Tag Archive: Minoan Language Blog



Gretchen Leonhardt’s commentary on Minoan Linear A noduli:

Gretchen Leonhardt has posted her comments on Minoan Linear A noduli on her site, Konosos.net:

NODULI in Minoan Linear A


Although I do not agree with all of the points she raises in her analyses of these noduli, her explanation of the transposition of morae (which in Minoan Linear A amount to two adjacent syllabograms within a word) is right on the money. In fact, this phenomenon does occur in Minoan Linear A. It was first identified by Andras Zeke on the Minoan Language Blog as ligatures:

Linear A logograms ligatures


However, we cannot be sure whether or not the supposed transpositions actually occurred in Minoan Linear A. In other words, while kasi may be interchangeable with sika, and sere with rese, this is by no means guaranteed. It may have been that the Minoans meant kasi to mean kasi alone or vice versa, i.e. that sika was the actual meaning. Likewise, sere alone may have been attributed to the overlay of the syllabogram se on re, or on the other hand, rese may have been the sole meaning. We shall never know. We can operate on the assumption that the ligatures or morae were interchangeable, but that is all it is, an assumption. In the event, we fully acknowledge Ms. Leonhardts invaluable contribution to the furtherance of our understanding of Minoan Linear A.
 

An undecipherable Minoan Linear A tablet from Malia:

rare Minoan Linear A tablet from Malia

I just discovered online this Minoan Linear A tablet from Malia. The likelihood of it ever being deciphered is very low, as it contains an extremely rare syllabogram, possibly DWI?QE, but no one is sure. Andras Zeke of the Minoan Language Blog notes that it is otherwise found only on Linear A tablet KN 2f31 (Knossos).


Minoan Linear A Reza Adureza Tereza. Do they measure up? PART 1 = reza

The problem of generic versus specific measurement:

Minoan Linear A reza adureza tereza. Do they measure up? PART 1 = reza...

Soon after I first translated the Minoan Linear A words reza, adureza and tereza, it swiftly dawned on me that I had made a fundamental critical error in my decipherments. It is this. Based on the operation that cross-correlation between Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B assumes that both scripts fundamentally centre on inventories alone, I first turned to Linear B to test this hypothesis.

Linear B and measurement:

Whenever the Linear B scribes inscribed tablets relating specifically to measurement (and that was on the vast majority of Linear B tablets dealing with commodities), they never used the word measurement in and of itself. Why, you ask? The answer, at least to the scribes, was transparent. The Linear B scribes, as we know all too well from their extremely frequent use of supersyllabograms to save precious space on what were very small tablets (usually 15 cm. wide, rarely more than 30), would almost certainly not have written out the word measurement on tablets actually providing the figures and totals for measurement, since it was all to obvious to them (though not us in the the twenty-first century!) that if the total figures and totals of measured commodities are tallied on any particular tablet, then why on earth say “measurement” of... when it was painfully obvious to them (the scribes) that this was what the tablet in question was all about? This practice is identical to the use of single syllabogram supersyllabograms to replace entire words or phrases on Linear B tablets, again for precisely the same reason, so save all the precious space they could on those tiny tablets. Which is exactly what they did. That leaves us with the obvious question, if the Linear B scribes did not use the implicit but obvious word  “measurement”, then what word(s) would they have used for measurement? The answer is implicit in the question: they used words for precise units of measurement, not for measurement in its generic sense. They would have had to use precise units of measurement for commodities such as specific crops, military paraphernalia, vessels, olive oil and wine; otherwise who on earth in the Knossian or Mycenaean palace administration would have known what the total amounts of specific items or commodities added up to? The way the Linear B scribes dealt with this conundrum was to devise a fully standardized, formulaic system of measuring specific units of dry and wet measurement, as illustrated here, and as initially calculated with amazing precision by Andras Zeke of the Minoan Language Blog back in 2012:


Minoan fractiona signs by Andras Zeke 2012

Specific measurement in Minoan Linear A:

And so I have come around to reasoning that what applies to the designation of specific measurement in Mycenaean Linear B must also apply to its forbear, Minoan Linear A, in some form or another. Unfortunately, my extensive online research rummaging for Minoan Linear A words (as opposed to units of measurement) came up cold. So what then? Did the Minoan Linear A scribes employ precise words for specific units of measurement? My believe is that in fact they did. Why so? Only recently, I quickly noticed that the words reza, adureza and tereza appeared on Minoan Linear A tablets, all of which dealt with measurement. Co-incidence? I think not.  

Let us begin with the simple word reza. If it is indeed the root word for its variants adureza and tereza, it stands to reason that it applies to the simplest unit(s) of measurement, as illustrated here on Linear B tablet Haghia Triada HT 31 (verso):


Llinear A HT 31 dry measurment reza


I would also like to stress that so far I have only scratched the surface of the problems inherent to at least the partial, but accurate, decipherment of certain Minoan Linear B terms (up to a potential vocabulary of 100+ words), in light of the fact that I have been painstakingly mulling over the hypotheses, criteria and a specific methodology which can successfully be applied to the prudent decipherment of at least a subset of Minoan Linear A. And to my satisfaction, I have been able to extrapolate these hypotheses, criteria and a specific methodology which we can practically apply to said decipherment. I shall be posting these principles very shortly here on Linear B, Knossos and Mycenae. I guarantee they will be real eye openers to past, researchers in the potential decipherment of Minoan Linear A, all of whom have overlooked some of the critical factors relative to its decipherment, which are more than likely to lead to at least a real measure of success. We shall soon see.    

It is extremely important to emphasize that if adureza and teresa are compounds of reza, compound Minoan Linear A words modify their meanings from their simple root word, in this case, reza, by adding prefixes, not suffixes, which would explain why adureza, with the prefix adu = “dry” means a specific unit of dry measurement and te for tereza refers to a specific unit of  “wet” measurement, not just “measurement” (reza). It will be absolutely necessary to test this tentative hypothesis against other Minoan Linear A word clusters composed of (a) a root root and (b) compound terms composed of the root + 1 or more prefixes, not suffixes, to determine whether it holds up to continued scrutiny. If it does, we are surely onto something big! 

For adureza and tereza, see the next two posts.

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