Tag Archive: shepherd



Linear B - KN Dd1171, article by Peter J. Keyse on academia.edu 

Click on this graphic to view Keyse’s article:

Linear B - KN Dd1171


Peter J. Keyse provides a thorough analysis of Linear B tablet  KN Dd 1171 in this fascinating article, which is well worth reading for anyone who is familiar with the Linear B syllabary, and certainly for anyone who is studying Linear B in depth. His article is not without errors. For instance, he deciphers PoRo as the name of someone in what he calls the PoMe “worker class” = a shepherd,

Linear B - KN Dd1171 PORO

but his interpretation of of PORO is clearly incorrect, as this word  has 3 distinct meanings, one of which is the Linear B word for “a foal”, as demonstrated by Chris Tselentis in his Linear B Lexicon, here:

Tselentis PORO

(The other 2 meanings of POME offered by Tselentis do not fit the context)

while POME is quite obviously Mycenaean Greek for “shepherd”:

Tselentis POME

Keyse also notes that Michael Ventris identified 3 major styles for incisions - those at Knossos, Pylos and Mycenae. In his own words: The vertical lines are quite faint scratches and not easily seen. The cuts in the clay are ‘under-cut’ i.e. pushed in at an angle . This preoccupation with Linear B scribal hands recurs in a great many articles on Linear B. Keyse also covers the what he ascertains to be the phonetic sounds of the numerics on this tablet. He also emphasizes the nature and particulars characteristics of the scribal hand on this tablet.

But it his conclusion which is most fascinating. He says,

In conclusion: 

What would Dd1171 sound like if read aloud? Po-Ro. 20 OVISm, 72 OVISf. Pa-I-To. Pa 8 OVISm. While it reasonable to say that Linear B was no more the spoken language of its day than ‘double-entry bookkeeping’ speak is for accounting clerks today it is also true to say that accountants do on occasions talk in journals and double-entry (and not only when at dinner parties and down the pub) and they certainly call over inventories to each other. It is clear that Linear B had a sound but perhaps it is unlikely that we can fairly reproduce it today. Considering the importance of numbers within the Linear B archive I find it surprising that no phonic system has been devised to represent them or if devised is not clearly documented in the literature. 

COMMENT by Richard Vallance Janke on the sound, i.e. the general pronunciation of Linear B. In actuality, we probably do have some idea of how Mycenaean Greek was pronounced. Its closest cousin was Arcado-Cypriot, represented both by its own syllabary, Linear C, and by its own archaic alphabet. The Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot dialects were much closer phonetically than even Ionic and Attic Greek. Phonological details of the archaic Arcado-Cypriot dialect appear in C.D. Buck, The Greek Dialects, © 1955, 1998. ISBN 1-85399-566-8, on pg. 144. He provides even more information on Arcado-Cypriot on pp. 7-8, and classifies it as an East Greek dialect, pg. 9. This is highly significant, because if Arcado-Cypriot is East Greek, ergo Mycenaean Greek also is. This places both of the archaic East-Greek dialects, Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot, firmly in the camp of all East Greek dialects, including Arcadian, Aeolic, Lesbian, Cyprian, Pamphylian, Thessalian, Boeotian, and the much later Ionic and Attic dialects. So it is probably fair to say that we may have at least an idea, even if somewhat inaccurate, of how Mycenaean Greek was pronounced. And this has huge implications for the further study of Mycenaean Greek phonology.


2 haiku about sheep in Mycenaean Linear B, ancient Greek, English & French

2-haiku-about-sheep-in-linear-b



First  2 haiku in Minoan Linear A, English et français : qareto & datara

cedar-tree
1

qareto
asasumaise
keda

in a lease field
a shepherd
and a cedar tree

dans un champ loué 
un berger
et un cèdre

2

datara
nirai
karopai

a grove of fig trees
figs
in a kylix

figuiers dans un bosquet
figues
dans un kylix

© by/ par Richard Vallance Janke
Sept. 27/ le 27 sept. 2016


Mycenaean Linear B tablet KN 1270 Ej 213 with the single supersyllabogram O on it:

Knossos tablet KN 1270 E j 213 and the supersyllabogram O

Mycenaean Linear B tablet KN 1270 Ej 213 has the single supersyllabogram O on it. This supersyllabogram O stands for onato = a lease field, as the translation makes perfectly clear. We see here that the shepherd (or sheep owner) Akunirios has 92 rams + another rams on a usufruct lease field. When we speak of a “usufruct lease field” we mean that the shepherd or sheep owner is permitted to use the lease field (generally by his landlord) for his own benefit or personal gain. 


Minoan Linear A tablet GO Wc 1 (Gournia) asasumaise = “cattle-driver”:

Even at first glance, from Minoan Linear A tablet GO Wc 1 (Gournia), sporting the word asasumaise, it appears very much like this word means “cattle-driver” or “shepherd (of cattle)”.  Of course, it is also possible that this is just the cattle-driver’s name. So I have to account for both possibilities. Nevertheless, I am inclined to lean strongly on “cattle-driver” or “shepherd (of cattle), if only for the reason that it is a rather long word, just as are its equivalents in Mycenaean Linear B, qoukoro & qoukota, as illustrated here:

Linear A table GO wc 1 cows

This is the eighty-ninth (89) Minoan Linear A term I have deciphered, more or less accurately.


Knossos tablet KN 1280 E m 222, 10 ewes, 10 lambs and 40 sheep in a sheep pen:

Knossos tablet KN 1280 E m 222 lambs and sheep in sheep pens

Knossos tablet KN 1280 E m 222 deals with 10 ewes as mothers of 10 lambs, and also with 40 rams in a sheep pen. The supersyllabogram PA = pauro in Linear B or pauros in ancient Greek, also parvus in Latin = “small” or “little”, hence a small sheep is naturally a lamb. As if. Unfortunately, although the supersyllabogram PA occurs on no less than 38 Linear B tablets in the sheep husbandry sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy, there is no attested word corresponding to this supersyllabogram anywhere in the Mycenaean Greek lexicon. So I had to make an “educated guess”. Well, actually more than just educated. After all, the ancient Greek word pauros = Latin parvus = “small” or “little” eminently fits the bill. So I chose it, just like that. It is possible that this SSYL does not mean “lamb”, but I rather doubt it, especially in light of the fact that the number of lambs on this tablet is exactly equal to the number of ewes. 10 mothers, 10 lambs.


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