (Krzyszkowska 2005: 160). Hallager has proposed a use similar to that observed in contemporary Egypt, where nodules were hung from rolls of papyrus as identification labels, with their cord threaded through holes in the lower part of the scroll to enable it to be unrolled and read without breaking the cord or sealed nodule (Hallager 1996: 198–199). 

COMMENTS:

Once again, the practice of Cretan using seals seems to be very similar if not identical to that of contemporary Egyptian hieroglyphic writing on papyrus, with the critical difference being that Egyptian hieroglyphs are writing, while Cretan seal ideograms are not. But the contents of the Cretan documents on papyrus were probably also written in a script, probably a syllabary, and possibly even (Festive) Linear A. But since the Cretan papyri are lost to history, we shall never know. Was there a “Cretan” script for the written documents on papyrus. It is notable that the Egyptian papyrus, once unsealed, was meant to read, again by literate scribes. Was this the Cretan practice too? Quite likely.

Finlayson continues:

The bars (Figure 1a) are usually rectangular, inscribed on all four sides, and sometimes pierced with a hole at one end (Hallager 1996: 33). That the bars could be suspended suggests they might be used as labels attached to objects for transport or storage, but the information on them seems to be much like that on the tablets, and, in fact, the unpierced examples are perhaps best understood as variants of the standard tablet format (Hallager 1996: 33). Olivier (1994–1995: 268–269) offers an intriguing alternative explanation, that the bars are not attached by cords to any object, but instead hang together on some sort of horizontal rod to enable them to be sorted and stored, or taken down when additional data are inscribed on them; he envisions the bars operating like the LB ‘palm-leaf ’ tablets, for compiling basic data. 

Returning now to LA administration, it seems that a link exists between the architectural context of deposits and their composition and function (Schoep 2002b: 25). Although few documents have been found in primary contexts, it is nevertheless possible to identify three commonly occurring groupings (Schoep 1995: 57). “Full combination deposits” always contain single-hole hanging nodules, alongside tablets and other sealings; as the single-hole nodules are postulated to hang from the highest-level records, on perishable materials, these deposits may be ‘archives’ (Schoep 1995: 61).

COMMENT:

These (sealed) documents may have been ‘archives’, and if they are, they were probably written out (on papyrus) but not in so-called Cretan hieroglyphs.

Finlayson continues:  

This seems to be supported by their location, in central buildings (including Malia Palace, Zakros House A, and the ‘villa’ at Ayia Triada), usually on an upper floor in residential quarters, clearly separated from storage or work areas, and by their association with valuable objects (Schoep 1995: 61, table 3, 62). ‘Single type deposits’ consist of direct object sealings, tablets or noduli, and most seem to be in the location in which they functioned; the direct object sealings are found in magazines suitable for bulk storage, as at Monastiraki, while tablet or noduli deposits can also occur in smaller-scale storage rooms, for example, Houses I, Chania or FG, Gournia (Schoep 1995: 62–63). “Limited combination deposits” fall somewhere in between; deposits from the ‘villa’ at Ayia Triada and Zakros Palace contain tablets and sealed documents, in workshop or storage areas, while other deposits contain only sealings, ...

In reviewing the evidence for LA use in the Second Palace Period, one gets an impression of a widespread use of writing on several media, and for several purposes, with either the writing support being manipulated to add meaning to the text (as with the clay administrative documents) or the other way around (as might be the case with some of the non-administrative objects).

COMMENT:

Finlayson notes that the the writing may have been manipulated to add meaning to the texts, in this case written on clay documents. She is making a clear distinction between the ideograms and logograms used on the seals themselves and the writing of the texts which they seal.

Finlayson continues:

Although examples of writing are relatively widespread in the landscape, this need not necessarily equate to widespread literacy, not least because it seems likely that writing is principally an elite activity, and furthermore, that restricted contexts of use possibly mean that ordinary, non-writing, people might well interact with only a single kind, or a small range, of documents, creating a sort of sub-category of literacy, where understanding part of a text’s meaning derives largely from the form of its support and context of use.  (all italics by the Commentator, Richard Vallance Janke).

COMMENT:

The passage above rams home that fact that literacy was not widespread. Quite the contrary. Only the scribes were literate. On the other hand, the form of the so-called Cretan hieroglyphs were accessible to non-literates, which was everyone except the scribes. That way, non-literate administrators, merchants, distributors of commodities and end users of these could identify what the purpose of what each and every seal represented, without having to be able to read the contents of documents per se.

Finlayson continues:   

Clearly, for some of the sealed document forms, the loss of whatever they were associated with means our understanding of their use cannot, without speculation, extend much beyond inferring that they hung from or were affixed to something. Generally, the taphonomy of writing in the Aegean is problematic, as we depend on it being applied to materials that are preserved archaeologically; in the case of clay documents that were not deliberately fired, this means accidental preservation in a wider burnt context (Bennet 2008: 6). There is then an inevitable risk that, in an effort to make up for the gaps in the evidence, particularly with CH and LA where we cannot read the texts, we rely too heavily on aspects like differences in form, which might be a reflection of our own ‘etic’ analyses rather than of different ancient practices (Bennet 2005: 269). “Classer, c’est interpréter” (Godart and Olivier 1979: xxiv) is a crucial principle for understanding a large and complex database at the macro scale, but runs the risk of misrepresenting, at the micro scale, differences in form that result from regional peculiarities of use, or are a function of the way different individuals form and seal or inscribe each shape, as seems likely, for example, for some of the variation amongst LA single-hole hanging nodules (Krzyszkowska 2005: 159–160). 

