Tag Archive: textile industry



Translation of Linear B textiles tablet, KN 527 R l 51:

KN 527 R l 51 textiles

Apart form being extremely repetitive (and I cannot grasp why the linear B scribe felt so inclined to repeat the same phrase, tetukuwoa = a kind of cloth 3 times!), the decipherment is straightforward. I do not know what Ekisia is supposed to mean. I believe it is either a personal name or a toponym (place name).  



Translation of Linear B textiles tablet, KN 474 R q 21:

KN 474 R q 21 textiles

This tablet does not present any unexpected problems. The only issue is that we do not know what kind of cloth the supersyllabogram PU refers to. It is called pukateriya in Mycenaean Greek, but since the word is archaic, having fallen out of use with the collapse of the Mycenaean Empire ca. 1200 BCE, there is no way we can recover its precise meaning, i.e. to establish exactly what kind of cloth it refers to.  But we do know that the cloth is popureya = purple.


Linear B tablet Knossos KN 797 T e 01 & the supersyllabogram WE = leather undertunic or chiton + vase & WI:

In our previous post, I stated that I had never seen any occurrence of the supersyllabogram WI incharged in the ideogram for “hide”. Immediately after, I discovered not one, but two, examples of this supersyllabogram (WI), one on tablet Knossos KN 797 T e 01

Linear B Knossos tablet KN 797 T e 01 leather hide or undertunic

& the second on a multi-image illustration,

AMOTA

with the text on one Linear B tablet from Knossos (top), which we have previously translated, the second (left) on a Linear B fragment, the third (bottom left) with the Linear B word, “apudosi” = delivery on a fragment, and the fourth (right), being a vase with Linear B on it. Since the Linear B syllabograms -tawa– are left-truncated, we cannot guess at what the word is for which they are the last two syllabograms or syllables. The second word on this vase is clearly the name of the artisan who manufactured it: Kethereous.


Knossos tablet KN 227 N l 21 & the supersyllabogram QE = qeqinomeno = “woven”:

Knossos tablet KN 227 N l 21 & supersyllabogram QE = woven undertunic or chiton

As with the previous post, the supersyllabogram QE on this tablet clearly refers to qeqinomeno, a “woven undergarment” or “woven undergarment”. The rest is self-explanatory.


Linear B tablet K 224 and the new military supersyllabogram QE = woven undertunic & the supersyllabogram IQO ZE = a team of horses:

Knossos tablet K 224 and the new military supersyllabogram QE

Here we encounter the all-new supersyllabogram QE inside (incharged) in the ideogram for linen (under)tunic. It is crucial to understand that this supersyllabogram QE is completely unlike the previous one, QE inside a shield = “a wicker shield”. This new supersyllabogram QE, qeqinomeno, literally means “woven”, hence it refers to “a woven undertunic” or to be more precise, “a woven linen undertunic”, which once again the Mycenaean warriors wore under their toraka = ancient Greek thoraxes, i.e. Their breastplates. These two supersyllabograms are entirely different and must never be confused. This is the one and only instance in Mycenaean Linear B in which the same supersyllabogram appears inside two different ideograms, the first for “a shield” and the second for “an undertunic”. These two supersyllabograms QE + shield and QE + undertunic appear in the military sector only, and in no other sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy.


Linear B tablet at the Ashmolean Museum, An1910_217_O & the supersyllabograms RA = tailor & QE = wicker shield:

Linear B tablet Ashmolean An1910_217_o

You see illustrated here in its actual size the Linear B tablet An1910_217_O at the Ashmolean Museum/British Museum. Like the others we have recently posted, this tablet is concerned with a tailor adding the finishing touches to cloth, more specifically the linen undertunic Mycenaean warriors wore under their breastplates, known as toraka in Mycenaean Linear B or thoraxes in ancient Greek. The first word on the first line after the left-truncated PA is the name of the tailor, Apasakiyo in Linear B. The Greek below the Linear B Latinized text is the translation of the original Linear B text on this tablet. This is followed by the literal & free English translations, with the caveat that I am unable to translate the double syllabogram WE WE following the supersyllabogram QE inside the ideogram for a shield, meaning that the shield is a wicker shield.


NEW CATEGORY = TEXTILES at Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae!

Linear B Knossos and Mycenae new cateogy TEXTILES

Click on the new category title, TEXTILES, to view all posts on our research blog on Mycenaean Linear B, Minoan Linear A & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C related to textiles:

Since this category is in CAPS, it is a MAJOR category.

We shall soon be adding another new MAJOR category = VESSELS (i.e. Pottery).

In passing, I would like to draw to your attention that the best way to search our research site is to search by category. This way, you can zero in on the posts on the subject which interests you at the moment. For instance, if you click on Linear A, you will be taken to the pages where all posts on Minoan Linear A appear; if you click on Decipherment, you will be routed to the pages on which all posts dealing with decipherment of any tablet in any script, Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B or Arcado-Cypriot Linear B appear. And so on.  
 

Linear B tablet 04-59 D j 13 & the supersyllabograms RA = tailor & QE = wicker shield:

Linear B tablet 04-59 D j 13 and the supersyllabograms RA = tailor & QE = wicker shield

This tablet poses the same problems as the previous ones we have posted on these two supersyllabograms, RA & QE. First off, as I have already said, it is well nigh impossible for me to determine what the two syllabograms WE WE following the second instance of the supersyllabogram QE for wicker shield mean? As I pointed out in the previous post, the double occurrence of WE (WE WE) usually references measurement. But I am unable to harmonize their incidence in this context with terms of measurement. Apart from that, there are two other glitches in the decipherment. What does rawa following the first instance of QE = wicker shield” refer to. The word rawaketa = “leader of the host” or “commander in chief” where “host” = “army”, as we find in Homer as well, is extant on the Linear B tablets. I have derived the subset rawa = “host” from the latter. It may or may not be the correct interpretation in this context. Secondly, if the last syllabogram, truncated right, on the first line is in fact DU, then it may be the first syllable of the word duo = “two”. But this is entirely conjectural. Although the rest of the translation appears to be relatively straightforward, it is still open to question, especially in light of the fact that I am quite unable to decipher WE WE.


