Tag Archive: gold

Academia.edu THESIS The Minoan and Mycenaean Agricultural Trade and Trade Routes in the Mycenaean Empire by Rita Roberts:

Click on this logo to download her thesis:

minoan and mycenaean main

We are proud to announce that Rita Roberts has fulfilled the requirements of her second year of university, and has passed with a mark of 85 %. We have awarded her 90 % for thesis, The Minoan and Mycenaean Agricultural Trade and Trade Routes in the Mycenaean Empire, which is a finely researched document I highly recommend to any and all. It deals in great detail with every conceivable aspect of Minoan and Mycenaean agricultural trade via their trade routes in the Mycenaean Empire, ca. 1600-1450 BCE. We congratulate Rita on her splendid achievement, and we look forward to her fuflling the exacting requirements of her third and final year of university which commences on July 1 2018, Canada Day. Once she has completed her third year, she will have earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Minoan and Mycenaean studies.

Minoan Linear A seal, ZOTE, possibly a belt or girdle (of gold?)

Minoan seal crete ZOTE girdle belt

This Linear A Minoan seal is incised with the syllabograms ZO + TE, which form the word ZOTE, apparently equivalent to ancient Greek zwsth/r = belt or girdle. If this is the meaning we can take from the seal, it is likely the belt was gold, as per the fresco of the cup bearers in the South Portico, Knossos.

Linear A words and ideograms for cereals + general Linear A ideograms:

all Linear A ideograms grains

The chart above lists almost all of the Linear A words and ideograms for cereals + general Linear A ideograms. The Linear A Semitic words and ideograms for cereals are identical to those found on Linear A tablets HT 86 and HT 95 (Haghia Triada). Simply refer to the previous posts on these two highly significant Linear A tablets to confirm these interpretations. Also found in this chart are general Linear A ideograms, the majority of which are identical to their Linear B counterparts, which should come as no surprise to anyone, considering that the Linear B syllabary is merely a refinement of the Linear A syllabary.

Yet another Linear A inscription, Malia MA 1, apparently entirely in proto-Greek and/or in Mycenaean-derived Greek:

Malia MA 1 is yet another Linear A inscription apparently entirely inscribed in proto-Greek and/or in Mycenaean-derived Greek:

Linear A tablet MA 1 Malia

If it is, it clearly describes King Minos, on the grounds of labyrinth, in which is found the Minotaur, with a dedication of gold to the goddess Rhea, at least if the left-truncated word … jei begins with re … , hence: rejei (which is dative singular). Although this last interpretation is entirely conjectural, it does make sense in context.



Linear B Tablet Pylos TA 716, bridle chains and swords:

This tablet speaks for itself.

Linear B tablet py-ta-716


Linear A haiku, violets parallel to violets for Kaniami, from her father, in Linear A, archaic Greek, English and French:

As can clearly be seen from the original inscription on this exquisitely crafted golden pin from the A.Y. Nikolaos Museum, Crete, the text of the haiku closely follows the original:

Linear A golden pin Zf 1 Ayios Nikolaos Museum


Haiku in Minoan Linear A: violets in fine craftsmanship from her father:

haiku in Linear A violets from father


Linear A fragment PH 7 (Phaistos) which is definitely a religious incantation:

PH 7 linear-a-phaistos-a religious incantation

Linear A fragment PH 7 (Phaistos), entirely inscribed in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan, is definitely a religious incantation. It is fascinating to note that the incantation is highly reminiscent of the Christian mass or communion, call it what you will. The priestess pours water, udiriki (instr. sing.), from a cup, dipaja (gen. sing.) and offers jatimane or the blessed bread of healing to her suppliants, while the whole ceremony, apparently conducted in a small shrine, is illumined by a firebrand. What a lovely, intimate picture of a scared religious ceremony this draws!

Exquisite golden pin Zf 1 (Ayios Nikolaos Museum) fully deciphered in New Minoan: 

golden floral pin Linear A Zf 1 inscription Ayios Nikolaos Museum Crete in derived Mycenaean

Minoan Lilies Akrotiri and pancratium maritmum

This inscription, which appears to be entirely in Mycenaean derived New Minoan, is one of the loveliest I have ever come across, whether in Minoan or Mycenaean. There are similar inscriptions on Linear B tablets from Phaistos. The text waxes almost poetic and is quintessentially suited to the magnificent craftsmanship of this exquisite golden pin. The text in its entirety is utterly coherent, and is probably spot on. The syntax of the Greek had to be adjusted to meet the grammatical exigencies of the Minoan language. This explains the anomaly of qakisenuti, which is probably Minoan instrumental, hence “with (fine) craftsmanship”. And the craftsmanship is certainly that!

