Tag Archive: excavations



Linear A fragment Petras V House III = grain husks in New Minoan + comprehensive Linear A Lexicon of 969 words:

Linear A fragment Patras V House III

This Linear A fragment is one of the most recent findings. It appears to be entirely in New Minoan, i.e. from the Mycenaean derived superstratum. It definitely deals with wheat, as its ideogram appears to the far left. What appears to be the syllabogram ti or pi (though I interpret it as the latter) is inscribed with RO, which just happens to correspond to the Mycenaean and ancient Greek word lopos, but which in this case is lopi (i.e. dative singular).  Hence, it would appear that we are dealing with 1 1/2 units (something along the lines of bushels) of wheat husk. When I speak of bushels, I mean merely a generous approximation, since we have no idea what the standard unit of measurement for wheat or barley was either in the Minoan or in Mycenaean era. But it gives us at least an idea of how much wheat we are dealing with.

At this juncture in my ongoing endeavour to decipher Linear A, I have run across so many tablets with New Minoan Mycenaean derived superstratum words that I am confident I am well on the way to deciphering New Minoan. Such is not the case with Old Minoan, i.e. the original Minoan language a.k.a. the Minoan substratum. But even there I have managed to decipher at least 100 words more or less accurately, bringing the total of Old Minoan, New Minoan and pre-Greek substratum vocabulary to around 250 out of the 969 Linear A words I have isolated in my Comprehensive Linear A Lexicon, by far the most complete Linear A Lexicon ever to appear online, exceeding Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon by at least 250.          


Rita Robert’s translation of tablet K 04-01-07 / 04-01 N a 01 from the Knossos Armoury:
To ENLARGE this image or any other image or photo posted on this blog, RIGHT CLICK on it, select VIEW and then SAVE it to your computer:  

Knossos 04 01 N a 01


Rita Robert’s commentary on this tablet:
  
Line 1 - araruya  aniyapi = equipped with bridles -  wirinijo opoqo = with leather blinkers – kerajapi opiiyapi =  with horn bits -   ideogram 

Line 2 -  iqiyo = chariot – ayameno erepate = decorated with ivory -

araromotemeno = fully assembled – ponikijo = painted crimson.

Due to the truncation on the right hand side of this Linear B tablet it is impossible to state whether there is only one or more chariots listed.

TRANSLATION:
one chariot ?  fully assembled equipped with bridles with leather blinkers and horn bits decorated with ivory inlays and painted crimson.

A dual chariot depicted on this fresco from Pylos. LH lllA/B date around 1340 BCE

Chariot fresco from Pylos

Mycenaean Chariot fresco

Chariot harnessing fro Mycenae

Richard’s comments:

Apart from a single error Rita made in line 2 of this tablet, having misread the second syllabogram as -mu- instead of -qi-, consequently misinterpreting -iqiyo- as -Imuyo- ( a person’s name) instead of – iqiyo - = a chariot, her translation is convincing and elegant, as is to be expected from a Linear B translator of her advanced skills. That error has been corrected in the translation above.

It goes without saying that the right-truncated ideogram for -chariot- to the right of the tablet between lines 1 and 2 must mean a chariot with wheels, as  a chariot without wheels cannot conceivably be fully assembled, equipped and decorated.

While the archaic Greek may appear somewhat difficult or abstruse to linguists who specialize in Classical Greek, it is really not so bizarre after all, since we find many parallels in Homer’s Iliad, especially in The Catalogue of Ships in Book II. Notice that the gender of the word for chariot is fluid, i.e. not yet fixed in Mycenaean Greek. Moreover, this word is archaic in the extreme, having disappeared completely from Homeric and Classical Greek. Nevertheless, its meaning is clear from the context of all tablets on which it appears, since on most of them it is juxtaposed with the ideogram for chariot.

In my notes on the archaic Greek, you will notice that the (second) aspirated a in the Greek for – kerayapi – is aspirated in the archaic Greek. This orthography does not correspond to the spelling on this tablet, but in Chris Tselentis’ excellent Linear B Lexicon the alternate spelling – kerahapi – is  attested as an alternate standard. 

Richard


Amnisos” Ring sold to Sir Arthur Evans on his second day at Knossos ANNOTATED (Click to ENLARGE):

Amnisos Ring Sold to Arthur Evans by an Antique dealer on his second day in Crete a
Here you see the beautiful “Amnisos” Ring sold to Sir Arthur Evans by a local antique dealer on his second day at Knossos, March 24, 1900.  Of course, the original is gold. This is the first time you have ever seen this glorious ring on the Internet ANNOTATED in Linear B, Greek & English. When I refer to the genitive “Aminisoyo” as being Homeric, I do not mean that the Linear B genitive in Mycenaean Linear B is the Homeric genitive, but that it is the Mycenaean genitive, “aminisoyo” of “aminiso” regressively derived from the Homeric genitive, as it would have appeared in the Iliad and/or the Odyssey, even if it did not. What is that supposed to mean? ... simply this, that the most ancient masculine singular genitive, attested over and over in (The Catalogue of Ships) Book II of the Iliad (and sometimes elsewhere) always ends in “oio”, as for instance, with : ἱπποδάμοιο: (Iliad II, l. 23) and with εἰ μὴ Ὀλυμπιάδες Μοῦσαι Διὸς αἰγιόχοιο (Iliad II, l. 491, Catalogue of Ships). NOTE that clicking on the two citations from Book II of the Iliad will lead you to the Study Tool for the genitive in question in the Perseus Catalogue.

