Linear A (1800-1450 BC) is the designation given to one of two scripts used by the Minoans. Although Linear B, which has been deciphered, is similar to Linear A, there have been many failed attempts to decipher it, variously linking it to the Greek, Etruscan, Tyrhennian, Anatolian or Persian(d) languages. The most exotic suggestion that I have encountered is that Linear A is related to Japanese(l).
However, there is some evidence that a writing system was in use in Greece as far back as the sixth millennium BC, which was not adopted from the Phoenicians(h).
Patrick Archer moved further east for a solution, claiming that Linear A is possibly related to Chinese pictographs! Gretchen Leonhardt(m) also sought a solution in the East, offering a proto-Japanese origin for the script, a theory refuted by Yurii Mosenkis(j), who promotes Minoan Linear A as proto-Greek. Mosenkis has published a number of papers on the Academia.edu relating to Linear A(k)(q)*.
Another of the many exotic solutions was offered by the American, Stuart Harris, who identified the language as being related to Finnish(a)(f)(g). Harris also quotes the controversial Oera Linda Book as evidence that the Cretans spoke Finnish (e). He follows Felice Vinci in identifying the Baltic as the source of much of Greek culture including Homer’s epics(b), in which connection they both locate Troy in Finland.
So far, no single translation theory has gained general acceptance.
Nevertheless, I have always been surprised that the British who managed to unravel the workings of the German Enigma Machine during World War II have failed to decipher Linear A, even though today’s supercomputers are so far ahead of what Alan Turing had to work with, Linear A remains undecoded!
In 2018, Brent Davis, one of the leading experts on Bronze Age Aegean scripts and languages published a paper in which “based on a close statistical analysis, shows that the while both the Phaistos Disc and Linear A are undeciphered writing systems, he can demonstrate that the both are, with a high degree of certainty, encode the same language!”(i)
Material quantity was another advantage that Michael Ventris had in deciphering Linear B. There were 20,000 examples of Linear B signs occurring in inscriptions, compared to just 7,000 examples of Linear A signs, which Davis notes “is about three-to-four A4 pages worth. Mathematicians tell us that if we are to crack Linear A, we’ll need something like 10,000 to 12,000 examples of signs, which means we aren’t that far away, – but it all depends on archaeology. Discoveries are still being made, so I’m optimistic, but what we really need to find is a palace archive, which is where we are likely to find enough Linear A to finally decipher it.”(p)
In an article by Ashley Cowie, he highlighted the work of Professor Silvia Ferrara of Rome’s Sapienza University and her recent decipherment of Linear A numerical fractions using new computational models along with traditional methods(n).
In 2021 Dr Ester Salgarella published her latest investigations into the genetic relationship between Linear A and Linear B, which should assist with the eventual decipherment of the former.(o)
>In 2022, Mark Cook, a forensic accountant, took a fresh look at Linear A and concluded “The Linear A Tablets are partially complete accounting records so an accountant reviewing them makes sense”. His approach to deciphering Linear A is revealed in his book Rewriting History: The decipherment of Linear A . A review by Zeta Xekalaki is available(r).<
(j) Gretchen Leonhardt is up against some stiff competition from Urii Mosenkis concerning her so-called proto-Japanese origins of Minoan Linear A | Minoan Linear A, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae (archive.org)
Linear B is the name given to the script used in Mycenaean Greece from 1450 BC until around 1200 BC. It was deciphered in 1952 by the British architect, Michael Ventris, who found it to be based on archaic Greek. What is not generally known is that in America at the same time, classicist Alice Kober was engaged in a parallel quest but unfortunately died of cancer in 1950, before she could complete her work(b).
Edo Nyland in his Linguistic Archaeology controversially claimed that the same texts translated by Ventris using archaic Greek could also be translated using Basque! Examples are given on the University of California, Riverside website(c).
The script is similar to Linear A(a) used in Minoan Crete, which has still to be decoded. Writing disappeared from Greece in the 12th cent. BC and did not reappear until the 9th cent. BC, when an alphabetic script came into use. Those three centuries are known as the ‘Dark Ages’ of Greek history. Plato explained the lack of writing as a consequence of a catastrophic flood which left just a few illiterate ‘mountaineers’ as survivors, who orally transmitted their history until literacy returned.
