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Linear B
Linear B.jpg
Type Syllabary with additional ideograms
Spoken languages Mycenaean Greek
Time period Late Bronze Age
Status Extinct
Parent systems
Linear A
  • Linear B
Sister systems Cypro-Minoan syllabary
Unicode range U+10000–U+1007F syllabic signs
U+10080–U+100FF ideograms
ISO 15924 Linb
Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode.
History of the
Greek language

(see also: Greek alphabet)
Proto-Greek
Mycenaean (c. 1600–1100 BC)
Ancient Greek (c. 800–330 BC)
Dialects:
Aeolic, Arcadocypriot, Attic-Ionic,
Doric, Locrian, Pamphylian;
Homeric Greek.
Possibly Macedonian.

Koine Greek (c. 330 BC–330)*
Medieval Greek (330–1453)
Modern Greek (from 1453)
Dialects:
Cappadocian, Cheimarriotika, Cretan,
Cypriot,Demotic, Griko, Katharevousa,
Pontic, Tsakonian, Maniot, Yevanic


*Dates (beginning with Ancient Greek) from D.B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids 1997), 12.

This article contains special characters. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols.

Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, an early form of Greek. It predated the Greek alphabet by several centuries (ca. 13th but perhaps as early as late 15th century BC) and seems to have died out with the fall of Mycenaean civilization. Most of the tablets inscribed in Linear B were found in Knossos, Cydonia,[1] Pylos, Thebes and Mycenae.[2] The succeeding period, known as the Greek Dark Ages, provides no evidence of the use of writing.

The script appears to be related to Linear A, an undeciphered earlier script used for writing the Minoan language, and the later Cypriot syllabary, which recorded Greek. Linear B consists of around 87 syllabic signs and a large repertory of semantographic signs. These ideograms or "signifying" signs stand for objects or commodities, but do not have phonetic value and are never used as word signs in writing a sentence.

The application of Linear B seems to have been confined to administrative contexts. In all the thousands of tablets, a relatively small number of different "hands" have been detected: 45 in Pylos (west coast of the Peloponnese, in southern Greece) and 66 in Knossos (Crete).[3] From this fact it could be thought that the script was used only by some sort of guild of professional scribes who served the central palaces. Once the palaces were destroyed, the script disappeared.

Contents

The script

Linear B has roughly 200 signs, divided into syllabic signs with phonetic values and ideograms with semantic values. The representations and naming of these signs has been standardized by a series of international colloquia starting with the first in Paris in 1956. After the third meeting in 1961 at the Wingspread conference center in Racine, Wisconsin, a standard proposed primarily by Emmett L. Bennett, Jr., became known as the Wingspread Convention, which was adopted by a new organization, the Comité International Permanent des Études Mycéniennes (CIPEM), affiliated in 1970 by the fifth colloquium with UNESCO. Colloquia continue: the 13th is scheduled for 2010 in Paris.[4]

Many of the signs are identical or similar to Linear A signs; however, Linear A, which encoded the unknown Minoan language, remains undeciphered and we cannot be sure that similar signs had similar values.[5]

Syllabic signs

The grid developed during decipherment by Michael Ventris and John Chadwick of phonetic values for syllabic signs is shown below.[6] Read the initial consonant in the left-most column and the vowel from the top row beneath the title. The transcription of the syllable (it may not have been pronounced that way) is listed next to the sign along with Bennett's identifying number for the sign preceded by an asterisk (as was Ventris' and Chadwick's convention).[note 1] In cases where the transcription of the sign remains in doubt, Bennett's number serves to identify the sign.[7] The signs on the tablets and other ancient artifacts often show considerable variation from each other and from the representations below. Discovery of the reasons for the variation and possible semantic differences is a topic of ongoing debate in Mycenaean studies.

Recognised signs of shape V, CV[note 2]
-a -e -i -o -u
𐀀 Linear B Syllable B008 A.svg a

