Tag Archive: Rosetta Stone



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


Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris) is the Mycenaean Linear B “Rosetta Stone” for Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada):

Glen Gordon, in the February 2007 issue of Journey to Ancient Civilizations, poses this truly thought-provoking question:

konososnet-glen-gordon-minoan-linear-a-rosetta-stone

The answer to his question is finally upon us.  In fact, it has been staring us in the face for a very long time. As this post makes clear beyond a shadow of a doubt, Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris) is the Mycenaean Linear B “Rosetta Stone” for Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada). Figure 1

rosetta-stone-vessel-types-ta-641-1952-ht-31

demonstrates that this cannot be otherwise, in light of the fact that the ideograms on Minoan Linear HT 31 are almost the exact equivalents of the same or remarkably similar ideograms we find on  Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641-1952, bar none. The parallels between the ideograms on Minoan Linear A HT 31 (Haghia Triada) and those on Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris)

g-fig-7-roberts-pylos-ta-py-641-1952-roberts-burnt-from-legs-up

is so striking as to ensure that we are dealing with practically the same text on both tablets, although in a different order (not that this matters much). The process whereby we have been able to determine the lexographic values of the Minoan Linear A terms parallel with their Mycenaean Linear B counterparts is called cross-correlative retrogressive extrapolation. This methodology allows us to extrapolate the precise semiotic values for each of the Minoan Linear A ideograms in turn, on which their orthographic nomenclatures are superimposed.  Since the name of each and every vessel on HT 31 is spelled out in full,

minoan-linear-a-tablet-ht-31-haghia-triada

we find ourselves face to face with the felicitous co-incidence (or is it far more than mere co-incidence?) that these Minoan A terms are almost perfectly aligned with their Mycenaean Linear B counterparts on the Pylos tablet. All we need do is cross-correlate each Minoan Linear A term for a pottery or vessel type with its counterpart on the Pylos tablet and, voilà, we  have nailed down every single term on HT 31 (Haghia Triada).  From this kick-off point, it becomes a piece of cake to translate practically all of the integral text on HT 13 from Minoan Linear A into English, given the telling parallels with their counterpart terms on Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris). This is the very methodology I have recourse to over and over to decipher at least one word or a few words on numerous Minoan Linear A tablets, and to decipher a few Linear A tablets almost in their entirety.

I shall soon be publishing a feature article on academia.edu on this remarkable discovery I have made. This article shall bear the title, Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the Mycenaean Linear B “Rosetta Stone” for Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada).

It is however vital to understand that Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris) is not the Mycenaean Linear B “Rosetta Stone” for Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) in the same sense that the actual Rosetta Stone is the facilitator for the decipherment of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, which effectively deciphered the ancient Egyptian language. Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris) is the Mycenaean Linear B “Rosetta Stone” for Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) only in the sense that it enables to decipher the vocabulary alone on the latter. Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris) does not and cannot facilitate the actual decipherment of the Minoan language itself in Linear A. Currently, given the paucity of extant Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments (<500), of which most are mere fragments, that longed-for idealistic objective is simply beyond our reach.

To summarize, Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris) is the Mycenaean Linear B “Rosetta Stone” for Minoan Linear A vocabulary alone, and nothing else. Nevertheless, even this revelation constitutes a major step forward in the partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A vocabulary, allowing us to build a modest lexicon of just over 100 terms in Minoan Linear A, deciphered more or less accurately.

Keep posted for the upcoming publication of this exciting development in the partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A vocabulary on my academia.edu account.


The path towards a partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A: a rational approach: PART A

Before May 2016, I would never have even imagined or dared to make the slightest effort to try to decipher Minoan Linear A, even partially. After all, no one in the past 116 years since Sir Arthur Evans began excavating the site of Knossos, unearthing thousands of Mycenaean Linear A tablets and fragments, and a couple of hundred Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments (mostly the latter), no one has even come close to deciphering Minoan Linear, in spite of the fact that quite a few people have valiantly tried, without any real success. Among those who have claimed to have successfully deciphered Linear A, we may count:

Sam Connolly, with his book:

Sam Connolly Beaking the Code Linear A

Where he claims, “Has the lost ancient language behind Linear A finally been identified? Read this book and judge for yourself”. 

Stuart L. Harris, who has just published his book (2016):

Sam Harris Linear A decipherment

basing his decipherment on the notion that Minoan Linear A is somehow related to Finnish, an idea which I myself once entertained, but swiftly dismissed,, having scanned through at least 25 Finnish words which should have matched up with at least 150 Minoan Linear A words. Not a single one did. So much for Finnish. I was finished with it.

and Gretchen Leonhardt

Konosos


who bases her decipherments of Minoan Linear A tablets on the ludicrous notion that Minoan Linear A is closely related to Japanese! That is a real stretch of the imagination, in light of the fact that the two languages could not be more distant or remote in any manner of speaking. But this is hardly surprising, given that her notions or, to put it bluntly, her hypothesis underlying her attempted decipherments of Mycenaean Linear B tablets is equally bizarre.

I wind up with this apropos observation drawn from Ms. Leonhardt’s site:    If a Minoan version of a Rosetta Stone pops up . . , watch public interest rise tenfold. ‘Minoa-mania’ anyone?”. Glen Gordon, February 2007 Journey to Ancient Civilizations.

