Tag Archive: fractions



Now on academia.edu. Are Minoan and Mycenaean fractions fractions?

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MinoanandMycenaeanfractionsornotcrops

 

This very brief, but informative tract is a real eye opener.

 


Are Minoan and Mycenaean fractions fractions? I am not at all convinced

Are Minoan Linear A fractions fractions or something else

Are Mycenaean Linear B fractions fractions or something else

Since Minoan and Mycenaean fractions, as estimated by Andras Zeke of the Minoan Language Blog and Prof. John G. Younger, fall as low as 1/10 and 1/32, I am not at all convinced that these are fractions at all. They are, as far as I can tell, crop shares. This makes a lot more sense, since we are dealing with farming, where crop shares have always been of paramount importance. As for units of measurement, we have no real idea what they were, since Minoan Crete and the Mycenaean Empire are so remote in history. No one can possibly determine fractions that far back in history. In fact, Prof. Younger and Andras Zeke cannot even agree on the values of the fractions... not that that argument invalidates the notion they are not fractions. That is a specious argument. However, it makes more sense to consider these as crop shares, especially in view of the fact that some of the Mycenaean symbols are so remarkably similar to their Minoan counterparts. The appearance of symbols has nothing to do with what we take them to mean. This again is an arbitrary decision, which may be right or wrong.  


Partial conjectural decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 6 Haghia Triada (VERSO):

Haghia Triada Linear A tablet HT6 VERSO

If there is any Linear A tablet which has proven a real headache, it has to be this one. The surface of the VERSO of HT 6 (Haghia Triada) is so badly damaged that experts such as Andras Zeke of the Minoan Language Blog and Prof. John G. Younger cannot even agree on a few syllabograms in the text, while I myself disagree with them on some of the same. Additionally, there is no consensus on the values of Linear A fractions. Interpretations by Andras Zeke and Prof. John G. Younger of the smaller fractional values often do not agree. So I am unwilling to add fuel to the fire. I simply choose whichever value (either that of Zeke or of Younger) seems more convincing to me. At any rate, no one today can determine with any degree of accuracy numeric values in Minoan Linear or Mycenaean Linear B, since both syllabaries are so historically remote as to preclude any convincing readings.

As for the syllabograms on this tablet, once again, Andras Zeke and John G. Younger do not agree on the values of at least 3 of them. And I find myself at odds with their own interpretations. This is the result of the shoddy scribal hand and the less than ideal condition of the tablet itself. As for maridi, I find myself obliged to read it as if it were meridi, since the interpretation wool (mari) is utterly out of the question in the context of this tablet, whereas reading it as meridi = “honey” makes much more sense contextually. As for sama, it may be the Minoan equivalent of Mycenaean Linear B samara = mound/hill”, but once again, this interpretation is conjectural. I have previously tentatively deciphered Old Minoan (OM) pa3nina (painina) as “an amphora for the storage of… ”, but here again, I have gone out on a limb. Nevertheless, the interpretation once again suits the context. Once all of fig and pomegranate juice (RECTO) and the drops of wine and honey (VERSO) are accounted for, we can see that this tablet may deal with a recipe for a sweet alcoholic beverage, which with these ingredients would indeed be delicious.

Consequently, any convincing decipherment of the VERSO of HT 6 is beyond our reach. We simply have to muddle through it and come up with the best alternatives we can for each apparently decipherable word. However, by fully taking into account the much more accessible text on the RECTO of HT 6, I believe I have been able to rescue a small portion of the significance of the text on the VERSO by placing it in its proper context with the RECTO. See the previous post for my fuller decipherment of the RECTO.


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.          


A truly fascinating Cretan hieroglyphic tablet from Phaistos!

Cretan hieroglyphic tablet from Phaistos

I dare say I find this tablet one of the most intriguing I have ever run across. I is just jam packed with information! I have done my best to decipher at least a little of it. .5 is probably the earliest version for the later-to-become ideogram for “roasted einkorn wheat”. Likewise .8 is almost certainly the primordial ideogram for “figs”. I have also provided the translation for the word “figs” in Old Minoan. It is either nire (singular nira2=nirae) or nite (singular nita2=nitai). It can only be one or other of these 2 options. I was the first person ever to successfully decipher the Old Minoan word for “figs” several months ago.


