Tag Archive: review



winter haiku d’hiver -  snow misting the roof = voilé de neige 2007

snow misting the roof
of our warm chalet
while we’re on a stroll

snow misting the roof

notre chalet chaud
tout voilé de neige -
et nous en balade

Richard Vallance

Reprint from Canadian Zen Haiku canadien, ISSN 1705-4508, Vol. 5., no. 1, winter 2007

Canadian Zen Haiku canadien winter 2007

Réimpression tirée de Canadian Zen Haiku canadien, ISSN 1705-4508, Vol. 5., no. 1, hiver 2007


Academia.edu DRAFT PAPER = Preview and brief summary of the article, “The Mycenaean Linear B ‘Rosetta Stone’ to Minoan Linear A Tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) Vessels and Pottery”, to be published in Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448. Vol. 12, 2018. (approximately 40 pages long), with some excerpts from the article to whet your appetite.

preview-linear-b-pylos-ta-641-1952-ventris-rosetta-stone-for-linear-a-tablet-ht-31-haghia-triada

This article represents the first major breakthrough in 117 years in the partial, though far from complete, decipherment of Minoan Linear A.

Even this preview, with excerpts running to 9 pages from the actual article, will give you a quite clear idea of exactly how I managed to finesse the decipherment of 21 % (107/510 words) of Minoan Linear A lexicon, more or less accurately. Anyone the least bit interested in the ongoing struggle to decipher Minoan Linear A, even partially, is definitely going to want to read this preview and brief summary, with a few excerpts from the article, which is to appear sometime early in 2018. It quite literally represents by far the most significant development in any attempt to decipher even a relatively small subset of the Minoan Linear A lexicon.



You do not want to miss this Fantastic Twitter account, FONT design company of the highest calibre!

I have just fortuitously come across what I consider to be the most fantastic font site or Twitter account on newly designed, mostly serif, extremely attractive fonts, some of which they offer for FREE!!!

You simply have to check them out. Click here to follow typo graphias:

typographias-twitter


Here is a composite of some of the astonishing font graphics on this amazing site!


typo-graphias-composite-4
 

Serendipitously happening on this account put a bee in my bonnet. I simply had to send you all on the fast track to downloading and installing the Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C + several beautiful ancient Greek fonts, of which the most heavily used is SPIonic, used for Ionic, Attic, Hellenistic and New Testament writings and documents.  Hre are the links where you can download them, and much more besides!

Colour coded keyboard layout for the Mycenaean Linear B Syllabary:

linear-b-keyboard1 

includes font download sites for the SpIonic & LinearB TTFs

ideogram-woman-linear-b

The first ever keyboard map for the Arcado-Cypriot Linear C TTF font!

standard-keyboard-layout-for-arcado-cypriot-linear-c1

which also includes the direct link to the only site where you can download the beautiful Arcado-Cypriot Linear B font, here:


linear-c-ttf-font

How to download and use the Linear B font by Curtis Clark:

linear-b-keyboard-guide-revised-1200

Easy guide to the Linear B font by Curtis Clark, keyboard layout:
 
standard-keyboard-layout-for-arcado-cypriot-linear-c1
Here is the Linear B keyboard. You must download the Linear B font as instructed below:

ideogram-woman-linear-b 

And here is the actual cursive Linear B font as it actually appears on the most famous of all Linear B tablet, Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris):

pylos-tablet-ta-641-1952-ventris-with-linear-b-font2 

What’s more, you can read my full-length extremely comprehensive article, An Archaeologist’s Translation of Pylos Tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) by Rita Roberts, in Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448, Vol. 10 (2014), pp. 133-161, here: 

