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Linear B is a
syllabic script In the linguistic Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis includ ...
that was used for writing
Mycenaean Greek Mycenaean Greek is the most ancient attested form of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family of lan ...
, the earliest attested form of
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
. The script predates the
Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or early eighth century BC. It is derived from the earlier Phoenician alphabet, and was the first alphabetic script in history to have distinct letters for vowels ...

Greek alphabet
by several centuries. The oldest Mycenaean writing dates to about 1450 BC. It is descended from the older
Linear A Linear A is a writing system that was used by the (Cretans) from 1800 to 1450 BC to write the hypothesized . Linear A was the primary script used in palace and religious writings of the Minoan civilization. It was discovered by arch ...
, an undeciphered earlier script used for writing the
Minoan language The Minoan language is the language (or languages) of the ancient Minoan civilization The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some are ...
, as is the later
Cypriot syllabary#REDIRECT Cypriot syllabary The Cypriot or Cypriote syllabary is a syllabic script used in Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of Homo sapiens, humanity. It wa ...
, which also recorded Greek. Linear B, found mainly in the palace archives at
Knossos Knossos (also Cnossos, both pronounced ; grc, Κνωσός, Knōsós, ; Linear B: ''Ko-no-so'') is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and has been called Europe's oldest city. Settled as early as the Neolithic period, the na ...

Knossos
,
Cydonia Cydonia may refer to: Places and jurisdictions * Kydonia Kydonia or Cydonia (; grc, Κυδωνία; lat, Cydonia) was an ancient city-state on the northwest coast of the island of Crete. It is at the site of the modern-day Greek city of Chan ...
,
Pylos Pylos (, ; el, Πύλος), historically also known as Navarino, is a town and a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or ...

Pylos
, Thebes and
Mycenae Mycenae ( ; grc, Μυκῆναι or , ''Mykē̂nai'' or ''Mykḗnē'') is an archaeological site near Mykines, Greece, Mykines in Argolis, north-eastern Peloponnese, Greece. It is located about south-west of Athens; north of Argos, Peloponne ...

Mycenae
, disappeared with the fall of Mycenaean civilization during the
Late Bronze Age collapse The Late Bronze Age collapse was a transition period in a large area covering much of Southeast Europe, West Asia and North Africa North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly ac ...
. The succeeding period, known as the
Greek Dark Ages The Greek Dark Ages is the period of Greek history The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern nation-state of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a count ...
, provides no evidence of the use of writing. Linear B, deciphered by English architect and self-taught linguist
Michael Ventris Michael George Francis Ventris, (; 12 July 1922 – 6 September 1956) was an English architect An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in ...
—based on the research of American Classicist
Alice Kober Alice Elizabeth Kober (December 23, 1906 – May 16, 1950) was an American classicist best known for extensive investigations that eventually led to the decipherment of Linear B Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing M ...
—is the only Bronze Age Aegean script to have thus far been deciphered. Linear B consists of around 87 syllabic signs and over 100
ideographic An ideogram or ideograph (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popul ...

ideographic
signs. These ideograms or "signifying" signs symbolize objects or commodities. They have no phonetic value and are never used as word signs in writing a sentence. The application of Linear B appears to have been confined to administrative contexts. In all the thousands of clay tablets, a relatively small number of different "hands" have been detected: 45 in
Pylos Pylos (, ; el, Πύλος), historically also known as Navarino, is a town and a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or ...

Pylos
(west coast of the
Peloponnese The Peloponnese (), Peloponnesia, or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Pelopónnēsos, ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while b ...
, in southern
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
) and 66 in
Knossos Knossos (also Cnossos, both pronounced ; grc, Κνωσός, Knōsós, ; Linear B: ''Ko-no-so'') is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and has been called Europe's oldest city. Settled as early as the Neolithic period, the na ...

Knossos
(
Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, Modern Modern may refer to: History *Modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology ...

Crete
). It is possible that the script was used only by a guild of professional scribes who served the central palaces. Once the palaces were destroyed, the script disappeared.


Script

Linear B has roughly 200 signs, divided into syllabic signs with
phonetic Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) an ...
values and
ideogram An ideogram or ideograph (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popul ...

ideogram
s with
semantic Semantics (from grc, σημαντικός ''sēmantikós'', "significant") is the study of reference Reference is a relationship between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another ...
values. The representations and naming of these signs have 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 Racine ( ) is a city in and the county seat A county seat is an administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public adminis ...
, 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 The Permanent International Committee for Mycenaean Studies, always known as the Comité International Permanent des Études Mycéniennes or CIPEM, even in English, acts as a standardising body for Mycenaean studies and related disciplines, includi ...
(CIPEM), affiliated in 1970 by the fifth colloquium with
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
. Colloquia continue: the 13th occurred in 2010 in Paris. Many of the signs are identical or similar to those in
Linear A Linear A is a writing system that was used by the (Cretans) from 1800 to 1450 BC to write the hypothesized . Linear A was the primary script used in palace and religious writings of the Minoan civilization. It was discovered by arch ...
; however, Linear A encodes an as-yet unknown language, and it is uncertain whether similar signs had the same
phonetic value Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of lingu ...
s.