While these points must be borne in mind, it is nevertheless reasonable to suggest that the observable changes in document forms point to alterations in the methods of data gathering, processing and storing (Palaima 1984: 305). I would pick out two as particularly significant. The first is the bundle of changes in sealing practices between the First and Second Palace periods (i.e. between CH / limited LA use, and widespread LA use): direct object sealing is abandoned, suggesting, on the one hand, that the security of storerooms and their contents is managed differently, in a less physical way (Weingarten 1990b: 107–108), and, on the other, that direct control of commodities, by means of attaching sealings to them, is replaced by more indirect methods of controlling commodity information with hanging nodules and tablets (Knappett 2001: 86, n. 26). Furthermore, writing, with one exception, no longer appears on seals themselves, but from this point on is incised or painted rather than formed by stamping (Bennet 2008: 9–10). 

What drives these changes is difficult to evaluate, not least because we assume that changes in sealing systems are necessarily tied to changes in writing systems (and possibly language; Bennet 2005: 270).

COMMENT:

Key phrase “we assume”. Changes in sealing systems, from simple pictographic seals to seals incised in Cretan “hieroglyphs” and eventually to Linear A & B incised directly on the seals do not at all necessarily reflect any changes in the writing systems in which the actual documents (usually on papyrus) were written. That is a false assumption. Note here that Bennet specifically states that the writing systems sealed by the seals were probably independent of the figures or exograms found on the seals, these often being so-called Cretan hieroglyphs. The written language(s) of the document contents have have changed over time, but not necessarily in tune with the seals themselves. Point well taken.  

Palaima’s suggestion that LA replaces CH because the latter script is inadequate to record increasingly complex economic activities (1990: 94) is a case in point, and this sort of utilitarian motivation underestimates the potential for writing to be used for ideological reasons. The transition from CH to LA, and from LA to LB, can arguably be seen as part of a deliberate construction of new identities, through the manipulation of knowledge resources or material culture, by elite groups (ALL italics by the Commentator), seeking to differentiate themselves from their predecessors, or exclude others from participating in political or economic life (Bennet 2008: 20; Schoep 2007: 59). Knappett’s observation that, in seeking to look through artefacts to see “the people behind them”, and their motivations or choices, there is a tendency for the objects themselves to be reduced to mere ciphers or emblems of human activity (Knappett 2008b: 122), is also pertinent here. He suggests that more attention be paid to the agency of artefacts, to the possibility that things can “take on a life of their own, entangling humans and pushing them along new, previously unrecognised paths” (Knappett 2008b: 122); while ascribing agency to objects is problematic (Morphy 2009: 6), Knappett is nevertheless right to stress the complexity of the relationship between artefacts and their users. 

COMMENT:

Much more to follow in the upcoming posts on the uses of pictographs and so-called Cretan “hieroglyphic” seals.

The path towards a partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A: a rational approach: PART A

Before May 2016, I would never have even imagined or dared to make the slightest effort to try to decipher Minoan Linear A, even partially. After all, no one in the past 116 years since Sir Arthur Evans began excavating the site of Knossos, unearthing thousands of Mycenaean Linear A tablets and fragments, and a couple of hundred Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments (mostly the latter), no one has even come close to deciphering Minoan Linear, in spite of the fact that quite a few people have valiantly tried, without any real success. Among those who have claimed to have successfully deciphered Linear A, we may count:

Sam Connolly, with his book:

Sam Connolly Beaking the Code Linear A

Where he claims, “Has the lost ancient language behind Linear A finally been identified? Read this book and judge for yourself”. 

Stuart L. Harris, who has just published his book (2016):

Sam Harris Linear A decipherment

basing his decipherment on the notion that Minoan Linear A is somehow related to Finnish, an idea which I myself once entertained, but swiftly dismissed,, having scanned through at least 25 Finnish words which should have matched up with at least 150 Minoan Linear A words. Not a single one did. So much for Finnish. I was finished with it.

and Gretchen Leonhardt

Konosos


who bases her decipherments of Minoan Linear A tablets on the ludicrous notion that Minoan Linear A is closely related to Japanese! That is a real stretch of the imagination, in light of the fact that the two languages could not be more distant or remote in any manner of speaking. But this is hardly surprising, given that her notions or, to put it bluntly, her hypothesis underlying her attempted decipherments of Mycenaean Linear B tablets is equally bizarre.

I wind up with this apropos observation drawn from Ms. Leonhardt’s site:    If a Minoan version of a Rosetta Stone pops up . . , watch public interest rise tenfold. ‘Minoa-mania’ anyone?”. Glen Gordon, February 2007 Journey to Ancient Civilizations.

Which begs the question, who am I to dare claim that I have actually been able to decipher no fewer than 90 Minoan Linear A words

Minoan Linear A Glossary


since I first ventured out on the perilous task of attempting such a risky undertaking. Before taking even a single step further, I wish to emphatically stress that I do not claim to be deciphering Minoan Linear A. Such a claim is exceedingly rash. What I claim is that I seem to be on track to a partial decipherment of the language, based on 5 principles of rational decipherment which will be enumerated in Part B. Still, how on earth did I manage to break through the apparently impenetrable firewall of Minoan Linear A?  Here is how.

