Chadwick & Ventris 1973: name of a vessel; nominative dual and plural


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

8 Responses to qe-to

  1. Although this word does not appear in LinA, it appears to be Minoan. QE-TO becomes ”kato” in Japanese. Among its multiple meanings is ”ladle”, which appears to complement the TI-RI-PO-DE (tripod). See John Chadwick’s discussion about P[ylos] 641 in “The Decipherment of Linear B”, New York: Vintage Books, 1958, pp 81-83. While it may not prove significant, this particular definition of ”kato” pertains to any ovoid item with a handle or a tail, such as a ladle, a musical note, or a tadpole. In this context, ”ladle” is the obvious choice.

    • kiminoa says:

      QE in LinB tends to have a /te/ value – see -QE as the connective enclitic -τε and QE-TO-RO-WE with the τετρα- prefix for 4.

      • I recommend caution, here. /Qe/, /qa/, and /ka/ in LinA consistently return /ka/ in Japanese. /Qe/in LinB also appears to be represented by /ka/ in Greek. QE-TO-RO-WE is most likely related to καθοράω (kathorao), which means “to look down” and which may be related to κατορύσσω (katorusso), which means “to bury” or “to sink in the earth.” Katorusso has an alternate definition of “pit”. So kathorao may mean to look down as into a pit.

        While scholars are focused on four-footed vessels, my definition focuses on either the pithoi or the storage magazines. Even if you disagree with my translation, it throws a plausible solution into the mix.

        • kiminoa says:

          Have a look at the PY Ta tablets. The use of numeric prefixes with -we and -po(-de) is consistent and clear, and provides some of the best evidence in Linear B for the confirmation of Ventris’ phonetic values, which have been accepted by the academic community for several decades.

          In Greek, it is κάτω ( http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=ka%2Ftw&la=greek&can=ka%2Ftw0&prior=ka/toxos ) alone that is responsible for “down” … and it’s clear in Linear B that the root here is qe-to-ro, not qe-to. qe-to-ro-we is not more likely to be related to κατορύσσω; it doesn’t make any sense etymologically or in its semantic context. qe-to-ro-we is already clearly defined in Linear B, with contextual ideogram confirmation as 4-handled.

          There are some golden rules of decipherment – I’ve copied out a few of the relevant points here:

          One that’s not in that list but is important is that consonantism is not the way to go for mapping an alphabetic to a syllabic. When you have phonetic values for ka, ke, ki, ko and ku, it is not Ok to simply map any /k/ value to any one of these symbols. Vowels generally persist, and you have to go to a lot of careful tedium to prove a vowel shift. While vowels do change over time, they change regionally and, often, consistently. You have to have strong evidence for vowel shifts. So, for example, you’ve got /ro/ translated as ρυ here. You’d have to have a really strong argument for why that’s Ok and /ru/ isn’t used in instead. See the /ru/ ρυ relationship in Linear B words like ku-ru-so and du-ru-to-mo. Also see the absence of /ro/ as ρυ in Linear B sign groups using this symbol. You can do a search for ρυ on here to find the Linear B definitions that might include it; note the absence of /ro/.

          • LinB phonetic values are purely conjectural without knowledge of the underlying language of LinA. Accepted values must be evaluated in light of the very limited progress that has been made on decipherment in the past 60 years. A friend once said “Don’t marry your theories.” This is very good advice, especially when accepted values are based upon weak evidence.

            Let’s look at qe-to-ro-we. You say that it means four-handled. And, yet, *202, unlike *203 (with two handles), is handleless. You give *202 in definitions for both handleless (a-no-we) and four-handled (qe-to-ro-we) vases . So, how can the same vase be both handleless and four-handled?

            You say that my translation for qe-to-ro-we makes no sense in a context that discusses vases. How does a word that means “pit” have no application in a storage context that includes pithoi and storage magazines? Ironically, I came across a reference to a discussion that is included in the second edition of “Documents in Mycenaean Greek”, about qe-to as “pithos”. I don’t have this book, but you likely do. I’d been interested in a synopsis of this discussion, if you can provide it.

            Actually, καθοράω is a crasis of two words: κάτω (down) and ὁράω (to look), so QE-TO-RO-WE is closer to καθοράω (which was likely pronounced ka-to-ra-o) than it is to “qe-to-ro as τετρα four + we οὖς, οὔατα , οὔατος ear, handle”. You infer οὖς from /we/ but reject κατορύσσω (pit). How is this consistent?

