Linear A

Last updated

Linear A
Linear A cup.png
Type
Undeciphered (presumed syllabic and ideographic)
Languages'Minoan' (unknown)
Time period
MM IB to LM IIIA 1800–1450 BC [1]
StatusExtinct
Child systems
Linear B, Cypro-Minoan syllabary [2]
Sister systems
Cretan hieroglyphs
DirectionLeft-to-right
ISO 15924 Lina, 400
Unicode alias
Linear A
"U+10600–U+1077F" (PDF).
"Final Accepted Script Proposal" (PDF).

Linear A is a writing system used by the Minoans (Cretans) from 1800 to 1450 BC to write the hypothesized Minoan language. Linear A was the primary script used in palace and religious writings of the Minoan civilization. It was discovered by archaeologist Sir  Arthur Evans. It was succeeded by Linear B, which was used by the Mycenaeans to write an early form of Greek. No texts in Linear A have been deciphered.

Contents

Linear A belongs to a group of scripts that evolved independently of the Egyptian and Mesopotamian systems. During the second millennium BC, there were four major branches: Linear A, Linear B, Cypro-Minoan, and Cretan hieroglyphic. [3] In the 1950s, Linear B was deciphered as Mycenaean Greek. Linear B shares many symbols with Linear A, and they may notate similar syllabic values. But neither those nor any other proposed readings lead to a language that scholars can read.

Script

Most hypotheses about the Linear A script and Minoan language start with Linear B.

Linear A has hundreds of signs, believed to represent syllabic, ideographic, and semantic values in a manner similar to Linear B. While many of those assumed to be syllabic signs are similar to ones in Linear B, approximately 80% of Linear A's logograms are unique; [4] [3] the difference in sound values between Linear A and Linear B signs ranges from 9% to 13%. [5] It primarily appears in the left-to-right direction, but occasionally appears as a right-to-left or boustrophedon script.

Linear A may be divided into four categories:

Numbers follow a decimal system, units are represented by vertical dashes, tens by horizontal dashes, hundreds by circles, and thousands by circles with rays. Specific signs that coincide with numerals are regarded as fractions. [6]

An interesting feature is the recording of numbers in the script: The highest number recorded in known Linear A texts is 3000, but there are special symbols to indicate fractions and weights.

Signary

Linear A: signary and numbering according to E. Bennett. Reading of signs is based on Linear B analogs.
*01-*20*21-*30*31-*53*54-*74*76-*122*123-*306
Linear A Sign A001.svg DA

*01

Linear A Sign A021.svg QI

*21

Linear A Sign A031.svg SA

*31

Linear A Sign A054.svg WA

*54

Linear A Sign A076.svg

*76

Linear A Sign A123.svg

*123

Linear A Sign A002.svg RO

*02

Linear A Sign A021f.svg

*21f

Linear A Sign A034.svg

*34

Linear A Sign A055.svg

*55

Linear A Sign A077.svg KA

*77

Linear A Sign A131a.svg

*131a

Linear A Sign A003.svg PA

*03

Linear A Sign A021m.svg

*21m

Linear A Sign A037.svg TI

*37

Linear A Sign A056.svg PA3

*56

Linear A Sign A078.svg QE

*78

Linear A Sign A131b.svg

*131b

Linear A Sign A004.svg TE

*04

Linear A Sign A022.svg MI?

*22

Linear A Sign A038.svg E

*38

Linear A Sign A057.svg JA

*57

Linear A Sign A079.svg WO2?