archaeologists-translation-of-pylos-tablet-py-ta-641-1952-ventris

in which I introduce to the world for the first time the phenomenon of the decipherment of what I designate as the supersyllabogram, which no philologist has ever properly identified since the initial decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B by Michael Ventris in 1952. Unless we understand the significance of supersyllabograms in Linear B, parts or sometimes even all of at least 800 Linear B tablets from Knossos alone cannot be properly deciphered. This lacuna stood out like a sore thumb for 64 years, until I finally identified, categorized and deciphered all 36 (!) of them from 2013 to 2014. This is the last and most significant frontier in the complete decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B. Stay posted for my comprehensive, in-depth analysis and synopsis of The Decipherment of  Supersyllabograms in Linear B, which is to appear early in 2017 in Vol. 11 of Archaeology and  Science. This ground-breaking article, which runs from page 73 to page 108 (35 pages on a 12 inch page size or at least 50 pages on a standard North American page size)  constitutes the final and definitive decipherment of 36 supersyllabograms, accounting for fully 59 % of all Linear B syllabograms. Without a full understanding of the application of supersyllabograms on Linear B tablets, it is impossible to fully decipher at least 800 Linear B tablets from Knossos.
  

International Historical Linguistics journals I will contact to review my articles in Archaeology and Science, 2016 & 2017:

Following is a list in 2 PARTS of international Historical Linguistics journals I will contact to review my articles in Archaeology and Science:

[1] Janke, Richard Vallance. The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, Archaeology and Science. Vol. 11 (2015), pp. 73-108.

As soon as this ground-breaking article is published in early 2017, I shall submit it for review in every one of the international journals below. 

[2] Janke, Richard Vallance. Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the “Rosetta Stone” to Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) vessels and pottery, Archaeology and Science. Vol. 12 (2016)

Since this article is not going to be published before mid-2017, and as yet has no pagination, I shall have to wait until then before I submit it for review to all of the periodicals below.

historical-linguistics-reviews-a

historical-linguistics-reviews-b



3 of my articles in Archaeology and Science ISSN 1452-7448 (2014, 2015, & 2016) + Vol. 12 (2016) Figure 1 & 2 Tables:

Figure 1

table-1-failures-at-decipherment

and

2 Tables (nos. To be assigned)

linear-horizontal-orientation

linearbtabletsorientation

as they will appear in the prestigious international hard-bound annual Archaeology and Science ISSN 1452-7448. Vol. 12 (2016). This annual generally runs to 250-300 pp. 

It is impossible to cross-correlate Minoan Linear A tablets from Mycenaean Linear B tablets by means of retrogressive extrapolation without explicitly taking into account the fact that almost all Minoan Linear A tablets are vertical in their orientation (just as with modern inventories), while the vast majority of Mycenaean Linear B tablets are horizontal in their orientation. For more on this critical factor in the reasonably accurate decipherment of Minoan Linear A tablet, see (Click on the banner):

orientation-of-linear-a-tablets

Articles published and to be published in Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448:

[1] My article, “An Archaeologist’s Translation of Pylos Tablet 641-1952 (Ventris)” has already been published in  Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448 Vol. 10 (2014). pp. 133-161 (Click banner to download it):

archaeology-and-science-vol-10-2014

[2] My article, “The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B” is already slated for publication in the prestigious international annual Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448 Vol. 11 (2015), to be released in the spring of 2017. (Click the banner for the announcement):

archaeology-and-science-vol-11-2015

[3] My article,  “Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the ‘Rosetta Stone’ for Minoan Linear B tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) vessels and pottery” is to be published in the prestigious international annual Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448 Vol. 12 (2016) (Click the banner for the announcement):

archaeology-and-science-vol-12-2016

This major announcement is shortly to appear on my academia.edu account.

richard-vallance-academia-edu


Archaeology and Science, Glossary of 106 Minoan Linear A words deciphered with (reasonable) accuracy (the largest ever glossary of Linear A) accounting for 20 % of all intact Minoan Linear A terms in Prof. John G. Youngers Linear A texts in phonetic transcription = 510:

This Glossary contains only Minoan Linear A terms which have been deciphered either with certainty or with a reasonable degree of certainty. It is more or less the version which will be published in my article slated for publication in Vol. 12 (2016), “Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the ‘Rosetta Stone’ to Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) vessels and pottery” of the prestigious international annual, Archaeology and Science ISSN 1452-7448 (release date spring 2018). To be submitted by Nov. 15, 2016.    
 
p-glossary

KEY:

Minoan Linear A words deciphered with certainty (90% - 100%) are in BOLD.
Minoan Linear A words deciphered with a reasonable degree of certainty (75% - 85%) are in italics.

