Tag Archive: olive oil

Early Minoan hieroglyphic roundels and seals may lend some insight into the later development of the Linear A syllabary:

Minoan hieroglyphic writing


As illustrated above, early Minoan hieroglyphic roundels and seals may lend some insight into the later development of the Linear A syllabary. Notice that the the hieroglyphic for an axe or labrys looks remarkably like the Linear A and Linear B syllabogram for A, while the Y shaped hieroglyphic, whatever it is supposed to represent (and no one knows what), is similar to the Linear A syllabogram for SA. So it is conceivable, however remotely, that this hieroglyphic seal may actually read asa or saa, whichever way you read it (not that we have any idea what that is supposed to mean).Then we have the hieroglyphic marked with an asterisk (*). This looks very much like a vase, amphora or flask to hold wine, water or possibly even olive oil. There is another one which looks like a fish. That should not be too surprising, given that the ideogram for fish does appear on at least one extant Linear A fragment from Phaistos, as we have witnessed in a recent previous post. Finally, on the bottom line, the seal marked (f) bears a hieroglyphic which looks like a bat, and this in turn may very well be the antecedent to the Linear A syllabogram MA. But this hieroglyphic is not that of a bat, but rather of a cat, which we can see from the beautiful seal on the top left of the illustration. This is substantiated by the some of the variations in the scribal hands for Linear A MA, which indeed look like the visage of a cat, as we see here:

Linear A scribal hands for MA = cat

So I guess it is a cat.

RESEARCH paper: Supersyllabograms in the agricultural sector of the Mycenaean economy, by Rita Roberts academia.edu:

This essay constitutes Rita Robert’s first foray into major research in ancient Mycenaean linguistics on academia.edu. Rita has composed this highly scholarly article as the major component of her mid-term examination in her second year of university, exactly half way to her degree. Keeping up this pace, she is bound to perform outstandingly in her final essay of her second year, and in her third year thesis paper, which will be considerably more demanding than this study, and about twice as long.

I strongly recommend you to download this study here:

supersyllabograms in agriculture in Linear B academia.edu

It makes for engaging reading in ancient linguistics research.

You can reach Rita’s academia.edu account here to view her other papers:

rita roberts academia.edu


Decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 14 (Haghia Triada) with John G. Youngers errors corrected:

Linear A tablet HT 14 Haghia Triada


Common Linear A ideograms for livestock, crops, olives, barley and wheat:

Linear A ideograms 620

These are the most common Linear A ideograms for livestock, crops, olives, barley and wheat. Unlike Mycenaean Linear B, Linear draws a distinction between certain species of wheat, with the ideogram for “wheat” accompanied by the supersyllabogram DI meaning dideru = “roasted einkorn” and the same ideogram accompanied by QE , signifying qerie = “emmer wheat”, while at the same time using a slightly different ideogram for “barley”.  In addition, the word sara2 (sarai) = “sharia wheat”. All of these words are firmly established and confirmed in either the Old Minoan or the pre-Greek substratum. Most of the Linear A ideograms are either very similar or identical to their Linear B counterparts.

Here you see illustrations of emmer wheat and roasted einkorn:

roasted einkorn and emmer wheat

And here is sharia wheat:

sharia wheat

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.     

Archaeology and Science annual: the Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, the last & most formidable frontier in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B:


For the past 65 years since Michael Ventris first deciphered Linear B, one phenomenon has eluded historical linguists and philologists. This is the supersyllabogram, which is always a single syllabogram, being the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of a particular Mycenaean word in any one or more of the major economic sectors of the Mycenaean economy: agriculture, military, textiles and the vessels and pottery sector, along with a few religious supersyllabograms. Supersyllabograms are always independent; they always stand alone on extant Linear. My discovery, isolation and classification of supersyllabograms represents the final frontier in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B. Some 800 tablets from Knossos alone contain primarily supersyllabograms, with a subset of these incised with supersyllabograms and nothing else. It is difficult to decipher the former, and impossible to decipher the latter without fully accounting for the presence of supersyllabograms. The decipherment of supersyllabograms accounts for the last and most difficult remaining 10 % of Mycenaean Linear B to be deciphered.




You may also download The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B here:


This article is 35 pages long (pp. 73-108) in a 29 cm. x 22 cm. format, which is far oversized compared with the standard north American format for research journals (ca. 20 cm. vertical), meaning that if it had been published in the standard north American format, it would have run to some 50 pp., which is the size of a small book.

The Editorial Board consists of 21 peer reviewers, all of them matriculated professors and researchers at the Ph.D. level or higher, from Ancona, Belgrade, Belgium, Bologna, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A., Moscow, Münich, Philadelphia, U.S.A., Rome, Warsaw & Trieste. Every author must pass muster with the majority of these peer reviewers if his or her article is to be published in Archaeology and Science. That is one tall hurdle to overcome.

