Monthly Archives: December 2021

The Linear A Scripts


Many scholars have tried to identify the language behind Linear A which has not yet been deciphered.

The oldest of these signs was a pictograph writing system developed around 2000 BCE known today as Cretan hieroglyphs. Another group of signs was identified as Linear A, developed around 1700 BCE. While Cretan hieroglyphs have a pictorial appearance, Linear A has a linear appearance: most documented clay tablet Linear A inscriptions are arranged in square fields, typically four to nine lines. Neither of these writing systems has been deciphered yet. It is thought that both Cretan hieroglyphs and Linear A represent the same language. The number of Linear A signs identified ranges from 77 to 85 according to different scholars, suggesting that this was a syllabic writing system.

Many studies have tried to identify the language behind Linear A but none have produced convincing results. Some scholars have argued that Linear A represents a pre – Hellenic language unrelated to Greek. while other theories have claimed that the Linear A language does not even belong to the Ind- European language family. Other studies have speculated that Linear A is related to the Old European culture.

Another group of signs identified by Arthur Evans was the Linear B script and although Evans did not know it at the time, Linear B is an adaption of Linear A employed to represent an archaic form of the Greek language.

Linear B was deciphered in 1953 CE by Michael Ventris , more than a decade after the death of Sir Arthur Evans.


Although the Linear A script remains undeciphered, some scholars have attempted to understand the overall readings of some of the Linear A texts based on functional comparison with the Linear B script. Based on these studies, it has been argued that the Linear A inscriptions are concerned with accounting data and other forms of record keeping and administration, very similar to the Linear B scripts which are also concerned with accounting data and other forms of record keeping and administration This is consistent with the fact that the Minoan palaces had a huge storage capacity and are believed to have acted as redistribution centres.


Some Linear A inscriptions have been found on libation tables, associated with ritual and religious items (i.e. votive, terracotta or bronze figurines with ritual gestures, gold jewelry, pottery and stone vessels) found at sanctuaries located on or near mountain peaks dated to Minoan times, sometimes referred to as rural sanctuaries or peak sanctuaries. Most examples of Linear A have been found on clay tablets and other examples have been identified on pottery shards, seal stones , steatite – seals and pendants, also on inscribed building blocks.

Inscribed Minoan stone libation table
Minoan Linear A tablet HT7
Minoan Linear A tablet HT 114a

By the mid 2nd millennium the Minoan civilization was declining giving rise to the Mycenaean civilization. The Linear B script replaced the Linear A script and by 1450 BCE most Minoan sites on Crete were destroyed , the Linear A script was replaced by the Linear B and by 1400 BCE, the Linear A script was completely abandoned and all writing in Greece and Crete was recorded using Linear B.

Courtesy The Travelling Classroom. Article by Cristian Violatti


As all my blogger friends are aware, that after completing my Linear B studies I decided to attempt learning the Linear A script writing and have translated my first Linear A tablet on a previous post, under the title of Minoan Linear A tablet translation HT 31 (Haghia Triada cross-correlated with Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641 -1952 (Ventris) , albeit the nearest it is to the actual translation, I have attempted to translate more Linear A scripts which will shortly be forthcoming as I have to wait for my teacher to check for any corrections needed before I can post them. Thank you for following my progress.


Posted by on December 2, 2021 in Uncategorized

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