If the genitive singular ends in oio  “oio” in these citations from Homer and elsewhere and there exist attested forms of the genitive with the exact same ending in Linear B, then we must conclude that regressive extrapolation of the genitive singular in Linear B is precisely the same as is the archaic masculine genitive singular in Homer's Iliad. As I shall shortly demonstrate with several examples, there are plenty of attested examples of the masculine genitive singular on Linear B tablets. If the regressively extrapolated and the attested examples of the masculine genitive singular are always identical, it necessarily follows that the masculine genitive singular in Linear B is absolutely airtight. The genitive singular masculine in Mycenaean Greek and in Homer is in fact. always identical.

Richard


Sir Arthur Evan's Meticulous Classification of the Linear B Tablets at Knossos:

It goes without saying that the genius of Sir Arthur Evans (1851-1941),

Sir Arthur Evans (1851-1941)

who not only intuitively (and correctly) triangulated the exact location of Knossos before his  methodically scientific excavation of the site from 1900-1903, but who also spent years in his meticulous classification of the 3,000 Linear A & Linear B tablets he discovered on site, that the task of decipherment  of Linear B, pioneered by the brilliant Alice Kober (1906-1950), and finally achieved by the genius of Michael Ventris (1922-1956), would have proved a far more daunting tasks than it already was. It would be a great disservice and a great shame not to credit Arthur Evans for his magnificent achievements, not only as the first truly “professional” archeologist of the twentieth century, but also as a man of great skill and acumen, whose conscientious and unflagging devotion to all that the splendid Minoan civilization exemplified, has bestowed on him forever the stature of one of the greatest archeologists of the twentieth century, if not  of all time.  Evans was almost the diametrical opposite of his predecessor, the impetuous, hot-headed and greedy Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890), who unearthed, all but desecrated and robbed of their splendid treasures both Troy and Mycenae.  I do not mean to impugn Heinrich Schliemann's great achievements, since after all he was a man of his era, the late nineteenth Victorian Era, when western European intellectuals entertained rather too lofty notions of their expertise in a time of great material progress. 

Sir Arthur Evans was, in fact, every bit as painstaking and punctilious as his successors, Alice Kober and Michael Ventris; so I think it safe to say that we actually owe the decipherment of Linear B to the combined efforts of these three determined researchers, rather than to any one them singly.

Arthur Evan's keen intellect is clearly manifest in these 3 examples of efforts at deciphering Linear B characters, all of which he came very close to resolving.

Click to ENLARGE all 3 examples:

Evans Sword

In the first example, above, from his “Scripta Minoa”, he nailed the value of this ideogram pretty much on the nose, because he knew perfectly well that it was an ideogram and not a simple character (vowel or consonant) or syllabogram.

Evans SE
In the second instance, he again correctly deduces that the character in question, which is almost identical to the Cypriot syllabogram for SE, means just that. Although he suggests alternative solutions to the significance of this character, I think we can safely assume that he truly preferred the assignation of SE to the character, since it is the very first of three explanations he proposes. People usually prioritize their assumptions from best guess to worst.

Evans Balance

In the third example, Evans once again identifies the characters as an ideogram, and once again, he gets it right.  It would have been utterly surprising if he did not, as the symbolic value of the ideogram is a clear as the nose on one's face.  But even in this case, Evans was unwilling to accept this interpretation as a given, sceptical as he was.  Scepticism is after all one of the hallmarks of sound research.  Never take anything for granted, without adequate evidence (even circumstantial) or factual data to back you up.  

To summarize, many researchers, to my mind,  do not give Evans full credit  where credit is due. In an effort to fully vindicate his tireless and painstaking research, I shall eventually post more of his “correct” guesses at the significance of certain Linear B characters. 

Richard 

Great Excavations ( Evans at Knossos )


Arthur Evans was a great archaeologist, especially for his day and age. Unlike Schliemann, who ransacked the sites he unearthed, Evans was meticulous in document ing and publshing his finds, and in donating artefacts & Linear B tablets to Museums and institutions.

Richard

Ritaroberts's Blog

Arthur Evans, the wealthy son of pre-historian John Evans, was’ a man of independent means’ who did not need to earn a living. After completing his education at Harrow and Oxford, he travelled widely in the Balkans, and made a minor name for himself  as the Manchester Guardian’s special correspondent in Bosnia and Croatia.

During this time, he studied Balkan antiquities, and on returning to England, he became Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, from l884 to l908. His interest in Knossos had been triggered by a visit to the site in l894- a visit made in pursuit of seals with mysterious hieroglyphic writing that were turning up in the markets of Athens, and that purportedly came from Crete.

Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos in l907

Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos l907

In l900 Evans completed negotiations for the purchase of the site, and excavations began, with the assistance of experienced field archaeologist Duncan Mackenzie. The main…

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