Note also that I am ranked in the top 0.5 % of all researchers and publishers on academia.edu



Illustrations of 5 Minoan Linear A tablets (Figures) in Archaeology and Science (2016):






Above are 5 illustrations of some (not all) of the Minoan Linear A tablets, reduced to 620 pixels, as they will appear as Figures (with the Figure nos. assigned only to Figures 1 & 2, other Figure nos. not yet assigned) in my upcoming article, “Pylos Tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the ‘Rosetta Stone’ for Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) vessels and pottery” in the prestigious international annual Archaeology and Science, Vol. 12 (2016) ISSN 1452-7448. This is to be the third major article in a row which I will see published in Archaeology and Science.

This paper represents the first genuine breakthrough in the decipherment of Minoan Linear A vocabulary (not the language!) in the 116 years since the first Linear A tablets were unearthed by Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos in 1900.

Table of the distribution of 24 Supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A by economic sector & sub-sector:

Following is the Table of the 24 Supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A by economic sector & sub-sector. It is clear from this table that the majority of supersyllabograms (12) in Minoan Linear A fall in the olive trees, olives and olive oil sub-sector of the agricultural sector of the Minoan economy, primarily in Haghia Triada, but also in Khania (Chania). The next most common sector is grains (barley & wheat) with 7, the third are vases and pottery and also wine with 5, the fourth is figs with 2 and the fifth are military (men as attendants to the king) and textiles with 1 SSYL each.


The distribution of supersyllabograms in both Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B by economic sector is of the utmost importance. I shall need to cross-correlate the key economic sector-by-sector distribution of supersyllabograms in both syllabaries to verify whether or not the distribution of SSYLs in the one syllabary (Linear A) and the other (Linear B) is closely aligned or not. The alignment of supersyllabograms in each syllabary relative to the other will determine with greater accuracy which economic sectors are the most and which the least important in each language, Minoan and Mycenaean. This way, we can get a much better idea of how the key economic sectors are distributed, from most to least important, in each of the two societies, Minoan and post-Minoan Mycenaean. It is of the utmost important to understand that all of the supersyllabograms in both of these syllabaries must refer only to major economic terms in each sector and sub-sector. 

I shall explicitly compare the relative economic distribution of each society, the Minoan and Mycenaean in my upcoming article, Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris) is the Mycenaean Linear B “Rosetta Stone” for Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada, in Vol. 16 (2016) of the prestigious international annual, Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448. The Table of 24 Supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A by economic sector & sub-sector is to appear in this article.

I have deciphered the following 8 supersyllabograms more or less successfully in Minoan Linear A:

DA = dadumata = grain/wheat measurer? = Linear B sitokowo
KA = kapa = follower or foot soldier, attendant to the king 
KI = kidata = to be accepted for delivery = Linear B dekesato
kireta2 (kiritai) = delivery = Linear B apudosis
kiretana = (having been) delivered (past participle passive) = Linear B amoiyeto
kireza = unit of measurement for figs, probably 1 basket
kiro = owed = Linear B oporo = they owed
NI = nipa3 (nipai) or nira2 (nirai) = figs = Linear B suza. But Mycenaean Linear B shares NI with Minoan Linear A, in spite of the fact that the Mycenaean word for figs is suza.   
PA = pa3ni (amphora for storing grain) + pa3nina = grain or wheat stored in an amphora
RA ra*164ti = approx. 5 litres (of wine) 
SA sara2 (sarai) = small unit of measurement: dry approx. 1 kg., liquid approx. 1 litre
TE = tereza = standard unit of usually liquid measurement, sometimes of dry measurement

Symbaloo/Google search ranks Minoan Linear A, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae as fourth largest on the Internet:


Since this is a Boolean AND search, if we omit sites dealing with only Minoan Linear A or only Mycenaean Linear B, which do not fulfill this requirement, our site ranks fourth. But since the site, Linear A and Linear B script: Britannica.com is a minor site, we actually rank third.

Also, our PINTEREST board is ranked fifth (actually fourth). We have over 1.7 K Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B translations, photos, maps & images on our PINTEREST board, Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B, Progressive Grammar and Vocabulary. Click the banner to visit and join if you like!

