Tag Archive: subjects



Minoan Linear A poetic vocabulary (11 pages):

goddesses on signet Minoan prince saffron goddess

Thematic:

Agriculture/crops:

adara/adaro/adaru = having to do with the measurement of grain crops 
ade/adu = large unit of measurement for grains, something like bales?
adureza = dry unit of measurement, usually for grains
akara/akaru a1kra (arch. acc.) - or - = end, border + akaru a0gro/j = field

akiro a1kairoj = not in season, unseasonable -or- a1grioj = living in the fields; uncultivated, unreclaimed

amaja a3maca= wagon
arura a0rou/ra = unit of land -or- plough Cf. Linear B arura 
arudara a1lutra <- a1lutron = threshing instrument (arch. acc.) 
asesina = sowing or harvesting
asadaka a1staxa (arch. acc.) <- a1staxu (Minoan nom. sing.)= ear of corn
Asara2 TOP = Linear B Asaro A0sa/roj -or- may refer to Assur, hence Assyria -or- asara2 (asarai) = without flax
atare a0ta=lei/ <- a0ta=lo/j = tender; delicate (of crops?) -or- a0qa/lei <- a0qa/loj = without a branch, twig; without an olive branch -or- a9dro/j = full-grown – or – a0qa/rh = groats, meal, green fodder, forage, provender Cf. kupari = galingale
atiru a0te/lu <- a0te/loj = without boundaries 
dame/dami/daminu OM dame = a type of grain -or-  da/mei = in the village
data2 (datai) = olive
datu = olive tree 
dideru = einkorn wheat Cf. Linear B didero
durare = a type of grain, durum wheat?
dureza/durezase = unit of dry measurement? (variation of: adureza?)
ero e0llo/j = young deer, fawn 
etori e1tori <- e1toj = for a year 
itaja = unit of liquid volume for olive oil? (exact value unknown)
kami ka/mi (dat./instr. sing.) <- ka/ma = (on a) unit of land Cf. Linear B ka/ma 
kasaru = surviving? (drought)
kasitero kasite/loj = boundary of...?
kikadi = cicada (cricket) 
kireta2 (kiretai) kri/qai = barley
kiretana kriqani/aj = like barley, barley (attributive)
kiro/kirisi/kiru = owed Cf. Linear B oporo = they owed
kunisu = emmer wheat (derivation: Semitic kunnisu) 
madi = a ram? (probably, because it appears to be masculine and is used in conjunction with the ideogram for sheep 
maru/maruku/maruri mallo/j = flock of wool Cf. Linear B mali mali/ = wool 
meza me/za (fem. sing.) = greater, bigger Cf. Linear B mezo me/zwn me/zoj
minute (sing. minuta2 – minutai) = type of grain – or – Mi/nute\ <- Mi/noste\ = and Minos
mireja mhle/a = apple tree -or- mh/leia (gen. sing.) = belonging to a sheep
miru mh=lon = a sheep or goat -or- mh1lon = apple, tree fruit 
mirutarare = sheep pen? -or- apple orchard?  
naka na/ka (arch. acc) <- na/koj = sheep’s fleece    
nea ne/a = new Cf. Linear B ne/#a = new                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
pa3ni/pa3nina/pa3niwi =  millet -or- spelt 
pa3qe -or- qepa3 i.e. paiqe -or- qepai  (+ ideogram for wheat”) = a kind of grain similar to wheat
paja/pajai/pajare = contracted, indentured, hired?
para para\ = beside, from beside, by the side of, beyond etc.
pasarija = pa=sa + rija = all-encompassing, international? 
pura2 = a type of grain 
qanuma = a type of grain
qareto = lease field? Cf. Linear B onato
qaqisenuti xalkei/a=senuti = with bronze craftsmanship 
qera2u/qera2wa = a type of grain, probably millet or spelt
qeria = probably millet or spelt
reza = standard unit of linear measurement
rima lei=mac = garden -or- lei=mma = remnant, remains -or- lh=mma = income, receipts  (dative/instrumental plural) 
ruma/rumu/rumata/rumatase lu=matase <- lu=ma = offscourings from grain, i.e chaff
sara2 (sarai)/sarara/saru = flax
saro/saru/sarutu sa/ron = broom, threshing floor
sato sa/ton = Hebrew unit of measurement.
sedina = celery Cf. Linear B serino se/linon
seikama = seika/ma = a unit of land dedicated to a/the goddess
setamaru  = something to do with wool/spun wool?
sika  shka/ (arch. acc.) <- shko/j = fold, enclosure; (sheep) pen; sacred precinct, shrine = <- zhka/zw = to pen in Cf. Linear B periqoro peri/boloj = sheep pen 
Sikine TOP loc. sing. of Sikinos -or- OM = a type of grain
simita = mouse (arch. acc.) simito/simitu PGS  = zmi/nqoj mouse 
sitetu See situ below
situ si/tu si/tun = wheat Cf. Linear B sito si/ton 
suniku (common) su/noiku <- su/noikoj  living together, joint inhabitant,  dweller
suzu su/zuc = yoked together; paired Cf. Linear B zeukesi zeu/gesi = yoked (instr. pl.)
taikama taika/ma = a unit of land, something like an acre?
ta2re/ta2reki sta=rei<-  stai=j wheaten flour mixed into dough + tasise sta/sisei
tai2si (taisi) stai=sei <- stai=j = with wheaten flour mixed into a dough (instr. pl.)
teke/teki = small unit of measurement for wine @ 27 1/2 units per tereza
tereza = liquid unit of measurement
terikama te/leika/ma = extent of land, i.e. something like acreage, lit. land to its extent or boundary 
tero/teroa te/loj = end, boundary 
Tumitizase TOP -or- = linen Cf. Linear B rino li/non
udiriki u3driki <- u3droj = with water 
ukare = sowing or harvesting
Uminase TOP  Cf. Linear B Aminiso = harbour 
waja #ai/a = earth, land

