Tag Archive: Lessons

Examples of the preliminary steps by our second full-time student, Thalassa Farkas (Canada) to set out on the exciting journey of learning Mycenaean Linear B:

Here we see the first truly remarkable steps Thalassa Farkas of Canada has taken in just the first few days of her apprenticeship in learning Mycenaean Linear B:

Linear B korete governor

basic Mycenaean Linear B syllabograms & vocabulary

I am particularly impressed by her keyboard template of the Mycenaean Linear B keyboard layout, which she has designed to fit right on top of the standard keyboard:

Thalassa Farkas Linear B keyboard overlay

Thalassa Farkas workstation and Linear B keyboard overlay

While I designed the Mycenaean Linear B keyboard layout back in 2013, it never dawned on me to cut a Linear B keyboard template to fit my own keyboard. What a clever little elf Thalassa is!

She is off to a great start. Let us all wish her the best in her exciting quest to master Linear B.  Although she doesnt yet realized it, she will have to decipher hundreds of Linear B tablets to meet her eventual goal. And that will take at least two years. But we all know she will attain it.

PS to all our visitors, what does Thalassa, which is written as tarasa in Mycenaean Linear B, mean? Easy, if you know any Greek at all. 

This is an extremely comprehensive academic video on the decipherment and interpretation of Mycenaean Linear B:

Linear Ba

It is very long (34:53 minutes) but extremely worthwhile reading.

Our new PINTEREST board, Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B: Progressive Grammar:

Our PINTEREST board, previously called Mycenaean Linear B: Progressive Grammar, has changed its name to Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B: Progressive Grammar:

Minoan Linear A Mycenaen Linear B progressive grammar PINTEREST

to better reflect the new aims of our primary site, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae.

We cordially invite you to join our new PINTEREST board by clicking on its logo above, where you can download to your heart’s content thousands of pictures, illustrations and photographs from our primary site, including all the newest ones on our ongoing decipherment of Minoan Linear A.
We need more followers at any rate, so please help us out. 

Happy Third Anniversary to Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae!

Happy Third Anniversary to Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae!

Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae was founded in March 2013, and since then it has grown to become the premier Linear B blog on the entire Internet. Our blog covers every conceivable aspect of research into Mycenaean Linear B, including, but not exclusively, decipherment of hundreds of tablets from every single sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy (agriculture, military, textiles, spices & condiments, vessels and pottery and the religious sector); the translation of the introduction to Book II of the Iliad, plus the entire Catalogue of Ships in Book II, with particular emphasis on the extensive influence of Mycenaean Linear B and of he Mycenaean world on the Catalogue of Ships; extensive vocabulary, lexicons and glossaries of Linear B; lessons in Linear B; progressive grammar of Linear B; extensive research into the 3,500 Scripta Minoa tablets from Knossos; and above all other considerations, the isolation, classification and decipherment of all 35+ supersyllabograms in every sector of the Minoan/Mycenaen economy (see above). Supersyllabograms were previously and erroneously referred to as “adjuncts” in Mycenaean Linear B. The decipherment of supersyllabograms is the major development of the further decipherment of Linear B since the genius, Michael Ventris, first deciphered it in 1952.

But that is not all. Our blog also zeroes in on Minoan Linear A, with at least one successful attempt at deciphering at least one word on a major Linear A tablet, and that is the Linear A word for “tripod”, a truly serendipitous development, given that the same word was the first word ever translated in Mycenaean Linear B. Our blog also focuses on Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, with a few translations of tablets in that script. In short, no other blog on the Internet deals as extensively with all three of these scripts, Linear A, Linear B and Linear C together.

It is also remarkable that we have had in excess of 80,000 visitors since our blog’s inception in March 2013. While this figure may seem rather smallish to many visitors, may I remind you that Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B and Arcado-Cypriot Linear C are extremely esoteric in the field of ancient linguistics. To put it another way, how many people in the entire world do you imagine can read Mycenaean Linear B, and even fewer who can read Arcado-Cypriot Linear C? Scarcely more than a very few thousand out of a population of 7+ billion. So I believe that we have made great strides in the past three years, and I fully expect that we shall top 100,000 visitors by the end of this year, 2016.

Happy Second Anniversary to Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae! Now the largest Linear B blog on the Internet

We are delighted to announce that Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae

Linear B Knossos & Mycenae May 2015
reaches its second anniversary on May 1 2015.

What have we accomplished in the past two years? A great deal indeed. Here are the highlights.

1. The discovery, extrapolation, collation and classification of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, of which there are 34 (to date) out of 61 syllabograms in Linear B, excluding counting homophones (with the sole exception of RAI = saffron).

2. We have entered into close partnership with The Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes (Athens, Greece), here:

Koryvantes Association of Historical Studies
where we have been assigned our own category for posting on their blog,

Linear B & the Iliad


3. As a direct result of 1. & 2. above, Richard, our blog moderator, has been invited to give his talk

at the Conference, “Thinking Symbols” (June 30-July 2 2015), sponsored by The Association of Historical Studies (Koryvantes), Athens:

Supersyllabograms by Richard Vallance Janke Pultusk Academy Humanities Warsaw

at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, just outside of Warsaw.

Pultusk Academy and logo

His talk, and those of all other presenters at the Conference will be published by the University of Warsaw. The University of Warsaw also plans to publish the General of Supersyllabograms and its application to the translation of some 700+ Mycenaean Linear B tablets across the board, in a book to be titled, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, to appear sometime in 2016.  

4. In the past two years, Richard and his research colleague, Rita Roberts of Crete, have translated in excess of 100 Linear B tablets, most of them from Knossos, along with some from Pylos, Mycenae and Thebes.

5. Richard has compiled the following elements in his ongoing project to reconstruct as much as possible of Mycenaean Greek grammar from the ground up:
5.1 the complete table for the conjugations of the active voice, present, future, imperfect, aorist & perfect of Mycenaean verbs;
5.2 the table of adjectives and nouns ending in the archaic “eus” in the nominative singular.
5.3 Richard plans to continue with the compilation of Mycenaean Greek grammar throughout the remainder of 2015 and into 2016.

6. Richard has translated most of The Catalogue of Ships from Book II of the Iliad by Homer, and will finish off his translation this year (2015). This will be followed by his translation of Book I of the Iliad in its entirety (2015-2016).

7. We are in the process of compiling the largest Lexicon of both attested and derived Mycenaean Greek in Linear B ever to have appeared anywhere, in print or on the Internet. We have already finished with the draft of the first Section on Military Affairs, which is to appear on our blog and on the blog of The Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes (Athens, Greece) sometime in the summer or autumn 2015. It is to be subdivided into several primary Sections, (1) Agriculture (2) Crafts, Trade and Commerce (3) Military Affairs (4) Domestic Affairs, including the production of vessels and pottery & (5) Religious  Affairs. This is such a huge undertaking that it is unlikely that we will be able to complete it before 2018.

8. Richard has offered his services as Professor to Rita Roberts, Crete, who is now in her first year of university, working towards her three-year Bachelor of Arts in Linguists (BAL) in the field of Mycenaean Linear B. Both Rita and I can assure you that the curriculum is of the highest order and extremely demanding. Already, in her first semester of her first year, Rita has been tasked with the tough chore of translating several difficult Linear B tablets from Knossos on military affairs, and this is just the beginning! As far as we can tell, this online university undergraduate course, specifically focusing on Mycenaean Linear B, will be the first ever of its kind ever to have been offered worldwide. I am of course open to inviting others who are seriously committed to learn Mycenaean Linear B, but just as Rita has had to do, new students will have to first finish their secondary school level in Linear B before moving onto university studies. It took Rita two years to fulfill the requirements for a secondary school matriculation in Linear B. This and the full course of studies (secondary school and a bachelor’s degree) requires 5 full years of unstinting commitment to the mastery of Mycenaean Linear B.  At the end of these five years, the student (Rita being our first) will possess the credentials to be an expert in the field.  