This decipherment lends greater credence than I had previously imagined to the distinct probability that at least a few Minoan inscriptions were in fact written entirely in Mycenaean derived proto-Greek with the syntax adjusted to the requirements of the Minoan language. I have already fully addressed this phenomenon in a previous post, which I urge you to reread, in order to place this decipherment in its proper perspective. You can read that post here:

Partial decipherment of Partial decipherment of Linear A tablet ZA 15 (Zakros) and the phenomenon of orthographic adjustment of superstratum words in the substratum language:


I am therefore finally convinced that decipherment of Mycenaean derived New Minoan is an eminently attainable goal.

Displays of exquisite Minoan-Mycenaean jewellery # 4 as a prelude to the stunning gold pin from the Ayia Nikolaos Museum:

All of these displays illustrate just how exquisite Minoan-Mycenaean craftsmanship was.

composite of exquisite Minoan jewlery

The last of these displays is that of the stunning gold pin from the Ayia Nikolaos Museum. This pin is of particular interest to us here because in the next post I succeed in completely deciphering the inscription, which is written entirely in Mycenaean derived New Minoan.




Displays of exquisite Minoan-Mycenaean jewellery # 3 as a prelude to the stunning gold pin from the Ayia Nikolaos Museum:

All of these displays illustrate just how exquisite Minoan-Mycenaean craftsmanship was.

Flower rosette Mycenaean gold necklace

Gold and rock crystal necklace beads from Agia Triada, Late Minoan I period



Displays of exquisite Minoan-Mycenaean jewellery # 2 as a prelude to the stunning gold pin from the Ayia Nikolaos Museum:

All of these displays illustrate just how exquisite Minoan-Mycenaean craftsmanship was.

jewelry of gold, amethyst, faience, silv

Mycenaean gold necklace 1300 BC


Displays of exquisite Minoan-Mycenaean jewellery # 1 as a prelude to the stunning gold pin from the Ayia Nikolaos Museum:

British Museum The Aegina Treasure

Antique Sterling Minoan Prince of Lilies Silver Seal Ring

florali early Minoan gold flowers ~ c2300 B.C.


Common Linear A ideograms for livestock, crops, olives, barley and wheat:

Linear A ideograms 620

These are the most common Linear A ideograms for livestock, crops, olives, barley and wheat. Unlike Mycenaean Linear B, Linear draws a distinction between certain species of wheat, with the ideogram for “wheat” accompanied by the supersyllabogram DI meaning dideru = “roasted einkorn” and the same ideogram accompanied by QE , signifying qerie = “emmer wheat”, while at the same time using a slightly different ideogram for “barley”.  In addition, the word sara2 (sarai) = “sharia wheat”. All of these words are firmly established and confirmed in either the Old Minoan or the pre-Greek substratum. Most of the Linear A ideograms are either very similar or identical to their Linear B counterparts.

Here you see illustrations of emmer wheat and roasted einkorn:

roasted einkorn and emmer wheat

And here is sharia wheat:

sharia wheat

Guess what! All 17 of the conjectural units of measurement in Minoan Linear A panned out!

To my great surprise and definite relief, it appears that all 7 of the conjectural units of measurement in Minoan Linear A have panned out. Looks like I hit gold in the Klondike!


Minoan Linear A tablet 9675, A.Y. Nickolaus Museum, Crete, with the distinct possibility of gold mentioned in its text:

gold pin epingle en or Fig30 AY Nicolaus Museum

Minoan Linear A gold pin, 9675, A.Y. Nickolaus Museum, Crete, which is a beautiful gold pin with gold leaves on the front side of it (RECTO) and with Linear A text on the reverse side (VERSO) presents us with the distinct possibility that the word “gold” actually appears in the text, if for no other reason than that Mycenaean Linear B tablets concerned with gold sometimes repeat the word “gold” several times over on the same tablet, as is the case with Pylos tablet Py TA 707, with Chris Tselentis’ translation given here:

