Ancient Mediterranean

Digital Project

Linear B ideogram *259

Cat. No.



LM IIIB (mid to later 13th century)


Knossos, the Palace of Minos



Linear B clay tablet (fragment). KN U 7700 + X 8284 + FR IV-26 + FR VI-0 + FR VII-0

Accession Number

Herakleion Archaeological Museum


Bennett et al 1989: 230, fig. 1; Palaima 1991: 286-287, pl. LXIIIa; Petrakis 2011: 207; Wachsmann 1998: 125-126, fig. 7.4; Wedde 2000: 331, no. 6007

Crescentic hull. The right extremity rises more sharply while the left one is lost. Mast amidships with a curving line on either side that possibly represents the mast step. Wachsmann offers several possible interpretations for this element: "a mast partner, central structure, or rigging." (Wachsmann 1998: 125).

The ideogram is followed by the numeral 1. The joining of several fragments show this ideogram following the word [...] -re-ta, possibly to be reconstructed as e-re-ta (rowers). If correct, the ideogram might have functioned as a qualification for the number of rowers alternative to counting them as men, hence designating a ship's complement of rowers.

Bennett, E. L. Jnr, J. M. Driessen, L. Godart, J.T. Killen, C. Kopaka, J.L. Melena, J.-P. Olivier and M. Perna. 1989. “436 raccords et quasi-raccords de fragments inédits dans KT 5,” Minos 24: 199-242.

Palaima, T.G. 1991. ‘Maritime matters in the Linear B tablets,’ in R. Laffineur and L. Basch (eds.) Thalassa. L’Egee prehistorique et la mer. Actes de la troisieme rencontre egeenne internationale de l’Universite de Liege, Station de Recherches Sous-Marines et Oceanographiques (StaReSO), Calvi, Corse, 23-25 Avril 1990. Aegaeum 7. Liège: Université de Liège, Histoire de l'art et d'archéologie de la Grèce antique, pp. 273-310.

Petrakis, V. 2011. “Politics of the Sea in the Late Bronze Age II-III Aegean: Iconographic Preferences and Textual Perspectives,” in G. Vavouranakis (ed.) The Seascape in Aegean Prehistory. Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens 14. Athens: Danish Institute of Athens, pp. 185-234.

Wachsmann, S. 1998. Seagoing Ships & Seamanship in the Bronze Age Levant. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press.

Wedde, M. 2000. Towards a Hermeneutics of Aegean Bronze Age Ship Imagery. Peleus Studien zur Archäologie und Geschichte Griechenlands und Zyperns, vol. 6. Bibliopolis: Mannheim and Möhnsee.

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