K 04-58 D j 31 & the supersyllabograms RA A & QE (military and textiles):

Linear B tablet K 05-58 D j 31 and the supersyllabograms RA = tailor and QE = wicker shield

This particular tablet presents us with a new associative supersyllabogram DA, which is the first syllable of the Linear B word, dameusi = “distribution”, a synonym of the more common Linear B word for “distribution” = apudosi.  Dameusi appears nowhere else on any Linear B tablet, not even as the supersyllabogram = DA. But I am satisfied that this is its meaning. The first word on this tablet, Dawano, appears to be the name of the tailor = “Dawanos”. The word okamo on the left side of the tablet appears nowhere else in Linear B, and I cannot determine its meaning.  As with the other tablets in this series, the double appearance of the syllabogram  WE (WE WE) is a mystery to me. So I have left these 2 syllabograms untranslated. Generally, the appearance of WE WE on a Linear B tablet refers to measurement. But I cannot be sure this is the case with this tablet. It bears further investigation.


Linear B tablet K 04-56 D j 04 and the supersyllabograms RA = tailor & QE = wicker shield:

Linear B tablet K 04-56 and supersyllabograms RA = tailor & QE = wicker shield

This Linear B tablet, which falls within the purview of both the military and textile sectors of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy, presents us with what are certainly 2 of the most unusual of all the supersyllabograms with ideograms in Linear B. Not only do we have the supersyllabogram RA inside the ideogram for “unfinished cloth” = putakariya, but also the supersyllabogram for a wicker shield. Let’s take a look at the supersyllabogram RA. This is the most unusual of all supersyllabograms I have ever encountered. Unusual because the syllabogram RA is incharged inside an ideogram which looks for all the world like that for textiles, but with the left and bottom sides lopped off. Hence  “unfinished cloth”. At least that is what it looks like to me. This supersyllabogram has never been deciphered before my present attempt at translating it.

Next, we find the supersyllabogram QE inside an ideogram which looks vaguely like a shield. And that is what I think it is meant to be. QE indicates that not only is this a shield, but a wicker shield = qero. This supersyllabogram has never been deciphered before,  This is followed by the ideogram for “horn”, hence my translation. There is no known ancient Greek word corresponding to the Linear B “numoro”, which is almost certainly left-truncated at any rate.

There are no fewer than 6 more Linear B tablets with both of these supersyllabograms.


Linear B tablet KN 595 R p 31 with reference to the chiton undertunic:

Linear B tablet KN 595 R p 31 & the supersyllabograms O PE & KI

This tablet has to be one of the most challenging and most intriguing I have ever had the pleasure of deciphering. Challenging because it introduces two new associative supersyllabograms which appear nowhere else on tablets in the military sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy. Intriguing because, as is to be expected, the two associative supersyllabograms, O & PE in the military sector, cannot possibly mean the same thing as they do in the agricultural sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy, where they are occur on hundreds of tablets. Associative supersyllabograms, which always appear adjacent to the ideograms they modify, are those which describe some characteristic or element related it, unlike attributive supersyllabograms, which always appear inside the ideogram which they modify. Attributive supersyllabograms are without exception an attribute of the ideogram which they embody. Thus the attributive supersyllabogram KI describes precisely the type of textile its ideogram refers to, namely, the chiton undertunic = kito in Linear B, which the Mycenaean warriors, charioteers and foot soldiers alike wore under their breastplate = toraka in Linear B or thorax in ancient Greek. There is no mystery here.

But what about the associative supersyllabograms O on the first line and PE on the second line? What can they possibly signify? It is obvious from the outset that here, in the military sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy, they cannot conceivably mean the same thing as they do in the agricultural sector, where O = onato i.e. a lease field & PE = periqoro = a sheep pen in Linear B. This is where context comes into play, and in a big way. In fact, without context in the broadest sense of that word, no supersyllabogram, whether associative or attributive, can have any meaning at all.

It is absolutely necessary to define context in its all-inclusive sense. By context I do not merely mean the semantic-syntactical context within the confines of the tablet in which any supersyllabogram whatsoever appears, but also the cross-comparative syntactical contextual significance of each and every syllabogram cutting across any number of tablets in which these supersyllabograms appear in the same sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy. But even at this level, context is not sufficiently accounted for. It is all fine and well to contend that this is all there is to context. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unless and until we take context to mean the actual real world significance of each and every supersyllabogram, let alone word or phrase, we take into account in any and all sectors of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy, contextual and cross-contextual syntactical context alone fall far short of establishing their actual meaning. The real world context is just that. It is the clincher.

For instance, if we contend that the associative supersyllabograms O = onato or lease field, and PE = periqoro or a sheep pen in contextual association alone with the ideogram they modify, we cannot be certain that that is in fact what these two supersyllabograms designate. Unless we take their real world, environmental context fully into account, there is no substantive corroborative evidence that these supersyllabograms actually mean what they appear to mean in their contextual sense alone. The only way we can be certain that these supersyllabograms O & PE actually refer to a lease field and a sheep pen in turn, and nothing else, is to fully account for their real world context, namely, the agricultural sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy (which just so happens to be almost always sheep). Otherwise, all the contextual analysis in the world amounts to a hill of beans. As it just so happens, these two supersyllabograms, O & PE, in the agricultural sector alone, must mean what they do mean, because there are no other feasible alternatives in their real world environment.

