Post by Franz Gnaedinger
Cyrus H. Gordon identified the language of Linear A as Northwest Semitic.
Jan Best and Robert Stieglitz followed him. Walther Hinz, in their wake,
deciphered Linear A tablet Hagia Triada 95. Now I read in Zangger and
online that Jan Best considers _Luwian_ the language of Linear A, got
a patent (!) on the Phaistos Disc being a Luwian letter to Nestor, and
that his disciple Frederik Woudhuizen deciphered the entire Phaistos Disc
as mainly a list of Luwian names in 1984.
Sorry, but the Phaistos Disc was deciphered as an early Greek document by
Derk Ohlenroth in 1980, published 1996. I follow him, although proposing
a different archaeological interpretation - his decipherment reveals more
than he could have read into the disc, so it is a real window on the past,
not just a window painted on the wall.
A young man from Lycosoura learned from the priestesses of Demeter-Elaia
at Phigalia (heirs of Old Europe in the sense of Marija Gimbutas) how
to plant cereals (Demeter was the Greek goddess of agriculture, with an
equivalent in the Roman Ceres, goddess of cereals) and edible olives
(elaia 'olive') and how to care for bees (their importance already known
to Chalcolithic farmers in the Ukraine). Later on he averted a famine
in the Argolis and was appointed king of Tiryns.
He had good friends in the fertile Mesara plain in Southern Crete, among
them a scribe and goldsmith at Phaistos whom he asked for a pair of gold
discs he might wear on his shoulders.
Well, the scribe invented a peculiar alphabet of 46 tiny images for letters,
among them six alphas, allowing him to render a text also as picture.
Then he made a pair of discs, one of them showing Elaia's grove at Phigalia,
the other Tiryns in the Argolis, each disc with a spiral and a ring.
The rosette in the center of the Tiryns disc marked the beginning of
the spiral text, a formula glorifying Eponymous Tiryns, while the second
rosette on the same disc marked the beginning of the ring text along the
margin, a banning formula of archaic power, enforcing the palisade of Tiryns,
warning potential intruders.
attentive mind CO right eye OC enveloping palisade or wall LOP - the ruler
as male profile in the center field, he of the focused mind CO, surrounded
by guards of the open eyes OC who watch the gate and gaze over the enveloping
palisade LOP ... (for comparison consider Polyphem, another cyclops or one-
eyed giant, Homeric symbol of Troy, his 'eye' the acropolis overlooking the
wide river plain, his 'body' downtown Troy VIIa).
Eponymous Tiryns became Lord Laertes the gardener in Homer's Odyssey,
lineage Zeus - Arkeisios - Laertes - Odysseus - Telemachos. Ithaca was
originally the Argolis and Peloponnese, ITA CA Ithaca, young bull ITA
sky CA, under the sky of the young Zeus bull (ATI CA Attica, under the
sky of the mature Zeus bull).
A gold signet ring found in a cache at Tiryns shows Eponymous Tiryns alias
Laertes the gardener and his Middle Helladic successors worshipping Demeter-
Elaia under a rain of grains, between them stylized olive twigs (the same
sign appears on the PhD). The kings parade as lion-wolf-dog-bee men, the
lion indicating royalty, the wolf commemorating Lycosoura, lykos 'wolf',
the dog a watchful guard, and the bee a most industrious insect, indispensable
for agriculture (a sign on the PhD shows a portable beehive). The kings wear
spirals on the shoulders that may indicate the gold discs (the extremely well
crafted magnified spiral has an actual diameter of two millimeters on the ring)
The pair of hypothetical gold discs might be hidden in another cache in a not
yet excavated part of the acropolis of Tiryns. While the pair of clay discs
used as models for the gold discs were baked together so they formed one
single disc. It was stored in a cult depot of the Old Placae at Phaistos,
where Luigi Pernier discovered it in 1908.
I won't abandon a marvel of complexity for a list of names. Apparently also
the Beyköy frieze translated by Woudhuizen features mainly names, and would
then be less complex than I thought.
Next time: why doesn't Eberhard Zangger mention that the alleged Beyköy
frieze has a model in the Yalburt frieze and inscription?
My apology, Eberhard Zangger d o e s mention the Yalburt inscription,
using a different name and showing a big partial drawing of the frieze
and pointing out a parallel in the text: Hatti conquered two northern
kingdoms on its last campaign (Yalburt) but was forced to give them back
(Beyköy) - no surprise there, Hatti collapsed and could not keep those
kingdoms, a forger could easily have extrapolated that much. The driver
of a bulldozer discovered the Yalburt frieze in 1970, so if the Beyköy
frieze inscription is a forgery, then a recent one, post 1970. The
arrangement of the Yalburt hieroglyphs is lively, the one of the Beyköy
hieroglyphs dull. A brief online comment asks why the Greeks are not
mentioned. A longer comment by one bethresh raised my doubts again:
Several things about this discovery inspire a lot of caution. In fact, I am firmly in the camp that it is a forgery.
