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Soldier of Macedon 07-16-2010 04:23 AM

Linear B and the Mycenaean language
In the 1950's, Michael Ventris put forth his theory for deciphering Linear B, an alphabet used for a language that has been attributed to the Mycenaeans. Ventris, an architect and classical scholar, received great support from Cambridge's John Chadwick, and his works gained acceptance in the greater scholar community as the 'correct' method for realising the language written in Linear B. Since this time it has gained common acceptance and is assumed as unquestioned by most, but the decipherment is not complete, as there are still some important issues that remain outstanding and unsubstantiated. A number of words, for instance, are not known, while others have only approximate but unconfirmed meanings. Another matter that has been flagged by critics is the allowance for signs to be pronounced and transliterated in more than one way, leaving the choice to the discretion of the translator and not the formula. Below are some examples of when this occurs:

[B][COLOR="Blue"]Pa[/COLOR][/B] can also be [COLOR="blue"][B]Pha[/B][/COLOR] or [B][COLOR="Blue"]Ba[/COLOR][/B].
[B][COLOR="blue"]Pe[/COLOR][/B] can also be [B][COLOR="blue"]Phe[/COLOR][/B] or [B][COLOR="blue"]Be[/COLOR][/B].
[B][COLOR="blue"]Pi[/COLOR][/B] can also be [B][COLOR="blue"]Phi[/COLOR][/B] or [B][COLOR="blue"]Bi[/COLOR][/B].
[B][COLOR="blue"]Q[/COLOR][/B] (Kw) can also be [B][COLOR="blue"]Khw[/COLOR][/B] and [B][COLOR="blue"]Gw[/COLOR][/B].

Below is a list of 'deciphered' words from the Linear B inscriptions by individuals that used Ventris' formula.

[B][COLOR="red"]An[/COLOR][/B] (negative prefix) - No, None
[B][COLOR="red"]Anijapi[/COLOR][/B] (instrumental plural) - Reins
[B][COLOR="red"]Apiporewe[/COLOR][/B] - Amphora
[B][COLOR="red"]Aporewe[/COLOR][/B] (dual in origin -rewe) - Amphora
[B][COLOR="red"]Apiqoro[/COLOR][/B] (nominative plural) - Waiting Women
[B][COLOR="red"]Araruja[/COLOR][/B] (feminine plural participle) -Fitted
[B][COLOR="red"]Atopoqo[/COLOR][/B] (nominative plural) - Bakers
[B][COLOR="red"]Atoroqo[/COLOR][/B] (dative singular) - Man
[B][COLOR="red"]Dipa[/COLOR][/B] - Vessel
[B][COLOR="red"]Dipae[/COLOR][/B] (dual) - Vessel
[B][COLOR="red"]Iqo[/COLOR][/B] - Horse
[B][COLOR="red"]Kako[/COLOR][/B] (nominative singular) - Bronze
[B][COLOR="red"]Karuke[/COLOR][/B] (dative singular) - Herald
[B][COLOR="red"]Kerajapi[/COLOR][/B] (instrumental plural) - of Horn
[B][COLOR="red"]Koru[/COLOR][/B] - Helmet
[B][COLOR="red"]Koruto[/COLOR][/B] (genitive singular) - Helmet
[B][COLOR="red"]Mewijo[/COLOR][/B] - Small(er)
[B][COLOR="red"]Mezo[/COLOR][/B] - Large(r)
[B][COLOR="red"]Mezoe[/COLOR][/B] (dual) - Large(r)
[B][COLOR="red"]Ono[/COLOR][/B] - Ass
[B][COLOR="red"]Owe[/COLOR][/B] - Ear
[B][COLOR="red"]Pakana[/COLOR][/B] - Swords
[B][COLOR="red"]Pawea[/COLOR][/B] - Cloths
[COLOR="red"][B]Piara[/B][/COLOR] - Dish
[COLOR="red"][B]Pijera[/B][/COLOR] - Dish
[COLOR="red"][B]Ponikeqe[/B][/COLOR] (dative singular) - and a Phoenix
[COLOR="red"][B]Poro[/B][/COLOR] - Foal
[COLOR="red"][B]Qetoro[/B][/COLOR] - Four
[COLOR="red"][B]Qetoropopi[/B][/COLOR] (instrumental plural) - Quadruped
[COLOR="red"][B]Taranuwe[/B][/COLOR] - Footstool
[COLOR="red"][B]Tiri[/B][/COLOR] - Three
[COLOR="red"][B]Tiripo[/B][/COLOR] - Tripod or Three-legged
[COLOR="red"][B]Tiripode[/B][/COLOR] (dual) - Tripod or Three-legged
[COLOR="Red"][B]Torake[/B][/COLOR] - Corslets

Here are some translations and transliterations provided by Chadwick, and the complete Mycenaean alphabet with the sounds suggested by Ventris.


