The Decipherment of Linear B: KN Ra 1548

· Linear B Decipherments

KN Ra 1548

The Pirates’ Tablet

Pirates’ spoils
Scribe 126

.a                   / de-so-mo
.b ku-ka-ro / pi-ri-je-te pa-ka-na a-ra-ru-wo-a PUG 3

  1. a-ra-ru-wo-a | *ἀρηρυοα (areruoa) | * booty taken by force, plunder
  2. de-so-mo | δασμό(ς) (dasmos) | the division of spoils
  3. de-so-mo | δεσμό(ς) (desmos) | bonds, chains; imprisonment
  4. ku-ka-ro | kukkaro | Cuccaro (Vetere)
  5. pa-ka-na | *φάκανα for (σ)φάγνο(ς) (spagnos) | sword
  6. pi-ri-je-te | *πιριέτα for πειρατής (peirates) | pirate; brigand, sea robber

.a δασμό
• division of spoils

.b Cuccaro (Vetere)πιριέτα  φάκανα  *ἀρηρυοα
• Cuccaro (Vetere): pirate booty taken by force, 3 swords

Translation:  The division of booty (three swords) taken by force at Cuccaro (Vetere).

Notes:  Cuccaro Vetere, a coastal commune in southwestern Italy, has been prone to piracy from ancient times.  Cuccaro is derived from κύκλος (kuklos) “ring”, which refers to the town’s fortified status.  Nevertheless, many such communities encouraged piracy; the sale of booty– whether basic commodities, luxury goods, or slaves–significantly contributed to local economies [“Ancient Rome”].

The second definition of de-so-mo also raises some interesting issues.  Certainly, any booty taken by force can be bound to the takers.  The question regards the nature of the booty and the roles of pa-ka-na and PUG 3.  While the theme of piracy seems certain, the nature of the booty is not:  Did the pirates use swords to take three swords, or did they take three slaves at sword point?


  1. Ancient Rome and the Pirates. History 2012. Ret. on 26 Jul 2014.

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