Flowers/fruit/spices etc:

adakisika a0dakissi/ka = adorned with ivory
adoro a1doroj = receiving no gifts; unpaid; giving no gifts
akumina a0ku/mina = without cumin? (arch. acc.)
amawasi a3mai#asi = with violets
asidatoi a0si/datoi = without pomegranate (dat. sing.)
atade a1ttade = from father 
ditamana = dittany
dudama = a kind of fruit = dates? (found in context with figs)
ia i0a/  (n. pl.) = an arrow (sing.) & i1a (n. pl.) = violets/ija See i0a/ (n. pl.) = an arrow (sing.) & i1a (n. pl.) = violets (variation) 
kanaka kna/ka (arch. acc. of respect) = saffron Cf Linear B kanako kna/koj
kapa/kapaqe/kapate/kapi  karpa/ (arch. acc.) + karpa/te\ = fruit, and fruit, with fruit -or- kara 
kera/kero ke/raj = horn (ivory) -or- khr/oj = bees-wax Cf. Linear B kera
kikina = some kind of fruit, quite likely grapes (from context)
kireza = measurement of figs = 1 basket of figs carried on a shoulder
kitai/kitei = kestai/ kestei/ = embroidered (lit.), but in context = basketry, basket(s)
kupari ku/pairi (instr. sing.) <- ku/pairoj = marsh-plant used to feed horses, galingale or ginger
kuruku kro/koj = crocus, saffron
mera mela/j = black  - or – me/la (arch. accus.) = honey 
merasasaa/merasasaja (very common) = something to do with honey/ honeycomb or honey drink? 
meto mesto/j = full, filled
mireja mhle/a = apple tree -or- mh/leia (gen. sing.) = belonging to a sheep
miru mh=lon = a sheep or goat -or- mh1lon = apple, tree fruit 
mirutarare = sheep pen? -or- apple orchard? 
mita  mi/nqa = mint Cf. Linear B mita 
muru mu/ron = sweet oil extracted from plants; sweet oil; unguent; perfume Cf. Linear B musaja
nira2 (nirai) -or- nita2 (nisai) OM = figs + ideogram = NI (in both Linear A & B)
oteja o1steia <- o1streia = oyster pigment; oyster purple Cf. Linear B otawero o1streioj 
para para\ = beside, from beside, by the side of, beyond etc.
patane OM = lentils? (fem. pl.)
pimata PGS = pimento
pita/pitaja pista/kion = pistachio-nut 
pitakase/pitakesi pista/kesi = with pistachio-nuts (instr. pl.) 
punikaso funi/kasoj = crimson, red (of wine) Cf. Linear B ponikiya ponikiyo foini/kioj = crimson 
ra2ri (rairi) = lily 
rima = lei=mac = garden -or- lei=mma = remnant, remains -or- lh=mma = income, receipts  (dative/instrumental plural)
rimisi See above (instr. pl.) 
rosa = rose 
rosirasiro = rosebush? 
sasame sasa/me = sesame Cf. Linear B sasa/ma
sedina = celery Cf. Linear B serino se/linon
tuma/tumei/tumi qumi/a = incense
turunu qo/rnoj = throne Cf. Linear B tono qo/rnoj 
unana = penny royal?
uro ou0=loj = entire, total. Cf. kuro ku=rwn = reaching, attaining i.e. = total
waja #ai/a = earth, land