*79

Linear A Sign A131c.svg

*131c

Linear A Sign A005.svg

*05

Linear A Sign A022f.svg

*22f

Linear A Sign A039.svg PI

*39

Linear A Sign A058.svg SU

*58

Linear A Sign A080.svg MA

*80

Linear A Sign A164.svg

*164

Linear A Sign A006.svg NA

*06

Linear A Sign A022m.svg

*22m

Linear A Sign A040.svg WI

*40

Linear A Sign A059.svg TA

*59

Linear A Sign A081.svg KU

*81

Linear A Sign A171.svg

*171

Linear A Sign A007.svg DI

*07

Linear A Sign A023.svg MU

*23

Linear A Sign A041.svg SI

*41

Linear A Sign A060.svg RA

*60

Linear A Sign A082.svg

*82

Linear A Sign A180.svg

*180

Linear A Sign A008.svg A

*08

Linear A Sign A023m.svg

*23m

Linear A Sign A044.svg KE

*44

Linear A Sign A061.svg O

*61

Linear A Sign A085.svg

*85

Linear A Sign A188.svg

*188

Linear A Sign A009.svg S

*09

Linear A Sign A024.svg NE

*24

Linear A Sign A045.svg

*45

Linear A Sign A065.svg JU

*65

Linear A Sign A086.svg

*86

Linear A Sign A191.svg

*191

Linear A Sign A010.svg

*10

Linear A Sign A026.svg RU

*26

Linear A Sign A046.svg

*46

Linear A Sign A066.svg TA2

*66

Linear A Sign A087.svg TWE

*87

Linear A Sign A301.svg

*301

Linear A Sign A011.svg

*11

Linear A Sign A027.svg RE

*27

Linear A Sign A047.svg

*47

Linear A Sign A067.svg KI

*67

Linear A Sign A100.svg

*100/
*102

Linear A Sign A302.svg

*302

Linear A Sign A013.svg ME

*13

Linear A Sign A028.svg I

*28

Linear A Sign A049.svg

*49

Linear A Sign A069.svg TU

*69

Linear A Sign A118.svg

*118

Linear A Sign A303.svg

*303

Linear A Sign A016.svg QA2

*16

Linear A Sign A028b.svg

*28b

Linear A Sign A050.svg PU

*50

Linear A Sign A070.svg

*70

Linear A Sign A120.svg

*120

Linear A Sign A304.svg

*304

Linear A Sign A017.svg ZA

*17

Linear A Sign A029.svg

*29

Linear A Sign A051.svg DU

*51

Linear A Sign A073.svg MI

*73

Linear A Sign A120b.svg

*120b

Linear A Sign A305.svg

*305

Linear A Sign A020.svg ZO

*20

Linear A Sign A030.svg NI

*30

Linear A Sign A053.svg

*53

Linear A Sign A074.svg ZE

*74

Linear A Sign A122.svg

*122

Linear A Sign A306.svg

*306

Corpus

Linear A incised on tablets found in Akrotiri, Santorini. Linear A tablets filt.jpg
Linear A incised on tablets found in Akrotiri, Santorini.
Linear A tablet, Chania Archaeological Museum. 0726 La Canee musee lineaire A.JPG
Linear A tablet, Chania Archaeological Museum.
Linear A tablet from the palace of Zakros, Archeological Museum of Sitia. Sitia Museum Linear A 02.jpg
Linear A tablet from the palace of Zakros, Archeological Museum of Sitia.

Linear A has been unearthed chiefly on Crete, but also at other sites in Greece, as well as Turkey and Israel. The extant corpus, comprising some 1,427 specimens totalling 7,362 to 7,396 signs, if scaled to standard type, would fit easily on two sheets of paper. [7] Linear A has been written on various media, such as stone offering tables, gold and silver hairpins, and ceramics. [8] The earliest inscriptions of Linear A come from Phaistos, in a layer dated at the end of the Middle Minoan II period: that is, no later than c. 1700 BC. Linear A texts have been found throughout the island of Crete and also on some Aegean islands (Kythera, Kea, Thera, Melos), in mainland Greece (Ayos Stephanos), on the west coast of Asia Minor (Miletos, Troy), and in the Levant (Tel Haror). [9]

Crete

The main discoveries of Linear A tablets have been at three sites on Crete: [10]

Discoveries have been made at the following locations on Crete: [11]

Outside Crete

Until 1973, only one Linear A tablet had been found outside Crete (on Kea). [12] Since then, other locations have yielded inscriptions.

Most—if not all—inscriptions found outside Crete appear to have been made locally, as indicated by the composition of the substrate and other indications. [12] Also, close analysis of the inscriptions found outside Crete indicates the use of a script that is somewhere between Linear A and Linear B, combining elements from both.

Other Greek islands

Mainland Greece

Chronology

Linear A became prominent during the Middle Minoan Period, specifically from 1625–1450 BC. It was contemporary with and possibly derived from Cretan hieroglyphs, and is an ancestor of Linear B. 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: [14]

Writing systemGeographical areaTime span [lower-alpha 1]
Cretan Hieroglyphic Crete c. 2100 – 1700 BC
Linear ACrete, Aegean islands (Kea, Kythera, Melos, Thera), and Greek mainland (Laconia)c. 1800 – 1450 BC
Linear B Crete (Knossos), and mainland (Pylos, Mycenae, Thebes, Tiryns)c. 1450 – 1200 BC

Discovery

Archaeologist Arthur Evans named the script "Linear" because its characters consisted simply of lines inscribed in clay, in contrast to the more pictographic characters in Cretan hieroglyphs that were used during the same period. [15]

Several tablets inscribed in signs similar to Linear A were found in the Troad in northwestern Anatolia. While their status is disputed, they may be imports, as there is no evidence of Minoan presence in the Troad. Classification of these signs as a unique Trojan script (proposed by contemporary Russian linguist Nikolai Kazansky) is not accepted by other linguists.