Syllabic signs

The grid developed during decipherment by
Michael Ventris Michael George Francis Ventris, (; 12 July 1922 – 6 September 1956) was an English architect An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in ...
and
John Chadwick John Chadwick, (21 May 1920 – 24 November 1998) was an English linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestu ...
of phonetic values for syllabic signs is shown below. (Note that "q" represents the labialized velar stops ʷ, kʷ, kʷʰ not a uvular stop of IPA.) Initial consonants are in the leftmost column; vowels are in the top row beneath the title. The transcription of the syllable, which may not have been pronounced that way, is listed next to the sign along with Bennett's identifying
number A number is a mathematical object A mathematical object is an abstract concept arising in mathematics. In the usual language of mathematics, an ''object'' is anything that has been (or could be) formally defined, and with which one may do deduct ...

number
for the sign preceded by an asterisk (as was Ventris' and Chadwick's convention).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"). If the transcription of the sign remains uncertain, Bennett's number serves to identify the sign. The signs on the tablets and sealings 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.


Special and unknown signs

In addition to the grid, the first edition of ''Documents in Mycenaean Greek'' 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 homophonous to ''pa''. Many of these were identified by the second edition and are shown in the "special values" below.Ventris and Chadwick (1973), page 385. 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''. Other values remain unknown, mainly because of scarcity of evidence concerning them.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. Note that *34 and *35 are mirror images of each other but whether this graphic relationship indicates a phonetic one remains unconfirmed. In recent times, CIPEM inherited the former authority of Bennett and the Wingspread Convention in deciding what signs are "confirmed" and how to officially represent the various sign categories. In editions of Mycenaean texts, the signs whose values have 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: /nowiki>.


Spelling and pronunciation

The signs are approximations since 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
monosyllabicIn linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include pho ...

