Tag Archive: fragments



KEY POST! How to download all of Scripta Minoa!

This procedure works only in Firefox, but can be readily adapted to other browsers. To download Scripta Minoa, Vol. 1, in Firefox, 

1. First go to the Google.com search page, as seen here:

google home


2. Secondly, copy this address in your Google.com HTML search bar, which in Firefox looks like this:

https://ia802700.us.archive.org/5/items/scriptaminoawrit01evanuoft/scriptaminoawrit01evanuoft.pdf       


google search Script Minoa Vol 1620

And click the right arrow above, to open the file:

3. which will now appear on your desktop, at the LINK above, like this in Firefox:

Scripta Minoa Vol 1620

4. next, to the far right of the document displayed above, you will see the navy blue DOWNLOAD button, with the DOWNLOAD arrow in white. Click on it to download the file:

download the file
The DOWNLOAD Button is immediately above.

5. When you click on this button, the next thing you should see is this: 

save fle

CLICK: Save File, to save this file on your computer. You must then open your Downloads Folder, and open this file. Since the procedure to open Downloads in the Downloads Folder varies according to your operating system (Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 10, Apple) you will have to download and save this file according to your system. I cannot help you with this step. If you need help with this step, consult the HELP files for downloading files on your computer.

6. AFTER you have successfully downloaded this file to your computer, open your Downloads Folder and SAVE the file to your computer, preferably on your desktop.

7. Then open Adobe Acrobat, and open the file on your desktop (or wherever you saved it) in Adobe Acrobat. Adobe Acrobat will open the file far far quicker than the online download, in fact, in a matter of seconds.

To download and open Scripta Minoa, Vol. 2, repeat all of the steps above, except that in:

Step 2, Secondly, copy this address in your Google.com HTML search bar, which in Firefox looks like this:

https://ia902608.us.archive.org/8/items/scriptaminoawrit02evanuoft/scriptaminoawrit02evanuoft.pdf    

google search Script Minoa Vol 2620

And click the right arrow above, to open the file:
And then you should see this page: 

Scripta Minoa Vol 2620

This is the Google address for Scripta Minoa, Vol. 2, which is not quite the same as the Google address for Scripta Minoa, Vol. 1.

NOTE that certain details in Steps 1-7 above will vary from browser to browser. We did not provide instructions for Internet Explorer, as we only use Firefox. So if you are using a browser other than Firefox, you may have to adjust some of the input(s) for each step above.

Please NOTE that the Linear B fragments and tablets appear in Scripta Minoa, Volume 2, not Volume 1. You can see this for yourself when you open Scripta Minoa, Volume 2, in your Adobe Acrobat Reader. SCROLL DOWN the file until you see this page, the first page of the fragments and tablets in Vol. 2.:

first tablets from scripta minoa vol 2620


Linear A fragment PH 8 (Phaistos), largely indecipherable for scanty text:

Linear A fragment Phaistos PH 8

My interpretation of Linear A fragment PH 8 (Phaistos), largely indecipherable for scanty text, is very much at odds with that of Prof. John G. Younger. This is not the first time either.


Linear A fragment from Phaistos with a fish remarkably resembling the ancient Christian-like iconography of the fish:

Phaistos Linear A tablet with fish Christian-like iconography

This Linear A fragment from Phaistos, which was found in the same cache as PH 7, is remarkable insofar as we find on it the sole occurrence of the ideogram for fishon any Linear A tablet anywhere, regardless of provenance.

This symbol is remarkable for two reasons. First, it is clearly a reflection of the inscription on Phaistos fragment PH 7, which reads as follows, “(illumined by) the firebrand of the goddess of healing, the bread of healing with water from a cup”. If this is not reminiscent of the Christian communion, I do not know what is. But we can go even further. The resemblance between the fish ideogram on this Linear A fragment from Phaistos to the fragment bearing an anchor, fish and Greek chi ro symbols from the Catacombs of Saint Sebastian

chi-rho fish anchor fragment from catacombs of saint sebastian

is so striking that one is left wondering how this can possibly be. However, there may be less of a mystery here than we might otherwise imagine. It is a well known historical phenomenon in ancient religions that a later religion frequently borrows its iconography from a former.

