The Decipherment of Linear C: ICS 105

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An epitaph at Marion

Tomb 88, dimensions unknown

Three lines, 14 syllabic-Greek characters, written in sinistroverse

Located in the cemetery (necropolis) at Marion in the district of Paphos, this epitaph is a declaration.

[Read from right to left]
.1  sa-ta-sa-ko-ra-u
.2  e-mi  to*sa-
.3  -ta-sa-to-ro

1. e-mi | ἐμίν (emiv) (Doric) | I (first-person pronoun)
2. sa-ta-sa-ko-ra-u | Στησιχόρου (stasikhorou) | one who establishes or leads χοροί (khoroi) “dances”
3. sa-ta-sa-to-ro | στᾱσίχορος (stasikhoros) or στησίχορος (stesikhoros) | establishing or leading χοροί (khoroi) “dances”; *dance master
4. to* | τό | a definite article that literally means “the following”

.1 Στησιχόρου,

• Stesichorou

.2 ἐμίν

• I am, the following

.3 Στᾱσίχορος

stasichorus

Translation: “I am Stesichorou, the stasichorus.”

Notes: Born Tisias, the Greek Lyric poet, Stesichorus (650-555 BCE), used lyric meter to tell Epic stories. Upon his death in Katane (Catania), Stesichorus was buried in an octagonal tomb in front of the Stesichorean Gate.  Thus, the throw of the die that shows eight pips is called a stesichorus.  Although no date is given for this epitaph, this Stesichorus apparently continues the dancing tradition.

sa-ta-sa-ko-ra-u and infl. sa-ta-sa-to-ro demonstrate the alternation, χ or κ / τ.  Cf. χορός (khoros) “a dance” and τόρος (toros) a drill”, both of which pertain to twisting motion.  Cf., also, dance drill.

References:

  1. Masson, Olivier. 1961. Inscriptions Chypriotes Syllabiques. Paris: E. de Boccard, p. 157-8.
  2. Stesichorus. Ret. 19 May 2020 <Wikipedia.com>.

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