Tag Archive: Old Minoan

on academia.edu. Old Minoan lexicon and geographical researches Lexicon for sites other than Haghia Triada, by Alexandre Solcà, primary author, and Richard Vallance Janke:

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Old Minoan Lexicon

Linear A tablet KH 5 (Khania) ca. 1450 BCE – adorned with ivy:

Linear A KH 5 inscription from Chania, circa 1450 BCE b

This tablet, which significantly dates from 1450 BCE, right at the time of the transition from the Linear A to the Linear B syllabary, appears to have 3 Mycenaean-derived words inscribed on it. Because it was probably one of the very last tablets inscribed in Linear A, it could just as well have been inscribed in Linear B. The first two syllables of ADAKISIKA, i.e. ADA, are Old Minoan (OM), falling within the substrate of the original Minoan language. Both ADA and ADU appear to deal with large(r) quantities in the Minoan language. And the first and second words, ADAKISIKA + WISASANE = adorned with plenty of ivy in equal measure, make for a perfectly acceptable phrase. WINASAO very much appears to be a variant of Linear A WINU, which means wine. It may be cast in an archaic Minoan ablative absolute, which would perhaps explain its orthography.

Since the rest of this tablet is in Old Minoan (OM), the language of the original Minoan language substrate, it is indecipherable.

Translation of Linear A tablet (HT 8) for Ancient Foods and anyone who likes beer, dealing with barley wine = beer:

Linear A tablet HT 8 Haghia Triada

There is little doubt but that this tablet deals with the production of barley wine, which is the Mycenaean + Classical Greek word for wine. Here is the running partial translation, with enough text in the Mycenaean-derived superstrate to make it quite clear that this tablet deals with the production of beer:

RECTO: JEDI (OM) = a person? (involved in the production of) KI = 1 unit (something like a pithos or very large vase) of barley wine, the PA3KARATI (OM) sowing? (of the barley for this barley wine) + TE = tereza (OM) = liquid unit (of this barley wine) + 301 (unknown), 2 units + QA301* (unknown) + I (unknown) + production? of sweet fermented liquor, i.e. beer+ harvesting? Of barley


(serving) a large bowl (Semitic) + KA? And 1 large jar (Anatolian), 2 and 5 units (a large liquid amount), 2 of the first and 5 of the second + PA2? (unknown, possibly millet or spelt) + 1 unit of *301 (unknown) + ZARIRE? (OM, unknown) + harvesting share? of the ripe crop or fruit (i.e. barley for sweet fermented liquor) + 1 PAJARE? (OM) = indentured land? + *86 & *188 (both unknown), 1/2

While all of the Old Minoan words (OM) words on this tablet are conjectural, the New Minoan words (NM), such as barley and sweet fermented liquor and the Semitic and Anatolian words, a large bowl and a large jar, perhaps provide some clues as to the meaning of the latter. JEDI (OM) = person? is highly conjectural. The numeric syllabograms *301, *86 & *188, of which the phonetic value is unknown, cannot possibly be deciphered.

Just uploaded to academia.edu = Exhaustive Linear A lexicon of 1030 New Minoan and Old Minoan words, with extensive sectional commentaries.pdf 

exhaustive linear a lexicon of 1030 Minoan words with extensive sectional commentaries

What with its 1030 entries of New Minoan (NM1), Pre-Greek substratum and Old Minoan terms, this is the most exhaustive Linear A Lexicon ever published in history, exceeding Prof. John G. Younger’s (at 774 intact words) by 226, with the emphasis squarely on intact exograms (words). Every possible origin of Linear A words is investigated, with extensive sectional commentaries. This lexicon, 65 pp. long, includes 4 appendices and a bibliography of 108 items. 

You will not want to miss out on reading this paper, representing one of the most significant historical breakthroughs in the decipherment of the Linear syllabary. If you are a member of academia.edu, please download it, and read it at your leisure. If you are not already a member of academia.edu, you can sign up for free, and then download it.