Here is a rebuttal by Chadwick against Beattie, who was a critic of Ventris' work, in which he also explains a simple formula for deciphering words.

I think this should be enough information to start with, any [U]constructive[/U] input would be appreciated. The efforts of Chadwick and Ventris appear very convincing in many areas, not so convincing in others. Something monumental, drastic and significant happened to the Mycenaeans which resulted in their disappearance that cannot be dismissed with a simple claim of 'Greek' continuity. While there is no doubt that some Mycenaean words and linguistic elements survived in the language of the incoming 'Dorians', a language that later came to be known as 'Hellenic', the percentage is arguable. Therefore, I will not refer to Mycenaean as 'Greek', because I am of the opinion that Mycenaean is an ancestor tongue and substratum of Greek that contributed to its vocabulary, but not 'Greek' as it has been historically known since the works of Homer. Here are a couple of things I would like to know:

- How did Ventris come to his conclusions regarding the sounds attributed to each symbol?

- Are the sounds attributed to each symbol in Linear B, the same sounds in their corresponding or equivalent symbol (if they exist) in other alphabets such as Egyptian Hierolyphics, Arcado-Cypriot and Linear A?

- With in excess of 80 signs in Linear B, why would there be a need to use one letter for multiple sounds?

For anybody interested, this is the book of Chadwick that I have been reading through. The complete book is not in the link, but I have posted the missing pages relating to the sign/sound values from a hard copy that I have in my possession.


makedonche 07-16-2010 10:51 PM

Many thanks, this is outstanding stuff and I will continue to do some research and hopefully post some usefull information. Once again many thanks this has been very helpfull!

Sovius 07-23-2010 08:45 AM

Thanks SoM, some solid information right from the source. It would seem that my previous objections have been confirmed.

We see here that Chadwick, himself, declared the work to be conjectural:

[B]“Much of this is of course conjectural, and these transcripts are intended rather to enable those with some knowledge of Greek to see how we extract meaning from the text.”[/B]

Well, let’s think about this for a second. They extracted meaning not from the text, but from combinations of syllables that were applied to these symbols thousands of years after they were made, combinations that then had to be adapted in order to project their apparent “Greekness”. It’s not the same endeavor at all. In fact, according to Chadwick, Ventris did quite the opposite.

Some definitions of conjecture for the Hellenically challenged to ponder:

speculation: a hypothesis that has been formed by speculating or conjecturing (usually with little hard evidence)

guess: a message expressing an opinion based on incomplete evidence (or no evidence)

[B]“Some words have different meanings and many have different forms”[/B]

How did he really know this without the ability to independently verify the results?

This would have been more responsibly phrased as, “some of the word-like symbol/syllable pairings generated from this hypothetical association scheme yielded possible words that, when altered, appeared to conform to the earliest recorded language in use in the region. It still wouldn’t have made their efforts any more scientifically principled, however.

This proposed decipherment can be nothing more than hypothetical until the associations can be weighed against known values. The fact that the decipherment scheme is often passed on to students and the casual reader as an actual decipherment demonstrates how little people like to think for themselves these days and the ever present need to employ skepticism to anything we read or watch on television. For some reason, which I can’t adequately explain, the radio never lies and it’s OK to accept whatever someone says on the radio as truthful without hesitation.

Soldier of Macedon 07-26-2010 03:05 AM

Here is a link by Strabo with regard to the Pelasgian people and their origins, which may be of some use to the topic.


Soldier of Macedon 10-11-2010 06:14 AM

Here is a text from another book by Chadwick in relation to the Mycenaeans, this one entitled "The Mycenaean World". The first chapter, from where the below passage is cited, is, quite ironically, called "The Hellenization of Greece". It is an interesting example and insight into Chadwick's perceptions regarding the Mycenaeans, prehistoric Europe and the origins of the Greek language.
[QUOTE]There is nothing easier in talking about the past than to ask meaningless questions, which nevertheless still appear sensible. If we ask: 'Where were the English when Julius Caesar invaded Britain?' there is no answer; at that date there were no inhabitants of Britain who could be identified as 'English'. Similarly we must beware of asking questions like: 'When did the Greeks reach Greece?' for this presupposes that there were any Greeks outside Greece. Yet this is a question which has often been asked and usually answered.