monosyllabic
signs of the type V/CV. Clarification of the 14 or so special values tested the limits of the grid model, but Chadwick eventually concluded that even with the ramifications, the syllabic signs can unexceptionally be considered monosyllabic. Possible exceptions, Chadwick goes on to explain, include the two
diphthong A diphthong ( ; , ), also known as a gliding vowel, is a combination of two adjacent vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the two principal classes of spe ...
s,  (''ai'') and  (''au''), as in , ''ai-ku-pi-ti-jo'', for ''Aiguptios'' (, "Egyptian") and , ''au-ke-wa'', for ''Augewās'' ( "
Augeas In Greek mythology, Augeas (or Augeias, , grc-gre, Αὐγείας), whose name means "bright", was king of Elis and father of Epicaste. Some say that Augeas was one of the Argonauts.Hyginus, ''Fabulae'' 14 He is best known for his stables, whic ...
").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''. However, a diphthong is by definition two vowels united into a single sound and therefore might be typed as just V. Thus  (''rai''), as in , ''e-rai-wo'', for ''elaiwon'' (),The ''w'' is dropped to form the classical Greek. is of the type CV. Diphthongs are otherwise treated as two monosyllables: , ''a-ro-u-ra'', for ''arourans'' (accusative plural of , "tamarisk trees"), of the types CV and V. Lengths of vowels and accents are not marked.  (''Twe''),  (''two''),  (''dwe''),  (''dwo''),  (''nwa'') and the more doubtful  (''swi'') and  (''swa'') may be regarded as beginning with
labialized Labialization is a secondary articulatory feature of sounds in some languages. Labialized sounds involve the lips while the remainder of the oral cavity In animal anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biolog ...
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'' (). Similarly,  (''rya''),  (''ryo'') and  (''tya'') begin with palatalized consonants rather than two consonants: ''-ti-ri-ja'' for ''-trja'' (-). The one sign Chadwick tags as the exception to the monosyllabic rule is  (''pte''), but this he attributes to a development ''pte''<''*pje'' as in ''kleptei''<''*klep-jei''. Linear B does not consistently distinguish between
voiced Voice or voicing is a term used in phonetics Phonetics is a branch of that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of s, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study th ...
and unvoiced
stop consonant In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of ev ...
s (except in the ) and between aspirated and unaspirated stops even when these distinctions are
phonemic In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or constituent parts of signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound or sign system of any partic ...
in Mycenaean Greek. For example, ''pa-te'' is ''patēr'' (), ''pa-si'' is ''phāsi'' ();Classical words typically have the of the Attic-Ionic dialect where Linear B represents the original . ''p'' on the other hand some times does not represent (like in the beginning of the following word) ("
basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic quali ...
", meaning in this period "court official or local chieftain") is ''qa-si-re-u''Representing ''guasileus'', the ''b'' coming from ''gu''); ''ko-ru'' is ''korus'' (, "helmet"), ''ka-ra-we'' is ''grāwes'' (plural of ), ''ko-no'' is ''skhoinos'' ("rope"). Exceptionally, however, the dentals are represented by a ''t''-series and a ''d''-series for unvoiced and voiced: ''to-so'' for ''tosos'' ( or ) but ''do-ra'' for ''dōra'' (plural of , "gift"). Aspiration, however, is not marked: ''to-ra-ke'' for ''thōrākes'' (plural of , "breastplate"). In other cases aspiration can be marked but is optional: ''pu-te'' for ''phutēr'' ("planter", from ), 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 ),Ventris & Chadwick (1973), pages 388–391. and yet ''a-ni-ja'' for ''hāniai'' (). 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 (''-aios''); ''a-te-mi-ti-jo'' for (''Artemitios''). The ''w''-series similarly are semivowels used word-initially and intervocalically after a syllable ending in ''u'': ''ku-wa-no'' for ''kuanos'' (, "blue"). The ''r''-series includes both the /r/ and /l/
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
s: ''ti-ri-po'' for ''tripos'' (, i.e. ) and ''tu-ri-so'' for ''Tulisos'' (). The ''q''-series is used for monosyllables beginning with a class of consonants that disappeared from classical Greek by regular phonetic change: the
labialized velar consonant Labialization is a secondary articulatory feature of sounds in some languages. Labialized sounds involve the lips while the remainder of the oral cavity produces another sound. The term is normally restricted to consonant In articulatory pho ...
s (see under
Mycenaean Greek Mycenaean Greek is the most ancient attested form of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family of lan ...
). These had entered the language from various sources: inheritance from
Proto-Indo-European Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( ...
, assimilation, borrowing of foreign words, especially names. In Mycenaean they are /kʷ/, /gʷ/, and rarely /kʷh/ in names and a few words: ''a-pi-qo-ro'' for ''amphiquoloi'' (); ''qo-u-ko-ro'' for ''guoukoloi'' (. "cowherders"); ''-qo-i-ta'' for -. Some consonants in some contexts are not written (but are understood to be present), such as word-initial ''s-'' and ''-w'' before a consonant, as in ''pe-ma'' for ''sperma'' (, "seed"). The ''pe-'', which was primarily used as its value ''pe'' of grid class CV, is here being used for ''sper-''. This was not an innovative or exceptional use, but followed the stated rules. Syllable-final ''-l'', ''-m'', ''-n'', ''-r'' and ''-s'' are also not written out, and only word-final velars are notated by plene writing: ''a-to-ro-qo'' for ''anthrōquos'' (, "human being, person"). Here ''a'', being primarily of grid class V, is being used as ''an-'' and could be used for ''al'', ''am'', ''ar'', and so on. In the case of clusters of two or three consonants that do not follow the initial ''s-'' and ''-w'' rule or the double consonants:  (''ks'' or ''x''),  (''ps'') and ''qus'' (which later did not exist in classical Greek), each consonant in the cluster is represented by a type CV sign that shares its consonant value: ''ko-no-so'' for ''Knōsos'',Double letters, as in ''Knossos'', were never represented; one was dropped. or ''ku-ru-so'' for ''khrusos'' (, "gold"). The vowels of these signs have been called "empty", "null", "extra", "dead" and other terms by various writers as they represent no sound. There were rules though, that governed the selection of the "empty" vowel and therefore determined which sign was to be used. 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-''. A rare exception occurs in words formed from ''wa-na-ka'', ''wanax'' (ϝάναξ, Homeric and Classical ἄναξ): ''wa-na-ka-te'' for ''wanaktei'' (dative), and ''wa-na-ka-te-ro'' for ''wanakteros'', the adjectival form. This exception may not have applied to all contexts, as an example of ''wa-na-ka'' that follows standard rules has emerged in Ayios Vasileios in
Laconia Laconia or Lakonia ( el, Λακωνία, , ) is a historical and administrative region Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization, whether it i ...
. The text reads ''wa-na-ko-to'' (genitive) and is written on a sealing nodule dating to the late 14th or early 13th century, slightly earlier than other Linear B texts found on mainland Greece.