9. We have begun posting on Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, having already translated 3 tablets in that syllabary. We have also made available for the first time ever the standard keyboard layout for Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, which you may download free at your convenience. We plan on continuing with posts on Linear C throughout 2016 & 2016, eventually tackling the famous Idalion Tablet of the 5th. Century BCE. Throughout 2015 and 2016, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, the closest cousin dialect to Mycenaean Linear B, will play a significantly greater rôle than it presently does on our blog. Both Linear B and Linear C will be thoroughly cross-compared with the archaic grammar and vocabulary of the Catalog of Ships in Book II of the Iliad, the latter generally being considered as an indirect descendant of the Mycenaean & Arcado-Cypriot Greek dialects, at least in these two respects. This cross-comparative study will help us to properly situate the Mycenaean & Arcado-Cypriot Greek dialects in the diachronic time line of ancient Greek dialects. 

10. We have begun a thorough-going investigation of the relationship between the Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B syllabaries, which are almost identical in most respects, the latter being derived from the former with other major Bronze Age scripts and alphabets, including the Phoenician and Proto-Hebrew alphabets, soon the Proto-Arabic, and any others which bear up well under comparison with Linear A & Linear B.

12. We have posted some information on Minoan Linear A, but it is not our intention to attempt to decipher this unknown language – at least for the next five years. However, certain aspects of Linear A itself are of prime importance to our concerns, especially its intimate relationship with Linear B, as well as its place in the development of ancient scripts in the context of 10. above.

13. We have begun exploring the possibilities for the application of Linear B & C to extraterrestrial communication. If this sounds wacky or even peculiar to you, think twice. NASA itself has already begun its own investigation of such intriguing prospects for Linear B and Linear C.

As the direct result of our unflagging commitments to these areas of research into Mycenaean Linear B, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C and several other areas relating to these, our blog has grown to be the largest on the entire Internet devoted to the study of Mycenaean Linear B. I had hope for 50,000 visitors in the first two years, but these were exceeded, as we have had over 51,000. We thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for your interest in what is manifestly an extremely specialized and narrow area of interest in the vast sea of linguistics, ancient and modern, and we look forward to seeing more of you visit our site throughout our third year, May 2015-April 2016. I am confident that we shall exceed 100,000 visits by the end of our third year. With our gratitude. Richard 	     


These are the primary concerns of our Blog, but there are others, which are intriguing to special interest groups. Our goals are ambitious but we mean to fulfill them.

At the same time, our Twitter account has attracted some 920 followers, compared with about 500 at the end of first year (May 1 2014). We have sent out over 13,600 tweets in the past 2 years. Click here to visit our Twitter account:

Knossos KONOSO twitter May 2015

Our research colleague, Rita Roberts, now has over 380 followers on her Twitter account, here:

Rita Roberts Twitter

This makes for some 1,300 followers for us both on Twitter, a considerable number indeed, in light of the fact that the study of Linear B and the specialized interests in archaeology and similar arcane fields which Rita follows are rare birds indeed!

I also urge you to follow Rita’s superb blog, here:

Ritaroberts blog May 2015

Finally, we have set ourselves up on Google +, where you can find our page here:

Google + Richard Vallance Janke
We started up on Google + just a couple of months ago, and we already have 383 followers in our Circle.



Quotations from The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, Presentation at the Conference, Thinking Symbols, Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, Pultusk, Poland, June 30-July 2, 2015: Part A

Alan Turing

Alan Turing (1923-1954), a world-famous mathematical genius and cryptologist, was head of the team at Bletchley Park in England, which deciphered what was considered at the time to be the uncrackable Enigma Code that German Intelligence used throughout the Second World War for their secret military missions and operations, eventually all to no avail. It is he who said, “Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”
... let’s get straight to the point, and look at Slide A, which dramatically illustrates the universal rôle symbols play on physical signs, otherwise known as signage, in our hectic world today.

Slide omitted, to be displayed at the Conference only

Now you will notice that the international standard signage symbols we all my must rely on every day of our lives are of two kinds, (a) nominal (N), meaning symbols which replace the names of places, otherwise known as toponyms, which usually offer us static information & (b) verbal or kinetic (V), which replace actions we must take if we are to avoid unpleasant or disastrous consequences. Here on Slide A we see examples of both static and kinetic symbols or ideograms.

... we need to define in broad terms what a syllabary is, given that all of the signs on this tablet are syllabograms, so that we can interpret the Mycenaean city & settlement codes. This clears the way for a basic understanding of how syllabograms function. Like a script or signary based on ideograms, such as Egyptian hieroglyphics or Chinese ideograms, generally an earlier development than itself, a syllabary is a signary based on syllabograms, each of which consists of a single consonant + a single vowel up to a maximum of 5 vowels in a discrete series, as we see illustrated here in Slide J.

Slide omitted, to be displayed at the Conference only

Mycenaean Linear B, like its immediate predecessor, Minoan Linear A, has a D series, da, de, di, do & du; an N series, na, ne, ni, no & nu, and so on. Some syllabogram series are incomplete, for instance, the W series, wa, we, wi & wo, with four syllabograms & the Z series, za, ze & zo, consisting of three in Linear B. Minoan Linear A and the two archaic Greek pre-alphabetic syllabaries, Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C also have syllabograms for each of the 5 vowels. We can see now that a syllabary is generally considered to be the intermediate stage between even more ancient scripts such as Egyptian hieroglyphics on the one hand, and the later Greek alphabet on the other, in so far as it contains both consonant + vowel sequences and the minimal set of 5 vowels, just as all alphabets do right on up from the various avatars of the ancient Greek alphabet to the Cyrillic for many Slavic languages, such as Russian and Ukrainian to the Latin alphabet, from which almost all modern Occidental alphabets are derived. Click to ENLARGE 

hieroglyphics linear b alphabet

Secondary School Graduation Diploma in Mycenaean Linear B for Mrs. Rita Roberts, Crete: Click to ENLARGE

Secondary School Diploma Mycenaean Linear B Rita Roberts

It is my pleasure and honour to announce that Mrs. Rita Roberts, having satisfied all the scholarly requirements which qualify her for a Secondary School Graduation Diploma in Mycenaean Linear B, including mastery of:

1. the entire Linear B Syllabary, Homophones & Ideograms
2. translation of at least 25 Linear B tablets of intermediate to intermediate advanced level
3. her all-new, excellent translation of Pylos Tablet PY 1952 (Ventris)
4. mastery of all of the major supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B and with all the credits deemed necessary to proceed to the University Level of Mycenaean Linear B

is hereby granted her Secondary School Graduation Diploma with all its attendant rights and privileges.


Richard Vallance Janke,
H.B.A. 1968 (Sir Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)
M.L.S. 1975 (The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada)

Our Twitter Account is growing rapidly! 15 new followers in the past 10 days: Click to visit & follow us:

rapid growth Twitter Konoso 19042015

It no longer comes as any surprise that the number of followers on our Twitter account is growing as fast as it is.  We had about 800 followers in December 2014, and now we are at 855. Some months we grow as fast as 25 new followers. This is an extremely encouraging sign with respect to the considerable attention our Twitter account is getting, and for this we have to thank our blog’s newly acquired position as the largest Linear B blog on the Internet... and all this in less than 2 years. Now that we are on the brink of making a newsworthy announcement to the world on a major breakthrough in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B and our participation as an invited speaker at the Conference, Thinking Symbols, at the Pultusk Academy of Humanities, University of Warsaw, June 30-July 2, 2015, it is more than likely that the number of followers we have will increase to beyond 1,000 by the end of 2015 at the latest. For a blog as specialized and as narrowly focused as ours is, that is quite a spectacular accomplishment. And for this I have only to thank the hundreds of supporters who have already been so kind as to follow us so closely.

In passing, I should like to point out that a large number of the most prestigious language and linguistics Twitter accounts, especially those devoted to Greek, ancient and modern, as well as several major international archaeological associations & archaeologists, are following us assiduously, as we are of course following them. 

And if you want to learn modern Greek, you can pick up quite a lot of it on our account, since I have already retweeted hundreds of quotations from modern Greek Twitter accounts.    



Learn How to Type Linear B FAST! - well, at least much faster than usual: Click to ENLARGE

Easy Guide to Mycenaean Linear B Font keyboard

Typically, keyboard layouts for Mycenaean Linear B are so abstruse that they actually confuse us more than they help us. I hope to remedy this messy state of affairs with this brand new keyboard layout for Mycenaean Linear B which I have just devised, with its own mnemonics and other guidelines for easy learning. Here are the keys to this keyboard layout:


Your first time round, you must download & install the Linear B Font by Curtis Clark, here: Click to go to the site and download the font:

Linear B Font Curtis Clark

Once you have installed the Linear B Font, you can then proceed to type anything you like in Linear B, by following these steps in order. 