Which begs the question, who am I to dare claim that I have actually been able to decipher no fewer than 90 Minoan Linear A words

Minoan Linear A Glossary


since I first ventured out on the perilous task of attempting such a risky undertaking. Before taking even a single step further, I wish to emphatically stress that I do not claim to be deciphering Minoan Linear A. Such a claim is exceedingly rash. What I claim is that I seem to be on track to a partial decipherment of the language, based on 5 principles of rational decipherment which will be enumerated in Part B. Still, how on earth did I manage to break through the apparently impenetrable firewall of Minoan Linear A?  Here is how.

In early May 2016, as I was closely examining Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada),

KURO = total HT 31 Haghia Triada

which dealt exclusively with vessels and pottery, I was suddenly struck by a lightning flash. The tablet was cluttered with several ideograms of vessels, amphorae, kylixes and cups on which were superimposed with the actual Minoan Linear A words for the same. What a windfall! My next step - and this is critical - was to make the not so far-fetched assumption that this highly detailed tablet (actually the most intact of all extant Minoan Linear A tablets) was the magic key to opening the heavily reinforced door of Minoan Linear, previously locked as solid as a drum. But was there a way, however remote, for me to “prove”, by circumstantial evidence alone, that most, if not all, of the words this tablet actually were the correct terms for the vessels they purported to describe? There was, after all, no magical Rosetta Stone to rely on in order to break into the jail of Minoan Linear A. Or was there?

As every historical linguist specializing in ancient languages with any claim to expertise knows, the real Rosetta Stone was the magical key to the brilliant decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics in 1822 by the French philologist, François Champellion

Francois Champellion Rosetta Stone Schiller Institute
        
It is truly worth your while to read the aforementioned article in its entirety. It is a brilliant exposé of Monsieur Champellion’s dexterous decipherment.

But is there any Rosetta Stone to assist in the decipherment of Haghia Triada tablet HT 31. Believe it or not, there is. Startling as it may seem, that Rosetta Stone is none other than the very first Mycenaean Linear B tablet deciphered by Michael Ventris in 1952, Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952.  If you wish to be informed and enlightened on the remarkable decipherment of Pylos Py TA 641-1952, you can read all about it for yourself in my article, published in Vol. 10 (2014) of Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448 

Archaeology and Science, Vol. 10 (2014), An Archaeologist's Translation of Pylos Tablet 641-1952. pp. 133-161, here: 

Archaeology and Sciene Belgrade

It is precisely this article which opened the floodgates to my first steps towards the partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A. The question is, how? In this very article I introduced the General Theory of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear A (pp. 148-156). It is this very phenomenon, the supersyllabogram, which has come to be the ultimate key to unlocking the terminology of vessels and pottery in Minoan Linear A. Actually, I first introduced in great detail the General Theory of Supersyllabograms at the Third International Conference on Symbolism at The Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, on July 1 2015:

Koryvantes Association of Historical Studies Athens

Role of SSYLs in Mycenaean Linear B

This ground-breaking talk, re-published by Koryvantes, is capped off with a comprehensive bibliography of 147 items serving as the prelude to my discovery of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B from 2013-2015.

How Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) serves as the Rosetta Stone to Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada):

Believe it or not, the running text of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) is strikingly alike that of Mycenaean Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris). So much so that the textual content of the former runs very close to being parallel with its Mycenaean Linear B counterpart. How can this be? A few preliminary observations are in order. First and foremost, Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) cannot be construed in any way as being equivalent to the Rosetta Stone. That is an absurd proposition. On the other hand, while the Rosetta stone displayed the same text in three different languages and in three different scripts (Demotic, Hieroglyphics and ancient Greek), the syllabary of Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) is almost identical to that of Mycenaean Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris). And that is what gives us the opportunity to jam our foot in the door of Minoan Linear A. There is not point fussing over whether or not the text of HT 31 is exactly parallel to that of Pylos Py TA 641, because ostensibly it is not! But, I repeat, the parallelisms running through both of these tablets are remarkable.

Allow me to illustrate the cross-correlative cohesion between the two tablets right from the outset, the very first line. At the very top of HT 31 we observe this word, puko, immediately to the left of the ideogram for “tripod”, which just happens to be identical in Minoan Linear A and in Mycenaean Linear B. Now the very first on Mycenaean Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) is tiripode, which means “tripod”. After a bit of intervening text, which reads as follows in translation, “Aigeus works on tripods of the Cretan style”, the ideogram for “tripod”, identical to the one on Haghia Triada, leaps to the for. The only difference between the disposition of the term for “tripod” on HT 31 and Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) is that there is no intervening text between the word for tripod, i.e. puko, on the former, whereas there is on the latter. But that is scarcely an impediment to the realization, indeed the revelation, that on HT 31 puko must mean exactly the same thing as tiripode on Pylos Py TA 641-1952. And it most certainly does. But, I hear you protesting, and with good reason, how can I be sure that this is the case? It just so happens that there is another Linear B tablet with the same word followed by the same ideogram, in exactly the same order as on HT 31, here: 

Linear A 19 confirmation that puko means tripod

The matter is clinched in the bud. The word puko in Minoan Linear A is indisputably the term for “tripod”, exactly parallel to its counterpart in Mycenaean Linear B, tiripode.

I had just knocked out the first brick from the Berlin Wall of Minoan Linear A. More was to come. Far more.

Continued in Part B.

                 
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