Excellent Linear B Repository

DĀMOS: Database of Mycenaean at Oslo

Federico Aurora at the Universitetet i Oslo has completed work on an outstanding repository of Linear B inscriptions. The user interface is absolutely beautiful and intuitive. Do a search on a Linear B word like da-mo and make sure to put your mouse over the tablet’s magnifying glass.

This repository has already been incredibly helpful with my research. I hope you’ll find it equally useful.

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José L. Melena and the Pylos Joins

Dr. Melena at the University of the Basque Country is one of my favourite Mycenologists. His writing is, to me, a perfect synthesis of detail-oriented curiosity and evidence-based academic rigor. An example of this are his comments which I’ve included for the Pylos hapax legomenon (ri)-ma.

I’ve just finished reading through his incredible join work, published in 2000-2001 in Kadmos 35-36. Melena studied an impressive number of fragments and created additional joins and quasi-joins among the Pylos tablets. Affected Pylos transliterations have been updated with his research, which includes some interesting consolidations.

I want to highly recommend the following articles:

Melena, José, 2000-2001 Minos 35-36 “24 Joins and Quasi-joins of Fragments in the Linear B Tablets from Pylos”

Melena, José, 2000-2001 Minos 35-36 “63 Joins and Quasi-joins of Fragments in the Linear B Tablets from Pylos”

This work helps emphasize the importance of some of the more long-term details-oriented work – exact find spots from archaeologists, Palaima’s clay indexing and the incredible palaeographic work of Louis Godart, Thomas Palaima, etc. – to help facilitate joins and improve our context and understanding of Linear B.

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Amazing Photographs of the Linear B Tablets at the Ashmolean Museum

Go here for full details on the project and how to download the RTI Viewer: http://sirarthurevans.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/collection/linearb/images.php

Please consider making a donation to the Ashmolean Museum to thank them for this extraordinary project. Be sure to mention the RTI Project and Linear B.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet using the IDs Mycenologists use:

KN Ap 639 (thumbnail) RTIViewerURL: http://sirarthurevans.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/images/ptm/An1910_218_o/An1910_218_o.ptm
Continue reading

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[Thesis Generator] sa-pe-ra vs. sa-pi-da

What do you think?

39 years after the 1973 publication of the 2nd edition of Documents in Mycenaean Greek by John Chadwick and Michael Ventris, I still constantly encounter questions that remain open from their early work. I keep a list of these questions in a spreadsheet light-heartedly called “Thesis Generator”. I think of them as little baby theses to practice researching. I thought I’d share one for your consideration and ideas.

How are sa-pe-ra and sa-pi-da related?

Chadwick and Ventris compare these two in their 1973 index, as both:
“[sa-pe-ra] apparently replaces entry giving quantity of oil”
“[sa-pi-da] apparently replaces entry giving number of men”
A Companion to Linear B: Mycenaean Greek Texts and their World volumes I and II edited by Yves Duhoux and Anna Morpurgo Davies exclude these sign groups in the latest compiled research on Linear B. They’re both hapax legomenon so we’re looking, at best, at a hypothesis based largely on context.

sa-pe-ra context

PY Fr 1215:

wa-na-ka-te , wa-na-se-wi-jo , we-a-re-pe
sa-pe-ra           ra

sa-pi-da context

PY An 656 (see the PY An series for the full inscription):

wa-ka-ti-ja-ta , ke-ki-de , sa-pi-da
me-ta-qe , pe-i , e-qe-ta
pe-re-qo-ni-jo , a-re-i-jo ,
ne-wo-ki-to , wo-wi-ja , ko-ro-ku-ra-i-jo ,
VIR 20 me-ta-qe , pe-i, e-qe-ta
di-wi-je-u ,

Prior Research?

Only four articles in SMID even mention sa-pe-ra. This is where I’d probably start if I were researching this.

