Sunday, May 19, 2013

Decoding Linear B - A Very Old European Language Indeed

When Alice Kober died at the age of 45, she was a forgotten and ignored classics professor. But she arguably did more than anyone to decode what was then the oldest written European language known to exist. 

From a story in the Daily Beast...

The story of Linear B is well known. This 3,000-year-old language was discovered on clay tablets excavated in 1900 on the island of Crete. It thereafter puzzled scholars for half a century before it was decoded by Michael Ventris, an English architect with no formal training in archeology or linguistics. Linear B’s history is an absorbing tale, full of mysteries both intellectual and historical, and it’s been told and retold since Ventris made his breakthrough. The problem, as Fox sees it, is that what’s been published so far is by no means the whole story. Previous versions, she argues, neglect a major player, so much so that the story as we know amounts to if not a lie then certainly a libel. The Riddle of the Labyrinth is her attempt to set the record straight, to apportion credit correctly, and by doing so to explicate the solution of Linear B in a way that at last makes sense.

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