Linear B Transliterations

Welcome to the searchable Linear B transliterations! This is an online repository of the Linear B inscriptions from Mycenaean Crete and Greece, and includes cross-linking to definitions of ideograms and sign groups in the 3.5-millenia-old writing system of Linear B.

View Linear B inscriptions

1. Using the “Linear B Transliterations” menu at the top of the page
2. Using the search box on the right to search for
    • Sign groups ko-wa, a-ja-me-no, da-wo
    • ID tags KN Ap 639, PY Ta, TH Of 25
    • Ideograms MUL, LANA, AES
3. Browsing through the following areas:
Khania
KH ArKH GqKH SqKH X

Knossos
KN A*KN B*KN C*KN D*KN EKN F*KN G*KN KKN L*KN M*KN N*KN O*KN PpKN R*KN S*KN U*KN V*KN W*KN V*

Mycenae
MY GeMY OeMY UeMY Wt

Pylos
PY A*PY C*PY E*PY F*PY GnPY J*PY LaPY M*PY N*PY O*PY P*PY QaPY S*PY T*PY U*PY V*PY W*PY X*PY Za

Thebes
TH AvTH EvTH FqTH FtTH GfTH GpTH KaTH LfTH OfTH OhTH UgTH UoTH UpTH VTH WuTH X

Tiryns
TI EfTI X

Usage

Please cite:
Raymoure, Kim. “Linear B Transliterations” Deaditerranean. http://minoan.deaditerranean.com/linear-b-transliterations/ 2013

Source Materials

Transliterations from the following sources are included.

Aravantinos, Vassilis, Maurizio del Freo, Louis Godart and Anna Sacconi, 2005 Thèbes Fouilles de la Cadmée vol. IV: Les Textes de Thèbes (1-433)

Bennett, Emmett L. Jr., 1955 The Pylos Tablets: Texts of the Inscriptions Found (PT II)

Bennett, Emmett L., Jr. and Jean-Pierre Olivier, 1973 The Pylos Tablets Transcribed (PTT)

Chadwick, John and Michael Ventris, 1973 Documents in Mycenaean Greek

Chadwick, John and Theodoros G. Spyropoulous, 1975 Suplementos a MINOS num. 4 “The Thebes Tablets II”

Chadwick, John, 1988 Texts, Tablets and Scribes: Studies in Mycenaean Epigraphy & Economy (Suplementos a MINOS num. 10) “The Women of Pylos”

Duhoux, Yves 2008 A Companion to Linear B: Mycenaean Greek Texts and their World “Mycenaean Anthology”

Godart, Louis and Anna Sacconi, 1978 Les Tablettes en Linéaire B de Thèbes

Hallager, Erik, 1987 American Journal of Archaeology (AJA) vol. 91 “The Inscribed Stirrup Jars: Implications for Late Minoan IIIB Crete”

Killen, J.T. and Jean-Pierre Olivier, 1989 The Knossos Tablets, 5th Ed.

Melena, José and Jean-Pierre Olivier, 1991 Suplementos a MINOS num. 12 TITHEMY “The Tablets & Nodules in Linear B from Tiryns, Thebes & Mycenae”

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”

Contribute

If you would like to contribute, here are some things you can do:

1. Confirm the transliterations with your own sources
    • Each page is enabled for commenting
    • Include corrections and comments at the bottom of the page that includes the tablet(s) you review
    • Be sure to include who you are and which references you’ve used so I can credit and thank you for your contribution!
    • I will respond to these comments as soon as I can

2. Improve wiktionary’s Mycenaean Greek definitions
    • If you’re not familiar with wiktionary editing and would like to be, let me know and I can provide a cheat sheet.

3. Add additional sources to sign groups and ideograms. My goal is to eventually have really solid bibliographies tracking the long history of the theories surrounding these.
    • Each page is enabled for commenting
    • Add additional references in the comments at the bottom of the pages for ideograms and sign groups
    • Be sure to include who you are and which references you’ve used so I can credit and thank you for your contribution!
    • I will respond to these comments as soon as I can

4. Be a cheerleader. If anything on this site is useful to you and your own research, I’d love to hear about it. All pages are enabled to receive comments.

Database

In addition to this user-friendly reference, I’ve also created a database of over 4,000 Linear B transliterations for more meaningful data analysis. Data query requests and questions are welcome.

9 Responses to Linear B Transliterations

  1. Prof. Thomas G. Palaima Isolates 5 Supersyllabograms as Cities & Settlement Names:

    ABSTRACT:

    When Prof. Thomas G. Palaima translated Heidelburg Tablet HE FL 1994, he hit upon something truly revelatory, namely, that 5 syllabograms in a row, as illustrated in the facsimile of this tablet above, were single syllabograms, which were in actuality the first syllable of the word each represented, and that each of these words was to prove to be the name of a major Minoan/Mycenaean city or settlement. The real question is, why did the scribe who inscribed this tablet, use abbreviations consisting of the first syllabogram, which is always the first syllable of a Linear B word to represent the entire word? Was this a phenomenon limited to Heidelburg tablet HE FL 1994, or could it be found on other tablets, and if so, how many? As it turns out, I have discovered this phenomenon occurring on literally hundreds of tablets.

    Investigating several other single syllabograms (8 in all), I discovered to my astonishment that they did not represented the names of cities and settlements. I was able to at least tentatively decipher 6 of them, and for each new syllabogram I recognized a specific word, one word and one word only, in a specific context, in that context and that context alone. What was astounding was this: in the specific context which each of these syllabograms in turned appeared in, the word they represented always fit the context like a glove. For instance, the syllabogram for O stands for the word “onaton” = lease field, the syllabogram for KI stands for “kitimena” = plot of land & the syllabogram PE for “periqoro” = enclosure or pen, i.e. a sheep pen, and I emphatically stress, all three of them in the specific context of sheep.