Ideograms

Linear B also uses a large number of
ideogram An ideogram or ideograph (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popul ...

ideogram
s. They express: * The type of object concerned (e.g. a cow, wool, a spear) * A unit of measure. They have no phonetic value and are never used as word signs in writing a sentence, unlike Japanese kanji. Ideograms are typically at the end of a line before a number and appear to signify to which object 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 sex. The numerical references for the ideograms were originally devised by Ventris and Bennett and divided into functional groups corresponding to the breakdown of Bennett's index. The 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; for example, one tablet records a
tripod A tripod is a portable three-legged frame or stand, used as a platform for supporting the weight In science Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, test ...

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 Exegesis (; from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is app ...
.


Archives


Corpus

Inscriptions in Linear B have been found on tablets and vases or other objects; they are catalogued and classified by, inter alia, the location of the excavation they were found in. Another 170 inscriptions in Linear B have been found on various vessels, for a total of some 6,058 known inscriptions. The oldest Linear B tablets are probably those from the Room of Chariot Tablets at Knossos, and date to the latter half of the 15th century BC. The Kafkania pebble, though from an earlier context, is not genuine. The earliest inscription from the mainland is an inscribed clay tablet found at
Iklaina Iklaina ( el, Ίκλαινα) is a historic village in the municipal unit of Pylos, Messenia, Greece. It is situated in low hills, approximately 10 km to the northeast of the town of Pylos. Important archaeological remains of the Late Bronze A ...
dating to between 1400 and 1350 BC. It is claimed that a Linear B inscription is attested on an amber bead found at Bernstorf, in
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
.


Chronology


Timeline of Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean scripts

The Aegean is responsible for many of the early Greek language words that have to do with daily life such as words for tools and items that are seen every day. 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, the Aegean islands, and
mainland Greece Greece is a country of the Balkans, in Southeastern Europe, bordered to the north by Albania, North Macedonia and Bulgaria; to the east by Turkey, and is surrounded to the east by the Aegean Sea, to the south by the Cretan Sea, Cretan and the Li ...
are summarized as follows:


Timeline of Linear B

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


Controversy on the date of the Knossos tablets

The
Knossos Knossos (also Cnossos, both pronounced ; grc, Κνωσός, Knōsós, ; Linear B: ''Ko-no-so'') is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and has been called Europe's oldest city. Settled as early as the Neolithic period, the na ...

Knossos
archive was dated by
Arthur Evans Sir Arthur John Evans (8 July 1851 – 11 July 1941) was a British archaeologist Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch o ...

Arthur Evans
to the destruction by conflagration of about 1400 BC, which would have baked and preserved the clay tablets. He dated this event to the LM II period. This view stood until
Carl Blegen Carl William Blegen (January 27, 1887 – August 24, 1971) was an American archaeologist who worked on the site of Pylos Pylos (, ; el, Πύλος), historically also known as Navarino, is a town and a former Communities and Municipalities of Gr ...
excavated the site of ancient
Pylos Pylos (, ; el, Πύλος), historically also known as Navarino, is a town and a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or ...

Pylos
in 1939 and uncovered tablets inscribed in Linear B. They were fired in the conflagration that destroyed Pylos about 1200 BC, at the end of LHIIIB. With the decipherment of Linear B by
Michael Ventris Michael George Francis Ventris, (; 12 July 1922 – 6 September 1956) was an English architect An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in ...
in 1952, serious questions about Evans's date began to be considered. Most notably, Blegen said that the inscribed stirrup jars, which are oil flasks 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. Evans had not kept exact records. Recourse was had to the day books of Evans's assistant,
Duncan Mackenzie Duncan Mackenzie (17 May 1861–1934) was a Scottish archaeologist, whose work focused on one of the more spectacular 20th century archaeological Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis ...

Duncan Mackenzie
, who had conducted the day-to-day excavations. There were discrepancies between the notes in the day books and Evans's excavation reports. Moreover, the two men had disagreed over the location and strata of the tablets. The results of the reinvestigation were eventually published by Palmer and Boardman, ''On the Knossos Tablets''. It contains two works, Leonard Robert Palmer's ''The Find-Places of the Knossos Tablets'' and John Boardman's ''The Date of the Knossos Tablets,'' representing Blegen's and Evans's views respectively. Consequently, the dispute was known for a time as "the Palmer–Boardman dispute". There has been no generally accepted resolution to it yet.


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 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 they were housed in were destroyed by fires, many of the tablets were fired.


Discovery and decipherment


Arthur J. Evans's classification of scripts

The
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ir ...

British
archaeologist
Arthur Evans Sir Arthur John Evans (8 July 1851 – 11 July 1941) was a British archaeologist Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch o ...

