Tag Archive: Linear B syllabary

RE the critique, On the Dangers of Bad Linear B Scholarship, please followers, HELP, tell me what should I do about this post I have re-blogged?


Here is the original article criticizing my dreadful scholarship: Click on the text below to go there:

on the dangers of bad scholarship

I have never posted anything like this post, but I am so terribly upset and depressed by this review I feel like giving up on Linear B for good, because what good is someone who does not know what he is saying? I feel like I should and I must delete my article,

The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B


because obviously it is just so much garbage. It seems to me I have learned nothing about Linear B. I am so sorry for posting this, but I just do not know what to think or what to do. If no one wants to comment on this stupid post, that is OK. There is nothing I can do.


README! In the post, “On the Dangers of Bad Linear B Scholarship”


I erroneously wrote:

So as I said, I find your conclusions most intriguing, and may be dead wrong. 

when I meant:

so as I said, I find your conclusions most intriguing, and I may be dead wrong. 

With my apologies to the author of this article.

Richard Vallance Janke

Converting Linear B to ancient Greek, Rule 6a, TA TE TI TO TU:

Rule 6a t = t

Rule 6a is very simple. In the majority of Linear B words containing TA TE TI TO TU, these syllabograms must be converted to ta te ti to tu in (archaic) ancient Greek. However, by now it is becoming obvious that almost all or all of the previous rules we have already learned (1-5) also apply to almost all Greek words, and so we must always keep this in mind. In other words, multiple rules almost always apply to almost all Linear B words converted into Greek. The best way to confirm this is simply to check the Greek spelling in Tselentis of every single word you convert from Linear B into Greek. This requires perseverance and above all, practice, practice, practice, until it sinks in. From here on in, as we learn each additional rule, from 6b upwards, the number of multiple rules applying to almost every Linear B word converted into Greek will increase by 1 with each new rule. So far the number of multiple rules applying to each Linear B word converted into Greek = 1 2 3a 3b 4 5 6a for a maximum of 7 possible variations. With rule 6b, the maximum number of multiples will increase to 8.  Rule 6b follows in the next post.

John Chadwick recognized the Linear B supersyllabograms ZE & MO:

chadwick reading the past linear b 37 ZE zeugesi

chadwick reading the past linear b 38 MO mono

It is quite obvious from the excerpts above from Chadwick’s masterful, Reading the Past: Linear B and Related Scripts, © 1987 that he clearly recognized the supersyllabograms ZE, corresponding to (archaic) Greek zeu/gesi = yoked and MO mo/noj = single. This being the case, it is also more than likely that he was aware of the existence of at least some of the 39 supersyllabograms in Linear B, and this is significant, because it was he who first latched onto Michael Ventris’ amazing discovery in 1952 that the Linear B syllabary was in fact the script of a very ancient and archaic Greek dialect, which we now know as Mycenaean. This raises the question, did Michael Ventris himself know about supersyllabograms? Brilliant as he was, I am greatly inclined to believe he did, but his untimely death at the young age of 34 in a terrible car accident in 1956 never gave him the chance to further develop and refine his initial decipherment of Linear B in 1952. So we shall never know. But very the idea that he may have known is truly tantalizing.

Linear B - KN Dd1171, article by Peter J. Keyse on academia.edu 

Click on this graphic to view Keyse’s article:

Linear B - KN Dd1171

Peter J. Keyse provides a thorough analysis of Linear B tablet  KN Dd 1171 in this fascinating article, which is well worth reading for anyone who is familiar with the Linear B syllabary, and certainly for anyone who is studying Linear B in depth. His article is not without errors. For instance, he deciphers PoRo as the name of someone in what he calls the PoMe “worker class” = a shepherd,

Linear B - KN Dd1171 PORO

but his interpretation of of PORO is clearly incorrect, as this word  has 3 distinct meanings, one of which is the Linear B word for “a foal”, as demonstrated by Chris Tselentis in his Linear B Lexicon, here:

Tselentis PORO

(The other 2 meanings of POME offered by Tselentis do not fit the context)

while POME is quite obviously Mycenaean Greek for “shepherd”:

Tselentis POME

Keyse also notes that Michael Ventris identified 3 major styles for incisions - those at Knossos, Pylos and Mycenae. In his own words: The vertical lines are quite faint scratches and not easily seen. The cuts in the clay are ‘under-cut’ i.e. pushed in at an angle . This preoccupation with Linear B scribal hands recurs in a great many articles on Linear B. Keyse also covers the what he ascertains to be the phonetic sounds of the numerics on this tablet. He also emphasizes the nature and particulars characteristics of the scribal hand on this tablet.