(a) First you must change your Font from your default (Times New Roman, Georgia etc.) to Linear B
(b) Next, you should increase the size of your Linear B font 2 points up from your default font size in (a). Thus, if you default font size is 12 points, you should set the Linear B font to 14 points. You may also need to set the Linear B font to BOLD if it does not appear clearly enough to your satisfaction. This is up to you.


Syllabograms: If you start typing any linear series of 5 q w e r t y keyboard keys from the left to the right, you will be typing the entire series of a particular group of syllabograms from [consonant + a + e + i + o + u], as illustrated in the examples here:

If you type A S D F G, you will automatically get DA DE DI DO DU. Try it!
If you type a s d f g, you will automatically get TA TE TI TO TU.
If you type Z X C V B, you will automatically get NA NE NI NO NU.
If you type z x c v b, you will automatically get SA SE SI SO SU.

NOTE the mnemonics, DATA & NASA, for the syllabogram series DATA = DA... + TA... and NASA for the syllabogram series NASA = NA... + SA... Think about it for a second or two, and you will get it. From then on in, it will be a cinch for you to  type DA... from A... & TA... from a... (DATA) + NA... from Z & SA from z... (NASA). Anyway, it is for me. If you don ’t like using mnemonics (memory reminders, the string on an elephant ’s trunk), you can just skip this part.

The only exception to this is the series: q w e r t (lower-case LC), which gives you the 5 vowels in order: a e i o u.

Some series of syllabograms are incomplete. In these cases, you do not have to type as far across the keyboard. For example:

If you type Y U I O, you will automatically get QA QE QI QO
If you type y u i o, you will automatically get WA WE WI WO

Examples of actual Linear B text (Latinized):

If you type .Vv, you get the word, KONOSO (Knossos)
If you type hef, you get the word, PAITO (Phaistos)
If you type Ep, you get thew word, AIZA (goat)
If you type qXLe[, you get the word, ANEMOIYERIYA (Priestess of the Winds)


These are easy. Once you are in Linear B, 1 = 1, 2 = 2, 3 = 10... 5 = 100 8 = 2,000 etc. The only thing you need to remember is how many times to press each number key to write a large number in Linear B, e.g. for 43,537, type: 0 0 8 7 5 5 5 5 5 4 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1    


Some series (some of which are also incomplete) yield only homophones. For example:

SHIFT 1 2 3 4 5 = ! @ # $ % yield the homophones: ha nwa pu2 rai riya.
[ ] \ yield the syllabograms YE & YO + the homophone -two- & when shifted to upper case (UC)
{ } | yield the syllabograms ZE & ZO + the homophone -dwo- (lower case! LC)

You will be typing homophones very rarely; so you don’t really need to learn these keys. Just refer to the chart when you need to type homophones (at a ratio of some 100 syllabograms per homophone, i.e. 100:1)


(A) You MUST follow these steps after you have finished typing text in Linear B.
(a) SAVE your document immediately in .doc or .docx format!
(b) SWITCH to your default font (e.g. Times New Roman or Georgia) and reduce your font size by 2 points (also remove BOLD if you used BOLD to type in Linear B).
(c) You may now continue typing in your default font. If Linear B still appears, and your default font does not, you have incorrectly followed this procedure. 


(B) You MUST follow these steps to switch to the Linear B font, after you have finished typing text in your default font (Times New Roman or...)
(a) SAVE your document immediately in .doc or .docx format!
(b) SWITCH to the Linear B font and increase your font size by 2 points (also add BOLD if you want your Linear B text to stand out).
(c) You may now continue typing in Linear B. If your default font still appears, but Linear B does not, you have incorrectly followed this procedure.

Simply alternate from (A) to (B) to switch back and from your default font & Linear B. DO NOT OMIT ANY STEPS!


Oh, and don’ t forget to print out this template of the Linear B font, laminate it in plastic and pin it to the wall above your computer for quick reference!

I shall illustrate how to insert these in your Linear B text in the next post. 





Table of Athematic Third Declension Nouns & Adjectives in “eu” in Mycenaean Linear B: Click to ENLARGE

Nouns & Adjectives in EU Athemtic Third Declension Mycenaean Greek Linear B

NOTE: this table took me 12 hours (!) to compile. I sincerely hope that some of our visitors will acknowledge this in some way or other, by tagging the post with LIKE,  assigning it the numbers of STARS they believe it merits, by re-blogging it, posting it on Facebook, tweeting it, posting it on Scoopit, whatever...  
Based on the template declension of the noun qasireu = “viceroy” in Mycenaean Linear B, itself derived in large part from extant archaic forms in The Catalogue of Ships of Book II of the Iliad by Homer, we have here all of the nouns, including proper, and adjectives I have been able to cull from various sources, all of which are referenced in the KEY at the top of the table.

There are a few items in particular we need to take into consideration:

(a) Apart from proper nouns, there are very few extant or derived nouns or adjectives in “eu” in Mycenaean Linear B;
(b) The astonishing thing about the extant proper nouns is that a considerable number of them are also found in The Catalogue of Ships of Book II of the Iliad, in the most archaic Greek, hence, the most reliable source for derived Mycenaean proper names. While some proper names which are found in the Linear B Lexicon by Chris Tselentis are not found in The Catalogue of Ships, they are nevertheless Homeric. When I say “Homeric”, I refer specifically to proper names solely from The Catalogue of Ships, as those which are found elsewhere in the Iliad or the Odyssey may not be authentic Mycenaean eponymns or names, unless of course they are replicated in The Catalogue of Ships. I am, in short, extremely reticent to accept proper names as Mycenaean, unless they occur in The Catalogue of Ships.
(c) On the other hand, the rest of the proper names found in this table may very well be, and some of them must be authentic Mycenaean proper names. Given this, it is quite probable that at least some of these names not to be found anywhere in Homer are nevertheless the names of original Mycenaean heroes and warriors, which might have been mentioned in an original Mycenaean epic of the Trojan War, almost certainly oral. It is absolutely critical in this scenario to underscore one point in particular: that if there ever did exist a Mycenaean epic upon which the Iliad was based, such a (stripped-down) epic could only have seeded The Catalogue of Ships, and no other part of the Iliad or Odyssey, since it is in The Catalogue of Ships alone that we find far and away the greatest number of occurrences of archaic Greek, and not in the remainder of the Iliad or the Odyssey. Some will of course argue that some archaic remnants still pop up here and there in the the remainder of the Iliad and Odyssey, but it is important to realize in this particular that Homer most likely – indeed, almost certainly – (unconsciously) carried over the habit of using bits and pieces of archaic Greek, much more common in The Catalogue of Ships, to the rest of the epic cycle.

In fact, there is real doubt that he ever did compose outright The Catalogue of Ships. Rather, it appears, he may very well have had access to an earlier, archaic epic, which had indeed been copied from its original Mycenaean template. He then in turn copied the whole thing lock-stock-and-barrel, embellishing it with his own peculiar style in so-called Epic Greek, as he went along. That seems the more likely scenario to me. At any rate, the more simplistic structure, and above all other considerations, the characteristically Mycenaean inventory have stamped themselves prominently on The Catalogue of Ships alone. If nothing else, there can be little or no doubt that the entire Catalogue of Ships (exclusive of the rest of Book II of the Iliad,  which was a later addition) was composed well before the rest of the Iliad, and long before the Odyssey.

So the question remains, Who were all those Mycenaean warriors? Which ones had Homer forgotten, or conveniently omitted from The Catalogue of Ships? One thing appears almost undeniable. The proper names we see in this table, which are not in The Catalogue of Ships, are very likely those of Mycenaean wanaka or kings, qasirewe or viceroys, heroes and other assorted warriors. Why they do not appear anywhere in the Iliad is beyond our reckoning. But they do appear on extant Mycenaean Linear B tablets, and this constitutes enough evidence for me that they were important figures to the Mycenaeans.


UD: The Real Problems with Gretchen E. Leonhardt’s Commentary on the Rôle of the Syllabogram WE in Linear B as Representative of the final “s” or sigma stem in Mycenaean Greek.