In early May 2016, as I was closely examining Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada),

KURO = total HT 31 Haghia Triada

which dealt exclusively with vessels and pottery, I was suddenly struck by a lightning flash. The tablet was cluttered with several ideograms of vessels, amphorae, kylixes and cups on which were superimposed with the actual Minoan Linear A words for the same. What a windfall! My next step - and this is critical - was to make the not so far-fetched assumption that this highly detailed tablet (actually the most intact of all extant Minoan Linear A tablets) was the magic key to opening the heavily reinforced door of Minoan Linear, previously locked as solid as a drum. But was there a way, however remote, for me to “prove”, by circumstantial evidence alone, that most, if not all, of the words this tablet actually were the correct terms for the vessels they purported to describe? There was, after all, no magical Rosetta Stone to rely on in order to break into the jail of Minoan Linear A. Or was there?

As every historical linguist specializing in ancient languages with any claim to expertise knows, the real Rosetta Stone was the magical key to the brilliant decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics in 1822 by the French philologist, François Champellion

Francois Champellion Rosetta Stone Schiller Institute
        
It is truly worth your while to read the aforementioned article in its entirety. It is a brilliant exposé of Monsieur Champellion’s dexterous decipherment.

But is there any Rosetta Stone to assist in the decipherment of Haghia Triada tablet HT 31. Believe it or not, there is. Startling as it may seem, that Rosetta Stone is none other than the very first Mycenaean Linear B tablet deciphered by Michael Ventris in 1952, Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952.  If you wish to be informed and enlightened on the remarkable decipherment of Pylos Py TA 641-1952, you can read all about it for yourself in my article, published in Vol. 10 (2014) of Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448 

Archaeology and Science, Vol. 10 (2014), An Archaeologist's Translation of Pylos Tablet 641-1952. pp. 133-161, here: 

Archaeology and Sciene Belgrade

It is precisely this article which opened the floodgates to my first steps towards the partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A. The question is, how? In this very article I introduced the General Theory of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear A (pp. 148-156). It is this very phenomenon, the supersyllabogram, which has come to be the ultimate key to unlocking the terminology of vessels and pottery in Minoan Linear A. Actually, I first introduced in great detail the General Theory of Supersyllabograms at the Third International Conference on Symbolism at The Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, on July 1 2015:

Koryvantes Association of Historical Studies Athens

Role of SSYLs in Mycenaean Linear B

This ground-breaking talk, re-published by Koryvantes, is capped off with a comprehensive bibliography of 147 items serving as the prelude to my discovery of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B from 2013-2015.

How Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) serves as the Rosetta Stone to Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada):

Believe it or not, the running text of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) is strikingly alike that of Mycenaean Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris). So much so that the textual content of the former runs very close to being parallel with its Mycenaean Linear B counterpart. How can this be? A few preliminary observations are in order. First and foremost, Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) cannot be construed in any way as being equivalent to the Rosetta Stone. That is an absurd proposition. On the other hand, while the Rosetta stone displayed the same text in three different languages and in three different scripts (Demotic, Hieroglyphics and ancient Greek), the syllabary of Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) is almost identical to that of Mycenaean Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris). And that is what gives us the opportunity to jam our foot in the door of Minoan Linear A. There is not point fussing over whether or not the text of HT 31 is exactly parallel to that of Pylos Py TA 641, because ostensibly it is not! But, I repeat, the parallelisms running through both of these tablets are remarkable.

Allow me to illustrate the cross-correlative cohesion between the two tablets right from the outset, the very first line. At the very top of HT 31 we observe this word, puko, immediately to the left of the ideogram for “tripod”, which just happens to be identical in Minoan Linear A and in Mycenaean Linear B. Now the very first on Mycenaean Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) is tiripode, which means “tripod”. After a bit of intervening text, which reads as follows in translation, “Aigeus works on tripods of the Cretan style”, the ideogram for “tripod”, identical to the one on Haghia Triada, leaps to the for. The only difference between the disposition of the term for “tripod” on HT 31 and Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) is that there is no intervening text between the word for tripod, i.e. puko, on the former, whereas there is on the latter. But that is scarcely an impediment to the realization, indeed the revelation, that on HT 31 puko must mean exactly the same thing as tiripode on Pylos Py TA 641-1952. And it most certainly does. But, I hear you protesting, and with good reason, how can I be sure that this is the case? It just so happens that there is another Linear B tablet with the same word followed by the same ideogram, in exactly the same order as on HT 31, here: 

Linear A 19 confirmation that puko means tripod

The matter is clinched in the bud. The word puko in Minoan Linear A is indisputably the term for “tripod”, exactly parallel to its counterpart in Mycenaean Linear B, tiripode.

I had just knocked out the first brick from the Berlin Wall of Minoan Linear A. More was to come. Far more.

Continued in Part B.

                 

The application of geometric co-ordinate analysis (GCA) to parsing scribal hands: Part A: Cuneiform

Introduction:

I propose to demonstrate how geometric co-ordinate analysis of cuneiform, the Edwin-Smith hieroglyphic papyrus (ca. 1600 BCE), Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B and Arcado-Cypriot Linear C can confirm, isolate and identify with great precision the X Y co-ordinates of single characters or syllabograms in their respective standard fonts, and in the multiform cursive “deviations” from their fixed font forms, or to put it in different terms, to parse the running co-ordinates of each character, syllabogram or ideogram of any scribal hand in each of these scripts. This procedure effectively encapsulates the “style” of any scribe’s hand, just as we would nowadays characterize any individual’s handwriting style. This hypothesis constitutes a breakthrough in the application of graphology a.k.a epigraphy based entirely on the scientific procedure of geometric co-ordinate analysis (GCA) of scribal hands, irrespective of the script under analysis.