Egyptian evidence

Egyptian evidence related to the Keftiu (Cretan/Crete) language consists of a spell against Asian chickenpox and a writing name exercise called Keftiu. The spell, probably originated from the reign of Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BC), evolves as follows: sntÈk|pwpyw| yÈymªntÈÈrk|k|r, or, in the vocal transliteration adopted by Wolfgang Helck: santaka pupiwa ya’ayamantarakú ka ra. [9]

Egyptian writing of Keftiu (Cretan/Crete) names such as mÈd|d|m, or mi-da is evidence for the language of the Keftiu, essentially indicating that it contains Semitic vocabulary. (see below).

Linear A and Linear B comparison

Minoan Inscriptions, Linear A script Minoan inscriptions, Linear A script, Phaistos, 1850-1450 BC, AMH, 144886.jpg
Minoan Inscriptions, Linear A script

In 1945, E. Pugliese Carratelli first introduced the classification of Linear A and Linear B parallels. However, in 1961 W.C. Brice modified the Carratelli system that was based on a wider range of Linear A sources, but Brice did not suggest Linear B equivalents to the Linear A signs. Louis Godart and Jean-Pierre Olivier introduced in the 1985 Recueil des inscriptions en linéaire A (GORILA), based on E.L Bennett's standard numeration of the signs of Linear B, introduced a joint numeration of the Linear A and B signs. [16] The Egyptian exercise in writing the names of Keftiu even informs us of another Minoan ethnic identity in the form of mÈd|d|m whose first element cannot be associated with the name Midas, since it was already labeled by a linearly inscribed Hagia Triada (or HT 41.4) dating to c. 1350 BC. This Egyptian evidence of the Keftiu language essentially indicates that words in its vocabulary are Semitic, but in the language predominantly of the Luwians. One might conclude from this that a Semitic language was used in Minoan Crete as a lingua franca for a largely Luwian population.[ citation needed ]

Phonetic

The majority of signs in the Linear A script appear to have graphical equivalents in the Linear B syllabary. Comparison of the Hagia Triada tablets HT 95 and HT 86 shows that they contain identical lists of words and some kind of phonetic alteration. Scholars that approached Linear A with the phonetic values of Linear B produced a series of identical words. The Linear B–Linear A parallels: ku-ku-da-ra, pa-i-to, ku-mi-na, di-de-ro →di-de-ru, qa-qa-ro→qa-qa-ru, a-ra-na-ro→a-ra-na-re. [16]

Theories regarding language

Linear A incised on a jug, also found in Akrotiri. Linear A vase filt.jpg
Linear A incised on a jug, also found in Akrotiri.

It is difficult to evaluate a given analysis of Linear A as there is little point of reference for reading its inscriptions. The simplest approach to decipherment may be to presume that the values of Linear A match more or less the values given to the deciphered Linear B script, used for Mycenaean Greek. [17]

Greek

In 1957, Bulgarian scholar Vladimir I. Georgiev published his Le déchiffrement des inscriptions crétoises en linéaire A ("The decipherment of Cretan inscriptions in Linear A") stating that Linear A contains Greek linguistic elements. [18] Georgiev then published another work in 1963, titled Les deux langues des inscriptions crétoises en linéaire A ("The two languages of Cretan inscriptions in Linear A"), suggesting that the language of the Hagia Triada tablets was Greek but that the rest of the Linear A corpus was in Hittite-Luwian. [18] [19] In December 1963, Gregory Nagy of Harvard University developed a list of Linear A and Linear B terms based on the assumption "that signs of identical or similar shape in the two scripts will represent similar or identical phonetic values"; Nagy concluded that the language of Linear A bears "Greek-like" and Indo-European elements. [20] Michael Ventris' decipherment of Linear B in 1952 suggests an old form of Greek: it is derived from Linear A. Therefore, we can assume that the signs related to the Linear A express the same value as the Linear B. In all Linear B values for related words give a large number of identical forms or identical root forms, but alternate with the final vowel, or almost identical forms among linear texts, mainly those of Hagia Triada.

