Tag Archive: Minoan language

Did the archaic nominative and/or genitive singular feminine ending in ja/ya in Mycenaean Greek derive from the Minoan language?

teal banner feminine nominative or genitive

In the glossary below of:
A: masculine Mycenaean Linear B words ending in jo
B: feminine Mycenaean Linear B words ending in ja
C: Minoan Linear A words ending in ja

These are the keys:
nom. = nominative
gen. = genitive

All Linear B entries are drawn Latinized as is from Chris Tselentis’ Linear A Lexicon. 
A: Most Linear B nouns in jo are nominative:

A-da-ra-ti-jo Adrastios nom.
ai-ki-a2-ri-jo aigihalios = coastal, of the coast gen.
a-ka-ta-jo Aktaios nom.
a-ke-re-wi-jo Agrevios nom.
akorajo= used for communal purposes + for the marketplace gen.
a-mi-ni-si-jo Amnisos nom.
a-pi-no-e-wi-jo ethnic name of Amphinoevioi gen.
arejo = areios (divine epithet)nom.
a-te-mi-ti-jo = Artemitios nom.
da-ja-ro = Daiaros nom.
da-mi-ni-jo = Damnios nom.
da-ta-ja-ro = Dataiaros nom.
da-wi-jo = ethnic name of Davios gen.
de-u-ka-ri-jo = Deukalion nom.
di-ka-ta-jo = Diktaios Cf. Linear A nom.
di-u-jo + diwijo = belonging to Zeus gen.
du-ni-jo = Dynios nom.
dwo-jo = of two gen.
e-to-ni-jo = etonion = free-hold nom.
e-wi-ta-jo = ethnic name of Evitaios nom.
kakijo = made of copper gen
ku-te-se-jo = kyteseios = made from ebony gen.

B: Most Linear words in ja are nominative:

a-ko-ra-ja= used for communal purposes + for the marketplace gen.
a-mo-te-wi-ja armothevia = description of a pot (gen. sing.?)gen.
a-ne-moi-ere-ja = priestess of the winds nom.
a-ni-ja = ania = reins (neut. pl.) nom.
a-pa-ta-wa-ja = ethnic name of Aptarfaia nom.
a-ra-ka-te-ja = alakateiai = weavers nom.
a-ra-ru-ja = ararya = bound, equipped nom.
a-re-ja = areia (divine epithet) nom.
a-si-ja-ti-ja = Asiatiai nom.
a-si-wi-ja = Asivia nom.
a-te-re-wi-ja = Atreivia nom.
da-wi-ja = ethnic name of Davia gen.
de-di-ku-ja = dedikyia = being apprenticed adjectival
di-pi-si-ja = ethnic name of Dipsia gen.
di-u-ja = diyia = priestess of the god Zeus nom.
e-qe-si-ja = related to a follower gen.
e-ru-mi-ni-ja = elymniai = roof beams nom.
e-sa-re-wi-ja = Esalevia nom.
e-to-ki-ja = entoihia = fittings for insertion in walls nom.
e-wi-ri-pi-ja = ethnic name of Evripia gen.  
i-je-re-ja = priestess nom.
i-ni-ja = personal name = Inia nomm.
i-pe-me-de-ja = personal name =Iphemedeia nom.
ka-da-mi-ja = somee product related to garden cress nom.
ka-ki-ja/ka-ke-ja = made of copper = khalkia gen.
ka-pi-ni-ja = kapnia = chimney nom.
ke-ra-me-ja = personal name = Kerameia nom.
ke-ro-si-ja = geronsia = council of elders nom. + gen.
ke-se-ne-wi-ja = xenwia adjectival
ko-ki-re-ja = kolhireia = shell=shaped, spiral adjectival
ko-no-si-ja = Knosia = ethnic name of Knossos gen.
nu-wa-i-ja = numfaia = kind of textile of water-lily colour nom. + gen.
pa-ta-ja = paltaia =  arrow nom.
po-si-da-e-ja = Posidaeia nom.
pu-ka-ta-ri-ja = type of cloth nom.
pu2-te-ri-ja = phuteria = planted, cultivated adjectival
qe-ra-si-ja = Kerasia (name of goddess) nom.
ra-e-ja = laheia = made of stone gen.
ra-ja = Raia nom.
ri-ne-ja = lineiai = flax workers nom.
ro-u-si-je-wi-ja = Lousieveia = originating in/from Lousos gen.
se-to-i-ja = Setoia nom.
si-to-po-ti-ni-ja= sitopotnia = goddess of grain nom. + gen.
te-o-po-ri-ja = Theophoria = religious feast nom.
ti-ri-ja= tria = three nom.
we-a-re-ja = vealeia = made of glass adjectival + gen.