Minoan Linear A Linear B


Linear A tablet HT 123+124, kitai = scented olive oil? + saru = large olives + datu = small olives:


I have had to give a great deal of thought to the decipherment of this tablet, the contents of which have frustrated and eluded me for weeks. Finally, the light came on. Eureka! I figured it out. Well, almost... The first word I struggled to decipher on this tablet was kitai, which was and remains a stickler.  I have settled for “scented olive oil”, which seems to make sense in the context, although I really have no choice but to assign it a scalar value of < 50%. On the other hand, the next two words, saru & datu, seem much clearer. It makes a lot of sense to list different sizes of olive oil on a tablet, and it makes  just as much sense to list the large(r) ones before the small(er) ones. Hence, to my mind, saru = large olives and datu = small olives. These two terms can be assigned a scalar value of 60-75% (a reasonable degree of accuracy). The word kuro was one of the very first words I deciphered, and it has a perfect scalar value of 100%. It means what it says and says what it means.

Here is Andras Zeke’s restored version of HT 123+124 on the Minoan Language Blog:

Haghia Triada HT 123-124 a according to Andras Zeke

These three (3) new terms constitute items 82-84 in my Glossary of Minoan Linear A words.

Mycenaean Linear B tablets on olive oil dedicated to all the gods as templates for cross-correlation to Minoan Linear A tablets:

Linear B tablets pasi teoi all the gods

These two Mycenaean Linear B tablets and the Mycenaean Greek phrase on olive oil dedicated to all the gods serve as templates for cross-correlation to Minoan Linear A tablets in the same vein. In the last post on the delivery of olive oil, I stated that the immense number of permutations and combinations attributable to activities and terms related to olive oil severely mitigated against the possibility of extracting any real meaning from Minoan Linear A tablets. There is another side to this coin. Wherever the same activity or term is repeated at least 3 times on 3 Mycenaean Linear B tablets versus those terms which appear only once on 1 Linear B tablet (which is the case with all the other Mycenaean Greek terms we shall be posting), the likelihood for successful cross-correlative regressive extrapolation to Minoan Linear A tablets on olive oil rises dramatically. This is because recurrent vocabulary appearing at least 3 times on at least as many tablets in any sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy, agricultural, military, textiles and vessels and pottery, tends to promote the likelihood that said terms might also appear on Minoan Linear A tablets. Nevertheless, cross-correlation of terms recurring at least 3 times is still risky. There is no guarantee that such cross-correlation can or will work in dredging up the “same” tablets in Minoan Linear A.    

We shall see soon enough.

Mycenaean Linear B tablets on terms and activities related to olive oil as templates for cross-correlation to Minoan Linear A tablets:

In order to determine how to rationally assign meanings of terms and activities related to olive oil to Minoan Linear A tablets, we must rely on Mycenaean Linear B tablets as templates for cross-correlative retrogressive analysis to corresponding Minoan Linear A tablets of the same activities and terms relative to olives and olive oil. Otherwise, sensible decipherments of the latter are frankly impossible. For instance, these three Linear B tablets from Knossos clearly illustrate how terms and activities dependent on olive oil in Mycenaean Linear B must without exception be taken into consideration if we are ever to decipher the same terms and activities with any degree of accuracy on corresponding Minoan Linear A tablets:

Lineard B tablets Knossos apudosi delivery of olive oil

What possible value can these 3 tablets in Mycenaean Linear B serve as indicators of similar terms or activities on Minoan Linear A tablets?

For instance, Minoan Linear A tablets HT 121 & 123+124 from Haghia Triada cannot be deciphered at all without cross-correlative retrogressive analysis with as many Mycenaean Linear B tablets as conceivably possible. At the present juncture, I am as yet unable to decipher it, but cross-correlative analysis with as many activities and terms related to olive oil in Mycenaean Linear B may eventually provide me with the means to achieve a reasonable decipherment of it. The operative word is may, and even that is a long shot:

Minoan Linear A tablet HT 121 &amp; HT 123-124 Haghia Triada olive oil

For the time being, the words kirita2 (kiritai) and kitai are utterly undecipherable. I have not the faintest idea what they mean. It is remotely possible that kitai may mean “delivery”, given that the number of olive oil (whatever) is 30. So conceivably we might be dealing here with the delivery of 30 units or amphorae of olive oil. But then the problem is, how do we know what the 30 units of olive oil refer to, in the absence of any word on the tablet other than kitai related to olive oil?  On HT 123+124, kitai might conceivably mean “delivery” or it might mean something else, such as “amphora”, which could make sense in the context, where it could possibly mean 30 “amphorae” of olive oil. But we cannot have it both ways. In the absence of a second word referencing olive oil, it is impossible for kitai alone to mean either “delivery” or “amphorae” both or God knows what else simultaneously . So we are trapped in a paradox which cannot be resolved. On the other hand, another “definition” of kitai may possibly be in reach, but only after we have translated a number of Linear B tablets, in order to compile a list of potential alternative terms or activities which might possibly serve as templates for the potential decipherment of  “corresponding” words on Linear A tablets. Possibly, but not probably, and more likely than not, never. 

