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Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, the Elegant Culmination of Syllabaries from Minoan Linear A through to Mycenaean Linear B

The title of my submission to Vol. 13 (2017) Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448 is to be:

Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, the Elegant Culmination of Syllabaries from Minon Linear through to Mycenaean Linear B.

cover-as-2015

This article will feature an overview of each of the syllabaries in turn and the languages and dialects they represent: Minoan for Linear A, the earliest East Greek dialect Mycenaean for Linear B, and the slightly later dialect Arcado-Cypriot for Linear C. It will be quite some time before I will even be able to make my submission, as Vol. 12 (2016) is still in the pipeline, and authors articles have not been returned to them in their master format for proof-reading. Nor will they be returned to us before the end of 2017. But I like to hedge my bets, and anyway, the aforementioned topic for Vol. 13 (2017) is right down my alley, in view of the fact that I am expert in all three syllabaries (Linear A, B & C) and their respective languages.

the-arcado-cypriot-linear-c-syllabary-annotated

NOTE it is absolutely de rigueur to read the table of the Arcado-Cypriot Linear C syllabary above, if you are to get any real grasp of its enormous significance, not only for the development of literary ancient Greek, which it pioneered, but retrospectively for a proper understanding of Mycenaean Linear B phonetics.

The article will explore in great depth the legacy of Minoan Linear A for Mycenaean Linear B and that of Mycenaean Linear B for Arcado-Cypriot Linear C in turn. Finally, we shall address the even more striking historical legacy of Arcado-Cypriot Linear C itself, as this last syllabary in the series of 3 syllabaries was to have a real impact on the historical Greek era (ca. 1100 BCE – 400 BCE).

What is most striking about the evolution of these three syllabaries is that, as we pass from one to the next, the syllabaries become more streamlined and more simplified. The Minoan Linear A syllabary is the most complex, with a very large number of syllabograms, many of which are undeciphered. While there are ideograms in Minoan Linear A, there are fewer of them in Linear A than in Mycenaean Linear B, which made extensive use of them for the purposes of accurate, minimalized inventory taking. On the other hand, by the time we get to Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, the picture changes drastically. Almost all of the syllabograms in Linear C look completely unlike their Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B forbears. They look different. But appearances can be and are, in the case of Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, very deceiving. While the syllabograms in Arcado-Cypriot Linear C look different from those in Mycenaean Linear B (leaving Minoan Linear A aside, because it is too archaic and too complex), almost all of them bear the same phonetic values as their Linear B counterparts. But what is most remarkable about Arcado-Cypriot Linear C is that it utterly abandoned ideograms, once and for all. There are several cogent reasons for this amazing development, which I shall address when I finally come around to writing this article, probably sometime in 2018.

I have already discussed this topic in recent posts on the Linear A, Linear B & Linear C keyboard templates, and so I would ask you to refer back to them for clarification on any issues which may elude you, and which I do not address in this post, for the simple reason that I have not even yet begun my article for Archaeology and Science. But, of one thing you can be certain, it is bound to be a ground-breaker, like all of my previous articles in this prestigious international archaeological journal.


The Arcado-Cypriot Linear C keyboard template & the significantly revised timeline for (proto-) historic ancient Greek society:

arcado-cyrpriot-linear-c-keyboard-template-620

This image of the Arcado-Cypriot Linear C keyboard template has been downsized to 620 pixels to fit the restrictive exigencies of Word Press image size. You may request the full-sized 1200 pixel Linear C keyboard template by contacting me at:

vallance22@zoho.com

The Arcado-Cypriot Linear C keyboard template reveals several fascinating characteristics of this extremely important and highly tenacious syllabary. These are:

1. The Arcadians and Cypriots thoroughly redesigned Linear C, almost completely abandoning the Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B syllabograms, but only in superficial appearance.
2. The only Linear C syllabograms which bear resemblance with their Mycenaean Linear B forbears are: NA SE PA & PO.
3. But almost all of the rest of the syllabograms in Linear C bear the same phonetic values as their Linear B forbears. 
4. The DA series of syllabograms in Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B has completely disappeared from Arcado-Cypriot Linear C.
5. The RA RE RI RO (RU) series of syllabograms in Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B has split into 2 discreet, separate series: LA LE LI LO LU & RA RE RI RO RU. But what was the reason for this deliberate split? Here is my hypothesis: it would appear that the Minoans and Mycenaeans were unable to distinguish between the liquids L and R, pronouncing L something along the lines the Japanese did.
6. The syllabograms XA and XE, and the syllabogram GA are non-existent in Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B.
7. Arcado-Cypriot Linear C abandoned ideograms completely. This makes for a much more -
8. streamlined syllabary.
9. The Arcado-Cypriot Linear C syllabary was diachronically extremely tenacious, lasting 7 centuries (ca. 1100 BCE – 400 BCE) co-existing in parallel with the Arcado-Cypriot alphabet.
10. philologists and linguists expert in ancient Greek are accustomed to drawing the timeline for the first appearance of written Greek from 800 BCE onward (ca. the time of Homers Ilad to Attic Greek, ca. 400 BCE).

arcado-cypriot-distribution

revised-timeline-wirtten-greek-1200-bce-300-bce

But I am in fundamental disagreement with this hypothesis. Since Arcado-Cypriot Linear C came to the fore ca. 1100 BCE, a mere 100 years or approximately one century after the fall of Mycenae and the demise of the Linear B syllabary, it is surely open to doubt whether or not the so-called Greek Dark Ages actually lasted at least 400 years (ca. 1200 – 800 BCE). So we have to wonder whether or not that small gap of a mere century or so between the demise of  the Linear B syllabary (ca. 1200 BCE) and the sudden appearance of Arcado-Cypriot Linear C (ca. 1100 BCE) makes much of a difference at all in the actual timeline for written ancient Greek, which to my mind runs from 1600 BCE, with the advent of Mycenaean Linear B, all the way through to 400 BCE, i.e. for 12 centuries – 1 century (because of the 1 century gap between Linear B and Linear C), i.e. for 11 centuries! This makes for a huge difference between the previously held timeline of a mere 4 centuries from 800 – 400 BCE. It sets back the timeline for Greek civilization 500 years, receding back from 1100 BCE to 1600 BCE.  I also strongly object to the commonly held notion that Mycenaean and Mycenaean Minoan Greece was a prehistoric civilization. Since writing did exist in the form of the Linear B syllabary, albeit only in scribal format, I believe we can safely conclude that the Mycenaean civilization was proto-historic. And there is more: if we also take Minoan Linear A into account (which we definitely should), then the proto-historic period, if we are to include the pre-Greek substrate of Minoan society, recedes several centuries more into the distant past, to at least 2,900 BCE! Just because we cannot read the Minoan language does not mean it not also proto-historic phenomenon. 

That Arcado-Cypriot Linear C lasted for such a very long time attests to the fact that syllabaries such as Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C itself were much more suitable to inscribing or writing ancient Greek than most philologists or diachronic historical linguists would care to admit. I shall have plenty to say about this in the article I shall soon be posting on my academia.edu account:

Templates for the layouts of the Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C fonts.

You can download the Linear C font here:

download-arcado-cypriot-linear-c-font


  


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