The guiding principle is, change the sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy in which any supersyllabogram appears, and you automatically change its real world significance in the vast majority of cases, with very few exceptions. It is patently impossible for the supersyllabogram O to mean a lease field or for the supersyllabogram PE to refer to a sheep pen in in the military sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy. The idea is ludicrous. That leaves us with no other alternative than to attempt to establish, not only the (cross-) contextual, but also the real world significance of the associative supersyllabograms O & PE in the military sector. This is not such a simple operation as one might assume.

The principle of cross-contextual real world significance of supersyllabograms:

Before moving on to the definitions of these two supersyllabograms in the military sector, it is absolutely necessary to generalize the principle of the sense of any supersyllabogram whatsoever in the context of any and all sectors of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy in which it appears. Hypothetically and in actuality, the meaning of any supersyllabogram whatsoever, associative as well as attributive, depends entirely on both the syntactical and real world context within which it appears. Change the environmental context in which any single supersyllabogram is set, and you automatically change its meaning or more properly speaking, its true significance. Thus, for instance, the supersyllabograms O & PE each signify one thing and one thing only in the agricultural sector and quite another in the military sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy. This is true for every single supersyllabogram which cuts across any or all of the sectors of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy. These sectors are: agricultural, military, textiles, vessels (pottery etc.), religious and toponyms. For instance, the supersyllabogram PA cuts across all sectors but one, vessels. But it cannot and does not carry the same real world significance in any of these sectors. This factor must always be held uppermost in mind in the determination of the real world significance of any and all supersyllabograms, associative or attributive, as they cut across the boundaries separating the sectors of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy.

That leaves us with the burning question, just what do the associative supersyllabograms O & PE signify in the military sector? The answer, at least in the case of the associative supersyllabogram O, is not so obvious as one might imagine. Why so? Unfortunately, when we turn to Chris Tselentis’ superb Linear B Lexicon, we discover to our dismay that there are no fewer than three candidates for the supersyllabogram O. These are (a) that the supersyllabogram O means a military unit, such as a squadron or battalion or (b) it refers to the delivery of the item(s) under the scope or (c) to the purchase of said item(s). Which one is right?  We shall never know. We were not there when the scribes assigned the real world significance to this supersyllabogram, O. Any one of the aforementioned definitions fits the bill where the military sector is concerned. It is particularly tempting to opt for the first meaning, as it is explicitly military, but we must be on our guard about making such an assumption. However, it does appear that the notion of a military unit such as a squadron or battalion makes eminent sense, given the presence of the word eropakeya, which references game hunting. At the same time, that definition looks suspiciously like it is too specific with regard to the real world context, as I am somewhat doubtful whether a scribe would run to such detail in the determination of the significance of the supersyllabogram at hand, namely, O. It makes just as much sense to postulate that O refers to the delivery or purchase of the textile, the chiton undergarment. We were not there when the scribe assigned the meaning he did to this supersyllabogram, O. So we shall never know. So take your pick.

As for the supersyllabogram PE, things are much more straightforward. We already know from the syntactical and real world context of the attributive supersyllabogram KI, which can refer to one thing and one thing only, the (undergarment) chiton, that the associative supersyllabogram PE must without a shadow of a doubt be directly related to its parallel attributive supersyllabogram KI. It just so happens that Chris Tselentis has lit upon the one word which precisely fits the context (at all levels). And that word is pekoto, which refers to a kind of textile. And that kind of textile is quite obviously the chiton. But why would the scribe find it necessary to repeat the notion of textile, once as pekoto (a kind of textile) and secondly as kito (a chiton) specifically? There has to be a legitimate reason; otherwise he would not have done so. The reason is this: the scribe is specifically drawing our attention to the manufacture of a certain type of textile, in this instance, the chiton undergarment. This is the primary thrust of the overall significance of the text (contextual and real world) of this tablet. In other words, the fact that the supersyllabogram O refers to a military hunting unit, or to the delivery or purchase of the items under consideration for game hunting (namely, textiles) is secondary, taking a back seat to the actual manufacture of this item, which is the chiton undertunic. At least that is how I interpret it.
  

Linear B tablet KN 594 R r 11 & the supersyllabogram KI = chiton:

Knossos tablet KN 594 R r 11 and the supersyllabogram KI for chiton

This supersyllabogram (KI) is a variant on the one in the previous post (RI = linen). It would appear that the Linear B scribes used one (RI) or the other (KI) on an equal footing. This appears to be substantiated by Linear B  tablet KN 594 R r 11, in which the word for cloth or textiles appears on the first line, and both the ideogram for cloth or linen and the ideogram for chiton appear side by side on the second. Nothing could be more explicit. In other words, Linear B tablets which employ the supersyllabogram RI for a linen undergarment or undertunic or chiton and those which make use of the supersyllabogram KI for an undergarment or undertunic or chiton pretty much amount to one and the same thing, in spite of the fact that the word linen is not always explicitly mentioned whenever the supersyllabogram KI is used in lieu of the supersyllabogram RI. Although the word rita does not appear anywhere else on any Linear B tablets, its meaning is clear, as the word is found in ancient Greek, and means arms or limbs of a person. Thus, the chiton or undertunic covered the arms. It is also to be noted that both of these supersyllabograms, KI and RI, apply equally to the military and the textiles sectors of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy.  In the military sense, it is understood that the attributive supersyllabogram KI refers to the chiton undertunic which was worn under the “toraka” (Linear B) or “thorax”, i.e. the armoured breastplate.


Just added to academia.edu: A Significant Breakthrough in the Decipherment of Linear B: The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, Presentation by Richard Vallance Janke at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, Pultusk, Poland, July 1, 2015.

To read the full text of my talk, with its comprehensive bibliography of 147 items related to this ground-breaking discovery in Mycenaean Linear B, click on this LINK:

breakthrough in decipherment ofx Mycenaean Linear B title
Of particular interest is item 139 in the bibliography:

139. Vallance Janke, Richard.  “An Archaeologist’s translation of Pylos Tablet TA 641-1952 (Ventris), with an introduction to supersyllabograms in the vessels & pottery Sector in Mycenaean Linear B”, TBP in Archaeology and Science = Arheoologija I Prirodne Nauke (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448, February 2016. approx. 30 pp.