All terms in Minoan Linear A and in Mycenaean Linear B have been Latinized for ease of access to persons not familiar with these syllabaries. 

adaro = barley = Linear B kirita
adu = so much, so many, all (persons, things, esp. grain/wheat), referencing all  accounts relevant to them. In the case of grains & wheat, adu would refer to all the “ bushel-like” units of wheat accounted for. In the case of the men measuring the wheat, it would appear that they are surveyors or comptrollers. Cf. Linear B, toso, tosa.
adureza = unit of dry measurement (grain, wheat, barley, flour)
aka = wineskin (two syllabograms overlaid)
5 akipiete = (in) common, shared, allotted, allotment = Cf. Linear B kekemena ktoina = small plot of land
akii = garlic
asasumaise = cattle-driver or shepherd = Linear B qoukoro -or- qorokota 
atare = figs overseer  = Linear B opisuko
10 darida = large vase  
daropa = stirrup jar = Linear B karawere
datara= grove of fig trees
datu = olives See also qatidate = olive trees = Linear B erawa
daweda = medium size amphora with two handles
15 dikise = a type of cloth = Linear B any number of types of cloth
ditamana = dittany (medicinal herb)
dumitatira2 (dumitatirai) = right or inner spindle wheel on one side of the distaff
dureza = unit of measurement (unknown amount)
jedi = man/men = Linear B atoroqo.
20 kanaka = saffron = Linear B kanako
kapa = follower or (foot) solder = Linear B eqeta
karopa3 (karopai) = kylix (with two handles & smaller than a pithos) 
kaudeta = to be distributed (fut. part. pass.) approx. = Linear B, epididato = having been distributed (aorist part. pass.) 
keda = cedar
25 kidata = to be accepted (for delivery to) = Linear B dekesato
kidema*323na = type of vessel (truncated on HT 31)
kidapa = (ash) wood, a type of wood. On Linear B tablet KN 894 N v 01 
kireta2 (kiritai) = delivery = Linear B apudosis
kiretana = (having been) delivered (past participle passive) = Linear B amoiyeto
30 kireza = unit of measurement for figs, probably 1 basket
kiro = owed = Linear B oporo = they owed 
kukani = (deep) red wine Cf. Linear B wono mitowesa
kuro = total
kuruku = crocus
35 maru = wool (syllabograms superimposed) = Linear B mari/mare
mitu = a type of cloth 
nasi = a type of cloth
nere = larger amphora size
nipa3 (nipai) or nira2 (nirai) = figs = Linear B suza
40 orada = rose 
pajare = in pay, hired = Linear B emito
pazeqe = small handle-less cups = Linear B dipa anowe, dipa anowoto
pimitatira2 (pimitatirai) = left or outer spindle wheel on one side of the distaff
pitakase = harvested or field of = Linear B akoro
45 puko = tripod = Linear B tiripode
qapa3 = qapai = large handle-less vase or amphora 
qatidate = olive trees See also datu = olives = Linear B erawo
qareto = Linear B onato = “lease field” 
quqani = medium size or smaller amphora
50 ra*164ti = approx. 5 litres (of wine) 
rairi = lily 
reza = 1 standard unit of measurement
sajamana = with handles = Linear B owowe
sara2 (sarai) = small unit of measurement: dry approx. 1 kg., liquid approx. 1 litre
55 sata = a type of cloth
sedina = celery
supa3 (supai) = small cup = Linear B dipa mewiyo
supu = very large amphora
tarawita = terebinth tree
60 tejare = a type of cloth
teki = small unit of measurement for wine @ 27 1/2 per tereza
tereza = larger unit of liquid measurement (olive oil, wine)
tesi = small unit of measurement
tisa = description of pot or pottery = Linear B amotewiya/yo
65 udimi = a type of cloth 
uminase = harbour (cf. French Le Havre), famous Atlantic port in France  
usu = a type of cloth