*08

𐀁 Linear B Syllable B038 E.svg e

*38

𐀂 Linear B Syllable B028 I.svg i

*28

𐀃 Linear B Syllable B061 O.svg o

*61

𐀄 Linear B Syllable B010 U.svg u

*10

d- 𐀅 Linear B Syllable B001 DA.svg da

*01

𐀆 Linear B Syllable B045 DE.svg de

*45

𐀇 Linear B Syllable B007 DI.svg di

*07

𐀈 Linear B Syllable B014 DO.svg do

*14

𐀠Linear B Syllable B051 DU.svg du

*51

j- 𐀠Linear B Syllable B057 JA.svg ja

*57

𐀋 Linear B Syllable B046 JE.svg je

*46

𐀠Linear B Syllable B036 JO.svg jo

*36

k- 𐀏 Linear B Syllable B077 KA.svg ka

*77

𐀐 Linear B Syllable B044 KE.svg ke

*44

𐀑 Linear B Syllable B067 KI.svg ki

*67

𐀒 Linear B Syllable B070 KO.svg ko

*70

𐀓 Linear B Syllable B081 KU.svg ku

*81

m- 𐀔 Linear B Syllable B080 MA.svg ma

*80

𐀕 Linear B Syllable B013 ME.svg me

*13

𐀖 Linear B Syllable B073 MI.svg mi

*73

𐀗 Linear B Syllable B015 MO.svg mo

*15

𐀘 Linear B Syllable B023 MU.svg mu

*23

n- 𐀙 Linear B Syllable B006 NA.svg na

*06

𐀚 Linear B Syllable B024 NE.svg ne

*24

𐀛 Linear B Syllable B030 NI.svg ni

*30

𐀜 Linear B Syllable B052 NO.svg no

*52

𐀝 Linear B Syllable B055 NU.svg nu

*55

p- 𐀞 Linear B Syllable B003 PA.svg pa

*03

𐀟 Linear B Syllable B072 PE.svg pe

*72

𐀠Linear B Syllable B039 PI.svg pi

*39

𐀡 Linear B Syllable B011 PO.svg po

*11

𐀢 Linear B Syllable B050 PU.svg pu

*50

q- 𐀣 Linear B Syllable B016 QA.svg qa

*16

𐀤 Linear B Syllable B078 QE.svg qe

*78

𐀥 Linear B Syllable B021 QI.svg qi

*21

𐀦 Linear B Syllable B032 QO.svg qo

*32

r- 𐀨 Linear B Syllable B060 RA.svg ra

*60

𐀩 Linear B Syllable B028 RE.svg re

*27

𐀪 Linear B Syllable B053 RI.svg ri

*53

𐀫 Linear B Syllable B002 RO.svg ro

*02

𐀬 Linear B Syllable B026 RU.svg ru

*26

s- 𐀭 Linear B Syllable B031 SA.svg sa

*31

𐀮 Linear B Syllable B009 SE.svg se

*09

𐀯 Linear B Syllable B041 SI.svg si

*41

𐀰 Linear B Syllable B012 SO.svg so

*12

𐀱 Linear B Syllable B058 SU.svg su

*58

t- 𐀲 Linear B Syllable B059 TA.svg ta

*59

𐀳 Linear B Syllable B004 TE.svg te

*04

𐀴 Linear B Syllable B037 TI.svg ti

*37

𐀵 Linear B Syllable B005 TO.svg to

*05

𐀶 Linear B Syllable B069 TU.svg tu

*69

w- 𐀷 Linear B Syllable B054 WA.svg wa

*54

𐀸 Linear B Syllable B075 WE.svg we

*75

𐀹 Linear B Syllable B040 WI.svg wi

*40

𐀺 Linear B Syllable B042 WO.svg wo

*42

z- 𐀼 Linear B Syllable B017 ZA.svg za

*17

𐀽 Linear B Syllable B074 ZE.svg ze

*74

𐀿 Linear B Syllable B020 ZO.svg zo

*20

Special and unknown signs

In addition to the grid, the first edition of Documents contained a number of other signs termed "homophones" because they appeared at that time to resemble the sounds of other syllables and were transcribed accordingly: pa2 and pa3 were presumed to be homophonous to pa. Many of these were identified by the second edition and are shown in the "special values" below.[8] The second edition relates: "It may be taken as axiomatic that there are no true homophones." The unconfirmed identifications of *34 and *35 as ai2 and ai3 were removed. pa2 became qa.[9]

Special values
Character 𐁀 Linear B Syllable B025 A2.svg 𐁁 Linear B Syllable B043 A3.svg 𐂋 Linear B Syllable B085 AU.svg 𐁃 Linear B Syllable B071 DWE.svg 𐁄 Linear B Syllable B090 DWO.svg 𐁅 Linear B Syllable B048 NWA.svg 𐁇 Linear B Syllable B062 PTE.svg 𐁆 Linear B Syllable B029 PU2.svg 𐁈 Linear B Syllable B076 RA2.svg 𐁉 Linear B Syllable B033 RA3.svg 𐁊 Linear B Syllable B068 RO2.svg 𐁋 Linear B Syllable B066 TA2.svg 𐁌
Linear B Syllable B087 TWE.svg
𐁍 Linear B Syllable B091 TWO.svg
Transcription a2 (ha) a3 (ai) au dwe dwo nwa pte pu2 (phu) ra2 (rya) ra3 (rai) ro2 (ryo) ta2 (tya) twe two
Bennett's Number *25 *43 *85 *71 *90 *48 *62 *29 *76 *33 *68 *66 *87 *91

Other values remain unknown, mainly because of scarcity of evidence concerning them.[8][note 3] Note that *34 and *35 are mirror images of each other but whether this graphic relationship indicates a phonetic one remains unconfirmed.

Untranscribed and doubtful values
Character 𐁐
Linear B Symbol B018.svg
𐁑
Linear B Symbol B019.svg
𐁒
Linear B Symbol B022.svg
𐁓
Linear B Symbol B034.svg
𐁔
Linear B Symbol B047.svg
𐁕
Linear B Symbol B049.svg
𐁖
Linear B Symbol B056.svg
𐁗
Linear B Symbol B063.svg
𐁘
Linear B Symbol B064.svg
𐀎
Linear B Syllable B065 JU.svg
𐁙
Linear B Symbol B079.svg
𐁚
Linear B Symbol B082.svg
𐁛
Linear B Symbol B083.svg
𐁜
Linear B Symbol B086.svg
𐁝
Linear B Symbol B089.svg
Transcription *18 *19 *22 *34 *35 *47 *49 pa3? *63 swi? ju? zu? swa? *83 *86 *89
Bennett's Number *18 *19 *22 *34 *35 *47 *49 *56 *63 *64 *65 *79 *82 *83 *86 *89

In recent times CIPEM has inherited the former authority of Bennett and the Wingspread Convention in deciding what signs are to be considered "confirmed" and how all the various categories of signs shall be officially represented. In editions of Mycenaean texts, those signs whose value has not been confirmed by CIPEM are always transcribed as numbers preceded by an asterisk (e.g. *64). CIPEM also allocates the numerical identifiers, and until such allocation, new signs (or obscured or mutilated signs) are transcribed as a bullet-point enclosed in square brackets: [•].

Spelling and pronunciation

The signs are approximations―each may be used to represent a variety of about 70 distinct combinations of sounds, within rules and conventions. The grid presents a system of monosyllabic signs of the type V/CV. Clarification of the 14 or so special values tested the limits of the grid model, but Chadwick in the end concluded that even with the ramifications the syllabic signs can unexceptionally be considered monosyllabic.[10]

Possible exceptions, Chadwick goes on to explain, include the two diphthongs, 𐁁 (ai) and 𐂋 (au), as in Ai-ku-pi-ti-jo for Aiguptios (Αἰγύπτιος) and Au-ke-wa for Augewās (Αὐγείας).[note 4] However a diphthong is by definition two vowels united into a single sound and therefore might be typed as just V. Thus 𐁉 (rai), as in e-rai-wo for elaiwon (ἔλαιον),[note 5] is of the type CV. Diphthongs are otherwise treated as two monosyllables: a-ro-u-ra for 'arourans' (accusative plural of ἄρουραι), of the types CV and V.[11] Lengths of vowels and accents are not marked.

𐁌 (Twe), 𐁍 (two), 𐁃 (dwe), 𐁄 (dwo), 𐁅 (nwa) and the more doubtful 𐁘 (swi) and 𐁚 (swa) may be regarded as beginning with labialized consonants, rather than two consonants, even though they may alternate with a two-sign form: O-da-twe-ta and O-da-tu-we-ta for Odatwenta; A-si-wi-jo and A-swi-jo for Aswios (Ἄσιος). Similarly, 𐁈 (rya), 𐁊 (ryo) and 𐁋 (tya) begin with palatalized consonants rather than two consonants: -ti-ri-ja or -ti-rya for -trya (-τρια).

The one sign Chadwick tags as the exception to the monosyllabic rule is 𐁇 (pte), but this he attributes to a development pte<*pje as in kleptei<*klep-yei.

