nedjelja, 27. ožujka 2011.

Linear B

We do know that it was Greeks who took over Crete in 1450 BC because of the work
of Michael Ventris, an amateur linguist and cryptographer, in the 1950s. 

 Minoans had devised a writing system made up of linear signs incised
on clay tablets, which they used to keep palace records.

Minoan palace

 The archaeologist Arthur Evans had discovered a few tablets with this script at Knossos, but he also found 3,000 clay tablets inscribed with a more elaborate version of the linear script, which he named “Linear B” to differentiate it from the earlier “Linear A” script.

Linear  „B“

He assumed without question that the language of both was Cretan (Minoans).

The discovery in 1939 of an archive room full of Linear B tablets in the Mycenaean palace of Pylos on theGreek mainland seemed to strengthen Evans’ theory that mainland Greece had been controlled by the Minoans throughout the Late Bronze Age.

Palace at Pylos, reconstruction

Ventris, however, demonstrated that the language of the Linear B tablets was not in fact Cretan, but an early form of Greek. Having more than four thousand tablets to work with, he and other linguists were able gradually to obtain the phonetic values of the signs. For example, a combination of three signs—  ti-ri-po—yields the syllabic equivalent of the Greek word tripous, “tripod.” 
Today, the Linear B inscriptions have given up most of their secrets. Despite some successes, however, Linear A, the script of the unknown Cretan language, has not yet been deciphered.

The decoding of Linear B has illuminated not only the historical relationship between Greece and Crete, but also the workings of the Mycenaean palace system.



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