Tag Archive: Zakros

on academia.edu: another Linear A tablet apparently largely inscribed in Mycenaean-derived Greek:

The translation of the Mycenaean-derived vocabulary alone on Linear A Tablet ZA 8 (Zakros), apparently largely inscribed by Richard Vallance Janke (University of Western Ontario, Emeritus) and Alexandre Solcà (Université de Genève) has been published on academia.edu. This decipherment of the apparent of the Mycenaean-derived vocabulary alone on Linear A Tablet ZA 8 (Zakros) is truly striking in many respects, and is more than well worth reading, especially by anyone well versed in Mycenaean Linear B. So please visit this document on academia.edu and at least download it, as illustrated above, by clicking on the DOWNLOAD button to the right of the article:

Linear A tablet ZA 8 Zakros academia.edu


Google image search “Minoan Linear A grains” reveals that practically every last image is from Linear A, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae:

Click on the image search banner to see the results for yourself:

google search on grains and their decipherment in Linear A

This confirms that the almost all current research (2015-2017) is almost exclusively founded in my studies and decipherments of grains (wheat, barley, flax, spelt etc.) on Linear A tablets.

Partial decipherment of Linear A tablet ZA 15 (Zakros) and the phenomenon of orthographic adjustment of superstratum words in the substratum language:

Linear A tablet Zakros ZA 15

This decipherment of Linear A tablet ZA 15 seems to add up overall. I have divined that the word qesizue, of which there are 57, means “goblets”. The plural in e is common in Linear A, and appears to be the plural of feminine diminutives, which in the case would imply that the singular is qesizuai = “goblet”. The decipherment certainly fits the context. The translation of itinisa as “in wicker/baskets” is less certain. Samidae can be construed as Old Minoan genitive singular for “from Samos”. Recall that when words derive from the superstratum, which means Mycenaean derived words in the case of Linear A, the orthography of the derived words must be altered from their Mycenaean spelling to Old Minoan Linear A spelling conventions. So in this case, Mycenaean Samoio (genitive sing.) could conceivably become Samidae in Minoan. 

We should not be at all surprised at this metamorphosis of orthography from the superstratum (Mycenaean derived vocabulary) to the substratum (Minoan vocabulary derived from the Mycenaean superstratum). After all, when superstratum French words are imported into English, their orthography undergoes the same metamorphosis. For instance, we have:

French to English:

albâtre = alabaster
bénin = benign
cloître = cloister
dédain = disdain
épître = epistle
forêt = forest
fanatique = fanatic
gigantesque = gigantic
gobelet = goblet
loutre = otter
maître = master
plâtre = plaster
similitude = similarity
traître = treacherous

and on and on. This phenomenon applies to every last substratum language upon which a superstratum from another language is imposed. So in the case of Old Minoan, it is inevitable that the orthography of any single superstratum Mycenaean derived word has to be adjusted to meet the exigencies of Minoan orthography.

The most striking example of this metamorphosis is the masculine singular. Mycenaean derived words in Minoan must have their singular ultimate adjusted to u from the Mycenaean o. There are plenty of examples:

Akano to Akanu (Archanes)
akaro to akaru (field)
kako to kaku (copper)
kuruko to kuruku (crocus/saffron)
mare (mari) to maru (wool)
Rado to Radu (Latos)
simito to simitu (mouse)
suniko to suniku (community)
Winado to Winadu (toponym)
woino to winu (wine)
iyero to wireu  (priest)

2 Maps (1 in colour) of the Mycenaean Empire with major cities and other settlements:


This composite of two maps of the Mycenaean Empire with major cities and other settlements names the major cities in the upper coloured map. I originally posted the lower map in 2014, but I felt it was high time to post it again. Being as thorough as I am, I have identified more city and settlement names on the lower map than on any other map of the Mycenaean Empire on the Internet. Note also the greatest extent of the Mycenaean Empire (ca. 1600 – 1200 BCE) in pink.

Linear A tablets Zakros ZA 11 & ZA 15 with wine adding up to  same amounts (twice!) on both tablets:

Zakros Linear A tablets ZA 11 and ZA 15

Linear A tablets Zakros ZA 11 & ZA 15 apparently reference two different types of wine adding up to the exact same amounts on both tablets. On ZA 11 we have kana and on ZA 15 kadi. But the passingly strange thing about these two tablets is that the totals for kana on ZA 11 & kadi on ZA 15 are exactly the same (3). Not only that, the grand total for all of the items mentioned on both of these tablets also adds up to the exact same amount (78)! This in spite of the fact that ZA 11 is loaded with text, whereas ZA 15 contains no text whatsoever apart from the name of the wine = kadi, and its total = 3 + the grand total, kuro = 78.