Linear B Pylos TA 707 according to Chris Tslentis

Since a single occurrence of the word  “gold” can and does appear on more than one Mycenaean Linear B tablet, and can repeated several times on other tablets (as above), it is not unreasonable to assume that the same word can appear at least once in a Minoan Linear A text, especially one that is imprinted on a gold pin! The problem with the exquisite inscribed Minoan Linear A gold pin, 9675, in the A.Y. Nickolaus Museum, Crete, is that it contains two words, either of which may signify “gold”. These alternatives are atade and noja, either of which might be the word for “gold” in Minoan Linear A. Though the possibility for this eventuality is less than 50 %, I am of the opinion that this possibility is very close to the 50/50 mark, which implies that the chances of either one of these words signifies “gold” is 50/50. But this still begs the question, which one? We shall never know the answer to this, or even whether or not either of these two word actually does mean “gold”. But it is worth serious consideration.

I also feel reasonably assured that the word Kanajami is an eponym (personal name), since it is ostensibly feminine. After all, one usually gives a gold pin to a woman.

These two terms (atade or noja) and Kanajami bring the total count of Minoan Linear A words I have deciphered, more or less accurately, to 128. 

Rita Robert’s brilliant essay, The Construction of the Mycenaean Chariot:

The Construction of a Mycenaean Chariot

Even though we have examples shown on frescoes and pottery vessels depicting chariots, it is difficult to say for sure how a Mycenaean chariot was constructed.

These examples however, only give us mostly a side view, which presents a problem. What we really need to find, is an example which shows all angles, for us to get a better understanding of the Mycenaean chariots construction.

It is hard to visualize these chariots as they actually appeared in Mycenaean times, 1400- 1200 BC. But they were certainly built for battle worthiness when needed.

It is to be noted that the Mycenaean military, as that of other ancient civilizations, such as those of Egypt in the Bronze Age, the Hittite Empire, the Iron Age of Athens and Sparta, and later still, of the Roman Empire, most certainly would have gone to great lengths in manufacturing all parts of the chariots to be battle worthy, strong and resistant to wear, and of the highest standards within the limits of technology available to them in Mycenaean times.

The chariot, most likely invented in the Near East, became one of the most innovative items of weaponry in Bronze Age warfare. It seems that the Achaeans adopted the chariot for use in warfare in the late 16th century BC, as attested to on some gravestones as well as seals and rings.

It is thought that the chariot did not come to the mainland via Crete, but the other way around, and it was not until the mid 15th century BC that  the chariot appears on the island of Crete, as attested to by seal engravings and the Linear B Tablets.

The Achaean chariots can be divided into five main designs which can be identified as, “box chariot”,  “quadrant chariot”, “rail chariot” and “four wheeled chariot.” None completely survived, but some metallic parts and horse bits have been found in some graves and settlements, also chariot bodies, wheels and horses are inventoried in several Linear B tablets.

The “rail chariot” was a light vehicle which featured an open cab and was more likely used as a means of transport than as a mobile fighting vehicle.  The “four wheeled chariot,” used since the 16th century BC, was utilized throughout the late Helladic time. Both the “rail chariot”, and the “ four- wheeled chariot “ continued to be used after the end of the Bronze Age.

Based on some hunting scenes and armed charioteer representations on pottery vessels and Linear B tablets, there is no question that the chariots were used in warfare as a platform for throwing javelins (or thrusting long spears), as a means of conveyance  to and from battle and,  on fewer occasions, as a platform for a bow-armed warrior. These warriors could have fought as cavalry or a force of mounted infantry, particularly suited to responding to the kind of raids that seem to have been occurring in the later period.

Some thoughts on the construction of the Mycenaean chariot:

As we cannot be absolutely sure how the Mycenaean chariot was constructed, we have to use pictorial examples, leaving us little choice, other than that of resorting to a close examination of the pottery vessels and frescoes depicting them, and whatever other sources are available. So I have chosen the beautiful “Tiryns Fresco” 1200 BC as an example of the construction and design of the Mycenaean chariot, although some points differ in other depictions on various other frescoes.

The Mycenaean chariots were made to be drawn by two horses attached to a central pole. If two additional horses were added, they were attached on either side of the main team by a single bar fastened to the front of the chariot. The chariot itself consisted of a basket with a rail each side and a foot board” for the driver to stand on. The body of the chariot rested directly on the axle connecting the two wheels. The harness of each horse consisted of a bridle and reins, usually made of leather, and ornamented with studs of ivory or horn. The reins were passed through collar bands or yoke, and were long enough to be tied around the waist of the charioteer, allowing him to defend himself when necessary.

