Linear B

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{style, bgcolor, rowspan}
{language, word, form}
{god, call, give}
{theory, work, human}
{work, book, publish}
{food, make, wine}
{ship, engine, design}
{water, park, boat}

*Dates (beginning with Ancient Greek) from Wallace, D. B. (1996). Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. p. 12. ISBN 0310218950. 

Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, an early form of Greek. It pre-dated the Greek alphabet by several centuries (ca. 13th but perhaps as early as 17th century BC, see Kafkania pebble) and seems to have died out with the fall of Mycenaean civilization. Most of the tablets inscribed in Linear B were found in Knossos, Cydonia,[1] Pylos, Thebes and Mycenae.[2] The succeeding period, known as the Greek Dark Ages, provides no evidence of the use of writing.

The script appears to be related to Linear A, an undeciphered earlier script used for writing the Minoan language, and the later Cypriot syllabary, which recorded Greek. Linear B consists of around 87 syllabic signs and a large repertory of semantographic signs. These ideograms or "signifying" signs stand for objects or commodities, but do not have phonetic value and are never used as word signs in writing a sentence.

The application of Linear B seems to have been confined to administrative contexts. In all the thousands of tablets, a relatively small number of different "hands" have been detected: 45 in Pylos (west coast of the Peloponnese, in southern Greece) and 66 in Knossos (Crete).[3] From this fact it could be thought that the script was used only by some sort of guild of professional scribes who served the central palaces. Once the palaces were destroyed, the script disappeared.


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