The challenge is formidable. I have my work cut out for me. Moreover, the great number of permutations and combinations besetting any interpreter make the challenge much more intimidating. 

What does the word teri mean in Minoan Linear A?

Minoan Linear  A TERI sheep and olive oil

In spite of the fact that Andras Zeke of the Minoan Language Blog attributes to the Minoan Linear A word teri the name of a type of ram on Linear A tablet PH 31, his translation cannot stand, because the same word is used in association with olive (oil) on another tablet, HT 91 (Haghia Triada). So the term is clearly independent of either association. On the other hand, the context of both these tablets is susceptible of assisting in determining what teri might mean. We should definitely take into account that only 1 ram and 1 (amphora?) of olive oil is mentioned on each of these two tablets. So the context severely limits our interpretation(s), since only large numbers of rams and olive oil admit of more liberal translations. I found that I had no real choice other than to consult Chris Tselentis’ superb Linear B Lexicon, in order to extract any meaning(s) that might possibly mesh with the Minoan word teri in light of the fact that only 1 reference is made to a ram and an amphora of wine. Under the circumstances, the only practicable translations I could come up with were: [1] just delivered (as it is certainly conceivable that just 1 of either of the above could have been “just delivered” to a farmer or possibly to a priest or priestess, possibly for sacrifice [2] as an offering, again to a priest or priestess, possibly for sacrifice or [3] being delivered, once again in the same context.

This brings the number of Minoan Linear A words we have deciphered, more or less accurately, to 65.

Another Minoan Linear A word tentatively deciphered: sara2 = sarai = a small unit of measurement?

Minoan Linear A sara2 = sarai = approx. kilogram or litre

While I have encountered enormous challenges deciphering scores and scores of Minoan Linear A words which are not accompanied by an ideogram, being quite unable to decipher any of them at all, sara2 = sarai is a rare exception. I have tentatively assigned it the value of a small unit of dry measurement for wheat and barley (crops) and of wet measurement for olive oil or wine. Since it is impossible for us today to determine with any degree of accuracy what each unit of a sara2 = sarai actually was, I have had to resort to approximations, correlating the unit of dry measurement with the modern metric kilogram (more or less) and the unit of wet measurement with the metric litre (more or less). It is the best we can hope for. My decipherment is based entirely on the gross amounts of sara2 = sarai reported on several Minoan Linear A tablets with the ideograms for “grain/wheat”, “barley” or “olive oil”. The numbers on the following tablets range from a low of 1 (olive oil) on HT 28  to 2 (grain) on HT 125 to 10 (grain) on HT 18 and HT 114, to 20 (grain) on HT 28 & HT 90 to 41 (grain) on HT 101 to 976 (grain !) on HT 102. The totals for sara2 = sarai on all of these tablets from Haghia Triada = 1070 units, of which 1069 are small units of dry measurement for “grain/wheat” or “barley”. The remaining 1 shows 1 small unit of liquid measurement for “olive oil”.

The only thing which troubles me with this tentative translation is that, although the total figures for dry and liquid measurement are sky high,  there is only 1 unit of liquid measurement on HT 28 (olive oil) and there are only 2 units of dry measurement on HT 125 (grain, wheat or barley). I find it difficult to believe that a Minoan scribe would tally only 2 small dry units (approx. = to 2 kg.) and 1 small liquid unit (approx. = 1 litre) on these two tablets. What is the point of that? On the other hand, all of the other figures for units of measurement range from a respectable low of 20, to 41 to the enormous amount of 976 on HT 102. These latter figures would appear to lend some credence to my tentative decipherment of sara2 = sarai. All this is not to say that I will necessarily adhere to this initial decipherment in the near to not so near future. Should reasonably reliable evidence arise to contradict this decipherment, I shall take it into close consideration,  and if the need arises, I may have to scrap this initial decipherment. 

What are the current prospects for deciphering Minoan Linear A? Dismal but...

As historical research on Minoan Linear A has demonstrated over and over, every attempt by philologists and historical linguists specializing in Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B to decipher Linear A over the past 116 years has met with failure. Though some, like Sam Connolly, have claimed success

Breaking the Code

The Minoan language has remained a sealed mystery. 