In both these examples the vital point is the meaning of 'the Greeks' or 'the English'. [U]I intend by these terms speakers of the Greek or English languages respectively, for if they meant simply the inhabitants of Greece or England, the questions would be superfluous.[/U] Thus my question about the Greeks supposes the pre-existence of the Greek language outside Greece, a hypothesis for which there is no evidence. [COLOR="Blue"]The Greek language is known from documents written in Greece from the 14th century BC[/COLOR] onwards, and at various later periods in other countries too as the result of colonizing movements; but its [U]motherland has always been, roughly speaking, the area occupied by the present state of Greece, though [B]perhaps not originally extending as far north as the present frontier[/B][/U].

However, the present domain of a langauge is not necessarily its original home; the Hungarian language or the Turkish, for instance, must have reached their present areas from much further east. All we can say about Greek is that it seems to have left no traces outside Greece, except where it has spread in historical times. But the existence on the map of ancient Greece of dozens of place names without a meaning in Greek strongly suggests that at one time another language was spken there, though what this language was we have no means of knowing. Names such as [I]Korinthos, Zakunthos, Athanai, Mukanai, Knosos[/I] (the traditional spelling Knossos is strictly incorrect), [I]Amnisos, Tulisos[/I] are certainly derives from one or more unknown languages previously spoken in Greece.

It is this [U]fact, the evidence for a non-Greek speaking population in prehistoric Greece[/U], which has led serious scholars to ask: 'When did the Greeks enter Greece?' However, the analogies of well-known historical cases like 'When the English enter New Zealand?' must not blind us to the possibility that the Greek language did not exist before this presumed event, but [U][B]was formed on Greek soil, just as Modern English was formed in England[/B][/U] out of Anglo-Saxon heavily contaminated with Norman French and a few other foreign bodies. Is there any reason why this theory should not be preferred?

The traditional view of waves of Greek-speaking warriors marching down through the Balkans to subjugate Greece....this theory has been most often held is that there were three such waves of invaders, usually called Ionians, Achaeans and Dorians, after the classical division of the Greek dialects. [COLOR="blue"]It was even possible to date these invasions archaeologically: the Ionians would be the people who entere around the 20th century BC, the Achaeans about the 16th, the Dorians about the 12th.[/COLOR] But this serves to expose one [U]weakness in the theory, for it implies that the Dorians of the 12th century were still speaking what was recognizably the same language, despite minor differences, 800 years after losing contact with their Ionian cousins.[B] Parallels suggest that the differences arising over such a long period would have been far greater than those which can be observed[/B][/U]......Let us explore the alternative view. This hypothesis is that the Greek language did not exist before the 20th century BC, but was formed in Greece by the [U]mixture of an indigenous population with invaders who another language......Whether the [B]invaders of Greece spoke pure proto-Indo-European is doubtful[/B][/U]; but at least we can be sure of many features of their language, even if the exac stage reached in develoment at the time of their arrival is hard to predict. When these [COLOR="red"]proto-Greeks, as I shall call them, reached Greece[/COLOR], they mixed with the previous inhaitants, whom they succeeded in subjugating, and borrowed from them many words for unfamiliar objects; and the mispronounciation of Greek by these aboriginals led to permanent changes in the phonetics of the language. The borrowed words are particularly interesting, for they include the names of many plants and animals, as well as terms indicating a high degree of civilization, such as the word for 'bath' or the many terms to distinguish different kinds of pot.[/QUOTE]
There is no doubt that Chadwick and Ventris, after the initial decipherment by the latter, actively searched to 'find' Greek elements in Mycenaean history, society and language. However, let us now assess what Chadwick has written. I have highlighted certain parts in [COLOR="Blue"]blue[/COLOR] as I wish to question them further. For example, which document from the 14th century BC exists in the Greek language as it is historically known? What archaeological evidence is there of migrations from the 20th, 16th and 12th centuries BC, and how are they connected to the Ionians, Achaeans and Dorians?

Notice also that it is Chadwick who chooses to call these invaders by the name of '[COLOR="Red"]proto-Greeks[/COLOR]'. Chadwick does suggest that the Greek language was created in the southern Balkans, but it came about from an admixture of two or more languages. He does not, however, seem to consider Greece's present northern frontier, where the occupied Macedonian part of Greece is located, as a part of the territory of where the Greek language has its origins. This conclusion is only logical and serves as another indication that Macedonia has never been Greek, nor did Macedonia feature in the development of the hybrid language that, when solidified, came to represent Greek as it is historically known.