ABSTRACT
In partnership with The Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes (Athens), our organization, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae (WordPress), conducts ongoing research into Mycenaean archaeology and military affairs and the Mycenaean Greek dialect. This study centres on a  fresh new decipherment of Pylos tablet TA 641-1952 (Ventris) by Mrs. Rita Roberts from Crete, who brings to bear the unique perspectives of an archaeologist on her translation, in all probability the most accurate realized to date. We then introduce the newly minted term in Mycenaean Linear B, the supersyllabogram, being the first syllabogram or first syllable of any word or entire phrase in Linear B. Supersyllabograms have been erroneously referred to as “adjuncts” in previous linguistic research into Mycenaean Linear B. This article demonstrates that their functionality significantly exceeds such limitations, and that the supersyllabogram must be fully accounted for as a unique and discrete phenomenon without which any approach to the interpretation of the Linear B syllabary is at best incomplete, and at worse, severely handicapped.
Keywords: Mycenaean Linear B, syllabograms, logograms, ideograms, supersyllabograms, adjuncts, Linear B tablets, Pylos, Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris), decipherment, translation, pottery, vessels, tripods, cauldrons, amphorae, kylixes, cups, goblets

which is as you can see the abstract of my own article about to appear in the February 2016 issue of the prestigious international peer-reviewed journal, Archaeology and Science = Arheoologija I Prirodne Nauke (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448

Richard 

Full PDF text of  “The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B” for the talk I gave at The Third International Disciplinary Conference ‘Thinking Symbols’ at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, Poland, July 1 2015

Thinking Symbols

This is the full PDF text (Click to READ):

The Role of SSYLS in Mycenean Linear B

of the ground-breaking talk I gave at  The Third International Disciplinary Conference ‘Thinking Symbols’ at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, July 1 2015. This presentation constitutes the most significant breakthrough in the further decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B since the genius, Michael Ventris, realized a successful decipherment of the Linear B syllabary in June-July 1952. In this paper, I isolate, identify and classify all 34 supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, previously and largely erroneously referred to as “adjuncts”  in the field of linguistic research into Linear B. The discovery of supersyllabograms is of such critical import to the full decipherment of Linear B that they simply cannot safely be ignored, to the peril of misinterpretation or even total misreadings of some 700-1,000 intact Linear B tablets from Knossos alone. In fact, it staggers the imagination to find that fully 34 of 61 syllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B alternatively function as supersyllabograms on hundreds of tablets. Actually, it is more accurate to say that syllabograms specifically identified as supersyllabograms are no longer simple syllabograms at all, as my talk makes perfectly clear. Read on, my friends, and stand as amazed as I was (and still am) at the discovery,  isolation, identification and classification of supersyllabograms in Linear B.

Furthermore, my presentation includes an extremely  comprehensive bibliography of 147 items on prior research into any and all phenomena related to syllabograms leading (in)directly to my own discovery of supersyllabograms as a phenomenon it is own right. This  bibliography even references (item 139) the upcoming publication of a major article by myself, which is to appear in the February 2016 issue of prestigious peer-reviewed European journal,

Archaeology and Science = Arheoologija I Prirodne Nauke (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448,
February 2016. approx. 30 pp.

ABSTRACT

In partnership with The Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes (Athens), our organization, Linear B,Knossos & Mycenae (WordPress), conducts ongoing research into Mycenaean archaeology and military affairs and the Mycenaean Greek dialect. This study centres on a fresh new decipherment of Pylos tablet TA 641-1952 (Ventris) by Mrs. Rita Roberts from Crete, who brings to bear the unique perspectives of an archaeologist on her translation, in all probability the most accurate realized to date. We then introduce the newly minted term in Mycenaean Linear B, the supersyllabogram, being the first syllabogram or first syllable of any word or entire phrase in Linear B. Supersyllabograms have been erroneously referred to as “adjuncts” in previous linguistic research into Mycenaean Linear B. This article demonstrates that their functionality significantly exceeds such limitations, and that the supersyllabogram must be fully accounted for as a unique and discrete phenomenon without which any approach to the interpretation of the Linear B syllabary is at best incomplete, and at worse, severely handicapped.

Keywords: Mycenaean Linear B, syllabograms, logograms, ideograms, supersyllabograms, adjuncts, Linear B tablets, Pylos, Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris), decipherment, translation, pottery, vessels, tripods, cauldrons, amphorae, kylixes, cups, goblets

Please note that this post shall shortly be supplemented with several more delving into the general application of supersyllabograms in Linear B, and into the specific application of them to every sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy, from agriculture to the military, from textiles to vessels (pottery) to over-arching realm of the religious in their society.

