Ventris, Michael (1922-1956)

Ventris began with a list of 553 words which could plausibly paired off with known Greek expressions. This, which he called his ‘Experimental Vocabulary’ included proper names as well as grammatical signifiers. Modifications were made to this list subsequently, but it provided a good basis on which to begin to guess the meanings of some of the rarer signs. Very few of the texts available to him and his collaborator, John Chadwick, could be read in full[*], but the first extended sentence they were able to spell out together had a resonance for them which made it a kind of Rosetta Stone for Minoan culture:

PU-RO i-je-re-ja do-e-ra e-ne-ka ku-ru-so-jo i-je-ro-jo WOMEN 4

ΠΥΛΟΣ: ίερείας δοϋλαι ένεκα χρυοϊο ίεροϊο

At Pylos: slaves of the priestess on account of sacred gold: 4 women

[M. Estebán. The Code-Breakers, p. 128]

slaves of the priestess
on account of sacred gold
4 women
Antinéa / Annie
>Bianca / Clara


Chiron Cane said...

Hieria : Priestess - (video)


Trys said...

There is now a growing collection of Mycenaean words being posted on Wiktionary together with their cognates in ancient Greek. The orthography is incredible and the confusion of "l" and "r" which is prominent in ancient Egyptian is also present in Minoan-Mycenaean. The addition of a final "s" to a word in Greek is usually indicative of a foreign or pre-Hellenic non-Greek origin.

Here is the link if you wish to explore this for yourself :

Mycenaean Greek nouns

Kind Regards,



Trys said...

Sorry for posting a link back to your page in error.

This is the proper link to the Wiktionary page entitled :

Mycenaean Greek nouns

The root part for Mycenaean language on Wiktionary is at :

Mycenaean Greek language

All of the entries on this section of Wiktionary are in the Linear B script with transliteration, translation and (usually) their survival in ancient Greek.

Here is an example :


�������� (po-ti-ni-ja)
1. lady.
2. divine title/proper name of goddess.



* Ancient Greek: Πότνια