Extracting conclusions or arguments from a simple morphology can hardly be considered methodologically satisfactory. Yves Duhoux in the "Linear A as Greek" discussion at AEGEANET in March 1998: [16]

I would like to remind you of some basic facts related to the Greekness of Linear A's language: (1) The word for "total" is different in Linear A and in Linear B: LB to - so(- de); LA > B ku-ro. (2) The Linear B language is significantly less "prefixing" than Linear A. (3) Votive Linear A texts, where we are pretty sure to have variant forms of the same "word", show morphological (I mean: grammatical) features totally different from Linear B. The conclusion must be that even if one can find some casual resemblances between words in both languages (remember this MUST statistically happen: e.g. English and Persian use the same word "bad" to express the meaning of BAD, although it is proven that both words have no genetic relation at all), they are probably structurally different.

Anatolian languages

Since the late 1950s, some scholars have suggested that the Linear A language could be an Anatolian language. [21]

Luwian

Luwian Hieroglyphs Luwian Hieroglyphs from Karatepe.svg
Luwian Hieroglyphs

Palmer (1958) put forward a theory, based on Linear B phonetic values, suggesting that Linear A language could be related closely to Luwian. [21] The theory, however, failed to gain universal support for the following reasons:[ according to whom? ]

  • There is no remarkable resemblance between Minoan and Hitto-Luwian morphology.
  • None of the existing theories of the origin of Hitto-Luwian peoples and their migration to Anatolia (either from the Balkans or from the Caucasus) are related to Crete.
  • There was a lack of direct contact between Hitto-Luwians and Minoan Crete; the latter was never mentioned in Hitto-Luwian inscriptions. Small states located along the western coast of ancient Asia Minor were natural barriers between Hitto-Luwians and Minoan Crete.
  • Obvious[ clarification needed ] anthropological differences between Hitto-Luwians and the Minoans may be considered as another indirect testimony against this hypothesis.[ citation needed ]

There are recent works focused on the Luwian connection, not in terms of the Minoan language being Anatolian, but rather in terms of possible borrowings from Luwian, including the origin of the writing system itself. [22]

Lycian

In an article from 2001, Margalit Finkelberg, Professor of Classics emerita at Tel Aviv University, demonstrated a "high degree of correspondence between the phonological and morphological system of Minoan and that of Lycian" and proposed that "the language of Linear A is either the direct ancestor of Lycian or a closely related idiom." [23]

Semitic languages

Cyrus H. Gordon first proposed in 1966–1969 that the texts contained Semitic vocabulary that was based on the lexical items such as kull -. meaning 'all' (Akkadian kalu, kullatu, Hebrew kol). [24] [3] Gordon uses morphological evidence to suggest that u- serves as a prefix in Linear A like Semitic copula u-. However, Gordon's copula u- is based on an incomplete word, and even if some of Gordon's identifications were true, a complete case for a Semitic language has not yet been built. [3]

Phoenician

In 2001, the journal Ugarit-Forschungen published the article "The First Inscription in Punic – Vowel Differences in Linear A and B" by Jan Best, claiming to demonstrate how and why Linear A notates an archaic form of Phoenician. [25] This was a continuation of attempts by Cyrus Gordon in finding connections between Minoan and West Semitic languages.

Indo-Iranian

Another recent interpretation, based on the frequencies of the syllabic signs and on complete palaeographic comparative studies, suggests that the Minoan Linear A language belongs to the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages. Studies by Hubert La Marle include a presentation of the morphology of the language, avoid the complete identification of phonetic values between Linear A and B, and also avoid comparing Linear A with Cretan hieroglyphs. [26] La Marle uses the frequency counts to identify the type of syllables written in Linear A, and takes into account the problem of loanwords in the vocabulary. [26]

However, La Marle's interpretation of Linear A has been subject to some criticism; it was rejected by John Younger of the University of Kansas who showed that La Marle had invented at will erroneous and arbitrary new transcriptions, based on resemblances with many different script systems (as Phoenician, Hieroglyphic Egyptian, Hieroglyphic Hittite, Ethiopian, Cypro-Minoan, etc.), ignoring established evidence and internal analysis, while for some words La Marle proposes religious meanings inventing names of gods and rites. [27] La Marle made a rebuttal in "An answer to John G. Younger's remarks on Linear A" in 2010. [28]

Tyrrhenian

Italian scholar Giulio M. Facchetti attempted to link Linear A to the Tyrrhenian language family comprising Etruscan, Rhaetic, and Lemnian. This family is reasoned to be a pre-Indo-European Mediterranean substratum of the 2nd millennium BC, sometimes referred to as Pre-Greek. Facchetti proposed some possible similarities between the Etruscan language and ancient Lemnian, and other Aegean languages like Minoan. [29]

Michael Ventris who (with John Chadwick) successfully deciphered Linear B also believed in a link between Minoan and Etruscan. [30] The same perspective is supported by S. Yatsemirsky in Russia. [31]