Richard


Did you know you speak Mycenaean Greek? You do! K-Z = kunaya to zeukesi

Mycenaean Greek in Modern English: korete to zeukesi: Click to ENLARGE

korete to zeukesi

[1] kunaya – Mycenaean Greek has no “g”, but ancient Greek does. Many English words begin with Greek words, as for instance gynecology + all others in this table marked with [1] 
[2] The same goes with prefixes. Many English words begin with the Greek prefix “peda”.
[3] The ancient Phoenicians were famous for their purple cloth, which they inherited from the splendid purple cloth, the finest in the entire then known world (the middle Mediterranean & the Aegean) the Minoans at Knossos had produced before them. Hence, Phoenician is a synonym for “purple”.
[4]The Mycenaean syllabary can express words beginning with “te”, but for some reason, they spelled 4 the same was the Romans did, “qetoro”, and there is nothing wrong with that. Archaic Greek sometimes expressed the number 4 with “petro” and sometimes with “tetro”. This too is not at all unusual with early alphabetic Greek, in which the various East Greek dialects derived from Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C flipped between these two spellings. Orthography was uncertain in archaic Greek, in other words, it had not yet fossilized into the final spelling used in Attic Greek in Classical Athens = tettares.
[5] The English word “quartet” is derived from the Latin “quattro”, which in turn was preceded historically by the Mycenaean “qetoro”, although the Latin spelling is unlikely to have derived from the latter. It is just that Mycenaean Greek and Latin happened to resort to the same basic spelling for 4. 
[6] Since Mycenaean Greek had no “l”, words beginning with “lambda” in (archaic) Greek had to be spelled with “r” + a vowel in the syllabary. Hence, “rewo” = archaic Greek “lewon” = English “lion” & “rino” = ancient Greek “linon” = English “linen”
[7] The ancient words “sasama” = “sesame” & Mycenaean “serino” = ancient Greek “selinon” = English “celery” are in fact not Greek words, but proto-Indo European. 
[8] While “sitophobia” = “fear of eating” in English does not seem to correspond with “sitos” = “wheat” in ancient Greek, in fact it does, since wheat was one of the main staples of their diet, just as it was for the Egyptians, Romans and most other ancient civilizations. In other words, wheat was a staple food.
[9] Although the Mycenaean infinitive “weide” = archaic Greek “weidein” = English “to see”, the aorist began with “weis”, hence “vision” in English.

Richard



Associative versus Attributed Supersyllabograms Illustrated in Mycenaean Linear B: Click to ENLARGE

Illustration of Associative versus Attributive Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B

This is Slide H of my lecture, “The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B ” I shall be giving at the Conference, “Thinking Symbols” at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, associated with the University of Warsaw, Poland, between June 30 & July 2, 2015. It clearly illustrates the marked difference between an associative (as) and an attributive supersyllabogram (at).

Associative Supersyllabograms:

Associative SSYLs relate to physical objects or items, places, specific locations & geographic identifiers which are independent of the ideograms they are associated with, and which do not define them in any way, except as additional information relative to the latter. A sheep is still a sheep, a horse is still a horse & an ox is still an ox, even when it has no associative supersyllabogram modifying it. However, associative SSYLS are extremely informative, since they always circumscribe the circumstances in which the ideograms, almost always animate and animal, find themselves placed. As such, associative SSYLS (as) replace whole words and even entire phrases, which offer us a great deal more insight into the ideogram involved than would have been supplied by the ideogram alone. There is a huge difference between the ideogram for “sheep” or “ram” all on its own, and the same ideograms accompanied by an associative supersyllabogram. For instance, in this illustration, the SSYL (as) KI informs us that “the ram is on a plot of land”.  That is an entire sentence in English symbolized by the SSYL (as) KI + the ideogram for “ram” (only two characters!). The SSYL (as) O + “sheep” is even more informative, telling us that “the sheep is on a lease field.” and even “the sheep is on a usufruct lease field.” Not only that, the scribes frequently combined two or more SSYLs (as), such as KI & O with an ideogram, usually for “ram”, “ewe” or “sheep”, replacing a very long sentence in both Mycenaean Linear B and in English (or any other target language into which the source – Mycenaean Greek – is translated). Thus, the SSYLs (as) KI + O + the ideogram for “ewe + the number 114 mean no less than,114 ewes on a plot of land which is a usufruct lease field”.

Associative supersyllabograms proliferate in the agricultural sector of the Mycenaean economy, and are also characteristic of the military sector. Associative SSYLS are not symbiotic.

Talk about a shortcut! Of course, many of us already know by now that the Mycenaean scribes frequently resorted to this clever stratagem to save plenty of space on what are, after all, very small tablets, rarely more than 30 cm. wide by 15 cm. deep, and usually much smaller.

Attributive Supersyllabograms:  

On the other hand, attributive SSYLs (at) always modify the the sense of ideograms on which they simultaneously depend as the ideograms themselves depend on them through the attributive qualities they assign to the latter. In other words, the relationship between the attributive supersyllabogram and the ideogram which it modifies is both symbiotic and auto-determinative. The plain ideogram for “cloth” has nothing inside it. But when the ideogram for “cloth” is assigned an attribute (usually defined as an adjectival modifier) that ideogram contains inside itself the supersyllabogram which unequivocally modifies its meaning. Thus, the ideogram for “cloth” with the SSYL NE inside it can mean one thing and one thing only, “new cloth”. Likewise, the SYL PU inside the ideogram for “cloth” can only mean “purple cloth”, and nothing else. Similarly, the SSYL TE inside the same ideogram has the specific meaning, “well-prepared cloth” or “finished cloth prepared for market or sale”. Thus, all attributive supersyllabograms modify the unqualified meaning of the simple syllabogram for “cloth” in the textile sector, while similar SSYLS in other sectors, especially the vessels, pottery & vases sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy operate in the exact same fashion. Associative supersyllabograms proliferate in these two sectors. 

Richard

 


Thinking Symbols”, Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, University of Warsaw (June 30-July 2 2015):

Thinking Symbols Koryvantes 640

Table of All 32 Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B for my Presentation at the Conference: Click to ENLARGE

Table of SSYLS in Mycenaean Linear B

As of spring 2015, I have discovered, isolated and classified a total of 32 supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, having found no new ones since autumn 2014. Let us review supersyllabograms, what they are, the 2 different types & how they are classified & sub-classified.

What Supersyllabograms are:

In Mycenaean Linear B, a supersyllabogram is almost always the first syllabogram only, in other words, the first syllable only of a Mycenaean Greek word or phrase. There are only three (3) exceptions to this operative principle. The 32 supersyllabograms account for more than 50 % of all syllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B. That this is a very significant subset of this discrete set of syllabograms goes without saying.  

