Linear B

  • Created by: Ruthfeath
  • Created on: 24-05-18 12:44
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  • Linear B
    • Religion
      • Honey shipped to sanctuary of Zeus
      • Sheep listed as sacrificial offerings
      • Bulls, goats & pigs also listed as sacrificial & non-sacrificial offerings
      • Palace centers controlled religious ceremonies
      • Rose, cyperus & sage perfumes seem to have been sent to shrines for religious offerings
      • Cheese seems to have been offered to the deities on a large scale
      • Names of most of the classical gods found on the tablets
        • Zeus & Hera - already coupled
        • Poseidon
        • Hermes
        • Athena
        • Artemis
      • Pylos tablet - mother-goddess
        • Offering of oil to Divine Mother
      • Number of minor deities mentioned
        • Diwia
        • Iphimedeia
      • Gods mentioned in terms of receiving offerings - sometimes animals
        • Poseidon - 1 bull. 4 rams, wheat, wine, honey, 20 cheeses, unguent, 2 sheep-skins
          • Sounds similar to ceremony painted on sarcophagus from Hagia Triada
      • Most common offering was olive oil
        • Listed as being given in tablets from both Pylos & Knossos
    • Military
      • Armour, chariot & pair of horses given to a particular warrior
      • Record of rowers arriving from 5 areas for a single ship
      • Nearly half the ideograms are related to armour, weaponry, horses, chariots & wheels
      • Pylos tablet - 30 rowers from coastal villages sent to Pleuron
      • Pylos tablets - large numbers of men assigned to 'coastal watcher' jobs & to rowing groups
      • Suggestion that those from a foreign ethnicity were forced to row
      • Tablets list rowers one showing over 400, the other mentioning 'rowers who are absent'
      • Group of tablets refers to o-ka on an operation to watch the coastal areas
        • Enemy invasion feared from the sea
        • Also provide suggestions about organisation of an army with a royal officer attached to each unit for connection purposes
          • Royal officer would have had a chariot - vital to raise the alarm
      • Pylos tablet - collection of recycled bronze from sanctuaries & officials overseeing agricultural labour that would be suitable to make 33,000 arrowheads & 142 spearheads
      • All sites apart from Midea confirm military equipment was produced, refurbished & distributed
      • Pylos tablet - 151 chariot wheels
      • Chariot wheels seem to have been stored separately and put on the chariot when needed
      • Knossos tablets - 173-250 chariots with horses &  armour
      • Knossos & Pylos - inventories of armour
        • Helmet is a simple conical shape, attached with plates & probably made of leather
        • Suggest that body armour was made from linen
        • No shields or greaves mentioned
      • Characteristic weapon of period was lightly-built 2 horse chariot carrying 2 men
        • Such vehicles were used for military & peaceful purposes according to the visual arts
          • Tiryns Fresco
    • Social Order
      • Ration allotments to dependent women in work groups at Pylos
      • In each local area the use of communal land was overseen by a damos - collective group of elders
      • The extensive records at Pylos record individuals named as ‘servants’
      • Knossos tablets monitor 100,000 sheep in flocks controlled by collectors under the influence of local elite, sanctuaries and other institutions.
      • The texts help us see that the palace centres relied on their status, control of religious ceremonies and relationships with high status individuals as well as control of the lower status individuals.
      • Roughly 800 people are listed by personal name – elevated status.
      • The tablets suggest that tribute was paid in the form of food and animals by the local areas to the central bureaucracy and in return the central organization distributes goods to these same villages or groups or individuals or workers.
      • Wanax: Mentioned at both Pylos and Knossos, only one wanax appears to have existed at either place.
        • “King”
        • The wanax of Pylos was a major landholder.
          • Name was possibly Enkhelyawon
        • There is no evidence for  King Nestor, or Enkhelyawon
      • lawagetas
        • Mentioned at both Pylos and Knossos, again only one such figure appears to have existed at either place.
        • Second after the wanax in a list of major landholders.
        • “leader of the people”
        • may have been a war leader.
        • may have been a crown-prince or something else altogether.
      • Telestas
        • Known at both Pylos and Knossos.
        • Occurs almost exclusively in textsdealing with land tenure.
        • In the list of landholders from Pylos , three telestai appear who together hold as much land as the wanax and who, on average, hold as much as the lawagetas.
        • 2 major theories as to their function
          • Religious officials of some kind.
          • Fief-holders -  persons who held land from someone (possibly the king) in return for services which they rendered to him. The Greek word tele often has the meaning of “taxes” or “dues”.
      • Kamaeus
        • Occurs at both Pylos and Knossos, but at Knossos it may be no more than a personal name.