Linear A Minoan Writing sealed

Though I have brought all my intellectual resources to bear on the painful struggle to decipher Minoan Linear A, I too have made little headway. But that is not to say I have not made any at all. Still, the only words I have been able to decipher with any accuracy at all are those which are directly linked with ideograms. These ideograms happen to turn up almost exclusively on Linear A tablets dealing with vessels and wine, with little else to show in the other sectors of the Minoan economy. Moreover, I have found myself having to face the unsatisfactory prospect of having to decipher many Minoan words much less accurately than I would have hoped to. This usually happens because there is only one word to be found on only one tablet in Linear A containing that word in conjunction with an ideogram. One of these terms is qareto on Linear B tablet HT 132 (Haghia Triada), the only Minoan word prepended to the syllabogram for sheep. Now, in Mycenaean Linear B, there exist a number of single syllabograms preceding the ideograms for sheep, rams or ewes. Each of these syllabograms, which I have definitively defined as supersyllabograms (2014-2016), is the first syllabogram or first syllable of a Mycenaean Greek word. Two of these supersyllabograms (SSYLs) predominate in the sheep sub-sector of the agricultural sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy, outstripping all the others by a very considerable margin. These are the supersyllabograms O = onato = lease field and KI = kitimena = a plot of land”. There are scores and scores of Linear B tablets directly dealing with sheep, which contain either of these two supersyllabograms.

The problem is that there is only one word, qareto, on only one tablet in Minoan Linear A dealing with sheep, which does not leave us with much wiggle room at all. However, since the Mycenaean Greek words onato and kitimena appear with the ideograms for sheep, rams or ewes far more often than any other supersyllabogram, I have concluded that it is safe to assume that qareto in Minoan Linear A might be one or the other. But this state of affairs simply won’t do, since we can never know which one of the two it is, if indeed it is one of these two words for a specific type of field in Minoan Linear A. This confusion is compounded the fact that there are four other words naming specific types of fields in Mycenaean Linear B, arura or kama = unit of land (cf. metric, hectare), kekemina/no (adj.)  = referring to common land and koto(i)na/no = plot of land, a synonym of kikimena. This brings the total number of specific terms relating to fields to six, making it impossible to accurately define qareto in Minoan Linear B. But it is not all that hopeless. If we cannot define qareto at the level of specificity allowed for in Mycenaean Linear B, we can still decipher it at the generic level of field, of which all 6 of the aforementioned are subsets. We are hedging our bets. While we suspect qareto is possibly some specific kind of field, we can safely say that it definitely is a field at the generic level, since all 6 types of fields found in Mycenaean Greek are subsumed under the notion of field”. So qareto can be said to be pretty much synonymous with akoro. But that is as far as we can go. This is just one example of any number of Minoan Linear A words which allow for a more or less satisfactory decipherment, but which defy a truly accurate translation.

I have compiled a list of terms in the agricultural, religious and vessels (pottery) sectors of the Mycenaean Linear A followed by another in Minoan Linear A. Both are as exhaustive as I could make them. I culled all of the Mycenaean Linear B words from Chris Tselentis comprehensive Linear B Lexicon, and all of the Minoan Linear A words from all of the relevant Linear A tablets on Prof. John G. Youngers excellent site, Linear A Texts in phonetic transcription & Commentary (Click on the banner below to visit):

Linear A Texts in phonetic transcription

Of course, there is no way of knowing for sure that I have accounted for all possible terms relevant to the potential decipherment of Minoan Linear A. In addition, so many Minoan words on the Linear A tablets are either left- or right-truncated that I simply had to eliminate them, given that it is an exercise in futility to attempt to decipher these.

The number of Linear B terms I have compiled amounts to a total of 64, while that of Linear A words to 62. This means that if we take all possible permutations into account, we end up with the figure of 3,968, or let us us say, 4,000 give or take. The implications of this figure are staggering. It means that if we are going to be able ever to decipher Minoan Linear A, we have to take into account at least 4,000 possible variations in determining the exact meaning of almost all of the Minoan words in the Linear A list.

A hopeless endeavour? ... not quite. As I have pointed out above, the presence of ideograms directly associated with quite a few Minoan words makes the potentiality for deciphering those terms rather more promising. So where we have been able to decipher these terms more or less accurately, we can eliminate them from the list of Minoan Linear A words. But even so doing scarcely makes a dent in the number of permutations left in the remaining words, which is almost all of them. We are still left with the well nigh impossible task of aligning just slightly short of 64 Mycenaean Linear B terms with just slightly fewer than 62 Minoan words. The permutations still run to over 3,500. Given this depressing situation, the prospects for deciphering the remainder of the words in the Linear A list remain all but hopeless. The vast bulk of the Minoan language still remains a sealed tomb in a pyramid, from which I have managed to rob a few artifacts (i.e. the words I have managed to decipher, more or less).

Here are the two lists, Mycenaean Linear B (all translated) first, Minoan Linear A second.