Arthur Evans
, keeper of the
Ashmolean Museum The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology () on Beaumont Street, Oxford, England, is the world's second university museum (after the establishment of the Kunstmuseum Basel by the University of Basel in 1661) and Britain's first public museum. I ...
, was presented by Greville Chester in 1886 with a sealstone from Crete engraved with a writing he took to be Mycenaean.
Heinrich Schliemann Heinrich Schliemann (; 6 January 1822 – 26 December 1890) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germa ...

Heinrich Schliemann
had encountered signs similar to these, but 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 ...." In 1893 Evans purchased more sealstones in Athens, verifying from the antiquarian dealers that the stones came from Crete. During the next year he noticed the script on other artefacts in the Ashmolean. In 1894 he embarked for
Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, Modern Modern may refer to: History *Modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology ...

Crete
in search of the script. Soon after arrival, at
Knossos Knossos (also Cnossos, both pronounced ; grc, Κνωσός, Knōsós, ; Linear B: ''Ko-no-so'') is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and has been called Europe's oldest city. Settled as early as the Neolithic period, the na ...

Knossos
he saw the sign of the double axe on an excavated wall, considering this the source of the script. Subsequently, he found more stones from the various ruins being worn by Cretan women as
amulet An amulet, also known as a good luck charm A good luck charm is an amulet or other item that is believed to bring good luck. Almost any object can be used as a charm. Coins and buttons are examples, as are small objects given as gifts, due t ...

amulet
s called "milk-stones", thought to encourage the production of breast milk. 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 Journal of Hellenic Studies'' is a peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members ...
'', the first article being "Primitive Pictographs and a Prae-Phoenician Script from Crete". 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 "These linear forms indeed consist of simple geometrical figures which unlike the more complicated pictorial class were little susceptible to modification," and "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." Meanwhile, Evans began to negotiate for the land purchase of the Knossos site. He established the Cretan Exploration Fund, with only his own money at first, and by 1896 the fund had purchased one-fourth of Kephala Hill, on which the ruins were located, with first option to buy the rest. However, he could not obtain a
firman A firman ( fa, ''farmân''), or ferman (), at the constitutional level, was a royal mandate or decree issued by a sovereign in an . During various periods they were collected and applied as traditional bodies of law. The word firman comes fr ...
excavation permit from the Ottoman government. He returned to Britain. In January 1897, the Christian population of Crete staged its final insurrection against the Ottoman Empire. The last Ottoman troops were ferried off the island by the British fleet on 5 December 1898. In that year also, Evans and his friends returned to complete purchase of the site. By this time, the Fund had other contributors as well. In 1899, the Constitution of a new Cretan Republic went into effect. Once Arthur had received permission to excavate from the local authorities, excavation on the hill began on 23 March 1900. According to Evans's report to the
British School at Athens , image = Image-Bsa athens library.jpg , image_size = 300px , image_upright = , alt = , caption = The library of the BSA , latin_name = , motto = , founder = T ...
for that year, on 5 April, the excavators discovered the first large cache ever of Linear B tablets among the remains of a wooden box in a disused
terracotta Terracotta, terra cotta, or terra-cotta (; Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance ...

terracotta
bathtub. Subsequently, caches turned up at multiple locations, including the Room of the Chariot Tablets, where over 350 pieces from four boxes were found. The tablets were to long by to 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." The excavation was over for that year by 2 June. Evans reported: "only a comparatively small proportion of the tablets were preserved in their entirety," the causes of destruction being rainfall through the roof of the storage room, crumbling of small pieces, and being thrown away by workmen who failed to identify them. A report on 6 September to the
Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland The Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (RAI) is a long-established anthropological organisation, and Learned Society, with a global membership. Its remit includes all the component fields of anthropology, such as biolo ...
began to use some of the concepts characteristic of Evans's later thought: "palace of Knossos" and "palace of
Minos In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A be ...

Minos
". ''
Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography ''Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography'' is a six-volume collection of biographies of notable people involved in the history of the New World The "New World" is a Eurocentrism, eurocultural term applied to the majority of Earth's West ...
'', 1900, notes that Evans took up Stillman's theme that the palace was the
labyrinth In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A be ...

labyrinth
of mythology in which the half-bovine son of King
Minos In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A be ...