My recent research into (Minoan) Linear A has meant that I have been catapulted from the top 5 % to the top 0.1 % of users on academia.edu in the past three weeks, here:

Richard Vallance profile academia.edu

Preview of the most Complete Linear A Lexicon of 1029 words ever compiled in history soon to be published on academia.edu just uploaded:

preview of comprehensive Linear A Lexicon

This Preview of the most Complete Linear A Lexicon of 1029 words ever compiled in history soon to be published on academia.edu.pdf is in and of itself a lengthy article (14 pages long), offering full insight into the massive extent and impact of the actual lexicon, Comprehensive Lexicon of 1029 New Minoan, pre-Greek substratum and Old Minoan words, with extensive commentaries, soon to be published on my academia.edu account (sometime in July 2017). The actual Lexicon will be at least 45 pages long, and will include all of the following elements:

1. An in-depth introduction, comparing this Lexicon, with its 1029 Linear A terms with the Linear A Reverse Lexicon of Prof. John G. Younger, containing 774 intact Linear A words. To date, Prof. Younger’ Lexicon has always been considered the de facto standard of Linear A lexicons; but it falls far short of the mark. From scanning through every last Linear A tablet on Prof. Younger’s site, Linear A texts in phonetic transcription, I discovered scores of Linear A words which he missed in his Reverse Lexicon. I have also spent the last two years ransacking the Internet for every last scrap of evidence of extant Linear A tablets, fragments, roundels, pendants and inscriptions on pottery, only to unearth even more Linear words entirely overlooked by Prof. Younger, to the extent that I uncovered a total of 1029 Linear A exograms, 225 more than he did. Thus, our Comprehensive Linear A Lexicon is 27.7 % larger than his.
2. The Lexicon itself, containing 1029 words, of which over 160 are Mycenaean-derived New Minoan, some 85 are either toponyms or eponyms, a few score fall within the pre-Greek substratum and at least 80 are Old Minoan words I have been able to decipher, more or less conclusively. As for the remainder of the Old Minoan substratum, i.e. the original pre-Greek Minoan language, I have been unable to decipher the rest of its vocabulary. But believe it or not, this factor is less of an impediment to the decipherment of Linear A than we might otherwise believe. I have been able to decipher at least 350 words out of a total of 1029, which is to say about 33 % of Linear A.
3. Each section of the final Comprehensive Lexicon, i.e. A: Mycenaean-derived New Minoan NM1 B: the pre-Greek substratum C: eponyms and toponyms D: Old Minoan vocabulary and E: ligatured logograms is accompanied by a detailed analysis and survey of its contents.
4. The final Lexicon contains a comprehensive bibliography of 84 items on every aspect I have detailed of the decipherment of Linear A as outlined in this preview.  



Haghia Triada roundels & noduli:

Linear A nodulae with syllabogram SI from Haghia Triada

From: The Haghia Triada administrative documents:


Descriptions from this site (quoted):

Although the writing has not been deciphered neither the language has been interpreted (sic, poor grammar) various data may be obtained from the tablets. First of all, a list of Linear A signs may be hypothesized, which, with its 97 symbols, reveals a syllabic script of a simple typology (consonant + vowel and vowels): the signs are, in fact, too many, to represent a complex syllabic system (as the Near Eastern Cuneiform and the Aegyptian Hieroglyph). To these syllabic signs a long series of "logograms", representing each one a word, are added. 

Types of seals represented:

nodulae and roundels from Haghia Triada


The roundel is a characteristic document of the Neopalatian Minoan [1] administration, beside the tablet. It is a round clay disk (classified as Wc) with seals impressions along the edge - from one to six impressions - and, on most cases, one inscription on one or both sides. Frequently the inscription consists of a logogram, sometimes also of a sign-group. It seems to represent the last act [2] of an administrative transaction and probably functioned as a receipt. 

The seals stamped on roundels fully coincide with seals stamped on the other different documents. At Haghia Triada 22 roundels have been found, one of them being without (an) inscription. 


It is (sic, They are) the most widespread Aegean Bronze Age document, both geographically and chronologically. These clay small object (sic, objects) (defined as noduli by J. Weingarten) were not always inscribed but only sealed. They appear in two shapes: dome (classified as We) (fig. 4) and disk (classified as Wf) (fig. 5).  At Haghia Triada 54 noduli have been found, in dome shape, and only 7 are inscribed. 

