Linear B facts for kids

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NAMA Tablette 7671
Tablet with writing in Linear B

Linear B is an ancient script, used to write Mycenaean Greek, the oldest known form of Ancient Greek. This was proved by Michael Ventris in the early 1950s. Linear B came before the Greek alphabet by several centuries.

The script is based on Linear A, a script which cannot be read today. The oldest texts written in Linear B date from about 1450 BC. Linear B was found mainly in the palace archives at Knossos, Cydonia, Pylos, Thebes and Mycenae. It disappeared with the fall of the Mycenaean civilization.

There are about 87 signs in Linear B that represent syllables. In addition, there are many ideographic signs: These represent objects or commodities. They do not represent sounds, and are never used as word signs in writing a sentence.

Linear B seems to have only been used for administration. In all the thousands of clay tablets, a relatively small number of different "hands" (or writers) have been detected: 45 in Pylos (west coast of the Peloponnese, in southern Greece) and 66 in Knossos (Crete). The script may have only been used by a guild of professional scribes. These scribes worked at the different palaces: when the palaces were destroyed, the script disappeared.

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Linear B Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.