The Mycenaean Linear B words I have successfully deciphered (more or less accurately) in Minoan Linear A are in bold in both lists. The Minoan Linear A words which I expect are susceptible to decipherment are in italics. After each of the Minoan Linear A words the total number of its occurrences on each of the Linear A tablets on which it appears is provided..

Linear B olives & olive oil, wheat and barley, toponyms, vases & wine versus Linear A:

Linear B: 


akoro = field
akotono = without plot of land
apudosi = delivery
arura = unit of land (cf. metric, hectare)
kama = unit of land
kapo = fruit
kekemina/no (adj.)  = referring to common land
kirita = barley
kitimena = plot of land
koria2dana koriyadana = coriander
koto(i)na/no = plot of land
kanako = saffron, crocus
kuparo = cyperus
meno = month
mereuro = flour
onato = lease field
ono (pl.) = payment, debt
pasi/pasa (masc./fem.) = all 
rino = linen, flax
sasama = sesame
serino = celery
sito = wheat 
weto = this year/this year’s crop?
zawete = this year(’s)

Olive oil:

erawa = olive tree
erawo = essential (olive) oil
kapo = fruit
meno = month
pasi/pasa (masc./fem.) = all 
weto = this year/this year’s crop?
zawete = this year(’s)


anemoiyerea = Priestess of the Winds
diwiyo =dedicated to Zeus
diuya/diwiya = priestess of Zeus
diuyayo = sanctuary
diwiyo = sanctuary dedicated to Zeus
dosomo (pl.) = offerings
iyereu = priest
iyeria (iyerea) = priestess
iyero = sacred
pasi/pasa (masc./fem.) = all 
pasiteoi = to all the gods
qeteo = debt to the gods
sapaketeriya/yo = for ritual slaughter
teo = god 
wanakatero temeno = palace shrine




Aminiso = Amnisos
Kerasiyo/Kerasiya = Cretan
Paito = Phaistos


anowe/anowoto = without handles (vase, cup)
aporewe = amphora
apudosi = delivery
dipa = cup
ipono = (cooking) pot
kakiya/yo = made of copper
kako = copper
karawere = stirrup jar
kuruso = gold
kurusupa3 = tripod amphora
newo = new
pasi/pasa (masc./fem.) = all 
pia2ra/piyera3 = a kind of pot
qetorowe = with four handles (pot)
rewotereyo = cauldron
soro = funereal urn (for ashes)
tiripo = tripod = Linear A: puko
udoro = water flask


apudosi = delivery
kapo = fruit
meri = honey
mita = mint
newo = new
parayo = old, vintage/wine
wono = wine

Linear A:


47nuraya (grain/wheat)
adaro (grain/wheat) 40
apu2nadu (grain/wheat) 5 + (olive oil) 3
arudara (grain/wheat) 5
ase + PA (grain/wheat)
dadumata  (grain/wheat)
dame (grain/wheat) x 2 20 & 74
dau49 (grain/wheat) + PA 20
ika (grain/wheat) x 2
kiritana (grain/wheat) 60
kirita3 = kiritai +QE DI (grain/wheat)
iqa118 (grain/wheat) 
kitai (grain/wheat)
kunisu (grain/wheat) 20
kupaya  (grain/wheat) 16 + 40
pa3ni = paini + PA (grain/wheat) 33
pa3nina = painina + RE + SE (grain/wheat) 12
pase + QE (grain/wheat) 20
pitakase + TE (grain/wheat) 161
pura2 = purai  (grain/wheat) 5
qaqaru + PA (grain/wheat) 5
sara2 (alone)
sara2 = sarai (grain/wheat) x 6 @ 10 1 20 20 26 41 976! 10 2 tereza?
simita (grain/wheat) 5  
sirumarita2 = sirumaritai (grain/wheat) 1 = Linear B: qeteo = debt to the gods
sise (grain/wheat) 16
turunuseme (grain/wheat) 10  = Linear B: pasiteoi
u34si (grain/wheat)
watumare +KU (grain/wheat) 12+
yaki + QE (grain/wheat) 5 (wine) 6	30
zu22di + QE (grain/wheat) 40

Olive Oil:

datu (olive oil) 15
itaya +DI (olive oil) 10
kitai (olive oil) 1
kupa3 = kupai + U  (olive oil)
kirita2 = kiritai + (olive oil) + QE + DI 10 & alone
pi34te (olive oil)  5
sara2 + DI (olive oil) tereza?
saro (olive oil)
saru (olive oil) 16				40
sise + KI (olive oil) 1 + sise + MI (olive oil) 6 + sise + TU (olive tree) 3?
teri + MI  (olive oil) x 2 5 + 
widina + DI (olive oil) 3
yedi + KI (olive oil) 1


qareto (sheep) = field (akoro,kama etc.) 


