Tag Archive: first aorist



7 more Minoan Linear A words under PA-PAI, 6 of possible proto-Greek origin & 1 of proto-Scythian origin:

minoan-linear-a-words-under-pa-pai-of-possible-scythian-and-proto-greek-origins

Of these 7 new Minoan Linear A words under PA-PAI, 6 are of possible proto-Greek origin, while 1 [5] is, surprisingly, probably the (proto-) Scythian infinitive pata = the ancient Greek infinitive, kteinein = “to slaughter, slay”. Of the remaining 7, 2 [1] & [6] are very likely variant spellings of the same word Paean, which may mean “physician” or “saviour”, but since the attributed meaning “physician” is not standard Greek, the decipherment is surely open to question. The standard Mycenaean Linear B word for “physician” is iyate, equivalent to the ancient Greek iater (Latinized). [2] PAKU may possibly be an archaic Minoan Linear A word equivalent to ancient Greek pakhos (Latinized), but since the Minoan Linear A ultimate U, while attested everywhere, can only speculatively be linked with the ancient Greek ultimate OS (Latinized), PAKU may not be a valid proto-Greek word at all. But if it is , [2a] PAKUKA may very well be the feminine singular for the same. [3] PARIA is so close to the ancient Greek, pareia, that it is quite likely it means “the cheek piece (of a helmet)”, especially in view of the fact that military terminology is very common in Mycenaean Linear B, and may thus have been so in Minoan Linear A. But this is not necessarily the case. [4] PASU, once again terminating in the commonplace Linear A ultimate U, may possibly be the Minoan Linear A equivalent of Mycenaean Linear B paso, which is neut. singular for “everything”, but this decipherment is speculative. [7] PAIDA is possibly an archaic proto-Greek form of the ancient Greek paidia =  “children”. [8] PAISASA may be an archaic form of the second pers. sing. aorist (simple past tense) of the Greek verb paizo = “to play, to engage in sport”, which is itself in turn the verb corresponding to [7] the putative noun, PAIDA = “children”.

In short, every last one of these decipherments of  6 Minoan Linear A words of possible proto-Greek origin (excluding [5], which is (proto-) Scythian, is speculative.

However, if all of them are on target, which is doubtful, the potential total number of Minoan Linear A words of putative proto-Greek and Scythian origin rises to 42 (or less).


The 3 derived (D) tenses of active optative of athematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, as represented by the template verb, didomi:

Here is the chart of the 3 derived (D) tenses of active optative athematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, as represented by the template verb, didomi:

athematic-mi-optative-active-verbs-template-didomi-in-mycenaean-linear-b

Note that in the second example sentence in Mycenaean Greek, since the verb didomi is in the future active optative, the Mycenaean Linear B infinitive nikase = to defeat, must also be in the future. This is just another one of those remarkable eminently logical subtleties of ancient Greek, including Mycenaean. 
 
As you can see for yourself, I have been unable to reconstruct a paradigm table for the perfect active optative of athematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, as represented by the template verb, didomi. Since I have been unable to find any instances of that tense in any ancient Greek dialect, I am driven to conclude that it could not have existed in Mycenaean Linear B either. This is in contrast with the paradigm table for the active optative tenses of thematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, of which there are 4, as attested to here:

thematic-mi-post

Since in this previous post I outlined almost all of the uses of the active optative in ancient Greek, including Mycenaean Linear B, there is no point rehashing these uses here. Simply refer back to the post to glean as full a grasp the multiple uses of the active optative as you can, on the understanding of course that you are already familiar with least Attic grammar.  If you are not versed in ancient Greek grammar, even if you are in modern Greek (in which there is no optative mood), there is really not much point to mastering all of the uses of the active optative in ancient Greek, except in so far as a basic understanding at least may offer you at least some insight into the more subtle and arcane operations of ancient Greek, of which there are plenty, as you might have already imagined by this point.


CRITICAL POST! The 4 major tenses of the derived (D) optative mood of thematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B:

Here is the paradigm of the 4 major tenses of the optative mood in Mycenaean Linear B, based on the derived (D) template verb, naie (ancient Greek, naiein) = to dwell in, inhabit:

paradigm-of-the-optative-mood-in-linear-b

Note that we have provided two examples of derivative (D) sentences in this table of the paradigms for the 4 tenses of the optative mood in Mycenaean Linear B and ancient Greek in order to facilitate a better understanding of its functionality.