Eponyms:

Adunitana
Akaru
70 Asasumaise = name of cattle-driver or shepherd
Asiyaka
Dadumine
Danekuti
Daqera
75 Ikurina
Kanajami
Kosaiti
Kukudara
Kuramu
80 Kureju
Makarita
Mirutarare
Qami*47nara
Qetiradu
85 Sidate
Sirumarita2 = Sirumaritai
Tateikezare
Tesudesekei
Tidiate
90 Turunuseme
Watumare

Toponyms:

Almost all the toponyms do not require decipherment as they are either identical or almost identical in Mycenaean Linear B:

Akanu = Archanes (Crete)
Dame
Dawa (Haghia Triada)
95 Dikate = Mount Dikte
Idaa = Mount Ida
Idunesi
Kudoni = Kydonia
Kura
100 Meza (= Linear B Masa)
Paito = Phaistos ( =Linear B)
Qeka 
Radu = Lato (= Linear B Rato)
Setoiya = Seteia (= Linear B) 
105 Sukirita/Sukiriteija = Sybrita
Uminase = Linear B Amnisos
106 Winadu = Linear B Inato

COMMENTARY:

This Glossary accounts for 20 % of all intact Minoan Linear A terms.

The principle of cross-correlative cohesion operates on the assumption that terms in Minoan Linear A vocabulary should reflect as closely and as faithfully as possible parallel terms in Mycenaean Greek vocabulary. In other words, the English translations of Minoan words in a Minoan Linear A Glossary such as this one should look as if they are English translations of Mycenaean Greek terms in a Linear B glossary. I have endeavoured to do my best to achieve this goal, but even the most rational and logical approach, such as I take, does not and cannot guarantee reciprocity between Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B terms. It is precisely for this reason that I have had to devise a scale of relative accuracy for terms in this Linear A Glossary, as outlined in KEY at the top of it.

The best and most reliable Linear B Lexicon is that by Chris Tselentis, Athens, Greece. If you wish to receive a  copy of his Lexicon, please leave a comment in Comments, with some way for me to get in touch with you.

Are there any words in Mycenaean Greek of putative Minoan origin? It should surely not strike us as so surprising that there are. After all,  

kidapa = ash? (Linear B tablet KN 894 N v 01)

Several Minoan Linear A words very likely survived into Mycenaean Linear B. The problem is, if they did, we do not know which ones did.... except perhaps kidapa, which has a distinctly Minoan feel to it. Cf. kidata = to be accepted (for delivery to) = Linear B dekesato


Review of the Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary for General Users & for Researchers in Mycenaean Linear B: Click cover to order

pocket-oxford-classical-greek-dictionary

Morwood, James & Taylor, John, eds. Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary. Oxford, New York etc.: Oxford University Press, © 2002. xii, 449 pp. ISBN 13:978-0-19-860512-6

I just bought the Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary yesterday, and I can tell you I am fairly pleased with it. It has its drawbacks. The most notable of these is found in the paucity of vocabulary in the English-Greek section, pp. 357-431, which contains only about 5,000 words. Such a lexicon is probably more than adequate for beginners in ancient Greek, at whom this dictionary appears to be mainly aimed, though I cannot say that for sure. On the other hand, the English-Greek section is prefaced with a glossary of proper names, pp. 357-365, which is quite useful to Graecophiles, whether they be beginners or not. The pronunciation guide for the ancient Greek alphabet, pp. ix-xii, is the one of the best I have ever encountered, as it takes into consideration not only Classical Attic, but also early Homeric pronunciation. This feature has real implications for theoretical considerations, as well as practical applications of pronunciation, for not only the Mycenaean Linear B syllabary, but the Arcado-Cypriot syllabary as well, as you shall soon discover for yourselves on upcoming posts on our blog relevant to Mycenaean Linear B and Arcado-Cypriot orthography, considerations that have to date been largely overlooked by linguists, translators and researchers in the field of the archaic Greek dialects, Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot. 