Linear B does not consistently distinguish between voiced and unvoiced stops (except in the dental series) and between aspirated and unaspirated stops even when these distinctions are phonemic in Mycenaean Greek. For example,[12] pa-te is patēr (πατήρ), pa-si is phāsi (φησί.[note 6] p on the other hand never represents β: βασιλεύς is qa-si-re-u[note 7]); ko-ru is korus (κόρυς), ka-ra-we is grāwes (plural of γρηύς), ko-no is skhoinos. Exceptionally, however, the dentals are represented by a t-series and a d-series for unvoiced and voiced: to-so for tosos (τόσος or τόσσος) but do-ra for dōra (plural of δῶρον); however, to-ra-ke for thōrākes (plural of θώραξ). In other cases aspiration can be marked but is optional: pu-te for phutēr ("planter", from φυτεύω), but phu-te-re for phutēres ("planters" ). Initial aspiration may be marked only in the case of initial a and rarely: ha-te-ro for hateron (masculine ἅτερος),[13] and yet a-ni-ja for hāniai (ἁνίαι).

The j-series represents the semivowel equivalent to English "y", and is used word-initially and as an intervocalic glide after a syllable ending in i: -a-jo for -αῖος (-aios); a-te-mi-ti-jo for Ἀρτεμίτιος (Artemitios). The w-series similarly are semivowels used word-initially and intervocalically after a syllable ending in u: ku-wa-no for kuanos (κύανος).[14]

The r-series includes both the /r/ and /l/ phonemes: ti-ri-po for tripos (τρίπος) and tu-ri-so for Tulisos (Τυλισός).

The q-series is used for monosyllables beginning with a class of consonants that disappeared from classical Greek by regular phonetic change: the labiovelars (see under Mycenaean Greek). These had entered the language from various sources: inheritance from Proto-Indo-European, assimilation, borrowing of foreign words, especially names. In Mycenaean they are /kʷ/, /gʷ/, and rarely /kʷh/ in names and a few words:[15] a-pi-qo-ro for amphiquoloi (ἀμφίπολοι); qo-u-ko-ro for guoukoloi (βουκόλοι); -qo-i-ta for -φόντης.

Some consonants in some contexts are not written (but are understood): word-initial s- and -w before a consonant, as in pe-ma for sperma (σπέρμα); syllable-final -l, -m, -n, -r, -s: a-to-ro-qo for anthrōquos (ἄνθρωπος). In the first example, the pe-, which was primarily used as its value pe of grid class CV, is being used for sper-, not in that class. This was not an innovative or exceptional use, but followed the stated rules. Similarly, a, being primarily of grid class V, is being used as an- and could be used for al, am, ar, and so on.

Clusters of two or three consonants that do not follow the initial s- and w- rule or the double consonants: ξ (ks or x), ψ (ps) and qus (which latter did not exist in classical Greek) were represented by the same number of signs of type CV as the cluster had consonants: ko-no-so for Knōsos,[note 8] ku-ru-so for khrusos (χρυσός). The consonants were the same as in the cluster. The vowels so introduced have been called "empty", "null", "extra", "dead" and other terms by various writers as they represent no sound. The sign was not alphabetic: rules governed the selection of the vowel and therefore of the sign. The vowel had to be the same as the one of the first syllable following the cluster or if at the end of the word, preceding: ti-ri-po with ti- (instead of ta-, te- and so on) to match -ri-.

Ideograms

Linear B also uses a large number of ideograms. They express:

  • The type of object concerned (e.g. a cow, wool, a spear)
  • A unit of measure.

They are typically at the end of a line before a number and appear to signify the object to which the number applies. Many of the values remain unknown or disputed. Some commodities such as cloth and containers are divided into many different categories represented by distinct ideograms. Livestock may be marked with respect to their sex.

The numerical references for the ideograms were originally devised by Ventris and Bennett, divided into functional groups corresponding to the breakdown of Bennett's index. These groups are numbered beginning 100, 110, 120 etc., with some provision of spare numbers for future additions; the official CIPEM numberings used today are based on Ventris and Bennett's numbering, with the provision that three or four letter codes (written in small capitals), based on Latin words that seemed relevant at the time, are used where the meanings are known and agreed. Unicode (as of version 5.0) encodes 123 Linear B ideograms.

The ideograms are symbols, not pictures of the objects in question - e.g. one tablet records a tripod with missing legs, but the ideogram used is of a tripod with three legs. In modern transcriptions of Linear B tablets it is typically convenient to represent an ideogram by its Latin or English name or by an abbreviation of the Latin name. Ventris and Chadwick generally used English; Bennett, Latin. Neither the English nor the Latin can be relied upon as an accurate name of the object; in fact, the identification of some of the more obscure objects is a matter of exegesis.

