Tag Archive: Pylos Tablet Ae 08

Linear B tablet Pylos TA Ae 08 offerings of gold from her slaves to the priestess at Pylos:

Linear B tablet Pylos Ae 08 offerings by slaves to the priestess at Pylos

The Linear B tablet Pylos TA Ae 08 offerings of gold from her slaves to the priestess at Pylos is one of the most famous of all Linear B tablets. It rounds out our survey of 6 religious tablets in Mycenaean Linear B which may very well serve as templates for the decipherment of Minoan Linear A tablets in the same vein.

Rita Roberts' Translation of Pylos Tablet AE 08, Slaves serving the priestess in charge of sacred gold: Click to ENLARGE

Pylos Tabet AE 08 Sacred gold at Pylos
Rita and I had our very first SKYPE teacher-student session just a few days ago. What a delight it was to finally meet my star student face to face! She is as charming as I always imagined she would be. Our classroom session lasted almost 1 1/2 hours! Rita learned a great deal more about the niceties of translating Linear B tablets, I enjoyed the teaching experience as much as she did the learning.


Translation of Pylos Tablet: Ae 08 on the Internet vs. my own Translation: Click to Enlarge

A Pylos Ae 08
Comparing the translation of Pylos Tablet: Ae 08 currently available on the Internet with my own, we find some minor errors in it, and there are also a few points where it can be improved on, which is what I have done my level best to achieve in my own translation of the same tablet. My notes make it clear where the original Greek text in particular is found lacking. The translators have in fact translated the tablet into archaic (Homeric) Greek, which is very much to their credit. But there a few points for discussion. First of all, “honeka” for “heneka” is incorrect in the transliteration of the Linear B syllabograms into Latin script. Other than that, the transcription is fine. Where I am at odds is with the transliteration of the genitive, for which the Linear B syllabograms are either “ja” & “jo” or “ya” & “yo”. Personally, I prefer the latter, since the pronunciation much more closely approximates the archaic Greek “oio”, even though it is almost a certainty that the Mycenaeans very likely never pronounced “oio” either way. What do I mean by this? As the study of linguistics makes it perfectly clear, consonants have a tendency to mutate or morph over time. It is for this reason that I personally believe that the Mycenaean pronunciation probably fell somewhere between “ja” & “jo” as in the English “jam” & “joke” and “ya” & “yo”, being more like “ja” & “jo” in French, as in “jamais” & “joindre”. The French pronunciation of “j” is in fact intermediately situated about halfway between the English “j” and the Greek “i”.  Of course, all of this conjectural, but it does make some sense of the fact that some linguists prefer the English pronunciation to the Greek. To my mind, however, a pronunciation similar to the French “j”, falling somewhere between the two equally justifiable choices one can make neatly resolves the problem.  That is precisely why I lean towards the “y” option, as the French pronunciation more closely approximates the Greek “i” or “y” than the English pronunciation. But it is all a matter of taste, I suppose.



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