Tag Archive: pomegranates



Restoration the full text of the badly damaged Linear A tablet from Gournia:




Here we see my restoration of the full text of the badly damaged Linear A tablet from Gournia, which includes line 0. at the top and line 4. at the bottom. This is just a personal interpretation, which may stray from the actual text of the original tablet... but we cannot really know this. Note that the RECTO (front side) and the VERSO (reverse side) are reversed. If you horizontally flip the VERSO it fits correctly into the RECTO. So this means that we have to read the text on the RECTO from left to right (dextrograde) and on the VERSO from right to left (sinistrograde). The reconstruction certainly makes sense. It was hard work, but worth it and fun! 


severely damaged Linear A fragment from Gournia:





To the best of my ability, I have attempted to read the syllabograms and ideograms on the severely damaged Linear A fragment from Gournia, but it is so badly damaged that it is hard to tell if I have interpreted all the signs well enough. At any rate, the interpretations I have attempted hang together.





							

Linear A tablet HT 6 (Haghia Triada), ripe figs, pistachio-nuts, pomegranates & roses:

Linear A tablet HT 6 Haghia Triada

Decipherment:

RECTO:

15 units (something like litres) liquid of ripe figs from fig trees, 24 pistachio-nuts, 10 barley cakes (apparently seasoned with pistachio-nuts), 2 roses, and 4 more units (something like kilograms) of ripe fruit + 22 DAQERA? (some kind of fruit), 22 3/4 units (something like litres or kilograms) falling to earth + 15 1/2 figs

VERSO:

3 growing (grown) ripe (i.e. the figs) with 1 unit (something like a flagon) of drops of wine in 3 units (something like kilograms or kilolitres) of honey, and 66 units (something like kilograms) of DADUMA (some kind of fruit, possibly or even probably grapes) + 3 1/4 units of REKI? + 35 SAMA? + 17 1/2 PA3NINA?

So as we can see, most of the vocabulary on this tablet appears to be Mycenaean-derived. The tablet appears to deal with a wonderful recipe for dessert.


A major advance in the decipherment of Linear A, the impact of 22 Linear A ligatured logograms, of which 12 are in Mycenaean-derived Greek:

Linear A ligatured logograms

Here we see 22 ligatured logograms in Linear B. By ligatured logograms we mean two or more Linear A syllabograms bound together as one unit. To date, no previous researcher, not even Andreas Zeke of the Minoan Language Blog, has isolated any more than 10 ligatured logograms. This comes as a great surprise to me, if not a real shock. Considering the huge impact these 22 ligatured logograms is bound to have on the decipherment of Linear A, why any ancient language linguist in the past 117 years since the discovery of the first Linear A tablets at Knossos would not account for all 22 of the ligatured logograms I have taken firmly into account is beyond me.

Since there are at least 2 syllabograms bound together, it is impossible to determine which syllabogram comes first. This means that in the case of 2 ligatured syllabograms, the word represented may be reversed. For instance, in the case of the first ligature in the table below, the ligature could be either aka or kae, although the first is more plausible in the second in this case. If the first ligature is indeed aka, then it is highly likely that it is the Linear A equivalent of the Greek word aska, which is the archaic accusative of askos (here Latinized), meaning a leather bag or wine skin, more likely the second than the first. In the case of the third, we have either kuwa, the exact Linear A equivalent of Linear B kowa, which deciphered means girl”or if reversed, waku, which in ancient Greek is agu (Linear A orthography) or agos, meaning “any matter of religious awe/guilt/sacrifice”, of which the last definition is the most convincing.

12 Mycenaean-derived Greek ligatures:

Linear A logograms ligatured Greek


When it comes to ligatures consisting of more than 2 syllabograms, the number of permutations and combinations rises dramatically. Whereas with 2 ligatured logograms there are only 2 possibilities, with 3 there are 9, and with 4 there are 16… at least theoretically. However, in practical terms, just one syllabogram, the first on the left, very likely certainly takes precedence, meaning that the number of permutations and combinations is probably no greater than 2 even in these cases. However, there is no way of knowing for certain. For instance, what are we to make of the eleventh ligature, which can read as either mesiki or sikime or kimesi, or as 6 additional permutations? As it so happens, 2 translations seem most plausible. The first is mesiki, which can be translated as Greek meseigu (Latinized), meaning “in the middle”, whereas the second is kimesi, which can be rendered as keimesi, instrumental plural of keimos, “with muzzles or halters for a horse”. Either translation is perfectly plausible; so we must account for both.