The scale of Greek catastrophes during this period is indicated by the work of V.R.Desborough who gathered comparative data on the number of population centres on the Peloponnese in the 12th and 13th centuries that shows an average drop of 80%. Spanuth lists those figures in Atlantis of the North[015.161].
Plato is often denounced by Atlantic sceptics as just a philosopher and therefore unreliable as a historian. However, in Critias, he outlines quite accurately a number of features of ancient Greece that were only verified in recent times, such as the layout and earthquake damage to the Acropolis as well as the ‘Dark Ages’ mentioned above. This is like saying that a historian cannot have valid philosophical views or a philosopher should not discuss historical matters.
It has been suggested that the Atlantis story was brought to Egypt and written in the Minoan scripts. Both employed numerals where the symbol for ‘hundred’ was very similar to that for ‘thousand’, leading to later transcription errors that eventually gave us Plato’s apparently exaggerated numbers! Both James Mavor and Rodney Castleden have advocated this explanation.
>The relevant entry in the World History Encyclopedia offers an informative overview of what we know about Linear B(d).<
Acropolis is the name given to the central highest position in ancient Greek cities, occupied by the principal religious and civic buildings. The Athenian acropolis was crowned by the magnificent Parthenon, constructed between 447-432 BC. An interesting claim is that the Parthenon was once ‘a riot of colour’(d). Another remarkable feature of the building is that its breadth has been carefully measured at 101.34 feet, which is exactly a second of latitude at the equator(b). The acropolis of Athens is the best known and often erroneously referred to as ‘The’ Acropolis. It is worth noting that the general description of an acropolis is mirrored in Plato’s description of the central buildings of Atlantis that were also located on elevated ground. Writers such as Jürgen Spanuth, Rainer W. Kühne(a) as well as Papamarinopoulos(c) have concluded that the acropolis of Athens provides convincing evidence that the war between Atlantis and Athens took place around 1200 BC. Papamarinopoulos comments further that the “Athens of Critias, is proved a reality of the 12th century B.C., described only by Plato and not by historians, such as Herodotus, Thucydides and others. Analysts of the past have mixed Plato’s fabricated Athens presented in his dialogue Republic with the non-fabricated Athens of his dialogue Critias. This serious error has deflected researchers from their target to interpret Plato’s text efficiently.” (e)
Plato referred to dwellings for warriors (Crit. 112b) situated to the north of the Acropolis that were built in the 15th century BC and were not located again until the earlier part of our 20th century. He also refers to a spring (Critias 112d) that was destroyed during an earthquake. Kühne notes that this spring only existed for about 25 years but was found by the Swedish archaeologist, Oscar Broneer (1894-1992), who excavated there from 1959 to 1967. The destruction of the spring and barracks, by an earthquake, was confirmed as having occurring at the end of the 12th century BC. Plato describes how these catastrophes, of inundation and earthquake, that caused the destruction on the Acropolis, were only survived by those living inland, who were uneducated illiterate people, resulting in the knowledge of writing being lost.
>Papamarinopoulos claims [750.73] that the Athens described by Plato in the Critias is an accurate description of Mycenaean Athens and then leaps to the conclusion that because the details of ancient Athens provided by Plato are correct then it must follow that his depiction of Atlantis is equally reliable! For me this is an unacceptable non sequitur, as Plato lived ln Athens and would have been fully aware of the city’s landmarks and tradition. On the other hand, he had not been to Atlantis, and in fact, he was somewhat vague regarding its actual location. Jason Colavito also took issue with Papamarinopoulos’ contention(f).<
J. Chadwick & Michael Ventris have shown that Linear B was written in an early Greek language and that in Greece it remained in use until around 1200 BC. Subsequently, the Greeks were without a script until the 8th century BC. This date of 1200 BC would appear to match the end of the war between Athens and Atlantis except for Plato’s reference to the earthquake being accompanied by a flood that was the third before the flood of Deucalion, usually dated to at least some centuries before 1200 BC, which implies an earlier date for the Atlantean war.
Collina-Girard in common with many others seems convinced that Atlantis was destroyed around 9500 BC but that Plato’s description of Atlantis is fictional. Collina-Girard’s theory of an Atlantis in the Gibraltar Strait inundated at the end of the Ice Age many thousands of years before the Acropolis existed, forced him to denounce Plato’s Bronze Age descriptions as fiction otherwise he could not justify the exploration of Spartel Island.