C: what are all the Minoan Linear A words below ending in ja supposed to represent? Are all or even some of them either nouns or adjectives? Just because they are in Mycenaean Linear B does not constitute proof that they are in Linear A. Nevertheless, they could be.    

NOTE that it is highly unusual, if not inexplicable, for there to be 57 words with the ultimate ja in Linear A, but none whatsoever ending in jo. This leads me to believe that it is extremely risky to assume that all of these Minoan words with ultimate ja are either nominative or genitive feminine singular. Just because they are in Mycenaean Linear B does not at all necessarily imply that they are so in Linear A. That would be jumping to conclusions. Nevertheless, there may be a case for assuming that Minoan Linear A words with ultimate ja may possibly be either nominative or genitive feminine singular, in which case it would appear that the Mycenaean nominative or genitive feminine singular words with the ultimate ja may possibly be derived from their Minoan precedents. But there is no way of proving this.

C: 57/988 Minoan Linear A words with the ultimate ja:

dija Cf. LB di-u-ja = diyia = priestess of the god Zeus
jadireja 10
kupa3rija *
masaja (of larger? L&S 426)
masuja 20
mireja (belonging to a sheep? L&S 443) 
nukisikija *
paja 30
pasarija *
radasija *
redamija *
reduja 40
sidija *
tikuja 50
waja (land)
zanwaija 57

These 57 Minoan Linear A words may be either:
1 the primordial nominative singular feminine
2 the primordial genitive singular feminine
3 neither

The last scenario is just as probable as the first two.

Minoan Linear A tablet HT 14 (Haghia Triada) almost completely deciphered + the 4 categories of Linear A tablets:

Linear A talbet HT 14 Haghia Triada

Here you see Minoan Linear A tablet HT 14 (Haghia Triada), which I have been able to decipher almost completely. This is because the tablet is comprised mostly of ideograms, making it much easier to reconstruct the original text. In addition, I have already translated the supersyllabogram TE = tereza (on the first line) as being a large unit of liquid measurement, which in the case of wine might be something like “a flask”,  “a jug” or something along the lines of  “a gallon”, on the explicit understanding that there was no such thing as a gallon in Minoan times; this is merely an approximation.  The supersyllabograms PU & DI are unknown, i.e. indecipherable, at least to date. Likewise, the Old Minoan word, apu2nadu (apunaidu) is also unknown, but it might mean  “harvest”. The units of wheat are probably equivalent to something like a bushel. The supersyllabogram MI = mini signifies  “for a month” (dative) or “monthly”, and is New Minoan, i.e. a word of Mycenaean origin superimposed on Linear A.

The rest of the decipherment is self-explanatory.

Decipherment of Minoan Linear A tablets falls into four (4) categories:

1. Tablets on which we find only Old Minoan words, or on which the vast majority of words are Old Minoan. These tablets are pretty much indecipherable.
2. Tablets on which we find a combination of Old Minoan and New Minoan (words of Mycenaean origin). The more New Minoan words on a tablet, the more likely we are going to be able to decipher it. Ideally, there should be more New Minoan (Mycenaean) words than Old Minoan (the original Minoan substratum), in order to divine the meanings of Old Minoan words immediately adjacent to New Minoan words. This is of course contextual analysis. Such tablets are at least partially decipherable.
3. Linear A tablets containing ideograms almost exclusively are susceptible to decipherment. HT 14 (Haghia Triada) falls into this category.
4. A very few Linear A tablets are written mostly, almost entirely and in one case only, entirely in New Minoan (the Mycenaean superstratum). These tablets can be be mostly and in some cases entirely deciphered.     