The 2 types of Supersyllabograms:

There are only two types of supersyllabograms:

(1) Independent supersyllabograms (i):

An independent supersyllabogram is one which stands alone, all by itself, on any Linear B tablet. There is just the one syllabogram, with nothing preceding or following it, except whenever several of them appear in a series, as on Linear B tablet Heidelburg HE Fl 1994. And even then, strictly speaking, they still stand alone, each one being a discrete entity naming only one thing, a city or settlement name. 

Most independent supersyllabograms were deciphered,

(a) first by Prof. John Chadwick, who deciphered the syllabograms NI = suko (figs) & SA = rino (flax), and the homophone RAI = kanako (crocus or saffron) in his ground-breaking book, The Decipherment of Linear B (1959,1970), in which he divulged to the world the arduous road over several years to the decipherment of Linear B in 1952 by the brilliant cryptographer, Michael Ventris.

It is essential to realize that these three independent supersyllabograms alone are the only ones for which the single syllabogram symbolizing the Mycenaean Greek word they each replace is not the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of that word, as we can clearly see with NI, SA & RAI. This being the case, the remaining 29 supersyllabograms of a total of 32 are, by default, the first syllabogram of the Mycenaean word or phrase each of them represents.

(b) The second person to identify independent supersyllabograms was Prof. Thomas G. Palaima, in his superb translation of Heidelburg tablet HE Fl 1994, here:

Heidelburg HE Fl 1994 800

In this case, all 5 of the independent supersyllabograms, KO, ZA, PA, PU & MU are the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of a Minoan or Mycenaean city or settlement name. While these 5 independent SSYLS appear in sequence, each one should and must be interpreted as standing alone in its own right.

There are thus a total of 3 + 5 = 8 independent supersyllabograms (i). However, it is absolutely essential to understand that some of these 8 SSYLS are also dependent (d).

I am obliged to point out that neither John Chadwick nor Thomas G. Palaima recognized or identified these 8 supersyllabograms as such, since after all, one of them (Chadwick) discovered only 3 syllabograms which fit this description, while the other (Palaima) hit upon only 5 more. In retrospect, we have to be honest with ourselves and admit that it would be unrealistic, if not downright disingenuous, to expect them to have isolated supersyllabograms in the first place, given that they only just happened to stumble upon these 8, all of which are independent SSYLS, and none of which fit into the default paradigm of the rest of the supersyllabograms, all of which are dependent (d). In a word, neither of them could conceivably have even identified a phenomenon one could call the supersyllabogram, because they did not find any others. And it was the others, of which there are so many, that were, as we say, the real McCoy.

(2) Dependent supersyllabograms(d):

A dependent supersyllabogram (d) is one which always appears as a single syllabogram, but which is also always immediately adjacent to (da) or inside (di) an ideogram. It is the dependent supersyllabogram I discovered early 2014, and which has given true meaning to the term as I have come to define it. The basic formula for the layout of the dependent supersyllabogram on any Linear B tablet is:

SSYLa (left) + ideogram (right) -or-
ideogram (left)+ SSYLb (right) -or-
SSYLc on top of an ideogram -or-
SSYLd under an ideogram -or-
SSYLe inside an ideogram.

If there is only one (1) dependent supersyllabogram (d) adjacent to only one (1) ideogram, that ideogram, upon which that SSYL depends, determines the exact meaning of the SSYL. Change the ideogram, change the meaning. In other words, the meanings of all dependent supersyllabograms (d) are determined by the specific ideogram to which they are adjacent. The meaning of any adjacent dependent SSYL must therefore be strictly contextual (dc).     

More than one dependent supersyllabogram can be adjacent to one or more ideograms, and in any order. However, the order in which the SSYLS & the ideograms appear together is never random. It is always structurally contextual. Change the order, change the meaning.

Sub-classification of Dependent Supersyllabograms:

Dependent supersyllabograms are sub-classified as either associative (as) or attributive (at).

(1) Associative dependent supersyllabograms (as) are those which are immediately adjacent to the ideograms upon which they depend. An associative SSYL is one which informs of us of some external element, for instance, the factor of land tenure relating to the ideogram itself, or one which circumscribes its environment, especially in the livestock raising sub-sector of the agricultural sector. For instance, in the Table of All 32 Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B above, the supersyllabogram O adjacent to the ideogram for sheep + the number of sheep accounted for in the inventory of any particular tablet, informs us that the sheep are being raised on a lease(d) field, more specifically a usufruct lease field (i.e. a lease field which a farmer tenant cultivates for the use of his own family and village neighbours, with a taxation imposed by the overseer). In other words, the supersyllabogram O = onato (lease field) is associated with the raising of x no. of sheep.

(2) Attributive dependent supersyllabograms (at) always appear inside the ideogram which they qualify, never adjacent to it. They always describe an actual attribute (usually known as an adjectival function) of the ideogram. For instance, the syllabogram PO inside the ideogram for “cloth” is the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of the Mycenaean word ponikiya = “purple”, hence the phrase = “purple cloth”.  Likewise the syllabogram TE, when it appears inside the ideogram for “cloth” is the supersyllabogram for the Mycenaean word tetukuwoa, which means “well prepared” or if you like, “well spun”. Hence, the syllabogram TE inside the ideogram for cloth must mean one thing and one thing only, “well-prepared cloth”. I have discovered, identified & classified well over a dozen examples of associative supersyllabograms.

The first person to identify and correctly translate two of the most frequently occurring supersyllabograms was Chris Tselentis, who deciphered the two SSYLS ZE & MO on Knossos Tablet KN So 4439, in the appendix TEXTS of Linear B tablets of his excellent Linear B Lexicon. On this tablet, which is strictly military, these syllabograms each appear immediately adjacent to the ideogram for chariot wheel, ZE appearing after the ideogram, and MO before it. It was obvious to Chris Tselentis that, in the military context of this tablet, the syllabogram ZE could mean one thing and one thing only, “a pair of (wheels)”, while MO could only mean “a single wheel”. And he was bang on. Unfortunately, he had his hands full just compiling his comprehensive Lexicon, and so he never got around to a thorough examination of a large enough statistically significant cross-section of Linear B tablets, to ascertain whether there were any more like this one.