Ideograms
Glyph Codepoint[note 9] Bennett[16] CIPEM[17] English[18]
People and Animals
Linear B Ideogram B100 Man.svg U+10080 100[19] A- VIR
vir
MAN
Linear B Ideogram B102 Woman.svg U+10081 102 A- MUL
mulier
WOMAN
Linear B Ideogram B104 Deer.svg U+10082 104 Cn CERV
cervus
DEER
𐂃 U+10083 105 Ca S- EQU
equus
HORSE
𐂄 U+10084 105 Ca EQUf mare[20]
𐂅 U+10085 105 Ca EQUm stallion
𐀥 U+10025 106
QI
*21
OVIS
ovis
SHEEP
𐀥
WE
*75
we-ka-ta
Bous ergatēs
"Adjunct to ox" (1973)[21]
𐂆 U+10086 106b C- D- OVISf EWE
𐂇 U+10087 106a C- D- OVISm RAM
𐁒 U+10052 107
RA
*22
CAP
capra
GOAT
𐂈 U+10088 107b C- Mc CAPf SHE-GOAT
𐂉 U+10089 107a C- CAPm HE-GOAT
𐁂 U+10042 108
AU
*85 C-
SUS
sūs
PIG
𐂊 U+1008A 108b C- SUSf SOW
𐂋 U+1008B 108a C- SUSm BOAR
𐀘 U+10018 109
MU
*23 C-
BOS
bōs
OX
𐂌 U+1008C 109b C- BOSf COW
𐂍 U+1008D 109a C- BOSm OX/BULL
Units of Measurement
110 Z
kotylai
Volume
Cup[22]
111 V
khoinikes
Volume
112 T Dry
113 S Liquid
114 Weight
*21 Weight
*2 Weight
115 P Weight
116 N Weight
117 M
dimnaion[23]
Weight
118 L
talanton
TALENT
*72 G- Bunch?
*74 S- Pair
*15 S- Single
*61 Deficit
By Dry Measure
𐂎 U+1008E 120 E- F- GRA
grānum
WHEAT
𐂏 U+1008F 121 F- HORD
hordeum
BARLEY
𐂐 U+10090 122 F- U- OLIV
olīva
OLIVES
𐀛 U+1001B NI
*30 F
FICUS FIGS
𐀎 U+1000E *65 FARINA FLOUR
"some kind of grain"[24]
𐂑 U+10091 123 G- Un AROM
arōma
CONDIMENT
KO
*70 G-
Coriander
𐀭 U+1002D SA
*31 G-
Sesame
KU
*81 G-
Cumin
SE
*9 G-
Celery
MA
*80 G-
Fennel
124 G- PYC cyperus
𐂒 U+10092 125 F- CYP cyperus?
126 F- CYP+KU cyperus+ku
𐂓 U+10093 127 Un KAPO fruit?
𐂔 U+10094 128 G- KANAKO safflower
By liquid measure
By weight
By weight or in units
Counted in units
Vessels[25]
𐃟 U+100DF 200
sartāgo
BOILING PAN
𐃠 U+100E0 201 TRI
tripūs
TRIPOD CAULDRON
𐃡 U+100E1 202
pōculum
GOBLET?
𐃢 U+100E2 203
urceus
WINE JAR?
𐃣 U+100E3 204 Ta
hirnea
EWER
𐃤 U+100E4 205 K Tn
hirnula
JUG
𐃥 U+100E5 206 HYD
hydria
HYDRIA
𐃦 U+100E6 207 TRIPOD AMPHORA
𐃧 U+100E7 208 PAT
patera
BOWL
𐃨 U+100E8 209 AMPH
amphora
AMPHORA
𐃩 U+100E9 210 STIRRIP JAR
𐃪 U+100EA 211 WATER BOWL?
𐃫 U+100EB 212 SIT
situla
WATER JAR?
𐃬 U+100EC 213 LANX
lanx
COOKING BOWL
Furniture
𐃄 U+100C4 220 Ta
scamnum
FOOTSTOOL
𐃅 U+100C5 225 ALV
alveus
Weapons
𐃆 U+100C6 230 R HAS
hasta
SPEAR
𐃇 U+100C7 231 R SAG
sagitta
ARROW
𐃈 U+100C8 232 Ta *232  ?
𐃉 U+100C9 233 Ra DAGGER
𐃊 U+100CA 234 GLA
gladius
SWORD
Chariots
𐃌 U+100CC 240 Sc BIG
biga
WHEELED CHARIOT
𐃍 U+100CD 241 Sd Se CUR
currus
WHEEL-LESS CHARIOT
𐃎 U+100CE 242 Sf Sg CAPS
capsus
CHARIOT FRAME
𐃏 U+100CF 243 Sa So ROTA
rota
WHEEL

Archives

Corpus

The tablets are classified by the location of their excavation.

  • KN Knossos: ca. 4360 tablets (not counting finds of Linear A).
  • PY Pylos : 1087 tablets.
  • TH Thebes: 99 tablets + 238 published in 2002 (L. Godart and A. Sacconi, 2002; see under Thebes tablets)
  • MY Mycenae: 73 tablets.
  • TI Tiryns: 27 tablets.
  • KH Chania: 4 tablets.
  • another 170 inscriptions in Linear B were found on vessels.

If it is genuine, the Kafkania pebble, dated to the 17th century BC, would be the oldest known Mycenean inscription, and hence the earliest preserved testimony of the Greek language.

Chronology

The main archives for Linear B are associated with these stages of Late Minoan and Helladic pottery:[26]

LM II (1425-1390 BC):

  • Knossos, Room of the Chariot Tablets.

LM IIIA2 (1370-1340 BC) or IIIB (1340-1190 BC):

  • Knossos, main archive.

LM IIIB:

  • Chania, tablet Sq 1, 6659, KH 3 (possibly Linear B).

LH/LM IIIB1 end:[note 10]

  • Chania, tablets Ar 3, Gq 5, X 6.
  • Mycenae, tablets from Oil Merchant group of houses.
  • Thebes, Ug tablets and Wu sealings.

LH IIIB2, end:

  • Mycenae, tablets from the Citadel.
  • Tiryns, all tablets.
  • Thebes, Of tablets and new Pelopidou Street deposit.
  • Pylos, all but five tablets.

Controversy

The Knossos archive was dated by Sir Arthur Evans to the destruction by conflagration at about 1400 BC (which baked and preserved the clay tablets), in the Late Minoan II (LM II) period. Evans made a career of excavating the Knossos site in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and creating the concept of Minoan civilization, which he believed was historically accurate.

This view stood until Carl Blegen excavated the site of ancient Pylos in 1939 and uncovered tablets inscribed in Linear B, one of the two scripts discovered at Knossos and named by Evans. Those tablets were fired in the conflagration that destroyed Pylos about 1200 BC, at the end of Late Helladic IIIB (LHIIIB). With the decipherment of Linear B by Michael Ventris in 1952, serious questions about Evans' date began to be considered. Most notably, Blegen said that the inscribed stirrup jars (an oil flask with stirrup-shaped handles) imported from Crete around 1200 were of the same type as those dated by Evans to the destruction of 1400. Blegen found a number of similarities between 1200 BC Pylos and 1400 BC Knossos and suggested the Knossian evidence be reexamined, as he was sure of the 1200 Pylian date.

The examination uncovered a number of difficulties. The Knossos tablets had been found at various locations in the palace and Evans had not kept exact records. Recourse was had to the day books of Evans' assistant, Duncan Mackenzie, who had conducted the day-to-day excavations. There were discrepancies between the notes in the day books and Evans' excavation reports. Worse, the two men had quarreled over the location and strata of the tablets, Mackenzie had called Evans a liar, and Evans had not only sacked him but made sure he did not excavate anywhere else.

The results of the reinvestigation were eventually published in a definitive work: Palmer, L.R.; John Boardman (1963). On the Knossos Tablets. Clarendon Press.  It consists of two works, Leonard Palmer's The Find-Places of the Knossos Tablets and John Boardman's The Date of the Knossos Tablets. In this book Palmer plays the role, so to speak, of prosecuting attorney and Boardman of defending attorney; consequently, the dispute was known for a time as "the Palmer-Boardman dispute".

Like questions concerning the veracity of Heinrich Schliemann, the controversy soon escalated beyond the evidence, which set the world of classical scholarship looking for a way to resolve the question once and for all, a still unfulfilled hope. There appeared to be no "smoking gun" of Evans' mendacity; that is, he could in his excavation reports have simply been generalizing to resolve contradictions in the data. Moreover Blegen's arguments depended more on a preponderance of evidence rather than any single incontrovertible proof. No such incontrovertible proof has ever been found.