Cuneiform: 

cuneiform font
Any attempt to isolate, identify and characterize by manual visual means alone the scribal hand peculiar to any single scribe incising a tablet or series of tablets common to his own hand, in other words, in his own peculiar style, has historically been fraught with difficulties. I intend to bring the analysis of scribal hands in cuneiform into much sharper focus by defining them as constructs determined solely by their relative positioning on the X Y axis plane in two-dimensional Cartesian geometry. This purely scientific approach reduces the analysis of individual scribal hands in cuneiform to a single constant, which is the point of origin (0,0) in the X Y axis plane, from which the actual positions of each and every co-ordinate on the positive planes (X horizontally right, Y vertically up) and negative planes (X horizontally left, Y vertically down) are extrapolated for any character in this script, as illustrated by the following general chart of geometric co-ordinates (Click to ENLARGE):

A xy analysis
Although I haven’t the faintest grasp of ancient cuneiform, it just so happens that this lapsus scientiae has no effect or consequence whatsoever on the purely scientific procedure I propose for the precise identification of unique individual scribal hands in cuneiform, let alone in any other script, syllabary or alphabet  ancient or modern (including but not limited to, the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Semitic & Cyrillic alphabets), irrespective of language, and even whether or not anyone utilizing said procedure understands the language or can even read the script, syllabary or alphabet under the microscope.    

This purely scientific procedure can be strictly applied, not only to the scatter-plot positioning of the various strokes comprising any letter in the cuneiform font, but also to the “deviations” of any individual scribe’s hand or indeed to a cross-comparative GCA analysis of various scribal hands. These purely mathematical deviations are strictly defined as variables of the actual position of each of the various strokes of any individual’s scribal hand, which constitutes and defines his own peculiar “style”, where style is simply a construct of GCA  analysis, and nothing more. This procedure reveals with great accuracy any subtle or significant differences among scribal hands. These differences or defining characteristics of any number of scribal hands may be applied either to:

(a)  the unique styles of any number of different scribes incising a trove of tablets all originating from the same archaeological site, hence, co-spatial and co-temporal, or
(b)  of different scribes incising tablets at different historical periods, revealing the subtle or significant phases in the evolution of the cuneiform script itself in its own historical timeline, as illustrated by these six cuneiform tablets, each one of which is characteristic of its own historical frame, from 3,100 BCE – 2,250 BCE (Click to ENLARGE),

B Sumerian Akkadian Babylonian stamping
and in addition

(c)  Geometric co-ordinate analysis is also ideally suited to identifying the precise style of a single scribe, with no cross-correlation with or reference to any other (non-)contemporaneous scribe. In other words, in this last case, we find ourselves zeroing in on the unique style of a single scribe. This technique cannot fail to scientifically identify with great precision the actual scribal hand of any scribe in particular, even in the complete absence of any other contemporaneous cuneiform tablet or stele with which to compare it, and regardless of the size of the cuneiform characters (i.e. their “font” size, so to speak), since the full set of cuneiform characters can run from relatively small characters incised on tablets to enormous ones on steles. It is of particular importance at this point to stress that the “font” or cursive scribal hand size have no effect whatsoever on the defining set of GCA co-ordinates of any character, syllabogram or ideogram in any script whatsoever. It simply is not a factor.

To summarize, my hypothesis runs as follows: the technique of geometric co-ordinate analysis (GCA) of scribal hands, in and of itself, all other considerations aside, whether cross-comparative and contemporaneous, or cross-comparative in the historical timeline within which it is set ( 3,100 BCE – 2,250 BCE) or lastly in the application of said procedure to the unambiguous identification of a single scribal hand is a strictly scientific procedure capable of great mathematical accuracy, as illustrated by the following table of geometric co-ordinate analysis applied to cuneiform alone (Click to ENLARGE):

C geometric co-ordinate analysis of early mesopotamian cuneifrom

The most striking feature of cuneiform is that it is, with few minor exceptions (these being circular), almost entirely linear even in its subsets, the parallel and the triangular, hence, susceptible to geometric co-ordinate analysis at its most fundamental and most efficient level. 

It is only when a script, syllabary or alphabet in the two-dimensional plane introduces considerably more complex geometric variables such as the point (as the constant 0,0 = the point of origin on an X Y axis or alternatively a variable point elsewhere on the X Y axis), the circle and the oblong that the process becomes significantly more complex. The most common two-dimensional non-linear constructs which apply to scripts beyond the simple linear (such as found in cuneiform) are illustrated in this chart of alternate geometric forms (Click to ENLARGE):

D alternate geometric forms
These shapes exclude all subsets of the linear (such as the triangle, parallel, pentagon, hexagon, octagon, ancient swastika etc.) and circular (circular sector, semi-circle, arbelos, superellipse, taijitu = symbol of the Tao, etc.), which are demonstrably variations of the linear and the circular.
 
These we must leave to the geometric co-ordinate analysis of Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B and Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, all of which share these additional more complex geometric constructs in common. When we are forced to apply this technique to more complex geometric forms, the procedure appears to be significantly more difficult to apply. Or does it? The answer to that question lies embedded in the question itself. The question is neither closed nor open, but simply rhetorical. It contains its own answer.