Can quantum computers assist in the decipherment of Minoan Linear A?” Keynote article on academia.edu

(Click on the graphical link below to download this ground-breaking article on the application of potentially superintelligent quantum quantum computers to the decipherment, even partial, of the ancient Minoan Linear A syllabary):


This is a major new article on the application of quantum computers to the AI (artificial intelligence) involvement in the decipherment of the unknown ancient Minoan Linear A syllabary (ca. 2800 – 1500 BCE). This article advances the hypothesis that quantum computers such as the world’s very first fully functional quantum computer, D-Wave, of Vancouver, B.C., Canada, may very well be positioned to assist human beings in the decipherment, even partial, of the Minoan Linear A syllabary. This article goes to great lengths in explaining how quantum computers can expedite the decipherment of Minoan Linear A. It addresses the critical questions raised by Nick Bostrom, in his ground-breaking study, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies (Oxford University Press, 2014),


in which he advances the following hypothesis:

Nick Bostrom makes it clear that artificial superintelligence (AS) does not necessarily have to conform to or mimic human intelligence. For instance, he says:
1. We have already cautioned against anthropomorphizing the capabilities of a superintelligent AI. The warning should be extend to pertain to its motivations as well. (pg 105)
and again,
2. This possibility is most salient with respect to AI, which might be structured very differently than human intelligence. (pg. 172) ... passim ... It is conceivable that optimal efficiency would be attained by grouping aggregates that roughly match the cognitive architecture of a human mind. It might be the case, for example, that a mathematics module must be tailored to a language module, in order for the three to work together... passim ... There might be niches for complexes that are either less complex (such as individual modules), more complex (such as vast clusters of modules), or of  similar complexity to human minds but with radically different architectures. 

... among others respecting the probable advent of superintelligence within the next 20-40 years (2040-2060).

This is a revolutionary article you will definitely not want to miss reading, if you are in any substantial way fascinated by the application of supercomputers and preeminently, quantum computers, which excel at lightning speed pattern recognition, which they can do so across templates of patterns in the same domain, to the decipherment of Minoan Linear A, an advanced technological endeavour which satisfies these scientific criteria. In the case of pattern recognition across multiple languages, ancient and modern, in other words in cross-comparative multi-language analysis, the astonishing capacity of quantum computers to perform this operation in mere seconds is an exceptional windfall we simply cannot afford not to take full advantage of.  Surely quantum computers’ mind-boggling lightning speed capacity to perform such cross-comparative multi-linguistic analysis is a boon beyond our wildest expectations.

Under the syllabogram RE in Minoan Linear A, there appears to be only one word of possible proto-Greek origin and it is...


This table is self-explanatory.

6 more Minoan Linear A putative proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean words: DA-DI. But are they proto-Greek at all?


As we forge our way through Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon, in which he Latinizes the orthography of Minoan Linear A words,  we now arrive at Linear A words beginning with the syllabograms DA through to DI.  It is absolutely de rigueur to read the Notes in the table above; otherwise, my tentative decipherments of 6 more Minoan words in Linear A as being possibly proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean will not make any sense at all.  The table also draws attention to those words which are of moderate frequency (MF) on Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments, with the far greater proportion of them appearing on mere fragments. I cannot emphasize this point enough. In view of the fact that the vast majority of Minoan Linear A extant remnants are just that, remnants or fragments and nothing more, it is of course next to impossible to verify whether or not the 6 words I have extrapolated (or for that matter any other so-called proto-Greek words)  as possibly being  proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean are that at all. 

Add to this caveat that researchers and linguists specializing in ancient Greek often hypothesize that, and I quote verbatim:

It is possible that Greek took over some thousand words and proper names from such a language (or languages), because some of its vocabulary cannot be satisfactorily explained as deriving from the Proto-Greek language (italics mine). Among these pre-Greek substratum words we find Anatolian loanwords such as:
dépas ‘cup; pot, vessel’, Mycenaean di-pa, from the Luwian = tipa = sky, bowl or cup, one of the pre-Greek substratum words right in the table above! 
+ eléphas ‘ivory’, from Hittite lahpa;
+ kýmbachos ‘helmet’, from Hittite kupahi ‘headgear’; 
+ kýmbalon ‘cymbal’, from Hittite huhupal ‘wooden percussion instrument’; 
+ mólybdos ‘lead’, Mycenaean mo-ri-wo-do, from Lydian mariwda(s)k ‘the dark ones’ etc.