But there were – plenty more, in fact some 700 of 3,000 Linear B tablets I meticulously poured through from the corpus at Knossos. If it weren’t for Chris Tselentis in particular, or for John Chadwick and Thomas G. Palaima before him, I would never have followed my intuition to ferret out more examples of the same phenomena, only to be so richly rewarded for taking this decisive step in the first place in the winter of 2014. There was no guarantee that anything concrete would come out of my year-long investigations. But it did, to say the very least. The ultimate result of my painstaking search through 3,000 tablets from Knossos, and the meticulous research which ensued were to pay off in droves. The Table you see above is the true fulfillment of a hard-won struggle.     

To read a detailed account of the function of dependent supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, please refer to this post:

Associative Versus Attributive


Richard


Associative Versus Attributive Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B: Appendix H

Appendix H neatly summarizes the rôle of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B. Click to ENLARGE:

H Appendix
I wish to stress one thing in particular. There is a marked difference in associative supersyllabograms, which account for the greatest number of SSYLS in Mycenaean Linear B, and attributive supersyllabograms, which appear primarily in the textiles and vessels (pottery, amphorae, cups etc.) sectors of the Late Minoan III & Mycenaean economies.

Associative supersyllabograms inform of us of some element, usually a land tenure factor, which relates to the ideogram itself, or which circumscribes its environment, especially in the livestock raising sub-sector of the agricultural sector. For instance, the supersyllabogram O, which you see in this Appendix, plus the ideogram for sheep + the number of sheep accounted for in the inventory of any particular tablet, informs us that the sheep are being raised on a lease(d) field, more specifically a usufruct lease field (i.e. a lease field which a farmer tenant cultivates for the use of his own family and village neighbours, with a taxation imposed by the overseer). In other words, the supersyllabogram is associated with the raising of x no. of sheep. The scribe could have simply informed us that x no. of sheep were raised, and left it at that. But he did not. By adding just one syllabogram, in this case a simple vowel = O, he has given us a great deal more information on the raising of the sheep (rams & ewes) on this particular tablet. And he has done all of this without having to resort to writing it all out as text. Since it was critical for the scribes to use as little space as possible on what were (and are) extremely small tablets, the use of supersyllabograms as a substitute for wasteful text is illustrative of just how far the scribes were willing to go to save such invaluable space. They did not do this only occasionally. They did it a great deal of the time, and they always followed the exact same formula in so doing. Not only are syllabograms such as O (on a lease field), KI (on a plot of land) & NE (in their sheep pens) in the field of sheep husbandry associative, they are all what I designate as dependent supersyllabograms, since they are meaningless unless they are immediately adjacent to the ideograms they qualify. No ideogram, no supersyllabogram. Period.

To illustrate the radical difference between a Linear B tablet on which a supersyllabogram + an ideogram is used, and another on which the text is spelled out, take a good hard look at this comparison: Click to ENLARGE

Knossos Tablet KN 933 G d 01 supersyllabograms and text

This comparison between the real tablet from Knossos using only supersyllabograms and ideograms (left) and a putative one using text in full (right) is precisely the reason why so many scribes much preferred the former formulaic approach to inscribing tablets to the latter discursive and space wasting technique. A textual version of this tablet would have been twice as long as the actual tablet. Even if no one nowadays has ever managed to decipher dependent supersyllabograms until now, that cannot conceivably mean that the Linear B scribes did not know what they were, since otherwise, they would never have used them so liberally in the first place. In other words, using SSYLS for no reason at all is tantamount to a reductio ad absurdum. There are thousands of supersyllabograms found on 700 tablets from Knossos. They are there because all of the scribes, as a team or, if you like, as a guild, all understood each and every supersyllabogram to mean one thing and one thing only in its proper context. In other words, supersyllabograms are standardized and always formulaic. This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Homer, who also heavily relied on formulaic expressions, though for entirely different reasons. My point is that formulaic language is a key characteristic of ancient Greek texts, right on down from Mycenaean times through to Attic and beyond. We should never overlook this extremely important characteristic of ancient Greek, regardless of period (1450 – 400 BCE).   

Attributive dependent supersyllabograms always appear inside the ideogram which they qualify, never adjacent to it. They always describe an actual attribute (usually known as an adjectival function) of the ideogram. For instance, the syllabogram PO inside the ideogram for “cloth” is the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of the Mycenaean word ponikiya = “purple”, hence the phrase = “purple cloth”.  Likewise the syllabogram TE, when it appears inside the ideogram for “cloth” is the supersyllabogram for the Mycenaean word tetukuwoa, which means “well prepared” or if you like, “well spun”. Hence, the syllabogram TE inside the ideogram for cloth must mean one thing and one thing only, “well-prepared cloth”. I have discovered, identified & classified well over a dozen examples of associative supersyllabograms. 

Neither type of dependent supersyllabogram, associative or attributive, was ever isolated and tabulated in Mycenaean Linear B until I systematically studied, deciphered and classified scores of them on some 700 tablets from Knossos.