            You state that, “[w]hen you have phonetic values for ka, ke, ki, ko and ku, it is not Ok to simply map any /k/ value to any one of these symbols.” I agree. In addition to qe-to (kato) and qe-to-ro-we (katorao), compare e-qe-ta to ἑκάτη (hekate), a word that means “spearman” or “archer”. These are related to Hecate, whose epithet was the Far Darter. Chadwick translates e-qe-ta as hequetai (followers). In the chariot tablets, “spearman” or “archer” makes more sense when chariots typically carried the charioteer, the shield bearer, and either the spearman or the archer.

            And, yet, you infer /te/ from /qe/ without consistent application. You only base your value /te/ as /qe/ on your belief in the copulative enclitic. And, yet, τε is attached to only a few of numerous Greek particles and pronouns. Please show me some surviving Greek nouns/proper nouns with the suffix -τε that has a sense of inclusion. And, if /qe/, why not καί instead of τε? Phonetically, the former makes more sense. It /qe/ is /te/, then what is the value of /te/? How is ke-ni-qe-te (KN X 768) pronounced? If /qe/ is /te/, why not just write ke-ni-te-te?

            Since there is no /q/ in Greek, we must go with the closest sound, which is /k/. There is nothing in Greek to suggest the survival of an alternate /k/ for /t/. Where alternates occur, these alternates will be labeled as Doric, Epic, and Ionic. The only alternate to Attic τέτταρες (four) is Ionic τέσσαρες. The shift from Attic /ττ/ to Ionic /σσ/ is typical. There is no surviving word, or derivation of, κέτταρες, that relates to “four”. If the LinB value of /qe/ is /te/, you’ll need to find some surviving alternates to strengthen your argument.

            You state that, in qe-to-ro-we, I’ve “got /ro/ translated as ρυ.” Compare LinA DI.DE.RU to LinB di-de-ro; LinA QA.QA.RU to LinB qa.qa.ro; LinA KA.SA.RU to LinB ka-sa-ro. The truth is that we have transliterations but not pronunciations. Can you give, with certainty, the pronunciation of either /ru/ or /ro/? And what or who is to say that /ru/ and /ro/ are not so close as to be nearly indistinguishable?

          • I would like to publish two retractions, with qualification. Previously, I said “You give *202 in definitions for both handleless (a-no-we) and four-handled (qe-to-ro-we) vases . So, how can the same vase be both handleless and four-handled?” I have since viewed a clear drawing of PY Ta 641 in “The Mycenaeans” by Taylour. The vessel that follows qe-to-ro-we does indeed have what may easily be construed as four “ears”. Therefore, I retract my first question.

            I also said “I[f] /qe/ is /te/, then what is the value of /te/? How is ke-ni-qe-te (KN X 768) pronounced? If /qe/ is /te/, why not just write ke-ni-te-te?” Recently, in LinA, I came across KA-PA-QE. I retract, because I continue to maintain that the phonetic values of both /ka/ and /qe/ equal /ka/.

            However, as stated, I qualify my retractions. First, I’m not convinced that the “ears” in qe-to-ro-we are handles. Preliminary research doesn’t yield any examples of Mycenaean vessels with four handles, especially positioned around the tops.

            Second, I’m rather confused about the consensus for the value of /qe/. Scholars say, on the one hand, that /qe/ equals /te/ in qe-to-ro-we, because /qe-to-ro/ (quetro) is equivalent to Greek “tetra” and Latin “quattuor” (Taylour 39). However, Chadwick consistently gives to /qe/ the phonetic value of /que/and the meaning of “and” (kai) in the position of enclitic. While I disagree with Latin elements (such as /que/) in Greek words, I’m inclined toward Chadwick’s construction, because /que/ retains the sound of /qe/, and I take it a step further to reiterate that /qe/ equals /ka/. At the very least, it’s one step removed from “kai”.

          • For the record, I should add that final /qe/ in LinA equals /ka/ and, thus far, in LinB equals /ki/.

        • kiminoa says:

          A fantastic photo to explain why the scholars are right about this one – you’ll see it right away :)


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