As can be seen from the table above, there are only 4 primary tenses for the optative mood of thematic (and indeed for athematic) verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, as well as in ancient Greek. These are:

the optative present
the optative future
the optative aorist (or simple past)
the optative perfect

There is no optative imperfect. It is a contradiction in terms. How is it possible that something was in fact happening, kept on happening or used to happen, when it is readily apparent that the optative mood always runs contrary to reality. The optative mood only and always refers to potentialities or possibilities, never to actual situations, which of course strictly call for the indicative mood. 

The optative mood has no equivalent whatsoever in any modern Centum or Occidental language, including modern Greek. It lapsed out of use before the advent of modern Greek. The optative mood sometimes plays a similar role to the subjunctive mood in ancient Greek, but by no means always. As a matter of course, we shall not be deriving a table of the tenses of the subjunctive mood in Mycenaean Linear B, for two conclusive reasons:
1. The subjunctive mood occurs nowhere on any Linear B tablets, i.e. it is not attested, or so it would seem so... because...
2. The subjunctive mood is virtually indistinguishable from the active in Mycenaean Linear B, whether or not we are dealing with thematic or athematic verbs, for the simple reason that Mycenaean Linear B cannot distinguish between short and long vowels. In other words, while ancient Greek allows for the subjunctive mood, which calls for the lengthening of the vowel in any person of the present tense, this is impossible in Mycenaean Linear B.

So there would simply be no point in attempting to reconstruct a mood which could not even be observed on Mycenaean Linear B tablets, even it were present. But it never is to be found on any extant tablet, i.e. it is nowhere attested (A), because Mycenaean Linear B tablets almost exclusively deal with inventories, which are by nature factual, thereby automatically calling for the indicative, and precluding the subjunctive.

It may seem counter-intuitive to find the optative on at least one Linear B tablet, but there is a tenable explanation for this phenomenon. Since the tablet in question deals with religious matters, it makes sense for the optative to be present. For instance, it is possible to say in Mycenaean Linear B,

May we all worship the Goddess of the Winds.
-or-
If only they believed in the gods!

These sentences make perfect sense in Mycenaean Greek.

But this still leaves us with the burning question, what on earth is the optative mood?

This is no easy question to answer. But I shall do my level best. To begin with, it is highly expedient to consult the Wikipedia article on the optative mood in ancient Greek:

wikipedia-optative-ancient-greek

since doing so will expedite your understanding of the functions of the optative. Essentially, these are as follows:

1. to express a wish on behalf of the welfare of someone, e.g.:

May you be happy.
May you live long and be prosperous.

2. to express the wish or hope,... if only (which is contrary to reality, as it never happened anyway, no matter how much or how dearly one might have wished it had happened), e.g.:

If only the Mycenaeans had not conquered Knossos.
If only Donald Trump had not won the U.S. Election! (Fat chance of that!)

3. The potential optative expresses something that would or could happen in a hypothetical situation in the future, e.g.

I wouldnt be surprised if the fortress of Mycenae were to fall in the next few years.
I wouldnt be surprised if Donald Trump were impeached. (Good luck for that one!)

4. Potential in the aorist or the past tense, e.g.     

The king of Knossos fled the city for fear that he might be caught and imprisoned.

5. For purpose clauses in past time, the optative can follow the conjunction so that:

The king has brought us all together so that we might discuss the situation regarding the possibility of an outbreak of war.

6. After verbs expressing fear: 

I was afraid that he had gone out of his mind.

7. for formal benedictions or prayers (primarily in the New Testament), e.g.:

May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
May the Lord grant you mercy.

There are even more uses of the optative, but I do not wish to belabour the point. Suffice it to say, this mood is extremely flexible in ancient Greek. It always references actions or situations contrary to reality. It is often quite difficult for us in this present day and age to really get a grip on the various functionalities of the optative tense in ancient Greek, but get a grip we must if we are ever to really, clearly grasp what ancient Greek sentences relying on the optative actually mean, once we have embarked on that most challenging of journeys, to learn ancient Greek, to easy matter, let me tell you from personal experience.