It is in fact the hi-tech approach which decisively and instantaneously resolves any and all difficulties in every last case of geometric co-ordinate analysis of any script, syllabary or indeed any alphabet, ancient or modern. It is neatly summed up by the phrase, “computer-based analysis”, which effectively and entirely dispenses with the necessity of having to manually parse scribal hands or handwriting by visual means or analysis at all. Prior to the advent of the Internet and modern supercomputers, geometric co-ordinate analysis of any phenomenon, let alone scribal hands, or so-to-speak  handwriting post AD (anno domini), would have been a tedious mathematical process hugely consuming of time and human resources, which is why it was never applied at that time. But nowadays, this procedure can be finessed by any supercomputer plotting CGA co-ordinates down to the very last pixel at lightning speed. The end result is that any of an innumerable number of unique scribal hand(s) or of handwriting styles can be isolated and identified beyond a reasonable doubt, and in the blink of an eye. Much more on this in Part B, The application of geometric co-ordinate analysis to Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B and Arcado-Cypriot Linear C. However strange as it may seem prima facie, I leave to the very last the application of this unimpeachable procedure to the analysis and the precise isolation of the unique style of the single scribal hand responsible for the Edwin-Smith papyrus, as that case in particular yields the most astonishing outcome of all.

© by Richard Vallance Janke 2015 (All Rights Reserved = Tous droits réservés)


Just uploaded to academia.edu:
The Gezer Agricultural Calendar Almanac in Paleo-Hebrew (ca. 925 BCE) and its Translation into Mycenaean Linear B, Coupled with the Profound Implications of the Powerful Impact of Supersyllabograms aka Surcharged Adjuncts on Linear B:

category Linear B 
This highly significant article, which is the ultimate lead up to my talk,"The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B", which I will be giving at the interdisciplinary Conference,"Thinking in Symbols", at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, Pultusk, Warsaw, on July 1st. or 2nd., is highly revealing of the primary focus my presentation at that time: Click on the banner below to visit the academia.edu page, where it is presently posted and available for download in PDF format. here: Click the banner below to retrieve it:

Paleo-Hebrew Gezer Calnder translated into Mycenaean Linear B
I am quite sure that anyone genuinely interested in Mycenaean Linear B will find it fascinating reading.

I would also like to point out that, even though I have been on academia.edu for less than a month, my papers have skyrocked to the top 1% of all research documents on the that site, which has surprised and astonished me beyond my wildest expectations. The number of followers I have garnered has risen from 55 last week to 90 today.

Richard
  


Happy Second Anniversary to Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae! Now the largest Linear B blog on the Internet

We are delighted to announce that Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae

Linear B Knossos & Mycenae May 2015
reaches its second anniversary on May 1 2015.

What have we accomplished in the past two years? A great deal indeed. Here are the highlights.

1. The discovery, extrapolation, collation and classification of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, of which there are 34 (to date) out of 61 syllabograms in Linear B, excluding counting homophones (with the sole exception of RAI = saffron).

2. We have entered into close partnership with The Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes (Athens, Greece), here:

Koryvantes Association of Historical Studies
where we have been assigned our own category for posting on their blog,

Linear B & the Iliad

WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THIS BLOG, AND URGE YOU ALL TO FOLLOW THE IMPRESSIVE RESEARCH CONDUCTED BY KORYVANTES.

3. As a direct result of 1. & 2. above, Richard, our blog moderator, has been invited to give his talk

at the Conference, “Thinking Symbols” (June 30-July 2 2015), sponsored by The Association of Historical Studies (Koryvantes), Athens:

Supersyllabograms by Richard Vallance Janke Pultusk Academy Humanities Warsaw

at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, just outside of Warsaw.

Pultusk Academy and logo

His talk, and those of all other presenters at the Conference will be published by the University of Warsaw. The University of Warsaw also plans to publish the General of Supersyllabograms and its application to the translation of some 700+ Mycenaean Linear B tablets across the board, in a book to be titled, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, to appear sometime in 2016.  

4. In the past two years, Richard and his research colleague, Rita Roberts of Crete, have translated in excess of 100 Linear B tablets, most of them from Knossos, along with some from Pylos, Mycenae and Thebes.

5. Richard has compiled the following elements in his ongoing project to reconstruct as much as possible of Mycenaean Greek grammar from the ground up:
5.1 the complete table for the conjugations of the active voice, present, future, imperfect, aorist & perfect of Mycenaean verbs;
5.2 the table of adjectives and nouns ending in the archaic “eus” in the nominative singular.
5.3 Richard plans to continue with the compilation of Mycenaean Greek grammar throughout the remainder of 2015 and into 2016.

6. Richard has translated most of The Catalogue of Ships from Book II of the Iliad by Homer, and will finish off his translation this year (2015). This will be followed by his translation of Book I of the Iliad in its entirety (2015-2016).

7. We are in the process of compiling the largest Lexicon of both attested and derived Mycenaean Greek in Linear B ever to have appeared anywhere, in print or on the Internet. We have already finished with the draft of the first Section on Military Affairs, which is to appear on our blog and on the blog of The Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes (Athens, Greece) sometime in the summer or autumn 2015. It is to be subdivided into several primary Sections, (1) Agriculture (2) Crafts, Trade and Commerce (3) Military Affairs (4) Domestic Affairs, including the production of vessels and pottery & (5) Religious  Affairs. This is such a huge undertaking that it is unlikely that we will be able to complete it before 2018.