Minos
lurked. In the report, the tablets 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, with a projected 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'', which appeared in 1909, he explained that the discovery of the
Phaistos Disc The Phaistos Disc (also spelled Phaistos Disk, Phaestos Disc) is a disk of fired clay from the Minoan palace of Phaistos on the island of Crete, possibly dating to the middle or late Minoan Bronze Age (second millennium B.C.). The disk is ab ...
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 he mentioned that he was also including by permission of
Federico Halbherr Federico Halbherr (Rovereto, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, 15 February 1857 – Rome, 17 July 1930) was an Italian archaeologist and epigrapher, known for his excavations of Crete. A contemporary, good friend, and trusted advisor of Arthur ...
of the Italian Mission in Crete unpublished tablets from
Hagia Triada Hagia Triada (also Ayia Triada, Agia Triada, Agia Trias, , " Holy Trinity") is the archaeological site of an ancient Minoan settlement. Hagia Triada is situated on the western end of a prominent coastal ridge, with Phaistos at the eastern end and ...
written in a linear script of "Class A". To what degree if any Halbherr was responsible for Evans's 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 have perceived Class A only 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." 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. He died in 1941, soon after Nazi forces . 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 Carl William Blegen (January 27, 1887 – August 24, 1971) was an American archaeologist who worked on the site of Pylos Pylos (, ; el, Πύλος), historically also known as Navarino, is a town and a former Communities and Municipalities of Gr ...
had uncovered the Pylos Tablets; pressure was mounting to finish ''Scripta Minoa II.'' After Evans's death,
Alice Kober Alice Elizabeth Kober (December 23, 1906 – May 16, 1950) was an American classicist best known for extensive investigations that eventually led to the decipherment of Linear B Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing M ...
, assistant to
John Myres Sir John Linton Myres, FBA (3 July 1869 in Preston – 6 March 1954 in Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its population was estimated at 152,450. It is northwest of Lon ...
and a major transcriber of the Knossos tablets, prompted Myres to come back from retirement and finish the work. Emmett L. Bennett, Jr. added more transcriptions. The second volume came out in 1952 with Evans cited as author and Myres as editor, 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."


Early attempts

Despite the limited source materials, during this time there were efforts to decipher the newly discovered Cretan script. Australian classicist
Florence Stawell Florence Melian Stawell (2 May 1869 – 9 June 1936) was a classical scholar. Career Florence Melian Stawell, youngest daughter of Sir William Foster Stawell Sir William Foster Stawell Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, KCMG (27 June 1 ...

Florence Stawell
published an interpretation of the Phaistos Disc in the April 1911 issue of ''
The Burlington Magazine ''The Burlington Magazine'' is a monthly publication that covers the fine Fine may refer to: Characters * Sylvia Fine (''The Nanny''), Fran's mother on ''The Nanny'' * Fine/Officer Fine, character in Tales from the Crypt, played by Vincent Spano ...
''. She followed this with the book ''A Clue to the Cretan Scripts'', published in 1931. Stawell declared all three Cretan script forms to represent early Homeric Greek, and offered her attempts at translations. Also in 1931, F. G. Gordon's ''Through Basque to Minoan'' was published by the Oxford University Press. Gordon attempted to prove a close link between the
Basque language Basque (; , ) is a language spoken by Basques and others of the Basque Country (greater region), Basque Country, a region that straddles the westernmost Pyrenees in adjacent parts of Northern Spain and Southwestern France. Linguistically, Ba ...
and Linear B, without lasting success. In 1949, Bedřich Hrozný published ''Les Inscriptions Crétoises, Essai de déchiffrement'', a proposed decipherment of the Cretan scripts. Hrozny was internationally renowned as the translator of
Hittite Hittite may refer to: * Hittites, ancient Anatolian people ** Hittite language, the earliest-attested Indo-European language ** Hittite grammar ** Hittite phonology ** Hittite cuneiform ** Hittite inscriptions ** Hittite laws ** Hittite religion ** ...
cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is nam ...

cuneiform
decades previously. His Minoan translations into academic French, though, proved to be considerably subjective, and incorrect. From the 1930s to 1950s there was correspondence between, and papers published by, various international academic figures. These included Johannes Sundwall, K. D. Ktistopoulos, Ernst Sittig and V. I. Georgiev. None of them succeeded with decipherment, yet they added to knowledge and debate.


Alice Kober's triplets

About the same time,
Alice Kober Alice Elizabeth Kober (December 23, 1906 – May 16, 1950) was an American classicist best known for extensive investigations that eventually led to the decipherment of Linear B Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing M ...
studied Linear B and managed to construct grids, linking similar symbols in groups of threes. 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 too few to be
logographic In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign lan ...
; therefore, each character should represent a syllable. Kober's systematic approach allowed her to demonstrate the existence of three grammatical cases and identify several pairs of signs that shared vowels or consonants with one another. Kober also showed that the two symbol word for 'total' at the end of livestock and personnel lists, had a different symbol for gender. This gender change with one letter, usually a vowel, is most frequent in Indo-European languages. Kober had rejected any speculation on the language represented, preferring painstaking cataloguing and analysis of the actual symbols, though she did believe it likely that Linear A and Linear B represented different languages.