The dictionary also features an appendix of Numerals (pp. 433-435), although it is very basic, as well as appendix of the elementary conjugational paradigms for the “Top 101 irregular verbs ” (pp. 436-447), as arbitrary yet as eminently useful as any other so-called basic table of the top ancient Greek verbs. While persons at the intermediate or advanced level in ancient Greek will find this table inadequate, it is more than adequate for beginners. The dictionary also has a generic map of ancient Greece on pp. 448 & 449, which once again serves its purpose well enough for beginners, but is less than adequate for persons more familiar with ancient Greek. This, however, is understandable for an introductory dictionary for ancient Greek, which we can be sure is all it claims to be, especially in light of the fact that Oxford University Press has had the prescience to co-publish both An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon and an Abridged Greek-English Lexicon, the latter presumably aimed at scholars proficient in ancient Greek. I look forward to reviewing the latter two dictionaries later on, once I have come up with the resources to purchase them.

Of course, this dictionary also has its strengths, which the editors were careful to make the most of. These are:

(1) The Greek-English section, the first in the dictionary, is much more comprehensive than the English-Greek, containing far in excess of 5,000 words and phrases. The editors have even taken into account early Homeric Greek vocabulary to complement the Classical Attic. While the entries in the Greek-English section are not as heavily annotated as they otherwise are in an advanced ancient Greek dictionary such as the Greek-English Lexicon, by Liddell & Scott (1986), I would argue that too much lexical, grammatical and etymological information would amount to nothing less than overkill in a basic ancient Greek dictionary such as this one. Aficionados with advanced knowledge of ancient Greek, being perfectly aware of this, always have recourse to more sophisticated tools for translation and research, including Liddell and Scott, as well as the numerous online lexical resources available at the Perseus Catalog, here:

perseus catalog
    
(2a) The font is quite large and eminently readable. This is an extremely important consideration in the compilation of any Greek dictionary, ancient or modern, given that Greek accents (acute, grave & circumflex) and especially the initial breathings, soft or unaspirated () and aspirated (), as well as the numerous compound accents, are so annoyingly difficult to see in small font. The editors of this dictionary are to be congratulated for having the foresight to realize this. If there is anything I cannot stand, it is the use of fonts which are too small to adequately display (ancient) Greek accents. Sadly, most editors of ancient Greek dictionaries and lexicons blithely ignore this most paramount of considerations in the format and presentation of entries. Even the eminently renowned Greek-English Lexicon (1986) by Liddell and Scott, the very last Greek dictionary which should be guilty of this practice, makes use of a font far too small for readers to easily read accents, even those with good reading vision. To my mind, this falls just short of being unforgivable, unless the editors of any such dictionary or lexicon passed over the issue of adequate font size by sheer oversight – something I find quite difficult to swallow. So a word to the wise. If the editors of an inexpensive paperback dictionary could make a real effort to make certain the entries would be readable off the top, why wouldn’t – or shall we say, shouldn’t – the editors of top-end hard-cover dictionaries and lexicons take the same trouble? This is even more obvious when the publisher of the inexpensive editions is the same one as the one for the expensive, hard-bound ones – by which I mean Oxford University Press, in this particular instance.

(2b) In the Greek-English section, the Greek entries are in bold, set in Greek 486 Polytonic, while in the English-Greek section the English entries are in Monotype Arial bold, so that they stand out very clearly on the page. Once again, kudos to the editors.

(3) Likewise, the layout of the entries, at 1.5 line spacing, in both the Greek-English and the English-Greek sections is very attractive. 

(4) Throughout the dictionary, the alphabetical entries are flagged with gray tags running vertically down the page, from left to right from alpha to omega in the Greek-English section, and from a to z in the English-Greek. Once again, a big plus.

To summarize, this Greek-English, English-Greek dictionary of ancient Greek, in its physical layout and format, including all font formatting, is very pleasing to the eyes, hence, much easier to consult than practically any other ancient Greek dictionary I have ever encountered in print. The English-Greek section is woefully inadequate for anything but the most basic of ancient Greek vocabulary, so that even beginners are bound to outstrip its usefulness very quickly.