A distinct, otherwise unknown branch of Indo-European

According to Gareth Alun Owens, Linear A represents the Minoan language, which Owens classifies as a distinct branch of Indo-European potentially related to Greek, Sanskrit, Hittite, Latin, etc. [32] [33] At "The Cretan Literature Centre", Owens stated:

Beginning our research with inscriptions in Linear A carved on offering tables found in the many peak sanctuaries on the mountains of Crete, we recognise a clear relationship between Linear A and Sanskrit, the ancient language of India. There is also a connection to Hittite and Armenian. This relationship allows us to place the Minoan language among the so-called Indo-European languages, a vast family that includes modern Greek and the Latin of Ancient Rome. The Minoan and Greek languages are considered to be different branches of Indo-European. The Minoans probably moved from Anatolia to the island of Crete about 10,000 years ago. There were similar population movements to Greece. The relative isolation of the population which settled in Crete resulted in the development of its own language, Minoan, which is considered different to Mycenaean. In the Minoan language (Linear A), there are no purely Greek words, as is the case in Mycenaean Linear B; it contains only words also found in Greek, Sanskrit, and Latin, i.e. sharing the same Indo-European origin. [34]

Attempts at decipherment of single words

Some researchers suggest that a few words or word elements may be recognized, without (yet) enabling any conclusion about relationship with other languages. In general, they use analogy with Linear B in order to propose phonetic values of the syllabic sounds. John Younger, in particular, thinks that place names usually appear in certain positions in the texts, and notes that the proposed phonetic values often correspond to known place names as given in Linear B texts (and sometimes to modern Greek names). For example, he proposes that three syllables, read as KE-NI-SO, might be the indigenous form of Knossos. [35] Likewise, in Linear A, MA+RU is suggested to mean wool, and to correspond both to a Linear B pictogram with this meaning, and to the classical Greek word μαλλός with the same meaning (in that case a loan word from Minoan). [4]

Unicode

The Linear A alphabet (U+10600–U+1077F) was added to the Unicode Standard in June 2014 with the release of version 7.0.

Linear A [1] [2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
 0123456789ABCDEF
U+1060x𐘀𐘁𐘂𐘃𐘄𐘅𐘆𐘇𐘈𐘉𐘊𐘋𐘌𐘍𐘎𐘏
U+1061x𐘐𐘑𐘒𐘓𐘔𐘕𐘖𐘗𐘘𐘙𐘚𐘛𐘜𐘝𐘞𐘟
U+1062x𐘠𐘡𐘢𐘣𐘤𐘥𐘦𐘧𐘨𐘩𐘪𐘫𐘬𐘭𐘮𐘯
U+1063x𐘰𐘱𐘲𐘳𐘴𐘵𐘶𐘷𐘸𐘹𐘺𐘻𐘼𐘽𐘾𐘿
U+1064x𐙀𐙁𐙂𐙃𐙄𐙅𐙆𐙇𐙈𐙉𐙊𐙋𐙌𐙍𐙎𐙏
U+1065x𐙐𐙑𐙒𐙓𐙔𐙕𐙖𐙗𐙘𐙙𐙚𐙛𐙜𐙝𐙞𐙟
U+1066x𐙠𐙡𐙢𐙣𐙤𐙥𐙦𐙧𐙨𐙩𐙪𐙫𐙬𐙭𐙮𐙯
U+1067x𐙰𐙱𐙲𐙳𐙴𐙵𐙶𐙷𐙸𐙹𐙺𐙻𐙼𐙽𐙾𐙿
U+1068x𐚀𐚁𐚂𐚃𐚄𐚅𐚆𐚇𐚈𐚉𐚊𐚋𐚌𐚍𐚎𐚏
U+1069x𐚐𐚑𐚒𐚓𐚔𐚕𐚖𐚗𐚘𐚙𐚚𐚛𐚜𐚝𐚞𐚟
U+106Ax𐚠𐚡𐚢𐚣𐚤𐚥𐚦𐚧𐚨𐚩𐚪𐚫𐚬𐚭𐚮𐚯
U+106Bx𐚰𐚱𐚲𐚳𐚴𐚵𐚶𐚷𐚸𐚹𐚺𐚻𐚼𐚽𐚾𐚿
U+106Cx𐛀𐛁𐛂𐛃𐛄𐛅𐛆𐛇𐛈𐛉𐛊𐛋𐛌𐛍𐛎𐛏
U+106Dx𐛐𐛑𐛒𐛓𐛔𐛕𐛖𐛗𐛘𐛙𐛚𐛛𐛜𐛝𐛞𐛟
U+106Ex𐛠𐛡𐛢𐛣𐛤𐛥𐛦𐛧𐛨𐛩𐛪𐛫𐛬𐛭𐛮𐛯
U+106Fx𐛰𐛱𐛲𐛳𐛴𐛵𐛶𐛷𐛸𐛹𐛺𐛻𐛼𐛽𐛾𐛿
U+1070x𐜀𐜁𐜂𐜃𐜄𐜅𐜆𐜇𐜈𐜉𐜊𐜋𐜌𐜍𐜎𐜏
U+1071x𐜐𐜑𐜒𐜓𐜔𐜕𐜖𐜗𐜘𐜙𐜚𐜛𐜜𐜝𐜞𐜟
U+1072x𐜠𐜡𐜢𐜣𐜤𐜥𐜦𐜧𐜨𐜩𐜪𐜫𐜬𐜭𐜮𐜯
U+1073x𐜰𐜱𐜲𐜳𐜴𐜵𐜶
U+1074x𐝀𐝁𐝂𐝃𐝄𐝅𐝆𐝇𐝈𐝉𐝊𐝋𐝌𐝍𐝎𐝏
U+1075x𐝐𐝑𐝒𐝓𐝔𐝕
U+1076x𐝠𐝡𐝢𐝣𐝤𐝥𐝦𐝧
U+1077x
Notes
1. ^ As of Unicode version 13.0
2. ^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