The analogy that Chadwick continually refers to between English and Greek can somewhat be applied to others also, including those languages in the Balkans today currently known as belonging to the Southern Slavic group. However, that in itself forms another topic which can be addressed at another, more appropriate time. So, if classical Greek is comparable to English, then Mycenaean is not the only ancestor of Greek, and given Chadwick's suggestion that the language of the invaders was unlikely to be 'pure' Proto Indo-European, it is quite possible that Greek as it is historically known transpired after a fusion between an Indo-European language, a Semitic language and/or maybe even another unrelated language.

Earlier in this thread I stated the following:
[QUOTE]I will not refer to Mycenaean as 'Greek', because I am of the opinion that Mycenaean is an ancestor tongue and substratum of Greek that contributed to its vocabulary, but not 'Greek' as it has been historically known since the works of Homer.[/QUOTE]
I stand by the above and I find corroboration in what Chadwick has written also. The Greek language as it has been historically known was probably formed from about the 10th century BC in what came to be referred to as 'Hellas' - [B]BUT IT WAS NOT[/B] 'Greek' to begin with, it only became so after a process of amalgamation between a Paleo-Balkan tongue and one or two other languages that were imported into the region by invaders and colonists.

Soldier of Macedon 12-19-2010 08:08 PM

Here is an interesting response to Chadwick's theories by a Philhellenic Frenchman. Apparently the Mycenaean era wasn't early enough, so they are trying to hark back even earlier. Although I don't agree with all that is written, it warrants being noted here as it is relevant to the discussion:

[PHP][url][/url][/PHP][QUOTE]Since the decipherment of the Linear B script in 1952 and the resulting discovery of "Mycenaean Greek", the linguistic thinking has been dominated by the "Risch-Chadwick Theory" (hereafter : RC Theory). The influence of this theory, universally accepted thanks to John Chadwick's authority, has even governed archaeology. It has been impossible for archaeologists to advocate any reconstruction of the Greek Prehistory, which would be contrary to the Risch-Chadwick's linguistic basic hypothesis and its consequence: the Mycenaean dialect "is" the ancestor of all Greek dialects, except the West Greek ones, brought in by the Dorians at a late date. Therefore the Achaeans/Mycenaeans "have to be" the "First Greeks" into the Aegean". As a result, any written "pre-Mycenaean" artifact, like, for instance, the Phaistos Disk, "could not" be written in Greek. In the same way, as the Mycenaean Culture developed during the Late Bronze Age, a too remote date for "the Coming of the Greeks" had to be considered as "impossible". So, E. Grumach and S.Hood put it as late as 1200 BC and most other scholars dated it during the Middle Helladic period, until, under the pressure of the archaeological facts, the transitional period between E.H.II and E.H.III was suggested by J. Caskey. [B]As J. [U]Chadwick several times repeated it : "The Greek language arose through the mixture of a group of Indo-European speakers with an earlier population, and this group penetrated Greece at some time during the Middle Helladic or Early Helladic III period"[/U]. (Chadwick 1975:819). This statement has long been considered as indisputable, and it is only recently that J. Coleman (2000), on the basis of the most recent archaeological findings, has proposed that the "Proto-Greeks" arrived from the north at the beginning of the Early Bronze Age, in the later fourth millennium BC.[/B]
It is not our intention to evaluate the plausibility of those diverse archaeological theories. But we believe that the time has come to put an end to the dictatorship of the RC Theory by pointing out its weaknesses and its implausibility.

1)- A theory which disregards the ancient tradition

The first weakness of the RC Theory is its total disregard of the most ancient tradition. For all the ancient authors, the Ionians were "the first Greeks". There are no conflicting views about this among Herodotus, Strabon or Pausanias, although there is one concerning the origin of the Ionians. We will notice, in particular, that Herodotus - who call them "Pelasgoi" - established a link between the Ionians and the oldest inhabitants of the Cycladic Islands. He wrote : "The inhabitants of the islands ... were also a Pelasgic people. They were later called Ionians for the same reason as the Ionians who came from Athens.." (Herodotus VII,95).

The word "Pelasgoi" is important. Influenced by the RC Theory, and because the Pelasgoi were said to have been the first inhabitants of Greece, most modern scholars have considered the name as designing a "Pre-Greek" (and therefore "non-Greek") population. But the obvious link with "Pelagos" : "the open sea" leads us to think that the primitive meaning of the word must have been "seafarers", a good description indeed of the Cycladic people during the Early Bronze Age. The most natural guess coming from the Herodotus account is therefore that a)- the Ionians were "the first Greeks" b)- they were seafarers and came by sea c)- they were once settled in the Cycladic Islands, probably during the Early Bronze Age.

