Image: Rights: Archäologische Staatssammlung, Munich. (© Photographer: Susanne Friedrich)
Amber object B (BR Zg 2)


In 2000 the extensive fortified citadel of Bernstorf near Munich in Germany, which burned down in or after c. 1320 BC and had already yielded some gold regalia of rather Aegean appearance, produced two amber objects seemingly inscribed in Linear B. The authenticity of these objects has been questioned, on grounds that are as yet insufficient. A new reading suggests links with a place called *Ti-nwa-to, the existence of which is attested by the Mycenaean archives at Pylos and possibly at Knossos. Women from this place worked at both palatial centers as weavers, but it also had a wealthy ‘governor’. An analysis of the Pylos tablets suggests that this place was in western Arcadia. This material sheds light on long-distance connections in Mycenaean times.

1. The finds from Bernstorf

Some archaeological and epigraphic finds are so startling that they seem to make no sense. With no knowledge of the Vikings, we would not expect to discern Norse runes on a stone lion in the Piraeus or discover Arab dirhams in Dublin. The Aegean script Linear B should not be found in Bavaria, even in a Bronze Age context. Any attempt to explain such a puzzle will of necessity draw on various disciplines and materials – in this case, the epigraphy of Linear B, early metallurgy, records of governors and female slaves at Pylos and Knossos, amber in Messenia, the geography of the kingdom of Pylos, and historical evidence from c. 1350–1200 BC for roving warriors in the Levant and Aegean. Only by adopting a very broad outlook can we hope to explain something so bizarre – unless the objects from Bernstorf are outright forgeries. But what if they are not?

The hamlet of Bernstorf lies in Upper Bavaria near Freising in the vicinity of Kranzberg, on the river Amper not far from the Danube and some 40 km north of Munich. It happens to be the site of the largest Middle Bronze Age fortification so far known north of the Alps. The site was located in 1904 by Josef Wenzl, a local schoolmaster, who drew a sketch-plan of the fortifications, half of them buried in the forest. Since 1955 two thirds of the enceinte has been destroyed for the extraction of gravel and marl; its original length was 1.6 km and it encompassed an area of 12.8 ha. In 1992 two amateur archaeologists associated with the Archaeological Museum in Munich, Manfred Moosauer, an ophthalmologist, and Traudl Bachmaier, a bank-employee, discovered that the site was enclosed by a timber stockade that burned so fiercely that vitrification occurred; the temperature reached was 1350 °C1. With the authorities’ permission, they excavated a small area of its NE sector in 1994–8. Burned timbers yielded a preliminary 14C date for its construction of 1370–1360 BC, during the local late Middle Bronze Age2.

Goldensemble Bernstorf Gde.Kranzberg Lkr.Freising (Rights: Archäologische Staatssammlung, Munich. Photo M. Eberlein.)

In August 1998, after the archaeological excavations had ended, the contractor’s bulldozers and graders tore up the trees over an area of about 1 ha within the rampart inside the gate. Reportedly, the drivers found a hinged bronze cuirass with nipples rendered in pointillé, a bronze helmet and bronze weapons, all too small to fit modern men3. Moosauer and Bachmaier, in dismay at the devastation, investigated the spoil-heap on 8 August and began to discover among the uprooted tree-stumps an extraordinary hoard of amber and golden objects that had been carefully folded and wrapped in clay; after the first object was unearthed, most of the finds were made under official supervision between then and 29 April 1999, and all were taken promptly to the Museum4. Most of the material was encased in its original clay packing, which has been analysed and proves to come from Bernstorf5. This remarkable cache included six irregular centrally perforated lumps of amber6, a wooden sceptre which partly survived in a carbonized state (at the laboratory in Oxford the charcoal received a calibrated 14C date of 1400–1100 BC with 95.4% probability)7 and had a spiralform gold wrapping8, a gold belt with pierced triangular ends, a gold bracelet, a crown made of two layers of sheet gold with five attached vertical elements rising from its horizontal headband, a dress-pin of twisted gold with a flat triangular head, a gold diadem or cloak-fastener with pierced, pointed ends, and seven square gold pendants pierced at one corner for attachment (Fig. 1); in total these weigh 103.4 g9. The jewellry is made of sheet gold uniformly c. 25 mm in thickness10. Most of it was produced by a single workshop in repoussé by hammering the gold with punches made of bone or wood rather than of metal11; the decoration is rows of concentric circles and of diagonally hatched triangles, with a square tooth-pattern along the edges12. However, pointillé decoration is used on the sceptre and pin-head, which bears the wheel-pattern ? impressed in dots (there is no suggestion that this is writing)13. The projections on the crown were held in place with slots, as in Aegean crowns as early as that from Mochlos Grave VI14. The hoard was at first dated to the 16th or 15th centuries BC, because the style of the goldwork was compared with that of the rich finds from the Shaft Grave Circle A at Mycenae15. However, parallels with the gold of the Shaft Graves are weak16, and an initial 14C calibrated date of the wood from the sceptre, obtained in the laboratory at Oxford, gave a result of 1390–1091 BC17; three further 14C tests have given a tighter chronological range, with two yielding 1389–1216 ± 1 BC18. Although this is the only gold crown possibly of Aegean type that has been found outside the Aegean19, the treasure has been thought to derive from a local workshop under both Carpathian and Mycenaean influence20, or to come from a local workshop using material imported from afar21. The metal is too soft for the objects to have been used in ordinary life, and they were certainly ceremonial equipment; it has plausibly been proposed that they adorned a cult-statue or xoanon22, but they could also have been used for mortuary purposes. Analysis showed that the crown bore traces of styrax-resin, used for incense and native to southern Arabia23. The gold bears some traces of combustion. In its final use it was carefully folded and deposited as a hoard. Further excavations, now led by the Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege, took place on the S. side of the rampart in 1999–2001, and revealed that it had been constructed from an estimated 40,000 oaken logs and was completed with a ditch.

Fig. 2. Bernstorf, Lkr. Freising. Amber object A (BE Zg1). Obverse: bearded male head, facing; Reverse: inscription in Linear B. Scale 2:1 (Rights: Archäologische Staatssammlung, Munich. Photo S. Friedrich.)

During the archaeological excavations of 2000, the directors decided to use a mechanical digger to clear an area of previously unproductive soil within the rampart, some 50 m E. of the find-spot of the hoard, in preparation for another rescue-excavation; however, after heavy rain, the resultant spoil-heap was seen to contain some prehistoric sherds, whereupon they asked the amateurs to search it. On two successive Saturdays, 11 and 18 November, Moosauer and Bachmaier, together with Alfons Berger, the deputy mayor of Kranzberg, found two inscribed amber objects, Objects A and B, along with sherds of a local Middle Bronze Age pot decorated with incised lines24. These were promptly handed to the Museum, where Object B was found still to be surrounded by a matrix of local sand and clay; they are described below.

Amber Object A (Figs. 2–3) is a roughly triangular piece of dark brown amber, 3.21 cm wide by 3.05 cm high and 1.08 cm in thickness. It has on the ‘obverse’ (Fig. 2) a male face with eyebrows, nose, mouth, and ears shown by simple incised lines; incised circles represent the eyes, and a beard is indicated by a number of short oblique incisions (no moustache is shown). It has been compared the famous gold funeral mask of ‘Agamemnon’ found by Heinrich Schliemann in Shaft Grave V at Mycenae,25 but is actually very crude. The ‘reverse’ (Fig. 3) bears three incised linear signs that in general appearance resemble the Linear B script. However, two of them are in fact very hard to identify in that script (see §7). Like the amber beads in the hoard, its edges and reverse display signs of melting and burning. However, where it is unburnt one can see that the surface of the reverse was smoothed or polished before the incisions were cut.

Amber Object B (Fig. 4) might be held roughly to resemble a scarab in shape. It is made of bright yellow amber. It is 2.1 cm high, with a flat oval obverse measuring 2.4 by 3.1 cm and and a convex reverse. It has a conical hole 0.35–0.31 cm in diameter drilled from one end only along the longer dimension of the reverse. Its upper and lower surfaces were carefully smoothed and polished before the incisions were made. Two thin strips of sheet gold, of much the same thickness and composition as the gold of the treasure, were found by X-ray analysis deep within the hole. The object seems not to have been burnt. On the obverse it bears three incised linear signs. The ‘exergue’ below the signs on its obverse bears a horizontal line with five vertical elements rising from it; this has been interpreted as a reasonably accurate depiction of the gold crown seen in Figure 126. Above this it has three signs, which were correctly read in Linear B as ??? pa-nwa-ti in the editio princeps, where the inscription received the number BE Zg 227. This reading of the signs is opaque in meaning, but the presence of the sign ? nwa confirmed, in the eyes of both the experts who were consulted at the time, L. Godart and J.-P. Olivier, that we are dealing with Linear B rather than Linear A, in which script that sign does not occur28. We shall return to their reactions below (§2).

Fig. 3. Bernstorf, Lkr. Freising. Amber object B (BR Zg 2). Oberse: inscription in Linear B. Scale 2:1 (Rights: Archäologische Staatssammlung, Munich. Photo S. Friedrich.)

Further excavations of the south-west sector of the ramparts followed in 2007 and 2010–11, together with a geomagnetic survey by the University of Frankfurt. These have showed that occupation at the site began in c.1600 BC, and that after its abandonment it was reoccupied to a lesser extent in Hallstatt and Medieval times29. Although 14C dating has given two possible chronological ranges for the construction of the rampart, 1376–1326 or 1317–1267 BC30, dendrochronological study shows that its logs were felled between 1339 and 1326 BC, more probably close to 133931. Local archaeologists believe that it was burned within one generation of its construction, since in their view such structures were never long-lived32.

The curators of the Archäologische Staatssammlung at Munich are certain of the authenticity of both the inscribed amber and the golden objects, which, they write, is guaranteed by the find-spot and the circumstances of the discovery, by the investigations that were immediately carried out in their laboratories, and by subsequent research33. Careful scientific studies have produced no valid proof that any of them have been tampered with since their discovery34. However, the purity of the gold is a stumbling-block. The first X-ray fluorescence analyses revealed the gold to be highly refined, with under 0.5% of base metal and under 0.2% of silver, presumably by the use of the salt cementation method that is first described by Agatharchides of Cnidus in the 2nd century BC35; the dearth of silver shows the gold could not be a local product from alluvial sources36. Salt cementation is first documented archaeologically in Sardis in the mid-sixth century BC, but could have existed in the Bronze Age37. Later studies have shown that the gold is about 99.7% pure by weight; none of the pieces contains any copper or silver at all, but traces of antimony, sulphur, mercury and bismuth in proportions that are roughly similar in all the objects38. The two small pieces of gold wire from deep within the perforation of amber Object B39 have a purity and composition almost identical to that of all the other golden objects from Bernstorf40. This shows that the authenticity of both sets of finds is a single question, which is also linked to the early radio-carbon date of the wood from the sceptre. The presence of these trace-elements has been held both to exclude modern electrolytic gold41, and to prove that this is what the Bernstorf objects are made of42. There are still rather few comparanda for the composition of early gold; only a handful of Bronze Age artefacts from Northern Europe are made of such pure gold, notably the Moordorf disk, which also has similar decoration43. However, such gold is known from the handle of a Mycenaean sword from Chamber Tomb 12 (the ‘Cuirass Tomb’) at Dendra in the Argolid; the tomb was closed in LH IIIA 1, but the sword may be LH IIB. This was pure except for 0.01% silver, 0.13% bronze, 0.002% tin, and 0.017% platinum44. The gold matrix of the mask of Tutankhamun is 97–98% pure by weight45. A finger-ring from Amarna is 98.2% pure46, while the gold in the so-called ‘coffin of Akhenaten’ found in the Valley of the Kings (KV 55) is 99% pure47, but differs in other respects48. For paucity of comparative data, we simply do not yet know how pure Bronze Age gold could be49. Lack of comparative data also hinders the determination of the origins of central European and Mycenaean gold50; the latter has been linked with Transylvania, Nubia, or possibly the Black Sea.51

The amber is succinite from the Baltic52. When at the Museum Object B was first removed from the matrix of local sand and clay in which it was found, it looked like new. Freshly cut amber fluoresces strongly under ultra-violet light, and this phenomenon lasts for ten to twenty years of exposure to light and air. When both pieces were examined shortly after they were found they fluoresced very faintly53. However, examination of other pieces of amber found in an excavation at Ilmendorf near Ingolstadt showed that they too all fluoresced faintly, whereas no fluorescence was seen in any of over a hundred pieces of Roman and Bronze Age amber in the Archäologische Staatssammlung which had been out of the ground for between thirty years and a century. Rather than prove these items to be forgeries, the comparison shows that the amber was relatively fresh when it was buried, and that its fluorescence was preserved by its burial54. Like the gold and amber from the cache, the two inscribed objects show traces of burning and melting. The lack of reoccupation at Bernstorf until the Hallstatt period suggests that the destruction of its fortifications provides a terminus ad quem for the artifacts found there. The hoard of gold and the carved amber objects were perhaps buried for safety by their owner or owners, never to be recovered, before the fortifications were fired, or were rescued from the fire and interred shortly thereafter.

2. Reactions to the discoveries

Kristiansen and Larsson, in a wide-ranging study of travel and trade in the European Bronze Age, accept the authenticity of the finds at Bernstorf and regard them as an important support for the thesis that there were extensive contacts in LH II–IIIA (1500–1300 BC) between Scandinavia and the Tumulus Culture of southern Germany on the one hand, via the Adriatic, with the eastern Mediterranean on the other55. As they note, the Uluburun shipwreck of c. 1305 contained both Baltic amber and an Italian sword56, as if amber routes via Central Europe and Italy were still operative57. However, the finds at Bernstorf were too outlandish and remote for them to have attracted much notice from scholars of the Aegean Bronze Age, a field which has seen some notorious forgeries and hoaxes58. Our inability thus far to identify parallels for Linear B on seals, to interpret the inscriptions convincingly, and to account for the nature of these objects has contributed to their continuing obscurity. When they have been noticed, they have attracted profound scepticism59.

Since the discovery of Linear B inscriptions in a Bronze Age context so far from Greece is completely unparalleled, forgery has been alleged, on several grounds: the amber objects were found by amateur archaeologists in an unstratified context, incisions can easily be made in amber, and assessing the condition of amber is a complicated question; convincing ‘antiquities’ made of it are not hard to create, and unworked amber was frequently found at the site60. Moreover, the discovery came at a convenient time to lend publicity to a book about the recent find of the cache of gold from the same site61. But it does not suffice to argue ‘was nicht sein darf, kann es nicht geben’, nor to try to impugn the integrity of their discoverers when there are no grounds for doing so62. Nor is it a valid objection to authenticity that the Bavarian amateurs have sometimes confused Minoan and Mycenaean in their publications63, and have made some far-reaching and probably exaggerated claims about their significance64. It should hardly need saying that wild comparisons and errors in popular publications do not in themselves constitute arguments that the objects under discussion are fakes (compare the Phaestus disc).

