Tag Archive: shrine

Rita Roberts’ translation of Knossos tablet KN J 1 f 01, her last tablet for her second year of university:

Linear B tablet KN 1 J f 01 priestess of the winds

Line 1: Deukijojo = month name + temeno = shrine. The damaged first syllabogram looks like TO. The actual word temeno =temple” does not appear on the first line of this tablet, since it appears that the the scribe has made a scribal error, which actually happens quite often on Linear B tablets. The writing is messy, and appears to read teno, which would explain the scribal error, i.e. he missed on one syllabogram. Deukijojo could either be a month name, in which case it means “the tenth month” or more properly in this content, “of the tenth month” or it could simply be a persons name. If it refers to the tenth month, then it follows that the entire tablet refers to this month.

Line 2:

Wakatanujo – or- Dukatanayo = name + newejo = “of something new” + 3 units (probably bales) of barley. Hence the line refers to 3 new units (probably bales) of barley from Wakatanujo – or- Dukatanayo

Line 3:

Padarejode = a place hame, which is a sanctuary = hence, olive oil from Dardare and 2 units (probably bales) of barley.

Line 4:

Pade = name plus olive oil and 1 unit (probably a bale) of barley

Line 5:

Pasiteoi = “to all gods” barley and 1 unit of olive oil

Line 6:

olive oil and barley for Qerasiya = goddess Artemis, with numerals absent because of right truncation.

Line 7:

1 unit of barley to all the gods at Aminiso = Amnisos

Line 8:

2 units (probably pithoi) of olive oil for the goddess Erinu. Note that Erinu references one of the Furies (Erynies) in Greek. So it would appear that the scribe tells us that there was a sacrifice to at least one of or probably all of the Furies to appease them so that crops would thrive.

Line 9:

Gold and olive oil and 1 cyperus plant, probably dedicated to the priestess of the winds in Line 10.

Line 10:

4 cyperus plans dedicated to Anemo Ijereja = to the priestess of the winds

Line 11:

Blank and truncated.

Line 12:

3 units (probably pithoi) of olive oil and 2 units of barely plus 2 cyperus trees (also probably dedicated to the priestess of the winds)

Line 13:

Blank and truncated.


This is the very last tablet Rita Roberts is to translate for her second year of university, and it is by far the most challenging she has ever been confronted with to date. Congratulations to Rita! She is now about to take her final examination for her second year, which is to consist of 25 questions in increasing level of difficulty, the last 5 of which are to be translations of tablets, plus her second year thesis paper, What did the Minoan agricultural sector contribute to the Mycenaean Empire? This paper must be at least 25 pages long, inclusive of the bibliography but excluding illustrations, which will add to the page length of her thesis. Since this thesis paper is much more difficult than her first year thesis, I am allotting her three months to complete it, i.e. Feb. 15 – May 15. However, she must complete the rest of the examination in just 2 weeks (Feb. 15 – March 1 2018).

In the next post, I shall re-inscribe the entire tablet in archaic Greek from the Mycenaean.


Linear A rock crystal vase IO Za 10 from Iouktas:

Linear A IO Za 10 crystal rock vase Iouktas

The finely chiselled Linear A rock crystal vase IO Za 10 from Iouktas appears to bear an inscription along the lines of, “the peak sanctuary or shrine of the goddess of healing and health”. I came to this conclusion in the following manner. The word zudisika appears to be a composite Linear A word, of which the first two syllables, zudi, are Old Minoan (OM), while the last two syllables, sika, are almost certainly Mycenaean-derived New Minoan (NM1). Linear A sika corresponds neatly with archaic Greek sika, which is arch. accus. for sikos (Latinized), meaning “a sacred precinct or shrine”. It is a historical fact that there were numerous peak sanctuaries in the Minoan eras. So it strikes me that zudi may very well mean, “summit or peak”, hence our decipherment, which after all is said is done, makes perfect sense. 

This decipherment is strongly corroborated by the fact that Juktas (Iouktas)is indeed a Middle Minoan peak sanctuary! Click to visit:

Middle Minoan Juktas Peak Sanctuary

Iouktas Peak Sanctuary, Crete

The lengthy and highly informative Linear B tablet Pylos Py Er 312 from Chris Tselentis’ Linear B Lexicon:

Pylos tablet PY TA Er 312 Linear B

Pylos tablet PY TA Er 312 Linear B Latinized and translation
Linear B tablet Pylos Py Er 312 which Chris Tselentis deciphered in his superb Linear B Lexicon is presented above. This tablet runs the gamut from wheat and wheat seeds, to the measurement of olive oil to a number of references to the gods and sacred cults. Since Linear B tablets from Pylos tend to be significantly larger than those from Knossos, they are often a richer source of information applicable to the decipherment, not only of Linear B tablets, but of Minoan Linear A tablets as well.  You can be sure that I shall rely a good deal lon this tablet in my efforts towards the further decipherment of Minoan Linear A. Since Chris Tselentis has done all the work for us, I have simply translated it into English, without troubling myself with appending the text in Archaic Greek.  