Military:
ia i0a/  (n. pl.) = an arrow (sing.) & i1a (n. pl.) = violets/ija See i0a/ (n. pl.) = an arrow (sing.) & i1a (n. pl.) = violets (variation) 
ima i9ma/c = leather strap, thong; lash of a whip 
ira2 i1la=i = troops, companies, squadrons
kara kara/ = head Cf. Linear B kara(pi) kara/afi
kipisi ci/fisi <- ci/foj = with swords (instr. pl.) 
kito xitw/n = chiton Cf. Linear B kito
koiru koi/ru <- koi/roj = hollow (ships) 
koru ko/ruj = helmet Cf. Linear B koru
kuro/kurotu ku=roj = supreme power, authority & ku=rwn = reaching, attaining i.e. = total Cf. Linear B tosa to/sa
kuto/kutu ku/toj = shield, cuirass
qaro ba=lo/j = threshold 
qero be/loj = arrow, dart
radu r9a/bdu <- r9a/bdoj = rod, switch; spear-staff or shaft
ra2ti (raiti) r9aisth/r = a hammer, crusher
sama/samaro sama/ro = burial ground Cf. Linear B Sama/ra sama/ra = place name -or- monument -or- grave mound OR sa/meron = today
sere -or- rese seirei/ <- seira/ = with a cord or rope (instrumental sing.)
tarasa = sea Cf. Linear B tarasa qa/lassa
toraka qw/rac  = breastplate, cuirass = Linear B toraka
toro tau/roj = bull -or- qolo/j = dome or circular vault; vaulted building
zuma zw=ma girdle, belt; girded tunic

Pottery/vessels:

aresana a1leisana <- a1leison = an embossed cup (arch. acc.) = de/paj (Homeric) Cf. Linear B dipa/arisu  a1leisu <- a1leison = embossed cup 
daqera = a type of vase? 
darida = large vase, slightly smaller than a pithos
daropa = stirrup jar 
depa/depu de/paj de/pu (acc.?)= cup Cf. Linear B dipa di/paj & Homeric de/pa
dipa3a (dipaia) di/paia <- di/paj de/paj = from a cup 
dipaja di/paia <- di/paj de/paj = from a cup (alternate?)
ipinama/ipinamina i0pneume/na (fem. sing.) = baked (bread)

itisapuko i1tija = round + pu/coj = box-wood -or- NMOM i1tija = round + puko = tripod = round tripod Cf. puko below