On the other hand, the Greek-English section is more than sufficient for the needs of beginners, and adequate for those scholars at the intermediate level in ancient Greek studies and literature. Given its reasonable price, $17.95 USD, I would recommend it for students who are also beginners in Mycenaean Linear B or Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, given the very restricted lexical base of both these archaic Greek dialects. On the other hand, it is readily apparent that this dictionary alone cannot possibly serve as the sole resource for researchers in Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot Greek. It must be complemented by other resources, such as:
1. Chris Tselentis’ thorough Lexicon of Linear B, available free online in PDF.
2. Chadwick, John. The Decipherment of Linear B (second edition). Cambridge University Press, © 1970 x, 164 pp.
3. Palmer, R.L. & Chadwick, John, eds. The Proceedings of the Cambridge Colloquium on Mycenaean Studies. Cambridge University Press, © 1966. 309 (310) pp. First paperback edition, © 2011. ISBN 978-1-107-40246-1 (pbk.)
4. A Companion to Linear B: Mycenaean Greek Texts and their World. Volume 3. Peeters: Louvain-La-Neuve: Bibliothèque des cahiers de l’institut de linguistique de Louvain. © 2014. 292+ pp. ISBN 978-2-7584-0192-6 (France)   

I leave aside any comparison with online dictionaries and lexicons in the same class, preferring not to compare apples with oranges.

Overall Rating: 3.75/5


Richard Vallance Janke
April 2015



Positive Review of Gretchen E. Leonhardt’s “The Phonetic Method in Linear A Decipherment”

My fellow researcher in Linear A, Linear B & Linear C, Gretchen E. Leonhardt, has just posted a truly fascinating approach to possibilities for the eventual decipherment on her blog, here: Click to READ

Phnetic Method in Linear A Decipherment
If you are at all familiar with the problems surrounding the possibilities for the eventual decipherment of Minoan Linear A, which are legion, I urge you to studiously read this post in its entirety. Before I get to my review, allow me to give you a bit of background on the extensive skills and achievements Ms. Leonhardt has brought to the field of decipherment and translation of Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B, and most recently, to Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, interests which she and I share on so many levels. Ms. Leonhardt takes a novel approach to research into these all-important syllabaries. Her methodology is quite unlike anything I have ever encountered from any other decipherer or translator, past or present, of Mycenaean Linear B. I have to say that she is a refreshing breeze in the field of ancient linguistics, precisely because of her daring, yet utterly consistent, methodology, even if it flies in the face of convention.

While she and I do not entertain even remotely close hypotheses on the theoretical underpinnings for the decipherment of any of these syllabaries, and are often very much at odds with one another in our approaches to the innumerable problems besetting research in this field, we do agree to disagree, if only for this reason, that we are both well aware that each of us is taking a unique approach to the problems we encounter. Gretchen’s methodology, just as my own, flies in the face of convention, but for reasons almost diametrically opposed. But this precisely why she fascinates me so much. I am little concerned what anyone else thinks of my own approach to the decipherment of these syllabaries, just as I believe Gretchen is. The only thing that really matters is that we, she and I, and for that matter, any researcher in this recondite field, must perforce follow the dictates or his or her conscience and intuitive hunches, and the rational constructs underpinning the methodology pursued. All else is of little or no consequence. After all, Michael Ventris followed his intuition and his rational procedures, which inexorably led him to the discovery he was bound to make, that the Linear B syllabary was the first ever script used to write a Greek dialect, notably Mycenaean Greek. I say, the first script, because there were in fact three of them, Linear B for Mycenaean Greek, Linear C for Arcado-Cypriot, and the ancient Greek alphabet in its various avatars. Gretchen Leonhardt and I share a profound dedication to research into all three of these ancient Greek scripts.