Instead of accepting this "natural guess", J. Chadwick, confronted with the ancient testimonies, preferred to state : "There is no doubt that the ancient authors described Ionians as located in the Peloponnese; but it may be doubted whether these people can be identified with speakers of an Ionic dialect..."(Chadwick 1975:814). A gratuitous statement, obviously generated by his linguistic theory...

2)- A theory which disregards the geographical data

The RC Theory essentially rests upon a study of the Greek Dialects. Before proceeding to a complete examination of the problem, it is interesting to remind the best established facts in this field. The classification of the Greek dialects into four groups (Ionic-Attic, Arkado-Cypriot, Aiolic and West Greek) has been universally accepted, as has also been agreed by all scholars that "Greek" (or at least its Indo European component) has been brought by "immigrants from the north". From where, is still a matter of discussion. But the most probable place seems to be in the Balkans, south of the Low Danubian Valley. A simple glanze at the repartition-map of the four dialectal groups suggests, then, to attribute this repartition to three (or four) " waves of immigrants" having followed the paths indicated on our Figure 1 (whatever the timing of their arrival) : one wave corresponding to the "Proto-Ionians" (later dialects : Attic-Ionic) -- one to the "Proto-Acheans" (later dialects : Arkado-Cypriot and Aiolic) - one to the "Proto-Dorians" (later dialects : West Greek).

It is interesting to notice here that this scheme, suggested by the repartition-map, is coherent with the preceding "educated guess." It suffices to suppose that the "Proto- Ionian wave" arrived first, at the beginning of the Early Bronze Age.

Is this "reasonable guess" accepted by the RC Theory ?.. Not at all ! The Risch-Chadwick theory reduces the number of "dialectal waves" to only two. A surprising decision, to say the least, considering the repartition-map !

Another strong geographical implausibility of the RC Theory comes from the comparison between Cypriot and Attic concerning their links with Mycenaean. If we accept that Attic shares very few features in common with Mycenaean (See hereafter), the situation is different with the Arkadian and Cypriot dialects. The links are there sufficient to let one believe in a common ancestor - the Mycenaean - c.1200 BC, i.e. at a time close to the end of the Mycenaean era. Hence a killing objection : how to explain, then, in the frame of the RC Theory, that after the disappearance of the Mycenaean World the Arkadian dialect remained closer to the far-away Cypriot than to the nearer Attic dialect ?..

3)- A theory based upon a single linguistic fact

One might believe that the RC Theory, which asserts that the Mycenaean has been the ancestor of the three dialectal groups : Attic-Ionic, Arkado-Cypriot and Aiolic, would have an indisputable basis. This is wrong. Taking into account the linguistic links between Mycenaean, on the one hand, and Arkado-Cypriot and Aiolic, on the other hand, considering that Mycenaean is half-the-way between a "Proto-Achean" going back to the Early Helladic, and these later dialects cannot be criticized. But things are completely different with Attic-Ionic. The features common to Mycenaean and Attic-Ionic can be classified into two categories : a)- those which are archaic remnants, and therefore cannot prove anything concerning an eventual kinship between both dialects. b)- those - the only significant ones - which are innovations in comparison with the "Common Greek". And, in fact, E. Risch himself has recognized that there is only one linguistic feature of this kind : the assibilation ti > si (E. Risch 1956:256-7) !..

Opposite to this unique argument, one has to mention the many difficulties, existing in the RC Theory :

a)- absence of explanation for a missing etymological digamma in many Mycenaean words, like i-da-i-jo, ki-ri-jo, ri-jo, rapte, o-no, etc.

b)- double and difficult-to-explain vocalization : or/ro and ar/ra

c)- implausible explanation of the later transformation of the labio-velar before the vowel e.

These difficulties are easily solved when one adopts the scheme suggested by the Ancient Tradition and the Geography : The absence of an etymological digamma, the a-vocalization, the exceptions to the "regular rule" that Mycenaean qe- has become pe- in its true dialectal descendents (Beotian pettares v. / Ionic tesseres), etc. can be explained as the influence of the "Proto-Ionians" , who coming by sea were the true "first Greeks".[/QUOTE]

Soldier of Macedon 01-18-2011 07:27 PM

Here's something from [I]The Oxford Illustrated Prehistory of Europe, edited by Barry Cunliffe, Oxford University Press, 1994[/I].

