The Decipherment of Linear B (Canto) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$9.83
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Cover scuff(s). Reliable customer service and no-hassle return policy. This item qualifies for PRIME and FREE SHIPPING!
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Decipherment of Linear B (Canto) Paperback – November 30, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0521398305 ISBN-10: 0521398304 Edition: 2nd

Used
Price: $9.83
15 New from $20.34 36 Used from $5.84
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback, November 30, 1990
$20.34 $5.84
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

There is a newer edition of this item:


Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student



NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Save up to 90% on Textbooks
Rent textbooks, buy textbooks, or get up to 80% back when you sell us your books. Shop Now

Product Details

  • Series: Canto
  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (November 30, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521398304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521398305
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,040,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'In this present short book - lucid, concise and admirable - Chadwick tells us something of Ventris and his mind, and of the problems involved in the decipherment of Minoan-Mycenaean scripts. It is written for the layman and very well written. It is not only an account of a startling piece of philological and archaeological research, but a simple, moving human story.' The Spectator

Book Description

Fascinating details of the religious and economic history of an ancient pre-Hellenic civilization are revealed in this celebrated account of the decipherment of Linear B from Mycenaean Greek in the 1950s.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
14
4 star
3
3 star
2
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 19 customer reviews
Great read; clearly and cleanly written book of an interesting historical topic.
Paul Cocklin
This is a near firsthand account of how Michael Ventris, a British architect, deciphered Linear B and showed it to be a dialect of Greek from well before even Homer.
G. BARTO
This is a landmark book in the field of Greek language studies and especially the sub field of syllabic scripts.
Patrick L

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 44 people found the following review helpful By "urn" on December 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
When he excavated the Minoan city of Knossos in 1900, Arthur Evans found clay tablets containing an unknown language which he named Linear B (he also found variants he named 'hieroglyphic', Linear A, and Linear C). Evans himself began the decipherment process. He discovered that the tablets were palace records and deciphered their numbering system. Since there were about 90 different symbols, he noted, correctly, that the symbols represented syllables rather than alphabetic characters (too many symbols) or ideograms (too few symbols). Beyond these observations, little progress was made until, in 1952, half a century after Linear B was discovered, Michael Ventris announced that he had discovered the means to translate it.
John Chadwick tells the story of Linear B. Not to denigrate the achievement of Champollion's success with Egyption heiroglyphs, Linear B had no Rosetta Stone. It had to be understood soley from the internal evidence of the tablets. The book describes early "solutions" that were guesswork based on untenable analogies or theories. Ventris proceeded differently. The reader becomes amazed at his abilities (he memorized complete texts of symbols before understanding what they meant), his insights, and his thoroughly analytical methodology. The book tells in loving detail the steps leading to the solution. You almost feel you are taking those steps yourself and a sense of excitement grows as you see pieces falling into place. He builds a grid of vowels and consonants and painstakingly fills the symbols into their places. He finds words, and you share in the process of discovering they are an early form of Homeric Greek used in Mycenaen times at the end of the Bronze Age.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By B. Philip Hatley on February 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is one which has an extremely interesting description of the methods used in and the results of deciphering clay tablets which contained what was finally determined to be ancient Greek. I have gone back to reread large parts of it several times, because it is concisely packed with so much information about the development of the Greek language. It contains facts which tell much about Greek history. Did you ever wonder why, compared with other ancient cultures, there are very few Greek Linear B tablets from which to glean information? This scarcity of source material is one of the reasons that Linear B was so hard to translate. This book has the simple but very significant answer, along with glimpses into other cultural traits of the times. It is not a thick book, but what John Chadwick has written speaks volumes. Well worth reading for someone interested in the Greek language and culture.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By gccircle on July 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
I really liked this book as an outline of the method used to decipher the Linear B script found at Crete and a few locations on mainland Greece. The author is very well qualified to comment on the decipherment given that he was a key collaborator with Michael Ventris. I found the level of detail to be just right to show the outstanding scholarship achieved by Ventris who was a professional architect, not a Greek Classics college professor; but not so much detail as to detract from the readability of the story.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By KC Tang on December 26, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was so glad to see this work, first published 1958, available in the Kindle format, as most Kindle books seem to be either very new (published within a decade) or very old (Dickens' novels, for example). As with other linguistic works offered by Kindle, I downloaded a sample to see if the non-Latin scripts and Latin diacritics show well, but unfortunately the sample, which includes only the preface and the first few pages of Chapter One, doesn't contain any of them so I couldn't judge. I bought it anyway, since I had wanted to read this little classic for some time. The decision proves not a good one: neither the Greek letters, nor the more exotic (from the point of view of an English speaker) diacritics, including the macron, breve and caron, show properly. Instead they appear as disproportionately big images sitting amidst the lines. I think Kindle is actually capable of showing all these diacritics well, as demonstrated in the built-in OED (although it may still take some time for Kindle to display non-Latin scripts properly), so I'm a bit disappointed with this edition, which leaves a lot to be desired typographically. As a big Kindle fan, I realize that sometimes I expect too much from it. I'll be patient, though. Looking forward to an improved rendering of this work, and to the day when I can peruse linguistic works on my Kindle, with the same kind of pleasure derived from my reading novels and history works on it now.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Rosenblatt on January 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
An absolute must read for people who want to see the fascinating process by which ancient scripts are deciphered. Also points out that to begin to understand the classical world, one must begin with the bronze age. I only wish someone would do a reprint of this book with actual linear B characters in the text itself, rather than numbers
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
Michael Ventris was a young British architect who, during Word War II, serviced in the RAF Intelligence Office, deciphering German encripted dispatches. Defeated the nazis, he started his very own personal "war" against a new "enemy". The "encripted dispatches" were now the incribed clay tablets of the Mycenean civilization, in "prehistoric" Greece. After a few years, Ventris eventually announced to the word that he "cracked" the ancient Linear B script contained in the Mycenean tablets: they were accounting records, and the language contained in them was an archaic form of Greek!
John Chadwick was the first scholar who believed in this discover and, with his help, Ventris won the skepticism and prejudice of the academic world.
Thanks to Ventris' decipherment, the beginnig of European written "history" has now moved backwards by nearly one millennium!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?