A Review of Gretchen E. Leonhardt’s “The Phonetic Method in Linear A Decipherment”

Having a cursory acquaintance with the Japanese Kanji system of ideograms, I have enough of a background in this regard to at least appreciate what implications Gretchen Leonhardt’s novel approach might potentially have on the eventual decipherment of Minoan Linear A. While it was manifestly difficult for me to follow Ms. Leonhardt’s analytical breakdown of Japanese Kanji for personal names personal names (anthroponyms), surnames, and place names (toponyms), I did manage to struggle through it. The moment she mentioned the Kanji KA, which as she points out, can yield up to 25 definitions and 52 names, as per above, I knew what she was up to. KA is a very common syllabogram in each of the syllabaries, Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C.

Characteristically, Ms. Leonhardt notes that “I also pay attention to rare kanji as well as to words with archaic and obscure definitions.” If there is one thing Ms. Leonhardt and I have in common, it is this: a strict attention to details, however esoteric. That is the first thing about her phonetic method for the decipherment Linear A which seized my attention... though certainly not the last. She goes on to consider the ramifications of other kanji, RI, RU & MA, which once again parallel other very common syllabograms in all three of the Centum syllabaries mentioned above.

Then came the second lightning bolt. Again, with an eye for the minutest detail for even the rarest and most obsolete kanji, what would she happen upon but the definition of “gem, precious stone; lapis lazuli”. Lapis lazuli. Now that caught my attention!  The Minoans were among the very finest crafts workers of lapis lazuli in the entire ancient world, whether in their own time or later. We note also that Ms. Leonhardt cross-correlates the nominal Kanji forms lapis lazuli with its verbal counterparts, “chafe, grind, rub, polish, scrape”, finally taking the last step to the logical combination of the nominal and verbal forms into the sense of  “polished lapis lazuli gem”. It is precisely this sort of cross-correlative reasoning which impresses me most with Ms. Leonhardt.

Having drawn the conclusions she did from her Kanji sources, she moves onto the Linear A tablet from Haghia Triada, HT 118, which she believes to be a ship manifest. Given that the import and export of lapis lazuli as a major precious commodity was so important to practically all ancient economies, this comes as no surprise to me. We know for instance that the Minoans exported their fine lapis lazuli jewelry and products to their major contemporary trade partners such as Egypt, where Minoan crafts and ware of all kinds were in great demand for their superior quality. To underscore my point, we need only view a few samples of their magnificent work as we do in this composite of Minoan lapis lazuli products: click to ENLARGE:

4 examples of minoan-lapis-lazuli
You may also click here to visit Prof. John G. Younger’s site, Linear A Texts in phonetic transcription,

Linear A Texts in transcription Haghia Triada
 
where you fill find the transcription into Latin characters of the Linear A text of HT 118, just as it appears here: Click to ENLARGE

Transcription of Linear A tablet HT 118 Haghia Triada
It is Ms. Leonhardt’s intuitive grasp of the extreme importance of lapis lazuli to the pre-Mycenaean Minoan economy which most impresses me, all the more so in light of the fact that the export of their superior lapis lazuli products continued on unabated right through the early Mycenaean Era, when Knossos was at its acme (ca. 1450-1400 BCE). That this is the case is clearly attested in specific references to lapis lazuli on Linear B tablets. If it figured largely enough to warrant a place of merit on Liner B tablets, then surely, we might well conjecture, it should, strictly speaking, have also held place on honour on Minoan Linear A tablets.

So in summary, Ms. Leonhardt’s approach to a potentially sound decipherment of at least part of HT 118 holds up on several counts: given that its contents probably refer to lapis lazuli in some manner, it makes sense that the tablet is in fact a ship manifest, for reasons of trade as cited above. Secondly, the happy co-incidence with the interpretations which she was able to coax from the Kanji characters she has researched in this context with the possibility that HT 118 might in fact deal with this very gemstone may not be fortuitous at all, but actually (indirectly) linguistically related.

Ms. Leonhardt is not the first linguistic researcher to correlate Japanese Kanji with Minoan Linear A, but she has taken the potential parallelisms further than anyone else before her. I will never be the one to decipher Minoan Linear A, but I certainly hope Ms. Leonhardt will be.
 
NOTE: For just one example of other research into the possible connection of Minoan Linear A with Japanese Kanji,please visit:

Minoan Language Blog Kanji
Richard Vallance Janke

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