Tag Archive: grain

Minoan Linear A tablet KH 10 (Khania/Chania) & akipiete = Mycenaean Linear B kekemena = “common, shared, allotted”:

Linear A KH 10 akipiete = shared plot of land Linear B ktonia

Minoan Linear A tablet KH 10 from Khania/Chania contains the word akipiete, which is very likely the equivalent of Mycenaean Linear B kekemena = “common, shared, allotted”. Note the number 90 following the number of “bushel-like” units of wheat. That number is too small to refer to anything other than something rather small in common, or if you like, shared or allotted to an equally small number of farmers or (more likely) tenant farmers sharing a rather small plot of land = ktoina. I had previously defined akipiete as “harvest”, but such an interpretation is quite out of the question in light of the small no. of “bushel-like” units of wheat = 90. Such a piddly amount of wheat would never be sufficient to victualize all of the inhabitants of Khania/Chania, not even for a month! So we have no alternative but to greatly reduce the number of people who can reasonably be fed by 90 bushels to a few farmers or more likely tenant farmers on a small plot of land.

It is crucial to understand that the number of items following any object on a Minoan Linear A tablet is a critical factor determining the definition of said object. This factor will become clearer when I publish my draft article on our Minoan Linear A Glossary on academia.edu.

This is term 105 I have deciphered, more or less accurately. I feel comfortable enough assigning a scalar value of 60%+ to this term, indicating a reasonable degree of accuracy.

Kunisu, another Minoan Linear A word which might mean “bushel” or alternatively “emmer wheat/farro”:

kunisu grains wheat yield

Kunisu is yet another Minoan Linear A word which might mean “bushel” or alternatively “emmer wheat/farro”. I am uncertain whether this is the suitable term for “bushel” in Minoan Linear A or whether ase is. The former (kunisu) is masculine, indicating a large amount, and can be either singular or plural. The latter, ase, is probably feminine plural. Because kunisu denotes something large, as apparently all words ending with ultimate U in Minoan Linear A do, it may be the better candidate for “bushel”. But I am leaving my options open. One thing is certain. As Prof. John G. Younger points out in his Linear A Texts in phonetic transcription, kunisu does not mean the same thing as Konoso in Mycenaean Linear B. Take a good look at the two words in their original syllabaries side by side at the bottom of the figure above. They do not even look alike. I am full agreement with Younger on this point.

This brings the total number of Minoan Linear A words we have deciphered more or less accurately to eighty-one (81).

Minoan Linear A tablet HT 14 (Haghia Triada), apu2nadu = “grain or wheat distributed” or “grain measurers”:

Haghia Triada HT 14 apu2nadu = grain or wheat distributed

Minoan Linear A tablet HT 14 (Haghia Triada) apu2nadu may mean either “grain or wheat distributed” or “grain measurers”. I am not sure which of the two best fits the context, but I prefer the first decipherment. The supersyllabogram TE = tereza = a very large unit of dry measurement, which  appears in line 1, appears to reference the grain/wheat rather than the wine, and if so, it tells us that 30 large units of grain, something along the lines of our modern “bushel”, are under consideration. Whether or not tereza also applies to the 3 units of olive oil I cannot say, but I rather doubt it. But it probably also refers to the apu2nadu = “grain or wheat distributed” in line 3, in which case 45 “bushels” (so to speak) are in play.

This is the sixty-ninth (69) decipherment I have attempted, with more or less accuracy.

Minoan Linear A kirita2 (kiritai) = delivery & kiretana = delivered (nos. 67 & 68 deciphered):

Linear A tablets HT 114 - HT 129 Hagia Triada

After due consideration, I have decided that the terms kirita2 (kiritai) = “delivery” and kiretana =  “delivered” on the following Minoan Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada, HT 114, HT 120, HT 121 & HT 129. Kirita2 (kiritai) is used in association with grain on HT 114 & HT 129, and with olive oil on HT 121. Kiretana, on the other hand, appears only on HT 120, again in association with grain. But how could I possibly have drawn the conclusion that these two terms were in any way related? It is actually quite simple. Both kirita2 (kiritai) = “delivery” and kiretana =  “delivered” begin with almost the same prefix, i.e. kiri and kire. But does that make them directly related? If you stop to think about it, yes. I am convinced they are different grammatical forms of the same word, namely,  “delivery” (nominative) in English. As It see it,

kirita2 (kiritai) = “delivery” (nominative) &
kiretana = “(having been) delivered” (perfect participle passive)

which makes a great deal of sense in light of the fact that the same changes in form occur in all languages, ancient and modern. For instance, in Mycenaean Linear B, we have:

apudosi = “delivery” (nominative) &
apudedomeno = “(having been) delivered” (perfect participle passive)    

in English:

delivery (nominative) &
(having been) delivered (perfect participle passive)    

and in French:

livraison = “delivery” (nominative) &
(ayant été) livré = “(having been) delivered” (perfect participle passive) 

