Tag Archive: West Greek



An Easy Guide to Learning the Linear C Syllabary for Arcado-Cypriot & a Plea to our Followers: Click to ENLARGE

Easy Guide to Learning Linear C Arcado-Cypriot
I have just spent 3 hours compiling this Easy Guide to Learning the Linear C Syllabary for Arcado-Cypriot. There is nothing like it on the entire Internet. I have obviously done this for the benefit of those of you who wish to learn the syllabary, and for those of you who are already familiar with it, but who would like to see for yourselves just how elegant the geometric economy of Linear C is, even in comparison with Linear B for Mycenaean Greek. Linear C contains only syllabograms, whereas Linear B has 61 syllabograms, numerous homophones, logograms something like 100 ideograms, which makes for a much more challenging learning curve. In fact, Linear C represents the final step in the two syllabic scripts (B & C) before the various avatars of the ancient Greek alphabet were adopted ca. 800-700 BCE. And we must remember that the relative simplicity of Linear C allowed it to last from ca. 1100 BCE to at least 400 BCE, since the Arcadians and Cypriots could see no real reason to abandon what was after all a very easy syllabary for the Greek alphabet, although they did start using the Greek alphabet alongside the syllabary by about the seventh century BCE. The Idalion Tablet, for instance, is composed in both Linear C and in the Greek alphabet, the latter acting as a check on the accuracy of the Linear C syllabograms, and in turn, as we shall see later on this year, as a check on the Linear B syllabograms as well, facilitating more accurate translations of tablets in the latter syllabary.

Michael Ventris & Prof. John Chadwick were fully aware of the urgent need for cross-correlation of the values of the Linear C syllabary used for writing Arcado-Cypriot Greek as a check on the correctness of the Linear B syllabary for Mycenaean Greek. We must always keep in mind that of all the ancient dialects, no two were more intimately related than the Mycenaean and the Arcado-Cypriot, which were in fact, kissing cousins, much more closely related even than Ionic and Attic Greek. Here is what Prof. Chadwick so aptly points out in The Decipherment of Linear B (Second Edition) Cambridge University Press, © 1970:The conclusion was already advanced that the new dialect was most closely related to Arcadian and Cypriot, as had been predicted...” (pg. 78) & again, “We know not only that the Mycenaeans were Greeks, but also what sort of Greek they spoke. They were not Dorians,... passim...  But at least we can say that linguistically their nearest relatives were the Arcadians and Cypriots, and next to them the Ionians.” Thus, any attempt to correlate the East Greek Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot dialects with the West Greek Dorian dialect is bound to prove a failure.

I WOULD LIKE TO NOTE IN PASSING THAT, AFTER ALMOST TWO YEARS OF MARKED SUCCESS WITH OUR BLOG ON THE INTERNET, ALMOST NO-BODY EVER TAGS OUR POSTS WITH “LIKE” OR FAVORITES THEM, OR FOR THAT MATTER EVEN BOTHERS TO RETWEET THEM MORE THAN A COUPLE OF TIMES, ALL THIS IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THERE IS NO RICHER SOURCE FOR SO MANY ASPECTS OF MYCENAEAN LINEAR B, ARCADO-CYPRIOT LINEAR C & THE TRANSLATION OF THE ENTIRE CATALOGUE OF SHIPS IN BOOK TWO OF THE ILIAD ON THE INTERNET. That this is a huge disappointment and source of discouragement to both myself and my research colleague, Rita Roberts, is an understatement, to say the very least. I sincerely hope that our devoted followers and other folks involved in research into Linear B & C will rectify this sad state of affairs all through this year, 2015.

Thank you

Richard 


20 Greek Words in the Arcadian Dialect Translated into Tentative & Actual Linear B: (Click to ENLARGE):

Arcadian Linear C Linear B

As I just did in our previous post with a much larger vocabulary of the Cypriot dialect, from which I extracted as many putative or hypothetical Linear B concrete and semi-abstract words as I could, leaving purely abstract words aside (as they almost never appear in in Linear B in Mycenaean Greek), I am providing 20 hypothetical Linear B equivalents to everyone on our blog or on the Internet fascinated by the near intimate relationship between the Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot dialects, written in Linear B and C respectively, with a vocabulary in the Arcadian dialect, somewhat briefer than that I posted for the Cypriot.