Partial decipherment of Linear A inscription PH 1 (Arkalochori Axe):

Linear A tablet PH 1 Arkalochori Axe

My decipherment is partial. The only candidate for Mycenaean derived vocabulary is the word uro = entire, whole, i.e. total, a synonym of kuro = reaching, attaining, i.e. total.
The  word jaku obviously refers to the cargo. 


First of 6 extremely rare Linear A fragments from Phaistos: 12a 12b 12 c

Phaistos PH 12a 12b 12c PD 14 PD 23 PD 35 in Linear A

Above is the first of 6 extremely rare Linear A fragments from Phaistos: 12a 12b 12 c. The text is extremely difficult to interpret, but I have done my level best. 12a is pretty much indecipherable. 12b consists of fractions. 12c  consists of the single syllabogram TE, which might possibly be the supersyllabogram TE, which usually stands for tereza, a large standard unit of liquid measurement. It would mesh well enough with 12b, since that fragment is all fractions. But there is no way we can confirm this at all, since 12c is a fragment, doubtless with almost all of its original text absent. So without context, we cannot be sure of anything. 


Measurement of 17 conjectural units total of dry and liquid volume & weight in Minoan Linear A:

Each entry below is classified by UNIT of measurement + amount + tablet + measurement type (dry or liquid + volume or weight):

GRAINS:

adaru 40 ARKH 5 volume or weight
adu 680 HT 92 dry volume LARGE
(a fair candidate for a unit of measurement)
dame 20 HT 86 + 74 HT 120 dry volume
kidata 134 HT 40 dry volume LARGE
(a good candidate for a unit of measurement)
kunisu 20 HT 86 weight
kupaja 16 HT 116 weight
nudu*331 207 HT 40 dry volume LARGE
(a good candidate for a unit of measurement)
pa3nina 12 HT 93 dry volume + darida = vase
pase 20 HT 18 weight
pura2 (purai) 40 HT 116 volume or weight
pitakase 161 HT 21 dry volume LARGE
(a good candidate for a unit of measurement)
qanuma 12 HT 116 weight
sara2 (sarai) 5 HT 121 + 10 HT 114 + 20 HT 90 + 41 HT 101 + 976 HT 102 volume
(the most likely candidate for a true unit of measurement)
sikine 12 HT 116 weight
(a good candidate for a unit of measurement)
tuqirina 40 HT 129 volume or weight

OLIVES:

itaja 10 HT 28 liquid volume

WINE:

ra*164ati 38 HT 17 liquid volume

I have extracted all 17 of these conjectural units of measurement, dry in the case of grains (barley and wheat), and liquid in the case of olives and olive oil and wine from all of the Minoan Linear tablets I isolated from the total store of relatively intact Linear A tablets I meticulously scanned from Prof. John G. Younger’s Lexicon of Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments (mostly the latter, which I of course naturally omitted as completely unreliable sources of any terminology whatsoever in Minoan Linear A). I have omitted any so-called unit of measurement which occurs 5 times or less on the Linear A tablets I scanned, as these are much more likely not to relate to measurement at all. 

The total number of these putative units of measurement compares favourably with total number of 16 units of measurement in Mycenaean Linear B, as illustrated in the table below.

all-mycenaean-standard-potential

However, it must be stressed that all 17 of the Minoan Linear A apparent units of measurement are spelled out in full, whereas all 16 of the Mycenaean Linear B units are represented by symbols, the exact opposite practice. To complicate matters further, Minoan Linear A uses symbols to represent very small (fractional) units of measurement,

minoan-fractional-units

again in a practice appositive to Mycenaean Linear B, in which the units of measurement are > unity and usually (quite) large. This introduces the distinct possibility that a few, some or even all of 17 the so-called units of measurement in Minoan Linear A I have isolated above are not units of measurement at all.

I shall have to thoroughly investigate the inevitable ramifications of this real dilemma before I even dare add a single, let alone more than one of these so-called units of measurement to the Glossary of 110 Minoan Linear A words I have compiled. At most, I doubt that more than 4 or 5 of the 17 terms in this list are likely to qualify for inclusion in the Minoan Linear A Glossary, although this estimate may turn out to be too conservative. We shall soon see.   

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