The reactions of Godart and Olivier to the inscriptions were mixed.65 Godart regarded the second and third signs on Object A as possibly Linear A, but rejected its overall authenticity. He would not have hesitated to accept the authenticity of Object B had it been found in a Bronze Age Aegean context, and read the signs as pa-nwa-ti. But he concluded that both were forgeries, because Object B was found with Object A, which he considered a forgery, because no amber seals are incised with Aegean scripts and only one seal is inscribed in Linear B (see below), and because they were found in Germany66. Upon learning, from further correspondence, of the previous discovery of the hoard of gold, he wrote that there can be no question of forgery in this case67. Olivier read the signs in Linear B as a symbol probably followed by ka-a on Object A, and as pa-nwa-ti on Object B. He too was astounded by the findspot, but moderated his scepticism after further correspondence.68

Apart from the possibility of forgery, three other reasons have been offered for rejecting the inscriptions from Bernstorf. First, if Object B is a seal its shape is unparalleled in the Minoan and Mycenaean corpora69. Secondly, if the parallels between the golden crown, the frontal portrait of a face on amber Object A, and the treasures from Grave Circle A at Mycenae, including the ‘Mask of Agamemnon’ from Shaft Grave V, are valid, these objects are much too early to be associated with Linear B70, which is first attested in the LM II or early LM IIIA 1 archive from the Room of the Chariot Tablets at Knossos71. Finally, although Linear B signs were freely written over sealings impressed on clay, ‘seals were not vehicles for Linear A and B. Nor was amber used for making them’72. However, these objections can be met.

First, although the shape of Object B (Fig. 4) is certainly unparalleled among Aegean seals, it may have been left largely in its natural shape. Object A largely retains its unworked shape.

Secondly, the gold is definitely to be dated after the Shaft Grave era on grounds of style, and perhaps too because of the purity of its composition. The similar composition of the gold wire found inside Object B seems to prove that the gold treasure and the inscribed amber were used together before their final depositions. Gold and amber were both worked in Room B of the palatial workshop at 14 Oedipus Street at Thebes in Boeotia73. If the goldwork were to be from the Aegean, its style does not match that of Late Middle Helladic and Early Mycenaean gold from the Argolid and Messenia, since both in Greece and in central Europe spiral and curvilinear decoration predominates at that time74. In this case, it was made later, perhaps in a peripheral area.

Thirdly, Linear B was certainly written on materials other than palatial clay tablets and Cretan stirrup-jars for trade in olive-oil. There must have been records on perishable materials, notably longer-term ledgers that correspond to the yearly records kept on the tablets75. The retention for two centuries or more of the curvilinear shapes of the signs, although they are written on clay, is a decisive proof76. Moreover, inscriptions on a sherd and on a stone weight have come to light at Dimini77. There are also a few connections between amber, seals, and Linear B. A single seal made of amber was found at Mycenae, an amygdaloid with grooved back showing a bull78; another probable specimen was found in a tholos-tomb79 at Pellana in Laconia dating to LH IIIA80, and a third in tholos-tomb 1 at Routsi (Myrsinochori) in Messenia (LH IIIA), which may have borne a rare frontal image of a human head81. Their existence shows that amber was sometimes worked after its arrival in Greece82. In addition, there is a Linear B inscription on a seal from a secure Mycenaean context. A lentoid seal now in the Museum at Delphi83, MED Zg 1 (Fig. 5), fully legible as Linear B, was found in the LH IIIC tomb 239 at Medeon in Phocis. Such items in LH IIIC tombs are often ‘heirlooms’, and naturally one suspects that it in fact dates from LH IIIA–B, when Linear B was still used84. It is published as ivory but is probably made of bone85. It has no figural decoration, but only the signs (reading from left to right) ??? e-ko-ja, an unparalleled sign-group86. However, every sign in this inscription happens to be symmetrical about its vertical axis; a retrograde reading of the seal from right to left would give a dextroverse reading in the impression87. If the order of the signs is indeed reversed, they read ??? ja-ko-e88. Both ja and e have medial as well as initial uses in sign-groups, but ??? e-ko-ja is perhaps preferable, since ? e is more common as an initial sign. Unfortunately neither reading supplies the basis for any obvious interpretation, and neither evokes any obvious parallel in our present corpus of Linear B. We are probably dealing with an unknown personal name or conceivably toponym89. The interpretation of short sign-groups in this script is always far harder than that of longer ones, particularly in cases like these where there is no context to help determine the meaning90.

Fig. 4. Medeon, Phocis (Greece). Bone seal from tomb 239 with inscription in Linear B (CMS V 2 no. 415), Archaeological Museum Delphi.

3. A Fresh Approach

As was observed soon after the discovery91, all the signs in the inscription on Object B, ??? pa-nwa-ti (Fig. 4), are symmetrical about their vertical axes, like those on the seal from Medeon (Fig. 5). They are therefore open to being read in either direction, either as a seal or as an impression. Although microscopic examination shows that the lines were engraved from left to right92, and left to right is the invariable direction in Linear B, we should be open to a sinistroverse reading, since the impression of the signs would inevitably be read in the normal direction from left to right. If we do reverse the sequence of signs, we obtain ??? ti-nwa-pa (Fig. 6). This reading is still obscure, but it reminded Olivier of the ethnic adjective ti-nwa-si-jo that is well known in the Pylos tablets93.

I suggest that in fact there has been a mechanical confusion between two signs of similar shape. Experts on Linear B are even more wary than classical scholars of corrections to their texts94, because of the high level of uncertainty that the interpretation of Linear B involves, but this should not absolve them from considering intelligent emendations when ratio et res ipsa demand them; texts written in Linear B are no more exempt from error than those in any other script. As Ilievski showed, errors that depend on the confusion of sign-shapes do occur, and several other kinds of mistake, like the omission of a final syllable, are as verifiably frequent in the corpus95. In this case the intended inscription would have been ??? ti-nwa-to rather than ??? ti-nwa-pa, entailing the easy confusion between ? pa and ? to. Such errors are common in Linear B, and include ? na versus ? to96, ? pa versus ? ro97, and ? pi versus ? ti98, although not so far as I know ? pa versus ? to.

In this case ? to seems to have been changed into ? pa rather than the reverse. Magnification of the high-resolution image (Fig. 6) proves that the upper part of the vertical in ? pa was created as a separate incision,99 which was made in a different movement from the rest of the upright. This mode of writing it was normal among the scribes of Linear B100. Since the uppermost vertical is not crossed by the upper horizontal, which was incised from left to right, we cannot tell on that basis which line was cut first. However, since the uppermost vertical of ? pa projects above the apex of the sign ? ti that occupies the opposite, equivalent position on the oval flan, it breaches the symmetry of the engraving, in which the middle sign ? nwa ought to have projected above the signs on either side. Thus the mistake was probably caused by the engraver, who revised his opinion as to which sign he was meant to write, and altered his original ? to into ? pa101. Perhaps he was not himself literate, unlike the person who had written his exemplar; in Mycenaean Greece, a scribe was by definition literate but we have no evidence that craftsmen were. To the objection that, if the amber was originally a Mycenaean symbol of authority, such an error ought not to have escaped the notice of the ruler who commissioned it, I would reply that not all rulers of early societies were literate; the Mughal king Akbar was not, nor William I of England, to whom his rebellious son Henry I defended his bookish ways by saying ‘rex illiteratus, asinus coronatus’102. This mistaken correction, once made, could not have been reversed without ruining the precious amber. I conclude that the original reading was ti-nwa-to.

Fig. 5. Bernstorf, Lkr. Freising. Detail of amber object B. obverse , to show added upper line in the sign (Sign) pa and vertical asymmetry of this sign

The sign-group ti-nwa-to is not directly attested in the Linear B tablets, but the adjectives ti-nwa-si-jo (masculine)103, ti-nwa-si-ja (feminine nominative plural)104 and ti-nwa-ti-ja-o (feminine genitive plural)105 appear in the archive from Pylos. The alternation between -si-ja and -ti-ja must be owed to analogical levelling: toponymic adjectives ending in -tios or -thios first became –sios in Mycenaean, as in Attic Μιλήσιος from Μίλητος and Προβαλίσιος from Προβάλινθος, but then the dental was often restored by analogy with the noun, as in Attic Κορίνθιος from Κόρινθος and Knossian ra-su-ti-jo /Lasunthios/ from *Λάσυνθος ‘Lasithi’106. Hence the forms ti-nwa-si-jo and ti-nwa-ti-ja-o must be derived from a place-name that is not itself attested, but was at once reconstructed as *ti-nwa-to and tentatively recognized as a prehellenic toponym in -ανθος within the wider class of such toponyms in -ανθος, -ινθος and -υνθος107. Thus the place-name *Ti-nwa-to108 should be interpreted as /Tinwanthos/ or /Thinwanthos/109, and the corresponding adjective as /T(h)inwansios/ or /T(h)inwanthios/. Except for pe-ru-si-nwa ‘last year’s’, no Mycenaean word containing nwa has an Indo-European etymology110.

Let us briefly examine the pre-hellenic words in -ανθος111. The termination shows that the mountain-range Ἐρύμανθος or Ἐρυμάνθιον, now the Olonós on the north-west border of Arcadia, has a pre-hellenic name, as many mountains do. A settlement Ἐρύμανθος is said to have been the earliest name for Psophis, and the river Ἐρύμανθος flowed south-west from the mountains to join the Alpheus112. On Pylos tablet Cn 3.6 a contingent of U-ru-pi-ja-jo, a detachment of troops who were defending the coast and were stationed at O-ru-ma-to in the Hither Province, send an ox to Diwyeus, one of the officials called ‘Followers’ that liaised with the coastguard113. These same U-ru-pi-ja-jo, noted to be thirty in number, are described by the ethnic O-ru-ma-si-jo-jo on ‘coastguard’ tablet An 519114; this ethnic gives the place where they were based, whereas they are guarding the coast at a place called A2-te-po south of Ro-o-wa, which was also in the Hither Province115. The fact that the ethnic of O-ru-ma-to is O-ru-ma-si-jo, just as that of *Ti-nwa-to is Ti-nwa-si-jo, confirms that O-ru-ma-to ended in -ανθος.

O-ru-ma-to must be the same word as Ἐρύμανθος, with a different initial vowel, because the same fluctuation is seen in other words that appear to contain the same stem: the name of the Homeric warrior Ἐρύμας is read as Ὀρύμας by the T scholia116, and the toponym Ἔρυμνα in Pamphylia was also known as Ὄρυμνα117. But the coincidence does not prove that Pylian O-ru-ma-to was located near Mt Erymanthus118; on the contrary, the corresponding reference to O-ru-ma-to in the coastguard tablets appears between entries pertaining to contingents in the south of the Hither Province, between Ro-o-wa and Pi-ru-te119. Another name in -ανθος in the archive is Pu-ro Ra-wa-ra-ti-jo (Ra-u-ra-ti-jo), i.e. /Pulos Lauranthios/, on Pylos tablets Ad 664 and Cn 45120, which is apparently formed from *Lauranthos121. This town lay in the south-east quadrant of the Further Province122. The only place outside the Western Peloponnese that ends in -ανθος is the village of Πύρανθος near Gortyn in Crete, modern Pyrathi123. However, like the name Gortys or Gortyn, the name Pyranthos could of course have been taken from the Peloponnese to Crete, since Arcadian elements appear in the dialect of central Crete at Axos and Eleutherna.124 With Pyranthos compare Hittite Puranda, a village in Pisidia125.

The concentration of place-names in -ανθος in the Western Peloponnese suggests that *Ti-nwa-to was located there. The likeliest explanation for the limited distribution of such names is that the local dialect of the pre-hellenic language (and this dialect alone) either modified the vowel that precedes the ending or preserved its original vocalization. In the latter case this ending is more closely comparable to the ending -anda that is so widely attested in the ancient place-names of Western Anatolia126.

4. The people of *Ti-nwa-to at Pylos and Knossos

The socio-economic status of *Ti-nwa-to and its inhabitants within the kingdom of Pylos has not been investigated, but turns out to have been peculiar.

*Ti-nwa-to was not among the sixteen major towns of the kingdom; only its ethnic attests its existence. At least two men identified by the ethnic Ti-nwa-si-jo were members of the Pylian élite. First, on tablet Fn 324.12 a certain A-ta-o Ti-nwa-si-jo, probably /Antāos/, receives an allocation of barley, perhaps in order to attend a religious festival127. On Jn 431.23 a man named A-ta-o is identified as a bronze-smith with no allotment of bronze, on An 340 a certain A-ta-o contributes or controls fourteen men, and on Vn 1191 the name appears in the genitive as A-ta-o-jo. Some or all of these further references may be to the same person, but this is uncertain128. As there was a man named A-ta-o at Knossos also (L 698), the name may have been common.

Secondly, a holding of land belonging to Ti-nwa-si-jo, which means ‘man’ or ‘men’ of *Ti-nwa-to, is recorded in tablet Ea 810129. The word may well be a name, since a singular proper name is expected here130. If, however, the name was used as an ethnic to describe an important individual from the town, it may describe the A-ta-o of Fn 324, the ‘governor’ Te-po-se-u (see below)131, or a third unidentified person132.

Thirdly, *Ti-nwa-to had a local leader or ‘governor’ (ko-re-te), whose name was Te-po-se-u. That a place which was not among the sixteen tax districts should have a ‘governor’ is not unparalleled; tablet Nn 831 mentions a ko-re-te who was probably in charge of the town of Korinthos133. Te-po-se-u appears twice. On tablet Jo 438, he is required to contribute towards the 5–6 kg of gold that the palace wished to collect for some purpose134. With ten others he is assessed for the standard amount of 250 g, the second-largest quantity listed, twice as much as the amounts for seven major towns. His gold never reached the palace, since there is no check-mark against his entry. His name recurs without a title or ethnic in tablet On 300, which records distributions or contributions135 of commodity *154, probably leather hides, among the governors of all the towns in both Provinces. Because the title ‘governor’ is given in eleven of the thirteen surviving entries, we can be sure that the same man is meant. His amount is the standard 3 units (the largest quantity is 6).