Additional critical  highly relevant commentary by Daniel Rocha:

It is true that later religions borrow from older religions, but it seems that these symbols kind of run in parallel to Judaism, as far as I know. In any case, the symbols you are mentioning are linked to the worship of Atargatis. This deity used to be the wife of God in the very primitive versions of Judaism. If what you are pointing is true, it seems that the worship of Mary is justified, since she would be the wife of God. But, as far as I know, this cult among Jews did not exist in the 1st century CE.

But look here: “It has also been proposed that the element -gatis may relate to the Greek gados “fish”.[14] (For example, the Greek name for “sea monster” or “whale” is the cognate term ketos. So Atar-Gatis may simply mean “the fish-goddess Atar”.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ichthys

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atargatis

Atargatis

But it could be like gados mana, fish food or something along these lines: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manna#Origin

Plus an additional comment by Richard Vallance Janke:

The Linear A word keta/kete, which very much appears to be the same word, first in the accusative of aspect (keta) and secondly in the instrumental sing. (kete, meaning “with fish”), of which the masculilne singular in Linear A would have been keto, and which is the equivalent of ancient Greek gados. If this is the case, then the fish ideogram on this fragment from Phaistos echoes even more closely the text of Phaistos PH 7, which as we have already seen is a religious ceremony involving a libation of water along with the bread of healing. If all of this rings true, then the relationship between these two fragments is so striking it simply cannot be ignored. Moreover, the Hebrew, manna (grains, bread), interpreted in Christianity as the bread of Heaven, also appears in Linear A as mana, another astonishing co-incidence.

Richard

2 more Pylos cc series Linear B neither you (almost certainly) nor I have ever seen before:

First, Pylos cc 1283, which is a fragment:

pylos-tablet-cc-1283

and then, Pylos cc 1285:

pylos-tablet-cc-1285


Severely damaged Minoan Linear A tablet (joins) from Gournia:

Minoan-Crete-Gournia-Linear-A

This Minoan Linear A tablet (fragment/joins) is even more severely damaged than many other Linear A fragments which are missing most of their text, or are partially illegible. The recurrence of (severely) damaged tablets and fragments is more widespread in Mycenaean Linear B, since there are far more extant tablets in that syllabary (close to 5,000). An example of a badly damaged Linear B tablet from Knossos follows:

Knossos tablet 04-83 damaged

A series of 5 Linear B fragments on vessels (pottery) with 2 beautiful illustrations of amphorae:

5 Linear B fragments on vessels

There can be no surprise that 4 these 5 fragments follow one another serially, while the last one is in the same numeric series (700s). I do not understand why 708b just shows the number 8 but has no framework in which it is supposed to be set (i.e. no fragment).  Fragment 709 M m 01 appears to have  originally been a longer tablet, since there is text (? na) left-truncated prior to the ideogram and right-truncated (ya) after it. It is impossible to recover the “absent” meaning of the word of which these syllabograms a a part. 776a M f 01 is very peculiar.  The “amphora” at the top is clearly unfinished, and even the one on the bottom is rudimentary. This is uncharacteristic of Linear B scribes. Was he alseep at the switch? Was it the end of the day? Was the tablet started, only to be discarded? If so, why? We shall never know.

Examples of exquisite Minoan amphorae from Knossos:

amphoraa

mycenaean-linear-b-aporowewe-amphora-decorated-with-spirals




CRITICAL POST: The Minoans counted sheep while they were wide awake... big time! 

An In-depth Statistical Analysis and Wide Cross-Section of over 2,500 tablets and fragments out of the approximately 4,000 at Knossos dealing specifically with sheep, rams and ewes.

For the past 4 months, I have been meticulously examining a huge cross-section of 2,503 Linear B tablets & fragments from the approximately 4,000 found at Knossos, representing no less than 62.57 % of that total, a sampling for which the statistical accuracy must be so high as not to exceed 0.5 % +/- margin of error (although I haven not verified this myself). Even with the total of 4,000 tablets and fragments being only a reasonably fair estimate of the total, the statistical accuracy would still be very high, since we are dealing with a total very close to 4,000. Here is the detailed table I compiled with its statistical analysis of the total number of tablets and fragments at Knossos specifically dealing with sheep, rams and ewes (503), as opposed to the total number I examined = 2,503. Click to ENLARGE:

Linear B Tablets Knossos sheep rams ewes

However, not only did I isolate all 503 of the tablets and fragments dealing with sheep, rams and ewes from my cross-section of 2,500 tablets, I also further sub-divided all 503 of these by locales or sites at which the Minoans raised sheep, these being, from most to least often mentioned on the tablets, Kytaistos, Phaistos & Lykinthos (20 times each), for a total of 60; Exonos (15 times); Davos (14); Lato & Syrimos (12), for a total of 24; Lasynthos (9); Sygrita (8); Tylissos or Tylisos (5) and Raia (2), Knossos never being even mentioned at all! What! I here you say... and me too. Come on, this begs the question. 

Hypothesis A: Why not Knossos?... or more to the point, probably Knossos

Why? Why not Knossos? It is patently ridiculous to assume that no sheep were raised at Knossos, since Knossos was a city of a population reputedly exceeding 50,000, an enormous city for the ancient world (aside from Rome, of course). None of the other locales listed in our table come remotely close to Knossos in size or economic power and significance, not even Phaistos. The Minoans had to have raised sheep at Knossos, of that there can be no doubt. But how many of the overall 503 tablets mentioning sheep, rams and ewes can be said to deal with Knossos?  Although we could ideally postulate a total of 365 times, the remainder of the 503 tablets, this is a highly problematic question, since there is simply no way of knowing whether or not the scribes were referring to Knossos and Knossos alone whenever they omitted to name the locale for sheep husbandry. It seems quite conceivable, even reasonable, to assume that the majority of the remaining 365 tablets and fragments, or at least most of them, do deal specifically with Knossos, but there is really no real way of our ever knowing.

However, there is one tell-tale statistic which may serve as a real clue to the incidence of sheep raising at Knossos, and that is the figure for the number of times Tylissos is mentioned, i.e. only 5 times, even though Tylissos was an important Minoan site. The point I am making here is simply this: Tylissos was right next door to Knossos, practically an outskirt of the city. So if Tylissos is mentioned less often than every other sheep raising locale, with the sole exception of Raya (3 times), then were were the sheep being raised near or at Knossos?  The answer seems transparent enough. At Knossos itself, or at least in the countryside surrounding Knossos, which would almost (but not quite) include Tylissos. So this is my hypothesis, namely, that in all probability most of the remaining 365 tablets and fragments do deal with Knossos, since as I have already said, it is patently impossible that Knossos was not the major sheep raising locale in the Minoan agri-economy.

Hypothesis B: Why not Knossos?... or more to the point, probably Knossos

There is another angle from which we may approach my assumption. Let’s say I am talking about my own garden (today, in the twenty-first century). Now since my own garden is right here in the city I live in, what is the point of saying “my garden in Ottawa” to other folks from Ottawa, since they already know that? The only time it would be necessary to refer to “my garden in Ottawa” would be when I was showing my garden at the cottage to my friends, and I wished to distinguish it from my other garden in Ottawa. Likewise, if I am referring to my mother’s garden, which happens to be in Toronto, while speaking to friends in Ottawa, I have to say “my mother’s garden in Toronto”, unless they all already know that. You see my point.

By analogy, if scribes, all of whom lived in Knossos, were referring to sheep husbandry at Knossos, why would they bother mentioning the city as such, since they would have been sharing this information with their fellow scribes and literate administrators in Knossos itself. On the other hand, if they had to refer to sheep raising absolutely anywhere else, even at Tylissos, which was not quite at Knossos, they would have had to mention the site by name; otherwise, their fellow scribes and co-literates would have had no idea where the sheep were being raised, which defeats the whole point of inventorying or compiling such statistics in the first place. Remember that the Minoan scribes writing in Linear B (not Linear A) were space-saving freaks, to say the least, since the tablets were usually very small. So by not mentioning Knossos as a sheep raising locale, since they lived there after all, they saved precious space on their tablets... yet another reason why Knossos was in fact never mentioned. Anyway, people are lazy by nature, and would rather not do any work they can avoid. So either they would have mentioned Knossos all the time, however many times it would have been the default locale for sheep raising (because, in fact, Knossos was the default location for sheep husbandry) on those remaining 365 tablets, or they would not have mentioned it all. We know of course they did not. All of this is speculation, of course, but it is rational speculation, I dare say.