But there is more, significantly more. Wikipedia, Greek language:


has this to say about Greek vocabulary.


Greek is a language distinguished by an extensive vocabulary. Most of the vocabulary of Ancient Greek was inherited, but it includes a number of borrowings from the languages of the populations that inhabited Greece before the arrival of Proto-Greeks. (italics mine) [25] Words of non-Indo-European origin can be traced into Greek from as early as Mycenaean times; they include a large number of Greek toponyms. 

Further discussion of a pre-Greek substratum continues here:


Where, in addition to the pre-Greek substratum words I have already cited above, we find, and again I quote verbatim:

The Pre-Greek substrate consists of the unknown language or languages spoken in prehistoric Greece before the settlement of Proto-Greek speakers in the area (italics mine). It is thought possible that Greek took over some thousand words and proper names from such a language (or languages), because some of its vocabulary cannot be satisfactorily explained as deriving from the Proto-Greek language  

Possible Pre-Greek loanwords
Personal names: Odysseus; 
Theonyms: Hermes; 
Maritime vocabulary: thálassa = sea; 
Words relating to Mediterranean agriculture: elai(w)a = olive & ampelos = vine 
Building technology: pyrgos = tower; 
Placenames, especially those terminating in -nth- : Korinthos, Zakynthos
& in -ss- : Parnassos & in and -tt- : Hymettus

And, to ram my point home, one of the pre-Greek substrata identified is the Minoan language itself. It is on this basis and upon this foundation, among others, that I posit the following hypothesis:

Pre-Greek substratum words are both proto-Greek and not, simultaneously!

The assumption that certain Minoan words in Linear A appear to be proto-Greek or even proto-Mycenaean (if we wish to stretch the notion one small step further, which I believe is entirely justified) does not in and of itself necessarily imply that some or even quite possibly most of them are de facto actually of proto-Indo-European proto-Greek origin, when quite plainly (so) many of them are not of such origin. In other words, we find ourselves face to face with an apparent contradiction in terms, a dye-in-the-wool linguistic paradox: some, many or even most of the so-called pre- + proto-Greek words we encounter in Minoan Linear A are likely to be proto-Greek, but only insofar as they crop up again and again in later ancient Greek dialects, right on down from the earliest East Greek dialect, Mycenaean, through Arcado-Cypriot on down to Ionic and Attic Greek and beyond, while simultaneously being of non-Indo-european origin, if you can wrap your head around that notion... which I most definitely can.  

So if anyone dares claim that all of those words in Minoan (of which there seem to be quite a substantial number) are de facto proto-Greek, that person should think again. Think before you leap. It is much too easy for us to jump to spurious conclusions with respect to the supposed proto-Greek origin(s) of many words in Minoan Linear A.

To compound the matter further, let us consider the situation from the opposite end of the spectrum. It is widely known, by both intellectual non-linguists, i.e. intelligent native speakers of any given language, and by professional linguists alike, that pretty much every modern language borrows not just thousands, but tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of words from prior languages. The one modern language which exemplifies this phenomenon par excellence is non other than English, in which we find hundreds of thousands of loanwords from ancient Greek, Latin and Norman French.

Now it goes without saying that all languages, ancient and modern, follow the same pattern of accumulating some and even as many as thousands of loanwords. Ancient Latin did so with ancient Greek. And here lies the rub. So must have Mycenaean Greek with the Minoan language. In Chris Tslentis Linear B  Lexicon, we find many words which cannot possibly be accounted for as being proto-Greek, but which must be of some other origin. And one of the most likely origins for a relatively large subset of these words is probably the Minoan language itself. Allow me to cite just a few of the more glaring examples:

adete = binder 
Akireu = Achilles
Aminiso = Amnisos harbour (Cf. Linear A, Uminaso)
Damate = Demeter (Cf. Linear A, Idamate)
dipa = cup (Cf. Linear A, depa)
erepa = ivory
kama = a unit of land
kanako = safflower, saffron (Cf. Linear A, kanaka)
kidapa = (ash) wood?
mare/mari = wool (Cf. Linear A, maru)
opa = workshop?
serino = celery (Cf. Linear A, sedina)
tarasa = sea