[QUOTE]Page 237 – [I][B]By the beginning of the thirteenth century the area which can be recognized as Mycenaean reached its fullest extent[/B]. It included Aetolia, coastal Thessaly and Mt. Olympus, the islands of the central and south-east Aegean as far as Rhodes, and south-west Asia Minor. [B]It is likely that there were settlements on the coast of Chalcidike in Macedonia, but inland Macedonia, like Epirus and Thrace, preserved its own local identity.[/B][/I][/QUOTE]

Soldier of Macedon 04-20-2011 10:37 PM

There are some similarities between the Linear B script and that of the Dipsilio tablet:


And with other old European scripts, such as those from the Vinca Culture:

[QUOTE]......[B]finds were subsequently carbon-dated to before 4000 BCE, thirteen hundred years earlier than the date he expected, and earlier even than the writing systems of the Sumerians and Minoans[/B]. To date, more than a thousand fragments with similar inscriptions have been found on various archaeological sites throughout south-eastern Europe, notably in Greece (Dispilio Tablet), Bulgaria, former Yugoslavia, Romania, eastern Hungary, Moldova, and southern Ukraine.

Most of the inscriptions are on pottery, with the remainder appearing on whorls (flat cylindrical annuli), figurines, and a small collection of other objects. Over 85% of the inscriptions consist of a single symbol. The symbols themselves consist of a variety of abstract and representative pictograms, including zoomorphic (animal-like) representations, combs or brush patterns and abstract symbols such as swastikas, crosses and chevrons. Other objects include groups of symbols, of which some are arranged in no particularly obvious pattern, with the result that neither the order nor the direction of the signs in these groups is readily determinable. The usage of symbols varies significantly between objects: symbols that appear by themselves tend almost exclusively to appear on pots, while symbols that are grouped with other symbols tend to appear on whorls.

The importance of these findings lies in the fact that the bulk of the Vinča symbols was created in the period between 4500 and 4000 BC, with the ones on the Tărtăria clay tablets even dating back to around 5300 BC. This means that the Vinča finds predate the proto-Sumerian pictographic script from Uruk (modern Iraq), which is usually considered as the oldest known script, by more than a thousand years. Analyses of the symbols showed that they have little similarity with Near Eastern writing, leading to the view that these symbols and the Sumerian script probably arose independently. There are, however, some similarities between the Vinča signs and other Neolithic symbologies found elsewhere, as far afield as Egypt, Crete and even China, but scholars have suggested that such signs were produced by a convergent development of proto-writing which evolved independently in a number of societies.......

If the symbols are indeed a form of writing, then writing in the Danubian culture would far predate the earliest Sumerian cuneiform script or Egyptian hieroglyphs. [B]They would thus be the world's earliest known form of writing[/B]. This claim remains controversial.[/QUOTE]

Soldier of Macedon 04-27-2011 02:06 AM

Some food for thought.

The introduction of the Phoenician script in Europe is another foreign element integrated into Balkan society during early antiquity. I found the wikipedia articles quite amusing:

When alphabetic writing began in Greece, the letterforms used were similar but not identical to the Phoenician ones and [B]vowels were added, because the Phoenician Alphabet did not contain any vowels[/B]. There were also distinct variations of the writing system in different parts of Greece, primarily in how the Phoenician characters which did not have [B]an exact match to Greek sounds were employed[/B].[/QUOTE]
So the Greeks adopted a foreign alphabet that needed considerable adaptions and additions, yet, apparently, they made do just fine with Linear B prior to this point? The story crumbles from its inception.

The Greek alphabet emerged in the late 9th century BC or early 8th century BC centuries after the fall of the Mycenaean civilization and consequent abandonment of its [B]Linear B script[/B], an early Greek writing system. Linear B is [B]descended from Linear A[/B], which was developed by the Minoans, whose language was probably unrelated to the Greek language; consequently [B]the Minoan syllabary did not provide an ideal medium for the transliteration of the sounds of the Greek language[/B].[/QUOTE]
If the Mycenaeans had no problem using Linear B and adapting Linear A syllabary, why would Greeks post 9th century BC? Perhaps because the ancient Hellenes were not direct descendants, either historically, culturally or linguistically, of the Mycenaeans.

Soldier of Macedon 04-28-2011 11:01 PM

An example of the Phoenician script. Some similarities with the Old European scripts cited previously can be noticed.


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