Tag Archive: Tselentis



The proportion of eponyms & toponyms in percentage to all terms in Minoan Linear A and in Mycenaean Linear B. Does it all add up? 

There are 45 eponyms and toponyms in our Glossary of 134 words in Minoan Linear A, comprising 33 % of the total.

excerpt eponyms and toponyms in Minoan Linear A

Calculating the total number of terms in Chris Tselentis’ Linear B Lexicon as 1,500 give or take, and the number of eponyms and toponyms as 380 give or take, the percentage of the latter is 25 % of the total.

excerpt eponyms and toponyms in Mycenean Linear B

It should come as no surprise at all anyone at all familiar with Mycenaean Linear B that there are so many eponyms and toponyms (e&ts) in the Lexicon. This being the case, it is reasonable to expect that the same phenomenon should repeat itself in Minoan Linear A. And so it does. Yet, while it is clear that eponyms and toponyms account for a significant percentage of the total number of terms in each syllabary, why the 8 % discrepancy between the percentage of eponyms and toponyms (e&t) in Minoan Linear A = 33 % and in Mycenaean Linear B = 25 %? 

There are several cogent reasons for the divergence:
1. Whereas philologists have squarely deciphered the vast majority of words in Mycenaean Linear B, the same cannot conceivably be said of Minoan Linear A. Hence, the over-weighted preponderance of e&ts in Minoan Linear A. We simply have not been able to decipher enough Minoan Linear A words, however accurately or not, to be able to state with confidence that we have even approached a comprehensive lexicon of Minoan Linear A. This fact alone would account for the relatively higher percentage of e&ts in Minoan Linear A (33 %) than in the wide-ranging Linear B Lexicon by Chris Tselentis (25 %).
2. However, even Tselentis, in spite of his admirable thoroughness, has not by any means accounted for all of the terms deciphered in Linear B, as these amount to at least 2,500. So unless we count all of the eponyms and toponyms on every last extant Mycenaean Linear B tablet, the percentage of the e&ts cannot be accurately accounted for.    
3. The same goes for our Minoan Linear A Glossary of 134 terms. Since the number of terms deciphered, exclusive of eponyms and toponyms, amounts to 89, these account for only 17.5 % of all intact words in Prof. John G. Younger’s Linear B Lexicon (ca. 510). So in the case of Minoan Linear A, the total percentage of eponyms and toponyms (33 %) is decidedly lop-sided to the up side. There is no way of telling how positively biased the percentage of e&ts in our Minoan Linear A Glossary of 134 terms is, but it is certain that it is out of whack, just as the percentage of e&ts  in Mycenaean Linear B is (but for entirely different reasons).    
4. Thus, we cannot definitively conclude that the frequency of e&ts in Minoan Linear A is as closely aligned with the frequency of the same in Mycenaean Linear B as we might imagine or wish it to be.  Such an expectation is entirely misguided. 
5. On the other hand, it is quite clear the eponyms and toponyms account for a considerable segment of the total vocabulary in both Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B. This set of circumstances must never be overlooked in any sober attempt at the decipherment of Minoan Linear A, however partial.

There still remains one ineluctable sticking point with eponyms and toponyms in Minoan Linear A. Whereas in Mycenaean Linear B, which has been deciphered for the most part with considerable accuracy, we can virtually always distinguish between a word which is an eponym and one which is a toponym (with only a handful of exceptions at best), the same cannot be said of Minoan Linear A. There is just no guarantee that the 27 words I have identified as eponyms in our Glossary of 134 Minoan Linear A words are in fact all eponyms, or vice versa, that the 18 toponyms are indeed all toponyms. The most glaring example of this crossover transposition is the name Kaudeta (?), which may be either an eponym or a toponym (which is why I have listed it in both categories), or which may be neither. That is made clear enough by my marked hesitancy in defining it either way, while at the same time I find myself hedging my bets by including it also in the list of terms I have tentatively deciphered, more or less accurately, where I define it as possibly meaning “ to be distributed (fut. part. pass.) approx. = Linear B, epididato = having been distributed (aorist part. pass.) ”. But you cannot have it three ways. All this goes to show how precarious the partial decipherment of even a relatively small subset of Minoan Linear B (26 %) is bound to be.



