Will we ever decode Linear A or Cretan Hieroglyphs?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-08 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, Writing Systems

We can actually read Eteocretan language, because it’s in Greek characters; and we even have enough bilingual text that we know the Eteocretan for ‘cheese’. And we still can’t make head or tail of it.

A lot of Linear A and Linear B characters are shared, which means we can guess at the pronunciation of some of it; but that does not buy us much.

We would need a definite association with a pre-Hellenic language that we know in detail (just as we had with Linear B and Greek), or a bilingual text dating from the Minoan heyday. Myself, I’m not seeing it happening.

At least we now have a stable repertoire of signs in Cretan hieroglyphs—something we didn’t have when I was a lad.

And I’m still not convinced that the Phaistos Disc wasn’t a board game.

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