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John Chadwick, Michael Ventris, "Documents in Mycenaean Greek"

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John Chadwick, Michael Ventris, "Documents in Mycenaean Greek"

John Chadwick, Michael Ventris, "Documents in Mycenaean Greek"
Publisher: CUP | 193 | ISBN: 0521085586 | English, Greek | PDF | 660 pages | 26.43 Mb

From Preface to the first edition:
"During the months following the appearance of our first article 'Evidence for Greek dialect in the Mycenaean archives' (JHS, 73, 1953, pp. 84-103) we received several invitations to discuss the results of our decipherment at book length. Our first reaction was to regard the writing of such a book as premature, in view of the uncertainty and incompleteness of much of the interpretation; but since 1953 there have been a number of changes in the situation:
1. A large number of new Mycenaean tablets, found at Pylos and Mycenae in the seasons 1952-4, have been added to the known material and must now be taken into account. Through the kindness of Prof. C. W. Blegen, Prof. A. J. B. Wace, Dr Emmett L. Bennett Jr. and or Ch. Karouzos (director of the National Museum in Athens), we have been able to study many of these documents in advance of publication; our thanks are also due to Dr N. Platon (director of the Iraklion Museum) and to his assistant S. Alexiou for making available to us the originals of the Knossos tablets, many of which are not to be found in Evans and Myres' Scripta Minoa II. We are indebted to them for the photographs of tablets which appear in the Plates. While this book con­tains a selection of all the Mycenaean tablets known at the time of writing (Easter, 1955), it is uncertain whether the next few seasons' excavation will provide any material addition to their numbers, and this may therefore be an opportune moment to review the evidence.
2. The 1952-4 tablets have enabled us to improve many of our earlier interpretations of signs, vocabulary and grammar, and have provided new and conclusive evidence that the language of the Mycenaean script really is a form of Greek. The documents here published are thus of great importance in forming almost the earliest record of Indo-European speech (of the family to which our own language belongs) , and in providing the present-day speakers of Greek with a language history which may now be traced back more than 3350 years. A complete and detailed Mycenaean Vocabulary is becoming a necessity for comparative purposes.
3. A large number of classical scholars, philologists and archaeologists have begun to join in the interpretation of the documents. A general survey of the evidence will, we hope, be useful as a background against which to appreciate this new research discipline, already embodied in numerous articles dealing with points of detail. It may also provide a useful summary of its first results for those who have not the time for the cryptographic technicalities, but who nevertheless wish to know more about the subject-matter that the tablets record and of the language in which they are written. While we would be the first to admit that our translations of the tablets are necessarily very tentative and imperfect, we hope that this book will have the advantage over previous articles in offering the remaining sceptics an overwhelming mass of evidence to show that the widespread support for the principle of the decipherment is justified."

John Chadwick, Michael Ventris, "Documents in Mycenaean Greek"