The failures of Gretchen Leonhardt’s translation of Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris): (Click to read)

Leonhardt Pylos TA 641-1952

Gretchen Leonhardt’s translation of Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) is unfortunately riddled with errors in interpretation and with lexical errors, all of which are frankly inexcusable. This sad state of affairs is attested to by her own Poll, in which she asks her readers:

poll

We note that her own translation has garnered only 1 vote versus 5 votes for “Janke’s” translation, which is not his translation at all, but rather that of Rita Roberts, Crete, who is a professional archaeologist, and whose translation is published in Richard Vallance Janke’s in-depth and thoroughly meticulous article recently published in the prestigious international hard-cover annual,

Archaeology and Science Vol. 10 2014 translation
  
ISSN 1452-7448

It is to be stressed that Mrs. Roberts, as a life-long archaeologist, is eminently qualified to decipher the famous Ventris tablet (Pylos Py TA 641-1952). Her translation surpasses even that of Michael Ventris himself:

Archaeologists translation Pylos 641-1952 Ventris

Not only that, it flatly contradicts the translations Mrs. Leonhardt, who is not an archaeologist, brings to bear on practically every single word on this tablet, with the sole exception of those terms which are so transparent that it is impossible to interpret them otherwise than they appear. Such words are tiripode, qetorowe (quattuor in Latin) , dipa (with this word, Ms. Leonhardt’s translation flatly defies logic) and apu, in which case she is so far off the mark that it is amazing she cannot have seen how far astray she has gone in interpreting this preposition, apu, common to Mycenaean Greek, and the Arcadian, Cypriot, Lesbian & Thessalian dialects [NOTE below]. Now what is particularly striking here is the fact that the Arcadian and Cypriot dialects are practically identical, and that their parent, Arcado-Cypriot, is the dialect of the Linear C syllabary, in which once again apu appears. So how Ms. Leonhardt could possibly cook up her translation of apu as “to become bleached or white” simply baffles me beyond credulity. Why on earth would anyone fashioning pottery such as tripods, vases and cups ever want to bleach them?

And there is more, much more. Her translation falls prey to several more startling errors, of which I have flagged only a few:
[1] aikeu, which she claims is somehow “related to aikia (here Latinized) | injurious, insulting treatment...” But how on earth would insulting or injurious treatment have anything remotely to do with fashioning pottery? It is quite beyond me.
[2] anowe, which she falsely interprets as “last year’s, one year”, again flying in the face of reason, flatly flying in the face of the definition Chris Tselentis, who is a professional Greek lexicologist, attributes to it in his excellent Linear B Lexicon:

Chris Tselentis anowe without handles

which in this case is to be interpreted as “without handles”.
[3] apu. See above.  
[4]dipa, which she, for some bizarre reason which totally escapes me and which Tselentis would find ludicrous, interprets as “to inspect, inspection”. She should make up her mind. Is this a verb or a noun? At any rate dipa is clearly the Mycenaean Greek equivalent of the Homeric depa, which everyone knows means “a cup”. Period.
[5] See [4]. No further comment.
[6] mewijo, which she imagines is “a kind of  cumin”. In the first place, Mycenaean Greek never makes a distinction between kinds of cumin. It just has the one word, kumino, and that’s that. At any rate, why bother parsing the word down to a specific “kind of  cumin”? Additionally, it is particularly difficult to imagine why anyone would put cumin in a tripod or cup, since it would simply blow away. OK, I grant that it would probably stay put in a vase, but... mewiyo, again according to the Greek expert Tselentis, simply means “small(er)”.  
[7] Mezoe she has as “barley”, but here again she is in flat contradiction with Tselentis, who has it that kirita means “barley”. I for one am not about to question the expertise of a Greek-born lexicologist.
[8] owowe, she would have us believe, “is perhaps related to damage, hurt” (italics mine). But here again, Tselentis defines owowe as “with handles”, which makes perfect sense in light of  [2] above, anowe, which means “without handles”. These two words are clearly opposites. Anowe is after all a-privative. 

There are plenty of other such errors in her translation, but I simply leave these aside for our readers versed in ancient Greek to interpret as they see fit.

NOTE:
Buck, C.D. The Greek Dialects. Bristol: Bristol Classical Press. xvi, 373 pp. ISBN 1-85399-556-8... apu pg. 352. Arcadian, Cypriot, Lesbian & Thessalian

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