Tag Archive: seal



winter haiku d’hiver – in swirling snow = tourbillons de neige

in swirling snow
the chickadee dies asleep –  
wings forever sealed

chickadee dies 620

tourbillons de neige –
la mésange endormie meurt –
ailes à jamais closes

Richard Vallance

senryu – Minoan seal = cachet minoen


senryu – Minoan seal = cachet minoen

Minoan Seal  –
Achilles slays Hector,
thrust cut to the neck

Minoan sealstone senryu 620

cachet minoen –
Achille tue Hector
d’un seul coup au cou

Richard Vallance

This exquisite Minoan seal, dated ca. 1500 BCE, was uncovered in an olive grove near the Mycenaean city of Pylos in 2015. Nothing so exquisite as this seal stone was ever to surface in ancient Greek art until the Classical Period in Athens, ca. 450-400 BCE. The workmanship is simply astonishing!  

Ce cachet minoen exquis, daté d’à peu près 1500 av J.-C., a été découvert dans une oliveraie près de la ville mycenéene de Pylos en 2015. C’est indubitablement le chef-d’oeuvre le plus magnifique à paraître dans le monde de la Grèce antique avant la période classique à Athènes, à peu près 450-400 av J.-C. La qualité du travail est carrément étonnante !

Team discovers a rare Minoan sealstone in the treasure-laden tomb of a Bronze Age Greek warrior (Click here to read):

Minoan sealstone discovered at Pylos



Decipherment of the Linear B seal BE Zg2:

Linear B seal BE Zg 2

This decipherment is straightforward. It certainly makes sense that a Linear B seal could deal with 5 torches, more than likely in the context of a religious or royal rite.


Linear B seal BE Zg 1 as erroneously interpreted by Gretchen Leonhardt, corrected here:

Linear B seal BE Zg 1

Gretchen Leonhardt, a self-styled Linear B expert, has erroneously deciphered Linear B seal BE Zg 1.  As she so often does, she misinterprets syllabograms, all to often blatantly violating their phonetic values. It is clear from this seal that the last syllabogram must be either ru or ne, and  certainly not me, by any stretch of the imagination. Leonhardt is also in the habit of recasting the orthography of Linear B words she interprets to suit her own purposes. In this instance, she translates what she mistakenly takes to be the word on the VERSO to be dokame as dokema in Latinized Greek, flipping the vowels. But the second syllabogram is clearly ka, and cannot be interpreted as anything else.  The problem with Ms. Leonhardt’s so-called methodology in her decipherment of any and all Linear B tablets is that she runs off on wild tangents whenever she is confronted with any word that does not meet her preconceptions. In this instance, she is desperate to cook up a meaning which appeals to her, no matter how much she has to twist the Linear B orthography. She indulges in this very practice on practically every last Linear B tablet she “deciphers”, interpreting Linear B words to suit her fancy, except in those instances where she is faced with no alternative but to accept what is staring her in the face.

For instance, allow me to cite some of her translations of certain words on Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641-1952.  She has no choice but to accept tiripode as signifying “tripod”, eme as  “together/with” and qetorowe as “four year”, even though it properly means “four”, in line with the Latin orthography, quattuor. Linear B regularly substitutes q for t. As for her so-called decipherment of apu, she should know better than to translate it as  “to become bleached/white”. After all, how could a burnt tripod be bleached white, when scorching turns pottery black? It is astonishing that she would overlook the obvious here. What is even more damning is the indisputable fact that apu is the default aprivative preposition for “from/with” in Mycenaean, Arcadian, Arcado-Cypriot, Lesbian and Thessalian, as attested by George Papanastassiou in The preverb apo in Ancient Greek:

preposition apo in ancient Greek dialects

Then we have mewijo, which she interprets as “a kind of cumin”. Why on earth the Mycenaeans would have bothered with naming a specific kind of cumin when the standard word suffices, is completely beyond me. In fact, the alternative word she has latched onto is extremely uncommon in any ancient Greek dialect. Finally, she bizarrely interprets dipa, which is clearly the Mycenaean equivalent to the Homeric depa, as “to inspect”, another wild stretch of the imagination. Sadly, Ms. Leonhardt is much too prone to these shenanigans, which mar all too many of her decipherments. She ought to know better.

This of course applies to her decipherment of Linear B seal BE Zg 1. Finally, we can also interpret the figure on this seal as representing the Horns of Consecration ubiquitous at Knossos. 


Cretan hieroglyphic seals (Middle Minoan I & II, ca. 2100-1700 BCE):

Cretan hieroglyphic seals

On the first of these seals there appear 4 ideograms (?) which appear to be precursors of Minoan Linear A syllabograms, but there is no way of knowing whether or not this is the case.



The Master Seal of Khania and a sealing from Haghia Triada:

Master seal Khania and sealing Haghia Triada

These beautiful seals may date from Middle or early Late Minoan times, and if this is so, they were fashioned when Minoan Linear A was still in use. Otherwise, if they date from Late Minoan III, the script in use would have been Linear B.


ANEMOIYEREA, “Priestess of the Winds”, one of the loveliest words in Linear B (Click to enlarge):

ANEMOIYEREAillustrated

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