Chadwick well interpreted Te-po-se-u as /Thelphōseus/, comparing the toponym Τέλφουσα or Θέλπουσα;136 more precisely, Te-po-se-u would have been /Thelphonseus/ in Mycenaean Greek.137 This name certainly comes from the toponym Thelpousa or Telphousa; both forms are derived from *Θέλφονσα < *Θέλφοντyα ‘Place of diggings’138, with different dissimilations of the aspirates according to Grassmann’s Law139. The first is the spring Telphousa near Haliartus in Boeotia140. Ιn addition, a town of this name was located on the river Ladon in N.W. Arcadia141, but its location may have moved since Mycenaean times, since many Pylian place-names appear in Arcadia142; I suspect that they were taken thither by refugees from the collapse of the Pylian kingdom, since the Mycenaean dialect of the tablets survived in Arcadia into the historical period. In classical times two other place-names from Mycenaean Pylos are found in N.W. Arcadia—Erymanthus and Lousoi (see §5 below). In addition, Pausanias records that a river Ἁλοῦς flowed below Thelpousa143, whereas the coastguard tablets mention a place A2-ru-wo-te /Halwons/, i.e. Ἁλοῦς, in the north of Hither Province near Ku-pa-ri-so and O-wi-to-no144. Since the river’s name, from *ἁλόϝεντ-ς, means ‘salty’145, the Pylian location on the coast was probably the original one.

In addition, the lists of personnel who worked for the palace suggest that nine of its women were dependent on it and are recorded among sets of tablets that otherwise tally slaves. The Ad series records the children of about 750 women at Pylos who were working in various humble professions146. Tablet Ad 684 lists the seven children, two adult and two under age, of weavers from *Ti-nwa-to147. The same women, stated to be nine in number, reappear in tablets Aa 699148 and Ab 190149, where they have seven and three children respectively. The other groups of women at Pylos in these three sets of tablets, Aa, Ab and Ad, are identified either by their professions alone, or by toponyms, and their husbands are never referred to150. Where the toponyms can plausibly be identified, as most of them have been, they are almost all located far away on the coasts and islands of the Aegean151, as if they were captured in the kind of piracy or raiding that forms the background to Homer’s Iliad. The women in these series include women of Cythera (ku-te-ra3)152, Carystus (ka-ru-ti-je-ja)153, the Euripus (e-wi-ri-pi-ja)154, Chios (?) (ki-si-wi-ja)155, Asia/Aššuwa (A-*64-ja = A-swi-ja)156, Lemnos (ra-mi-ni-ja)157, Miletus (mi-ra-ti-ja)158, Cnidus (ki-ni-di-ja)159, and Halicarnassus (?) (Ze-pu2-ra3)160, alongside the unplaced ko-ro-ki-ja161 and Ti-nwa-si-ja162. This pattern immediately suggested that they had come to the palace as slaves, especially since they seem to have no husbands163. Chadwick proposed that they were named after the slave-markets in which they were purchased164, like the one on Lemnos in which Priam’s son Lycaon was sold165. However, historical parallels for such a nomenclature are lacking; they ought to have been known by their ethnic origins, like the Carian or Phrygian slaves of classical antiquity. Some are probably called ‘captives’: on tablets Aa 807 and Ad 686 twenty-six or twenty-eight of these women are described as ra-wi-ja-ja /lāwiaiai/, which is more likely to mean ‘captives’, from λεία (Ionic ληΐη, Doric λαΐα) ‘booty’166, than ‘harvesters’ from λήϊον ‘harvest’167. The fact that these women are explicitly called ‘captives’ might imply that the others were not, but more probably means that their ethnic origins were mixed or unknown. In any case, the others were treated like them168.

That women from *Ti-nwa-to are among these alien women is a remarkable oddity that ought to have been noticed long ago. Tritsch did so notice it, and deduced from it that the women in these documents cannot have been slaves or captives: ‘the Ti-nwa-si-ja cannot possibly be captives, for they come from a Pylian township . . . whose ko-re-te brings a gold tribute about twice as large as those of the ko-re-te of Rouso, Pakijana, Akerewa, Karadoro, Timitija, Iterewa, Eree, etc.’169. Tritsch held that the women of *Ti-nwa-to cannot represent a population cleared out of their town by the Pylian king himself170: ‘the Pylian fleet, however large, did not aimlessly raid Pylian townships to bring Pylians as captives to Pylos’171. To our way of thinking, if these women came from within the kingdom they certainly should not have been slaves. However, at Od. 4. 174–7 Menelaus tells his guests that he had thought of ‘sacking a city’ (πόλιν ἐξαλαπάξας) of people ‘in Argos’ (ἐν Ἄργεϊ) who ‘dwell round about, and are ruled by me’ (περιναιετάουσιν, ἀνάσσονται δ’ ἐμοὶ αὐτῷ), in order to hand it over to his foreign ally Odysseus and all his retinue; evidently he did not actually do so. Yet, although we do not know whether actual Mycenaean kings ever behaved so ruthlessly towards their own subjects, we cannot exclude it.

Instead Tritsch suggested that all these women were refugees or persons displaced by recent disturbances, who had fled from more exposed places in or beyond the kingdom and were gradually being found employment under emergency conditions within the palatial system shortly before the palace at Pylos was itself burned172. Such a situation existed at contemporary Ugarit, where women of Alašia (now proved to be Cyprus or in Cyprus, and at the time allied to the king of Ugarit) were taken in as refugees before that city too was destroyed173, apparently by an attack of the ‘Šikalayu who dwell on ships’174. This hypothesis has been rejected on the basis that there was no disorder in the Aegean at this time175 (this begs the question), that the terminology for the textile-workers is the same as at Knossos, where no state of emergency is documented, that these records cover more than twelve months, and that the women ought to have been dispersed for their safety176. Can this possibility be excluded?

The women of *Ti-nwa-to are exceptional in that they not only come from within the kingdom, but also have husbands. The scribe of Ad 684 adds on the edge that their children were ‘sons of the rowers at A-pu-ne-we’, a port in the Hither Province177. Chadwick called this addition ‘very remarkable, as being the only instance where the fathers of the children are mentioned’178. That the women and children were not living with their husbands confirms their humble status179, but their husbands’ existence was acknowledged by the palace in this afterthought, and suggests that the women did not have exactly the same status as other female workers employed by it. The sons of some of the other women were also rowers: thus forty men from the port Da-mi-ni-ja in the Further Province are listed as Da-mi-ni-jo among the rowers on An 610.13, and Ad 697 records ‘at Da-mi-ni-ja the sons of the linen-workers, being (?) rowers’180. If any of these women were displaced persons rather than slaves, it is the women of *Ti-nwa-to, since they, alone among such women, are recorded to have had husbands as well as sons. These men were serving as rowers at A-pu-ne-we; seven men were sent from A-po-ne-we, which is the same port, to Pleuron in tablet An 12, and An 19 lists thirty-seven rowers there. Can it be coincidence that the latter tablet includes men called po-si-ke-te-re ‘suppliants’, ’refugees’ or ’immigrants’, beside za-ku-si-jo ’Zacynthians’, ki-ti-ta’settlers’, and me-ta-ki-ti-ta ’new settlers’, who held land in exchange for service in the fleet181? There is no indication, however, that the rowers who were married to the women of *Ti-nwa-to owned any land182.

In the kingdom of Knossos women from a place called Ti-wa-to are listed among over a thousand female workers in the textile industry who were dependent on the palace. Tablet Ap 618 tallies five or more Ti-wa-ti-ja183. I suggest that Ti-wa-ti-ja may be a graphic variant of Ti-nwa-ti-ja /Tinwanthiai/, which is of course a variant of Ti-nwa-si-ja /Tinwansiai/ (above, §3); the n at the end of the first syllable would be omitted in accord with the usual orthographic conventions of Linear B, in which the sign nwa is exceptional184. Such is the length of the sign-group that a coincidence seems unlikely185. These women belong to, or are attributed to, two powerful members of the palatial élite, /Anorquhontās/ and /Komāwens/ (both often appear in the main archive from Knossos)186, together with a certain We-ra-to187. They are stationed at an otherwise unrecorded place called A-*79188. The tablet adds that two further women, who bear the names I-ta-mo and Ki-nu-qa189, are missing (/apeassai/) from two places that are familiar from the archive, Do-ti-ja and *56-ko-we190. Like the Pylian weavers from *Ti-nwa-to, they manufactured textiles191. Their status as corvée labourers, refugees, or slaves is clear.

To explain why women of *Ti-(n)wa-to are recorded in the main Knossian archive one might suggest that there was another place called Ti-(n)wa-to, not the one referred to in the Pylian archive. Normally one would not want to multiply entities unnecessarily. However, many prehellenic place-names recur in different regions of Greece, such as Leuktron and Orchomenos in Arcadia and Boeotia, Thebai in Boeotia and Phthiotis, or Korinthos in the Further Province and on the Isthmus192; so there could have been two places with this same name. However, if these women came from the Pylian *Ti-nwa-to, this would have startling implications, since the coincidence might support the latest possible dating of the main archive at Knossos, i.e. within LM IIIB. Although this dating is currently out of favour, it is yet to be decisively disproved193.

5. The location of *Ti-nwa-to

No later toponym in the Peloponnese, or indeed anywhere in Greece, corresponds to or resembles *Ti-nwa-to, whether in ancient, Medieval or modern times. Even were one attested, this would not in itself establish where *Ti-nwa-to was. Place-names often changed their location over time, above all the case of Pylos itself, which formerly lay under Mount Aigaleon (Mycenaean /Aigolaion/) at Ano Englianos, as the tablets prove, then in classical times at Coryphasium on the north side of the bay of Navarino, and now on its SE side, not to mention the traditions about other places further north in Triphylia that were also called Pylos194. Again, in classical times there was a place called Leuctrum in the Outer Mani south of Kalamata, i.e. beyond the E. boundary of the Further Province, the river Nedon, yet in the Pylian archives Re-u-ko-to-ro was a major town within the kingdom195. Again, the Ro-u-so /Lousoi/ south of Pylos in the Hither Province has the same name as classical Λουσοί in northern Arcadia east of Mount Erymanthus196. As we saw in §4, many place-names may have been taken to Arcadia by refugees from the Pylian kingdom, and there is a notable concentration of such names around Mount Erymanthus.

The geography and frontiers of the Pylian kingdom have proved surprisingly hard to reconstruct with confidence197. This is owed to two factors. First, there was a radical discontinuity in settlement at the end of the Bronze Age, when the number of settlements in Messenia declined massively198. The region changed its dialect from Mycenaean, the closest ancestor of Arcado-Cypriot, to West Greek, or Doric, a change which has seemed to many hard to explain without an influx of new people199. The discontinuity is compounded by poor sources for Messenian history in the classical period and the high proportion of Slavic toponyms200. Thus the list of nine towns in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships notoriously fails to correspond to the towns in the Pylian tablets201. and Strabo claims that Nestor’s Pylos was in Triphylia202. Secondly, the Linear B tablets were created as economic records: the network of settlements underlying them has to be deduced from their sequence in the documents, their recorded products, and the links between them, and some of these links may be hierarchical or arbitrary rather than simply geographical203. To relate them to archaeological remains on the ground, in the absence of inscriptions that tell us the names of their findspots, is even harder204.

All scholars agree that the kingdom was divided into two provinces, the Hither Province and the Further Province, by the mountains called /Aigolaion/ by the Mycenaeans and Αἰγαλέον by Strabo, and that the Hither Province lay to the west, the Further Province to the east, with its eastern border on the river Nedon205. The relative locations of places in the Hither Province close to Pylos and further south are also fairly secure, since it is agreed that they are listed from north to south206. However, the location of the northern border of the Hither Province seems less certain: did it lay in the Soulima (Kyparissia) valley, or on the river Neda, or yet much further north on the river Alpheus207?

Two main arguments have been advanced for restricting the Pylian kingdom to Messenia. First, for security and ease of communications its capital ought to have been centrally located; however, one may contrast, for instance, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, or the United States)208. Secondly, few Late Mycenaean settlements are known between the Soulima valley and the Alpheus, with a particularly noticeable gap at the Neda; however, this is an argumentum e silentio, since Triphylia is not well explored209. The best evidence for the river Neda is that the commander of the northernmost command on the ‘coastguard’ tablets (the An series) is named Ne-da-wa-ta /Nedwātās/, a name formed from ‘Neda’210. But even the first securely located place in the north-south series of towns in the Hither Province, ku-pa-ri-so (PY Na 514), which is thought to correspond to modern Kyparissia, refers to a tree that must have been very common in the landscape; therefore its location does not seem secure211. The northernmost town in the Hither Province, ?? Pi-*82, may have been inland; it does not appear on the ‘coastguard’ tablets, what that fact is worth. If Pi-*82 is to be read Pi-swa212, as is likely, its name is ‘Pisa’ like the later Pisa near Olympia on the Alpheus; its products, sheep and flax, might suit the latter location213, but these products were widespread in Mycenaean Messenia too. The second town in the Hither Province, Me-ta-pa, was on the coast214 and rich in barley and textile production215; on tablet Cn 595 it is next to a place Ne-de-we-e, which is properly linked with the name of the River Neda and likely to be near it216. Both centres controlled sizable territories217. Me-ta-pa reappears as the name of an otherwise unknown town called Metapa that is attested by a treaty of the early 5th century BC, found at Olympia, between τὸς Ἀναίτ[ς] καὶ τὸ[ς] Μεταπίς218. Since this pact is in Elean dialect and officials at Olympia were to oversee it, like the treaty between the Eleans and their neighbours the Ἐϝαοῖοι219, this Metapa was not the town of the same name in Acarnania220 but must have been in the western Peloponnese. Classical Metapa was, perhaps, south of classical Pisa221. The coincidence that Pisa and Metapa were located near to each other in the classical period reduces the odds that their collocation in the tablets is random, and makes it possible that these place-names were in much the same area in Mycenaean times, or that they were both taken to Elis by refugees from the same region in the Pylian kingdom. Dyczek puts Bronze Age Metapa at Kato Samikon, and Lukermann and Eder locate it at or near Kakovatos222. However, most scholars continue to locate Mycenaean Pisa and Metapa south of the River Neda223. We shall shortly see that Metapa also had ties to the North West sector of the Further Province.

Tritsch held that *Ti-nwa-to lay in the Further Province, probably on the Messenian Gulf rather than inland on the Laconian border224. Chadwick supposed that it was not fully part of the Pylian state, but ‘a distant possession (colony or island?) which was administratively attached to the Further Province’225. He later rejected the idea that it was an island: ‘it must have been of some size, since its assessment for gold on Jo 438 is one of the higher ones on the list. There are only two islands within easy reach of Pylos which are large enough, Zakynthos and Kythera, both of which appear to be mentioned on the tablets under these names’226. Deriving *Ti-nwa-to from *στενϝός, he suggested instead that it was in ‘the hill country immediately to the north of the Messenian valley’, i.e. above the Stenyclarus plain227; whatever the merits of this location, the proposed etymology is unconvincing228. Finally, evidently still perplexed, he proposed that it was in a part of the Mani, i.e. the east coast of the Messenian Gulf, that was not accessible by land from the kingdom’s eastern frontier229. Thus Agamemnon offered Achilles as a dowry seven towns in a peripheral area outside the kingdom of Nestor in the Outer Mani, i.e. the east coast of the Messenian Gulf230. This region was hard to reach overland from Kalamata until a generation ago; historically the Mani has always resisted subordination to centralizing powers. But better arguments can be made by reexamining the tablets.