The real issue is whether sufficient reason exists to question Evans, since there is as much evidence for 1400 as there is for 1200. Without a solid reason to doubt Evans, the community of classical scholars tends to support a date of 1400 by default; that is, LM IIIA:2. As for LH IIIB, it likely begins in the 1310s or 1300s BC, after Mursilis II's sack of Miletus; it ends around 1200 BC.

The colours of the scholars can be identified by the dates they give for the tablets. This article utilizes an outline developed by Cynthia Shelmerdine, who is in the Boardman camp. While stating two possibilities for the main archive of Knossian tablets, she accepts a 1400 date for the Room of the Chariot Tablets. There still might have been two conflagrations and tablet firings, one in 1200 and one in 1400. As an example of a scholar who is in the Palmer camp, see Rutter, Jeremy B. (2000). "Lesson 25: The Linear B Tablets and Mycenaean Social, Political, and Economic Organization". Prehistoric Archaeology of the Aegean. http://projectsx.dartmouth.edu/classics/history/bronze_age/lessons/les/25.html#2. Retrieved 2008-03-28.  Rutter relies on a similarity of scribal hand between one of the Chania tablets and the Knossos tablets and dates all the tablets from 1350-1300 to 1200 BC.

Nearly every scholar presents his view as the generally accepted view or the one most proved by recent evidence. Regardless of how the scholars may present their perceptions, the issue is very much open and the search for evidence continues.

Contents

The major cities and palaces used Linear B for records of disbursements of goods. Wool, sheep, and grain were some common items, often given to groups of religious people and also to groups of "men watching the coastline."

The tablets were kept in groups in baskets on shelves, judging by impressions left in the clay from the weaving of the baskets. When the buildings in which they were housed were destroyed by fires, many of the tablets were then fired.

Decipherment

Tablets.

Arthur J. Evans

The decipherment of Linear B began as an interest by the British archaeologist Arthur Evans in collecting and studying ancient engraved gemstones he had begun to obtain by purchase and by short-term excavations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, continuing the passion his father had for acquiring and investigating antiquarian artifacts. Between 1877 and 1882 he was Balkans correspondent of the Manchester Guardian there, reporting on a revolt of the Serbs and Bulgars assisted by the Russians against the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lost control of the region in 1878 and its subsequent rulers, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, expelled Evans from the country after a 6-week sojourn in prison, claiming he had supported another rebellion against them.[27]

He and his new wife returned to live quietly in Oxford and after a tour of Greece and the Balkans in 1883 during which they favored archaeological sites and exhibits including Orchomenos and Athens. Arthur became keeper of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford in 1884, delivering an inaugural address advocating that the Ashmolean become a "home of archaeology in Oxford."[28] Thus when presented by Greville Chester in 1886 with an engraved gemstone purchased in Athens but reportedly from Crete he began to study publications of these stones suspecting that the "hieroglyphs" with which they were said to be inscribed were part of a writing system.[29] In 1893 after the death of his wife Margaret he visited Athens to view the exhibition of artifacts from Mycenae and try to acquire more gemstones. While there he received a tour conducted personally by Schliemann and noticed that a few of the signs occurred on Mycenaean artifacts. He began to call the supposed writing system "Mycenaean." Heinrich Schliemann had never identified the signs clearly as writing, relating in his major work on Mycenae that "of combinations of signs resembling inscriptions I have hitherto only found three or four ...."[30] Evans also verified from the antiquarian dealers that the stones were coming from Crete.

Losing no time Evans and a friend, John Myres, embarked for Crete and in 1893, 1895 and 1896 travelled over the entire island looking for the sources of the stones. They found that the stones were worn by Cretan women as amulets and were called γαλόπετρες (galopetres, "milk-stones") and had come from the extensive Mycenaean ruins. Starting in 1894 Evans published his theories that the signs evidenced various phases in the development of a writing system in the Journal of Hellenic Studies, the first article being the much-cited Primitive Pictographs and a Prae-Phoenician Script from Crete.[31] In these articles Evans distinguished between "pictographic writing" and "a linear system of writing." He did not explicitly define these terms, causing some confusion among subsequent writers concerning what he meant but in 1898 he wrote[32] "These linear forms indeed consist of simple geometrical figures which unlike the more complicated pictorial class were little susceptible to modification," the idea being that the pictographs were communications of meaning by pictures, but the linear characters were mere outlines standing for sounds and strung out like alphabetic writing. Although he called the writing alphabetic Evans believed it also might be syllabic signs. At the conclusion of the 1898 article Evans asserted[33] "That the linear or quasi-alphabetic signs ... were in the main ultimately derived from the rudely scratched line pictures belonging to the infancy of art can hardly be doubted."

The site at Knossos had been identified as a major one (even though underestimated) and excavation by part owners had begun twice previously in 1878 by Minos Kalokairinos and in 1890 by W.S. Stillman but were stopped in each case by the refusal of the Ottoman Empire to grant permission (firman). Evans began in 1894 to negotiate for its purchase in competition with French archaeologists. By 1896 he had Kephala Hill. In January, 1897, the Christian population of Crete revolted and for the next few years Crete was occupied by forces of Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, Austria, Greece and defending garrisons of Ottoman forces supported by the Muslim population of Crete. In 1898 Prince George of Greece was appointed high commissioner of a Crete of equivocal status: independent, under the king of Greece and still under Ottoman rule. The Ottomans agreed to withdraw and the last troops were ferried off the island by the British fleet on December 5, 1898.[34] In that year also Evans completed the purchase of the rest of the site, although it still had to be paid for.[35] Although he had a reputation for being a "rich man" he had not yet inherited any money. The site and initial excavations were paid for by contributions, subscription and Evans' own limited personal funds.[36] By 1899 the political context had stabilized,[37] the sale was completed and Evans had acquired sufficient resources to begin. He hired Duncan Mackenzie, a noted archaeologist, by telegram as director of excavation and on March 23, 1900, began to excavate.[38]

In Evans' report to the British School at Athens for that year,[39] for which he admits relying on Mackenzie's day book, after scant finds on March 30, 1900, and four days later, of clay tablets marked with hieroglyphic writing,[40] on April 5 the excavators discovered the first large cache ever of Linear B tablets among the remains of a wooden box in a disused terracotta bathtub. Subsequently caches turned up at multiple locations (of later disputed date) including the Room of the Chariot Tablets (called that by Evans in the report) where over 350 pieces from four boxes were found. The tablets were 4.5 cm (1.8 in) to 19.5 cm (7.7 in) long by 1.2 cm (0.47 in) to 7.2 cm (2.8 in) wide and were scored with horizontal lines over which text was written in about 70 characters. Even in this earliest excavation report Evans could tell that "a certain number of quasi-pictorial characters also occur which seem to have an ideographic or determinative meaning."[41]

The excavation was over for that year by June 2. Two acres had been uncovered, but intentionally not below the Mycenaean horizon. As for the fate of the tablets, Evans reported "only a comparatively small proportion of the tablets were preserved in their entirety,"[42] the causes of destruction being rainfall through the leaky roof of the storage room, crumbling to powder or small pieces and being thrown away (Evans supposed) by workmen who failed to identify them. And yet, Evans supposed that such perishable objects could survive or be stored over long periods of time: "at least some of the tablets go back to the beginning of the fifteenth century BC."[43] Apparently the ones that survived did so by being baked in the conflagration that destroyed the palace or by being "sun-baked."