Now if even most of the so-called Mycenaean Greek terms listed here are actually Minoan, then it is stands to reason that Mycenaean Greek inherited them from the Minoan language itself, and ergo, that they are not necessarily proto-Greek words at all.  It is as if we were in a flip-flop. Either way, whether or not any of the words which we have flagged (and shall continue to tag) as possibly being proto-Greek in the Minoan language or the other way around, whether or not certain words in Mycenaean Greek are not proto-Greek at all, and not even of proto-Indo-European origin, we find ourselves floundering in a Saragossa Sea of linguistic incertitude from which we really cannot extricate ourselves.

So to all those researchers, past and present, into the Minoan language who make the claim, categorical or not, that much of the vocabulary of the Minoan language is proto-Greek, I say Beware! lest you fall into a trap from which you cannot reasonably hope to extricate yourselves.

Is the Minoan Linear A labrys inscribed with I-DA-MA-TE in Minoan or in proto-Greek? PART A: Is it in the Minoan language?

In my previous post on the Minoan Linear A labrys inscribed with I-DA-MA-TE, I postulated that the word Idamate was probably either the name of the king or of the high priestess (of the labyrinth?) to whom this labrys has been ritually dedicated. But in so doing I was taking the path of least resistance, by seeking out the two most simplistic decipherments which would be the least likely to prove troublesome or controversial. In retrospect, that was a cop-out.

No sooner had I posted my two alternate simplistic translations than I was informed by a close colleague of mine in the field of diachronic historical linguistics focusing on Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B that at least two other alternative decipherments came into play, these being:

1. that the term Idamate may be the Minoan equivalent of the Mycenaean Linear B Damate, which is apparently an early version of the ancient Greek, Demeter, who was the goddess of cereals and harvesting:



2. that the term Idamate may be Minoan for Mount Ida, in which case, the word Mate = “mount”, such that the phrase actually spells out  “Ida mount(ain)” :


Since both of these decipherments make eminent sense, either could, at least theoretically, be correct.
But there is a third alternative, and it is far more controversial and compelling than either of the first two. 

3. It is even possible that the four syllabograms I DA MA & TE are in fact supersyllabograms, which is to say that each syllabogram is the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of a word, presumably a Minoan word. But if these 4 supersyllabograms represent four consecutive Minoan words, what on earth could these words possibly signify, in light of the fact that we know next to nothing about the Minoan language. It appears we are caught in an irresolvable Catch-22.

Yet my own recent research has allowed me to tease potential decipherments out of 107 or about 21 % of all intact words in Prof. John G. Youngers Linear A lexicon of 510 terms by my own arbitrary count. Scanning this scanty glossary yielded me numerous variations on 3 terms which might conceivably make sense in at least one suppositious context. These terms (all of which I have tentatively deciphered) are:

1. For I: itaja = unit of liquid volume for olive oil (exact value unknown)

2. FOR DA: either:
daropa = stirrup jar = Linear B karawere (high certainty)
datara = (sacred) grove of olive trees
data2 (datai) = olive, pl. date = Linear B erawo
datu = olive oil
daweda = medium size amphora with two handles

3. For TE:
tereza = large unit of dry or liquid measurement
tesi = small unit of measurement

But I cannot find any equivalent for MA other than maru, which seemingly means “wool”, even in Minoan Linear A, this being the apparent equivalent of Mycenaean Linear B mari or mare.  The trouble is that this term (if that is what the third supersyllabogram in idamate stands in for) does not contextually mesh at all with any of the alternatives for the other three words symbolized by their respective supersyllabograms.

