Tag Archive: gods



Linear B tablet KN 702 M b 11, “to all the gods” by Rita Roberts

Knossos tablet KN 702 M b 11

This is one of the most significant of all Linear B tablets, as it refers “to all the gods” . But who are all of these gods in Mycenaean Greek? Beneath the translation all of the Mycenaean gods are listed. We notice that whereas many of them survived into archaic and classical Greek (those tagged with an asterisk * after them), some did not. They simply disappeared after the fall of Mycenae ca. 1200 BCE. However, this does not mean that most of them were not (highly) significant to the Mycenaeans. We cite in particular Potnia or Potnia Theron = Mistress (of the Wild Beasts), Emaha2 (Emahai), Manassa, Presphaion, Qerasiya (Kerasiya) and Tiriseroe.


Inscription from Malia in New Minoan Linear A, Tainaron, a town with authority:

Mallia text in Linear A dealing with Tainaron with Linear B transcription

Here we have yet another inscription from Malia in New Minoan Linear A, which appears to invoke the supreme authority of Tainaron, a town at the southern tip of Laconia, with the blessings of the gods. If this tablet is indeed inscribed in Mycenaean-derived new Minoan, then it is the fourth of the tablets from Malia I have deciphered, all of them in New Minoan. It would thus appear that the Mycenaeans had assumed suzerainty over Malia before these tablets were inscribed, and that the scribes there were still using the Linear A syllabary to inscribe tablets in Mycenaean Greek, just before the switch-over to the new official syllabary, Linear B. It cannot simply be co-incidental that all of the inscriptions from Malia, including the famous IDAMATE labrys from the Archalochori Cave, appear to be inscribed in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan. In fact, the word Idamate can easily be rendered as the mother (goddess) of Mount Ida”. It is also a matter of great interest to note that Tainaron itself is the toponym of Cape Tainaron,

Tainaron ancient Greece

where there was a sanctuary of Poseidon, who may very well be the god who has brought blessings on the town. It is to be noted that the Archalochori axe inscribed in proto-Greek is also in a sanctuary where a horde of bronze votive weapons, mostly axes, were discovered. Moreover, Malia tablet MA 1 appears to deal with Minos, the legendary king of Knossos offering gold to Rhea, mother of Zeus. In other words, all of the inscriptions from Malia deal with religious rites. This should come as no surprise, as more Linear A than Linear B tablets appear to focus on religious symbolism or rites.

Except for Tainaro, which is equivalent to the nominative neuter in Linear B, all proto-Greek spellings on this inscription have been adjusted to meet the exigencies of Old Minoan syntax. It would thus appear that etanasu is the Minoan orthography for hestanwn (standing, Greek Latinized), while pijani is the dative or instrumental singular in Minoan of the noun derived from the Greek verb, piainw, to enrich. The orthography of Tainaro appears to confirm that the nominative neuter in Linear B underwent no change in Minoan. This conclusion conforms with the table of 45 apparent Minoan masculine and neuter nominatives I recently posted:

https://linearbknossosmycenae.wordpress.com/2017/05/18/linear-a-nouns-ultimate-o-masculineneuter-nouns-and-adjectives/


3 alternatives in Minoan Linear A for pasiteoi = “to all the gods” in Mycenaean Greek:

pasiteoi pasi

I rummaged through every last of the scores of Minoan Linear A tablets I have on file, searching for any rendition possible commensurate with the phrase pasiteoi = “to all the gods” in Mycenaean Greek. I have made the assumption, however misplaced, that since this a 5 syllabogram or syllable phrase in Mycenaean Linear B, the cross-correlated phrase in Minoan Linear A should run to approximately the same number of syllabograms or syllables, give or take. I found 3 alternatives. I had little choice, as there is simply no way or knowing whether or not any one of these 3,  iqa*118, dadumata or *47nuraja  corresponds to the Mycenaean phrase, if indeed any of them do. However, the chances are pretty good that one of them does.

So take your pick. I lean towards dadumata, as it looks like it might be plural, though certainly not necessarily neuter plural, corresponding to the ultimate “a”, which imposes itself on any word in the neuter or feminine plural in Mycenaean Greek. One simply cannot transpose the last vowel “a” for the neuter plural in Linear B to Linear A. The same problem obtains with *47nuraja.  On the other hand, transposition of “a” for Greek “ai” in Mycenaean Greek is a (somewhat remote) possibility in Minoan Linear A. But here again we cannot and must not leap to any premature conclusions. 

Each of these terms qualifies as the sixty-ninth (69) term I have deciphered, more or less accuracy, in Minoan Linear A.