A report on September 6 to the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland[44] began to use some of the concepts characteristic of Evans' later thought. The terms "palace of Knossos" and "palace of Minos" are used. Appleton's for that year[45] notes that Evans took up Stillman's theme that the palace was the labyrinth of mythology in which the half-bovine son of King Minos lurked. In the report, the Linear B tablets (not yet known by that name) are now called a "linear script" as opposed to the "hieroglyphic or conventionalized pictographic script." The linear script has characters that are "of a free, upright, European character" and "seem to have been for the most part syllabic." Evans reasserts the ideographic idea: "a certain number are unquestionably ideographic or determinative."

The years after 1900 were consumed by excavations at Knossos and the discovery and study by Evans of tablets there and elsewhere but nothing substantially new occurred. Evans planned a comprehensive work on Cretan scripts to be called Scripta Minoa. A year before the publication of volume I he began to drop hints that he now believed the linear script was two scripts, to be presented in the forthcoming book.

In Scripta Minoa I,[46] which appeared in 1909, he explained that the discovery of the Phaistos Disk in July, 1908, had caused him to pull the book from the presses so that he could include the disk by permission as it had not yet been published. On the next page[47] he mentioned that he was also including by permission of Frederico Halbherr of the Italian Mission in Crete unpublished tablets from Haghia Triada written in a linear script of "Class A." To what degree if any Halbherr was responsible for Evans' division of the "linear script" into "Class A" and "Class B" is not stated. The Knossos tablets were of Class B, so that Evans could only have perceived Class A in tablets from elsewhere, and so recently that he needed permission to include the examples.

Evans summarized the differences between the two scripts as "type" or "form of script;' that is, varieties in the formation and arrangement of the characters. For example, he says "the clay documents belonging to Class A show a certain approximation in their forms to those presenting the hieroglyphic inscriptions ... the system of numerals is also in some respects intermediate between that of the hieroglyphic documents and that of the linear Class B."[48]

The first volume covered "the Hieroglyphic and Primitive Linear Classes" in three parts: the "pre-Phoenician Scripts of Crete", the "Pictorial Script" and "the Phaistos Disk." One or two more volumes publishing the Linear A and Linear B tablets were planned but Evans ran out of time; the project required more than one man could bring to it. For a good many of the years left to him he was deeply enmeshed in war and politics in the Balkans. When he did return to Knossos completion and publication of the palace excavations took priority. His greatest work, Palace of Minos, came out in 1935. It did include scattered descriptions of tablets. His life was finished in 1941, during additional turmoil in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Knossos tablets had remained in the museum at Irakleion, Crete, where many of them now were missing. The unpublished second volume consisted of notes by Evans and plates and fonts created by Clarendon Press. In 1939 Carl Blegen had uncovered the Pylos Tablets; pressure was mounting to finish Scripta Minoa II. After Evans' death, Alice Kober, assistant to John Myres and major transcriber of the Knossos tablets, prompted Myres to come back from retirement and finish the work. E.L. Bennett added more transcriptions. The second volume came out in 1952 with Evans cited as author and Myres as editor,[49] just before the discovery that Linear B writes an early form of Greek. An impatient Ventris and Chadwick declared: "Two generations of scholars had been cheated of the opportunity to work constructively on the problem."[50]

Alice Kober

About the same time, Alice Kober studied Linear B and managed to construct grids, linking symbols that seemed to have a strong grammatical relationship. Kober noticed that a number of Linear B words had common roots and suffixes. This led her to believe that Linear B represented an inflected language, with nouns changing their endings depending on their case. However, some characters in the middle of the words seemed to correspond with neither a root nor a suffix. Because this effect was found in other, known languages, Kober surmised that the odd characters were bridging syllables, with the beginning of the syllable belonging to the root and the end belonging to the suffix. This was a reasonable assumption, since Linear B had far too many characters to be considered alphabetic and far too few characters to be logographic; therefore, each character should represent a syllable.

Using the knowledge that certain characters shared the same beginning or ending sounds, Kober built a table similar to the one above; her untimely death at age 43 in 1950 prevented her from possibly taking the final step or see others do it, namely to link the characters to actual phonetics.

Emmett L. Bennett

The convention for numbering the symbols still in use today was first devised by United States Professor Emmett L. Bennett, Jr., who, by 1950, had deciphered the metrical system. He was also an early proponent of the idea that Linear A and B represented different languages.

Ventris and Chadwick

Michael Ventris and John Chadwick performed the bulk of their decipherment of Linear B between 1951 and 1953. At first, Ventris chose his own numbering system, and agreed with Evans' hypothesis that Linear B was not Greek; however he later switched back to Bennett's system.

Based on Kober's work, and after making some inspired assumptions, Ventris was able to deduce the pronunciation of the syllables. To the amazement of Ventris himself, the deciphering of Linear B proved that it was a written form of Greek, in direct contradiction to the general scientific views of the times. Chadwick, an expert in historical Greek, helped Ventris decipher the text and rebuild the vocabulary and grammar of Mycenaean Greek.

Ventris' discovery was of immense significance, because it demonstrated a Greek-speaking Minoan-Mycenaean culture on Crete, and presented Greek in writing some 600 years earlier than what was thought at the time.

Interestingly, in 1935, the British School at Athens was celebrating its fiftieth anniversary with an exhibition at Burlington House, London. Among the speakers was Sir Arthur Evans, then in his eighty-fourth year and the teenager Michael Ventris was present in the audience.[51]

Timeline of Cretan scripts

The sequence and the geographical spread of Cretan hieroglyphs, Linear A and Linear B, the three overlapping, but distinct writing systems on Bronze Age Crete and the Greek mainland can be summarized as follows:[52]

Writing system Geographical area Time span[note 11]
Cretan Hieroglyphic Crete ca. 1625s−1500 BC
Linear A Aegean islands (Kea, Kythera, Melos, Thera), and Greek mainland (Laconia) ca. 1700s−1450 BC
Linear B Crete (Knossos), and mainland (Pylos, Mycenae, Thebes, Tiryns) ca. 1375s−1200 BC

Unicode

Linear B is assigned Unicode range 10000–1007F for syllabograms and 10080–100FF for ideograms.