But it his conclusion which is most fascinating. He says,

In conclusion: 

What would Dd1171 sound like if read aloud? Po-Ro. 20 OVISm, 72 OVISf. Pa-I-To. Pa 8 OVISm. While it reasonable to say that Linear B was no more the spoken language of its day than ‘double-entry bookkeeping’ speak is for accounting clerks today it is also true to say that accountants do on occasions talk in journals and double-entry (and not only when at dinner parties and down the pub) and they certainly call over inventories to each other. It is clear that Linear B had a sound but perhaps it is unlikely that we can fairly reproduce it today. Considering the importance of numbers within the Linear B archive I find it surprising that no phonic system has been devised to represent them or if devised is not clearly documented in the literature. 

COMMENT by Richard Vallance Janke on the sound, i.e. the general pronunciation of Linear B. In actuality, we probably do have some idea of how Mycenaean Greek was pronounced. Its closest cousin was Arcado-Cypriot, represented both by its own syllabary, Linear C, and by its own archaic alphabet. The Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot dialects were much closer phonetically than even Ionic and Attic Greek. Phonological details of the archaic Arcado-Cypriot dialect appear in C.D. Buck, The Greek Dialects, © 1955, 1998. ISBN 1-85399-566-8, on pg. 144. He provides even more information on Arcado-Cypriot on pp. 7-8, and classifies it as an East Greek dialect, pg. 9. This is highly significant, because if Arcado-Cypriot is East Greek, ergo Mycenaean Greek also is. This places both of the archaic East-Greek dialects, Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot, firmly in the camp of all East Greek dialects, including Arcadian, Aeolic, Lesbian, Cyprian, Pamphylian, Thessalian, Boeotian, and the much later Ionic and Attic dialects. So it is probably fair to say that we may have at least an idea, even if somewhat inaccurate, of how Mycenaean Greek was pronounced. And this has huge implications for the further study of Mycenaean Greek phonology.

another Linear B tablet from Knossos illustrating the syllabogram JU, KN 21 J i 14:


Knossos Linear B tablet 21 J i 14

This tablet from Knossos deals with barley stalks in conjunction with the syllabogram JU, which clearly is also a crop, but which kind we do not know. Wine is also mentioned on this tablet. So we may very well be dealing with barley wine, which of course is what the Mycenaeans and ancient Greeks called beer. So now we have a hint as to what JU might mean, i.e. hops or a draught, but my bet is on the former.

syllabogram JU on Linear B tablets: KN 8a J i 01 & KN 20 Ji 22 (recto verso):

Here we have the first 2 examples of Linear B tablets with the syllabogram JU, first  KN 8a J i 01:

Knossos Linear B tablet 8a

and secondly, KN 20 Ji 22 (recto verso):

Knossos Linear B tablet 20ab

It is apparent fro these 2 tablets that it is probably impossible to decipher the syllabogram JU, at leasst for the time being. But however daunting the task to decipher it, we shall persist to the bitter end.

Linear B syllabary revised 2018 with the syllabogram JU:

We have had to revise the Linear B syllabary 2018, by adding the syllabogram JU or YU (we prefer the latter pronunciation), which is not accounted for in almost all versions of the Linear B syllabary, in spite of the fact that several Linear B tablets from Knossos bear this syllabogram. The Linear B syllabogram JU or YU is directly inherited from its Linear A forbear JU, which we see here in the table of Linear A syllabograms:

Linear A syllabary with JU

And here is the Linear B syllabogram JU or YU as it appears alone.

J series 2018

And here is the revised Linear B syllabary 2018, which includes the syllabogram JU or YU. If you have a copy of the Linear B syllabary on your computer, you should discard it and replace it with this new Linear B syllabary revised 2018.

Linear B base syllabary 2018 620

Tablets illustrating the Linear B syllabogram JU or YU will follow in the next few posts.

NEW! Link to our POST on how to download Scripta Minoa on academia.edu here.

Just click on: How to download Sir Arthur Evan’s Scripta Minoa, Volumes 1 & 2, Linear B, in their entirety.pdf:

Scripta Minoa main screen


and you will immediately be taken to the page on which the article appears, here:


Scripta Minoa main file download


If you are interested in Scripta Minoa by Sir Arthur Evans at all, you will definitely want to download these 2 volumes, Scripta Minoa, Volume 1 and 2. The Linear B tablets all appear in Volume 2.


Converting Linear B into ancient Greek: Rule 5, neuter gender: 

Linear B O to Greek on neuter620

The table above makes it painfully obvious that archaic Greek neuter nouns MUST end in n, and there is no exception to this rule. It is impossible for Linear B to express this final n, because Linear B is a syllabary, and in a syllabary all words can end only in a vowel. But in archaic and ancient Greek, all neuter words MUST end with n. Rule 5 (neuter) is similar to Rule 4 (masculine), except for the final letter, which is j for masculine is n for neuter. This is the last rule for July 2018. 