Richard


Linear B Ideogram for Wheel + ZE = a set of wheels on axle - Distinctions, Distinctions! Fussy, fussy

Since the use of the supersyllabogram ZE, which invariably means “a pair of/a team of” or minor variants thereof in the military sector of Minoan/Mycenaean society, was the first supersyllabogram we ever discovered, when we deciphered the ideogram for horse IQO + ZE as meaning “a team of horses” back in the spring of 2014, we really ought to have followed that post up right away with our discussion of this combination of ideogram + supersyllabogram, the ideogram for “wheel(s)” + the supersyllabogram ZE. But we did not. This situation we now rectify. We should have posted our observations on these two combinations the other way around, i.e. the ideogram for “wheel(s)” + ZE before the ideogram for horse IQO + ZE, since to be perfectly honest, it was not I who discovered the meaning of the former, but Chris Tselentis, in the Appendix of Linear B Tablets he translated at the end of his excellent Linear B Lexicon, as clearly illustrated here with my first three examples of the usage of the ideogram for “wheel(s)” + ZE: Click to ENLARGE

Mycenaean Lineae B Supersyllabnogram Wheel ZE A

There is absolutely no doubt about it. Chris Tselentis hit the nail right on the head. In addition, he also cleverly intuited the meaning of the second supersyllabogram appearing right after the first (ZE) on the same tablet, i.e. MO which he correctly translated as “monos”, meaning “only 1, 1 only or – single- ”. However, he did not take his insight any further. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that he must not have had the occasion or the chance to do as I have had, i.e. to trudge through some 3,000 tablets in the Scripta Minoa from Knossos. Missing that opportunity, he could not have realistically been expected to discover that there were 24 other Linear B tablets from Knossos sporting the precise same formula, the ideogram for “wheel(s)” + ZE. Nor could he have possibly known that there were not just scores, but hundreds of other Scripta Minoa tablets, on which scores of other formulae, constructed on the exact same principles, recurred over and over and over.  

I need only cite a few examples of these to underscore my hypothesis beyond the point of no return, or more to the point, if you will pardon the pun, to the very point where returns have richly rewarded our exhaustive efforts to dig up the truth about supersyllabograms. And what an amazing phenomenon they have proven to be, in the most practical terms and in their application in the realm of attested Linear B. The most common supersyllabograms by far are found in the agricultural sector of Minoan/Mycenaean society. Of the 3,000 tablets from Knossos I meticulously examined, 800 tablets (27%!) contain supersyllabograms, all of them following the exact same formulaic structure as the military supersyllabograms IQO + ZE & wheel + ZE. Even more astonishingly, some 700 (23%!) of these tablets refer to sheep husbandry (of rams and ewes) alone and to nothing else, attesting to the extreme significance of the sheep raising sector of the Minoan/Mycenaean economy, the one single sector with which the scribes were obsessed far beyond all others, even the military. Here are just a few examples of supersyllabogram + ideogram formulae in the sheep husbandry sector of the economy, which follow precisely the template established by  IQO + ZE & wheel + ZE to the letter. In order to clearly illustrate the formulaic function of supersyllabograms for those of you who are not familiar at all with Mycenaean Linear B, we have, for instance:

We have for the Military:

Ideogram for horse (IQO) + ZE = a team of horses
Ideogram for X wheels + ZE = X sets of wheels on axle ready to be mounted
Ideogram for X chariots + wheels + ZE = X sets of wheels on axle mounted on chariots

We have for Sheep Husbandry:

Ideogram for X Rams or Ewes + vowel O = X Rams or Ewes on a lease field (Onaton)
Ideogram for X Rams or Ewes + syllabogram KI = X Rams or Ewes on a plot of land (KItimena)
Ideogram for X Rams or Ewes + syllabogram PE = X Rams or Ewes in an enclosure or sheep pen (PEriqoro)
Ideogram for X Rams or Ewes + syllabogram ZA = X Rams or Ewes of this year (ZAweto), meaning X young Rams or Ewes

We have for textiles:

Ideogram for textile or cloth +  syllabogram KU = gold cloth (KUruso)
Ideogram for textile or cloth +  syllabogram RI = linen (RIno)
Ideogram for textile or cloth +  syllabogram TE = well-prepared, well-spun (TEtukowoa)

Even if you have no prior knowledge of Mycenaean Linear B, the latinized forms of the ideograms and supersyllabograms you see above make it crystal clear that the template for the formula for ideogram-dependent supersyllabograms is invariable, from one sector to another of Minoan/Mycenaean society. The very inflexibility of the formula = ideogram + syllabogram, in all cases, clearly serves to underscore its authenticity throughout the range of some 800 of 3,000 tablets in Scripta Minoa, where it so frequently re-appears with the absolute consistency you see illustrated above.

As I have demonstrated over and over on this blog, the same formulae invariably apply to all sectors of Minoan/Mycenaean society, agricultural, military, textiles, pottery and vessels, and religious, without exception. If the formulae work in one sector, they will work in the next. And since the overall structure of the formulae, i.e. ideogram + supersyllabogram, is always invariable and always in that particular order, we have hit upon a phenomenon in Mycenaean Linear B which has been staring us in the face ever since 1952, when our genius, Michael Ventris, first deciphered the vast majority of the Linear B syllabary, but which no-one, not even Prof. John Chadwick or Chris Tselentis, has ever isolated for extrapolation, at least until now. I must however give both of these brilliant researchers, Prof. John Chadwick & Chris Tselentis, the full credit that is without question due to them, for without their invaluable insights into two specific examples of the appearance of supersyllabograms, one by Prof. Chadwick, and the other by Chris Tselentis (as illustrated by the presence of the supersyllabogram ZE with the ideogram for – wheel – in Knossos Tablet KN SO 4439 above), I would have never been able to extrapolate their discoveries of these two specific occurrences into the general hypothesis of the signal contribution of supersyllabograms, which occur at high enough a frequency (800 times in 3,000 tablets) to warrant their inclusion as actual Linear B words and phrases in the lexicon of extant Mycenaean Linear B vocabulary. What once seemed merely to be stray single syllabograms on so many tablets have turned out not to be simple syllabograms at all, but the first syllabogram i.e. the first syllable of scores of words and even entire phrases in Mycenaean Greek.

If this is not a major step forward in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B, I don’t know what is.

Richard
   
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