kadi kadi/ (instr. sing.) <- ka/doj = with a jar or vessel for water or wine
kadusi ka/dusi <= ka/doj = with buckets or pails (instr. pl.) 
kairo kairo/j = due measure 
kaki/kaku xalku/ <- xalko/j = copper, bronze
kakunete = bronze alloy - or – crafted in bronze 
karopa2 (karopai) = kylix with 2 handles-or-   ka/rdoph = wooden vessel/vase
kataro ka/nqa=roj = scarab (Egyptian) + drinking cup
kera/kero ke/raj = horn (ivory) -or- khr/oj = bees-wax Cf. Linear B kera
meto mesto/j = full, filled
meza me/za (fem. sing.) = greater, bigger Cf. Linear B mezo me/zwn me/zoj
nere = larger amphora size (fem. plural) 
posa po/sa= (arch. acc.) <- poi/si=j = drink(ing), beverage -or- po/sa <- po/soj = how great, how much, of what value?  
posi -or- sipo posi/ = on, upon Cf. Linear B posi -or- sipo = si/fwn = reed, straw, siphon
puko= tripod Cf. Linear B pukoso pu/coj = box-wood. Apparently unrelated 
qapa3 (qapai)  = (large) handle-less vase or amphora
qapaja/qapajanai qapaja (genitive sing. of qapa3 (qapai))
qaqisenuti xalkei/a=senuti = with bronze craftsmanship
qedi = a flagon (for wine) 
qeti (instr. sing.)/qetiradu = a very large pot, pithos Cf. Linear B PGS qeto pi/qoj
supa3 (supai)/supa3ra (supaira) =small cup with handles Cf. Linear B dipa mewiyo
supi/supu/supu2 = largest size pithos -or-   supu/h sipu/h sipu/a i0pu/a = meal tub = suropa = some kind of vase?
tisa = pottery worker/working on pottery/pottery wheel (tourney)

Religious:

ara a0ra/ = a prayer 
araju a0ra=u <- a0ra=oj = prayed for 
arati a0ra=ti/ <- a0ra/toj = with something unblessed Cf. makarite  below
atanate a0qa/na=te = with an immortal (instr. sing.) 
damate Da/mate = Damater Cf. Linear B Damate -or- da/matei = in the village 
dare da=lei/ <- da=lo/j = (with) a firebrand or torch/daro LIG  da=lo/j = firebrand
dewa -or- wide de/#a = goddess? 
dija/dije Di/ #a Cf. Linear B Diwija Di#i/a = priestess of Zeus
dumitatira2 (dumitatirai) = left or right side of a spindle? (or verso) 
dura2 dou/lai = slaves (fem.) Cf. Linear B doera doe/la 
esija e3sti/a = hearth of a house 
Idamate/Idamete  0Idama/te = Mother goddess of Mount Ida
Idarea  0Idar9ea = Rhea, goddess of Mount Ida 
ijate i0a/ter = doctor, physician Cf. Linear iyate  i0a/ter
iruja i0e/ruia = priestess Cf. Linear B iyereya i0e/reia
jamauti i1amauti = as a means of healing <- i1ama i1amatoj = healing, remedy
jarisapa  = some kind of dress? Cf. Linear B sapa
jasaja  0Ia=sai/a <-  0Ia=sw/ of/from the goddess of healing and health  
jasidara i0a=sida=la/ = healing torch/firebrand (arch. acc.) 
jate/jateo i0a=th/r = physician 
jatimane i0a=th/j mannei= = with the bread of healing  
mana/manapi (common) Hebrew manna= = (of spiritual food) bread from heaven, the supernatural food eaten by the Israelites in the desert  
maza/mazu  ma=za  = kneaded or unbaked bread, barley bread/cake
miturea mi/toj 9Re/a= thread of a warp for Rhea 
narepirea narepir9e/a = Rhea, goddess of the snake/ snake goddess?   
pimitatira2 (pimitatirai) = right of left side of a spindle? -or- verso  
qajo ba/i"on = a palm branch (Kafkania pebble)
ranatusu (agglutinative?) -or-  r9anatusu < - r9anti/zw = to cleanse, purify 
rani r9a=ni/j = anything sprinkled (as in a libation); rain drop See also ratise
ratise (ritise?) = la/tise <- la/taj = with drops of wine (instr. pl.)
rea r9e/a = goddess, Rhea
sea/sei se/a se/ei (dat. sing.) = snake goddess (from K. Bouzanis)
seikama= seika/ma = a unit of land dedicated to a/the goddess
taro tau=roj = bull
tejai qei/ai = goddesses
tuma/tumei/tumi qumi/a = incense
turunu qo/rnoj = throne Cf. Linear B tono qo/rnoj
wanaka = king 
wireu #i0eru/ <- #i0ero/j = priest Cf. Linear B iyero i0ero/j