Converting Linear B into ancient Grreek: Rule 4, masculine gender:

Rule 4 masculine Linear B O to Greek OS620

The table above makes it painfully obvious that archaic Greek masculine nouns MUST end in j, and there is no exception to this rule. It is impossible for Linear B to express this final j, because Linear B is a syllabary, and in a syllabary all words can end only in a vowel. But in archaic and ancient Greek, all masculine words MUST end with j.

Linear B R to ancient Greek l, Rule 3b, not quite so intuitive but still easy!

Linear B to ancient Greek r = l620

Rule 3b is as almost as easy as Rule 3a. In Rule 3b Linear B R always = ancient Greek l. This is because there is no L series of syllabograms in Linear B, i.e. no LA LE LI LO LU, so the only way to express L in Linear B is through the R series, RA RE RI RO RU.

Linear B R to ancient Greek r, Rule 3a, extremely easy!

Linear B to ancient GreekRule 3a r= r620

Rule 3a is as easy as Rule 1. Nothing to it. Linear B R always = ancient Greek r.

Converting Linear B into ancient Greek: Rule 2, single S in Linear B becomes double SS in ancient Greek:

Rule 2 the double consonant Linear B S = ss in ancient Greek620

In a very few cases, Linear B words with a single S convert into a double SS ss in ancient Greek, as illustrated in the chart above. This is not very common. Most of the time, a single S in Linear B remains a single S s in ancient Greek.

Converting Linear B into ancient Greek: Rule 1, the stressed acute accent /

Rule1 acute accent = stress in ancient Greek620

Rule 1 is by far the easiest Rule to remember in converting Linear B spelling into ancient Greek orthography. Simply put, you must always place the acute accent / where the stress falls on the ancient Greek word. This stressed acute accent / must never be omitted from the ancient Greek word.

Linear B to ancient Greek: Level 2a – part 1, a little more complex:

Linear B to ancient Greek Level 2a 620

As we enter the second phase of converting Linear B feminine words into ancient Greek, things get a little more complex. So it is absolutely essential to read the graphic table Level 2a – part 1 so thoroughly that you finally have it memorized. I shall not repeat the comments in the NOTES here, because they speak for themselves.

NEW on academia.edu. High Correlation Linear A-Linear B vocabulary, grammar and orthography in Linear A, by Richard Vallance Janke and Alexandre Solcà:


High Correlation Linear A Linear B on academia.edu

Over the past 118 years since the discovery of the first Linear A tablets at Knossos, innumerable attempts have been made to decipher Linear A, all of them falling short of expectations in academia, or being outright abject failures. We propose a multi-pronged approach to the decipherment of the Mycenaean-derived superstrate in Linear A, otherwise known as New Minoan (NM), with the implicit understanding that we, like all other researchers past and present, are not in a position to decipher the Minoan substrate language, a.k.a. Old Minoan (OM), onto which Mycenaean-derived New Minoan (NM) vocabulary is grafted. The primary thrust of this monograph is to demonstrate the high correlation which obtains only between Mycenaean-derived Linear A and Linear B vocabulary, a.k.a. New Minoan (NM) in Linear A, between the grammar and orthography in Linear A and Linear B and between their syllabaries. To this end we have adopted a multi-pronged approach, which consists of the following methodologies: (a) the establishment of high correlation between Mycenaean-derived Linear A and Linear B vocabulary, wherever applicable (b) the confirmation of high correlation between the Linear A and Linear B syllabaries (c) demonstration of high correlation between the orthography of Mycenaean-derived Linear A terms and their Linear B counterparts and (d) corroborating evidence of the possible derivation of much of Mycenaean, archaic and Homeric Greek grammar from foundational archaic Minoan declensions. 

Keywords: syllabary, Linear A, substrate, Linear B, superstrate, correlation, high correlation, derivation, derivative analysis, vocabulary, orthography, syllabaries, grammar, archaic Greek, Homeric Greek

This monograph, High Correlation Linear A-Linear B vocabulary, grammar and orthography in Linear A, by Richard Vallance Janke and Alexandre Solcà, is the largest study into the genesis of a Mycenaean-derived superstrate in Linear A ever undertaken by these authors. This is merely the draft paper, and as such it has yet to be approved for final publication by the editorial board of Les Éditions KONOSO Press. Since this is a draft paper only, we urgently request that any and all visitors to View Comments apprise us of any and all errors, whether orthographic, grammatical or syntactical. We have already proof-read this monograph at least 150 times, but before it can be approved or is approved for final publication by Les Éditions KONOSO Press, it must be absolutely free of errors of any kind. So if you spot any errors whatsoever, please let us know at once. We of course welcome any and all comments, observations and criticisms on this major new and entirely revolutionary study into the possible/probable existence of a Mycenaean-derived superstrate in Linear A. We realize that a great many critics will object to our hypothesis, some of them vociferously. But all we ask is that you keep an open mind, whoever you may be, with our thanks in advance.