The sequence of entries in the tablets provides several clues to the location of *Ti-nwa-to. Unfortunately tablet Jo 438, recording the gold-tax on governors and vice-governors, does not itemise the towns in the usual order, and mixes up towns from the two Provinces231. It lists the governor of *Ti-nwa-to between entries for the first town from the Further Province, namely e-re-e (/Helos/ ‘marsh’), and the last town of the Hither Province, Ti-mi-ti-ja232. The location of these places depends on the organization of the four tax-districts of the Further Province in the Ma series of flax-tablets (Table 1), in which the Pamisos is the north-south division, and the Skala hills the east-west233.

Table 1. The tax districts of the Further Province on the Ma tablets (after Chadwick 1973a).

Thus Jo 438 mentions the governor of *Ti-nwa-to between tax districts b1 and a2 of Table 1. This is puzzling, since in the standard reconstruction these districts are not adjacent. Ti-mi-ti-ja or Te-mi-ti-ja (/Terminthia/?) is the same as Ti-mi-to-a-ke-e, i.e. /Tirminthōn ankos/ ‘glen of terebinth trees’234, a coastal town on the western border of the Further Province; it has often been identified with the major settlement at Nichoria (Rizomylo)235, Chadwick showed that, since on tablet Cn 595 sheep from the station at E-ra-te-re-wa in district b2 are recorded as at Metapa in the north of the Hither Province, districts b2 and a2 are likely to be in northern rather than southern Messenia. Hence Za-ma-e-wi-ja and the other towns in its district are in the N.E. quadrant of the Province. Helos is listed after Za-ma-e-wi-ja on tablet Jn 829; it does not appear in the Ma series, but has its place taken by E-sa-re-wi-ja, and is also likely to be in the N.E. quadrant236. There are links on tablet Aa 779 between A-te-re-wi-ja and Metapa, on An 830 between A-te-re-wi-ja and Pi-*82 (/Piswa/?), the northernmost town of the Hither Provice, and on Ma 225 between Pi-*82 (/Piswa/?) and Re-u-ko-to-ro /Leuktron/, an important place in the further province237. Hence Helos is split into two in the Ma texts, and may have had ties to both northern tax districts238; it was probably the marshes at the source of the River Pamisos between both districts239.

Tablet On 300, transactions involving the governors of all the towns in both Provinces in commodity *154, probably hides, is also helpful in locating *Ti-nwa-to. The name of its governor, Te-po-se-u, is the final entry, after the governors of two towns that belong to the Further Province, namely a-si-ja-ti-ja ko-re-te ‘the governor of Asiatia’ and [e-re-o du]-ma ‘the official of Helos’240. Again, exactly as on Jo 438, the entry for *Ti-nwa-to appears with that for Helos.

This seems the best clue to the location of *Ti-nwa-to. It lay inland, on or over the northern borders of the Further Province, close to Helos. Whether the kingdom’s northern frontier lay on the Alpheus, or (more probably) on the Neda itself, *Ti-nwa-to must have been located in the northernmost districts of Messenia or in what one can call southern Triphylia or south-western Arcadia.241 Although Chadwick rejected most of the suggestions for locating Pylian place-names in Arcadia, he conceded that the Pylians may have occupied ‘the extreme south-western fringe of Arcadia, so as to control the few passes leading into Messenia’242.

The interior of southern Triphylia, i.e. south-western Arcadia, was so poor that it was famous for its mercenaries in historical times243. It is so lacking in fertile land that it can hardly have been any richer in the Bronze Age. Cooper has shown that Apollo Epikourios was worshipped in Ictinus’ temple at Bassae, with all its military dedications, as god of mercenaries (ἐπίκουροι)244. Such poverty may explain why women of *Ti-nwa-to went or were taken to Pylos and perhaps to Knossos to work as weavers alongside slaves from afar.

6. From the Peloponnese to Bavaria: some hypotheses

If the amber from Bernstorf was incised with Linear B in the western Peloponnese, how did it reach Upper Bavaria, and why? Even in the Middle Bronze Age, valuable artifacts could travel vast distances245. One can only offer hypotheses, since it is not clear on what basis we could decide between them, but at least only a limited number of them are available; considering them will shed light on several aspects of Mycenaean long-distance relations. If these objects are genuinely from Mycenaean Greece, they must either have been traded by Mycenaeans, taken from them by force, or paid by them for services of some kind, the most obvious of which is service in a force of mercenaries. They could then of course have been traded great distances, as far as Bernstorf, by other intermediaries. Let us start with trade.

Vianello proposed that the amber objects from Bernstorf were tokens sent from Greece along the trade-route for amber to ask for ‘more of the same’, and that the signs (which he does not interpret) signify ‘some commercial agreement’246. Indeed, names on the inscriptions could perhaps have functioned as guides to illiterate merchants or travellers; once they went back to Greece, they could have shown the inscriptions to literate officials in order to find the place or the person that they were seeking. We simply do not know how Mycenaean trade with such remote regions operated.

The piece of gold wire found deep within the suspension-hole of Object B247, which links it with the gold treasure (see §1 above), suggests that this item was at some point worn by a member of the Mycenaean élite, presumably around the wrist like the seal seen in the fresco from the shrine of the Citadel House at Mycenae (Fig. 7)248. A young man buried in a wooden coffin in a chamber-tomb in the agora at Athens in LH IIIA1 wore an amygdaloid amber bead and a seal around his wrist249. Could the gold and amber have been insignia of office, carried by rulers or lesser officials like the ko-re-te-re to enhance their authority? We are not certain what Mycenaean symbols of royal authority looked like, but it is easy to suppose that the crown and sceptre in the Shaft Graves were such regalia250. One may compare the famous LM I seal-impression from Khania which shows a large and muscular male figure holding a staff and standing on top of a two-gated city.251 For a sceptre, such as would be borne by a σκηπτοῦχος βασιλεύς, one may compare the celebrated sceptre made of enamelled gold from Kourion in Cyprus,252 or those of gold and of ivory wrapped in gold from Shaft Grave Circle A at Mycenae.253 Amber was rare and highly prized254, no doubt for its electrical properties, which would have been considered magical, as well as for its golden colour and beauty. Could the bearded face on the ‘obverse’ of Object A even depict the ruler of *Ti-nwa-to?

Fig. 6. Mycenae (Greece). Detail of fresco from the Citadel Jouse Mycenae. Archaeological Museum Mycenae.

A variation on trade is that these objects became obsolete for some reason and sent to remote Bernstorf as diplomatic gifts. If political reorganization or conflict led to a diminished status for *Ti-nwa-to, perhaps its precious insignia of power, if this is what the amber and golden objects were, came to need a safe and lucrative disposal. Although scholars assume that the great increase during LH IIIA–IIIB1 in the size and number of settlements in the central regions of Mycenaean Greece indicates a time of general peace, archaeological and textual evidence points to the expansion of the kingdom of Pylos in LH IIIA2 and trouble in peripheral areas255. A strong argument has been advanced, on the basis of both archaeological indications and internal evidence from the Pylian archives, that the Further Province was brought into the kingdom during LH IIIA2; Bennet dates its incorporation to between 1350 and 1300 BC256. The fresco from the megaron of Mycenaean warriors by a river fighting rustics clad in hides and armed only with daggers may depict such a conflict257. The authorities at Pylos could have converted the royal insignia of the subjected town of *Ti-nwa-to into material for a diplomatic gift-exchange and sent them, directly or indirectly, to remote trading-partners in contemporary Germany.

For such a scenario one may compare the collection of gems and cylinder-seals made of Afghan lapis lazuli which were found in a LH IIIB context at Thebes in the so-called Treasure Room on the Kadmeia Hill, where they had ended up as raw material in a Mycenaean palatial workshop258. The latest of the numerous Kassite seals from Babylon, some with dedications to Marduk, date stylistically from c. 1250 BC. Porada proposed that this cache was a diplomatic gift to the Thebans from King Tukulti-Ninurta I of Assyria, who would have taken it from Babylon after he pillaged the temple of Marduk there in 1225 BC259. This hoard, which included numerous heirlooms, would have had high value to the Assyrians. However, the seals were no longer usable for their initial purpose; the Assyrian king had nullified their utility as sources of power, and it became convenient, or even wise and necessary, to dispose of them safely as scrap. The solution adopted was to send them far away, presumably as part of a mercantile exchange so that no loss was incurred. If it were doubted whether the Assyrians would have wanted to establish a close relationship with Mycenaean Thebes by sending such an expensive gift260, one must remember the Hittites’ determination, expressed in the treaty between Tudḫaliya IV of Hatti and Šaušgamuwa of Amurru in Syria, to interdict trade between Tukulti-Ninurta I and the land of Aḫḫiyawa.261

Let us turn to the second possibility, that these materials were seized by force. The gold treasure represents about 46% by weight of the 250 g which, according to tablet Jo 438, the governor of *Ti-nwa-to was expected to send to the palace, but which did not arrive there in time to be recorded before the palace was destroyed (see §4). Were the treasures from Bernstorf that very same consignment, with the amber meant to make up the rest of the payment, seized during the catastrophe of c.1190 BC and then taken, either directly or indirectly, to Bavaria? This scenario would be part of a pattern of contacts between western Greece, Italy and the Adriatic that manifested itself from LH IIIB2 onwards in such phenomena as Naue II swords and fibulae262. That would entail that the enceinte at Bernstorf was burned far later than in c.1300, as archaeologists believe it was (see §1). But these materials could have been seized at some earlier date, perhaps in LH IIIA 2 when the Pylian kingdom was expanding263.

A final option is that these materials were brought to Bernstorf, whether directly or indirectly, after they had been paid to (or taken by) mercenaries in the service of the palace. Such warriors could carry treasures great distances, like the gold and ivory sword-hilt brought to Lesbos by the poet Alcaeus’ brother Antimenidas after he had served in Judaea under the Babylonians264. Chadwick already proposed that the Pylian levies of gold recorded on tablet Jo 438 were needed for buying off hostile forces or paying mercenaries265. Mycenaean warriors were depicted far away, both in Anatolia at Boğazköy and in Egypt at El Amarna266. Like their Near Eastern counterparts, the rulers of Pylos and Knossos both employed such forces267. Gschnitzer has shown that Mycenaean armies consisted of three elements: chariotry, the general levy of the /lāwos/ ‘host’, and specialized forces that were, at least originally, of foreign origin268. Driessen pointed out that contingents of such troops called Ke-ki-de, Ku-re-we (/Skurēwes/ ‘Scyrians’?)269, O-ka-ra* (o-ka-ra3) ’Oechalians’, and U-ru-pi-ja-jo* were serving at both Pylos and Knossos270. Moreover, Gschnitzer identifies the Pe-ra3-qo at Pylos as /Pe(r)raigwoi/ ‘Perraebians’ and the I-ja-wo-ne* at Knossos as /Iāwones/ ’Ionians’; neither group would have originated within their respective kingdoms271. We do not know where the other groups came from, but the various contingents of the coastguard at Pylos, collectively called e-pi-ko-wo272, are not named after the toponyms of Bronze Age Messenia. Chadwick deemed them ‘communities resident within the kingdom of Pylos but not part of the normal Greek population’, i.e. pre-hellenic subject groups273, but this does not account for the groups recorded at both Pylos and Knossos. According to the Na series of tablets, the Pylian contingents held flax-producing land and were associated with textile production274. The e-pi-ko-wo* on tablet As 4493 at Knossos, who like their Pylian counterparts appear with an e-qe-ta /hequetās/ ’follower’, were also associated with textile production275. In both kingdoms they apparently held land in exchange for military service276, like some of the rowers at Knossos and Pylos (rowers, of course, could also fight)277.

The coastguard tablets from Pylos bear the heading o-u-ru-to o-pi-a2-ra e-pi-ko-wo, i.e. /hō wruntoi opihala e-pi-ko-wo/ ‘thus the e-pi-ko-wo* are protecting the coast’278. Ever since the decipherment of Linear B, e-pi-ko-wo* has been read as ἐπίκο(ϝ)οι ‘watchers’279. The later word ἐπίκουρος, taken to mean ‘allies’ in Homer, has been derived from a cognate of Latin currō ‘run (to assist)’, from the Proto-Indo-European root *kors-280. This root, however, is otherwise unattested in Greek, and one can readily interpret e-pi-ko-wo as /epikorwoi/ ἐπίκουροι, from /korwos/ ‘boy’281. Melena proposed that e-pi-ko-wo* means ’those in charge of young apprentices’, taking the prefix epi-* as ‘over’282. However, if one understands epi- as ‘additional’ the compound would mean ‘extra lads’, i.e. ‘extra warriors’, which is perfectly acceptable in semantic terms283. Cooper proposed that the term evolved from ‘allies’ to ‘mercenaries’, which is its sense in late 5th century authors284. In fact it already means ‘mercenary’ in Archilochus285 and in the Iliad, even though the Trojans’ ἐπίκουροι are always translated ‘allies’286. However, Homeric ἐπίκουροι are clearly ‘mercenaries’ who are allies or ‘allies’ who are mercenary. Thus Hector points out to them that the Trojans’ payments of ‘gifts’ and provisions to them are excessive if they will not fight:

κέκλυτε μυρία φῦλα περικτιόνων ἐπικούρων· οὐ γὰρ ἐγὼ πληθὺν διζήμενος οὐδὲ χατίζων ἐνθάδ’ ἀφ’ ὑμετέρων πολίων ἤγειρα ἕκαστον, ἀλλ’ ἵνα μοι Τρώων ἀλόχους καὶ νήπια τέκνα προφρονέως ῥύοισθε φιλοπτολέμων ὑπ’ Ἀχαιῶν. τὰ φρονέων δώροισι κατατρύχω καὶ ἐδωδῇ λαούς, ὑμέτερον δὲ ἑκάστου θυμὸν ἀέξω.

‘Listen, you myriad tribes of allies who dwell round about: I did not gather each of you here from your cities because I needed or wanted a crowd, but for you to protect with zeal from the warlike Achaeans the Trojans’ wives and innocent children. To that end, I wear out my people with gifts and food, but nourish the pride of each one of you’287

These ἐπίκουροι ‘protect’ (ῥύοισθε) the city with exactly the same verb, wruntoi = ῥύ(ο)νται288, as on the heading of the coastguard tablets, /hō wruntoi opihala epikorwoi/. Again, Hector tells Poulydamas that they must capture the Achaeans’ ships because the city’s payments of gold and bronze have bankrupted the city:

πρὶν μὲν γὰρ Πριάμοιο πόλιν μέροπες ἄνθρωποι πάντες μυθέσκοντο πολύχρυσον πολύχαλκον· νῦν δὲ δὴ ἐξαπόλωλε δόμων κειμήλια καλά, πολλὰ δὲ δὴ Φρυγίην καὶ Μῃονίην ἐρατεινὴν κτήματα περνάμεν’ ἵκει, ἐπεὶ μέγας ὠδύσατο Ζεύς.