Mycenaean Linear B tablets on olive oil dedicated to all the gods as templates for cross-correlation to Minoan Linear A tablets:

Linear B tablets pasi teoi all the gods

These two Mycenaean Linear B tablets and the Mycenaean Greek phrase on olive oil dedicated to all the gods serve as templates for cross-correlation to Minoan Linear A tablets in the same vein. In the last post on the delivery of olive oil, I stated that the immense number of permutations and combinations attributable to activities and terms related to olive oil severely mitigated against the possibility of extracting any real meaning from Minoan Linear A tablets. There is another side to this coin. Wherever the same activity or term is repeated at least 3 times on 3 Mycenaean Linear B tablets versus those terms which appear only once on 1 Linear B tablet (which is the case with all the other Mycenaean Greek terms we shall be posting), the likelihood for successful cross-correlative regressive extrapolation to Minoan Linear A tablets on olive oil rises dramatically. This is because recurrent vocabulary appearing at least 3 times on at least as many tablets in any sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy, agricultural, military, textiles and vessels and pottery, tends to promote the likelihood that said terms might also appear on Minoan Linear A tablets. Nevertheless, cross-correlation of terms recurring at least 3 times is still risky. There is no guarantee that such cross-correlation can or will work in dredging up the “same” tablets in Minoan Linear A.    

We shall see soon enough.


The lengthy and highly informative Linear B tablet Pylos Py Er 312 from Chris Tselentis’ Linear B Lexicon:

Pylos tablet PY TA Er 312 Linear B

Pylos tablet PY TA Er 312 Linear B Latinized and translation
Linear B tablet Pylos Py Er 312 which Chris Tselentis deciphered in his superb Linear B Lexicon is presented above. This tablet runs the gamut from wheat and wheat seeds, to the measurement of olive oil to a number of references to the gods and sacred cults. Since Linear B tablets from Pylos tend to be significantly larger than those from Knossos, they are often a richer source of information applicable to the decipherment, not only of Linear B tablets, but of Minoan Linear A tablets as well.  You can be sure that I shall rely a good deal lon this tablet in my efforts towards the further decipherment of Minoan Linear A. Since Chris Tselentis has done all the work for us, I have simply translated it into English, without troubling myself with appending the text in Archaic Greek.  


Linear B tablet on olive trees and barley as debts to be paid to the gods:

Linear B tablet Knossos debts to the gods of olive oil and barley

This particular tablet serves as a minor variant on the others we have posted with reference to dedications of olive trees and barley to the gods. Twice over tt adds the notion of debts to be paid (to the gods). This emphasis is obviously of great importance to the fellow who must pay these debts to the gods, to the palace administration at Knossos (which benefits from said payment) and to the gods themselves (who do not, since no one can pay out debts to abstract beings).

The tablet adds an extra dimension to the vocabulary on Linear B tablets on olive oil and barley owed to the gods, which hopefully can be successfully cross-correlated with Minoan Linear A tablets possibly referencing the same procedure.


Knossos tablet with all sorts of references to olive oil and barley:

Knossos tablet 1 j olive oil barley etc

This tablet is a real hodgepodge of references to olive oil, olive oil trees and barley, ranging from references the port of Amnisos, to units of dry measurement (which also frequently occur on Minoan Linear A tablets), to all the gods and to the goddess Erinu in particular. Not only that, it also tabulates bales of barley, even down to single units of dry measurement of barley. So this tablet serves as a real cornucopia for olive oil, olive oil trees and barley. Thus, it adds one more reference to every single facet of these commodities. I shall tally the totals for all references to each commodity when I have finished translating as many Linear B tablets as I can referencing olive oil.


A partial Linear B tablet from  Knossos illustrating 542 amphorae or pithoi! 

KN 712 M p 01

This is a partial Linear B tablet from  Knossos illustrating 542 amphorae or pithoi, a staggering number. Since the pithoi at Knossos are all huge, it is impossible that these 542 amphorae an all be pithoi. Far from it. Probably 500 at least were smaller amphorae, and the rest (42 or so) possibly pithoi, but we cannot be sure. I have deduced that teyo to the left side of this partial tablet is the genitive singular of the Linear B word teo = “Zeus” or “a god”, hence in this context it means, “of Zeus” or “of the god”, implying that all of these amphorae and pithoi are the property of said god. 

Here we see a fabulously wrought Minoan bee pendant with what appears to be the image of a Minoan priest or god in the centre.

Minoan bee pendant god ca 1850 - 1550 BCE Aigina

The homophone supersyllabogram AI = goat:

Kn 913 D k 01 AI Aiza

The supersyllabogram AI is the only homophone (not a regular syllabogram) which qualifies as a supersyllabogram. But it presents an unusual special case. As you can see from the Linear B text, the scribe uses the supersyllabogram for “goat” actually “billy goat” and then, strangely enough (as it would first appear, the ideogram for the same, “billy” goat, followed by the number 1. Then on the second line he uses the ideogram for “she goat”, again followed by the number 1 and by the syllabogram PA right truncated.

