Tag Archive: LinearC

The British Museum on Twitter only follows back about 5 % of those who follow them, but they do follow us! 


While The British Museum has 1.01 million followers, they only follow back 50.9 K Twitter accounts, and KONOSO is one of those with whom they reciprocate. In other words, we are among the 5 % of Twitter accounts they follow back. This goes to demonstrate the enormous impact our Twitter account, KONOSO:


Moreover, in the past 3 months alone, the number of our twitter followers has risen from 1,600 to over 1,900 (1902). This, in combination with the 625 followers of our co-researcher colleague's twitter account (Rita Roberts):


brings the total number of followers of our 2 accounts combined to 2,527, up from less than 2,000 only 3 months ago.
Among other prestigious international Twitter accounts following us we find:

Henry George Liddell:


the latest in a long line of generations of great historical Greek linguists who over the centuries have compiled the world’s greatest classical Greek dictionary, the Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon.

Phaistos Project:


Greek History Podcast:


@antiquitas @eterna:


Dr Kalliopi Nikita:


Expert in Greek Archaeology-Ancient Glass Specialist-Dedicated to Greek Culture, Language & Heritage Awareness Art lover-Theatrophile-Painter- Olympiacos-Sphinx 

The Nicholson Museum, antiquities and archaeology museum, Sydney University Museums, Sydney, Australia, also follows us:



Bacher Archäology (Institute, Vienna):


Canadian Archaeology:


University of Alberta = UofAHistory&Classics (Alberta, Canada):

All of our followers confirm that Minoan Linear A, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae:


is having a profound impact on the vast field of diachronic historical linguistics, especially the decipherment of ancient languages, most notably Mycenaean Linear B, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C and even Minoan Linear A.  MLALBK&M has in effect become the premier diachronic historical linguistics site of its kind in the world in the space of less than 4 years. 

KEY! The all-pervasive present participle active in Mycenaean Linear B & in all subsequent ancient Greek dialects:

Table of attributed (A) and derived (D) present participles actives in Mycenaean Linear B & in Attic Greek:


NOTE: It is crucial that you read all of the notes in this table in their entirety; otherwise, a sound grasp of the conjugation of the present participle, especially of the feminine singular, in Mycenaean Linear B will not make any sense whatsoever.

The present participle active was all-pervasive and extremely common in both Mycenaean Linear B & in all subsequent ancient Greek dialects. It was heavily used to express continuous action in the present tense as well as accompaniment, i.e. to indicate that someone or something was with someone or something else. Thus, in Mycenaean Linear B, the phrase eo qasireu could mean either “being an overlord” or “with an overlord”, just as in Attic Greek eon basileus could mean either “being king” or “with the king”. As I have pointed out in the table above, the word qasireu never meant “king” in Mycenaean Linear B, since king was always wanaka. The qasireu was a lower ranking supernumerary, something equivalent to an overlord or baron.

Another point which we simply must keep uppermost in mind is the fact that digamma (pronounced something like “wau” or “vau”, was extremely common in both Mycenaean Linear B and its kissing cousin dialect, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, only falling permanently out of use in ancient Greek after the decline of these two dialects (Linear B, ca. 1600-1200 BCE & Linear C, ca. 1100-400 BCE). As is clearly attested by the table above, the feminine singular form of the present participle active, which was characterized by the all-pervasive presence of digamma in Mycenaean Linear B & in Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, had completely shed digamma even as early as the artificial amalgam, Homeric Epic Greek, even though digamma was still pronounced in the Iliad. 

Mycenaean Linear B Spelling Conventions: Obligatory Prelude to the Progressive Reconstruction of Mycenaean Greek Grammar – Click to ENLARGE:

Mycenaean Linear B Spelling Conventions Table 1
I must emphasize in no uncertain terms that it is practically impossible to master Mycenaean Greek grammar unless you have first mastered all the spelling conventions in Linear B, as these directly correspond, whether directly or elliptically (the latter case obtains far more often than the former) to those of ancient Homeric Greek. Not doing so is bound to entangle you in a hopeless mish-mash or maze of spelling discrepancies between Linear B and alphabetical Greek, most of which will seem utterly incomprehensible to you, and worse yet, make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for you to translate with any degree of fidelity the contents of almost all Linear B tablets, with the possible exception of the very simplest. So if you are as serious about learning Mycenaean Greek grammar in Linear B as I am in progressively reconstructing it from the ground up (as I have already done with the present, future, imperfect, aorist and perfect tenses of active voice of both thematic and athematic verbs), then you really have no choice but to master these conventions, even if you must memorize them as rules. Students who are already familiar with the spelling conventions of alphabetic ancient Greek should have little trouble mastering the subtleties of the Tables of Correspondences in Spelling Conventions in Linear B and Alphabetical Greek, beginning with Table 1 above. Those of you who are learning Mycenaean Greek grammar from scratch will have little choice but to memorize the correspondences, and to at least recognize at first sight the corresponding spelling conventions in ancient alphabetic Greek. And for that you will need to learn the Greek alphabet, as illustrated here – Click to ENLARGE:

ancient Greek alphabet with approximate pronunciation

Please note that the pronunciation of the ancient Greek alphabet (here in its Attic version) is only approximate, since we do not really know how the ancients precisely pronounced Greek, although our estimation of their pronunciation is probably reasonably accurate. It is crucial to understand that the pronunciation of Mycenaean Greek (the earliest East Greek dialect) is beyond our grasp, although we do know that it evolved at a steady pace through the pronunciation of Arcado-Cypriot, which was also written in a syllabary (Linear C) with a nearly identical pronunciation, and onto the pronunciation conceivably used by the Aecheans or Danians, as found primarily in the Catalogue of Ships of Book II of the Iliad. This then evolved into the later Ionic pronunciation, culminating in the Attic dialect, which in turn  was to become the universal standard koine or common Greek for Greek pronunciation in the Hellenic era (ca. 400-200 BCE). To anyone familiar with the melody of Attic Greek, various academic notions of Homeric Greek pronunciation are bound to sound very peculiar indeed. Nevertheless, any of the 3 or 4 interpretive variants on the sound of Homeric are still easily mastered by people familiar with Attic Greek. The difficulty then lies in the question: just how far had the pronunciation of proto-Ionic Greek evolved from its Mycenaean source in around 1500-1200 BCE to the Homeric ca. 800 BCE or thereabouts. No-one really knows, nor will we ever know. But we can certainly take a stab at it. And I for one eventually intend to do just that.


Progressive Linear B Ideograms: Level 4.4 (Advanced) Household & Surroundings (Click to ENLARGE):

Progressive Linear B Level 4.4 Vocabulary Ideograms Household & Surroundings

While there are a few ideograms at Level 4.4, by far most of the vocabulary related to the household and its surroundings is supplied by syllabograms. This situation is somewhat dissimilar to that which we encountered at Levels 4.2 & 4.3 (Agriculture), where there were significantly more ideograms related to various key agricultural practices, including animal husbandry and crop management.  This would seem to suggest that the Mycenaean-Minoan scribes were more concerned with agricultural than with household affairs, though I for one would not venture to cast such an assumption in stone.  When we turn to ideograms and syllabograms for commerce, trade and the economy, we will once again discover a larger number of ideograms, as indeed when we come to discuss ideograms versus syllabograms for military matters.  The point I wish to make is simply this, that the Mycenaean-Minoan scribes did in fact appear to lay more emphasis on ideograms based on agriculture; commerce, trade and the economy; and on the military establishment than they did on household, which is to say, personal, affairs. We shall see whether my assumptions are borne out as we progress through Levels 4 & 5 (Advanced).

What about that tiny minority of dissidents who still maintain that Mycenaean Greek is not Greek, but some other abstruse ancient language?  Read on, read on... 

The second point I wish to stress – even more emphatically – is this, that those paltry few  who like to claim that a good deal of Mycenaean Greek vocabulary is not Greek, may find themselves erring rather too far onto the wrong side of the tracks. Anyone familiar with ancient Greek, and especially experts and scholars in the field, are perfectly aware of the run of quirky idiosyncrasies which plague the “language” -  if you can even call it that.  Ancient Greek was in fact a hodge-podge of dialects (some of them widely disparate from others), in which the “same” words vary so widely from one dialect to the next as to drive anyone who tries to make sense of the mess half mad.  Add to this the fact that so-called “archaic” words persisted in many dialects (for instance, Doric), while they simply disappeared from the more “advanced” literary dialects (especially Attic-Ionic), and we are faced with a linguistic “landscape” as full of stones and outcrops as were the pastures and farmlands all over Greece.

What about that sacred cow, the Greek Alphabet?

There was even one dialect of ancient Greece which stubbornly resisted the Greek alphabet for some 700 years (!), clinging to a variant of Linear B, yes, another syllabary!  I speak of course of Cyprian Greek or Cypriot [1], also called Linear C, which was in in constant use from ca. 1100 – ca. 400 BCE before the Cypriots finally caved in and resorted to the Attic-Ionic alphabet.  What is even more symptomatic of Cypriot is this, that this dialect, using the Cypriot/Linear C syllabary, retained the essential structure of Mycenaean Greek intact, including a good chunk of its “archaic” vocabulary. This fact is of utmost significance in the positive correlation of Mycenaean Greek with the incipient alphabetic Greek dialects of the ninth to eighth centuries BCE, most notably, the Dorian dialect of the northern Doric invaders who over-ran the Mycenaean civilization and destroyed it in the thirteenth to twelfth centuries BCE.

Those idle naysayers - so few and far between - who still claim that Mycenaean Linear B is not Greek, but some other unknown ancient language, and that Michael Ventris, as mathematically and logically gifted as he so surely was, was indulging in sheer guesswork in his years-long quest to decipher Linear B, are - to put it bluntly - flat-earthers tilting at windmills.  I shall eventually turn to a final, devastating refutation of their “pet theories” later this year, when I address:
1. the tightly woven bond between Linear B and Linear C, in which some of the archaic vocabulary is virtually identical, in spite of superficial differences in the syllabaries, and
2. between Linear B and Linear C on the one hand, and Homeric Greek on the other, in which the similarities and consistencies far outweigh the discrepancies, proving once and for all, and beyond any reasonable doubt that Homeric Greek, "artificial" though it was, sprung from Mycenaean Linear B, Cypriot Linear C and the early Dorian dialects.
3 In addition, other key considerations relative to the genesis of early Greek in both its syllabic forms (Linear B & Linear C) and its alphabetic form, Homeric Greek, will make it abundantly clear that Mycenaean Linear B can be Greek and only Greek, and nothing else whatsoever.

[1] For more on the Cypriot dialect & syllabary, See The Greek Dialects. C.D. Buck. London: Bristol Classical Press, (c) 1955 & 1998. xvi, 373 pp. Part II: Selected Inscriptions. Cyprian, pp. 210-213.


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