The problem with my decipherment is that it must compete with a number of other words which are frequently conjoined with the ideograms for “grain/wheat” and “olive oil” on several Linear A tablets, as noted below (with the number of occurrences of each term immediately following these potential alternatives): 

adaro 40 (ARKH 5)
adu 680 (HT 92)
apu2nadu 45(HT 14)
ase 26 (HT 93)
datu 15 (olive oil) (HT 123-124)
iqa*118 50+ (HT 131)
kupaja 16 (HT 116)
pa3ni 33 (HT 102)
pa3nina 12 (HT 93)
pi*34te (HT 116)
pitakase 161 (HT 21)
pura2 40 (HT 116)
qanuma 20 (HT 116)
qaqaru 5(HT 93)
saru 16 (olive oil) (HT 123-124)
simita 5 (HT 96)
siqine 12 (HT 116)
tukirina 40 (HT 129)
turunuseme  10 (HT 128)
zu*22di 40 (HT 101)

Any one of these words could be just as good a candidate. Right? Wrong. First of all, all but one of the terms given above occur only singly, which does not account for the shift from the nominative to the perfect participle passive. Kirita2 (kiritai) and kiretana (femine) do account for it in Minoan Linear A, but so also do apudosi and apudedomeno (neuter) do in Mycenaean Linear B. Moreover, the number of syllables in the Minoan Linear A terms is approximately equivalent to that of their Mycenaean Linear B counterparts. While this co-incidence does not necessarily ensure that the terms are equivalent in both syllabaries, the chances are that the greater the number of syllables in both, the greater the likelihood is that the selected terms are likely to be on target. In the list of alternative terms above, the only other tenable candidates are pa3ni (HT 102) & pa3nina (HT 93). Note in particular the identical shift from the nominative to the perfect participle passive in the latter, where the ppp. pa3nina has the exact same ultimate as does kiretana. Even if the latter terms pa3ni and pa3nina are actually the correct translations for  “delivery” (nominative) &  “(having been) delivered” (perfect participle passive) in Minoan Linear A rather than the two I have opted for, one or the other combination is likely to be correct, i.e. either:

kirita2 (kiritai) = “delivery” (nominative) &
kiretana =   “(having been) delivered” (perfect participle passive)


pa3ni = “delivery” (nominative) &
pa3nina =   “(having been) delivered” (perfect participle passive)

However, I have opted for the former in light of the fact that in almost all languages, ancient or modern, the perfect participle passive deviates in its orthography from the nominative, as is also the case with Mycenaean Linear B, English and French above. It is for this reason that kirita2 (kiritai) = “delivery” (nominative) & kiretana = “(having been) delivered” (perfect participle passive) are more tenable than pa3ni (nominative) & pa3nina (perfect participle passive), of which the nominative and perfect participle passive share the exact same prefix, pa3ni, at least in my judgement.

The question still remains, what do pa3ni (nominative) & pa3nina (perfect participle passive) mean? I shall have to see if I can tackle that problem later on.

This brings the total number of Minoan Linear A terms I have managed to deciphered more or less accurately to 68. The likelihood that these two terms are correctly deciphered is very good (> 75%). 


Another Minoan Linear A word tentatively deciphered: sara2 = sarai = a small unit of measurement?

Minoan Linear A sara2 = sarai = approx. kilogram or litre

While I have encountered enormous challenges deciphering scores and scores of Minoan Linear A words which are not accompanied by an ideogram, being quite unable to decipher any of them at all, sara2 = sarai is a rare exception. I have tentatively assigned it the value of a small unit of dry measurement for wheat and barley (crops) and of wet measurement for olive oil or wine. Since it is impossible for us today to determine with any degree of accuracy what each unit of a sara2 = sarai actually was, I have had to resort to approximations, correlating the unit of dry measurement with the modern metric kilogram (more or less) and the unit of wet measurement with the metric litre (more or less). It is the best we can hope for. My decipherment is based entirely on the gross amounts of sara2 = sarai reported on several Minoan Linear A tablets with the ideograms for “grain/wheat”, “barley” or “olive oil”. The numbers on the following tablets range from a low of 1 (olive oil) on HT 28  to 2 (grain) on HT 125 to 10 (grain) on HT 18 and HT 114, to 20 (grain) on HT 28 & HT 90 to 41 (grain) on HT 101 to 976 (grain !) on HT 102. The totals for sara2 = sarai on all of these tablets from Haghia Triada = 1070 units, of which 1069 are small units of dry measurement for “grain/wheat” or “barley”. The remaining 1 shows 1 small unit of liquid measurement for “olive oil”.

The only thing which troubles me with this tentative translation is that, although the total figures for dry and liquid measurement are sky high,  there is only 1 unit of liquid measurement on HT 28 (olive oil) and there are only 2 units of dry measurement on HT 125 (grain, wheat or barley). I find it difficult to believe that a Minoan scribe would tally only 2 small dry units (approx. = to 2 kg.) and 1 small liquid unit (approx. = 1 litre) on these two tablets. What is the point of that? On the other hand, all of the other figures for units of measurement range from a respectable low of 20, to 41 to the enormous amount of 976 on HT 102. These latter figures would appear to lend some credence to my tentative decipherment of sara2 = sarai. All this is not to say that I will necessarily adhere to this initial decipherment in the near to not so near future. Should reasonably reliable evidence arise to contradict this decipherment, I shall take it into close consideration,  and if the need arises, I may have to scrap this initial decipherment. 

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.  

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