With reference to our previous post, I now fully acknowledge her unique contributions to the use of the syllabogram WE in Mycenaean Greek as follows:

Many Mycenaean Linear B [words] ending with “WE” indicate that “WE” as the last syllable of such Mycenaean words is actually the consonant “S”. Unfortunately, at the time of that post, I entirely neglected to credit Ms. Leonhardt for her professed “discovery” that the syllabogram WE in the ultimate position in Mycenaean Linear B words can and often does exactly correspond with a final sigma or “s” stem. I hereby correct my oversight.

Click this banner to read it in its entirety:

Lexicon post 1

However, on her own Linear A, Linear B & Linear C blog, Ms. Leonhardt makes this telling observation on the rôle of the syllabogram WE in Linear B as being the exact equivalent of final “s” or sigma stem in Mycenaean Greek when it is in the ultimate position in a Mycenaean Greek word stem (relevant parts underlined):

POST  Konosos.net re WE ultimate
Now this I believe to be a significant contribution to our ongoing understanding of the phonetic values of syllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, in this particular instance of the possible of the final sigma stem to the syllabogram WE in the ultimate.

But I am obliged to set the record straight, reserving full copyright to Ms. Leonhardt on this account, with the strict provisos I underline below.

I am in fact, not at all in accord with with Ms. Leonhardt’s theory in this regard. Quite to the contrary. I understand that if Ms. Leonhardt wishes to take this stance, she is perfectly entitled to do so. But I respectfully disagree. In her observations on the syllabogram WE in the ultimate as acting as the sigma stem, I find myself greatly at odds with her conclusion on several key counts. Moreover, she flatly contradicts herself when she asserts that,These suggest that the inclusion of the final consonant * without a vowel nucleus was either a later development or was a contemporaneous dialectical development.” (where “final consonant * ” refers specifically to the sigma stem).  Apart from that fact that she unnecessarily repeats the word “development” the statement is clearly misleading on several counts:

(a) Why has Ms. Leonhardt omitted a specific reference to the consonant “sigma” in this summary statement? It is always preferable to repeat the actual consonant under consideration than not to, just to be certain readers clearly understand what that consonant is. I fully realize that Ms. Leonhardt will flatly disagree with me on this count, but I would much rather repeat the direct reference to sigma as the consonant stem in question than needlessly repeat the word “development”. In other words, I would have phrased the statement as follows:

These Linear B pairs suggest that the inclusion of the final consonant sigma without a vowel nucleus was either a later or a contemporaneous dialectical development.

... except that even with these changes, the statement is still unclear and quite misleading.  
(b) If Ms. Leonhardt means to say that this phenomenon was a later development (in Mycenaean Greek), this presupposes that in early Mycenaean Greek the inclusion of the final consonant sigma without a vowel nucleus did not in fact exist, and that the only phonetic attribution that could have been assigned to the syllabogram WE in early Mycenaean was, quite simply, WE.

(c) I am quite at a loss with reference to her claim that, on the other hand, it (meaning the assignment of ultimate sigma as consonant stem) was – as she calls it - “a contemporaneous dialectical development”. Contemporaneous with what? - with the early Mycenaean Greek value of WE, in which case WE would have simultaneously meant WE (i.e. itself ) and ultimate sigma as consonant stem in early Mycenaean Greek – OR -

that the evolution of the early Mycenaean phonetic value of WE as itself and nothing more than that into WE + ultimate sigma as consonant stem was in fact contemporaneous with the appearance of the latter in later Mycenaean Greek. But this constitutes a flat-out contradiction in terms. Either WE always stood for WE + ultimate sigma as consonant stem from the very beginning of Mycenaean Greek in Linear B, or it never did. You cannot have it both ways. Languages do not fundamentally and arbitrarily change the principle(s) upon which word stems are formed in mid-stream.

Languages simply do not arbitrarily change any of their grammatical underpinnings in mid-stream, without becoming another, entirely new language. This is the case with ancient Greek versus modern Greek. Modern Greek is a different and entirely new linguistic phenomenon, in other words, a new language, simply because it has fundamentally re-written wholesale so many of the grammatical principles underlying it, abandoning lock-stock-and-barrel huge chunks of the linguistic structural foundation(s) of ancient Greek. For instance, there are no infinitives as such in modern Greek. That is one huge departure from ancient Greek.

I am certain that Ms. Leonhardt certainly surely did not mean to imply anything like this, but her statement is so unclear that it begs the issue. This is precisely why I always spell out any observation whatsoever I make on Linear B down to the very last detail – even it entails repetition – because I must be certain that I have clearly and unequivocally made myself clear to my readers, most of whom are not familiar with Linear B at all, let alone with the notion of a syllabary.

(d)... and that is precisely where Ms. Leonhardt’s all too brief and all too terse statement falls flat on its face. She unfailingly assumes that her readers are familiar – even intimately so – with the concept of a syllabary. But if the majority of her readers do not know what a syllabary is (and we can be quite sure they do not), then how on earth she expects them to be familiar with the very arcane Minoan Linear A, the complex syllabary, Mycenaean Linear B, or with the slightly less arcane Arcade-Cypriot Linear C simply stumps me. Such an assumption leaves her wide open to misunderstanding, misinterpretation, if not complete bafflement, on the part of her readers, the majority whom are not even necessarily versed in linguistics. In fact, even among linguistics who are profoundly versed in Minoan Linear & Mycenaean Linear B, there are are almost none who have any understanding of Cypro-Minoan Linear C, by far the easiest of the three syllabaries to master. Apart from the Egyptologist, Samuel Birch, who, with the assistant of other researchers, deciphered Arcado-Cypriot Linear C in the first place in the 1870s, very few linguists these days can even read Linear C, apart from Ms. Leonhardt and myself. Summa in veritate, who says they should? Certainly not I. Yes, even we linguists have plenty to learn from one another. I for one am still struggling to unravel the the subtle niceties of both Mycenaean Linear B and Arcado-Cypriot Linear C. I have a long long road ahead of me just trying to cope with these two syllabaries, let alone any other!

e) She then rounds up her observations on the syllabogram WE by noting (correctly) that “As for /we/ in the initial and medial positions, the tentative conclusion is that /we/ shifts to /e/” (My apologies for being unable to reproduce epsilon in the body of my post). The problem here is that /we/ does not shift at all, because it never did in the first place. WE is WE is WE. A rose is a rose is a rose.     

(f) All of my observations above are absolutely critical to a clear-cut understanding the actual rôle the syllabogram WE plays in the ultimate in Mycenaean Linear B as merely an indicator of the unseen presence of a final “s” or sigma stem. I say, “unseen” or invisible, because – and I repeat - WE in Mycenaean Greek is just that WE, i.e. digamma followed by the vowel epsilon or eita ... and nothing else. Since Linear B, being an open-ended vowel-based syllabary, forbids the presence of a consonant in the ultimate of any syllabogram, and more to the point, since no-one in any language ever pronounces the ultima word stem alone without the addition of a proper inflection (verb conjugation or nominal/adjectival declension), the whole argument implodes on itself.

So while Ms. Leonhardt most assuredly holds the copyright on her own professed theory that the syllabogram WE in the ultimate is the exact equivalent of final “s” or sigma indicating the stem of the word in question, for all of the reasons I have cited above, I simply cannot agree with her hypothesis.

My counter-hypothesis, which I shall presently post in great detail, is firmly and roundly based on my regressive-progressive extrapolation of the declension of all nouns in adjectives in the Athematic Third Declension of Mycenaean Linear B I have just posted on our blog. My extrapolated declension of such adjectives and nouns makes it perfectly clear that, even if the syllabograms WE, as well as – I must also add - WA in the ultimate, might both be indicators of the presence of a final “s” or sigma stem pronounced in spoken Mycenaean Greek, this does not mean that WA & WE actually contain within themselves this putatively pronounced final “s” or sigma, simply because they cannot. In fact, the syllabogram WE in the ultimate position in the dative/locative/instrumental singular presupposes the total absence of any final “s” or sigma stem, clearly marking instead the actual presence of an ultimate “i”, the tell-tale indicator of that (those) case(s). The ultimate “i” in the dative/locative/instrumental was always present in archaic Greek dialects, and subscripted into the iota subscript much later in ancient Greek, as in the Attic dialect.

In other words, my own hypothesis of the actual rôle of ultimate WA & WE in Mycenaean Linear B is at marked variance with that of Ms. Leonhardt on the same issue.

Keep posted.


