Linear B Script: The Writing System Used By The Mycenaean Civilization

Pages: 8 (1870 words) Published: November 16, 2015


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In this essay I shall discuss and ancient script known as linear B. According to (Violatti, 2015) “Linear B Script was the writing system used by the Mycenaean civilization.” It is believed to be one of the oldest preserved forms of writing in Greek that is known of. Many of these ancient scripts that are found in today’s world remain undeciphered, meaning no one has yet found out the meaning of these writings. This also includes the writing system simply known as Linear A. Both Linear A and Linear B both originate from Crete, a Greek island, but Linear B was “also found on the southern area of the Greek mainland.” (Rowe & Levine, 2009) The script was believed to have been used roughly between 1600 to 1100BC. (Gnanadesikan, 2009)...

Evans was so impressed with the level of culture the Mycenaeans had achieved, he was of the opinion that such civilisations would not have been able to function without some knowledge of a writing. (Hooker, 1990) In 1900 Evans first discovered a large number of clay tablets with mysterious inscriptions on them. Many weeks later he had hundreds of tablets and after only a year he had dug up thousands. (Gnanadesikan, 2009) “The oldest confirmed Linear B tablets are the so-called Room of the Chariot Tablets from Knossos and have been dated to c.1450-1350 BCE” (Violatti, 2015) This makes Linear B one of the oldest writing scripts that has been discovered in the world. Linear B was believed to have been used in Knossos, Mycenae, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns – the major palace sites of Greece. This was due to the use documenting economic transactions of the palace administration. (Violatti, 2015) it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it it...

These ideograms or signs symbolize items or commodities and hold no phonetic value. In 1952, Michael Ventris, who was a young British architect, discovered the meaning of Linear B. But some experts now argue that Ventris would never have been able to find meaning, had it not been for an American classicist, Alice Kober. For almost two decades, Alice Kober devoted herself to trying to crack the code behind this ancient script. “The predominant theory was that the script documented a form of Etruscan - an ancient civilisation of Italy - but there were more wacky theories too, including that it might be a type of Polynesian or Basque.” (Gallafent, 2013) Kober noted “word triplets” which were groups of three words with slight variations towards the end. Kober came to the conclusion that the variations were inflectional suffixes. “That was the breakthrough. Kober now knew that Linear B was an inflected language, with word endings that shifted according to use - like Latin, or German or Spanish.” (Gallafent, 2013) “The decipherment of Linear B opened up, and indeed created, a whole new branch of scholarship. It added about 500 years to our knowledge of Greek, catapulting our understanding of early Greek history and society back into the second millennium BC, to the end of the Bronze Age at about 1200BC,” - Dr Torsten Meissner speaking at a conference marking...
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