Hypothesis C: Why not Knossos?... or more to the point, probably Knossos

And, believe it or not, there is yet another way to approach this hypothesis, and this approach is in fact purely statistical. Whenever we are confronted with a tablet or fragment from any of the other sheep raising locales specifically inventoried in the table above, when we examine the tablet for the total number of sheep raised at any one of these locales, we discover (and this is very significant) that nowhere are more than a few hundred sheep, rams or ewes mentioned on these site-specific tablets and fragments. The reason for this is probably that there was not enough available land at these sites to raise more than a few hundred sheep at a time.

On the other hand — and I must lay particular emphasis on this point — on several of the remaining 365 tablets or fragments, 1,000s or even 10s of 1,000s of sheep are tallied. Now where on earth except at Knossos would there be enough room to accommodate so many blasted sheep? I think I have made my point.

I can see some of you object (some perhaps even loudly), how could any place, even Knossos, have enough room in the surrounding countryside to accommodate almost as many or even more sheep than the general population of the city, without stripping the top soil bare, causing irreparable environmental damage and making one stinky countryside? It is hard to counter such an objection, which is entirely rational on any count. Still, we do not know whether the Minoans practised land rotation. However, given that their civilization was so advanced and sophisticated, with their basic grasp and sound implementation of the principles of hydrology to city plumbing never again to be matched until the end of the 19th. century of our era (!), it begs the question whether or not they were familiar with, and indeed practised land rotation for sheep grazing. I for one would be willing to bet at least 50/50 that they did... a practice which would have effectively preserved available grazing land, and made Knossos a perfectly suitable place to raise sheep, and scads of them.

But there is still more. Of the 2,503 tablets and fragments from Knossos I examined, those dealing specifically with sheep, rams and ewes account for fully 20.12 % of every last tablet, regardless of the area of interest in the Minoan society, economy, social structure, religious affairs etc. any and all of the remaining tablets deal with. This is a huge sub-set of all the tablets, and in fact, when you examine a cross-section of as many as 2,503 tablets of approximately 4,000, as I have done, you will discover, perhaps to your astonishment, perhaps not, that no other single area of interest or topic, if you like, in Minoan society comes anywhere even close to the number of times sheep, rams and ewes are specifically and almost always solely addressed on such tablets or fragments, i.e. 503 times. This speaks to the one area that literally grabs centre stage in the Minoan socio-economic and trade structure. It all boils down to one thing: the Minoan economy by-and-large revolved around sheep raising and husbandry, and the products which derived from it, such as wool, which also accounts for a fairly significant proportion of the remaining 3,500 tablets (though far from the numbers for sheep per se). Although there can be no denying that other areas of interest, such as raising pigs and other livestock, various crafts such as gem cutting, jewelry etc., religious issues, military matters, household affairs and so on, played a significant role in the Minoan economy and in their society, there can be no denying that sheep raising and husbandry was the keystone of their economy. There is simply no way of getting around this conclusion, given the fact that the cold, bare statistics practically shout this at us.  Of course, many of you will object, statistics aren’t everything, or even all that reliable as an indicator of anything, for that matter. And of course, you would be right... except for one big thorn in our side, namely, the fact that statistics for the number of fragments and tablets dealing specifically with sheep, rams and ewes is so huge (20.12 %) that it could very well make the objections of our doubting Thomases almost irrelevant. I have not yet formally compiled statistics for the incidence of tablets and fragments dealing with any other aspect of Minoan life whatsoever, but I can assure that, even on examining all of these tablets quite closely, no other area of interest whatsoever comes even remotely close to the overwhelming figure of 503 tablets or fragments specifically focusing on sheep, rams and ewes (20.12 %), accounting for fully 1/5 of all 2,503 tablets and fragments I examined.

The next post will provide us with two examples of the 138/503 site-specific Linear B tablets dealing with sheep, rams and ewes.
  
Richard



What is all this Fuss about “Translating” Fragments of.... Let's just say for a laugh... English!