8. Richard has offered his services as Professor to Rita Roberts, Crete, who is now in her first year of university, working towards her three-year Bachelor of Arts in Linguists (BAL) in the field of Mycenaean Linear B. Both Rita and I can assure you that the curriculum is of the highest order and extremely demanding. Already, in her first semester of her first year, Rita has been tasked with the tough chore of translating several difficult Linear B tablets from Knossos on military affairs, and this is just the beginning! As far as we can tell, this online university undergraduate course, specifically focusing on Mycenaean Linear B, will be the first ever of its kind ever to have been offered worldwide. I am of course open to inviting others who are seriously committed to learn Mycenaean Linear B, but just as Rita has had to do, new students will have to first finish their secondary school level in Linear B before moving onto university studies. It took Rita two years to fulfill the requirements for a secondary school matriculation in Linear B. This and the full course of studies (secondary school and a bachelor’s degree) requires 5 full years of unstinting commitment to the mastery of Mycenaean Linear B.  At the end of these five years, the student (Rita being our first) will possess the credentials to be an expert in the field.  

9. We have begun posting on Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, having already translated 3 tablets in that syllabary. We have also made available for the first time ever the standard keyboard layout for Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, which you may download free at your convenience. We plan on continuing with posts on Linear C throughout 2016 & 2016, eventually tackling the famous Idalion Tablet of the 5th. Century BCE. Throughout 2015 and 2016, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, the closest cousin dialect to Mycenaean Linear B, will play a significantly greater rôle than it presently does on our blog. Both Linear B and Linear C will be thoroughly cross-compared with the archaic grammar and vocabulary of the Catalog of Ships in Book II of the Iliad, the latter generally being considered as an indirect descendant of the Mycenaean & Arcado-Cypriot Greek dialects, at least in these two respects. This cross-comparative study will help us to properly situate the Mycenaean & Arcado-Cypriot Greek dialects in the diachronic time line of ancient Greek dialects. 

10. We have begun a thorough-going investigation of the relationship between the Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B syllabaries, which are almost identical in most respects, the latter being derived from the former with other major Bronze Age scripts and alphabets, including the Phoenician and Proto-Hebrew alphabets, soon the Proto-Arabic, and any others which bear up well under comparison with Linear A & Linear B.

12. We have posted some information on Minoan Linear A, but it is not our intention to attempt to decipher this unknown language – at least for the next five years. However, certain aspects of Linear A itself are of prime importance to our concerns, especially its intimate relationship with Linear B, as well as its place in the development of ancient scripts in the context of 10. above.

13. We have begun exploring the possibilities for the application of Linear B & C to extraterrestrial communication. If this sounds wacky or even peculiar to you, think twice. NASA itself has already begun its own investigation of such intriguing prospects for Linear B and Linear C.

As the direct result of our unflagging commitments to these areas of research into Mycenaean Linear B, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C and several other areas relating to these, our blog has grown to be the largest on the entire Internet devoted to the study of Mycenaean Linear B. I had hope for 50,000 visitors in the first two years, but these were exceeded, as we have had over 51,000. We thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for your interest in what is manifestly an extremely specialized and narrow area of interest in the vast sea of linguistics, ancient and modern, and we look forward to seeing more of you visit our site throughout our third year, May 2015-April 2016. I am confident that we shall exceed 100,000 visits by the end of our third year. With our gratitude. Richard 	     

ALL OF THE ABOVE NICHES IN THE FIELD OF LINGUISTIC RESEARCH INTO LINEAR B, LINEAR C AND THEIRS APPLICATION TO ARCHAIC GREEK, ESPECIALLY IN THE CATALOGUE OF SHIPS OF BOOK II OF THE ILIAD, CAN BE DIRECTLY ACCESSED BY CATEGORY ON OUR BLOG, as seen here:

These are the primary concerns of our Blog, but there are others, which are intriguing to special interest groups. Our goals are ambitious but we mean to fulfill them.

At the same time, our Twitter account has attracted some 920 followers, compared with about 500 at the end of first year (May 1 2014). We have sent out over 13,600 tweets in the past 2 years. Click here to visit our Twitter account:

Knossos KONOSO twitter May 2015

Our research colleague, Rita Roberts, now has over 380 followers on her Twitter account, here:

Rita Roberts Twitter

This makes for some 1,300 followers for us both on Twitter, a considerable number indeed, in light of the fact that the study of Linear B and the specialized interests in archaeology and similar arcane fields which Rita follows are rare birds indeed!

I also urge you to follow Rita’s superb blog, here:

Ritaroberts blog May 2015

Finally, we have set ourselves up on Google +, where you can find our page here:

Google + Richard Vallance Janke
We started up on Google + just a couple of months ago, and we already have 383 followers in our Circle.


Richard

 

Comparison Between the Paleo-Hebrew Alphabets and Hieratic Egyptian & the Phoenician Alphabet: Click to ENLARGE

Phoenician Paleo-Hebrew Hieratic-Paleo

This chart clearly illustrates the comparison between both Early (right) and Late (left) Paleo-Hebrew with Hieratic Egyptian & Ancient Phoenician. The comparison between the Late Paleo-Hebrew with the Phoenician alphabet establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that they are virtually one and the same alphabet, based on the soundly reasoned inference that they developed simultaneously in the historical time line, implying in turn that the cross-cultural and cross-economic exchanges between these two civilizations was very intense. This quotation from Wikipedia is particularly telling,

Phoenician had long-term effects on the social structures of the civilizations which came in contact with it. As mentioned above, the script was the first widespread phonetic script. Its simplicity not only allowed it to be used in multiple languages, but it also allowed the common people to learn how to write. This upset the long-standing status of writing systems only being learned and employed by members of the royal and religious hierarchies of society, who used writing as an instrument of power to control access to information by the larger population.

