Conference on Symbolism: The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B: Selected Appendices A-C

Since the presentation I shall be giving at the Conference, Thinking Symbols, at the Pultusk Academy, University of Warsaw, is under wraps until then, I am posting for your information just 5 of the 11 Appendices to that talk (3 in this post), to give you at least some idea of where I shall be leading the attendees at the Conference in the course of my talk. In this post, you can see the first three Appendices. The first one (Appendix A) illustrates the use of what I choose to call Modern International Superalphabetic Symbols, as you see here:

A Appendix

It is readily apparent from this appendix that we are dealing with modern ideograms, all of which are international standards, and which are recognized as such world-wide. For instance, everyone in the world knows that the first symbol or ideogram means “under copyright protection”, while the fourth means “no parking”.

Proceeding to Appendix B, we have:

B Appendix

The abbreviations in this appendix are so strikingly similar to what I have identified as supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B that it is immediately obvious to anyone seeing the latter for the first time can instantly correlate the former with the the city codes or supersyllabograms in Linear B, as seen here in Appendix C:

C Appendix

Clearly, the abbreviations for modern city codes, even though they consist of the first two letters only of the 10 city names are identical in structure and format to the ancient city names, represented by the first syllabogram, in other words, the first syllable in each, which we find in Appendix C.  This astonishing co-incidence reveals something of the sophistication of Mycenaean Linear B taken to its limits.

It was in fact Prof. Thomas G. Palaima who first identified these city names (Knossos, Zakros, Pylos etc.) in his superb translation of Linear B tablet Heidelburg HE Fl 1994. What he failed to realize was that he had in fact discovered the sypersyllabogram, which I finally came to realize in 2014 was always the first syllabogram, in other words, the first syllable only of a particular Mycenaean Greek word, in this instance, a city or settlement name. In retrospect, we cannot blame him for this apparent oversight, because that is all it was, apparent. He never got around to a meticulous examination of the 3,000 relatively intact tablets from Knossos, which I took upon myself to carry through to its ultimate revelation(s). And what a revelation they proved to be, when in the course of over a year (2014-2015), I discovered to my utter astonishment that some 700 (23.3%!) of the 3,000 tablets I examined all had at least one supersyllabogram on them, and some as many as four!

Some of the tablets I examined had supersyllabograms only on them, and no text whatsoever. The question was, I had to wonder – and I mean I really had to wonder – what did they all mean? The answer was not long in coming. Within 2 weeks of identifying the first new supersyllabogram, I had already isolated & defined more than 10 of them!

When I speak of supersyllabograms, I do not mean simply city or settlement names. Far from it. These are just the tip of the iceberg, and they are atypical. There are at least 30 supersyllabograms in all, out of a syllabary comprised of only 61 syllabograms, in other words 50% of them. That is a staggering sum. Supersyllabograms range in meaning from “lease field” to “plot of land” to “sheep pen” to “this year” (among the first 10 I discovered) referring to sheep husbandry in the agricultural sector, from “cloth” to “well-prepared cloth” to “gold cloth” and “purple dyed cloth” in the textiles sector, and on and on. That this is a major discovery in the further decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B goes practically without saying. In fact, nothing like it has been achieved in the past 63 years since the decipherment of the vast majority of Mycenaean Linear B by the genius, Michael Ventris, in 1952-1953.

michael ventris 1922-1956 at work in hisstudy
More Appendices to follow in the next post.

Richard