cf. ta-ra2-to


Chadwick & Ventris 1973: anthroponym, cf. Στράτων


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

3 Responses to ta-ra-to

  1. As an anthroponym, ta-ra-to would likely be a prophet or soothsayer. Cf. τερατόω (terato-o) “to make a τέρας of a thing or an event”. A τέρας (teras) is “a marvel, omen, sign, or wonder” [L&S 1846: 2nd ed.].

    • Aligning consonants is called consonantism and isn’t enough to align alphabetic Greek with Linear B. The Linear B spelling rules are pretty consistent. You can read more about them in Woodard’s 1997 book Greek Writing from Knossos to Homer: A Linguistic Interpretation of the Origin of the Greek Alphabet and the Continuity of Ancient Greek Literacy.

      Here are some guidelines on collecting enough evidence to suggest an alternative etymology for ta-ra-to.

      1. With a proper alphasyllabary, the vowels matter. There is evidence for ta representing τα, θα and τη as well as θ and τ in progressive spelling rule scenarios. What evidence is there for τε? Is there any Indo-European reconstruction of this word which indicates that it could’ve been a τα value earlier in its evaluation?

      2. Chadwick & Ventris’ suggestion aligns with the Linear B spelling rules so you’ll have to have compelling evidence above and beyond another alignment to alter the tentative meaning. ta-ra as στρα has the initial s dropped (cf. pe-ma) and uses the progressive spelling rule to identify the first vowel by borrowing it from the active vowel in the syllable following it.

      3. Duhoux 2008 (and Chadwick & Ventris 1973, etc.) points out an alternation between ta-ra-to and ta-ra2-to. Duhoux’s comment alone requires further research. ra2 frequently alternates with ri-ja (cf. a-ke-ti-ri-ja) but can also be a “double” for ra, so you have to exhaust those possibilities as well. What is the complete list of possibilities, and what makes sense contextually?

      What you’ll have to do is explore all the possibilities allowed within the ambiguity of Linear B spelling (but not outside of those rules) and then see if there’s only one that makes sense.

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