See also

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The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age Aegean civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean Islands, flourishing from c. 3000 BC to c. 1450 BC until a late period of decline, finally ending around 1100 BC. It represents the first advanced civilization in Europe, leaving behind massive building complexes, tools, artwork, writing systems, and a massive network of trade. The civilization was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. The name "Minoan" derives from the mythical King Minos and was coined by Evans, who identified the site at Knossos with the labyrinth and the Minotaur. The Minoan civilization has been described as the earliest of its kind in Europe, and historian Will Durant called the Minoans "the first link in the European chain".

Knossos ancient Minoan through Roman administrative center and city

Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and has been called Europe's oldest city.

Anatolian languages extinct language family

The Anatolian languages are an extinct branch of Indo-European languages that were spoken in Asia Minor, the best attested of them being the Hittite language. Undiscovered until the late 19th and 20th centuries, they are considered the earliest group of languages to branch off from the Indo-European family. Once discovered, the presence of laryngeal consonants and ḫḫ in Hittite and Luwian provided support for the laryngeal theory of Proto-Indo-European linguistics. While Hittite attestation ends after the Bronze Age, hieroglyphic Luwian survived until the conquest of the Neo-Hittite kingdoms by Assyria, and the alphabetic Anatolian languages are fragmentarily attested until the early first millennium AD, eventually succumbing to the Hellenization of Asia Minor.

Phaistos Disc inscribed clay disc found in Crete

The Phaistos 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. The disk is about 15 cm (5.9 in) in diameter and covered on both sides with a spiral of stamped symbols. Its purpose and its original place of manufacture remain disputed. It is now on display at the archaeological museum of Heraklion.

Mycenaean Greek Most ancient attested form of the Greek language from the 16th to 12th centuries BC

Mycenaean Greek is the most ancient attested form of the Greek language, on the Greek mainland, Crete and Cyprus in Mycenaean Greece, before the hypothesised Dorian invasion, often cited as the terminus ad quem for the introduction of the Greek language to Greece. The language is preserved in inscriptions in Linear B, a script first attested on Crete before the 14th century. Most inscriptions are on clay tablets found in Knossos, in central Crete, as well as in Pylos, in the southwest of the Peloponnese. Other tablets have been found at Mycenae itself, Tiryns and Thebes and at Chania, in Western Crete. The language is named after Mycenae, one of the major centres of Mycenaean Greece.

Cypriot syllabary writing system

The Cypriot or Cypriote syllabary is a syllabic script used in Iron Age Cyprus, from about the 11th to the 4th centuries BCE, when it was replaced by the Greek alphabet. A pioneer of that change was King Evagoras of Salamis. It is descended from the Cypro-Minoan syllabary, in turn, a variant or derivative of Linear A. Most texts using the script are in the Arcadocypriot dialect of Greek, but also one bilingual inscription was found in Amathus.

Eteocretan language Language

Eteocretan is the pre-Greek language attested in a few alphabetic inscriptions of ancient Crete.