Dikate = Mount Dikte
Idaa = Mount Ida
Kireta2 (Kiretai)
Kudoni = Kydonia
Meza (=Linear B Masa)
Paito = Phaistos (=Linear B)
Radu = Lato (=Linear B Rato)) 
Setoiya = Seteia (=Linear B) 
Sukirita = Sybrita
Winadu = Inatos (Linear B Winato)


darida (vase) 2 (LARGE!) 
daropa (vase) = Linear B karaeriyou (gen.) stirrup jar?


kura (wine) 5 (large amount) = Linear B: woinos?
RA164aTI (wine) 38 (medium amount)
yaki + QE (grain/wheat) 5 (wine) 6 (medium amount)
of Linear B: woinos

no. of permutations and combinations = 64 x 62 = 3968

The lengthy and highly informative Linear B tablet Pylos Py Er 312 from Chris Tselentis’ Linear B Lexicon:

Pylos tablet PY TA Er 312 Linear B

Pylos tablet PY TA Er 312 Linear B Latinized and translation
Linear B tablet Pylos Py Er 312 which Chris Tselentis deciphered in his superb Linear B Lexicon is presented above. This tablet runs the gamut from wheat and wheat seeds, to the measurement of olive oil to a number of references to the gods and sacred cults. Since Linear B tablets from Pylos tend to be significantly larger than those from Knossos, they are often a richer source of information applicable to the decipherment, not only of Linear B tablets, but of Minoan Linear A tablets as well.  You can be sure that I shall rely a good deal lon this tablet in my efforts towards the further decipherment of Minoan Linear A. Since Chris Tselentis has done all the work for us, I have simply translated it into English, without troubling myself with appending the text in Archaic Greek.  

Another Linear B tablet from Amnisos referencing olive oil and barley dedicated to all the gods, not once but twice:

Linear B tablet Knossos KN 48 J f 12 olive oil and barley to all the gods

Here we have yet another Linear B tablet from Amnisos referencing olive oil and barley dedicated to all the gods, but this time it flags the signal importance to the scribe as well as to the palace administration at Knossos by stressing twice the necessity of offering up olive oil and barley as sacrifices to all the gods. We have already accumulated four (4) tablets referencing offerings of olive oil or olive trees and barley to all the gods, and there are two more to come from Pylos, for a grand total of 6, making such offerings the most frequently mentioned on Linear B tablets which are to be cross-correlated with Minoan Linear A tablets. So apudosi = “delivery” and Keresiya (feminine) = “Cretan” with 3 references each now have to take a back seat to pasiteoi = “to all the gods”, mentioned twice as often as I had expected. I would like to stress as well that if the Minoan Linear A tablets on olive oil and barley contain a phrase as long as pasiteoi, it is more likely than not that such a phrase means the same thing in the Minoan language as it does in Mycenaean Greek. But this is not necessarily the case, given that the Minoan tablets in Linear A may divide the phrase into two words, which is what we would expect. We shall soon see.

In addition, the frequent mention of units of dry measurement on previous Linear B tablets I have posted relating to olive oil and and barley strongly suggest that my earlier translations of reza, adureza and tereza, which refer to (linear) measurement, dry measurement and liquid measurement (of wine) respectively are probably correct after all. I was in considerable doubt of their meanings until I started deciphering the Linear B tablets on olive oil and barley, most of which directly reference dry measurement. These tablets seem to confirm that my initial decipherment of reza, adureza and tereza in Minoan Linear A are on the mark after all. 

Knossos tablet with all sorts of references to olive oil and barley:

Knossos tablet 1 j olive oil barley etc

This tablet is a real hodgepodge of references to olive oil, olive oil trees and barley, ranging from references the port of Amnisos, to units of dry measurement (which also frequently occur on Minoan Linear A tablets), to all the gods and to the goddess Erinu in particular. Not only that, it also tabulates bales of barley, even down to single units of dry measurement of barley. So this tablet serves as a real cornucopia for olive oil, olive oil trees and barley. Thus, it adds one more reference to every single facet of these commodities. I shall tally the totals for all references to each commodity when I have finished translating as many Linear B tablets as I can referencing olive oil.

Olive oil and olive trees in Mycenaean Linear B — Part B: Cretan olive trees:

Linear B tablet KN 4 J b  KERESIYA ERAWA

Linear B tablet KN 6 KERESIYA

Linear B tablet KN 354 KERASIYA

Here we have 3 more tablets from Knossos which specifically mention Cretan olive trees in Mycenaean Linear B.  It would be nice if the word for “Cretan” in Minoan Linear A were similar to Keresiya (feminine here because it must agree with the feminine word erawa = “olive tree”. But Googling the Internet I have come up with nothing so far. This will make it very difficult to extrapolate the “correct” word for “Cretan” from the Linear A tablets on olive oil production, even though Kerasiya occurs as often as apudosi = “delivery” on the Linear B tablets.