        • Appears to describe a form of landholder that differs in some way fromthe wanax, lawagetas, and telestai
        • “slave of the god”.
      • Heqetas
        • Known from both Pylos and Knossos.
        • “companion, follower”.
        • “companion to the king”
        • Occasionally mentioned in contextsrelating to land tenure.
      • Quasileus
        • Chief or leader of a small group,
        • May have been in charge of small, outlying districts,
      • Damos
        • Entity which can allocate landholdings.
        • Group of individual landholders
      • Doeros
        • “servant, bondsman, bondswoman”
        • Property of living individuals
      • Complex system of land tenure- feudal
      • Number of distinct kingdoms
        • All seem to have been independent.
      • In one set of tablets the land seems to have been divided up between that held for the community (demos) and that in the hand of the individuals (thetelestai).
      • An elaborate index at Pylos records over 600 women together withthe same number of children. They were slaves - some are specifically called ‘captives’ and they are listedas doing menial work such as carrying water, spinning and grinding corn etc.
        • Not all concentrated in the palaces – some are allocated elsewhere possibly country houses of the royal family since theirrations are issued by the Palace.
    • Occupations, Economy, Farming
      • Amount of bronze allocated to a group of smiths, amount of daily grain given to different groups of workers.
      • One Knossos tablet lists one million litres of grain as a harvest in the Mesara.
      • Communal land
      • Extensive records at Pylos record individuals named as ‘servants’
      • Non-food products such as flax, terebinth and wood seem to have been closely monitored as they were essential for the palace industries.
      • Animals are also closely monitored. Sheep used in the wool production industry: the Knossostablets monitor 100,000 sheep in flocks
      • Animals seem to have had specialised attendants.
      • The tablets give the correct impression that palace centres were remarkably efficient in their local areas and enabled the Mycenaeans to compete in an international economy.
      • On the Pylos tablets 5000 people are listed in collective groups as labour dependent on the palace. Another roughly 800 people are listed by personal name
        • These numbers at Pylos when compared with the estimated 50,000 population for the region suggest that the state formation was relatively successful and prosperous.
      • Many describe men or women by their occupation and this gives us a good insight of the complexity of urban life and the specialization of labour.
        • The spinning of yarn and the weaving of cloth are women’s occupations
        • carders, spinner and weavers are specifically mentioned as well as flax and wool workers.
        • Sewing seems to have been done by both men and women – we find seamstresses and tailors.
        • The cleaning of garments is the task of a fuller – the king has a private fuller.
      • Carpenters, masons and ships built by a special class of shipwrights.
      • Weapons and other metal goods are made by bronze smiths and gold smiths who also made jewellery.
        • The goldsmiths had a particularly high level of skill.
      • The existence of bow-makers in the tablets is evidence for the high amount of specialization in the economy.
      • The evidence of perfumers refers to the luxury trade in perfumes.
      • One potter is listed as being attached to the royal household and held a fairly large plot of land.
      • Shepherds, goatherds and cowherds are evidence for the principal domestic animals. Some men were also oxen drivers.
      • Pigs were kept – there is a list of 25 being fattened at various villages in thekingdom of Pylos.
      • Dogs were kept for hunting but horses are rarely mentioned.
      • Woodcutters are mentioned and perhaps charcoal burners as another occupation.
      • Ploughing land was perhaps not a specialised role because every household owned or rented a piece of land.
      • The staple food was grain, ground by women but the bakers were men. Spices to liven up food are listed on the Mycenae tablets Figs and olive oil were also an important part of the diet.
    • Background
      • Over 5000 clay records have been found in Knossos (Crete) (3000-4000), Pylos (1,200), Mycenae (70) Tiryns (6), Midea and Thebes (43) on the mainland.
      • They are only preserved where they are accidentally cooked (and set) in a fire that destroys abuilding. Early excavators perhaps also had difficulty in recognising these lumps of clay and perhapsmistook them for unfired pottery clay.
      • The texts were not intended to be long lasting – short term records to be written, stored andconsulted in connection with the administration year in progress.
      • They have not been dated by the administrators who made them.
      • There is no evidence yet that Linear B was used at smaller settlements.
      • The Mycenaeans were probably mostly illiterate, however the existence of inscribed jars from non-archive sites such as Thebes suggests that writing was not just restricted to the bureaucraticscribes.
      • Long-narrow tablets known as ‘leaf shaped’ were used for individual records
      • Page-shaped tablets used to summarise information that was perhaps previously on the leaftablets. These tablets usually involved large numbers of people, areas etc…

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