Tag Archive: olives



Rita Roberts’ translation of Linear B tablet KN 342 J e 01 concerning olive oil:

Knossos tablet KN 342 J e 01 by Rita Roberts


Linear A haiku: a fawn living in the fields

linear a haiku deer in the fields

This haiku is entirely in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan (NM1), except for the word kasaru, which is Old Minoan, and apparently means surviving (drought), at least from context on the tablet on which it appears (Haghia Triada HT 10). I have transcribed it into ancient Greek so that it fits with the rest of the haiku.

 


The first ever complete and entirely unique decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 123 RECTO (Haghia Triada):

Linear A tablet HT 123 Haghia Triada RECTO olives saffron flax wine

This decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 123 RECTO (Haghia Triada) is entirely unique and is the first ever of its kind. It incorporates several key features never before seen in any of the failed attempts at deciphering this tablet. These are:

1. It accurately identifies the crops as (a) olives (b) wine and (c) saffron/flax;

2. It accurately identifies what all previous decipherers” have erroneously assumed to be fractions as crop shares;

3. It accurately identifies the supersyllabogram PU, which no one has ever before been able to decipher as the Old Minoan word, punikaso = Phoenician or in the case of wine = purple, equivalent to Linear B ponikiyo.

4. It clearly and accurately identifies the shares of crops, usually 8 shares per;

5. The Old Minoan Linear A word kiro appears to mean they owed, which suits the context to a T;

6. the combination of the number 8 with harvesting fits the season exactly, the month for harvesting being lunar August (at least if the Minoans counted counted their lunar months from the first month in the year, which certainly appears to be the case).

7. Since the total 20 + is right-truncated on the last line, I have to assume that it refers to 20 or more months, given that 9 months are mentioned above, with the ninth month implying that 8 preceded it, for a total 17. The number 4 with the unknown character probably also references months, bringing the potential total to 21. Thus a grand total of 20+ months is not out of the question.

This is the first ever successful decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 123 (RECTO) in toto.

 

 


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


Knossos clay bar P103, Cretan hieroglyphics, predating Linear A:

Knossos clar bar P103 Cretan hieroglyphics

While some of the signs on this clay bar resemble Linear A syllabograms and ideograms, the meaning of almost all of them is entirely a mystery. However, .3 looks like the Linear A & B ideogram for “hide/leather/fleece” .4 probably represents wheat .5 so strongly resembles the Linear A ideogram for “olives/olive tree” that I take it to signify just that. .7 looks like the Linear A ideogram for “bull/ox(en)”. Except for the numerics, the rest is indecipherable. 


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. 


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:

cover-as-2015

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.

inset-as-2015

editors-as-2015

intro-article-as-2015

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

archaeology-and-science-download

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

richard-vallance-on-academia-edu

 


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

a-figure-1-linear-a-ht-31-pavel-serafimov-anton-perdih

b-figure-2-linear-a-ht-13-translation-by-richard-vallance-janke

figure-3-linear-a-tablet-19-puko-tripod

linear-a-ht-12-qatidate-olive-tree

ht-117-lineara-epigraphic-harvest-festival-ideogram-vessel-daro

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.

table-of-24-supersyllabograms-in-minoan-linear-a-640

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
OR
kireta2 (kiritai) = delivery = Linear B apudosis
kiretana = (having been) delivered (past participle passive) = Linear B amoiyeto
AND
kireza = unit of measurement for figs, probably 1 basket
AND
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:

search-minoan-linear-a-mycenaean-linear-b-major-sites-sept-13-2016

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


   

Minoan Linear A tablet HT 12 & qatidate = Mycenaean Linear B erawa = olive tree(s):

HT 12 qatidate olive tree

On Minoan Linear A tablet HT 12, we find the word qatidate, which in all likelihood is the equivalent Mycenaean Linear B erawa = olive trees. This decipherment is substantiated by or earlier decipherment  of datu = small olives. Notice the direct correlation between qatidate and datu.

This raises the scalar value of both of these translations to > 60% (very reliable).

This is term 110 I have deciphered in Minoan Linear A, more or less accurately (in this case, more).


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

HT 123-124 KITAI SARU DATU KURO OLIVES!!! ADPDOSI 31

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.


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: 

Grain/wheat/barley:

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)

Religious:

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

Sheep:

akoro

Toponyms:

Aminiso = Amnisos
Kerasiyo/Kerasiya = Cretan
Paito = Phaistos

Vases:

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

Wine:

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

Linear A:

Grain/wheat/barley:

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

Sheep:

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

Toponyms:

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

Vases:

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

Wine:

kura (wine) 5 (large amount) = Linear B: woinos?
RA164aTI (wine) 38 (medium amount)
sukini
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.  

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