REVISED: Archaic Declensions in “eu” in Mycenaean Greek = “eus” in Homeric Greek: Click to ENLARGE

Mycenaean Linear B Third Declension in EU

One of the most archaic declensions in ancient Greek is the Athematic Third Declension in which nouns in the nominative end in “eus” in Homeric Greek or “eu” in Mycenaean Greek, as illustrated by the complete declension table above of the noun “qasireu” = “viceroy” in Mycenaean Linear B, and of “basileus” = “(lesser) king” in Homeric Greek. The process whereby I can reasonably reconstruct any verb conjugation or any nominal or adjectival declension from the Homeric Greek of The Catalogue of Ships in Book II of the Iliad or, failing that, from Book II of the Iliad, I call regressive extrapolation. In the table of the athematic third declension above for “qasireu” = “viceroy” in Mycenaean Linear B, very few forms are already attested on the tablets (mainly the nominative singular), but all of the cases, singular, dual and plural, can be reconstructed with almost complete accuracy by means of regressive extrapolation. It is critical in this regard to understand that, if at all possible, the forms derived in this manner must reflect their most archaic equivalents in Homer, which is why I always resort to The Catalogue of Ships in Book II, and also why I have taken it upon myself to translate The Catalogue in its entirety (although I still have 4 more sequential sections to translate).

Once I have reconstructed any conjugation or declension, and the table is complete, as seen above, the process of reconstruction in Mycenaean Linear B forward through all the cases (nominative, genitive, dative/locative/instrumental & accusative) and all three numbers (singular, dual & plural) I call progressive extrapolation. Starting this month, and working through the spring of 2015, I shall attempt to reconstruct as many declensions of nouns and adjectives as I am convinced can stand the test of regressive-progressive extrapolation, without resulting in absurdities, i.e. without falling into the trap of reductio ab adsurdum. Unfortunately, such reconstruction can be and sometimes is open to precisely that pitfall. So where it is impossible to reconstruct any verbal conjugation or nominal/ adjectival declension without unsubstantiated Homeric or Arcado-Cypriot forms, I shall not do so.

Last year (2014), we successfully reconstructed verb tables for the present, future, imperfect, aorist & perfect tenses of the active voice of both thematic and athematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, of which the complete tables can be consulted in the CATEGORY, PROGESSIVE LINEAR B, of this blog.

In the next post, I shall provide a reasonably comprehensive list of nouns and adjectives in the Athematic Third Declension, ending in “eu” in Mycenaean Greek.

The likelihood that the Mycenaean Linear B syllabogram for WE is indicative of the nominative plural of certain Mycenaean nouns and adjectives of the athematic third declension was first brought to my attention by Ms. Gretchen Leonhardt, whose site is: Click on this Banner to visit -

By extapolation, the same principle can be applied to the Mycenaean Linear B syllabogram for WA, which is reperesentative of the accusative plural of certain nouns and adjectives of the athematic third declension, among others. 


SHARP rise in VISITS to our blog in January 2015: from an average of ca. 3,500 in the autumn of 2014 to 5,000 this month: Click to ENLARGE the BANNER:

LBK&M VISITS POST 700 012015

This is a lot for something as esoteric as Mycenaean Linear B.  With our profoundest gratitude and thanks.

We have even more great news coming very soon! We have had a major breakthrough which very few Internet sites are privileged to receive. Keep posted. 

Richard and Rita

Categories now Separated into MAJOR (in CAPS) & Regular on Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae, to Facilitate Serious Research into Linear B: Click to ENLARGE

Categories Classification Linear B Knossos & Mycenae 2014 REVISED
I have just separated the Categories on our blog, as listed above, into MAJOR Categories (in CAPS or UC), and Regular. To search any Category, just click on its name. A few words of explanation. I have had to make this distinction between Major and Regular Categories because, as of 2015, Rita, my research colleague and I, shall be focusing our attention more and more on the Major Categories, and less and less on the Regular. In particular,

I myself will be translating the entire Catalogue of Ships in Book II of the Iliad, in which we find the most archaic Greek in the entire Iliad. It is therefore of utmost significance in the confirmation of Attested (A) vocabulary, found on any and all Linear B tablets discovered to date, and in the restoration of Derived (D) Mycenaean Greek vocabulary, nowhere Attested (A).

LEXICONS & GLOSSARIES: At the moment, there are only two Linear B lexicons of any note on the Internet, (a) The Mycenaean (Linear B) – ENGLISH Glossary, which although useful is extremely unreliable, riddled as it is with over 25 errors in the Mycenaean Linear B entries alone, and with at least 100 more errors in either ancient Greek or English. Students of Linear B should use this glossary with the utmost of caution, as they are liable to make serious errors in deciphering or translating Linear B tablets, if they rely on it solely. 

You can download the .PDF file of this unreliable Glossary here:

Explore Crete
And you definitely should check out all the errors I highlighted in the Linear B entries alone in our previous post here:

Mycenaean Linear B English Gliossary ERRORS!
On the other hand, Chris Tselentis’ Linear B Lexicon is not only far more comprehensive, it is also extremely accurate and very well researched. The Title Page of Chris Tselentis’ extremely reliable Linear B Lexicon: Click to ENLARGE:

Tselentis Linear B Lexicon
Both are available in .PDF format on the Internet. If you must insist on using the first glossary (a), you should be certain to cross-check every single reference you find in it against the Lexicon (b).

In order to compensate for the unreliable Glossary (a), Rita Roberts, my research associate, and I shall be compiling an all new Topical English – Mycenaean Value-Added Linear B Lexicon throughout 2015 and into 2016, which we hope to release in PDF format sometime in 2016 or at the very latest in 2017. Our Lexicon is meant to complement, and not replace Chris Tselentis’ fine Lexicon. Whereas Tselentis has laid particular emphasis on the inclusion of as many personal names and toponyms (place names) as he could possibly find on extant Linear B tablets, our Lexicon is to focus instead on these particular areas:

(a) the correction of absolutely all errors in the sloppily conceived Mycenaean (Linear B) – ENGLISH Glossary +
(b) the addition of 1,000s of new Mycenaean Linear B Derived (D) words, not Attested (A) on any extant Linear B tablets, vocabulary which nevertheless we believe almost certainly was in regular use in Mycenaean Greek. The criteria for inclusion of any and all such Derived (D) Vocabulary will be clearly defined in the introduction to our new Linear B Lexicon, which is bound to at least double the current Mycenaean Linear B corpus from about 2,500 discreet words (non-inclusive of personal names & toponyms) to at least 5K. +
(c) We shall not, however, duplicate the excellent work Chris Tselentis has done with personal name & toponyms in his fine Linear B Lexicon, because to do so would simply be a waste. On the other hand, we shall include all major Minoan & Mycenaean personal names & toponyms which play a critical rôle in extant Linear B texts.

MICHAEL VENTRIS: It goes without saying that I regard absolutely any information and research, original or new, relevant to my hero, Michael Ventris, as of critical importance. I hope you do so too.

PROGRESSIVE LINEAR B: Progressive Linear B is a brand new Theory of Mycenaean Greek Grammar and Vocabulary in Linear B. This theory enables me to reconstruct large swaths of Mycenaean Greek grammar and vocabulary, by means of the techniques of Regressive Analysis from later Greek textual resources, in the following order of relevance, highest to lowest: Arcado-Cypriot Linear C sources (that dialect being the closest cousin to Mycenaean Greek); The Catalogue of Ships in Book II of the Iliad (See Iliad above); the Iliad itself; and finally, all of the East Greek dialects other than Arcado-Cypriot related to Mycenaean Greek, the older dialects taking precedence over the later, in this approximate order: early Ionic, Aeolic, Ionic & Attic Greek.

Having regressively extrapolated grammatical forms (conjugations, declensions, prepositions & adverbs, numerics etc.) from their latter-day equivalents in the aforementioned dialects, I shall then proceed to reconstruct as much of the corpus of Mycenaean Greek grammar as I safely can, within strict parameters based on equally strict criteria, which I shall of course detail in my Introduction to the grammar, whenever I am finally able to release it in.PDF format on the Internet (2017-2018).

Naturally, the reconstruction of Mycenaean vocabulary in our new Lexicon first (2015-2016) and of the most complete Mycenean grammar ever seen to date (2017-2018) are both immense undertakings, so please do not hold either myself or Rita to account if we take longer to release them than we might have anticipated. This is so simply because we expect from ourselves only the finest quality. And you should expect the same, nothing less.