Before we can decipher even a single Linear A tablet on olive oil, we must decipher as many as we can in Linear B, because... PART A: delivery of olive oil

Before we can plausibly (and frequently tentatively) decipher even a single Linear A tablet on olive oil, we must decipher as many as we can in Linear B, because there are so many facets to be taken fully into consideration in the olive oil sub-sector of the agricultural sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy related to the production of olive oil which on an adequate number of Linear B tablets (at least 10), mostly from Knossos, dealing with harvesting from olive oil trees and the production and delivery of olive oil that we must account for every single term related to olive oil on the Linear B tablets, and then compile a list of all of these terms in order to cross-correlate these with equivalent terms on the Linear A tablets, mostly from Haghia Triada.

Another vital factor which just occurred to me is that the Minoan economy appears to have been primarily centred in Haghia Triada, while the Mycenaean primarily in Knossos, with valuable contributions from Pylos as well. In other words, the economic centre or power house, if you will, of the Minoan economy appears to have been Haghia Triada and not Knossos. I am somewhat baffled by the fact that researchers to date have not taken this important factor adequately into account. It appears to reveal that Knossos had not yet risen to prominence in the Minoan economy in the Middle Minoan Period (ca. 2100-1600 BCE):

the three Periods of Minoan Civilization

The gravest challenge confronting us in the cross-correlation of the several economic terms related to olive oil production in the late Minoan III 3a period under Mycenaean suzerainty (ca. 1500-1450 BCE)  with potentially equivalent terms in Minoan Linear A arises from the mathematical theoretical constructs of combinations and permutations. Given, for instance, that there are potentially a dozen (12) terms related to olive oil production on an adequate number (10-12)  Linear B tablets to afford effectual cross-correlation, how on earth are we to know which terms in Mycenaean Linear B correspond to apparently similar terms in Minoan Linear A? In other words, if we for instance extrapolate a total of 12 terms from Mycenaean Linear B tablets, how are we to line or match up the Mycenaean Linear B terms in a “Column A” construct with those in Minoan Linear B in “Column B”? There is no practical way that we can safely assert that term A (let us say, for the sake of expediency, that this word is apudosi = “delivery”) in Mycenaean Greek corresponds to term A in Minoan Linear  A, rather than any of B-L, in any permutation and/or in any combination. This leads us straight into the trap of having to assign ALL of the signified (terms) in Mycenaean Linear A to all of the signified in Minoan Linear B. I shall only be able to definitively demonstrate this quandary after I have deciphered as many Linear B tablets on olive oil as I possibly can.




For the time being, we have no choice but to set out on our search with these 3 tablets, all of which prepend the first term apudosi = “delivery” to the ideogram for olive oil. In closing, I wish to emphatically stress that this is precisely the signified I expected to turn up in the list of terms potentially related to olive oil production in Mycenaean Linear B. It is also the most important of all Mycenaean Linear B terms prepended to the ideogram for “olive oil on the Linear B tablets. When we come to making the fateful decision to assign the the correct Minoan Linear A term meaning just that, delivery” on the Linear A tablets dealing with olive oil, how are we to know which Linear A signified corresponds to Linear B apudosi = “delivery”? Still the situation is not as bad as you might think, at least for this term. Why so? Because if it appears (much) more often on the Linear B tablets (say, theoretically, 5 times versus less than 5 for all the other terms in Linear B related to olive oil), then the term appearing the most frequently on Minoan Linear A tablets related to olive oil is more likely than not to be the equivalent of apudosi, i.e. to mean  “delivery”.

The less frequent the occurrence of any particular term relative to olive oil on the Mycenaean Linear B tablets, the greater the room there is for error, to the point that where a term appears only once on all of the Linear B tablets we can manage to muster up for translation, it becomes next to impossible to properly align that term with any of the terms occurring only once on the Minoan Linear A tablets, especially where more than one signified occurs on the Mycenaean Linear B tablets. If for example, 3 terms occur only once on the Linear B tablets, which one(s) aligns with which one(s) on the Linear A? A messy scenario. But we must make the best of the situation, bite the bullet, and cross-correlate these 3 terms in all permutations and combinations (= 9!) from the Linear B to the Linear A tablets containing them. This I shall definitively illustrate in a Chart once I have translated all terms related to olive oil production in Mycenaean Linear A.

LinneaTanner.com - Apollo's Raven

LinneaTanner.com - Apollo's Raven

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