‘For once all articulate people used to call the city of Priam rich in gold and bronze. But now the fine heirlooms are perished from our halls; many are the possessions traded to Phrygia and lovely Maeonia, since great Zeus got angry’289

Thus ἐπίκουροι already connotes ‘mercenaries’ in the Iliad. Expeditionary troops were paid either by plundering cities, or, if they were on the defending side, by gifts of what would otherwise have been looted. Kings like Peleus and Menelaus could also give land within their kingdoms to foreign warriors like Phoenix and Odysseus, in the latter case with his retainers, in exchange for military service.290 We have seen that the situation was similar in the Bronze Age.

Thus ἐπίκουροι is the easiest interpretation of e-pi-ko-wo. Chadwick refused to interpret e-pi-ko-wo as ἐπίκουροι on the historical ground that the Mycenaeans would have been imprudent to employ alien ‘allies’ for anything but non-combatant duties291. However, the reliance of Late Bronze Age kingdoms on such troops is well documented. It was certainly imprudent if they contributed to the collapse of around 1200 BC, but imprudent actions are all too common in human history. In this case one should remember the Romano-Britons’ reliance on Germanic mercenaries for the defence of the ‘Saxon shore’ in eastern England, where these mercenaries eventually invited in their friends and relatives and took the country over292. The heading of Pylos tablet Cn 3 gives the troops of the coastguard the collective name me-za-na293, which is rightly read as /Metsānai/ ’Messenians’294. Does this not suggest that these warriors took control of the region after the fall of the palace and gave their name to it? This was certainly done by the Franks, who gave their name but not their language to France, and the Huns and Bulgars who did likewise to Hungary and Bulgaria. We should be alert to such possibilities.

As we saw in §5 above, *Ti-nwa-to was in southern Triphylia or south-western Arcadia, a region famous for mercenaries in historical times295. Such a location for *Ti-nwa-to is also attractive because it was rich in gold and amber—but not, of course, because these substances occurred there naturally. Large amounts of Baltic amber, as well as gold, appear in the tholos tombs at Pylos, Routsi (Myrsinochori), Koukounara, Peristeria, and above all Kakovatos, down to LH IIB296. The heyday of the traffic in amber was in LH I–IIA (as well as later, from c. 1200 BC onwards)297. It percolated through Mycenaean society more widely, but in smaller quantities, during LH IIIA–B; there is none from the Palace of Nestor298. Although some amber was still being traded by sea in c. 1305, since at least forty beads of Mycenaean type made of Baltic amber were recovered from the shipwreck at Uluburun299, it has been suggested that this was simply by a redistribution of the plenteous supplies which had arrived in Early Mycenaean times300. The tholos tombs at Kakovatos were extremely rich in both gold and amber, and surely some of them had already been robbed of their wealth by Late Mycenaean times.

The whole story may never be known, but the discovery of Linear B in Upper Bavaria opens a surprising new window onto the Mycenaeans and their far-flung connections.

7. Appendix: the Inscription on Object A

The text on Object A was assigned the number BE Zg 1. It is very obscure, since two of its three signs are unclear (Fig. 4), and there are high odds against achieving an assured interpretation of even two signs without a context.

The first sign | or ↾ looks like an upright arrow or spear with something of a point at the top, like the ideogram ? has ‘spear’ but with a different orientation. This upright can hardly be a word-divider, since it is too tall and redundant in the absence of a second sign-group. Might it be represent a sceptre, conceivably as a symbol of sovereignty or rank? We can compare the gold-wrapped wooden sceptre from Bernstorf: just as Object B seems to bear a representation of the crown with its five projections, so too Object A may represent the sceptre that was found with the crown. Thus this seems the best interpretation of this sign.

The second sign is the familiar wheel ? ka. One may also compare the ideogram ? rota.

The third sign Screen shot 2014-02-10 at 20 consists of a square, occupying the upper half of the sign, that is bisected by a single central vertical line which runs from the very top right down to the base-line, like the ideogram ? gra ’wheat’ but with straight sides. It is not ? wa, where the lateral verticals always continue to the bottom and the box is not bisected. The sign ? ko is once written φ by the scribe from wa-to in Crete who painted some stirrup-jars found at Thebes301, but this cannot be relevant, since our scribe could draw curves. The sign ? a2 always has distinct curves or, as in Hand 1 at Pylos, angles, and is never simplified to a box bisected by a vertical line. The Bernstorf sign does not correspond to ? a, even though many variants of this have a second horizontal above the first one, since in ? a the space between these horizontals is never bisected by the upright. It does correspond to the rare variant of the sign ? di which has a medial cross-bar in Hand 91 at Pylos302. In addition, the sign ? ne is very similar in Hand 11 at Pylos, but still has distinct curves to the side-bars that the Bernstorf sign lacks.

Its discoverer, Manfred Moosauer,303 read the inscription from left to right as ??? do-ka-me, but this does not seem likely. Olivier suggested ?? ka-a304, but the ? a would have had to be very badly written. The reading could be ?? ka-di, but the sign-group is unparalleled in Linear B305. If this inscription too is dextroverse, it might read ?? di-ka; the closest parallel in Linear B is Mount Dicte in Crete (di-ka-ta)306, but the match is poor. If the reading were ?? a-ka, there is an obscure place called a-ka in the Knossos sheep tablets307, or the name /Arkas/ Ἀρκάς, the mythical founder of Arcadia, might be read. None of this is very convincing, and I suspect that the scribe was simply not very literate, which would not be so surprising if *Ti-nwa-to lay on the periphery of the Pylian kingdom, perhaps indeed in what was later called Arcadia.


  • * I warmly thank Rupert Gebhard of the Archäologische Staatssammlung in Munich, who kindly shared with me Figs. 2–5 and much other valuable information, Olga Krzyszkowska for Fig. 1 and for other help, and Helen Hughes-Brock, and two anonymous experts on Linear B for critical readings of this manuscript. I am also grateful to Margaret Beeler, Manfred Moosauer, Sarah P. Morris, and Malcolm Wiener. None of them necessarily agrees with my findings, which challenge the standard orthodoxies at multiple points.

    D. D. Klemm, in: Moosauer/Bachmaier 2000, 74. See also Gebhard et al. 2004.↩︎

  • Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 115–117. Moosauer/Bachmaier (2000, 71–72) gave calibrated 14C dates for the beams of 1675–1510, 1515–1410 and 1515–1330 BC; these must represent the interiors of the beams and date the construction too high. Hence Marazzi (2009, 142) gives the objects an excessively early terminus ante quem of c. 1350.↩︎

  • Moosauer/Bachmaier 2000, 67, who report that a nearby urnfield with bronze arrowheads and spearheads had already been found and destroyed during the building of a CD-factory in the 1980s; presumably these finds date from the Hallstatt reoccupation.↩︎

  • Moosauer/Bachmaier 2000, 61 with figs. 87–89; Gebhard et al. (2014, 763–765) confirm the circumstances of the finds.↩︎

  • Gebhard et al. 2014, 765–766.↩︎

  • David 2001, 70 Abb. 9.↩︎

  • Test-no. OxA–8361, uncalibrated date 2995 ± 40 bp, using the Oxcal calibration curve of 1986 (Gebhard 1999, 5).↩︎

  • For a parallel from Shaft Grave IV at Mycenae cf. Karo 1930, 81 Abb. 19 (no. 296).↩︎

  • Gebhard et al. 2014, 767.↩︎

  • C. Lühr, in: Bähr/Krause/Gebhard 2012, 30 with Abb. 25.↩︎

  • Gebhard 1999, 9; David 2007a, 435.↩︎

  • The best parallel for the triangles is the gold disc from Moordorf near Aurich in northern Germany (Gebhard 1999, Taf. 8), which is also made of 99.9 % pure gold with 0.1 % silver and 0.03% lead (Hartmann 1970, 108–109, item Au 1122). There are rows of hatched triangles on the gold lunulae from St Juliot in Cornwall and Mangerton in county Kerry (Schulz 2012, 114–115 with Abb. 11). In the Aegean there are hatched triangles on the gold sceptre from Shaft Grave IV at Mycenae (no. 308–309 in Karo 1930, 84, Abb. 20, Pl. XVIII), but the hatching is horizontal rather than diagonal; similarly the gold dress-ornament from Shaft Grave IV, no. 302 (Karo 1930, 81 Abb. 19, Pl. XLV). The triangles are hatched in opposite directions about a central divider on the button no. 325 from Shaft Grave IV (Karo 1930, Pl. LIX). There are alternating hatched triangles on a gold sword-attachment from Shaft Grave Λ (Mylonas 1972–1973, πίν. 125β).↩︎

  • Gebhard et al. 2014, 770–771, citing parallels from Germany and the Aegean.↩︎

  • Gebhard 1999, 12 with Abb. 10.↩︎

  • Hence Marazzi (2009, 142) gave the upper limit for their dating as c. 1600 BC.↩︎

  • David 2007a, 435–6.↩︎

  • Gebhard 1999, 5.↩︎

  • Gebhard et al. 2014, 767 with Abb. 3 (samples MAMS 16186, 16187).↩︎

  • Kristiansen/Larsson 2005, 204 fig. 94. For the distribution of diadems of sheet gold in the Aegean, and an argument that their use was not exclusively funerary, since a woman appears to be wearing one on a fresco from Xeste 3 at Thera, see Zavadil 2009, 101–103 with Abb. 6–7. A lozenge-shaped gold diadem with stamped circles and zigzags is known from Binningen near Basel (item Au 445 in Hartmann 1970, 106–107, with Taf. 41).↩︎

  • Gebhard 1999, 16; likewise David 2007a, 435–436.↩︎

  • David 2003, 38; 2007a, 435.↩︎

  • Gebhard 1999, 17; Bähr/Krause/Gebhard 2012, 38 with Abb. 33.↩︎

  • Analysis by M. Koller using gas chromatography (Gebhard 1999, 7 n. 11). Since the results were not published, the test is being repeated on other objects which also have this resin (Gebhard et al. 2014, 772).↩︎

  • Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 118–120 with Abb. 3. For their own account of the discovery see Moosauer/Bachmaier 2005, 99–131, 140–143.↩︎

  • Hughes-Brock (2011, 104) uses the comparison as an argument against the authenticity of the amber seal, suggesting that the forger copied the well-known ‘Agamemnon’.↩︎

  • Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 131. Hughes-Brock (2011, 104) interprets the resemblance as an argument against authenticity, as if the seals were created to authenticate the crown. However, there is a striking parallel for an interaction between the treasures in a hoard and the images found in them in the Tiryns Treasure, where a gold ring depicting a goddess holding a chalice was found, with the other objects, inside a highly unusual bronze chalice (Maran 2012, 123–124; 2013, 160).↩︎

  • Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 130–131, in consultation with J.-P. Olivier. BE stands for BE(rnstorf) and Zg indicates an inscription on amber rather than clay.↩︎

  • Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 129–130.↩︎

  • Bähr/Krause/Gebhard 2012, 37–38.↩︎

  • R. Gebhard, pers. comm., 1 March 2013. Herzig/Seim (2011, 121) report a range 1515–1330 BC for the timbers.↩︎

  • Herzig/Seim 2011, 121; Bähr et al. 2012, 19.↩︎

  • Bähr/Krause/Gebhard 2012, 38–39.↩︎

  • Bähr/Krause/Gebhard 2012, 37–38 with n. 89.↩︎

  • Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 126–128; Bähr/Krause/Gebhard 2012, 37; Gebhard et al. 2014, 772.↩︎

  • Cited by Diodorus Siculus 3. 11–12.↩︎

  • Gebhard 1999, 9–10.↩︎

  • This method has been proved to have used in sector Pactolus North, but it is often thought not to have been invented before that time: see Craddock 2000, 31–32, who argues that there was no motive for refining gold before the invention of coinage, so the method would not have been invented before (likewise Pernicka 2014, 251). But this is an argumentum e silentio, and earlier experimentation can hardly be excluded. Thus Craddock showed that treatments to enhance the surface of gold go back to the 4th millennium BC (2000, 27–30).↩︎

  • C. Lühr, in: Bähr/Krause/Gehard 2012, 27–30. The presence of sulphur and antimony, known in gold from Early Dynastic Egypt, may indicate that the gold derived from deposits of auriferous pyrites, which are often rich in these elements (Craddock 2000, 71 n. 68).↩︎

  • Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 125 Abb. 9.↩︎

  • C. Lühr, in: Bähr/Krause/Gebhard 2012, 28–30 with Abb. 23–25.↩︎

  • C. Lühr, in; Bähr/Krause/Gebhard 2012, 27–30.↩︎

  • Pernicka 2014.↩︎

  • Gebhard et al. 2014, 773; for its purity, and similarity to the Bernstorf gold, Pernicka 2014, 251–253 with Abb. 3; he notes however that it contains silver and platinum, as one would expect if it is a product of salt cementation. To the possibility that the Moordorf disk proves that salt cementation was used in the Bronze Age, Pernicka objects that it is dated even earlier than the gold from Bernstorf (2014, 253); this cannot be a decisive objection, and he himself seems not to exclude that the Moordorf disk is genuine (2014, 255).↩︎

  • Item Au 3249/3250 in Hartmann 1982, 31–36, 150, with Tab. 36; cf. Åström 1977, 18 with Taf. VII,2. However, Hartmann’s study by emission spectrography relied on scrapings taken from the objects’ surfaces, which could have been enhanced by surface treatment (Craddock 2000, 51 n. 32).↩︎

  • Uda et al. 2007, 75, who showed that the face itself has a veneer of alloy.↩︎

  • Troalen et al. 2009.↩︎

  • D.D. Klemm, in: Grimm/Schoske 2001, 81–85. See now Klemm/Klemm 2012, 44–46, with figs. 4.3–4.4.↩︎

  • Pernicka 2014, 251.↩︎

  • J. D. Muhly, pers. comm., Dec. 2013. Pernicka suggested that the gold is 99.99% pure, without the bismuth, and hence is from electrolysis and of modern origin (oral comm., conference Metalle der Macht: Frühes Gold und Silber, 17–19 Oct. 2013 at Halle). However, subsequent testing by K. T. Fehr has confirmed the original analyses, and detected an inhomogeneous distribution of bismuth up to 3000 ppm, a phenomenon familiar to him from placer gold (R. Gebhard, pers. comm., Dec. 2013). Further tests are being done. One question that needs further exploration is whether all the varieties of the salt-cementation process always remove bismuth and antimony, as has been suggested on the basis of experimental archaeology (Wunderlich/Lockhoff/Pernicka 2014).↩︎

