It’s time for the A to Z Challenge! Hello and welcome to my main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a novelist. Join me and nearly 2000 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. It’s not as easy as you might think. There’s a reason Q and Z are worth 10 points in Scrabble!
For me, this year’s alphabet will be about history and historical science– things that tickle my fancy or capture my imagination. I hope you’ll find them interesting too.
Keep the topic rolling! If you’ve enjoyed the today’s offering and have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post in the comment section. And…if you enjoy romances with unique twists and facts, a good deal of steam, and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. I love to make the impossible sound plausible. Suffice to say, I have an unusual mind.
The blue link above will take you to the main event page. Once there, click on the participant’s sign up list at the top to find great A to Z posts ALL over the web. Your imagination awaits!
Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter B ~ B for Linear B
When you read about ancient civilizations and discover things that spin your preconceived notions like a top, you realize there’s a lot more to history than we know. For instance: the Sphinx and Great Pyramid at Cheops were ancient before the Ancient Egyptians came on the scene. The somewhat recent discovery of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey is another mystery. The sophistication of this enigmatic place is mind blowing considering it’s far older than Stonehenge– 7000 years older in fact. There’s just so much we don’t know. Take Linear B.
In the early part of the last century, Arthur Evans, British archaeologist and curator of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford made an interesting observation while excavating Knossos on the island of Crete. At the time, the sun had not yet set on the British empire (meaning their colonial reach literally went around the world). Victorian archaeologists and hobby antiquarians scoured the marketplaces in search of antiquities and treasures and the grave potters peddled what they perceived as worthless junk dug from the ground. It was such a treasure that caught Evans’ eye. He came upon various cylinder seals and realized the scratches upon them had a pattern. It wasn’t until clay tablets turned up at Knossos did he realize the scratches were actually a written language.
Linear A and Linear B
The Greek culture can be traced back to two earlier cultures –the Minoans (2000-1500 BCE) and the Mycenaeans (1500-ll00 BCE) . As the first literate culture of Europe, the Minoans employed not one but two related writing systems. Three were found at Knossos. The first was a pictographic script referred to as the Cretan Hieroglyphs. It consisted of drawings and phonetic symbols and numbers. The second is referred to as Linear A. Until another discovery proves otherwise, Linear A with its approximate 90 symbols is considered the first known syllabary on the European mainland. Where Egyptian hieroglyphics used pictograms for complete ideas, a syllabary is a writing system using different symbols to represent syllables (think Japanese writing).
As yet fully undecipherable, people are still working on Linear A.
Linear B, the oldest form of Greek dialect to date, was the third script found at Knossos and it belonged to the Mycenaeans. Linear B appears to be adapted from Linear A as you might expect when one civilization overlaps another. It consists of 90 syllabic signs expressing open syllables, that is, they end in a vowel.
Read Linear B like a pro!
A 7-part documentary on the man who cracked Linear B.
A Very English Genius
But…Though history cites British architect, Michael Ventris as the one who discovered the meaning of Linear B in 1952, few people mention the American Alice Kober, assistant professor at Brooklyn College in New York who charted the frequency of every symbol in the 1930-40’s. She gave him a launching point. A sad truth: women’s contributions were often overshadowed by their male counterparts. I’m happy to say it’s getting better.
Who were the Minoans & Mycenaeans?
Tomorrow ~ letter C!
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Authors’ lives outside of the books we write are often as interesting as the worlds we create. One of the more unusual things my husband and I have done was lead wild foods programs for Chicago’s Field Museum. For this event I’ll be sharing my recipes. I hope you stop by. You just might have tasty things waiting in your backyard. 🙂
😀 Scroll down for previous A to Z posts and more.