Emmett L. Bennett's transcription conventions

The convention for numbering the symbols still in use today was first devised by Emmett L. Bennett Jr.. Working alongside fellow academic
Alice Kober Alice Elizabeth Kober (December 23, 1906 – May 16, 1950) was an American classicist best known for extensive investigations that eventually led to the decipherment of Linear B Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing M ...
, by 1950 Bennett had deciphered the metrical system, based on his intensive study of Linear B tablets unearthed at
Pylos Pylos (, ; el, Πύλος), historically also known as Navarino, is a town and a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or ...

Pylos
. He concluded that those tablets contained exactly the same script as the Linear B found at Knossos, and he classified and assigned identification numbers to the Linear B signs as he prepared a publication on the Pylos tablets. Like Kober, Bennett was also an early proponent of the idea that Linear A and B represented different languages. His book ''The Pylos Tablets'' became a crucial resource for Michael Ventris, who later described it as "a wonderful piece of work".


Michael Ventris' identification as Greek

In 1935, the
British School at Athens , image = Image-Bsa athens library.jpg , image_size = 300px , image_upright = , alt = , caption = The library of the BSA , latin_name = , motto = , founder = T ...
was celebrating its fiftieth anniversary with an exhibition at
Burlington House Burlington House is a building on Piccadilly in Mayfair, London. It was originally a private Palladian architecture, Palladian mansion owned by the Earl of Burlington, Earls of Burlington and was expanded in the mid-19th century after being pu ...

Burlington House
, London. Among the speakers was
Arthur Evans Sir Arthur John Evans (8 July 1851 – 11 July 1941) was a British archaeologist Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch o ...

Arthur Evans
, then eighty-four years old. A teenage
Michael Ventris Michael George Francis Ventris, (; 12 July 1922 – 6 September 1956) was an English architect An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in ...
was present in the audience. In 1940, the 18-year-old Ventris had an article ''Introducing the Minoan Language'' published in the
American Journal of Archaeology The ''American Journal of Archaeology'' (AJA), the peer-reviewed journal of the Archaeological Institute of America The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) is a North America North America is a continent A continent is a ...
. After wartime service as a navigator with
RAF Bomber Command RAF Bomber Command controlled the Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The G ...
, and a post-war year in Occupied Germany, he returned to civilian life, and completed qualification as an architect. Despite having no university qualification, Ventris continued with his amateur interest in Linear B, corresponding with known scholars, who usually but not always replied. Michael Ventris and
John Chadwick John Chadwick, (21 May 1920 – 24 November 1998) was an English linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestu ...
performed the bulk of the decipherment of Linear B between 1951 and 1953. At first Ventris chose his own numbering method, but later switched to Bennett's system. His initial decipherment was achieved using Kober's classification tables, to which he applied his own theories. Some Linear B tablets had been discovered on the Greek mainland. Noticing that certain symbol combinations appeared only on the tablets found in Crete, he conjectured that these might be names of places on the island. This proved to be correct. Working with the symbols he could decipher from this, Ventris soon unlocked much text and determined that the underlying language of Linear B was in fact Greek. This contradicted general scientific views of the time, and indeed Ventris himself had previously agreed with Evans's hypothesis that Linear B was not Greek. Ventris' discovery was of significance in demonstrating a Greek-speaking Minoan-Mycenaean culture on Crete, and thus presenting Greek in writing centuries earlier than had been previously accepted. Chadwick, a university lecturer in Ancient Greek philology, helped Ventris develop his decipherment of the text and discover the vocabulary and grammar of Mycenaean Greek. He noted:
That any Linear B tablets are written in a language other than Greek still remains to be demonstrated; but that words and usages not exactly paralleled in later Greek occur is both certain and to be expected. But we must not resort to "non-Greek" whenever we come up against an insoluble problem.
The first edition of their book, ''Documents in Mycenaean Greek'', was published in 1956, shortly after Ventris's death in an automobile accident.


Unicode

Linear B was added to the
Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's wri ...

Unicode
Standard in April, 2003 with the release of version 4.0. The Linear B Syllabary block is U+10000–U+1007F. The Linear B Ideograms block is U+10080–U+100FF. The Unicode block for the related Aegean Numbers is U+10100–U+1013F.