Click the banner below to read the entire article.

Wikipedia Phoenician Alphabet
The Phoenician alphabet is also often tagged Proto-Canaanite for inscriptions anterior to 1050 BCE. It is the first ever consonantal proto-alphabet, otherwise known as abjad.  The Phoenician alphabet was derived from Egyptian hieroglyphics on the one hand and from cursive Hieratic Egyptian on the other. What is particularly striking about the Phoenician and Proto-Hebrew alphabets, which are mirror images of one another, is the fact that the former was used to write one of the earliest Semitic languages, while the latter was confined to Hebrew (also Semitic, but eventually to become completely unlike Arabic).
This may come as somewhat of a shock to die hard Jews and die-in-the-wool Muslims alike, but it is an incontestable historical fact which cannot be lightly brushed aside. It is absolutely essential to understand that these twin alphabets were far more ancient than the latter-day Hebrew alphabet, which was nevertheless a descendant of the Proto-Hebrew and the Phoenician alphabets alike. While the Phoenician alphabet was the scriptural medium for early Semitic Phoenician, that civilization, being far more ancient than Islam, was in intimate contact with Judeo-Palestine, with whom it cultivated friendly cultural and economic ties. In other words, the religious overlay imputed to the latter-day Hebrew alphabet, itself indirectly derived from the Phoenician alphabet versus the Arabic alphabet, was utterly absent from the consciousness of both the early Semitic Phoenicians and Hebrews. Of course, the Arabic alphabet eventually did develop on its own from the 6th. century AD, characteristically unlike the Phoenician and Proto-Hebrew alphabets in every conceivable way.

The Similarities Among Hieratic Egyptian, the Phoenician alphabet, Early Proto-Hebrew and Late Proto-Hebrew:

Now let’s take a good close look at the alphabets in this chart.

1. Oddly enough, Early Proto-Hebrew bears but a faint resemblance with the Phoenician and Late Proto-Hebrew alphabets, but it does have some points in common with Hieratic Egyptian. Given this scenario, it somehow strikes me that Early Proto-Hebrew was anterior to both the Phoenician and Late Proto-Hebrew alphabets; otherwise, how are we to explain all these bizarre discrepancies? Not that I would know, as I am no expert in Egyptian hieroglyphics or Hieratic Egyptian. I leave it to the expert linguists in that domain to enlighten us, and I certainly hope they will.  

2. For all intents and purposes, the Phoenician and Late Proto-Hebrew alphabets are identical.

3. Except for lamedth and tav (taw), neither the Phoenician and Late Proto-Hebrew alphabets resemble Hieratic Egyptian and the Early Proto-Hebrew in any significant way, which is particularly surprising to this author. The early Proto-Hebrew letter vav mirrors both its Hieratic and Phoenician equivalents, as well as the letter waw in Proto-Hebrew, the latter merely being an avatar of the previous three. Lamedh is also equivalent in all four scripts. If we take it as oriented right, Hieratic Egyptian tadhe bears a close resemblance to early Proto-Hebrew nun & tsade, which instead are oriented left. There is absolutely nothing unusual in this phenomenon, which is so common to so many ancient scripts that it boggles the mind. Early Proto-Hebrew qof, horizontally oriented, bears a close resemblance to its equivalent, the vertically oriented Phoenician letter koph, while its tav resembles one of the two versions of the Phoenician tav. Just to complicate matters or to frustrate the living daylights out of us, taw in the Late Paleo-Hebrew alphabet resembles the other version of Phoenician tav.

PS If anyone who is an expert in Egyptian hieroglyphics or Hieratic Egyptian is willing to enlighten us poor ignorant folk on the finer points of their relationship with the other scripts we have discussed here, please do contact us, commenting on the inevitable errors in this post. 

Richard

The Gezer Agricultural Almanac 925 BCE, Comparison Between the Paleo-Hebrew Alphabet on it & Mycenaean Linear B: Click to ENLARGE

Gezer Calendar or Almanach 925 BCE original versus Linear B

The Gezer Agricultural Almanac or Calendar was discovered in 1908 by R.A.S. Macalister of the Palestine Exploration Fund during the excavation of the ancient Canaanite city of Gezer, 32 kilometres to the west of Jerusalem. Inscribed on limestone, it describes monthly or bi-monthly periods of agricultural activities such as harvesting, planting or tending to specific crops. Paleo-linguistic scholars are divided concerning the language it is written in, some believing it to be Phoenician, others Proto-Canaanite, otherwise known as Paleo-Hebrew. But since the tablet makes as much sense in Paleo-Hebrew as it does in Phoenician (even though the translations must perforce differ), this raises a serious question which cannot be safely ignored over the perceived theoretical or actual relationship between the Phoenician and the Paleo-Hebrew alphabets, which in turn raises the further question whether or not Paleo-Hebrew is itself directly derived from Phoenician. Although open to dispute, if this notion holds any water, then the Proto-Canaanite or Paleo-Hebrew alphabet may very well be directly derived from the Phoenician, in which case even the ancient classical Hebrew alphabet, spawned from Paleo-Hebrew, is also indirectly derived from the Phoenician alphabet, despite appearances to the contrary.

