The Undeciphered Signs of Linear B
University of Cambridge
Faculty of Classics
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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Judson, A. P. (2017). The Undeciphered Signs of Linear B (Doctoral thesis). https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.11800
More than sixty years after Michael Ventris’ decipherment of the Linear B script, 14 of its 87 syllabic signs still have no sound-values assigned to them. This group of ‘undeciphered’ signs represent a significant gap in our ability not only to read the Linear B script, but also to understand its development and use. Chapter 1 of this thesis analyses the origins and usage of signs with known sound-values to establish what types of values are in principle most likely to be found amongst the undeciphered signs: this investigation also enables an exploration of the development of Linear B, its relationship with its parent script Linear A, and the motivating factors underlying the creation of new Linear B signs. Chapter 2 consists of studies of each individual undeciphered sign, including a palaeographic analysis of their forms, discussion of their corpus of attestations, and an examination of their prospects of decipherment and possible sound-values in the light of the results of Chapter 1. Finally, Chapter 3 employs this group of signs in a case-study to explore the potential of palaeographic analysis to contribute to our understanding of wider issues concerning the Linear B script and its context of use within the Mycenaean palaces. This case-study focuses in particular on two main uses of palaeography: as a means of assigning a relative chronology to Linear B texts, and as evidence for the reconstruction of the Mycenaean scribes’ administrative work and training.
Linear B, Mycenaean Greek, Bronze Age Greece, ancient Greek linguistics, palaeography
AHRC doctoral award (2012-2015), grant number AH/J500094/1 British Federation of Women Graduates, J. Barbara Northend Scholarship (2015-2016) Faculty of Classics Graduate Studies Fund (2015)
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.11800
No Creative Commons licence (All rights reserved), Permission has been obtained to include all third-party material, with the exception of some images included in the submitted version of this thesis, which have been removed from this version.