Minoan language language of ancient Minoans written in Cretan hieroglyphs and Linear A syllabary

The Minoan language is the language of the ancient Minoan civilization of Crete written in the Cretan hieroglyphs and later in the Linear A syllabary. As the Cretan hieroglyphs are undeciphered and Linear A only partly deciphered, the Minoan language is unknown and unclassified: indeed, with the existing evidence, it is impossible to be certain that the two scripts record the same language, or even that a single language is recorded in each.

Anatolian hieroglyphs writing system

Anatolian hieroglyphs are an indigenous logographic script native to central Anatolia, consisting of some 500 signs. They were once commonly known as Hittite hieroglyphs, but the language they encode proved to be Luwian, not Hittite, and the term Luwian hieroglyphs is used in English publications. They are typologically similar to Egyptian hieroglyphs, but do not derive graphically from that script, and they are not known to have played the sacred role of hieroglyphs in Egypt. There is no demonstrable connection to Hittite cuneiform.

Cretan hieroglyphs ancient writing system

Cretan hieroglyphs are a hieroglyphic writing system used in early Bronze Age Crete, during the Minoan era. They predate Linear A by about a century, but the two writing systems continued to be used in parallel for most of their history. As of 2020, they are undeciphered.

Byblos syllabary written language

The Byblos script, also known as the Byblos syllabary, Pseudo-hieroglyphic script, Proto-Byblian, Proto-Byblic, or Byblic, is an undeciphered writing system, known from ten inscriptions found in Byblos, a coastal city in Lebanon. The inscriptions are engraved on bronze plates and spatulas, and carved in stone. They were excavated by Maurice Dunand, from 1928 to 1932, and published in 1945 in his monograph Byblia Grammata. The inscriptions are conventionally dated to the second millennium BC, probably between the 18th and 15th centuries BC.

Many people have claimed to have deciphered the Phaistos Disc.

Cypro-Minoan syllabary undeciphered syllabary used on the island of Cyprus during the late Bronze Age (ca. 1550–1050 BCE)

The Cypro-Minoan syllabary (CM) is an undeciphered syllabary used on the island of Cyprus during the late Bronze Age. The term "Cypro-Minoan" was coined by Arthur Evans in 1909 based on its visual similarity to Linear A on Minoan Crete, from which CM is thought to be derived. Approximately 250 objects—such as clay balls, cylinders, and tablets and votive stands—which bear Cypro-Minoan inscriptions, have been found. Discoveries have been made at various sites around Cyprus, as well as in the ancient city of Ugarit on the Syrian coast.

Gareth Alun Owens Greek academic

Gareth Alun Owens is a British-Greek academic, currently serving as Associate Director and «Erasmus/Socrates» Manager/Tutor of the International Relations Office of the Hellenic Mediterranean University and as Associate Professor of Hellenic Culture -- History, Language and Civilization. He is notable for his contributions to Linear B studies and for his attempts to coordinate the efforts of academics to decipher Linear A.

The Pre-Greek substrate consists of the unknown language(s) spoken in prehistoric Greece before the coming of the Proto-Greek language in the area during the Bronze Age. It is possible that Greek acquired some thousand words and proper names from such a language(s), because some of its vocabulary cannot be satisfactorily explained as deriving from Proto-Greek and a Proto-Indo-European reconstruction is almost impossible for such terms.

Jan Best Dutch writer

Jan Gijsbert Pieter Best is a Dutch pre- and protohistorian, comparative linguist, archaeologist, and author. For about 30 years, he was Professor at the University of Amsterdam, where he taught ancient history, and Mediterranean prehistory and protohistory.

