Tag Archive: mint

The top of Minoan Linear A Tablet ZA 20 (Zakros) restored on academia.edu

Click on the link below to read this key contribution to research into Minoan Linear A tablets:

Minoan Linear A tablets appear to be classed in two primary areas of interest (a) agriculture, and more specifically, crops and grains and (b) religious and sacerdotal. It is to the former that we turn our attention in this study. Focusing on certain Linear A tablets which deal primarily or almost exclusively with grains, we find that these three tablets yield the most promising results, Haghia Triada tablets HT 86 & 95 and Zakros tablet ZA 20. While HT 86 and HT 95 are intact, ZA 20 is not. Other Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada also contribute to our findings.

Is it possible to envision an intact version of the original ZA 20 tablet from Zakros? We believe so, and with that firmly in mind we have attempted the first ever restoration of the top of ZA 20, resulting in what amounts to a plausible intact version, however hypothetical, of the original.  So without further ado, we present the full restoration of our version of Linear A tablet ZA 20.

summer haiku d’été – freshly picked mint = menthe cueillie

freshly picked mint
from my veggie garden
tickles my nose

mint haiku 620

menthe cueillie
de mon jardin de légumes
chatouille mon nez

Richard Vallance

Rational partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 117 (Haghia Triada)  & the first real glimpse of Minoan grammar actualized:

LinearA tablet HT 117 Haghia Triada 620

This albeit partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 117 (Haghia Triada) incorporates an approximately equal admixture of Old Minoan, i.e. the original Minoan language, also known as the Minoan substratum (of which I am unable to decipher most of the words) and of New Minoan, i.e. the superstratum of words of probable Mycenaean provenance, most of which I have been able to decipher with relative ease. While some of the New Minoan translations obviously appear to break the grammatical rules of Mycenaean Greek, such as mitu for “mint”, which is after all mita (and feminine) in Mycenaean Greek or daminu for “in 1 village”, which is damo in the nominative in Linear B, these adjustments can be readily accounted for by the fact that Old Minoan grammar is not at all the same beast as Mycenaean grammar. Although we are not yet familiar with much of Old Minoan grammar, which is after all the grammar of Minoan, just the same as modernized Anglo-Saxon grammar is the grammar of English, in spite of the enormous superstratum of French, Latin and Greek words in the latter language, this tablet alone perhaps affords us a first glimpse into the mechanics of Minoan grammar. Thus, it would appear that mitu may be the Minoan accusative of mita, and daminu may be the locative of damo in Minoan. Although there is no scientific way for me to substantiate this claim, I believe I am onto something, and that I may be making the first cracks in the obdurate wall of the grammar of the Minoan language substratum.  If this is so, then I may be actually pointing the way to unravelling at least a subset of Old Minoan grammar.  To illustrate my point, let us take a look at these phrases in English, as adapted from their Norman  French superstrata.  In French, the phrases would read as follows: avec la menthe”& “ dans le village”, whereas in English they read as “with mint” & “in the village”. Take special note of the fact that, while the Norman French superstrata words in English, “mint” and “village” are (almost) identical to their Norman French counterparts, the grammar of the phrases is entirely at odds, because after the grammar of French, which is a Romance language, and of English, which is a Germanic, cannot possibly coincide.  But here again, I must emphatically stress that English grammar is an entirely different matter than English vocabulary, of which the latter is only 26 % Germanic, but 29 % French, 29 % Latin and 4 % Greek, the latter 3 languages, namely, the superstrata, accounting for fully 64 % of all English vocabulary! We must always make this clear distinction between English grammar, which is essentially Anglo-Saxon modernized, and English vocabulary, which is only minimally Germanic.

If we carry this hypothesis to its logical outcome, we can readily surmise that the same phenomenon applies to the Linear A syllabary. Where grammar is concerned, the Linear A syllabary is Old Minoan, i.e. the original Minoan language or substrate. Where vocabulary is concerned, Linear A represents an admixture of Old Minoan vocabulary, such as uminase, kuramu, kupa3nu (kupainu), tejare and nadare (all of which I cannot decipher) and of New Minoan Mycenaean derived vocabulary, such as makarite, mitu, sata, kosaiti and daminu on this tablet alone. The orthography of the latter words is not actually consistent with Mycenaean grammar, because constitutionally it cannot be. Once again, the grammar is always Minoan, whereas the vocabulary often falls into the New Minoan (Mycenaean derived) superstratum.

In the case of makarite, it would appear that, if the word is dative in Minoan, the Minoan dative is similar to the Mycenaean, ending as it seems to in i. The ultimate te in makarite appears to be the Mycenaean or ancient Greek enclitic te (and). In the case of mitu, which is mita and feminine in Mycenaean Greek, it would appear that the Minoan word is either masculine or that in this case at least, it is instrumental, meaning “with mint”, in which case the Minoan feminine instrumental appears to terminate with u. The word kosaiti appears to follow the same lines. The first two syllables, kosai, apparently are Mycenaean, but the ultimate ti is Minoan, and once again, instrumental (plural). Again, daminu appears to repeat the same pattern. The word damo is masculine (or neuter) in Mycenaean. But the ultimate is inu here, which appears to be the Minoan locative, inu. To summarize, we must make a clear-cut distinction between any New Minoan vocabulary on any Linear A tablet, and its orthography, which must of necessity follow the orthographic conventions of the Minoan language, and not of the Mycenaean, from which any such words are derived. I intend to make this abundantly clear in subsequent posts.  

5 more putative proto-Greek or pre-Greek Minoan Linear A words, MI-MU & 1 is a winner!


The preceding table lists 5 more  putative proto-Greek or pre-Greek Minoan Linear A words from MI-MU.  Of these 5, [3] mita = “minth”, is by far the most compelling because it is identical to the Mycenaean Linear B word, right down to orthography. Both words may be either proto-Greek or part of the pre-Greek substratum. The next most convincing decipherment is [1] mini, which very likely means “month”, and which is probably proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean. [4] muko = “recesss/corner”  also makes quite a lot of sense, in view of the fact that it appears to be an architectural term. Such terms are relatively common in Mycenaean Linear B; so it stands to reason that they may also be so in Minoan Linear A.  [5] musaja might possibly mean “shut/closed”, if it is an adjective, but this is a bit of stretch.


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