  • There seem to be many possible sources, but the presence of mercury as a trace-element is unusual: see Lehrberger 1995. The earliest mined gold seems to have been from the eastern desert of Egypt (Weisgerber/Pernicka 1995, 177–178), where it occurs with mercury (El-Bouseily et al. 1983).↩︎

  • For references see Zavadil 2009, 111–112.↩︎

  • C. Lühr, in: Bähr/Krause/Gebhard 2012, 30–35.↩︎

  • Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 123, 125, 126.↩︎

  • Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 127–128.↩︎

  • Kristiansen/Larsson 2005, 125–128, 235–236.↩︎

  • Kristiansen/Larsson 2005, 101–102. For the finds see Yalçın/Pulak/Slotta 2005, 589.↩︎

  • See now Czebreszuk 2011, who does not, however, mention the items from Bernstorf; likewise Maran 2013.↩︎

  • I refer above all to the ‘late Middle Helladic’ inscribed pebble, OL Zh 1, found at Kafkania near Olympia in Elis (Arapojanni et al. 1999), which was discovered during the excavations of 1998 on April Fools’ Day – a highly suspicious datum (Palaima 2002–2003).↩︎

  • Harding 2006, 463–465, and 2007, 52; Del Freo 2008, 221–222; Hughes-Brock 2011, 105–106; Harding 2013, 10, who, however, remarks that ‘the gold finds from Bernstorf have an unimpeachable provenance’. Cf. Facchetti/Negri 2003, 185–186.↩︎

  • Hughes-Brock 2011, 106.↩︎

  • Hughes-Brock 2011, 106–107, referring to Moosauer/Bachmaier 2000.↩︎

  • Bähr/Krause/Gehard 2012, 37–38 with n. 89.↩︎

  • Hughes-Brock 2011, 104–105.↩︎

  • Hughes-Brock 2011, 106, citing Moosauer/Bachmaier 2005, 112–116.↩︎

  • They are reported (in German translation) by Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 128–131.↩︎

  • ‘Ich muß Ihnen sagen, daß ich — wäre dieses Objekt in der Ägäis, an einer bronzezeitlichen Fundstelle entdeckt worden — nicht gezögert hätte, die vorliegende Gravur für authentisch zu halten’ (letter to Gebhard, 12 Dec. 2000, in: Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 129).↩︎

  • ‘Es sich unmöglich um Fälschungen handeln kann’ (letter to Gebhard, 11 Mar. 2001, in Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 130).↩︎

  • Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 130–131.↩︎

  • Hughes-Brock 2011, 106.↩︎

  • Hughes-Brock 2011, 104.↩︎

  • On the date see Driessen 2008, 71–72.↩︎

  • Hughes-Brock 2011, 106 (cf. Godart and Olivier in: Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 129–130). She notes that seals were used for Cretan Hieroglyphic script, but does not address the fact that the sign-group read in Linear A as (j)a-sa-sa-ra also appears on Cretan Hieroglyphic seals (e.g. CMS VI 13); this fact surely proves that Linear A is simply the cursive version of Cretan Hieroglyphic, just as Hieratic is the cursive version of Egyptian Hieroglyphics.↩︎

  • Zavadil 2009, 105–106; Simeonoglou 1985, 231–233 (site 4).↩︎

  • David 2007a, 435 with fig. 8, showing that the Shaft Grave style is quite different from the Bernstorf goldwork; cf. David 2007b, 416.↩︎

  • So, e.g., de Fidio 2008, 82 n. 3; Duhoux 2008, 313.↩︎

  • So, e.g., Palaima 2011, 116, 124.↩︎

  • See Adrimi Sismani/Godart 2005; both objects are in the Archaeological Museum at Volos (for other inscribed sherds from Mycenae, Tiryns, Knossos and Chania see Killen 2011, 105). In the same region, at least three Linear B tablets have been found in the quarter Kastro-Palaia in Volos (Skafida et al. 2010). However, the symbolic wheels on the lintel of the tholos tomb at Kazanaki north of Volos seem purely decorative.↩︎

  • CMS I no. 154 (the database is on the internet at; cf. Krzyszkowska 2005, 239, no. 448. This is from Chamber Tomb 518, and is LH I–II in date.↩︎

  • Karachalios 1926, 44 describes a rock-cut tholos with a relieving triangle, but gives no plan or section.↩︎

  • Karachalios 1926, 43 fig. 3, with Harding/Hughes-Brock 1974, 164. Hughes-Brock (1985, 259 n. 26) thinks the description (ἑνὸς σφραγιδολίθου ἐξ ἠλέκτρου μετὰ δυσκρίτου παραστάσεως) is unclear, since ἤλεκτρον means ‘amber’ or ‘electrum’ in Greek, but electrum seems unlikely. The seal is not in CMS, and seems to have been misplaced in the Archaeological Museum of Sparta.↩︎

  • This was pierced and was perhaps a damaged spacer-plate (Harding/Hughes-Brock 1974, 155–156, 164, 166); it has been suggested that it bears an incised sign in Linear A or B (Deshayes/Dessenne 1959, 74), but this must remain doubtful. For a poor photograph see Marinatos 1957, Εἰκ. 1, who describes the design as ‘a skull with the lines of the palate’ (κρανίον μὲ τὰς γραμμώσεις τοῦ οὐρανίσκου), but also says that the whole design might be illusory; perhaps these lines were either side of the central design, like the hair depicted on either side of the rare frontal portrait which appears on a carnelian seal from the tholos tomb at Nichoria (McDonald/Wilkie 1982, Pl. 5–59, = CMS V no. 431). There is little resemblance to the other ‘portrait-heads’ that we find on a few well-known seals, since all of these are Minoan, show a high level of artistic talent and are much earlier: see Krzyszkowska 2005, 114–115 with no. 195, 121 with nos. 236–237.↩︎

  • Hughes-Brock 1985, 259.↩︎

  • No. Me/D 52, = CMS V 2 no. 415; cf. Müller 1997, 84–85 (with colour plate).↩︎

  • On such heirlooms cf. Krzyszkowska 2005, 271–273, 306. A recent example is the first Mainland Popular Group seal known from Laconia; this object, from a LH IIIC Early tomb at Ayios Stephanos, is dated to LH IIIA–B and became very worn before it was interred (item no. 7126 in French 2008, 458). For the distribution and significance of these seals see Eder 2007.↩︎

  • I thank Olga Krzyszkowska for this information.↩︎

  • Olivier Pelon with an excess of scepticism describes these as ‘Lineare Zeichen, Schriftzeichen imitierend’ (CMS loc. cit.), but the sole problem with reading them as Linear B is the oblique trident-shaped mark at the upper left side in the impression, which is unexplained.↩︎

  • Data on the direction of reading of signs in Aegean seals is scarce, since the only corpus is that of Cretan Hieroglyphic; seals can be read in either direction, with the direction of reading indicated by a special sign × (so already Evans 1909 (I) 251–253). In the earliest Cretan writing the direction of reading was probably boustrophedon rather than from left to right, as also in the earliest Cypro-Minoan text and in those from Ugarit (Janko 1987).↩︎

  • Olivier 1999, 434.↩︎

  • It has also been suggested that CMS VI no. 395, a haematite lentoid seal in the Ashmolean Museum stylistically dated to LH IIIA 1 or LH III A 2, bears a Linear B sign (see CMS ad loc.), namely the wavy line separating the two griffins that face each other over the bull, which might be interpreted as the ideogram ? ole ’oil’; but this interpretation seems unlikely.↩︎

  • Duhoux 2011, 10–14.↩︎

  • Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 131.↩︎

  • Gebhard/ Rieder 2002, 124, Abb. 8.↩︎

  • Letter of Olivier to Gebhard, 17 Dec. 2000, in: Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 130.↩︎

  • cf. e.g. Duhoux 2011, 8.↩︎

  • Ilievski 1965, 49–51.↩︎

  • e.g. *o-na-te-re ‘leaseholders’ written as o-to-te-re* in PY En 659.9 and possibly pi-ri-na-jo (KN C 911.1) for pi-ri-to-jo ’of Philistos’.↩︎

  • e.g. a-re-ro (PY Un 718.8) for a-re-pa ‘unguent’ and ro-we-a in KN X 5949 instead of pa-we-a ’cloths’.↩︎

  • e.g. e-ra-ti-ja-o (PY Un 1317) for e-ra-pi-ja-o ’of deerskin’ (Aura Jorro 1985, 237).↩︎

  • Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 124, with Abb. 8.↩︎

  • For the shapes see the tables in Olivier 1967 and Palaima 1988.↩︎

  • a-ro-to was at first misread as a-pa-to on KN Gg 5185.1. Ilievski (1965, 48) gives an extensive list of such errors.↩︎

  • William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum Anglorum ii. 467.↩︎

  • This form appears in tablets PY Ea 810, nominative singular (perhaps a man’s name), Fn 324.12, dative singular (describing the man called a-ta-o), and Jo 438.21, nominative singular or genitive plural; see Tritsch 1957, 160–2.↩︎

  • See tablets PY Aa 699 and Ab 190, both in hand 1.↩︎

  • So tablet PY Ad 684 in hand 23 and perhaps Xa 633 in hand 13 (?) (ti-nwa-ti-[).↩︎

  • KN L(9) 761 (hand 213). The asterisk denotes a reconstructed linguistic form. Some have seen in the non-assibilated adjectival forms evidence for West Greek (i.e. Doric) in the Mycenaean archives (Nagy 1968, cf. Woodard 1986), but this interpretation of them is neither necessary nor desirable (so Hajnal 1997, 214–224), and independently Thompson 1998, 2002–2003.↩︎

  • Ventris/Chadwick 1956, 161. For discussion of such names see Georgiev 1961, 38–41.↩︎

  • I have deliberately departed from the convention that capitals are never used in transcribing Linear B. This convention arose out of caution, because it is often uncertain whether sign-groups are proper nouns; it makes perfect sense in our editions of reference. However, there is no reason to adhere to it in an interpretative article, and Ventris and Chadwick did not.↩︎

  • In theory it could be /(S)Tirnwanthos/ or /(S)Thirnwanthos/; it cannot have been /Dinwanthos/, since the script has a separate d-series of signs. Heubeck (1963, 16–17) instead interpreted the name of the town as Greek /Thinwantios/, from *thīnu̯ṇtii̯os ‘sandy’, a derivative of θίς ‘sand’; he is followed by García Ramón (2011, 240). But this does not explain the fluctuation between -asios and -atios, since he has to reconstruct the name of the town itself as *Thīnwon(t)s. Chadwick (1988, 83–84) tried to relate the name to *στενϝός and so perhaps to Στενύκλαρος in Messenia, but this is unconvincing on phonological grounds.↩︎

  • So Davies 2010, 517, with a complete list; she notes that most of them are attested at Knossos.↩︎

  • Ἄκανθος and Φάλανθον are irrelevant, since they are compounds of ἄνθος, which is of Indo-European origin. The cities called Ἄκανθος are derived from the common noun ἄκανθα; the Mycenaean man’s name a-ka-to on KN Dv 5256 and Sc 256, may perhaps be related, but may also be read as Ἀγαθός, Ἀγαθών, or Ἄκαστος (Aura Jorro 1985, 34). Similarly, from φάλανθος ‘bald’ comes the place in Thessaly called Φαλανθία, also transmitted as Φαλαγαθία, near Cypaera west of Lamia in central Greece (Ptol. Geog. 3. 12. 42), and the mountain called Φάλανθον and a town of the same name in Arcadia (Paus. 8. 35. 9). The man’s name pa-ra-ti-jo on KN C 914.A may be formed from this, but could instead be read *Παλα(ι)στιος (cf. Παλαίστη in Illyria). The name Μέλανθος is also in Mycenaean as me-ra-to on PY Jn 832.11 (Aura Jorro 1985, 437).↩︎

  • Charax FHG fr.7; Steph. Byz. s.v. Ψωφίς; cf. Paus. 8. 24. 3–4.↩︎

  • Tablet Cn 3.6 lists o-ru-ma-to u-ru-pi-ja-jo bos 1, under the heading jo-i-je-si me-za-na / e-re-u-te-re di-wi-je-we qo-o ‘thus the Messenians are sending oxen to inspector (?) Diwyeus’. Cf. Wa 917 (o-da-sa-to a-ko-so-ta / e-qe-ta e-re-u-te-re); for the meaning of e-re-u-te-re see Killen 2007, 264 and Nakassis 2010, 280. Diwyeus was a Follower (An 656.8–9).↩︎

  • An 519.10–12: a2-te-po de-wi-jo ko-ma-we / o-*34-ta-qe U-ru-pi-ja-jo / O-ru-ma-si-jo vir 30. At first scholars tried to relate these U-ru-pi-ja-jo to Ὀλυμπία: so still Eder 2011, 112. But the initial vowel makes this difficult, and P. B. S. Andrews’ interpretation /Wrupiaioi/ is better (Chadwick 1973b, 43); cf. perhaps classical Rhypes, Rhypai or Rhypaea in Achaea near Aigion.↩︎

  • Stavrianopoulou 1989, Beilage XVI. O-ru-ma-to remains in the Hither Province if we accept Lang’s proposal (Lang 1990, 123–125) that An 519 belongs immediately before An 661, which more effectively groups the places represented on tablet Cn 3. She is followed by Bennet 1999, 141 with table 3.↩︎

  • Σ Τ ad Il. 16. 345, τινὲς δὲ “Ὀρύμαντα” (perhaps from Didymus).↩︎

  • W. Ruge in RE VI.1, 1907, 570. Cf. perhaps the alternation in the Arcadian toponym Orchomenos/Erchomenos (Nielsen 2005, 578).↩︎

  • Eder 2011, 112 favours this location, and regards the fact that in An 519.10–12 (supra, n. [103]) U-ru-pi-ja-jo are stationed at O-ru-ma-to as a supporting argument. See further Parker 1993, 53 n. 62.↩︎

  • Cn 3.5–7 run: e-na-po-ro i-wa-si-jo-ta bos 1 / o-ru-ma-to u-ru-pi-ja-jo bos 1 / a2-ka-a-ki-ri-ja-jo u-ru-pi-ja-jo{-jo} bos 1. With this compare An 661.3, 12: e-na-po-ro i-wa-so vir 70 ... a2-ka-a-ki-ri-jo u-ru-pi-ja-jo ne-do-wo-ta-de vir 30, which suggests that O-ru-ma-to was in the same vicinity (cf. Sainer 1976, 48).↩︎