See also

*
Aegean civilizations Aegean civilization is a general term for the Bronze Age Europe, Bronze Age civilizations of Greece around the Aegean Sea. There are three distinct but communicating and interacting geographic regions covered by this term: Crete, the Cyclades and t ...
*
Aegean numerals Aegean may refer to: *Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated Bay, embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between Europe's Geography of Europe, Balkan peninsula and Asia's Anatolia peninsula. The sea has an area of ...
*
Linear A Linear A is a writing system that was used by the (Cretans) from 1800 to 1450 BC to write the hypothesized . Linear A was the primary script used in palace and religious writings of the Minoan civilization. It was discovered by arch ...
*
Cypro-Minoan syllabary The Cypro-Minoan syllabary (CM) is an Undeciphered writing systems, undeciphered syllabary In the linguistic Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as ...
*
Cypriot syllabary#REDIRECT Cypriot syllabary The Cypriot or Cypriote syllabary is a syllabic script used in Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of Homo sapiens, humanity. It wa ...
*
Proto-Greek language The Proto-Greek language (also known as Proto-Hellenic) is the Indo-European language The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with t ...


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* Carpenter, Rhys (1957)
"Linear B"
''Phoenix'', Vol. 11, No. 2 (Summer, 1957), pp. 47–62. * * * has the
Enkomi Enkomi ( el, Έγκωμη; tr, Tuzla) is a village near Famagusta Famagusta (; el, Αμμόχωστος, Ammochostos ; tr, Gazimağusa or ) is a city on the east coast of Cyprus. It is located east of Nicosia District, Nicosia and possess ...

Enkomi
clay tablet, circa 1500 BCE., examples of Linear B tablets, and translated, the basic Linear B ''syllabary'', the Cypriot ''syllabary'' and discussions thereof, and short sections on
Linear A Linear A is a writing system that was used by the (Cretans) from 1800 to 1450 BC to write the hypothesized . Linear A was the primary script used in palace and religious writings of the Minoan civilization. It was discovered by arch ...
, and the Phaistos Disk. * * * * Thomas G. Palaima, Palaima, Thomas G.
"Unlocking the Secrets of Ancient Writing: The Parallel Lives of Michael Ventris and Linda Schele and the Decipherment of Mycenaean and Mayan Writing"
University of Texas at Austin, Eleventh International Mycenological Colloquium, 2000. * Chapter 6, Linear B, pp. 108–119: discusses Arthur Evans, his work, the Cypriot clues, the ''syllabary'', Alice Kober, the "Grid", and a sample tablet ''transliterated, and translated into English.'' * Robinson, Andrew ''The Man Who Deciphered Linear B: the story of Michael Ventris'' (2002) Thames & Hudson * for a general outline of the Linear B deciphering story, from Schliemann to Chadwick. * * * Ventris, Michael; Chadwick, John (1953
"Evidence for Greek Dialect in the Mycenaean Archives"
''The Journal of Hellenic Studies'', Vol. 73, (1953), pp. 84–103.


Further reading

*Bakker, Egbert J., ed. 2010. ''A companion to the Ancient Greek language.'' Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. *Chadwick, John. 1958. ''The decipherment of Linear B.'' Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. *Christidis, Anastasios-Phoivos, ed. 2007. ''A history of Ancient Greek: From the beginnings to Late Antiquity.'' Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. *Colvin, Stephen C. 2007. ''A historical Greek reader: Mycenaean to the koiné.'' Oxford: Oxford University Press. *Fox, Margalit. ''"The Riddle of the Labyrinth."'' HarperCollins Publishers Inc. New York, NY *Hooker, J. T. 1980. ''Linear B: An introduction.'' Bristol, UK: Bristol Classical Press. *Horrocks, Geoffrey. 2010. ''Greek: A history of the language and its speakers.'' 2nd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. *Judson, Anna P. 2020. "The Undeciphered Signs of Linear B: Interpretation and Scribal Practices." Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. *Morpurgo Davies, Anna, and Yves Duhoux, eds. 1985. ''Linear B: A 1984 survey.'' Louvain, Belgium: Peeters. *––––. 2008. ''A companion to Linear B: Mycenaean Greek texts and their world.'' Vol. 1. Louvain, Belgium: Peeters. *Palaima, Thomas G. 1988. "The development of the Mycenaean writing system." In ''Texts, tablets and scribes.'' Edited by J. P. Olivier and T. G. Palaima, 269–342. Suplementos a "Minos" 10. Salamanca, Spain: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas. *Palmer, Leonard R. 1980. ''The Greek language.'' London: Faber & Faber. *Ventris, Michael, and John Chadwick. 2008. ''Documents in Mycenaean Greek.'' 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.


External links

* * * * *
Linear B online transliterator

Linear B Explorer
* * * * Palaeolexicon – * Thomas G. Palaima, Palaima, Thomas G
''A Linear B Tablet from Heidelberg''
Université de Liège * * * * * {{Authority control Mycenaean Greek language Clay tablets Hellenic scripts Syllabary writing systems Bronze Age writing systems Aegean languages in the Bronze Age Mycenaean Crete 1900 archaeological discoveries Obsolete writing systems History of the Greek language