Why is the decipherment of Linear B important?

FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Alice Elizabeth Kober was an American classicist best known for her work on the decipherment of Linear B. Educated at Hunter College and Columbia University, Kober taught classics at Brooklyn College from 1930 until her death

Our intrepid science educator Bark Twain is here to answer this question!

Bark Twain, a dog who uses the internet to educate you about science!

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a mysterious script called Linear B. It belonged to a forgotten civilization known as the Mycenaeans who lived long ago in ancient Greece. Imagine, nobody knew what these strange symbols meant! Archaeologists discovered clay tablets with these symbols on them, but their secrets remained hidden until a great discovery was made.

The decipherment of Linear B was like finding the key to a secret treasure chest. It helped us unlock the secrets of the Mycenaean civilization and understand how they lived. Before this, all we knew about them was from digging up old stuff buried in the ground. But with the decipherment, we could read their writings and learn about their daily lives, their rulers, and their religion.

But it wasn’t just about solving a puzzle. The decipherment of Linear B taught us a lot about the history of language. You see, the Mycenaean language was an early form of Greek, even older than what we read in Homer’s tales. By figuring out what the symbols meant, we learned more about how the Greek language evolved over time.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the stories! The Linear B tablets were like ancient shopping lists and receipts. They told us about the things people bought, how they traded with other cities, and even what they believed in. It was like peeking into their world and understanding their culture and society. We learned about their religious rituals, how they farmed the land, and the names of important people. It’s like reading an adventure book about a long-lost civilization!

The decipherment of Linear B also connected the dots of history. You know how we love to piece together puzzles? Well, by decoding these ancient writings, we realized that the Mycenaeans were the ancestors of the Greeks we know from history books. It showed us that their culture and language continued through the ages, passing down their knowledge and stories to future generations.

« The only way to know when you have done something truly great is when your spine tingles. » – Alice Kober, Brooklyn College, decoder of Linear B, the language of Odysseus, circa 1,450 B.C.

So, my young friend, the decipherment of Linear B was like discovering a hidden treasure map. It let us explore the ancient world of the Mycenaeans, unravel the secrets of their language, and understand how they lived. It’s a remarkable journey that connects us to our past and helps us appreciate the wonders of history. Isn’t that exciting?


Mother’s Day Proclamation

It Happened on
May 17, 1870

The "Appeal to womanhood throughout the world" (later known as "Mothers' Day Proclamation") by Julia Ward Howe was an appeal for women to unite for peace in the world. Written in 1870, Howe's "Appeal to womanhood" was a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War.


People featured in this post:


Julia Ward Howe

American author and poet, known for writing the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and the original 1870 pacifist Mother's Day Proclamation