Textiles:

arako a0ra/c = weaver Cf. Linear B arakateya a0laka/teiai = weavers

arakokuzu = weavers establishment?

Trees:

datu = olive tree
keda = cedar
kidapa = ash wood? (a type of wood) Appears only on Linear B tablet KN 894 N v 01
kidaro kidaro ke/dron = juniper berry-or- kedri/a = oil of cedar Cf. Linear B kidaro
kitanasija/kitanasijase kitanisija (gen. sing.) ki/rtanasia <- ki/rtanoj = terebinth tree Cf. Linear B kitano ki/rtanoj 
tarawita = terebinth tree Cf. Linear B kitano ki/rtanoj & timito ti/rminqoj 
tarina qalli/na (arch. acc.) <- qallo/j = a young shoot, twig; festive olive-branch 

Wine:

aka -or- kaa a0ska/ (arch. acc.) <- a0sko/j = leather bag, wine skin
apero a1mpeloj = a vine  Cf. Linear B apero 
kupazu kou/fazu <- kou/fazoj = light (of wine) 
kuqani = a type of (fine) wine
kuwa -or- waku ku/#a = girl Cf. Linear B kowa ko/#a – or – #a0sku/ <- #a0sko/j = leather bag or wineskin 
punikaso funi/kasoj = crimson, red (of wine) Cf. Linear B ponikiya ponikiyo foini/kioj = crimson 
qesizue (plural) = wine goblets? 
ratise (ritise?) = la/tise <- la/taj = with drops of wine (instr. pl.)
unaa oi0nai/a = wine vessel, wine jug, wine jar
winadu #i1nadu = vineyard Cf. Linear B winado
winu #i/nu = wine Cf. Linear B wono  #oi/noj
winumatari #i/numa/tari = wine dedicated to Mother Earth


ONOTOP:

Adunitana 
Akanu/Akanuzati  OP A0rxa/nej = Archanes (Crete) 
Arenesidi 
Asasumaino
Asasumaise 
Asuja Cf Linear B Asiwiya A0si/#ia
Demirirema 
Dawa = place name Cf. LB dawo Da/#oj / Da/#on 
Dikate = Mount Dikte Cf. Linear B Dikatade Diktai/oj 
Dupu3re Cf. Linear B Dupu2razo Dupurai/zoj 
Ida/Idaa/Idada/Idapa3  = Mount Ida
Idunesi
Ikurina  
Inajapaqa
Itinisa = female resident of Itanos?
Izurinita
Kana/kanatiti/kanau Kanna
Kanijami Kaniamis (female name)?
Ketesunata
Kina Kinna
Kiso Kissos
Kosaiti Cf. Linear B Kutaito Ku/taistoj (not necessarily the same place) 
Masuja
Mekidi Megi/di <- Me/gaj = the Great
Mesenurutu
Midemidiu
Pamanuita
Raja/Raju  9Rai/a = Raia Cf. Linear B Raja 
rea PGS r9e/a = goddess, Rhea
Rujamime
Rukito
Seimasusaa 
Setoija 
Sewaude  
Sezanitao
Sikira/Sikirita 
Sima
Suria 
Tainaro 
Ta2rimarusi
Tejare TOP Cf. Linear B Tejaro qei/aroj = place of the gods?
Tita = Ti=ta/n
Uminase
Waduna 
Wadunimi 

Wasatomaro

Zadeu


All About Sypersyllabograms: Their Enormous Impact on the Nature of Linear B – Everything you ever wanted to know, but were afraid to ask!