But does that mean the phrase is not Minoan? Far from it. There are at least 2 cogent reasons for exercising extreme caution in jumping to the conclusion that the phrase cannot be in Minoan. These are:    
1. that the decipherments of all of the alternative terms I have posited for the supersyllabograms I DA & TE above are all tentative, even if they are more than likely to be close to the mark and some of them probably bang on (for instance, daropa), which I believe they are;
2. that all 3 of the supersyllabograms I DA & TE may instead stand for entirely different Minoan words, none of which I have managed to decipher. And God knows there are plenty of them!  Since I have managed to decipher only 107 of 510 extant intact Minoan Linear A words by my arbitrary count, that leaves 403 or 79 % undeciphered!  That is far too great a figure to be blithely brushed aside. 

The > impact of combinations of a > number of Minoan Linear A words on their putative decipherment:


To give you a rough idea of the number of undeciphered Minoan words beginning with I DA & TE I have not been able to account for, here we have a cross-section of just a few of those words from Prof. John G. Younger’s Linear A Reverse Lexicon:
which are beyond my ken:


For I:

For DA:

For MA:

For TE:

But the situation is far more complex than it appears at first sight. To give you just a notion of the enormous impact of exponential mathematical permutations and combinations on the potential for gross errors in any one of a substantial number of credible decipherments of any given number of Minoan Linear A terms as listed even in the small cross-section of the 100s of Minoan Words in Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon, all we have to do is relate the mathematical implications of the  chart on permutations to any effort whatsoever at the decipherment of even a relatively small no. of Minoan Linear A words:

CLICK on the chart of permutations to link to the URL where the discussion of both permutations and combinations occurs:


to realize how blatantly obvious it is that any number of interpretations of any one of the selective cross-section of terms which I have listed here can be deemed the so-called actual term corresponding to the supersyllabogram which supposedly represents it. But, and I must emphatically stress my point, this is just a small cross-section of all of the terms in the Linear B Reverse Lexicon beginning with each of  the supersyllabograms I DA MA & TE in turn.

It is grossly obvious that, if we allow for the enormous number of permutations and combinations to which the supersyllabograms I DA MA & TE must categorically be  subjected mathematically, it is quite out of the question to attempt any decipherment of these 4 supersyllabograms, I DA MA & TE, without taking context absolutely into consideration. And even in that eventuality, there is no guarantee whatsoever that any putative decipherment of each of these supersyllabograms (I DA MA & TE) in turn in the so-called Minoan language will actually hold water, since after all, a smaller, but still significant subset of an extremely large number of permutation and combinations must still remain incontestably in effect.

The mathematics of the aforementioned equations simply stack up to a very substantial degree against any truly convincing decipherment of any single Minoan Linear A term, except for one small consideration (or as it turns out, not so small at all). As it so happens, and as we have posited in our first two alternative decipherments above, i.e.
1. that Idamate is Minoan for Mycenaean Damate, the probable equivalent of classical Greek Demeter, or
2. that Idamate actually means “Mount Ida”,

these two possible decipherments which do make sense can be extrapolated from the supersyllabograms I DA MA & TE, at least if we take into account the Minoan Linear A terms beginning with I DA & TE (excluding TE), which I have managed, albeit tentatively, to decipher.

However, far too many putative decipherments of the great majority of words in the Minoan language itself are at present conceivable, at least to my mind. Yet, this scenario is quite likely to change in the near future, given that I have already managed to tentatively decipher 107 or 21 % of 510 extant Minoan Linear A words, by my arbitrary count.  It is entirely conceivable that under these circumstances I shall be able to decipher even more Minoan language words in the near future. In point of fact, if Idamate actually does mean either Idamate (i.e. Demeter) or Ida Mate (i.e. Mount Ida), then:
(a) with only 2 possible interpretations for IDAMATE now taken into account, the number of combinations and permutations is greatly reduced to an almost insignificant amount &
(b) the actual number of Minoan Linear A words I have deciphered to date rises from 107 to 108 (in a Boolean OR configuration, whereby we can add either  “Demeter” or “Mount Ida” to our Lexicon, but not both).  A baby step this may be, but a step forward regardless. 

Are there “adjuncts” a.k.a. Supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A? Apparently so... at least in the pottery and vessels sector of the Minoan economy. But what do they mean?