Carlier, Pierre, 1984 Strasbourg: Association pour l‘étude de la civilisation romaine “La Royauté en Grèce avant Alexandre”

Heubeck, Alfred, 1985 Münchener Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft 46 “Zu den mykenischen Stoffadjektiven”

Palaima, Thomas G., 1997 Aegaeum, ΤΕΧΝΗ 2: Craftsmen, Craftswomen, and Craftsmanship in the Aegean Bronze Age “Potter and Fuller: The Royal Craftsmen”

Palmer, Leonard R., 1983 Res Mycenaeae “Mycenaean Religion: Methodological Choices”

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Reading the Iliad

I have a bilingual (Homeric Greek + English) of the Iliad (trans. A.T Murray, ed. William F. Wyatt). The sabre-rattling and violence is not generally my cup of tea, but I’ve been maintaining my pace through the sheer joy of encountering Homeric Greek words that I recognize from the Mycenaean Greek. I usually find 3 or 4 per page, usually simple ones like te-o ‘god(s)’ or ka-ko ‘bronze’.

There is a brief section in Book IV, however, where suddenly I was being pelted with Mycenaean. From 105 to 145 (alphabetical on the Mycenaean side):

Continue reading

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Linear B Inscribed Handmade Pendants on Etsy

I’ve long wanted some Linear B inscribed jewelry. I couldn’t find any while I was on Crete, so I finally decided to make some. I put up a few extras on Etsy (a-ne-mo i-je-re-ja; e-ra; ka-ke-u; ko-wa; ko-wo; ma-te; ma-te tu-ka-te-qe; pa-te; pa-te tu-ka-te-qe; po-se-da-o-ne; po-ti-ni-ja; te-ko-to-ne; tu-ka-te). Proceeds will benefit the digitization of the Linear B corpus and lexicon.


ma-te tu-ka-te-qe
ma-te tu-ka-te-qe Mother & Daughter

di-wo-nu-so VIN
di-wo-nu-so VIN Dionysus & his wine

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Great quote from Michel Lejeune

“Il n’y a rien de plus difficile que les solutions de facilité.”
“Nothing is more difficult than easy solutions.”
    – Michel Lejeune

His wikipedia biography could sure use some love…

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Khania Linear B Transliterations

The 1989-90 Greek-Swedish Excavations at Kastelli, Khania yielded 4 Linear B artefacts.

These transliterations are now available for further study:
KH Ar <-- first evidence of wa-ti-jo, the missing ethnic adjective of the oft-appearing toponym wa-to
KH Gq <-- very interesting; confirms Dionysus' early origin in the Greek pantheon (see also di-wo-nu-so)

I also highly recommend the articles written by Hallager, Hallager and Vlasakis to present these inscriptions (see the artefact’s References section). The footnotes are a wonderful insight into the archaeological process, and reveal the excitement of finding new Linear B inscriptions below the surface of modern Khania.

Khania Excavation, photo: Khania Museum
photo: Khania Museum

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Linear B at Thebes


I stopped by the graduate library at the University of Washington today, and they finally have the 2005 transliterations from Aravantinos, del Freo, Godart and Sacconi.

I’ll start work tonight on finally reconciling the various discrepancies between the 3 earlier sources I’ve used, and adding missing inscriptions from the Thebes section. We’ll have a more accurate transliteration and inventory + information on which transliterations to correct from prior sources in case you have only an earlier text to work from.

25 October 2012: Added TH Av
25 October 2012: Added TH Ev
31 October 2012: Updated TH Fq
31 October 2012: Added TH Ft
31 October 2012: Added TH Gf
5 November 2012: Added TH Gp
5 November 2012: Added TH Ka
5 November 2012: Updated TH Of
5 November 2012: Added TH Oh
13 November 2012: Updated TH Ug
13 November 2012: Added TH Uo
13 November 2012: Added TH Up
14 November 2012: Added TH V
14 November 2012: Added TH Wu
14 November 2012: Added TH X … and finished!

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More great advice on decipherment and interpretation

In A Companion to Linear B: Mycenaean Greek Texts and their World vol. II, Yves Duhoux has written a must-read introduction for any aspiring philologist: “Interpreting the Linear B Records: Some Guidelines”.

His guidelines apply to far more than just Linear B. Whether its Linear A, the Byblos syllabary, Proto-Elamite … these guidelines are universal to creating a secure decipherment, and provide a methodical framework for sanity checking the strength of a hypothesis. They reinforce much of what Emmett L. Bennett, Jr., Alice Kober, Saul Levin and David W. Packard have also said on the topic.

I highly recommend reading the article (and the book!).

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