Linear B Syllabary
Unicode.org chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1000x 𐀀 𐀁 𐀂 𐀃 𐀄 𐀅 𐀆 𐀇 𐀈 𐀰 𐀰 𐀋   𐀰 𐀎 𐀏
U+1001x 𐀐 𐀑 𐀒 𐀓 𐀔 𐀕 𐀖 𐀗 𐀘 𐀙 𐀚 𐀛 𐀜 𐀝 𐀞 𐀟
U+1002x 𐀰 𐀡 𐀢 𐀣 𐀤 𐀥 𐀦   𐀨 𐀩 𐀪 𐀫 𐀬 𐀭 𐀮 𐀯
U+1003x 𐀰 𐀱 𐀲 𐀳 𐀴 𐀵 𐀶 𐀷 𐀸 𐀹 𐀺   𐀼 𐀽   𐀿
U+1004x 𐁀 𐁁 𐁂 𐁃 𐁄 𐁅 𐁆 𐁇 𐁈 𐁉 𐁊 𐁋 𐁌 𐁍    
U+1005x 𐁐 𐁑 𐁒 𐁓 𐁔 𐁕 𐁖 𐁗 𐁘 𐁙 𐁚 𐁛 𐁜 𐁝    
U+1006x                                
U+1007x                                
Linear B Ideograms
Unicode.org chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1008x 𐂀 𐂁 𐂂 𐂃 𐂄 𐂅 𐂆 𐂇 𐂈 𐂉 𐂊 𐂋 𐂌 𐂍 𐂎 𐂏
U+1009x 𐂐 𐂑 𐂒 𐂓 𐂔 𐂕 𐂖 𐂗 𐂘 𐂙 𐂚 𐂛 𐂜 𐂝 𐂞 𐂟
U+100Ax 𐂠 𐂡 𐂢 𐂣 𐂤 𐂥 𐂦 𐂧 𐂨 𐂩 𐂪 𐂫 𐂬 𐂭 𐂮 𐂯
U+100Bx 𐂰 𐂱 𐂲 𐂳 𐂴 𐂵 𐂶 𐂷 𐂸 𐂹 𐂺 𐂻 𐂼 𐂽 𐂾 𐂿
U+100Cx 𐃀 𐃁 𐃂 𐃃 𐃄 𐃅 𐃆 𐃇 𐃈 𐃉 𐃊 𐃋 𐃌 𐃍 𐃎 𐃏
U+100Dx 𐃐 𐃑 𐃒 𐃓 𐃔 𐃕 𐃖 𐃗 𐃘 𐃙 𐃚 𐃛 𐃜 𐃝 𐃞 𐃟
U+100Ex 𐃠 𐃡 𐃢 𐃣 𐃤 𐃥 𐃦 𐃧 𐃨 𐃩 𐃪 𐃫 𐃬 𐃭 𐃮 𐃯
U+100Fx 𐃰 𐃱 𐃲 𐃳 𐃴 𐃵 𐃶 𐃷 𐃸 𐃹 𐃺          

Notes

  1. ^ In the Unicode character names, Bennett's number has been rendered into a three-digit code by padding with initial zeros and preceding with a B (for "Linear B").
  2. ^ In linguistics C and V in this type of context stand for consonant and vowel.
  3. ^ Sign *89 is not listed in Ventris & Chadwick's (1973) tables but it does appear in the appendix of Bennett (1964) as part of the Wingspread convention.
  4. ^ Ventris and Chadwick use Roman characters for the reconstructed Mycenaean Greek and give the closest later literary word in Greek characters. Often the phonetics are the same, but equally as often the reconstructed words represent an earlier form. Here the classical Greek was formed by dropping the w and lengthening the e to ei.
  5. ^ The w is dropped to form the classical Greek.
  6. ^ Classical words typically have the η of the Attic-Ionic dialect where Linear B represents the original α.
  7. ^ Representing guasileus, the b coming from gu
  8. ^ Double letters, as in Knossos, were never represented; one was dropped.
  9. ^ Note that the codes do not represent all the glyphs, only the major ones.
  10. ^ LM III is equivalent to LH III from a chronological perspective.
  11. ^ Beginning date refers to first attestations, the assumed origins of all scripts lie further back in the past.