Let's just say for a laugh that some 3,000 years from now, when English has long since disappeared from the face of the Earth, or more likely, that that the face of the Earth has itself disappeared, some would-be hyper adventurous aliens just happen to pop by our solar system, and manage to mine out of the detritus of the Earth's debris a few bits and pieces of digital records of text in English (for the sake of simplicity, though any “modern” language would do), and what they found were fragments such as this (Click to ENLARGE):

fragmentsofEnglish3,000yearshence
So now we see what we are really up against when we try to “translate” or “interpret” fragments of Linear B tablets, if indeed they are in Linear B, and not in Linear A. While the vast majority of tabulary fragments Sir Arthur Evans discovered at Knossos were in Linear B, plenty of them were not, and since so many of the syllabograms in Linear A & B are identical, how on earth can we even be sure that the fragment we are trying to “translate” or “interpret” is not in Linear B, but (God forbid!) in Linear A, in which case, no matter how hard we bash our brains, we simply cannot translate it!

For instance, what if from that loot of so-called “English” fragments discovered by our curious wee aliens in the far future, some of the fragments were not in English at all, but, say, in Ojibway, or Algonquin or Polynesian?  And what poor benighted alien could possibly recognize any of those languages, if all he or she had to go on was a very limited corpus of some 2,500 English words.... much as we nowadays have to make do with whenever we are forced up against the wall, and bound (pardon the pun!) to translate what we merely think are fragments of Linear B?  

Oh the pitfalls! I rest my case.  Or put it another way (Click to ENLARGE):

Ideograms humor what do they mean
Richard



Our Long-Term Project: Translations & Transliterations of up to 1,000 or more Knossos Tablets & Fragments # 1

In the next 3 years, it is our intention to translate or transliterate at least several 100, if not more than 1,000, of the some 3,500 tablets & fragments unearthed by the famous archaeologist, Sir Arthur Evans, at the site of Knossos, all of which are catalogued in his famous “Scripta Minoa”, originally published by Oxford University Press in 1909, and re-released in 1952, and available online in their entirety here:

Heidelberg University
 
This is a huge undertaking, never before assayed. Our task will be daunting, but not overly-stressful, provided that we tackle only a few tablets or fragments at a time, for fear of overwhelming you, our blog visitors, readers and researchers of Mycenaean Linear B (let alone ourselves).  Each new post will display no more than 10 Knossos Fragments from the “Scripta Minoa”, and where entire Tablets are concerned, we will of course, limit ourselves to 1 Tablet only per post.

For the first 9 fragments from the “Scripta Minoa”, with my tentative translations and transliterations, click here to ENLARGE:

Knossos Scripta Minoa Tablets first 9 fragments of 100s
The distinction between a translation and a transliteration is as follows. A translation is just that, however tentative or (im)plausible. On the other hand, a transliteration simply consists of rendering the syllabograms in a fragment (& always in a fragment) into their Latin equivalents.  A great many fragments simply defy translation, for several reasons:

1 the fragment contains only 1 syllabogram or vowel, as in the example above of the fragment with the vowel “u” only;
2 the fragment contains a word which is truncated on the right;
3 the fragment contains a word which is truncated on the left;  
4 the fragment contains a word which is truncated on both the left and the right;
5 the fragment contains words which may be in any combination of 1-4 above;
6 some or all of the words in the fragment are practically illegible.

In all such cases, context, which is the prime determinant of effectual translation, should be present in its entirety or clearly established. The only exceptions to this guideline occur where the meaning of a word is completely transparent, in spite of inadequate contextuality, as in the case of the word for “a hollow (of a) bowl” in [2] above, as well as “so much = total” in [7] above.

Any other attempts at translation are entirely conjectural, and open to serious contention, or even implausibility, as in the case of  [1] [3] [4] & [5] above.  So, you ask, why even bother?  I am willing even to take a shot at any (im)plausible translation of any word(s) or phrase(s) in a fragment or tablet, provided that they at least make some sense, and given that at some point in the future, someone will be able to authenticate or reject the “translation” as realistic or not.
  
My colleague, Rita Roberts, who is a retired archaeologist in Crete, and I shall be undertaking this fascinating and highly informative new project as a team. I am sure the long-term results will be of great interest to Linear B scholars and researchers worldwide. 


Richard


Translation of Knossos Tablet KN 684, Loss of 46 Ivory Fragments (Click to ENLARGE):

Linear B Tablet Knossos Kn V 684

Richard

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