Mellaart, the discovery of the inscription, and its contents
Mellaart was the perpetrator of the well-known "Dorak treasure" hoax
and played fast and loose with his discoveries at Çatalhöyük. He
certainly produced valuable work, but his reputation will always be
linked to shameful scholarly misconduct.
Thanks partially to the bilingual Karatepe inscription (discovered in
1946), several Luwian grammars and sign lists appeared in the 1960s
that built on earlier discoveries, including Laroche's Les Hiéroglyphes Hittites (1960), Meriggi's Hieroglyphisch-hethitisches Glossar (1962), and Meriggi's Manuale di Eteo Geroglifico
(1966-1975). It is true, as Woudhuizen points out, that Luwian was not
well understood until the 1960s/70s, but that certainly does not
preclude the fabrication of a Luwian inscription, particularly if it was
based on real inscriptions like the Yalburt inscription.
The vast majority of the inscription consists of lists of cities and
regions. (In Luwian, a triangle is the determinative URBS, "city," and
two triangles marks the determinative REGIO, "kingdom/territory/region."
Note the long lists of places ending in these determinatives.) Add some
known verbs from other inscriptions and known Hittite and Luwian names
from Hittite texts and seals and boom, you have a forgery.
Paleographically and grammatically, some of the elements of this
inscription are at home in an Iron Age inscription and are not right for
a supposed Bronze Age inscription.
The usurpation of the "Great King" title (REX.MAGNUS) would make this
unique among the western Anatolian hieroglyphic inscriptions; it should
be noted that both Karabel and the digraphic silver seal use the simpler title "king" (REX) for the King of Mira.
Finally, the name and titles of Kupanta-Kurunta as written in this inscription (Ku-pa-tá-CERVUS2
LABARNA MAGNUS.REX; "Kupanta-Kurunta, Labarna, Great King") differ from
the Suratkaya inscription that (probably) records a diminutive of his
name (Ku-pa-ya MAGNUS.REX.FILIUS, "Kupaya, Great Prince"). The Suratkaya inscription was found only recently, in the 2000s.
Publishing and announcement of the discovery
The International Congress of Hittitology just took place (September
2017), and Woudhuizen was present. Why no mention of this text?
Furthermore, why is this being published in the Proceedings of the Dutch
Archaeological and Historical Society rather than the standard journals
in the field like Anatolian Studies or the Journal of Near Eastern
Studies? It would be, after all, a major discovery -- if it were
How does this fit what we know about Hittite history?
We know from the Alaksandu treaty from the reign of Muwatalli II that
Kupanta-Kurunta of Mira and Alaksandu of Wilusa were allies, with the
Hittites serving as the overlord enforcing their alliance. Later, King
Alantalli of Mira (probably the son of Kupanta-Kurunta) served as a
witness for the bronze tablet treaty
between the Hittite king Tudhaliya IV and his cousin Kurunta of
Tarhuntassa, indicating Mira was still a loyal Hittite vassal. Still
later, one of the last Anatolian hieroglyphic inscriptions
preserved from the Bronze Age records Hittite military actions against
Masa, Lukka, Wiyanawanda (Greek Oenoanda), and other places in western
Anatolia, but there is no mention of Mira. It is most unlikely that Mira
would arrange a seagoing expedition during the period of the Pax Hethitica,
particularly due to Mycenaean control of much of the western Anatolian
coast and the strong likelihood of an immediate Hittite military
We already knew from the Milawata letter that a king named Walmu was
indeed overthrown from his rule in Wiluša. The Hittite king ordered one
of his western vassals to turn Walmu over to his authority.
Kulana-ziti retained possession of the writing boards which I made
for Walmu, and he has now brought them to you, my son. Examine them!
Now, my son, as long as you look after the well-being of My Majesty, I,
My Majesty, will put my trust in your good will. Turn Walmu over to me,
my son, so that I may reinstall him in kingship in the land of Wiluša.
As he was formerly king of the land of Wiluša, he shall now likewise be!
A claim that the king of Mira controlled Troy is untenable. Indeed,
Mira declined significantly in prestige and power in the latter part of
the Late Bronze Age relative to the Seha River Land.
Too good to be true? Mellaart's claims revisited.
Mellaart briefly mentioned the existence of the inscription in at
least one publication, a book review published in 1992 in the Bulletin
of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society journal. But he never fully
described the inscription in a scientific publication.
In addition to citing the Beyköy text, Mellaart claimed to have found
a letter from the Assyrian king Aššurbanipal to Ardu/Ardys, son of
Gyges of Lydia. Conveniently, the letter happens to list 21 kings of
Arzawa with their regnal years and their synchronisms with the Assyrian
kings. Needless to say, the publication of such a fantastic text never