Given that supersyllabograms invariably display the characteristics highlighted in the previous post, they must also be formulaic by nature. The several restrictions placed on their disposition next to or inside ideograms, the invariability of their meanings within each sector, and other such considerations means they are always formulaic. Although the language of Homer is also very often formulaic in the Iliad, especially in The Catalogue of Ships in Book II, there is probably little or no relationship between the formulaic nature of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B and his archaic formulae. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that formulaic language is a particular characteristic of both Mycenaean Linear B and of Homer’s own so-called Epic Greek. However, the nature of the formulaic language of Linear B and that of Homeric Greek are of a different order.

In the chart which follows, we see for the first time ever on our blog the disposition of each supersyllabogram in each sector of Minoan/Mycenaean society, with repetitions of certain supersyllabograms, which re-appear in different sectors, usually with different meanings from one sector to the next, with the exception of the supersyllabogram “newo/newa”, which always means “new”, regardless of sector. It alone appears in three sectors: agriculture (livestock, mainly sheep, rams & ewes), textiles & vessels, as seen in the chart here: Click to ENLARGE

AppendixB

While the meanings of some supersyllabograms are firmly established, due primarily to their high frequency on Linear B tablets from Knossos, others are less firmly demonstrable. For instance, in the sector, agriculture, sub-sector sheep husbandry, the meanings of the supersyllabograms O = lease field, KI = plot of land , NE = new & PE = enclosure or sheep pen, are firmly established with a very high degree of probability, if not total accuracy. In the case of PE, the definition is 100 % confirmed, since on one of the tablets in that series, the scribe conveniently spelled out the word in full, instead of using the simple superyllabogram PE. It is this very tablet which establishes beyond a doubt the authenticity of supersyllabograms as a phenomenon innate to Linear B alone, and not found in Arcado-Cypriot Linear C. As for Minoan Linear A, no-one knows whether SSYLS exist, because the language remains recalcitrant to decipherment.

In the military sector, the supersyllabogram ZE almost certainly means “a pair of..” or “a team of...”, with a 90 % or greater probability. However, once we get past the two primary sectors in which supersyllabograms are used extremely frequently, given that there are so many tablets to be found in these two primary sectors of Minoan/Mycenaean society, the situation devolves by degrees into less certainty.

Supersyllabograms found adjacent to any ideogram, as for instance those with the ideograms for sheep, ram, ewe (livestock), or horse or chariot (military) are considered to be associative. Associative Supersyllabograms are those which define characteristics of the environment or specific context in which their associative ideograms appear. For instance, it is natural and logical to associate sheep with lease fields, plots of land & sheep enclosures. The same goes for military ideograms. The ideograms for horse and chariot naturally associate with pairs or teams of... (fill in the blanks).    

There are still quite a large number of tablets in the textiles sector; so the meanings of most of the supersyllabograms in that sector are more than likely still very reliable, not the least because each of them still makes good sense: KU = gold cloth, PA = dyed cloth, PU = purple or Phoenician cloth (amounting to pretty much the same thing, anyway) & RI = linen. I would assign at least a 70 % to 90 % degree of probability to each of the definitions I have deduced for each of these supersyllabograms in textiles. The supersyllabograms in the sector of vessels (amphorae, drinking cups, water jugs etc.) may be a little less firm, but I am still convinced that I deduced most of them accurately, yielding a probability of 70 % - 80 %.

Supersyllabograms in the textile and vessels sector are another kettle of fish. Since they appear inside the ideograms they modify, they are attributive in nature. In other words, they describe attributes of the textiles or vessels which they modify, and are, in almost all instances, adjectival in nature. Their placement inside the ideograms makes it quite clear that this is what the scribes actually indented, since a symbol inside another always describes attributes of the ideogram in which it appears. Should anyone doubt this, we have only to appeal to symbols appearing inside others as they are found in today’s world, since they follow the exact same principle. For instance, we have: click to ENLARGE:

Modern Superalphabetical Symbols

Need I say more?     