SUPERSYLLABOGRAMS: Finally comes the biggest surprise of them all, an entirely new Theory of Linear B Supersyllababograms, which we seriously believe will prove to be a major breakthrough in the decipherment of much of the remaining 10 % of Linear B single syllabograms (i.e. where we find only 1 syllabogram all by itself written on a Linear B tablet, heretofore entirely resistant to decipherment). But as it turns out almost all of these single syllabograms, of which – get ready for this! - at least 31 of 61 Linear B syllabograms – are actually supersyllabograms. Trust me on this one, a supersyllabogram, as you shall all soon enough discover, is much more than a simple syllabogram.

Moreover, the implications of the impact of sypersyllabograms on our understanding of just what (kind of syllabary) Linear B is are bound to be profound and wide-reaching. I would even venture to go so far as to claim that Supersyllabograms (SSYs) will represent the first major breakthrough in the decipherment of Linear B in the 64 years since Michael Ventris’ astonishing achievement in cracking Linear B with the decipherment of Linear B Tablet Pylos PY 641-1952 in that year (1952). And just to whet your appetite, I shall be posting the completely revised Linear B Syllabary (2014), which I myself recently posted on our blog and on the Internet, with all the Supersyllabograms highlighted in BOLD, but without letting you know what these Supersyllabograms actually mean... although you can already find out for yourself what they mean simply by reading all the posts under the Major Category, SUPERSYLLABOGRAMS. So go for it. More news on this exciting breakthrough in the next post, which you are going to have to read anyway, if you are a Linear B researcher or translator really, really serious about new, unexpected developments into the Linear B syllabary.

Stay posted!


Maybe we should rename our blog, The Mycenaean Man Blog! Check this out...

Mycenaean Man! Click to ENLARGE

In the past couple of months, the number of visits to our well-established Linear B Blog, which is after all only 19 months old, has taken off. So I thought it would be (in-)appropriate to rename it, The Mycenaean Man Blog, only to be told flat-out by my colleague, Rita Roberts, that I must be nuts! Just kidding, she never said that, though I would not blame her if she did. At any rate, the number of visitors to our blog is reflected on a parallel plane by the significant rise in the number of followers Rita and I now have on Twitter, which has risen by 50% in just 3 months, from around 1,000 to almost 1,500 today!  What’s more, take a look at the number of Tweets we have posted on Twitter... almost 19,000 between the two of us, meaning that we will soon crack the 20K mark.

Our Twitter followers and our Tweets to date: Click to ENLARGE 

Twitter Richard Vallance & Rita Roberts 12112014
These are astonishing figures, considering that Mycenaean Linear B is, after all, hardly the sort of thing folks talk about around the kitchen table if at all, for that matter, since I am quite sure at least 98 % of the 7 + billion folks on this poor little planet of ours have ever even heard of Linear B, and probably could care less about it. But once we have hooked our followers, they hang in there with us. This is scarcely surprising to either Rita or myself, since we have always taken several new, refreshing and frankly unheard of approaches to date to research into Mycenaean Linear B, approaches which can be attested to by the often amazing posts we have on our Blog. But hey, why not? If no one else will go this route (probably being too chicken to) neither nor Rita nor I are chickens (in all senses of the word),

No Chickens! Click to ENLARGE

and so we forge merrily ahead in our pursuit of new avenues into international research into Mycenaean Linear B, Minoan Linear A, and even Arcado-Cypriot Linear C (that dialect being the closest cousin to Mycenaean Greek by a long shot). This is a particularly important new phase in the study of Linear B, one which every researcher in the field without exception has blithely ignored for the last 64 years since the great Michael Ventris deciphered this previously totally unknown syllabary. We certainly cannot blame him for that, as he had his hands full with Linear B, and anyway, he died very young (age 34) in a car crash, much as had his contemporary, the famous and beautiful American actor, James Dean.

Now, let me assure you. Almost all our posts on our Blog are dedicated to the most serious research one could imagine into Linear A, B & C, Homeric Greek, ancient Greek, and so on. But one does need to take an occasional break from the dead serious to the all-out hilarious. And so we do. Be forewarned. This is the last post of the latter ilk for the rest of 2014. So don’t hold your breath!


Completely Revised Mycenaean Linear B Basic Syllabograms, with 3 New Syllabograms JU (or YU), QA & ZU, Raising the Total from 58 to 61 with 1 less Homophone: Click to ENLARGE the Full Linear B Syllabary Revised 2014:

Linear B Syllabary Completely Revised 2014

NOTE! If you are using the standard chart of the Mycenaean syllabary currently available on the Internet, which looks like this:

Linear B Basic Values INVALID

you should discard it at once and replace it with our new Table of the Full Linear B Syllabary Revised 2014, as the former is completely out-of-date and inaccurate.

Until recently, almost all charts of the Basic Syllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B accounted for only 58 syllabograms, but this number falls short of the actual total of 61 Syllabograms. In fact, there are three syllabograms which are unaccounted for in almost all previous charts of the basic syllabograms, these three (3) being JU (or YU), QA & ZU. The chart above does account for ZU. Both YU and ZU, although attested (A) on all extant Linear B tablets and fragments, regardless of provenance, are extremely rare, so we need not fuss over them.

How did the Mycenaeans Pronounce the J series of Syllabograms (JA, JE, JO & JU)?

The syllabogram JU (or YU) appears to be accurate. Of course, you are bound to ask me, “Why all this fuss over the Mycenaeans’ actual pronunciation of the syllabograms in the J+ vowel series?” Good question. Actually, the distinction is highly significant. If those of us who are allophone English speakers pronounce the syllabogram JE, it is inevitable that it is going to sound exactly like “je” in our word “jet”. However, I contend that this was almost certainly not the way the Mycenaeans would have pronounced it. They would much more likely have pronounced the entire J series of syllabograms (JA, JE, JO & JU) very much the way the French do today, as in “je” (I) or “justement” (precisely or exactly). If you are allophone English, there is really no way I can tell you how “j” sounds in French. But if you go to this site, you can hear it for yourself (scroll to the bottom of the light blue table):


Listen carefully. You can easily enough tell that the sound of the consonant “j” is much softer in French than it is in English. That is the whole point. As languages progress forward through their historical timeline, the pronunciation of certain letters changes. Sometimes, consonants actually end up as vowels. This is precisely what happened to the soft “j” in Mycenaean Greek. By the time of Homer, it had glided to the vowel “i”. Thus, the genitive singular masculine “ojo” in Mycenaean Greek was now pronounced “oio” in Homer’s Iliad. Now, the real problem here is simply this: when did the pronunciation start to imperceptibly shift from that soft “j” to the much softer vowel “i”? This question is in no way academic, but a reflection of the actual historical process of the gradual transformation, or glide (if you like) from soft “j” to the vowel “i”.  Given that Mycenaean Greek was the predominant Greek dialect almost everywhere in Greece from at least 1600 BCE until ca. 1200 BCE, the glide may have already been almost complete by the latter date. But we have no way of really knowing.

However, I am one of many Linear B researchers and translators who believe this is indeed what happened, even as early as four centuries before Homer wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey (if ever he wrote it at all, rather than merely reciting aloud). So at least some of us prefer to list the J series of syllabograms (JA, JE, JO & JU) as the Y series (YA, YE, YO & YU), in our belief that the glide from the soft “j” to the purely vocalic “i” pronunciation of this series of 4 syllabograms was already well under way towards the end of the Mycenaean era. It is far more likely that the earlier soft “j” held sway in Knossos before its final demise ca. 1450-1425 BCE, so the choice of which pronunciation you personally prefer is entirely arbitrary. I have no problem being arbitrary myself. Take your pick.