Also, please be sure to go straight to this astonishing new study on academia.edu, by clicking on the graphical link at the outset of this post. Please do bookmark it, and if you are a member of academia.edu, please recommend it to other researchers. And if you already know Linear B, read all of it, because you will be astounded to discover how great is the overlap between Mycenaean-derived Greek in Linear A and Mycenaean Greek in Linear B. Trust me.

Thank you

Richard Vallance Janke and Alexandre Solcà

Converting Linear B to ancient Greek, Level 1b:

converting Linear A to ancient Greek level1b

Table 2 above illustrates further refinements in the conversion of Linear B spelling to (archaic) ancient Greek orthography. We note in particular Linear B pedira, which becomes pe/dila in ancient Greek. This is because there exists no L series of syllabograms, i.e. LA LE LI LO LU, in Linear B. On the other hand, a great many (archaic) ancient Greek words contain the letter l (lambda) = l Latinized. One such word is pe/dila. So it is to be expected that the l (lambda) = l Latinized in words such as pe/dila must be represented by R in Linear B. There is just no way around it. Next, we have the word onata in Linear B, which of course turns out to be o/nata in (archaic) ancient Greek, just as we would naturally expect. But this word has an alternative spelling o/naton, which is not feminine at all, but rather neuter. Now it just so happens that almost all neuter words in ancient Greek must terminate in n, Latinized as n. But since Linear B is a syllabary, it is impossible for any Linear B word to end in a consonant. However, since almost all neuter ancient Greek words end in n, this consonant must be added to the ancient Greek equivalent of the Linear B word to which it corresponds.

Overlap between Linear A and Linear B syllabaries is so high that the latter should be considered a refinement of the former, and not a new syllabary:

Minoan Linear A keyboard assignments620

In the keyboard assignments for Linear A syllabograms above, I have indicated where Linear A and Linear B syllabograms (almost) coincide with the tag lb just below and slightly to the right of each LA syllabogram for which the Linear B equivalent is (almost) identical or very similar. As it turns out, in the Linear A syllabary of 54 syllabograms, 48 ! are either (almost) identical or very similar to their Linear B counterparts. This leads me to draw the inexorable conclusion that the Linear B syllabary is not a new syllabary at all, but that it should rather be considered a refinement of the Linear A syllabary. The Linear B syllabary standardized several syllabograms which had first appeared in the Linear A syllabary, and eliminated perhaps as much as 100 ideograms, logograms and ligatures originally found in Linear A, replacing some (but far from all) of the latter by new ideograms, logograms and ligatures (in Linear B). Nevertheless, the high statistical overlap between the Linear A and Linear B syllabaries argues in favour of a single syllabary in evolution. Of the 54 syllabograms in Linear A, 48 are either (almost) identical or very similar to their Linear B counterparts, and of the 61 in Linear B, again 48 fall into the same zone.

So is Linear A a new syllabary, or is it merely a refinement and standardized version of Linear A? You may draw your own conclusions. I have already drawn mine.

The implications of this hypothesis for the further decipherment of Linear A are staggering.

The third example of Cretan ideograms/logograms, Malia label Mu MA/M Hf, possibly decipherable:

Cretan label Malia Quartier Mu MA M Hf

Click on the label, FRAGRANTICA, for more information about saffron as an ancient aromatic.

This is the third example of Cretan ideograms/logograms, Malia label Mu MA/M Hf. Surprising as it is, this label may be largely decipherable. It is subdivided into 3 sections. The first S1 is blank. The second, S2, appears to spill over from the first side to the second, while the third, S3, is found on the second side alone. The first ideogram in S2 (section 2) is probably the one for “saffron”, while the second is still indecipherable. The third is clearly some sort of representation of a woman. The X, which is indecipherable, is followed by the number 100. S2 continues on side 2, which begins with what is clearly the ideogram for “textiles/cloth”, followed by what appear to be 3 ideograms for “sword(s)”. If these 3 ideograms in fact designate “swords”, they are practically identical to those for “swords” in Linear B. Section 3 (S3) begins with what appears to be an ideogram for “garment(s)”, followed once again by textiles, and followed in turn by an indecipherable ideogram, which might possibly relate to cutting, S3 ending with the number 100.

A partial decipherment might read: aromatic saffron + ? + a weaver or weavers (all weavers were women) weaving 100 rolls of cloth, 3 of which serve to wrap 3 swords in + 100 garments of some kind of (cut) textiles (saffron dyed?).

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