Upon re-examination of Zakros ZA 11, I also just happened to notice that the first word apparently denoting a type of wine, kunasa (RECTO), which I previously defined as possibly meaning “honey wine” has to its immediate left the logogram for “gold” (at least that is what it means in Linear B, so I have little doubt that it cannot mean anything else in Linear A). Now since honey wine is obviously gold in colour, this additional bit of information tends to confirm, albeit not very strongly, that kunasa does mean “honey wine”.

But this still leaves us frustrated with dilemma, why are there two different words for what appear to be wine types on ZA 11 & ZA 15? This one stumped me for a very long time. No matter how I wracked my brains, I could not extricate myself from the apparent impossibility that two different words existed for the same type of wine, which would very likely have to be a fine quality wine, given that there are only 3 of each type, or alternatively that each word referenced a different type of fine wine.. But as it turns out, I was entirely on the wrong track. Notice that kana and kadi both begin with the same syllabogram, KA. Now this is truly odd, if the two words both designate a kind of fine wine. In Mycenaean Linear B, no such distinctions are ever made. So I simply could not accept this interpretation.

What alternatives was I left with? Finally, the solution hit me right between the eyes. It would appear that kana refers to the first item in a list, and kadi to the next in a series. So these are the meanings I have assigned to each in turn: kana = first (in a series) and kadi = next. It is highly unlikely that kana = first and kadi = second,  because in almost all languages the numbers 1 & 2 are distinctly different. So I assume that the same scenario obtains with Minoan Linear A. 

Minoan Linear A tablet ZA 8, atare = “a grove of fig trees” at Zakros:

Linear A Zakros ZA 8 atare = fig grove

After spending considerable time wracking my brains out trying to figure out what atare on Minoan Linear A ZA 8 from Zakros could possibly mean, I finally came up with what I consider a rational solution. We note that no number of figs or fig trees follows the syllabogram NI, which designates figs in both Minoan Linear A and in Mycenaean Linear B, in which the actual word for “fig(s)” is suza. Given that Zakros in pre-Mycenaean Minoan times was probably a rather small outpost, the likelihood that there would be only 1 stand or grove of figs there stands up quite well to scrutiny. Of course, there is no way of saying for certain (far from it) that that is what arate means, but this is the route I have chosen to follow in deciphering the term.

This is the sixty-first (61) term we have deciphered, more or less accurately, in Minoan Linear A. This is post 1,200 on our site since its inception in late 2013.

Minoan Linear A tablet, ZA 11a (Zakros) & KURO = “total”  Post 3 of 3

Zakros ZA 11a kupa kuru kuro

Yet again, we are faced with the Linear A word kuro, which as we all know by now means “total”. However, there are some fascinating twists and turns on this word or what appear to be variants of it on this tablet, these being kupa and kuru on the recto. It appears unlikely that kupa is in any way related to kuro (verso), but the same probably cannot be said for kuru. As I mentioned in my last post, I suspect that the ultimate termination for any Minoan Linear A word which ends in U is likely to be masculine, while that ending in O is more likely to be neuter. If this is the cast, then kuro is neuter and kuru is masculine. There is absolutely no way of confirming this conjecture at this juncture, but it may prove to be correct over the long stretch.

ZA 11a (Zakros) original tablet:  

Zakros ZA 11a original

Conference on Symbolism: The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B: Selected Appendices A-C

Since the presentation I shall be giving at the Conference, Thinking Symbols, at the Pultusk Academy, University of Warsaw, is under wraps until then, I am posting for your information just 5 of the 11 Appendices to that talk (3 in this post), to give you at least some idea of where I shall be leading the attendees at the Conference in the course of my talk. In this post, you can see the first three Appendices. The first one (Appendix A) illustrates the use of what I choose to call Modern International Superalphabetic Symbols, as you see here:

A Appendix

It is readily apparent from this appendix that we are dealing with modern ideograms, all of which are international standards, and which are recognized as such world-wide. For instance, everyone in the world knows that the first symbol or ideogram means “under copyright protection”, while the fourth means “no parking”.

Proceeding to Appendix B, we have:

B Appendix

The abbreviations in this appendix are so strikingly similar to what I have identified as supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B that it is immediately obvious to anyone seeing the latter for the first time can instantly correlate the former with the the city codes or supersyllabograms in Linear B, as seen here in Appendix C:

C Appendix

Clearly, the abbreviations for modern city codes, even though they consist of the first two letters only of the 10 city names are identical in structure and format to the ancient city names, represented by the first syllabogram, in other words, the first syllable in each, which we find in Appendix C.  This astonishing co-incidence reveals something of the sophistication of Mycenaean Linear B taken to its limits.