Why QA, Previously Classified as a Homophone Only, Should Properly be Considered a Syllabogram and Not a Homophone:

The renowned Linear A & Linear B researcher, Prof. John G. Younger, was the first to recognize QA for what it is, a syllabogram. As Chris Tselentis makes it abundantly clear in his well-conceived Linear B Lexicon, he considers QA to be a syllabogram, and not a homophone. As he is Greek, he is in a much better position to have at it than those of us who are not Greek, which of course means almost all of us. This small extract from his Lexicon’s alphabetical list nicely illustrates the point – Click to ENLARGE:

Linear B Syllabogram QA in the Linear B Lexicon by Chris Tselentis

Linear B Syllabogram QA in the Linear B Lexicon by Chris Tselentis

In his comprehensive Linear B Lexicon, Chris Tselentis places QA immediately after PTE and right before QE, which is precisely where it belongs alphabetically in the Linear B syllabary. To classify QA as being only a homophone is to strip it of its actual true value, which is patently unacceptable. Unfortunately, the primary chart, “Proposed Values of the Mycenaean Syllabary”, which is the one practically everyone studying Linear B resorts to, is inaccurate & totally out-of-date on two vital counts.

[1] The new syllabograms (actually not so new), JU & QA are missing from that chart.
[2] Past Linear B researchers and translators, from Michael Ventris through to his colleague, Prof. John Chadwick, were mistaken in their interpretation of the syllabogram QA as a homophone only. Since it is now known that in fact QA is an attested syllabogram (A), the previous phonetic value Ventris, Chadwick et. al. assigned to it is neither here nor there. In order not to confuse Linear B students and researchers, I cannot be bothered rehashing its former value. This in no way detracts from their splendid work in the successful decipherment. It just took a number of decades for later Linear B researchers to finally realize that there was (and is) more to this little beastie than was previously believed to be the case.

Since the Linear B syllabary has no syllabogram to account for either a B+ vowel or G+vowel series, QA, QE, QO had to stand in for both “ba, be, bo...etc.” & “ga, ge,  go...”  in Mycenaean Greek.

If you still wish to read an early, but truly excellent, extensive study on the conjectural pronunciation of of a great many syllabograms, download the PDF file, The Linear B Signs 8-A and 25-A2 (Remarks on the Problem of Mycenaean Doublets), by Antonín Bartonek, translated by S. Kostomlatský (1957). This study clearly illustrates the then current belief that PA2, i.e. QA, was strictly a homophone... a belief which has not stood the test of time. In Fact, Prof. John G. Younger, one of the most esteemed Linear A & Linear B researchers of our time, has this to say about the Mycenaean pronunciation of QA. 

John G Younger’s reassignment of PA2 to QA. Click to ENLARGE:

John G Youngers reassigment of PA2 to QA

If you click on the Title Banner for Prof. Younger’s site below, you will be taken there, where you can view both the Linear A & B Grids. Scroll down to near the end of the page to view his complete chart of the Linear B grid. 

Linear A Texts in phonetic transcription John G Younger


Just released & a Must Read! A Companion to the Ancient Greek Language by Egbert J. Bakker (ed.) © 2014

A Companion to the Ancient Greek Language Paperback – January 28, 2014, by Egbert J. Bakker (Editor) ISBN-13: 978-1118782910 (hard cover) ISBN-10: 1118782917 (paperback) Edition: 1st $50! Click to ENLARGE:


with an extensive review in: Bryn Mawr Classical Review. Click the banner to read the review:


Here is an extract from that review to whet your appetite:But whatever one might think of companion volumes, this is a useful book. It boasts a wide range of generally high-quality essays by a parade of eminent scholars. Perhaps its most praiseworthy feature is the clarity and accessibility of many of its contributions, which makes them ideal starting points for the non-specialist. We will no doubt be assigning several of these chapters in our classes.”

The Significance of A Companion to the Ancient Greek Language in Contemporary Research into Ancient Greek Linguistics: 

This new book, representative of the latest linguistic research into the ancient Greek language, may very well become a definitive classic in its own right. It is all the more relevant as it contains an entire chapter on Mycenaean Greek and Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot and Linear C, confirming beyond a shadow of a doubt my own firm contention that Arcado-Cypriot as a Greek dialect is intimately allied with its slightly older cousin, Mycenaean Greek. What Egbert J. Bakker to say about the close bond between the Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot dialects deserves to be quoted verbatim:Mycenaean is clearly, therefore, an East Greek dialect, along with Attic-Ionic and Arcado-Cypriot...” (pg. 198) and again, “Mycenaean is therefore a dialect related to Arcado-Cypriot - not unexpected, given the geography - but not necessarily to be identified as the direct ancestor of either Arcadian and Cypriot. The precise relationship between the three is difficult to determine. Presumably the Arcadians were the descendents of speakers of a Mycenaean-like (page 199) dialect who took to the hills when the Dorians invade the Peloponnese, while the Cypriots were émigré cousins.”

Recall what C.D. Buck had to say about the Mycenaean & Arcado-Cypriot dialects way back in 1955, in his equally impressive, then cutting-edge, linguistic study of ancient Greek, The Greek Dialects:The most fundamental division of the Greek dialects is that into the West Greek and the East Greek dialects, the terms referring to their location prior to the great migrations. The East Greek are the “the old Hellenic” dialects, that is, those employed by the peoples who held the stage almost exclusively in the period represented by the Homeric poems, when the West Greek peoples remained in obscurity in the northwest. To the East Greek belong the Attic and Aeolic groups... passim... And to the East Greek (dialects) also belong the Arcado-Cyprian.”

And, of course, just to be certain we have the whole picture clearly in focus, we must also include Mycenaean Greek and early Arcadian as proto-Ionic, both of which dialects held sway “prior to the great migrations” (of the Dorians)...

and you can easily see that not much has changed in the past 50 or so years since its publication and the release of A Companion to the Ancient Greek Language by Egbert J. Bakker, in our overall perspectives on the intimate relationship between the East Greek dialects, Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot dialects, as I was at great pains to stress in a post on this very same issue just a few days ago, when I myself echoed the opinions of both these esteemed scholars, as follows:Astonishingly (and for my purposes, very conveniently) these two proto-Ionic dialects are as closely allied as their natural descendents, Ionic and Attic Greek, which rose to prominence some 5 centuries after Linear C first popped up out of the clear blue.”

Need I say more?  - except to assert unequivocally that my own research into the intimate bond between the Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriots will go far beyond merely this consideration, as I shall soon delve deeply into the close relationship between (at least some) Mycenaean vocabulary in Linear B and Arado-Cypriot in Linear C, the implications of which should prove profound for a greater understanding of Mycenaean Greek per se.  Keep posted.


Where are all the sheep today, my shepherd?” And a sheep joke!

just sheep

The time has come for us to start illustrating all of the supersyllabograms on consecutive charts by category. We shall start today with all 7 of the supersyllabograms associated with sheep, rams & ewes. Here is our first chart (Click to ENLARGE):

Linear B Supersyllabograms Chart for sheep rams and ewes

For those of you who are new to our blog, a supersyllabogram is simply the first syllabogram, hence the first syllable of any particular Linear B word. So supersyllabograms act as a sort of shorthand, which the Linear B scribes frequently resorted to, along with ideograms, to save precious space on the small clay tablets they had to use. While their meanings change from one category to the next, supersyllabograms always have specific, invariable meanings for each area of interest or category into which they fall. And there can be only one meaning for each SSY in each category.

When it comes to sheep, rams & ewes, I have assigned meanings to 6 of the 7 supersyllabograms in the chart above. The meanings of some of the supersyllabograms relating to sheep, rams & ewes seem to be quite sound, for instance, the SSY O almost certainly stands for ONATO or “lease field”, while the SSY KI in all probability means “a plot of land”, simply because these two words are the only ones beginning with O & KI, which fit the context (sheep) almost like a glove in the very small Linear B lexicon of no more than 3,500 words. These 2 SSYs appear 88 (O) and 41 (KI) times on the 700 odd Linear B tablets I examined relating to sheep, rams and ewes. The SSYs NE (twice) & ZA (3 times) also appear to be pretty much on target, again for the same reason.

The case for PE (35) is even stronger, because the scribe unwittingly obliged us by writing the word out in full in the genitive case, PERIQOROYO, on one of his tablets, KN 1232 E d 462, previously translated on this blog. This is the one and only Linear B tablet from Knossos on which a supersyllabogram is spelled out in its entirety. It was in fact this very SSY which handed me the key to break the code for SSYs. Once our scribe had spilled the beans, he just went his merry way and used only the supersyllabogram PE on all the rest of the tablets he inscribed. But that makes no difference. A PE is a PE is a PE. 

