An Introduction to Minoan Linear A
Professor Emeritus, National Technical University of Athens
This work is a study of the Minoan Linear A language, i.e. the language of Minoan Crete in the Bronze Age. The Linear A materials and data which have been available for examination is composed of only 1400 inscribed clay tablets or fragments, and some stone and metallic objects. The method used in the examination and review of each inscription is the scrutiny of the message each conveyed and the qualitative and quantitative information given, its comparison with other relevant inscriptions, its logical interpretation and correlation, the conclusions allowed to be drawn, and the problems that may be resulting or counter arguments which may have to be contemplated.
The Linear A syllabary, revised and enriched, was compared to the Luwian hieroglyphic signs; 15 out of 78 signs have a Luwian counterpart; thus no claim of complete similarity can be made. The Linear A glossary contains about 1025 whole or broken words. Most of them are not understood yet. Among those which are understood, 45 words have a Luwian counterpart. Inscriptions on votive offerings are dedications to divinities, like to goddess A.SA.SA.RA (the Madonna of the Luwians) or to DA.MA.TE (the Earth Mother or Demeter). The Linear A Glossary reveals a glossary of terms in food and agricultural products, on metals, vessels and artefacts and on a number of place names and personal names. Most of the technical words were terms borrowed from Sumerian, Semitic or Akkadian languages.
The Hagia Triada tablets are a wealth of information on many subjects. There is a series of tablets relating to Minoan religious sanctuaries dedicated to Adu, Tinita and Akaru, indicating the worship in Crete of deities from the Syropalestinian coast. Large quantities of wheat, wine and oil, also of seeds and figs were delivered to these sanctuaries. The Phaistos Disk was continued to be read as a Luwian hieroglyphic document and the information obtained was critically analysed for internal consistency.
ISBN 9783895863868. LINCOM Language Research 06. 150pp. 2007.