Tag Archive: wool



Linear A fragment HT 55 (Haghia Triada) RECTO: wool and silk dress of a priestess:

linear-a-fragment-ht-55-recto1

The RECTO of this fragment probably deals with wool and silk textiles. The word KIRO, which appears to mean “box” or “chest”, may imply that there is a silken garment trimmed with wool in a chest. But there is no way to substantiate this as this is a fragment, and so the words do not necessarily string together in any way which makes any real sense. The fragment may imply that a Minoan priestess is wearing a dress of silk trimmed with wool (hence the instrumental singular for wool), which has been recently stored in or is still stored in a chest to retain its freshness. Notice in the modern recreation photo on the left that the trim on the woman’s dress appears to be of wool. Perhaps she is a priestess of one of the peak sanctuaries. This makes sense, as there were many peak sanctuaries in Minoan Crete. Post revised courtesy of Jean-Philippe Gingras.

Linear A fragment, HT 55 (Haghia Triada), with conjectural Mycenaean-derived vocabulary:

Linear A HT 55a.2.2. Haghia Triada fragment

Two of the alleged Mycenaean-derived vocabulary on this Linear A fragment, HT 55 (Haghia Triada) has been reconstructed from words on it which are clearly truncated, i.e. TO(KU)? and (A)RIJA?, the latter being a personal or place name, if these are the missing words at all, being clearly open to a great deal of skepticism. But better try and reconstruct the missing meanings than not. MARE can be interpreted one or two ways, either as wool or as honey. To my mind, the second interpretation makes more sense, given that corn is sweet, and may be further sweetened with honey.


Linear B tablet KN 930 Dl 1, dealing with the production of wool:

Linear B tablet KN 930 Dl 1, dealing with the production of wool. Alexandre 

Solcà has asked me to translate this tablet, and here it is:

LB tablet KN D1 1 930

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3 more Minoan Linear A words of possible proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean origin. But are they really?

minoan-linear-a-words-in-ma-of-possible-proto-greek-origin

One of them definitely is not of proto-Greek origin; nor is it pre-Greek. It is manna, which is (proto-) Hebrew. The Hebrew word manna lasted right on through classical Greek to New Testament Greek.  Mannafii may be instrumental plural, meaning “for (the storage of) grains”, but only if the Minoan instrumental plural (if there was one) was similar to the instrumental plural in archaic Greek, which is unfortunately doubtful. The word maru definitely means “wool” in Linear A, corresponding to Mycenaean Linear B mari. It appears that both the Minoan and Mycenaean words are in the pre-Greek substratum. Masi, which is Doric Greek, is probably not a Minoan word, unless the Doric Greek word is in the pre-Greek substratum, in which case it could have co-existed in both Minoan and proto-Doric Greek. But it is rather doubtful. 

Rita Roberts’ translation of Knossos Linear B tablet KN 946 G a 303 (mid-term, second year university):

knossos-tablet-kn-946-g-a-303-620

Trust me, this is not an easy tablet to translate.

... with a translation into archaic ancient Greek added by Richard Vallance Janke.


The lovely Minoan Camp Stool or Footstool Fresco fragment KN 1521 X m 50:

KN 1521 X m 50

This is a particularly fascinating fragment. First of all, I never imagined I would ever be able to find a  picture, and better than that, an actual fresco of a Minoan camp stool or footstool. Mais une fois laffaire cherchée, les voilà trouvés, deux tabourets exquis ! Once searched, once found, two exquisite stools! Just my luck. Secondly, have a look at the scribe’s hand. Beautiful!... especially the way he stylizes NU. Three florid variations on just one syllabogram.  For that matter, the same phenomenon recurs with RA. He must have been in love and wanted to give a least one of the footstools to his darling. Just kidding! Quite impressive and quite an impressive fragment, unique, one of a kind.