But the vein may run even deeper. Since many scholars believe that the Phoenician alphabet grew out of Egyptian hieroglyphics, this in turn implies that the ancient Paleo-Hebrew alphabet at least is indirectly descended from Egyptian hieroglyphics. But there is a further complication. Since Paleo-Hebrew post-dates the almost identical syllabaries, Minoan Linear A by 7 centuries & Mycenaean Linear B, the latter falling into obscurity with the destruction of the Mycenaean civilization ca. 1200 BCE, fully 200 years before the advent of Proto-Canaanite, what are we to make of that? This is all the more pressing an issue, given that no fewer than 12 of 61 or 20 % of Linear B syllabograms look strikingly like the Paleo-Hebrew letters on the Gezer Calendar? if in fact it is written in Hebrew.

For the sake of argument and sheer practicality, let us say it is. If that is the case, then we have to wonder whether or not both the Phoenician and Proto-Canaanite alphabets were actually at least partially derived from either Minoan Linear A or Mycenaean Linear B or both. Given this scenario, it is open to serious doubt whether or not the Phoenician and Paleo-Hebrew alphabets were exclusively derived from Egyptian hieroglyphics alone. This hypothesis cannot be safely ignored, given the striking similarities in particular characters in all 4 of these scripts, Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B, Phoenician and Paleo-Hebrew. However, there is a wrench in the works. If this hypothesis is correct, then why on earth did both the Phoenician and Proto-Canaanite alphabets lose the five vowels of their more ancient predecessors, Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B? So we are left with an irresolvable conundrum.

Nevertheless, this hypothesis does raise doubts over Egyptian hieroglyphics being the sole ancestor of the Phoenician and Paleo-Hebrew alphabets. Why so? ... because neither Minoan Linear A nor Mycenaean Linear B are the offshoots of Egyptian hieroglyphics. Back to our messy little paradox. The Gezer Almanac is held in the Archaeological Museum Artifacts Collection of the Istanbul Archaeological Museums (ISTANBUL ARKEOLOJI MÜZELERI), here:

Istanbul Archeological Museums Logo
In the next three posts, I shall:

1. post a table illustrating the comparison between the Phoenician and Paleo-Hebrew alphabets, which are almost identical;
2. draw a thorough comparison between the Paleo-Hebrew letters (consonants only) on the Gezer Almanac and the 12 syllabograms + one ideogram in Mycenaean Linear B which resemble them;
3. translate the Gezer Calendar into Mycenaean Linear B, to clearly demonstrate the extremely close parallel in the efficacy of both scripts for statistical inventories. If anything, this remarkable parallelism reinforces the possibility that the Phoenician and Paleo-Hebrew alphabets may at least partially be outcrops of Minoan Linear A (preceding them both by at least 700 years) & Mycenaean Linear B, disappearing two centuries prior to widespread appearance of the former at the outset of what is commonly and largely erroneously referred to as the Dark Ages of the early Iron Age (ca. 1100-780 BCE).

Richard

							

Quotations from The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, Presentation at the Conference, Thinking Symbols, Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, Pultusk, Poland, June 30-July 2, 2015: Part A

Alan Turing

Alan Turing (1923-1954), a world-famous mathematical genius and cryptologist, was head of the team at Bletchley Park in England, which deciphered what was considered at the time to be the uncrackable Enigma Code that German Intelligence used throughout the Second World War for their secret military missions and operations, eventually all to no avail. It is he who said, “Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”
   
... let’s get straight to the point, and look at Slide A, which dramatically illustrates the universal rôle symbols play on physical signs, otherwise known as signage, in our hectic world today.

Slide omitted, to be displayed at the Conference only

Now you will notice that the international standard signage symbols we all my must rely on every day of our lives are of two kinds, (a) nominal (N), meaning symbols which replace the names of places, otherwise known as toponyms, which usually offer us static information & (b) verbal or kinetic (V), which replace actions we must take if we are to avoid unpleasant or disastrous consequences. Here on Slide A we see examples of both static and kinetic symbols or ideograms.

... we need to define in broad terms what a syllabary is, given that all of the signs on this tablet are syllabograms, so that we can interpret the Mycenaean city & settlement codes. This clears the way for a basic understanding of how syllabograms function. Like a script or signary based on ideograms, such as Egyptian hieroglyphics or Chinese ideograms, generally an earlier development than itself, a syllabary is a signary based on syllabograms, each of which consists of a single consonant + a single vowel up to a maximum of 5 vowels in a discrete series, as we see illustrated here in Slide J.

Slide omitted, to be displayed at the Conference only

Mycenaean Linear B, like its immediate predecessor, Minoan Linear A, has a D series, da, de, di, do & du; an N series, na, ne, ni, no & nu, and so on. Some syllabogram series are incomplete, for instance, the W series, wa, we, wi & wo, with four syllabograms & the Z series, za, ze & zo, consisting of three in Linear B. Minoan Linear A and the two archaic Greek pre-alphabetic syllabaries, Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C also have syllabograms for each of the 5 vowels. We can see now that a syllabary is generally considered to be the intermediate stage between even more ancient scripts such as Egyptian hieroglyphics on the one hand, and the later Greek alphabet on the other, in so far as it contains both consonant + vowel sequences and the minimal set of 5 vowels, just as all alphabets do right on up from the various avatars of the ancient Greek alphabet to the Cyrillic for many Slavic languages, such as Russian and Ukrainian to the Latin alphabet, from which almost all modern Occidental alphabets are derived. Click to ENLARGE 

hieroglyphics linear b alphabet


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