As for the other SSYs used in the context of sheep, rams and ewes, NE did not pose much of a problem either, as it appears to mean simply NEWO (masc.) or NEWA (fem.) “new”. But this translation is, to my mind, probably less sound, if only for the reason that it sounds a little too simplistic. Why would anyone want to replace a two syllabogram word with just its first syllabogram, unless he were really lazy? Beats me.

On the other hand, when I consulted the only two really useful Linear B lexicons on the internet, the Mycenaean (Linear B) – English Glossary and Chris Tselentis’ far more comprehensive and far better Linear B Lexicon, I came up utterly dry for the SSY PA in the context of sheep. There is nothing to be found. Zilch. So the only alternative I had was to search through 38 (!) pages of Liddell & Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon (the ultimate standard for ancient Greek) to try and find at least a few alternative translations for Greek words beginning with PA or PHA (found 32 times on 700 tablets), and I did find some. But there is simply no way to verify whether or not any of these words were ever Linear B words, since not a single one of them can be found on any extant Linear B tablets. So we are fishing in muddy waters. Yet, as I always say, better make a stab at it than do nothing. That is always my “philosophy” when it comes to attempting a decipherment of recalcitrant syllabograms or ideograms on Linear B tablets. I am probably wrong, but frankly I don’t really care, because if someone someday actually does figure out what the SSY PA means, all the more power to that person. Still better if a Linear B tablet is ever unearthed in future that actually spells out what this SSY means. Fat chance of that. So the “definition” of the SSY PA is probably going to remain in limbo. Check out my translation in the post where I “define it”. Take it or leave it, as you see fit. Whatever it does mean, it is still an important sypersyllabogram in the context of sheep, as it is used quite frequently.

Finally, the SSY SE, which appears once only on the 3,000 or so Linear B tablets from Knossos in Scripta Minoa, utterly eludes me. I haven’t the faintest clue what it means. Anyway, the scribe who used it must have been high on something, because it was never used again. So I very much doubt anyone will ever be able to decipher it. If you can, all the more power to you.

OK, so now let’s have some fun. Even if you don’t know Linear B, you should be able to translate the supersyllabograms on the (excerpts of) 3 tablets I provide below. And if you do know at least some Linear B, it should be a breeze. So give it a shot, and leave a comment, and I will let you know how close you came to the mark. Remember that some of the SSYs on these 3 tablets are used in combination, so you have to translate all of them to form a phrase that makes sense with the ideogram for ram (see chart above). Enjoy!  

Here is your quiz. Click to ENLARGE:

KN 927 F 938 G & 1240 F


Bid a Warm Welcome to Ourselves & Our Friends on Twitter & their Linear B Sites

Here are a few links to our collegial sites, first for Rita Roberts and myself on Twitter. For each site you wish to visit, simply click on its banner:

Rita Roberts:

Rita Roberts

Richard Vallance Janke:


You may very well want to sign up with Rita and me on Twitter, because between us we are following at least 1,500 Twitter accounts, a great many them archaeological or on ancient linguistics, often relating specifically to Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, the ancient Cycladic, Cypriot, Cretan and Mycenaean civilizations, among others directly related to them, as well as other contemporaneous civilizations such as ancient Egypt, Syria etc. Although we follow well over 2,000 Twitter accounts between us, the overlap is certain to be considerable, which is why I have given an estimate of 1,500. If you are not already a member of Twitter, I really do advise you to do so, if not for these reasons: (a) you will automatically be able to pick up your own followers from the approximately 1,500 Rita and I already follow. (b) by so doing, you will help widen the Twitter community already focused on our very own concerns, as noted above (c) you will hopefully become an active member of the international Twitter community focused on the same issues as ourselves. And even though Linear A, B & C and related archaeological disciplines are esoteric, to say the least, Richard already has over 600 followers, and Rita over 300. Even with considerable overlap, our followers may very well exceed 700 in all. Note that, unlike Facebook, which I loathe, Twitter is not greedily invasive on personal privacy.

Also of great interest to our community are our shared Pinterest boards. which I strongly urge you to join. All the images posted on our blog, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae are posted here:


where you will be able to view and download at your leisure any images, illustrations, charts etc. etc. directly related to early Cretan & Minoan hieroglyphics, Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, and any and all ancient scripts of possible interest to you as a researcher or translator. I, Richard, am by far the primary contributor to this board, which already has over 750 pins to date, but if you join, I will be delighted to invite you to post your own images directly related only to the ancient scripts mentioned here:
where you will find any and all images, photos and artwork of Knossos, Mycenae, the Minoan/Mycenaean civilizations, and plenty of other illustrations of related interest. Rita Roberts is the moderator by default of this amazing board, since she has posted the vast majority of images there (almost 900 pins to date). I leave it to her to take care of this board, as I simply do not have the time to do so.

Knossos & Mycenae Sister Civilizations

and Ancient Sea People, which Violet Shimmer Love just recently invited me to join. The overlap between Violet’s board and Knossos & Mycenae, Civilizations and with Mycenaean Linear B, Progressive Grammar & Vocabulary is not considerable, so I really do encourage you to subscribe to Ancient Sea Peoples as well.


We also have just invited aboard our newest member, Gretchen E. Leonhardt, here at Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae.  Here is her site:

Gretchen is a linguistic specialist of the highest order who has been studying, deciphering and translating Linear B for well over a decade. I for one know that I will often need to rely on her to clarify matters related to Linear B with which I am unfamiliar.  Although her approach to the decipherment and translation of Linear B is very much add odds with my own, this is of little consequence, as we all know that I encourage truly scholarly debate and differences in points of view and theoretical constructs, in the sure knowledge that everyone who is adept with Linear B has his or her own unique contribution to make, and that no one is in competition with anyone else.  Anyone who visits our blog can decide for him- or herself which translations of Linear B tablets and fragments he or she prefers, whether they be those of myself, Rita Roberts, Gretchen Leonhardt or of absolutely anyone else who becomes a new member in the future. Or if you are like me, you may prefer to entertain the merits of any and all translations of the same original tablet or fragment, or to cull from them those elements which you find most to your taste, should you yourself wish to post translations of the same originals. No translator of Linear B, no matter how competent or advanced, has a monopoly on the “best” translations of Linear B originals, since as we all know, Linear B texts can – and more often than not – are very ambiguous.

And of course, we must not forget about Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B, Dead Languages of the Mediterranean, one of the Internet’s most prestigious primary resources, here:

Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B Dead Languages of the Mediterranean

As new key sites related to Linear A B & C come to light, I shall of course add them to our list, so that you may decide for yourselves which ones you really wish to take an interest in.
On a final note, ours is an extremely busy Blog, having seen tens of thousands of visitors in only a year and a half, so I would greatly appreciate it if member contributors and authors would take this into account, as I can sometimes easily feel overwhelmed. I believe it is called burnout when it goes over the top. That is just the way I am. 


Mycenaean Linear B: Level 3 Review – All New Vocabulary using the Homophone AI

A Homophone in Mycenaean Linear B consists of not just a consonant + 1 vowel, but of either:

a consonant + 2 vowels OR a consonant + 3 vowels

The simplest homophones in Linear B are what we call diphthongs in English. Diphthongs in English consist of 2 vowels pronounced as one sound.

For instance,

AI which is pronounced like “ai” in aisle.
EI which  is pronounced like “ei” in freight & weight
OI which is pronounced like “oy” in boy & as in the words: boil, coil, soil, toil

Of these, only the homophone AI exists in Linear B. In other words, there is no possible way to express the diphthongs “ei” and “oi” in English.

Here we have a small vocabulary of 7 Mycenaean Greek words beginning with the homophone AI – Click to ENLARGE:

Linear B Homophone AI

We shall eventually post a small cross-section of Linear B words later on this year, beginning with A as they will (tentatively) appear in the English-Mycenaean/Mycenaean-English Linear B Lexicon of some 5,000 to 7,500 words we intend to publish sometime in 2017 or 2018, either attested (A) on the tablets or derived (D), in order of precedence, highest to lowest, from (a) The Catalogue of Ships in Book II of the Iliad (b) Book II of the Iliad (d) The Iliad (e) early East Greek dialects such as Arcado-Cypriot (above all others!), early Ionic and Aeolic Greek & finally, and only as a last resort, from (e) Attic Greek. This way, our readers, students and researchers of Linear B will be able to get  a good idea of what our English-Mycenaean/Mycenaean-English Linear B Lexicon will probably look like when it is eventually published around 2018.



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