If all this seems a mystery to you, it is not to me. The syllabogram PA right truncated on the second line almost certainly means pasi teoi = to all the gods, which in turn implies sapaketeriya = sacrificial rites. That is precisely the reason why the scribe repeats “billy goat”, first as a supersyllabogram and then as an ideogram on line 1. This is no ordinary billy goat. And she is no ordinary she goat. This is a “sacrificial billy goat to all the gods”. The reason why the scribe does not even bother to repeat the supersyllabogram AI for “goat” on the second line is that the SSYL for “goat” on the first line includes both the billy goat and the she goat, his partner. No Linear B scribe in his right mind would ever repeat the same supersyllabogram, in this case AI, twice on the same tablet, for the simple reason that the scribes routinely omitted text (and in this case the SSYL AI on the second line) to save precious space on the tiny Linear B tablets, which rarely (like this one) exceeded 15 cm. (6 inches) in width.

This is the only possible decipherment. I am so sure of it that I would bet my life on it... well, not literally.


CONTEST QUIZ & LOVELY BOOK PRIZES! Are these statuettes of the Mistress of the Hunt, Zeus & the Priestess of the Winds? Click to ENLARGE:

Potnia Theron Diwo Anemoieriya
NOTE that this POST is classified under the heading MEDIA at the top of this blog. If you click on MEDIA, you will find it much faster than if you simply try scrolling through the hundreds of posts on our blog.

It is quite possible that these 3 statuettes are, from left to right, (a) Potnia Theron (Mistress of the Hunt), (b) DIWO (in Mycenaean Greek) or ZEUS & (c) ANEMOIYEREA (The Minoan Mycenaean Priestess of the Winds). For more on the Priestess of the Winds, click on this BANNER:
 
POST Anemoiyerea
But they may not be. Who is to say, if not you yourself? So why not tell us, and we will let you know if you are right. Moreover, if you get the answer EXACTLY right, you will win FIRST PRIZE of a fine edition of W. Ceram’s Gods, Graves and Scholars, and if you get the closest answer to the FIRST PRIZE winning answer, your SECOND PRIZE is another fine book on The Minoans. See below for details.

HOW TO ENTER THE CONTEST: It is simple. Answer any of questions (a) to (d) below as you see fit.

To reply with your answer, you may either:
(a) leave your reply in the Comments section for this post; or
(b) send me your answer to either of my e-mail accounts:

vallance22@gmail.com

OR

vallance22@gmx.com

(Since I must protect myself from spammers, these e-mail links are not live in this post.
You must add my e-mail address to your address book.)

THIS CONTEST QUIZ IS OPEN UNTIL JULY 1 2015.

Good luck!  

HOW I FOUND THESE AMAZING STATUETTES!     

While watching a truly fascinating TV program this morning, I happened to see these three statuettes, which I instantly recognized as quite possibly being dated anywhere from the late Bronze Age to the early Iron Age (ca. 1300-800 BCE). Just one look at them, and you can see for yourselves that they could easily date from within these five centuries. But the question is, do they, and if they do not, what are they? Do not kid yourself, this is an extremely tricky quiz question, because, unless you have actually seen the program yourself and you recognized them flash across the screen, then you cannot possibly know the answer. However, to be fair, I shall give everyone out there, whether or not you are an expert in ancient Greek archaeology, an historian of ancient Greece, or an aficionado of all things ancient, more than an even break to guess the right answer... and there is only one. 

THIS QUIZ IS SO DIFFICULT IT IS OPEN TO EVERYONE, EVEN MY CO-RESIDENT BLOGGER, RITA ROBERTS.

Answer these questions as you see fit:
(a) Are these statuettes genuine ancient Greek artifacts, Minoan, Mycenaean or early Iron Age? OR
(b) If not, are statuettes from another ancient civilization, and if, so, which one? OR
(c) Are these statuettes fake? AND
(d) If they are fake, precisely what are they? If you believe (c) to be true, then you must answer (d) precisely, i.e. you must identify exactly what these statuettes are and the actual name of the program from which they are derived. The only way anyone can get this last option (d) correct is if you have actually seen the program in question, and even then, I my be leading you astray. In other words, either (a) or (b) may be the right answer, or on the other hand (c) and (d). YOU DECIDE.

There are two beautiful prizes to be won:
FIRST PRIZE: for the person who tells me precisely what they are, down to the very last detail, providing the actual names of each statute in turn, AND the name of the TV program where I found them, this magnificent volume:

Ceram, C.W. Gods, Graves, and Scholars: the Story of Archaeology. London: the Folio Society, © 1999. xxx, 528 pp. Illustrated with full colour and black & white plates. Bound in full buckram, printed on Inveresk Wove paper by the Bath Press.
Approximate Value: $80

Ceram Gods Graves and Scholars Folio
 
SECOND PRIZE: for the person who tells me gets the closest to the answer for the first PRIZE, down to the very last detail, providing the actual names of each statute in turn, but missing out on only one or two details, this splendid book: 

Fitton, J. Lesley. The Minoans. London: the Folio Society, © 2004. xix, 392 pp. Illustrated with full colour and black & white plates. Bound in full cloth, printed on Abbey Wove paper by Cambridge University Press. Approximate Value: $65

Fitton Minoans Folio

NOTE: IF YOU STILL HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR ARE IN ANY WAY UNSURE HOW TO ANSWER THE QUESTION, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME IN COMMENTS HERE ON THE BLOG OR BY E-MAIL.


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