Pylos tablet Eo 269, wool carding and the production of wheat:

Pylos tablet Eo 269 wheat crops

Pylos tablet Eo 269 deals with both wool carding and the production of wheat (wheat crops). The person responsible for wool carding is Aktaoios, who is the owner of a settled plot of land. Note the emphasis on “settled”. The family lives on the land and off it. Aktaoios would therefore appear to be a well off farmer-land owner. The first occupation mentioned is wool carding, which implies the presence of (a lot of) sheep, even though sheep are not specifically mentioned on this tablet. With reference to the wheat crop, while we do not know exactly how much wheat the “unit of measurement” refers to, for the sake of convenience, let us say it is something like 1 hectares or 1 acre or something along those lines. It clearly was something along those lines, but no actual “proof” of the size of measured land upon which wheat was grown in Mycenaean times survives, as is to be expected. So we make an approximation. In any case, it is a lot of wheat, and he and his family would have had to do a lot of seeding to bring in such a rich crop. The Minoans and Mycenaeans (here at Pylos) appear to have been real experts at growing wheat, as it is often mentioned in large quantities on Linear B tablets from both Knossos and Pylos.


Linear B tablet Knossos KN 683 Sh 01 dealing with textiles and onyx:

KN 683 S h 01 textiles

Linear B tablet Knossos KN 683 Sh 01 deals primarily with textiles, but it covers a lot more ground than just that. The textiles mentioned are (a) wehano, a Linear B word for “a type of textile”, but since this word is archaic Mycenaean Greek, we do not know exactly what kind of textile it refers to. We do know that it is a kind of cloth, but that is as far as it goes. (b) The next type of cloth mentioned is mare (in Linear B = “wool”. Next comes the really surprising mention of onyx = onuke in Mycenaean Linear B! Female interior decorators are not only working on both types of cloth, but on the onyx too! Wow! The question is, what are they decorating that requires both two kinds of cloth (one wool) and onyx as well? That is a mystery to me. And they are using an awful lot of wool (9 rolls at 2 units of weight each, probably something along the line of kilograms), in other words something like 18 kilograms or so.  And it is hardly surprising that, with the use of 2 types of cloth and of onyx, this interior decorating, whatever it is, is going to be expensive to the potential buyer, which is why the ladies in question wish to make it perfectly clear that there is a question of debts to be paid. No payment, no decorations. Nada. Nothing surprising there. Ancient capitalism at its best.

I actually found this tablet not only quite a challenge, but a real beauty at that. There is a great deal more information to be found on it than on most Linear B tablets. That is what makes it so intriguing. 


How to Insert Logograms and Ideograms into Linear B Text

Insertion of Logograms:

Now that we have learned how to type Linear B in a document, the only thing left for us to do is to insert logograms and ideograms as required into our text.

In Linear B, a logogram is either
(a) a homophone such as rai, which also means “saffron”
-or-
(b) a combination of two or three syllabograms, one on top of the other, which combine to form the word which they represent. Linear B scribes often resorted to this short-cut in order to save precious space on the tiny tablets they inscribed. 

The procedure for each of these two different types of logograms is not the same.

For (a), it is simple. Since the logogram, such as rai for “saffron”  is already a homophone, it is on the Linear B keyboard. So you just type it, as we see here:

(First switch from your default font to Linear B as per the instructions in the last post): Click to ENLARGE both examples

Linear B apudosi rai delivery of saffron

Linear B arepa mare ointment wool
NOTES:
(1) right after you insert the logogram, you must then select Wrap – Wrap Through, otherwise the logogram will appear above or below the preceding word in Linear B, but not beside. In other words, the logogram must be anchored to the paragraph in which the Linear B word is found, or if there is no paragraph, immediately to the right of the Linear B word.
(2) You can easily see that the logogram for “ointment” is actually the Linear B word for ointment.
 
In the sentence, The Queen has wool, the logogram = the syllabogram MA with RE underneath = mare = wool. Note that the logogram is not spelled the same as the word for -wool = mari. For the logogram for honey = meri, see below.

Insertion of Ideograms:

The procedure for the insertion of ideograms is identical to method (b) above for logograms such as arepa, mari (above) & meri (below) for ointment, wool & honey respectively.

1 Insert (from the Insert Menu) - Picture – From File, as illustrated here in the introductory text to Pylos Tablet Py 641-1952 (Ventris): Click to ENLARGE

Linear B honey tiripode

NOTE:
Right after you insert the ideogram, you must then select Wrap – Wrap Through, otherwise the ideogram will appear above or below the preceding word in Linear B, but not beside it. In other words, the ideogram must be anchored to the paragraph in which the Linear B word is found, or if there is no paragraph, immediately to the right of the Linear B word.

Richard
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