The wheels and basket of the chariot were usually of wood, strengthened in places with bronze, the basket sometimes covered with wicker wood. The wheels had four to eight spokes.

Most other nations of this time the, “Bronze Age,” had chariots of similar design to the Greeks, the chief differences being the mountings.

Source: Chariots of Greece

chariots in Greece

The components needed to build a chariot:

Chariot  =  iqiya
Axle = akosone
Wheels = amota
Rims of Wheels = temidweta
Willow wood = erika
Elm wood = pterewa
Bronze = kako
Leather = wirino
Reins = aniya
Ivory = erepato
Horn = kera
Foot board = peqato
Gold = kuruso
Silver= akuro

Tiryns fresco
The lovely Tiryns Fresco

Pylos fresco
Chariot Fresco from Pylos

Mycenaean rail chariot
Bronze Age Chariot

Bronze Age war chariot
Bronze Age War Chariot

vase with Mycenaean chariot
Amphora depicting Bronze Age chariot

box chariots
Achaean Small Box Chariots with an example of the horse harness

The cabs of these chariots were framed in steam bent wood and probably covered with ox-hide  or wicker work, the floor consisting more likely of interwoven raw-hide thongs. The early small box-chariots were crewed either by one single man or two men, a charioteer and a warrior. The small box-chariot differ in terms of design from the Near Eastern type. The four spoke wheels seem to be standard throughout this period.

Rita Roberts, Haghia Triada, Crete

Linear B tablet Pylos TA Ae 08 offerings of gold from her slaves to the priestess at Pylos:

Linear B tablet Pylos Ae 08 offerings by slaves to the priestess at Pylos

The Linear B tablet Pylos TA Ae 08 offerings of gold from her slaves to the priestess at Pylos is one of the most famous of all Linear B tablets. It rounds out our survey of 6 religious tablets in Mycenaean Linear B which may very well serve as templates for the decipherment of Minoan Linear A tablets in the same vein.

Comprehensive Architectural Lexicon, Knossos & Mycenae (Part A):

Architectural Lexicon Knossos and Mycenae

Since I have been posting scores of photos of the magnificent Third Palace of Knossos, Late Minoan IIIb (ca. 1450 BCE), I have decided to compile an Architectural Lexicon in 2 parts. This is the first. The vocabulary is relatively straightforward, with a few minor exceptions:
1 Decorated with spirals. The Minoans at Knossos and the Mycenaeans went crazy decorating many of their lovely frescoes and their walls with spirals.
2 Bathtub. You might be wondering, why on earth would I add this word?... because bathtubs were an integral part of room architecture, i.e. of the bathroom. The people of Knossos in particular were very clean. They even had an advanced hydraulics driven piping and drainage system, the likes of which was never again repeated until ancient Rome. And the Romans, unlike the Minoans at Knossos, made the terrible mistake of constructing their pipes of lead, leading to widespread lead poisoning. The Minoans used ceramics... nice and clean. Clever. No surprise there.
3 Mantles! Isn’t that what people wear? Well, yes, but they could also be used to decorate the top of windows, I imagine. Or maybe it is just my imagination. Correct me if I am wrong.
4 The word erepato, which  is the equivalent of the Homeric Greek elefantos never means ivory either in Mycenaean or in Homeric Greek!
5 Crocus? - of course! ... used all over the place in the lovely frescoes!
6 Circles were likewise universal on the building friezes. And with good reason. They are geometrically perfect, a typically Greek characteristic.

Linear B tablets dealing with gold cloth (supersyllabogram KU incharged):

Linear B tablets dealing with gold cloth KN 514 to KN 516

The 3 Linear B tablets above all deal with gold cloth. The supersyllabogram KI incharged in the ideogram for pawea = textiles indicates that the cloth is made of gold = kuruso in Linear B. The translations are completely transparent. The only problem is with the right-truncated syllabogram A on the first fragment. This could be the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of at least 5 Mycenaean Greek words as illustrated above. Take your choice. My favourite is “decorated”, although I also particularly like “silver”, since cloth woven with silver and gold would be extremely precious. The following picture illustrates two Minoan women wearing dresses with gold weaving.

Minoan women in gold cloth

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