Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Linear A deciphered?

It is now more than half a century since the world was thrilled to learn that Ventris and Chadwick had deciphered the Linear B Minoan script as an early form of Greek. No comparable success has been achieved in deciphering the older Linear A script, despite hopes that it might turn out to be either Luwian or a semitic language.

Recently I saw a mention (right at the foot of the page) that a French scholar, Hubert La Marle, claims to have achieved the decipherment, and found it to be Old Persian. Apparently he did this about a dozen years ago, but the news has been slow to spread in the English speaking world, and its reception in academic circles has been underwhelming!

La Marle has a website with some explanation of his ideas, and he continues his work. He makes a point which I find interesting, that two relatives of Old Persian, Avestan and Sanskrit, are associated with religious texts, and many of the Linear A inscriptions have been found in religious contexts, although so far as I know only short statements have been found, with nothing as extensive as the Avesta or Rig Veda.