  • It is also known as Ra-u-ra-ti-ja /Lauranthia/ on On 300.9, in the Further Province, and is also written ra-wa-ra-ta2 (An 298.1, Jn 829.14 (damaged), Ma 216.1) and ra-wa-ra-ṭị-ja (An 830.11); cf. Aura Jorro 1993, 232.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1988, 87 infers from the absence of a form in -si-ja that the dental was preceded by a sibilant, which would hinder assimilation, and that the form was therefore /Laurastios/, but this must remain doubtful.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1973a, 278; see Table 1 below.↩︎

  • Hrd. Prosod. 146,21 Lentz and Steph. Byz. Ethn. s.v., with K. Ziegler, RE XXIV, 1963, 11.↩︎

  • The most salient example is the sound-change of Mycenaean /en/ to ιν (Dubois 1988, 17–22).↩︎

  • Georgiev 1961, 40.↩︎

  • Haley in: Blegen/Haley 1928, 141–145.↩︎

  • See further Killen 2001.↩︎

  • So Lindgren 1973, i. 33.↩︎

  • PY Ea 810, ti-nwa-si-jo gra 3 t 5.↩︎

  • Chadwick in: Ventris/Chadwick 1973, 586.↩︎

  • Lindgren (1973, i. 188) notes both possibilities.↩︎

  • This land did not belong to a male relative or relatives of the Ti-nwa-si-ja who were working as weavers at Pylos (Ad 684), since we will see that these women were of low status.↩︎

  • I thank an anonymous reviewer for this point.↩︎

  • On this purpose see §6 below.↩︎

  • The commodity is given ‘to’ the officials of the Hither Province, whose titles appear in the dative, whereas the titles of those from the Further Province appear in the nominative, as was noted by Palmer 1963, 374. Chadwick (in: Ventris/Chadwick 1973, 467) puts the variation down to ‘scribal inconsequence’, i.e. error, but does not make it clear whether he thinks the dative with the locatival ending in -i (given at least 4× in the first paragraph) or the nominative (given 7× in the second paragraph) is correct.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1998–1999, 35; see below §5.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1998–1999, 35 posited /Thelphōseus/, but the loss of the nasal with compensatory lengthening of the preceding vowel would not yet have occurred (Lejeune 1972, 129–130, 222). For the formation cf. the Knossian name te-ra-po-si-jo /Theraponsios/ from θεράπων (KN Lc 466 etc.).↩︎

  • The root is Proto-Indo-European *dhelbh- ‘dig’, cf. English ‘delve’ (G. Neumann in: Beekes 2010, ii. 1464). Δελφοί, i.e. ‘wombs’, ‘caves’, is unrelated.↩︎

  • Dubois 1988, i. 51–53.↩︎

  • Hom. Hy. Pyth. Ap. 243–276, 375–387.↩︎

  • Paus. 8.25 (Θέλπουσα); Steph. Byz. s.v. Τέλφουσα. Nielsen 2005, 597–599. The forms of the ethnic Θελπούσιος, Τελφούσιος and Θελφοίσιος (SEG 11.1254a) point to original *Θελφόνσιος (Dubois 1988, ii. 227–228).↩︎

  • Cf. Bennet 2011, 144, 152, with §5 below.↩︎

  • Pausanias 8. 25. 2.↩︎

  • Tablet PY An 657.8, with Sainer 1975, 35.↩︎

  • Heubeck 1976, 131.↩︎

  • For the total, which allows for missing documents, see Chadwick 1988, 76.↩︎

  • PY Ad 684: pu-ro ti-nwa-ti-ja-o i-te-ja-o ko-wo vir 5 ko-wo 2. On edge: a-pu-ne-we e-re-ta-o ko-wo.↩︎

  • PY Aa 699: ti-nwa-si-ja mul 9 ko-wa 4 ko-wo 3 DA 1 TA [1.↩︎

  • PY Ab 190: gra 3 ⟦τ 9⟧ DA TA

    pu-ro / ti-nwa-si-ja mul 9 ko[-wa ]2 ko-wo 1

    NI 3 ⟦τ 9⟧.

    The quantities of gra (grain) and NI (figs) were both corrected from 2 t 9 to 3 (Chadwick 1988, 55).↩︎

  • Tritsch (1958, 431–437) argues that they are taken for granted and are with the women, but see below, this §.↩︎

  • Stavrianopoulou (1989, 84), in seeking to deny this, proposes instead that they were all within the kingdom, but the absence of all these places from the other records is in that case problematic.↩︎

  • Aa 506, Ab 562, Ad 390, Ad 679.↩︎

  • Carystus was in Euboea. On Ad 671, this is a derivative of the man’s name Καρύστιος, just as A-da-ra-te-ja on Aa 785 and Ab 388 may be derived from the man’s name Ἄδραστος rather than just be the single woman’s name (Chadwick 1988, 78–79). The toponym Ka-ru-to /Karustos/ is now known at Thebes (TH Wu 55.β).↩︎

  • Aa 60; but this need not refer to the Euripus near Chalcis in Euboea, since the place E-wi-ri-po on An 610 has been identified as the strait between Methone and the islands off the SW tip of Messenia, and this may instead be the ethnic formed from that place-name (Chadwick 1988, 86). Evidently the toponym was found in different straits which had strong currents.↩︎

  • i.e. /Kswiai/ (Chadwick 1988, 80).↩︎

  • Aa 701, Ab 515, Ad 315, Ad 326. This roughly corresponds to later Lydia.↩︎

  • Ab 186.↩︎

  • Aa 798, Aa 1180, Ab 382, Ab 573, Ad 380, Ad 689.↩︎

  • Aa 792, Ab 189, Ad 683, also [An 292.4].↩︎

  • Aa 61, Ad 664.↩︎

  • Aa 354, Ab 372, Ad 680, and also An 292.3. This place is unidentified.↩︎

  • So Ventris/Chadwick 1956, 156; Chadwick 1976, 80–81.↩︎

  • So Ventris/Chadwick 1956, 156. This hypothesis, advanced by T. B. L. Webster, is widely accepted: cf. Shelmerdine 2008, 340–341. For an attempt at rebuttal see Tritsch 1958, 423–427.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1988, 92.↩︎

  • Homer, Iliad 21. 81.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1988, 92, who proves that these women are at a place Ke-re-za that is close to Pylos rather than are Κρῆσσαι ‘Cretans’, because the word does not become †ke-re-za-o on Ad 686 and Ad 318 [+] 420.↩︎

  • Tritsch 1958, 428.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1988, 92.↩︎

  • Tritsch 1958, 429. Four further cases that he alleges of ethnics for women from townships within the Pylian kingdom are all incorrect. A woman a-da-ra-te-ja is recorded on Aa 785 and Ab 388, but rather than be an ethnic this may be the individual name /Adrāsteia/, since only one woman is recorded (Chadwick 1988, 78). Pa-wo-ke is apparently a descriptive /panworges/ ‘maids of all work’ (Chadwick 1967). The A-*64-ja* are the /Aswiai/ or ’women of Asia’ whom we encountered above. Lastly, three women are recorded at Metapa in the Hither Province on Aa 779, where A-te-re-wi-ja* is added on the lower edge. This is not an ethnic, but refers to the Pylian town of A-te-re-wa or A-te-re-wi-ja in the Further Province, whence or whither the women at Metapa had been transferred (Chadwick 1988, 85).↩︎

  • Tritsch 1958, 429 n. 44.↩︎

  • Tritsch 1958, 431.↩︎

  • Tritsch 1958, 437–443, building on a suggestion of L. R. Palmer.↩︎

  • Tritsch 1958, 443, citing RS 11.857.↩︎

  • RS 34.129.↩︎

  • So Stavrianopoulou 1989, 92.↩︎

  • So Chadwick 1988, 90–91; however, Tritsch (1958, 437 n. 63) showed that in antiquity the safest places were usually nucleated centres such as Athens during the Archidamian War.↩︎

  • So Ventris/Chadwick 1956, 161. Stravrianopoulou (1989, 88) takes ko-wo as ‘männliche Arbeitskraft’ rather than ‘men and boys’, and thinks the men and boys have already been sent to A-pu-ne-we, but Chadwick 1988 points out that the addition of the number of ‘boys’ on the Aa and Ad sets produces a total very similar to that of the girls (179 + 82 = 261 boys versus 251 girls), whereas the sex-ratio is otherwise unequal (cf. Shelmerdine 2008, 340–341). This leaves no room for husbands within the numbers who are receiving rations.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1988, 87.↩︎

  • Ventris/Chadwick 1956, 156.↩︎

  • PY Ad 697, Da-mi-ni-ja ri-ne-ja-o ko-wo ‘e-re-[ta] qe-ro-me-no’ vir, with Chadwick 1988, 58, 87–88, who notes that the lack of a numeral shows that all the men were absent serving with the navy.↩︎

  • Cf. Gschnitzer 1999, 262–263; Shelmerdine 2008, 147; Nakassis 2010.↩︎

  • Shelmerdine 2008, 147.↩︎

  • KN Ap 618, ṭị-wa-ti-ja / a-*79 ‘a-no-qo-ta’ mul 3[ ] ko-ma-we-to mul 2 we-ra-te-ja mul 2 [, with an upper line adding a-pe-a-sa / i-ta-mo ‘do-ti-ja’ mul 1 ki-nu-qa ‘*56-ko-we’ mul 1. There is really no doubt over the ṭị. The names of the ‘collectors’ A-no-qo-ta and Ko-ma-we-to, who also owns a slave on KN B 988+, appear variously in the nominative and genitive. The tablet is in hand 103, from findspot F14 in the West Magazines (Olivier 1967, 106).↩︎

  • Aura Jorro 1993, 356, commented ‘probablemente se trata de un adj. étnico, quizá una grafía irregular por *ti-nwa-ti-ja (d. ti-nwa-ti-ja-o, s.u. ti-nwa-si-jo)’. For the omission of n in medial -nw- compare pa-wo-ke, interpreted as /panworgēs/ (Chadwick 1967). To a reviewer’s objection that /ksenwios/ is always written ke-se-ni-wi-jo and never †ke-se-wi-jo, and /perusinwos/ pe-ru-si-nu-wo and never †pe-ru-si-wo, I would reply that both are Indo-european words, in which the syllabification may have differed.↩︎

  • Chadwick (in Ventris/Chadwick 1973, 586) compared the two ethnics, but the implications are not considered.↩︎

  • A-no-qo-ta is in KN Ak 615, Da 1289, Dq 45, E 847, Vc 173 and elsewhere, Ko-ma-we at C 913, Cn 925, Dk 920, 1049 (?), Dv 1272 etc.↩︎

  • We-ra-te-ja is probably the feminine possessive adjective based on the name We-ra-to, which is attested in KN De 1136 (Rougemont 2009, 375, 498–499).↩︎

  • A-*79 is a woman’s name at Mycenae (Oe 123) and is held to be so at Knossos also (Chadwick in Ventris and Chadwick 1973, 536, with Aura Jorro 1985 s.v.). However, for the scribe at Knossos to have given the name of just one woman would violate the format of the main entry on the tablet, which does not declare the names of the three sets of women, who are each time a plurality. Since their owners’ names are stated, and toponyms are included in the line added above (along with the women’s names, since only one woman is missing in each case), the sole possibility left is that A-*79 is a place-name.↩︎

  • I-ta-mo is to be read as /Itamō/ from ἰταμός, but Ki-nu-qa is opaque.↩︎

  • *56-ko-we was probably in West-Central Crete, as we know from the stirrup-jars with Linear B labels painted before firing (Bennet 2011, 150).↩︎

  • Olivier 1967, 131.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1988, 86.↩︎

  • For a summary of the controversy over the dating of the main archive at Knossos see Driessen 2008, 70–72; the lowest chronologies that have been offered lately are in the first half of LM IIIB/LH IIIB.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1973b, 40.↩︎

  • In the Hither Province according to Stavrianopoulou (1989, 85–6), who argues that it was not the capital of the Further Province, as Chadwick proposed (in: Ventris/Chadwick 1973, 418); cf. Bennet 1998–1999; Hope Simpson 2014, 65.↩︎

  • For the location of Ro-u-so, which is uncontroversial, see e.g. Bennet 1999, 140.↩︎

  • For the reconstruction of Pylian geography see Chadwick 1976, 41–48, and Bennet 2011, 151–155. On the difficulties of determining the land frontiers to the N. and E. see Hope Simpson 1981, 144–146, and especially Rougemont 2009, 59–60. Cosmopoulos (2006, 206 n. 2) accepts the standard view, but see now Eder 2011, 111–114.↩︎

  • McDonald and Hope Simpson 1972, 141–143 with maps 8–14 and 8–15.↩︎

  • Duhoux 1983, 44–57; Bartoněk 2003, 471–487, esp. 483–484.↩︎

  • Georgacas/McDonald 1967.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1976, 185–186.↩︎

  • 8. 3. 14. Hiller (1972, 214–216) suggested that the Iliad presupposes that Nestor’s capital was in Triphylia, while the Odyssey locates it in Messenia, and that the capital was actually moved south when the palace at Ano Englianos was built. There is also Ma-to-ro-pu-ro/Ma-to-pu-ro ‘mother Pylos’ (Cn 595, Mn 1412), a small place in the Further Province (Hiller 1972, 168).↩︎

  • Chadwick 1976, 42. For a good account of the standard view Cosmopoulos 2006, 205–213.↩︎

  • For recent and very promising attempts see Cosmopoulos 2006 and Hope Simpson 2014.↩︎

  • This last detail is known from the last entry in the o-ka coastguard tablets, PY An 661.12–13: a2-ka-a2-ki-ri-jo u-ru-pi-ja-jo / ne-do-wo-ta-de vir 30, ‘at A2-ka-hakrion, 30 U-ru-pi-ja-jo men to the Nedwon’.↩︎

  • Palmer 1963, 65–70; Carothers 1992, 238–245 with figs. 7–9; Cosmopoulos 2006, 211.↩︎

  • In favour of the latter hypothesis see Lukermann 1972, 168–170, with his map, fig. 9–6; Parker 1993, 42–54; Dyczek 1994, 60–63 with his fig. 18; Gschnitzer 1999, 261; Eder 2011, 111–114 with Abb. 5.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1976, 39, opposed by Rougemont 2009, 59.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1976, 39. Hope Simpson (1981, 88, 92) notes that many more Mycenaean sites are to be expected both in western Arcadia, especially near the Alpheus and Ladon rivers, and in coastal Triphylia; cf. Lukermann 1972, 162; Hope Simpson 2014, 8.↩︎