It was in fact Prof. Thomas G. Palaima who first identified these city names (Knossos, Zakros, Pylos etc.) in his superb translation of Linear B tablet Heidelburg HE Fl 1994. What he failed to realize was that he had in fact discovered the sypersyllabogram, which I finally came to realize in 2014 was always the first syllabogram, in other words, the first syllable only of a particular Mycenaean Greek word, in this instance, a city or settlement name. In retrospect, we cannot blame him for this apparent oversight, because that is all it was, apparent. He never got around to a meticulous examination of the 3,000 relatively intact tablets from Knossos, which I took upon myself to carry through to its ultimate revelation(s). And what a revelation they proved to be, when in the course of over a year (2014-2015), I discovered to my utter astonishment that some 700 (23.3%!) of the 3,000 tablets I examined all had at least one supersyllabogram on them, and some as many as four!

Some of the tablets I examined had supersyllabograms only on them, and no text whatsoever. The question was, I had to wonder – and I mean I really had to wonder – what did they all mean? The answer was not long in coming. Within 2 weeks of identifying the first new supersyllabogram, I had already isolated & defined more than 10 of them!

When I speak of supersyllabograms, I do not mean simply city or settlement names. Far from it. These are just the tip of the iceberg, and they are atypical. There are at least 30 supersyllabograms in all, out of a syllabary comprised of only 61 syllabograms, in other words 50% of them. That is a staggering sum. Supersyllabograms range in meaning from “lease field” to “plot of land” to “sheep pen” to “this year” (among the first 10 I discovered) referring to sheep husbandry in the agricultural sector, from “cloth” to “well-prepared cloth” to “gold cloth” and “purple dyed cloth” in the textiles sector, and on and on. That this is a major discovery in the further decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B goes practically without saying. In fact, nothing like it has been achieved in the past 63 years since the decipherment of the vast majority of Mycenaean Linear B by the genius, Michael Ventris, in 1952-1953.

michael ventris 1922-1956 at work in hisstudy
More Appendices to follow in the next post.


A Series of Maps of the Minoan & Mycenaean Empires, Some with New Toponyms Seen for the First Time

Our first map is of the principal Minoan cities and settlements, with the locations of the major palaces in the Late Minoan Era (LM Ia – LMII, ca. 1550 -1450 BCE) Click to ENLARGE:

Map of Minoan settlements Minoan Empire

It was over the last half of the sixteenth & the first half of the fifteenth century that the Minoan civilization made the swift switchover from using the as yet undeciphered Linear A syllabary to writing Mycenaean Greek in Linear B. Whether or not Knossos itself was conquered by the Mycenaeans around 1500 BCE is a question entirely open to conjecture. Many historians are quite convinced it was, but I personally am not so convinced. However, you should take my opinion with a large grain of salt, as I am a linguist and not a historian!

The largest Minoan palaces after that of Knossos, the capital city of the Minoan Empire, with a population estimated to have been somewhere around 55,000 (a huge city for the Bronze age!) were those at Phaistos & Zakros. All of the palaces illustrated on this map have been thoroughly excavated, and they have yielded inestimable treasures of Linear A & B tablets, magnificent Minoan frescoes and art, bronze ware of all sorts (weaponry, utensils etc.), pottery and so on. If you have already had the opportunity to visit any of these magnificent sites (as I have, seeing Knossos in May 2012), you will know to what heights the Minoan Empire and their highly cultured civilization aspired. They (the Minoans) were so cultivated and refined that they virtually outclassed and outshone all other contemporary Bronze Age empires, and that includes, to my mind at least, Egypt! In fact, the Mycenaeans, shortly after arrival at Knossos, imitated lock-stock-and-barrel, the brilliant architecture and the entire repertoire of military expertise, the arts and crafts and every other area of the prosperous Minoan agri-economy. Their tribute to the Minoans could not have been more profound than that of the Romans to the Greeks some 1,000 years or more later on.  It was that kind of phenomenon, nothing less.

All of these maps, as well as all of the maps in the next few posts, also appear on the following PINTEREST Boards,


Knossos & Mycenae Sister Civilizations



Linear A: The Search for New Solutions: Vertical Rectangular Tablets 14 Zakros + 9 Hagia Triada = 23 Click to ENLARGE:

Zakros Linear A Tablets
This post is self-explanatory. To the 9 vertical rectangular Tablets from Hagia Triada, we simply add the 14 from Zakros, for a total of 23. But there are more to come, from Knossos & Malia, and few more besides, the origins of which I cannot identify. I sincerely hope someone can help identify their sources.


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