By way of introduction, I should like to draw your attention to some highly pertinent facts. In his ground-breaking exhaustive survey of all of the ancient Greek dialects, C. D. Buck, in The Greek Dialects (a), has this to say about the relationship of the Arcadian and Cypriot dialects, which are fact but minor variants on the same dialect (all italics mine):No two dialects, not even Attic and Ionic, belong together more obviously than do those of Arcadia and the distant Cyprus. They share in a number of notable peculiarities which are unknown elsewhere. See 189 and Chart I. This is to be accounted for by the fact that Cyprus was colonized, not necessarily or probably from Arcadia itself, as tradition states, but from the Peloponnesian coast, at a time when its speech was like that which in Arcadia survived the Doric migration. This group represents, beyond question, the pre-Doric speech of most of the Peloponnesus whatever we choose to call it... passim...

... There are in fact notable points of agreement between Arcado-Cypriot and Aeolic (see 190.3-6 and Chart I,) which cannot be accidental... passim... and there are certain points of agreement with Attic-Ionic...”  

C.D. Buck’s comments pretty much speak for themselves. But it is extremely important to stress the very intimate relationship between Arcado-Cypriot Greek (being the natural conflagration of the Arcadian and Cypriot dialects into one almost seamless continuum) on the one hand to Aeolic and Attic-Ionic on the other, all of these dialects inclusive falling squarely within the orbit of East Greek, as we move chronologically forward in time. On the other hand, along the same timeline, only in reverse chronological order, we can confirm that (proto-)Arcadian and Mycenaean Greek also unquestionably belong to the same class of ancient Greek dialects, namely, the East Greek. This is precisely why I choose to term both Mycenaean and (proto-)Arcadian as proto-Ionic, since that is in fact what these dialects were. 

In this perspective, we need to add one more critical comment, again quoting directly from C.D. Buck (although he and I would certainly mirror one another, if we either of us were to say this, even without knowing the other one had. He did say this, and I do.) So allow me to steal the words right out of his mouth, in the sure realization that this is precisely what I, and for that matter, all linguists worldwide would say about the relationship between the ancient Greek dialects would assert... save for a few lone renegades, whom I won’t even bother with, as it is a waste of my breath and our time. C.D. Buck has this to say:The most fundamental division of the Greek dialects is that into the West Greek and the East Greek dialects, the terms referring to their location prior to the great migrations. The East Greek are the “the old Hellenic” dialects, that is, those employed by the peoples who held the stage almost exclusively in the period represented by the Homeric poems, when the West Greek peoples remained in obscurity in the northwest. To the East Greek belong the Attic and Aeolic groups... passim... And to the East Greek (dialects) also belong the Arcado-Cyprian.” And, of course, just to be certain we have the whole picture clearly in focus, we must also include Mycenaean Greek and early Arcadian as proto-Ionic, both of which dialects held sway “prior to the great migrations.” Here C.D. Buck is referring specifically to the great Doric invasion of the Greek peninsula ca. 1200-1100 BCE or thereabouts.