Sources

  1. ^ Hogan, C. Michael (2008). "Cydonia". The Modern Antiquarian. Julian Cope. http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/post/65496/fieldnotes/cydonia.html. Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  2. ^ Wren, Linnea Holmer; David J. Wren; Janine M. Carter (1986). Perspectives on Western Art: Source Documents and Readings from the Ancient Near East Through the Middle Ages. Westview Press. p. 55. ISBN 0064301540, 9780064301541. 
  3. ^ Hooker, J.T. (1980). Linear B: An Introduction. Bristol Classical Press UK. ISBN 0906515696. 
  4. ^ Palaima, T.G.; Josē L. Melena. "A Brief History of CIPEM". Comité International Permanent des Études Mycéniennes. http://www.linearb.org/pub/home/?doc=157.87. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  5. ^ Ventris and Chadwick (1973), page 37, quotes Bennett: "where the same sign is used in both Linear A and B there is no guarantee that the same value is assigned to it."
  6. ^ Ventris and Chadwick (1973), Fig. 4 on page 23 states the "Proposed values of the Mycenaean syllabary", which is mainly the same as the table included in this article. The "grid" from which it came, which was built up in "successive stages", is shown in Fig. 3 on page 20.
  7. ^ Ventris and Chadwick (1973), Fig. 9 on page 41 states Bennett's numbers from 1 through 87 opposite the signs being numbered. The table includes variants from Knossos, Pylos, Mycenae and Thebes opposite the same numbers.
  8. ^ a b Ventris and Chadwick (1973), page 385.
  9. ^ Ventris and Chadwick (1973), pages 391-392.
  10. ^ Ventris & Chadwick (1973), pages 385-391.
  11. ^ Ventris and Chadwick (1973), page 43.
  12. ^ The examples in this section except where otherwise noted come from the Mycenaean Glossary of Ventris & Chadwick (1973).
  13. ^ Ventris & Chadwick (1973), pages 388-391.
  14. ^ Ventris & Chadwick (1973), page 44.
  15. ^ Ventris & Chadwick (1973), page 45. The authors use q instead of k: qu, gu and quh, following the use of q- in transcription.
  16. ^ This table follows the numbering scheme worked out by Ventris and Bennett and presented in Ventris and Chadwick (1973) in the table of Figure 10, pages 50-51. The superscript a refers to Bennett's "Editio a", "a hand from Pylos, of Class III." The superscript b refers to Bennett's "Editio b", "a hand of Knosses." The superscript c refers to Bennett's "Editio c", "a hand of Pylos, of Class I." The non-superscript letters represent the class of tablets, which precedes the individual tablet number; for example, Sa 787 is Tablet Number 787 of the class Sa, which concerns chariots and features the WHEEL ideogram.
  17. ^ Figure 10 in Ventris and Chadwick (1973) states only the English names of the ideograms where they exist but the Latin is given where it exists in Bennett, Jr. Editor, Emmett L. (1964). Mycenaean Studies: Proceedings of the Third International Colloquium for Mycenaean Studies Held at "Wingspread," 4–8 September 1961. University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 258–259, "Ideogrammatum Scripturae Mycenaeae Transcriptio".  The "m" and "f" superscript are male and female.
  18. ^ Given in capital letters if it repeats Ventris and Chadwick (1973) Figure 10; otherwise, in lowercase. Note that not all the CIPEM glyphs appear in Figure 10.
  19. ^ Ventris and Chadwick (1973) page 391: "100 MAN is now used for all forms of the ideogram, so that 101 and 103 are now suppressed."
  20. ^ Ventris & Chadwick either edition do not follow the Wingspread Convention here but have 105a as a HE-ASS and 105c as a FOAL.
  21. ^ The 1956 edition has "Kind of sheep"
  22. ^ Chadwick (1976) page 105.
  23. ^ "Double mina", Chadwick (1976) page 102.
  24. ^ Ventris & Chadwick (1973) page 392.
  25. ^ Ventris and Chadwick (1973) page 324 has a separate table.
  26. ^ This table is heavily indebted to Shelmerdine, Cynthia. "Where Do We Go From Here? And How Can the Linear B Tablets Help Us Get There?" (PDF). http://www2.ulg.ac.be/archgrec/IMG/aegeum/aegaeum18(pdf)/34%20Shelmerdine.pdf. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  27. ^ Brown, Ann Cynthia (1993). Before Knossos --: Arthur Evans's Travels in the Balkans and Crete (illustrated ed.). Oxford: Ashmolean Museum. pp. 19–26. ISBN 1854440292, 9781854440297. 
  28. ^ Evans, Arthur J. (1884). The Ashmolean Museum as a Home of Archaeology in Oxford: an Inaugural Lecture Given in the Ashmolean Museum November 20, 1884. London: Parker & Co.. 
  29. ^ Ventris & Chadwick (1973) page 8.
  30. ^ Schliemann, Heinrich; William Ewart Gladstone (1880). Mycenæ. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 114. 
  31. ^ JHS v. XIV 1894 pages 270 following. This volume is currently rare and unobtainable by the general public.
  32. ^ Evans, Arthur J. (1898). "Further Discoveries of Cretan and Aegean Script". Journal of Hellenic Studies XVII: 327–395. . Downloadable Google Books.
  33. ^ Page 394.
  34. ^ Clowes, William Laird; Clements Robert Markham; Alfred Thayer Mahan; Herbert Wrigley Wilson; Theodore Roosevelt; Leonard George Carr Laughton (1903). The Royal Navy. VII. London: Sampson, Low, Marston and Company. pp. 444–448.  Downloadable Google Books.
  35. ^ Acquisition of the land was a complex series of transactions requiring several years to complete. The date when it was considered to have been acquired; that is, disposable by Evans and paid for, is therefore somewhat variable. Evans mentioned 1900 as a round date; however, he had exclusive rights for at least a few years before then.
  36. ^ Brown, Ann Cynthia (1983). Arthur Evans and the Palace of Minos (Ashmolean Museum Edition: illustrated ed.). Oxford: Ashmolean Museum. pp. 15–30. ISBN 0900090928, 9780900090929. 
  37. ^ Evans sought and received permission to excavate from Prince George, again a series of complex transactions. His own round date given after excavation had begun is 1900; the dates of the completion of the sale and permission to dig are somewhat variable in various reports.
  38. ^ Castleden, Rodney (1990). The Knossos Labyrinth: A New View of the 'Palace of Minos' at Knossos (illustrated ed.). Routledge. pp. 27–35. ISBN 0415033152, 9780415033152. 
  39. ^ Evans, Arthur J. (1901). "Knossos: Summary Report of the Excavations in 1900: I The Palace". The Annual of the British School at Athens (VI: Session 1899-1900): 3–70.  Downloadable Google Books.
  40. ^ The dates may vary by a day or two in different authors or the Linear B finds may be attributed to the 30th. This is Evans's account soon after the close of excavations that year.
  41. ^ Page 57.
  42. ^ Page 56.
  43. ^ Page 58.
  44. ^ Evans, Arthur J. (1900). "Crete: Systems of Writing". Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland XXX (New Series, III) (90): 91–93.  Downloadable Google Books.
  45. ^ "Archaeology: Crete". Appletons' Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events of the Year 1900. Third Series, V; Whole Series, XI. 1901. pp. 25–28.  Downloadable Google Books.
  46. ^ Evans, Arthur J. (1909). Scripta Minoa: The Written Documents of Minoan Crete: With Special Reference to the Archives of Knossos. Volume I: The Hieroglyphic and Primitive Linear Classes with an Account of the Discovery of the Pre-Phoenician Scripts, their Place in Minoan Story and their Mediterranean Relations: with Plates, Tables and Figures in the Text. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. http://www.archive.org/details/scriptaminoawrit01evanuoft. 
  47. ^ Scripta Minoa I, page ix.
  48. ^ Scripta Minoa I, page 36.
  49. ^ Evans, Arthur J. (1952). Scripta Minoa: The Written Documents of Minoan Crete: With Special Reference to the Archives of Knossos. Volume II: The Archives of Knossos: Clay Tablets Inscribed in Linear Script B Edited from Notes, and Supplemented by John L. Myres. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. http://diglit.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/evans1952/0003/ocr?sid=c8644f1a9472ba6a583ab51c77803b6a. 
  50. ^ Documents in Mycenaean Greek, page 11.
  51. ^ http://www.mansfield.edu/~art/papyrus1_stephanie_stambaugh.htm
  52. ^ Olivier, J.-P. (1986), "Cretan Writing in the Second Millennium B.C.", World Archaeology 17 (3): 377–389 (377f.) 

Further reading

See also

External links


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

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Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Proper noun

Singular
Linear B

Plural
-

Linear B

  1. a syllabary used to write Mycenaean Greek in the second millennium BC, before the invention of the Greek alphabet

See also

Anagrams








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