Part A: Preamble

I recently searched Google for as many Minoan Linear A tablets as I could find which might conceivably support the phenomenon I refer to as supersyllabograms, a.k.a as “adjuncts” in the research literature on Mycenaean Linear B, and to my utter surprise and astonishment I discovered one rather long intact Linear A tablet fitting the bill. There are on it what appear to be several “incharged adjuncts”, which is a contradiction in terms when you stop to think about it, since an adjunct, an element adjacent to an ideogram in either Mycenaean Linear B or (possibly) Minoan Linear A cannot be bound inside said ideogram, because if it were so, it would no longer be an adjunct, i.e. adjacent. Among other reasons, this is why I have chosen to refer to so-called “adjuncts” in Linear B as supersyllabograms. I have defined this term over and over on our blog, and if you wish to learn what a supersyllabogram is, I urge you to go to the section, Supersyllabograms, flagged here at the top of our blog. Just click on the word to jump to that section: Click to ENLARGE

LBKM menu
Now if we turn our attention to supersyllabograms in the pottery and vessels sector alone in Mycenaean Linear B, here is what we find: Click to ENLARGE
10 Supersyllabograms in the Vessels Sector of Mycenaean Linear B
Without our delving nto details re. the specific meaning of each and every one of these 10 supersyllabograms out of a total of 35 which I have discovered to date in all sectors of the  Minoan-Mycenaean economy, we can still see that each one clearly delimits the actual type of vessel with which the incharged supersyllabogram is concerned. For instance, the syllabogram di incharged in the ideogram for a two-handled kylix indicates that this is a libation vessel either to Poseidon or Potnia, two major Minoan/Mycenaean gods, whole so incharged in its vessel would in all probability indicates that this is a funerary urn.

Now when turn to we examine the Minoan Linear A you see illustrated here: Click to ENLARGE: 

Linear A Ay. Nikolaos Mus
from the site: Study Questions: Biers, Chapter 1: "Archaeology in Greece" and Biers, Chapter 2: "The Minoans" , which you can visit here:

site with tablet

we at once see that it too contains a total of 6 syllabograms, all of which are incharged in the ideograms for pottery or vessels which they represent. By “incharged” I mean that the supersyllabogram is bound inside the ideogram with which it is associated. In Mycenaean Linear B at least, all incharged supersyllabograms without exception are attributive, that is to say, they describe an actual (adjectival) attribute of the ideogram within which they are found.

The question is, what do they mean? In other words, (a) how does each of these incharged syllabograms delimit the vessel they are attributes of to one and one only specific type of vessel? This leads us directly to the next obvious question, (b) what can each of these incharged supersyllabograms mean? Can we glean from each of them the actual meaning, i.e. the type of vessel with which they are concerned? — because if there is even a chance that we can, then we shall have discovered for the first time ever the actual meanings of  a possible maximum of 6 Minoan words, and that would constitute a breakthrough, however minimal, in the decipherment of the Minoan language, which has to date resisted all attempts whatsoever at decipherment.

Two of the characters, 2 and 5 on this tablet may not be Linear A syllabograms. I am unable to identify them as such. 1 appears to be the syllabogram su, but I cannot be sure. 3 is definitely the syllabogram for the vowel u, while 4 appears to be that for po. 6 is definitely the syllabogram for  the vowel a. Even though this syllabogram clearly signifies an amphora in Mycenaean Linear B, no such conclusion can be safely drawn for Minoan Linear A, since the language is not Greek — unless the word for amphora is pre-Greek, which is highly unlikely. But the question remains, what kinds of vessels do the Minoan syllabograms su & po (which are tentative on this tablet), and u and a, which are certain, signify?  With reference to the so-called certainty of the syllabograms a in u in Minoan Linear A, we of course have to rely on the premise that all or at least the vast majority of syllabograms in Minoan Linear A are either  identical or nearly identical to their Mycenaean Linear B counterparts. But unfortunately even that is not so certain, although most linguists and researchers into Minoan Linear A believe this to be the case. For the sake of uniformity and consistence with the prevailing views on the actual phonemic value of each Minoan Linear A syllabogram, let us assume this is the case. If this scenario is indeed tenable, I propose in the next 3 posts to unravel the putative meanings of a maximum of 4 types of vessels as found on the Minoan Linear A tablet illustrated above, down to a minimum of one, the word for “tripod” in Linear A, perhaps the only one for which the definition would appear to be sound.


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