All in all, of the 22 ligatured logograms, 12 or over half are susceptible to translation into Greek. If anything, this illustrates the great impact of the Mycenaean-derived superstratum on Linear A. In this table, only 10 ligatures appear to be in Old Minoan, i.e. the original Minoan language, aka the Minoan substratum. Finally, with the addition of these 22 ligatured logograms and a few more words I have recently unearthed, the number of words in our Comprehensive Linear A Lexicon soars from 988 to an astonishing 1022, which means that the corpus of Linear A vocabulary now amounts to at least 20 % of that for Linear B. No previous Lexicon of Linear A even approaches this upper limit. Prof. John G. Younger’s Linear A Lexicon, the most thorough-going to date, contains only 774 intact Linear A terms, exclusive of broken words with some syllabograms missing, strings of greater than 15 syllabograms, and any words containing numeric syllabograms, which are utterly indecipherable at any rate. This means that our Lexicon is an astonishing 24.3 % larger than that of Prof. Younger. In addition, I have managed to decipher at least 30 % of Linear B, the highest amount ever. I shall be soon publishing our Lexicon on my academia.edu account, by mid-July at the latest, and it is bound to have a considerable impact on the ancient linguistics community.


Linear A tablet ARKH 2 (Arkhanes), dealing with wine and pomegranate juice?

Linear A tablet ARKH 2 Arkhanes

Linear A tablet ARKH 2 (Arkhanes) appears to deal with wine and pomegranate juice. This being so, we have now deciphered 2 Linear A tablets centred on this subject. If the two decipherments withstand scrutiny, they lend credence to the notion that wine and pomegranate juice were produced in pre-Mycenaean Minoan times. It is uncertain whether or not pomegranate juice was mixed with wine, but if it was, the composite alcoholic beverage would have been delicious. We recall that ancient wine, even as late as Roman times, was more sour than modern wine; hence, the need to sweeten it. The most common sweetener was honey, but it is conceivable that pomegranate juice was also used, at least in the middle and early late Minoan eras.

On a final note, I have greatly enhanced and digitized the original of this tablet, which was originally under-focused and fuzzy.


Partial conjectural decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 6 Haghia Triada (VERSO):

Haghia Triada Linear A tablet HT6 VERSO

If there is any Linear A tablet which has proven a real headache, it has to be this one. The surface of the VERSO of HT 6 (Haghia Triada) is so badly damaged that experts such as Andras Zeke of the Minoan Language Blog and Prof. John G. Younger cannot even agree on a few syllabograms in the text, while I myself disagree with them on some of the same. Additionally, there is no consensus on the values of Linear A fractions. Interpretations by Andras Zeke and Prof. John G. Younger of the smaller fractional values often do not agree. So I am unwilling to add fuel to the fire. I simply choose whichever value (either that of Zeke or of Younger) seems more convincing to me. At any rate, no one today can determine with any degree of accuracy numeric values in Minoan Linear or Mycenaean Linear B, since both syllabaries are so historically remote as to preclude any convincing readings.

As for the syllabograms on this tablet, once again, Andras Zeke and John G. Younger do not agree on the values of at least 3 of them. And I find myself at odds with their own interpretations. This is the result of the shoddy scribal hand and the less than ideal condition of the tablet itself. As for maridi, I find myself obliged to read it as if it were meridi, since the interpretation wool (mari) is utterly out of the question in the context of this tablet, whereas reading it as meridi = “honey” makes much more sense contextually. As for sama, it may be the Minoan equivalent of Mycenaean Linear B samara = mound/hill”, but once again, this interpretation is conjectural. I have previously tentatively deciphered Old Minoan (OM) pa3nina (painina) as “an amphora for the storage of… ”, but here again, I have gone out on a limb. Nevertheless, the interpretation once again suits the context. Once all of fig and pomegranate juice (RECTO) and the drops of wine and honey (VERSO) are accounted for, we can see that this tablet may deal with a recipe for a sweet alcoholic beverage, which with these ingredients would indeed be delicious.

Consequently, any convincing decipherment of the VERSO of HT 6 is beyond our reach. We simply have to muddle through it and come up with the best alternatives we can for each apparently decipherable word. However, by fully taking into account the much more accessible text on the RECTO of HT 6, I believe I have been able to rescue a small portion of the significance of the text on the VERSO by placing it in its proper context with the RECTO. See the previous post for my fuller decipherment of the RECTO.


Linear A tablet HT 6 (Haghia Triada) RECTO: ripe figs and pomegranates:

HT 6 RECTO

Linear A tablet HT 6 (Haghia Triada) RECTO deals with ripe crops, including figs and pomegranates. Although we do not know what the Old Minoan words jaru or ruja (could be either), mazu and daqera mean, they are almost certainly kinds of ripe crops, some of them fruits. However, it is possible that mazu derives from the proto-Indo-European mat = to plant, hoe. Cf. Occitan massa and Spanish maza = “mallet”. This makes sense in context.

Of the probable Mycenaean-derived New Minoan words, pitaja, on line 2, which appears to mean “drinkable”, would imply that we are dealing with 24 units (cups?) of fig juice, in view of the fact that figs are specified as the first ripe crop on line 1.

It is noteworthy that, as the result of having learned how to decipher some 25-30 Linear A tablets, all of which are at least partially inscribed in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan, I am finally gaining greater insight into the vocabulary, Old Minoan and New Minoan alike, of Linear A tablets.

Since this tablet is so information rich, I am obliged to decipher the VERSO in the next post.

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