The following summary can be drawn with relative ease from C.D. Buck’s linguistic analysis:
1. The division between the East Greek dialects, among which we count the Arcado-Cypriot (subsumed by its slightly different Arcadian and Cypriot variants) plus the Aeolic, Ionic and Attic dialects, as representative, there being others as well... and the West Greek dialects, under the generic, Doric, is clear and distinct. Never the twain shall meet.
2. Since Mycenaean, proto-Arcado-Cypriot and its later metamorphoses, Arcadian and Cypriot, are all in the same dialectical class, i.e. East Greek, any consideration of the function(s), historical rôle and influences of any and all of these dialects in particular play, must be decisively distinguished from the rôle the Doric dialects played, since the former were all firmly in place and fully operative all over the Greek peninsula well before the Doric invasions ca. 1200-1100 BCE. In fact, in the case of Mycenaean Greek, that dialect held sway for at least 300 years prior to the Doric invasions, so that any putative influence or impact of the latter on the former is de facto impossible.
3. The proto-Arcado-Cypriot dialect is clearly the younger cousin of Mycenaean Greek, as is its later evolution into literary Arcado-Cypriot (Arcadian/Cypriot) as found on the Idalion tablet (fifth century BCE). This fact alone serves to reinforce beyond a shadow of a doubt that Doric Greek could have had no influence on Mycenaean Greek any more than it did on Arcado-Cypriot, as both of the latter were, as C.D. Buck underlines, the “the old Hellenic” dialects. Thus, the intimate relationship between Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot doubly reinforces the total exclusion of Doric influences, however meagre.  
4. It naturally follows from 3., as day follows night, that documents composed in Mycenaean Linear B and in Arcado-Cypriot Linear C are soundly ensconced in the framework of the very same class of ancient Greek dialects, the East Greek.

Henceforth, in this blog, any discussion of the intimate relationship between the Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot dialects and of the application of their respective scripts, Linear B and Linear C is firmly set in the framework of this hypothesis, which bears extensive historical linguistic evidence mitigating strongly in its favour.

A few final comments are in order with respect to the actual Linear B correlatives of Arcadian words in the vocabulary above. These observations revolve around the methodological process of cross-correlation between Arcadian documents, in this case in alphabetical Greek, with those in Linear B. What we have already discovered, to our great astonishment and delight, even without taking the requisite step of a thorough methodology of cross-correlation, as discussed at length in our previous post on the relationship between Cypriot and Mycenaean Greek, is that at least one of the words in Linear B extracted from this vocabulary of Arcadian, and very probably two, are clearly and indisputably real attested (A) Linear B words. They are, of course, the Linear B for “and” (QE) and for “girl” (KOWA).

By extension, we may as well add a third, “boy” KOWO, since it is simply the masculine of the former. KOWA appears both in Linear B and in Linear C, and is therefore, by default, attested (A) in both.

KOWA KOWO in Linear B & Linear C

This is a rare jewel of a find, and to my mind, it is the very first instance of actual confirmation of any word in the vocabulary of Linear B & C common to Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot. This in effect constitutes our very first, albeit baby, step in the cross-correlation of Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot vocabulary by means of a tried-and-tested linguistic methodology. How many Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot will eventually (nearly) match up, whether scores, some or just a few, I cannot possibly predict right now. But it is certain that we shall eventually be able to compile at least a small vocabulary of equivalent Mycenaean & Arcado-Cypriot words, and as soon as we can (b), I shall be sure to let you know. Such a vocabulary will prove of inestimable value in going a long way to confirming attested Linear C = derivative Linear B words (ALC+DLB), as explained in the previous post.
  
NOTES:

(a) Buck, C.D. The Greek Dialects. London: Bristol Classical Press, © 1955, 1998. ISBN 1-85399-566-8. xvi, 373 pp.
(b) sometime in 2015 or at the latest, early 2016.
(c) All italics mine.


Which Greek Dialects are the Descendents of Mycenaean Greek? (Click to ENLARGE):

Mycenaean-Greek_Arcado_Cypriot_East_Greek_dialects 

Allow me to cite at some length four authoritative sources for the close-knit relationship between Mycenaean Greek (ca. 1500-1200 BCE) and the East Greek dialects which sprang up later, spreading out, first to Arcadia itself, as the Arcado-Cypriot dialect, which then in turn spread westward to Cyprus in the period of the great Greek migrations through colonization (ca. 750-550 BCE), also northwards towards Ionia and Attica, and eastwards to the island of Lesbos and its environs (Aeolic).