  • An 657.6, ne-da-wa-ta-o o-ka. It does not follow, of course, that the ‘man from the Neda’ actually lived there (Parker 1993, 44–45). An 657.13–14, which read o-ka-ra ‘o-wi-to-no’ vir 30 ke-ki-de-qe a-pu2-ka-ne / vir 20 me-ta-qe pe-i ai-ko-ta e-qe-ta, form an appendix to o-ka I, in order to give a detailed breakdown of the 50 men there listed in line 4 and to supply the name of the accompanying e-qe-ta.↩︎

  • Palmer 1963, 73; Parker 1993, 44.↩︎

  • So Chadwick 1968, with strong arguments; he prefers, of course, to regard it as a homonymous town well south of the Alpheus, and to posit that the name moved after the Mycenaean period, as in many other cases. Cf. the name Pi-sa-wa-ta /Piswātās/ at Knossos (B 1055.2).↩︎

  • So Dyczek 1994, 62; Eder 2011, 112–113. Pausanias (5. 14. 3) remarked that Elis is the only region where flax grows well in Greece.↩︎

  • It is listed in the coastguard tablets (An 654.3).↩︎

  • Dyczek 1994, 62–63.↩︎

  • Parker 1993, 66 with n. 110.↩︎

  • Parker 1993, 48–54 has shown that the very productive territory of the next centre to the south, Pe-to-no, extended from the palace up to the Neda, and that both Pisa and Metapa were north of that river; cf. Eder 2011, 113–114.↩︎

  • Schwyzer 1923, 414 = SEG 11.1183, 38.364.↩︎

  • Meiggs/Lewis 1969, no. 17 (c. 500), with the misreading Ἐρϝαοῖοι, and Nielsen 2005, 188, 558; they are not the Heraeans in Arcadia.↩︎

  • Herodian, Prosod. 258,28, Μέταπα πόλις Ἀκαρνανίας. Πολύβιος πέμπτῳ; Steph. Byz. s.v. has the same wording, but adds τὸ ἐθνικὸν Μεταπαῖος ἢ Μεταπεύς διὰ τὰ ἐπιχώρια. The fragment of Polybius has passed unnoticed, as has this city in the records of the Copenhagen Polis Centre. The name is prehellenic (Haley, in: Blegen/Haley 1928, 145 with Pl. 1).↩︎

  • So Palmer 1963, 65, 74; Virgilio 1972, 71–72; Eder 2011, 113. Chadwick (Gnomon 36 [1964] 325) objected that another inscription found at Olympia records a treaty between Sybaris and another Italian city, and by this logic we might think Sybaris was near Olympia. However, the dialect is local to Elis, as Kroll and Barkowski noted (RE XV.2, 1932, 1326; RE Suppl. III, 1918, 95). There are no grounds for emending the text to Μεσσαπίς.↩︎

  • Dyczek 1994, 63; Lukermann 1972, fig. 9–6; Eder 2011, Abb. 5.↩︎

  • Hope Simpson 2014, 58–60, puts Pi-*82 at Siderokastro: Sphakoulia and Metapa at Mouriatadha: Elliniko.↩︎

  • Tritsch 1957, followed by Heubeck 1963, 17.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1972, 105.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1988, 83.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1988, 84; the derivation is untenable, but the conclusion may be right.↩︎

  • See above §3.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1998–1999, 34–35. The well-built Mycenaean tholos-tomb at Kambos should not be forgotten in this context, since tholoi are associated with local rulers (Bennet 1998, 125–127).↩︎

  • Homer, Iliad 9. 149–53 = 290–5; cf. Bennet 2011, 155.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1973b, 54.↩︎

  • PY Jo 438.19–24: e-re-e po-ro-ko-re-te aur p 3 X / a-ke-ro qa-si-re-u aur P 3 X / te-po-se-u ti-nwa-si-jo ko-re-te aur n 1 / po-ki-ro-qo aur n 1 / au-ke-wa aur n 1 / ti-mi-ti-ja ko-re-te aur p 6 / (Ventris and Chadwick 1973, 358–9, 514). The places associated with A-ke-ro and Augewas, who was the da-mo-ko-ro, are unknown, but according to An 654.11–12 Poikiloqus may be from To-wa.↩︎

  • Shelmerdine 1973, whose conclusions are applied to a map by Chadwick 1973a; cf. Chadwick 1976, 47–48. Parker (1993, 60–75) confirms these conclusions with new evidence, save that he locates Sa-ma-ra to the north of Ra-wa-ra-ta2.↩︎

  • From τέρμινθος (Palaima 2000, 14–18).↩︎

  • Shelmerdine 1998, 142–144; cf. also Parker 1993, 60–4.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1973a, where ‘Cn 594’ is a misprint. The start of Cn 595 reads: e-ra-te-re-wa-pi ta-to-mo o-pe-ro / me-ta-pa a-we-ke-se-u vir 1 ovis+TA 5. Likewise Dyczek (1994, 69–70) puts Helos in the Stenyclarus plain to the N.E.↩︎

  • Bennet 1999, 148, with his very useful fig. 3; Eder 2011, 113 n. 42. ‘Like me-ta-pa, pi-*82 reaches in one step towns from both provinces’ (Carothers 1992, 258–259); similarly Eder 2011, 113.↩︎

  • So Parker 1993, 68–69, who compares East Anglia with its two subdivisions Norfolk and Suffolk.↩︎

  • Hope Simpson 2014, 67. Bennet tentatively locates A-te-re-wi-ja in the Soulima valley at Peristeriá in N.W. Messenia, and Helos at Mouriatada (1998–1999, 24–25, 30, and 1999, 148–149 with fig. 3). Cherry (1977, 80 with his Fig. 7) suggested a location for Helos in the S.E. corner near the marshy mouth of the Pamisos.↩︎

  • PY On 300.12. Relying on the other lists of towns, Chadwick plausibly restores the first half of the line as [e-re-o du-]ma ‘the mayor of Helos’, since du-ma is a title comparable to ko-re-te (in: Ventris/Chadwick 1973, 466–468). Palaima (1995, 631–632) proposed that Te-po-se-u was listed in this place because he was also da-mo-ko-ro of the Further Province.↩︎

  • For the classical settlement of Triphylia see Nielsen 2005, 603–612; Eder 2011, 105.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1977, 226.↩︎

  • See Nielsen 2005, 79–83.↩︎

  • Cooper 1996, 77–79, who shows that, pace Pausanias 8. 41. 9, ἐπικούριος did not mean ‘healer’ or ‘helper’ against the plague. At least 4,000 of Xenophon’s Ten Thousand were Arcadians (Roy 1967, 308–309).↩︎

  • Compare the votive seal-case of King Naram-Sin (middle of the 18th century BC) of Ešnunna (Tell Asmar, north-east of Baghdad), which was found at Kastri on Kythera (Janko 2008, 584–586).↩︎

  • Vianello 2008, 20.↩︎

  • Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 125 Abb. 9.↩︎

  • Cf. Taylour 1983, 56 Fig. 33 (the dark blob worn by a cord around the right wrist of the smallest female figure). The Vapheio prince was buried with clusters of seal-stones around each wrist (Vermeule 1972, 128).↩︎

  • Vermeule and Travlos 1966, 66, 78, pls. 24–25; Harding and Hughes-Brock 1974, 159.↩︎

  • De Fidio 2008, 88.↩︎

  • CMS V Suppl. 1A no. 142; cf. Krzyszkowska 2005, 140, no. 247. Mycenaeans often appropriated Minoan ideological symbols.↩︎

  • Castleden 2005, 75–76 with his Fig. 3.6.↩︎

  • Karo 1930, 81 Abb. 19 (no. 296), 84 Abb. 20 with Taf. XVIII (nos. 308–309), 84 with Taf. XLIII (no. 310).↩︎

  • Harding and Hughes-Brock 1974, 152; Kristiansen/Larsson 2005, 139, 236.↩︎

  • Cf. Bennet 1998, 126–129, on changes at Nichoria and in the Soulima valley on the northern edge of the kingdom. Ayios Stephanos in southern Laconia, a peripheral zone where there had been much interaction with Knossos and earlier with Minoan Crete, was burned and largely abandoned in LH IIIA2 Early, as if it was subjected by a rising power in the vale of Sparta (Janko 2008, 595–597), perhaps centred at the newly discovered palace at Ayios Vasilios near Xirokambi.↩︎

  • Bennet 1998 and 2011, 155; he holds that the northern border of the kingdom may even have continued to be unstable until the collapse of the palatial system. Cf. Bennet/Shelmerdine 2001.↩︎

  • Lang 1969, 71–73 (nos. 22 H 64, 25 H 65), with plates M–N.↩︎

  • Krzyszkowska 2005, 304 with Fig. 10.4.↩︎

  • Porada 1981, 68–70.↩︎

  • Krzyszkowska 2005, 304.↩︎

  • KUB XXIII.1, col. IV; cf. Beckman 1996, 101; Bryce 2005, 309; de Fidio 2008, 102.↩︎

  • Cf. e.g. Bouzek 2007, 358, Papadopoulou 2007, Teržan 2007.↩︎

  • Hope Simpson 2014, 53–54.↩︎

  • Alcaeus fr. 350, with Strabo 13. 2. 3.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1976, 145; 1998–1999, 36–37.↩︎

  • Niemeier 2003, 105, fig. 4; Schofield/Parkinson 1994.↩︎

  • Catling 1961, 121; Driessen 1984; Drews 1993, 147–157; Gschnitzer 1999; M. H. Wiener, in: Karageorghis/Morris 2001, 247–248.↩︎

  • Gschnitzer 1999.↩︎

  • Ventris/Chadwick 1956, 191.↩︎

  • Driessen 1984, referring to KN B 164 (from the early archive of the Room of the Chariot Tablets), F 7362 v., Fh <392>, X 7631, X 7668, Xd 70.↩︎

  • Gschnitzer 1999, 259–260 with n. 16, citing PY Ma 195.3 for the Perrhaebians from northern Thessaly and the Pindus, KN B 164 for the Ku-re-we and Ionians, who were perhaps in central Greece at this early period (cf. Driessen 1984, 50–51). Gschnitzer also suggests that the Ạ3-wo-re-u-si of KN Wm 1707.a may be ‘Aeolians’. Other contingents are the I-wa-so /Iwasoi/ or I-wa-si-jo-ta /Iwasiōtai/ and Ko-ro-ku-ra-i-jo, i.e. /Krokulaioi/ or /Krokuraioi/ (‘Corcyreans’?) at Pylos (An 656, 661, Cn 3.5), and the unidentified ạ-ḍạ-wo-ne[ at Knossos (B 164.3).↩︎

  • PY An 657.1.↩︎

  • Chadwick 1976, 115.↩︎

  • Killen 2007, 265.↩︎

  • Melena 1975, 37–42; Killen 2007, 265, who rightly observes that the evidence of KN As 4493 undermines the view that the Pylian coastguard was an emergency measure.↩︎

  • Cf. Gschnitzer 1999, 262–263; Killen 2008, 170 with n. 31; Nakassis 2010.↩︎

  • Killen (2007, 265) has proved that the rowers on KN As(1) 5941 were also textile workers, because the tablet is written by the scribe 103, who was concerned only with the production of textiles. For Pylos see Gschnitzer 1999, 262–263.↩︎

  • PY An 657.1.↩︎

  • Ventris/Chadwick 1956, 189, 392; Killen 2007, 263. Deroy (1968, 19) took it as ἐπίκουροι but regarded these ‘helpers’ as tax-collectors.↩︎

  • So e.g. Beekes 2010, i. 442.↩︎

  • So Negri 1977–1978.↩︎

  • Melena (1975, 37–42), regarding KN As 4493, which will be discussed later in this §.↩︎

  • Janko 1992, 140; cf. e.g. e-pi-de-da-sa-to /epidedastoi/ ’has been distributed in addition’.↩︎

  • Cooper 1996, 76–77, with LSJ9 s.v. I.2.↩︎

  • καὶ δὴ ‘πίκουρος ὥστε Κὰρ κεκλήσομαι, ’I will be called a mercenary like a Carian’ (Archilochus fr. 216 West, cf. fr. 15.1). This is not noted by LSJ9. Caria was famous for its mercenaries (Adiego 2007, 1–2).↩︎

  • LSJ9 s.v. I.1, who rightly note that this meaning is unique to the Iliad, and Snell et al. 1969–2010, ii. 640. As the scholia observe (schol. D on Iliad 3. 188), only those helping the Trojans are called ἐπίκουροι, whereas those helping the Achaeans are σύμμαχοι.↩︎

  • Homer, Iliad 17. 220–226.↩︎

  • An 657.1. Mycenaean preserves the athematic conjugation, which Homer has modernized (Ventris/Chadwick 1956, 189).↩︎

  • Homer, Iliad 18. 288–92.↩︎

  • Homer, Iliad 9. 478–84, Od. 4. 174–7 (quoted above, §4).↩︎

  • Chadwick 1976, 67, 175.↩︎

  • Johnson 1982, 125, 134–158.↩︎

  • jo-i-je-si me-za-na / e-re-u-te-re di-wi-je-we qo-o /hō hihensi Metsānai ereutērei Diwiei gwōns/ ’thus the Messenians are sending oxen to the inspector Diwyeus’ (cf. n. 104 supra).↩︎

  • Chadwick, in: Ventris/Chadwick 1973, 435–436.↩︎

  • Nielsen 2005, 79–83.↩︎

  • Harding/Hughes-Brock 1974, 162, 164, 166 with Fig. 1; Dickinson 1994, 249–250; Eder 2007, 40–45, and 2011, 108. A large quantity of unworked amber even reached the palace at Qatna near Homs in Syria at some date (perhaps centuries) prior to c. 1340 BC (Hughes-Brock 2011, 107–109).↩︎

  • Harding/Hughes-Brock 1974, 152–153. For recent scepticism that the trade followed any one particular route see Hughes-Brock 2011, 108, with references.↩︎

  • Harding and Hughes-Brock 1974, 150–151, Figs. 2–3.↩︎

  • Pulak 1998, 218; Kristiansen/Larsson 2005, 101–102. Since some amber floats, more pieces may have been lost.↩︎

  • Harding/Hughes-Brock 1974, 149–153.↩︎

  • TH Z 849, 851, 852, 882, with Sacconi 2010, 129–131.↩︎

  • Palaima 1988, 259. In Hand 14 at Pylos, the same sign ? di has the side bars angled diagonally.↩︎


  • In: Gebhard/Rieder 2002, 130–131.↩︎

  • ka-di-ti-ja describes women at Knossos (KN V 1003), and is doubtfully taken as /Kadistiai/ (Ventris/Chadwick 1973, 549).↩︎

  • KN F 866, Fp 7 etc.↩︎

  • KN Da 1078, Dn 5318.↩︎


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Originally published as

Richard Janko: “Aber inscribed in Linear B form Bernstorf in Bavaria. New light on the Mycenaean Kingdom of Pylos”, in Bayerische Vorgeschichtsblätter 80 (2015), 39-64.