On the other hand, I have been quite unable to decipher at least one supersyllabogram, SE, which sadly appears only 3 times on extant tablets from Knossos. For this reason alone, I dare not assign it a meaning, since I am quite sure that if I did, I would probably be (way) off the mark.

There remain the supersyllabograms for place names, which are in a category of their own, since none of them appear with ideograms, and all of them are found on only 1 tablet, Heidelburg HE Fl 1994, which Prof. Thomas G. Palaima so expertly deciphered in 1994. Click on this banner to read his translation and my explanatory POST in its entirety:

SSYLS POST Palaima

There can be no question whatsoever that these are in fact supersyllabograms, the very first ever to have been isolated, for which we owe Prof. Palaima full credit. Of course, he did not define them as supersyllabograms, as he was unaware of the high frequency of the rest of them as adduced above in this post. Nevertheless, they are what they are, supersyllabograms. We have KO for Konoso (Knossos), MU for Mukene (Mycenae), ZA for Zakros etc.

And if a few of you are still in doubt as to the viability of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, remember: the very same phenomenon applies to internationally standardized signs nowadays.

Once again, nowadays, we have a symbol within a symbol, or if you like, a symbol inside an ideogram. It is truly amazing how such a practice has resurfaced after at least 32 centuries, even if it was only the Minoan/Mycenaean scribes in the ancient world who figured out the system in the first place, leaving it interred for 32 centuries before it re-appeared in the twentieth century. So once again, we find ourselves face to face with a very ancient script, namely the Linear B syllabary, which was so systematic, formulaic and logical that it can only be considered as a brilliant breakthrough in the art of writing. After all, supersyllabograms are not the only phenomenon Linear B sported with such bravado. Ideograms in and of themselves abounded (over 100 of them!). They even used ideograms as the equivalent of subject headings as they resurfaced in nineteenth century libaries, in the Dewey Decimal & Library of Congress systems.

Witness just one tablet alone, namely, Pylos 641-1952 (Ventris), the very first tablet ever translated with complete success by none other than the great Michael Ventris himself, and you can see these “subject headings” for yourself, plastered all over that amazing tablet! Why did the scribes use so many ideograms for vessel types on this single tablet? The answer was obvious, at least to them... the ideograms for vessels were the signposts or indexing markers of this tablet which instantly allowed the scribes to identify the precise type of vessel described in the full text immediately preceding each one, even before they bothered reading the descriptive text. That this is a very clever indexing system goes without saying. And it re-appears over and over on so many tablets that it is without question one of the hallmarks of the Linear B syllabary. Finally, their numeric accounting system was the most efficient ever devised in the ancient world. Summarizing all of the streamlined characteristics of Linear B we have just enumerated, it becomes obvious that Linear B was, first and foremost, a carefully devised form of shorthand for Mycenaean Greek. Once again, the Mycenaean scribes anticipated a methodology for writing business transactions which would not re-appear as modern shorthand – you guessed it – until the nineteenth century AD.

All of this adds up to one inescapable conclusion: Linear B was the world’s fist ever commercial shorthand, and until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there was nothing even remotely as efficient, logical and practical ever to be found throughout history until... the modern era. This is precisely why I am so in awe of Linear B, a script which was millennia ahead of its time. It is also why I refuse to characterize Linear B as being prehistoric. It is nothing of the sort. It is in a word, a proto-historic writing and accounting system, leading me to the inexorable conclusion that Minoan/Mycenaean society was in fact not prehistoric at all, but proto-historic. I am not the first linguist specializing in ancient linguistics to have asserted this claim, but I am the first to speak up as emphatically and unequivocally as this.        

This then has been a brief summary of the functions and the key rôle supersyllabograms play in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B.


Richard   

        
  
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