Linear A

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Linear A is one of two scripts used in ancient Crete before Mycenaean Greek Linear B. In Minoan times, before the Mycenaean Greek dominion, Linear A was the official script for the palaces and cults and Cretan Hieroglyphs were mainly used on seals. These three scripts were discovered and named by Arthur Evans. In 1952, Michael Ventris discovered that Linear B was being used to write the early form of Greek now known as Mycenaean. He and others used this information to achieve a significant and now well accepted decipherment of Linear B, although many points remain to be elucidated. A failure to discover the language of Linear A has prevented the same sort of progress being made in its decipherment.

Though the two scripts – Linear A and B – share some of the same symbols, using the syllables associated with Linear B in Linear A writings produces words that are unrelated to any known language. This language has been dubbed Minoan and corresponds to a period in Cretan history prior to a series of invasions by Mycenaean Greeks around 1450 BC.

Linear A seems to have been used as a complete syllabary around 1900–1800 BC, although several signs appear as mason marks earlier. It is possible that the Trojan Linear A scripts discovered by Heinrich Schliemann and one inscription from central Crete, as well as a few similar potters' marks from Lahun, Egypt (12th dynasty) come from an earlier period, ca. 2100–1900 BC, which is the period of the construction of the first palaces.

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