Reduplication in the perfect active of the verb pine = to drink, derived (D) from the attested (A) perfect active of kaue = to burn in Mycenaean Linear B:

The attested perfect active of the Mycenaean Linear B verb, kaue = to burn, serves as the template upon which any number of derived (D) verbs in the active perfect may be extrapolated. This table illustrates this process:

mycenaean-linear-b-kekausa-pepoka-perfect

In order to form the active perfect tense, the ancient Greeks usually (but not always) resorted to the technique of reduplication, whereby the first syllable of the verb is prepended to the initial syllable of the conjugation of the same verb in the aorist (simple past), with this proviso, that the orthography of first syllable, or in Mycenaean Linear B, the vowel of the first syllabogram, is morphed into e from the initial vowel of the first syllable of the aorist, which is usually a or o in the aorist, prior to reduplication. Thus, in Mycenaean Linear B, the first syllabogram must reflect the same change. Hence, ekausa (aorist) = I burned (once only) becomes kekausa (perfect) = I have burned, while epoka (aorist) = I drank (once only) becomes pepoka= I have drunk. This transformation is critical, since both the aorist and the perfect active tense are very common in ancient Greek.

For the first time in history, the conjugation of athematic MI verbs in 5 active tenses in Mycenaean Linear B:

We now continue with the conjugations of 5 active tenses for athematic MI verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, represented here by the athematic verb, didomi (Latinized), which was  extremely commonplace right on down from Mycenaean Greek through to Attic and Hellenistic Greek and beyond, to New Testament Greek. We can safely confirm that the conjugation of athematic MI verbs underwent almost no perceptible changes (if any at all) from the Mycenaean era to the New Testament. The reason for this is apparent. Since the conjugation of athematic MI verbs was already cemented, in other words, fossilized, by as early as the Mycenaean era, there would have been no need whatsoever to change, modify or supposedly improve on its conjugations. For this reason alone, regressive extrapolation of the conjugations of 5 active tenses of athematic MI verbs is a simple matter. So in the case of athematic MI verbs, the method of retrogressive extrapolation we normally apply to grammatical elements in Mycenaean Linear B derived (D) from later ancient Greek dialects does not apply. Since the conjugations  of MI verbs were already fully consolidated in Mycenaean Greek, it is quite beside the point. It The 5 tenses of the indicative active we have accounted for in our table of conjugations of athematic MI verbs are:

the present active
the future active
the imperfect active
the aorist active (both first and second)
the perfect active

as illustrated in this table of paradigms:

athematic-mi-verbs-in-linear-b-conjugations-in-5-tenses

As I have already pointed out in the previous post on thematic active verbs in 5 tenses, I  have deliberately omitted the pluperfect tense active, as it was extremely rare in all ancient Greek dialects. Note that it is assumed that scholars, researchers and linguists reviewing our tables of conjugations of verbs in Mycenaean Greek are well versed in ancient Greek, and hence familiar with the subtle distinction between the first and second aorist (simple past tense). For this reason, we shall not attempt to differentiate between the two. Should anyone wish to do so, that person can refer him or herself to the Wikipedia articles on this topic. As for those of you who are not yet versed in ancient Greek, most notably, the Attic dialect, you will have to learn ancient Greek in the first place before you can even hope to grasp the distinction between the first and second aorist, let alone understand so many other elements of ancient Greek grammar.


Derivative [D] Reconstruction of the First Aorist in Linear B (Click to ENLARGE):

progressive linear b reconstruction of the first aorist of the verb KAU to burn
Taking the First Aorist conjugation (EKAUSA) of the verb KAUO “to burn” from the Homeric Greek as our point of departure for regression to the same tense in Linear B, we end up with the paradigm illustrated in the table above.

It is impossible for me to reconstruct the 2nd. person sing. or the 3rd. person pl. of   this verb in Linear B with any degree of certainty, as the Homeric conjugation necessitates that these persons end with a consonant, for which Linear B, consisting of syllabograms and vowels only, cannot account.

We have now successfully reconstructed (for the most part) the following tenses of Linear B verbs: the present, the future & the first aorist of active verbs. We shall eventually proceed to regressively reconstruct the imperfect & perfect tenses (leaving aside the pluperfect, as it is very rare even in ancient alphabetical Greek). Afterwards, we shall move onto the same conjugations for middle & passive verbs. Finally, later this year, we shall attempt to reconstruct at least some of the conjugations in the subjunctive and optative, in so far as this is feasible.

Once we have reconstructed the conjugations of Linear B verbs in all tenses, voices & moods, we shall move onto the reconstruction of the declensions of nouns & adjectives, probably in the summer of 2014. As we can already glean, the reconstruction of Linear B grammar is a highly labour-intensive project, but this is, after all,the whole point of this blog.


Richard
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