    My co-researcher and I have isolated 8 more sypersyllabograms, of which we have managed to tentatively decipher 6, in addition to the 5 sypersyllabograms identified by Prof. Thomas G. Palaima, for a total of 13. See this post for a detailed discussion:

    https://linearbknossosmycenae.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/prof-thomas-g-palaima-isolates-5-single-syllabograms-as-cities-settlement-names/

    Richard

  2. Dimitrios Makrygiannis says:

    Dear Kim,

    I am an independent researcher in Linear B, from Greece.

    I have published (in the greek language) a book with the title: Linear B. The completion of the decipherment. I sent you here below a short summary of it.
    If you want, you can send me an address to send you a copy of my book.

    Let me make a comment at a certain point in your website:
    You don’t distinguish the ideogrammes 100 VIR (standing man) and 103 VIRb (sitted man). You refer both of them as VIR.
    In my work I support that the ideogramme VIRb means “dead man”, so the meaning of these tablets is different.

    Thanks for your time,
    Dimitrios Makrygiannis

    Author’s address
    Dimitrios Makrygiannis
    25 Xenofontos Str.
    GR – 173 41 Agios Dimitrios
    Athens – Greece
    dmakrygiannis@yahoo.gr

    LINEAR B
    The completion of the decipherment
    ——————————————————————————
    “ELLINOEKDOTIKI” ATHENS 2009 – Pages 345 – ISBN: 978-960-8458-18-5

    SUMMARY
    In the current work we attempt the completion of the deciphering of Linear B, the ancient script which was developed in the Minoan and Mycenaean world during the period 1450-1200 B.C.
    The clay tablets with this script were first discovered by Sir Arthur Evans in the palace of Knossos, in the year 1901. Many other tables were also discovered later in the palace of Pylos, as well as in other areas.
    As it is known, the work of the deciphering was never completed because 17 of the symbols remained unidentified. In other words, the precise syllabic value of these symbols was never determined. Many speculations for these symbols have been later made but without the unanimous agreement of the scholars.
    In the current work we have applied a different method, which is based on the shape of the syllable-letters. We began from the observation that certain symbols have obvious resemblances to certain objects and the syllabic value of these symbols is related to the name of the objects. Such case, for example, is with the symbol “69 tu”, which depicts an ivy leaf and its syllabic value stems from the word “thyrsos”, which was a rod decorated with ivy branches.
    Generalizing this observation, we concluded to the basic principle of our new explanatory attempt, which is formulated as follows:
    The syllabic value of each symbol of Linear B is equivalent to the first syllable of the name of the object or of the concept which is represented by it.
    With the application of this principle and with the explanation of the origin of the symbols, i.e. what exactly is represented by each one of them, we were able first to verify the theory of Ventris-Chadwick and second, to decipher the rest of the 17 symbols, which, as we said, remained unidentified.
    Take for example the symbol “63 wu”. This symbol looks like a fort – (similar to one that is represented in a seal-ring from Zakros). We found the reference in the dictionary of Hesychii as: «φύρκος• τεῖχος», and «φύρκορ· ὀχύρωmα». Therefore the value of this symbol is “wu” and its meaning is “fort”.
    We found that 10 from the 17 unidentified symbols form two new series (b and g), while the remaining 7 fill the gaps of the Ventris syllable-code.
    Thus, the completed syllable-code of Linear B is finally revealed (see the attached table).
    In parallel with the explanation of the syllable-code, the precise meaning of seven ideograms is given for the first time, along with the explanation of the shape of three of them, and possible theories for a few others are formulated.

    This work is divided into three parts:
    Part A: HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION. This has a purely historical character where the past developments on the subject are exposed. In Chapter D we present our own deciphering method, which we applied.
    Part B: THE ORIGIN OF THE SYMBOLS OF LINEAR B. The abovementioned theory which explains the origin and the deciphering of the symbols is expanded. In this part, all symbols (the identified as well as the unidentified ones), are located, and the word from which they derive is substantiated. Our results are summarized in three tables.
    Part C: TABLET EXPLANATIONS. This part contains the explanations of texts of many tablets, for which we formulate many different opinions from the established ones. As an example, we mention the very common ideogram “SA”, for which the established opinion is that it means “linen”, whereas here it is translated as “untreated animal hides”. There are also some tablets which are explained for the first time with an accepted semantic rendering.
    The text is accompanied by rich illustration and is complemented with 6 indexes.
    In parallel with the interpretations of the symbols, issues that refer to that era are examined. Thus, this work forms also an informative introduction to the Minoan and Mycenaean civilisation.
    The author is a physicist, who has occupied himself a lot with ancient Greek philosophy. His works “The notion of God in the pre-Socratic philosophy” (p. 550) and “Cosmology and Ethics of Democritus” (p. 393, Athens Academy Award), have been greatly appreciated by the students.
    We believe that this work opens new horizons to the study of Linear B. In any case, though, the final conclusions are left to the judgment of the experts.

    THE COMPLETE SYLLABLE-CODE OF LINEAR B

    • Many of the references I am using do not distinguish between the VIR variants. Which references have you used which make the distinction? I recall seeing some of the distinctions in Documents in Mycenaean Greek, but this early work has a number of discrepancies when compared to the work that followed. I try to use a secondary reference for comparison when I use Docs as a primary.

      I am currently working on fleshing out the lexicon, but will eventually return to the transliterations to further confirm and improve on distinctions like this. Thank you for your note!

  3. Pingback: The statistics of the phonetic value of AB65 /ju/ | Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B

  4. Pingback: Pylos Linear B Inscriptions Digitized | Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B

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