References

Notes

  1. Beginning date refers to first attestations, the assumed origins of all scripts lie further back in the past.

Citations

  1. Daniels & Bright 1996, pp. 132.
  2. Palaima 1997, pp. 121–188.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Packard 1974 , Chapter 1: Introduction.
  4. 1 2 Younger, John (2000). "7b. The Script". Linear A texts in phonetic transcription. University of Kansas.
  5. Owens 1999, pp. 23–24 (David Packard, in 1974, calculated a sound-value difference of 10.80% ± 1.80%; Yves Duhoux, in 1989, calculated a sound-value difference of 14.34% ± 1.80% and Gareth Owens, in 1996, calculated a sound-value difference of 9–13%).
  6. Packard 1974 , pp. 23–24
  7. Younger, John (2000). "5. Basic statistics". Linear A texts in phonetic transcription. University of Kansas. If there are 4,002 characters (font Times, pitch 12, no spaces) on an 8½ × 11 inch sheet of paper with 1 inch margins, all extant Linear A would take up 1.84 pages. ... (14.34 pages for Linear B).
  8. Winterstein, Gregoire; Cacciafoco, Francesco Perono; Petrolito, Ruggero; Petrolito, Tommaso. "Minoan linguistic resources: The Linear A digital corpus". Proceedings of the 9th SIGHUM Workshop on Language Technology for Cultural Heritage, Social Sciences, and Humanities (LaTeCH).
  9. 1 2 Woudhuizen, Fred C. (2016). Documents in Minoan Luwian, Semitic, and Pelasgian. Amsterdam: Nederlands Archeologisch Historisch Genootschap. ISBN   9789072067197. OCLC   1027956786.
  10. Schoep 1999, pp. 201–221.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Cacciafoco, Francesco Perono (January 2014). Linear A and Minoan. The riddle of unknown origins (slides). pp. 3–4. Retrieved 13 July 2020 via Academia.
  12. 1 2 Finkelberg 1998 , pp. 265–272.
  13. Pullen, Daniel J. (2009). "[Review of] W.D. Taylour & R. Janko, Ayios Stephanos: Excavations at a Bronze Age and Medieval Settlement in Southern Laconia. British School at Athens, 2008". Bryn Mawr Classical Review. Its location on the Laconian coast, easily accessible from Kythera, undoubtedly encouraged early contacts with Crete whether directly or indirectly (see the Linear A sign catalogued in chapter 11).
  14. Olivier 1986 , pp. 377f.
  15. Robinson 2009, p. 54.
  16. 1 2 3 Finkelberg, Margalit (March 2000). "Greater Anatolia and the Indo-Hittite Language Family". Indo-European Series Monograph Studies. 38: 83 via Academia.edu.
  17. Younger, John (2000). "1. List of Linked Files". Linear A texts in phonetic transcription. University of Kansas. A comprehensive list of known texts written in Linear A.
  18. 1 2 Nagy 1963 , p. 210 (Footnote #24).
  19. Georgiev 1963, pp. 1–104.
  20. Nagy 1963, pp. 181–211.
  21. 1 2 Palmer 1958, pp. 75–100.
  22. Marangozis, John (2006). An introduction to Minoan Linear A. LINCOM Europa.
  23. Finkelberg, Margalit, "The Language of Linear A: Greek, Semitic, or Anatolian?", in: Drews, Robert (ed.), Greater Anatolia and the Indo-Hittite Language Family, Journal of Indo-European Studies, Monograph 38, Washington, DC, 2001.
  24. Rendsburg, Gary A. (2001). "Cyrus H. Gordon (1908-2001): A Giant among Scholars". The Jewish Quarterly Review. 92 (1/2): 137–143. ISSN   0021-6682. JSTOR   1455617.
  25. Dietrich & Loretz 2001.
  26. 1 2 La Marle, Hubert. Linéaire A, la première écriture syllabique de Crète. Paris: Geuthner, 4 Volumes, 1997–1999, 2006; Introduction au linéaire A. Geuthner, Paris, 2002; L'aventure de l'alphabet: les écritures cursives et linéaires du Proche-Orient et de l'Europe du sud-est à l'Âge du Bronze. Paris: Geuthner, 2002; Les racines du crétois ancien et leur morphologie: communication à l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, 2007.
  27. Younger, John (2009). "Linear A: Critique of Decipherments by Hubert La Marle and Kjell Aartun". University of Kansas. According to Younger, La Marle "assigns phonetic values to Linear signs based on superficial resemblances to signs in other scripts (the choice of scripts being already prejudiced to include only those from the eastern Mediterranean and northeast Africa), as if C looks like O so it must be O."
  28. La Marle, Hubert (September 2010). An answer to John G. Younger's remarks on Linear A (Report) via Academia.edu.
  29. Facchetti & Negri 2003.
  30. Yatsemirsky 2011.
  31. Owens 2007, pp. 3–4: "Η έρευνα απέδειξε ότι η μινωική γλώσσα σχετίζεται με την ελληνική περισσότερο από κάθε άλλη ινδοευρωπαϊκή γλώσσα, χωρίς να αποτελεί μια άλλη ελληνική διάλεκτο αλλά ένα χωριστό παρακλάδι της ινδοευρωπαϊκής οικογένειας ... υπάρχουν λέξεις που εντοπίζονται και στην ελληνική γλώσσα αλλά και σε άλλες, όπως τη σανσκριτική και τη χεττιτική, τη λατινική, της ίδιας οικογένειας.".
  32. Owens 1999, pp. 15–56.
  33. "The Language of the Minoans". Crete Gazette. 2006.
  34. Younger, John (2000). "10c. Place names". Linear A texts in phonetic transcription. University of Kansas.

Sources

Further reading