1 Flat-based nodule:
This type of document is rarely inscribed but regularly sealed. Its characteristic is the negative impression on its reverse (or base) which shows that it had been placed upon a folded piece of parchment around which a thin thread was wound which was also wound into the clay. It appears in two different shapes: standing (fig. 6) or recumbent (fig. 7) (both classified as Wb). At Haghia Triada 76 flat-based nodules have been found, only 2 having a carved inscription. 

2 Hanging nodule [3]:

This small clay piece is characterized by string holes which show that it was fastened to another object by a string. They may present one or two holes. 
Those with two holes (classified as Wd) have an elongated shape (fig. 8), while those with one hole (classified as WA) present five slightly different shapes: pendant, pyramid, cone, dome, pear (fig. 9) [4]. At Haghia Triada 936 single-holes have been found, 851 being inscribed, and 11 two-hole, only 2 being inscribed. 

Comments by Richard Vallance:

[1] Neo-palatial Minoan administration: This is the Minoan administration at Haghia Triada dating from the Middle Minoan MM ca. 1750-1550 BCE & Late Minoan LM1A, ca. 1550-1500 BCE. Documents in Linear A inscribed during the LM1A period may have been inscribed in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan.  
[2] “the last act”. This is ambiguous English. Does it refer to the “the most recent” of the Haghia Triada administration? And if so, does this mean the act or acts date from the Late Minoan LM1A period?  And if so, are these acts inscribed in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan?
[3] The nodules illustrated in my decipherment of Figure 9 above are hanging nodules.
[4] See my 3 decipherments in Figure 9 at the outset of this post. If the syllabogram SI is the first syllable of a Mycenaean-derived New Minoan word, it could represent any of the 3 decipherments I have proposed. If on the other hand, SI represents any Old Minoan word, it is indecipherable.  

Haghia Triada pianta genrale

POST 1,500: Phaistos fragments in Linear A, # 3 = 8a/8b (recto/verso), harvesting olives and wheat with a team of oxen:

Phaistos PH 8a 8b PD20 PO35 36

Phaistos fragments in Linear A 8a/8b apparently deal with the harvesting of olives from 8 olive trees + 2 bushel-like units of grains or wheat by 11 harvesters employing a team of oxen. It certainly makes perfect sense. There is also mention of 1 bushel-like unit of sharia wheat.  When I say “bushel-like”, I am merely making an approximation, since we have no idea of the exact actual standard unit of dry measurement for grain was in Mycenaean times.  Note that since this fragment is from Phaistos, it is much more likely that it is inscribed primarily in Mycenaean than in Old Minoan, since Phaistos was a Mycenaean settlement. So once again, we are faced with the prospect that we have here a fragment inscribed in Linear A just prior to the adoption of Linear B as the official Mycenaean syllabary, and once again, the fragment probably dates from ca. 1450 BCE. This happenstance, if that is what it is, lends further credence to the hypothesis that a number of Linear A tablets were inscribed either in an admixture of Old Minoan, the original Minoan language, and New Minoan, the Mycenaean derived superstratum. In this particular case, I would even go so far as to contest that even the word sara2 (sarai) is an Old Minoan hold out which leaked into Mycenaean Greek. As I shall demonstrate in the next post, there appear to be at least two score Old Minoan words which survived into Mycenaean Greek. This phenomenon is analogous to Anglo-Saxon words surviving into Medieval and Modern English, even though Germanic (i.e. Old English or Anglo-Saxon) comprises only 26 % of all English vocabulary, the other 64 % + being either of Norman French, Latin or Greek provenance.  

The probability that latter-day Linear A fragments appear to be inscribed in a mixture of Old Minoan and New Minoan (the Mycenaean derived superstratum) lends further credence that the Linear A syllabary, in its latter-day existence, just prior to its abandonment in favour of the new official Linear B syllabary, was simultaneously the syllabary of both Old Minoan and New Minoan, at least by ca. 1450 BCE.  

This is post 1,500, in a long run of posts since the inauguration of our major Linear A, Linear B and Linear C site in the spring of 2013, making this the premier Internet site in its league. 

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.  

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