The Decipherment of Linear C: ICS 260

· Linear C Decipherments

A funerary stele at GolgoiICS 260.2

28.3″ (72 cm) high x 37.0″ (94 cm) long

One line, eight alphabetic-Greek characters and five syllabic-Greek characters

Relative date: 6th cent. BCE

ICS 260.3

ICS 260

Located in the cemetery (necropolis) at Golgoi on Cyprus, this digraphic inscription is found at the base of a stele that includes two profiled lions facing the viewer and a winged solar disk.

Left side [read from left to right]

Right side [read from right to left]
.2  ka-ru-xe-e-mi

1.  *e-mi | ἐμί(ν) (emin) | † I (a first-person pronoun)
2.  *e-mi | ἠμί (emi) | I declare, I say
3.  ka-ru-xe* | κᾶρυξ (karux) | a herald

.2  κᾶρυξἐμί

• (A) herald I (am).

Notes:  There is no obvious word separation between ka-ru-xe and e-mi, but the alphabetic Greek offers guidance regarding the crasis of the vowel coda of /xe/ and the following syllable /e/.   Another interesting feature is the use of /V/ to represent the capital /Y/ (upsilon).

Masson typically translates e-mi as ἠμί rather than ἐμίν.  In its declarative sense, ἠμί can still incorporate the latter: κάρυξ ἠμί > “I declare (that I am a) herald.”  Cf. the same declaration in modern Greek: κήρυκας ειμαι “(a) preacher (I) am”.

According to Liddell and Scott, the herald typically carried a κηρύκειονa (kirykeiona) “a caduceus”, or “a wand that was entwined with two serpents, such as [that] borne by Hermes”.  Cf. caduceus with ΚΑDVΞEΜΙ, Masson’s [1961:281] alternate transliteration of the left side, which may be re-transliterated as ca-du-ce-e-mi in syllabic Greek.  The resemblance of Roman /D/ and Greek /Ρ/ (hro), as suggested by the shape of the letter in the inscription, implies that /d/ and the rolled /r/ are phonetically confounded.


  1. Masson, Olivier.  1961.  Inscriptions Chypriotes Syllabiques. Paris: E. de Boccard,  fig. 80, p. 281; Pls. XLIV and XLV.

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