Arcado-Cypriot, as C.D. Buck states in his ground-breaking study, The Greek Dialects (University of Chicago Press, 1955; republished in 1998 by Bristol Classical Press, © 1998 – ISBN 1-85399-556-8. xvi, 373 pp.), belongs to “The East Greek... Old Hellenic dialects, that is, those employed by the peoples who held the stage almost exclusively in the period represented by the Homeric poems, when the West Greek peoples remained in obscurity in in the northwest. To the East Greek division belong the Ionic and Aeolic groups.. [and].. also the Arcado-Cyprian.” Then he makes a point of stressing that “no two dialects, not even Attic and Ionic, belong together more obviously than do those of Arcadia and the distant Cyprus.” (pg. 7), and goes on to say, “There are, in fact, notable points of agreement between Arcado-Cypriot and Aeolic... which cannot be accidental.” (pg. 8, all italics mine). I have taken pains to quote all of these observations to make it abundantly clear that following dialects, Mycenaean, Arcado-Cypriot, Attic-Ionic, Aeolic and Lesbian, are all East Greek dialects, as illustrated by his table on page 9, as opposed to the West & North-West Greek dialects, which include all of the Doric dialects, such as Argolic, Megarian, Cretan etc.

while Egbert J. Bakker. in his A Companion to the Ancient Greek (Wiley-Blackwell, © 2010. 704 pp. ISBN 978-1-4051-5326-3), asserts that “Mycenaean is clearly, therefore, an East Greek dialect, along with Attic-Ionic and Arcado-Cypriot... passim ... Some features align Mycenaean more closely with Arcado-Cypriot... passim... Mycenaean is therefore a dialect directly related to Arcado-Cypriot – not unexpected, given the geography...” (pp. 198-199),

and again, Roger D. Woodward, in The Ancient Languages of Europe (Cambridge University Press, © 2008 ISBN 9780521684958), states that “Of the first-millennium dialects, it is Arcado-Cypriot to which Mycenaean Greek is most closely related.” (pg. 52)

I wish to stress emphatically that there is no direct relationship between the East Greek dialects (Mycenaean, Arcado-Cypriot, Attic-Ionic or Aeolic) and the West Greek dialects, most notably, the Doric dialect, since the earliest of the East-Greek dialects, Mycenaean Greek, was widely spoken in the Peloponnese and around the Saronic Gulf well before the Doric invasion, and that consequently since all of the other East Greek dialects, Arcado-Cypriot, Attic-Ionic & Aeolic, spread out from the Mycenaean epicentre, they too are not and cannot be directly related to the West Greek dialects.  To add further fuel to the fire, allow me to conclude with  these highly pertinent observations Denys Page makes in, History and the Homeric Iliad (University of California Press, © 1966. 350 pp.) He says:

The new theory maintains, in briefest summary, the following position. “The dialect which we call Ionic is fundamentally akin to Arcadian; the peculiar features which differentiate it from other dialects as Ionic are all (or most) of relatively late development. In the Mycenaean period one dialect was predominant in southern Greece: when the Dorians occupied the Peloponnese, part of the Mycenaean population stayed at home, part emigrated; the stay-at-homes, to be called “Arcadians”, retained their dialect with comparatively little change through the Dark Ages, ...”

Now, from all we have just seen here, I feel I can safely draw the following conclusions:
1  there is no direct relationship between the East Greek dialects (Mycenaean, Arcado-Cypriot, Attic-Ionic or Aeolic) and the West Greek dialects, most notably, the Doric dialect;
2  All of the East Greek dialects migrated from their original home base during the great age of Greek colonization (ca. 750-550 BCE), as witnessed by the spread of the Arcadian dialect to Cyprus in the historical period, and of Attic-Ionic eastwards as Aeolic towards Lesbos and its environs.
3 these patterns of migration of the East Greek dialects were paralleled by the migration of the West Greek dialects to colonies as prosperous and large as the great city of Syracuse (Doric) and other Greek cities along the west coast of Italy.
4  Confirmation of Denys Page’s “new theory” (1966) has been re-affirmed and validated over and over again all the way through to the present day (Cf. Woodward, 2008 & Bakker, 2010), so that there remains little doubt, if any, that his  “new theory”, which is no longer new at all, having persisted a half century, is here to stay. 

Richard 
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