Rams for ritual slaughter: KN 386 A 87 & KN 387 X c 57 joins:

KN 386 & KN 387 tablet joins sacrificial rams

Here I am really digging deep into unknown waters in the decipherment of Linear B, deeper than I ever have.

These two fragments were originally one tablet. The central part is missing. This has got to be one of the most fascinating challenges I have ever encountered in the decipherment of Linear B text, since, as with all Linear B joins, it requires the decipherer to attempt to fill in the blanks, so to speak, i.e. the missing part of the original tablet, which as you can see is in an inverted V shape. If at all possible, as much the text that originally was located within that V has to be restored. Since as everyone knows who visits our blog that I am never one to skip a challenge, no matter how tough, I took it upon myself to make a serious attempt at a plausible reconstruction of at least part of the missing text, and to my satisfaction, I believe I succeeded, in the sense that I have recovered what might plausibly have been some of the original text, at least conjecturally. Any other interpretation might suffice, provided that (a) it made sense in the context of the text preserved on the two adjacent sides & (b) that the missing vocabulary was consistent with the ritual of religious sacrifice of sheep, a common practice in many civilizations of the ancient world.

Let us walk through my decipherment of the so-called missing text step by step. First of all, we have the left truncated syllabograms ... NO heading the first line of the right hand side of the original tablet (KN 387 X c 57). It is no easy matter to even make a stab at what the rest of this word could possibly have meant, or for that matter, how many syllabograms, in other words, syllables, it contained. So I had to take the only recourse available to me, and that was to ransack Chris Tselentis’ excellent Linear B Lexicon of at least 2,500 Linear B words for any word ending in NO which might possibly suit the context, keeping firmly in mind that this is the scene of a religious ceremony involving the ritual sacrifice of a ram or rams. I finally found the term which ideally suited the context, and it is temeno, which means a religious shrine or temple. It fits the context like a glove. So the likelihood that this was indeed the missing word ending with left-truncated NO is reasonably assured. On the second line of the same fragment (the right side), we have repa, the last two syllabograms or syllables of another missing word. The term which immediately leaped to mind was arepa = “cream” or “ointment”, and if that is a putative “correct” translation, it can be interpreted as meaning an  “anointing cream”. Fits the bill. The third word on the third line of the right hand side of the fragment, ending in the single syllabogram WE, was much harder to divine. It could be one of a dozen things, but I finally settled on duwowe, meaning  “a two handled vessel or urn”.  This again suits the context, but it is only one of scores of possible interpretations, all of which would have equally suited the context.  I was working on the assumption that the person making the sacrifice, presumably a priest, would have cremated the ashes of the ram(s) after the sacrifice. But this is definitely going out on a limb, since in most ancient societies, sacrificial slaughter of  sheep or rams involved killing them and then roasting them on a spit for subsequent consumption in a religious feast honouring the god” or if Hebrew, God. On the other hand, the Minoans and Mycenaeans may have (also) cremated the ashes of the sacrificed ram. If there is any researcher or archaeologist out there who visits this blog and can refute the notion of post-sacrificial cremation among the Minoans and Mycenaeans, please have at it and I shall revise my decipherment accordingly. 

Moving over to the left hand side of the join (KN 386 A 87), which contains considerably less text, we have on the second line the syllabogram QE, which by itself means “and”, but which in this case might possibly be the last syllabogram, i.e. last syllable of a Linear B word... except that scarcely any Linear B words end in QE,  and any way the syllabogram QE in this context is written huge. So I am left with no other alternative than to interpret it as I have done = “and”.  But “and” what? There you have me. I am stumped. On the next line, the third one down, we have the ideogram for “man” or “person” followed by the number 1, for “one person”, this in turn followed by the supersyllabogram SA, and then by the ideogram for “ram” and the number 1. The SSYL SA I have previously established on another tablet posted on this blog as most likely meaning sapaketeriya = “for ritual slaughter” or “for ritual sacrifice”. This too suits the context very well.  You can see the downwards pointing arrow from the ideogram for “man” to the word Towaune = “Towaunes”, presumably the name of the man, on the fourth line. His name in turn is followed by a Linear B word, which, if complete, is doke, a variation on odoke, the aorist (simple past) of the verb didomi (in Linear B), which means “to give” or “to offer”, and in this context “to offer up” (for ritual sacrifice). So now the sense is complete, except for all those single syllabograms (qe wa & po) on the left side of the join, which I can make no sense of at all. And that is a pitfall. However, within these restraints, I have been able to come up with one possible, even plausible interpretation (among God knows how many others), which you can see in translation at the bottom of the figure above.
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