Preliminary Notes (Dagv group)

The series Da, Db, Dc, Dd, De, Df, Dg and Dv constitute a homogeneous group of texts which deal with the inventory of the flocks of sheep of the Palace. They were compiled by the most important scribe of the Palace of Knossos, H 117. This group comprises about 670 tablets, some of which are complete and others fragmentary.

Each of the above-mentioned series deals with a particular type of flock: the documents which fall into the series Da deal with flocks of sheep made up of rams (OVISm), while the Db and Dc-Dg series may record both ewes and rams (OVISm – OVISf) or flocks of various types of sheep, including sheep differentiated not only by sex, but also as being young, old or missing (pa OVISm, pe OVISm, o OVISm). The series Dv comprises tablets which cannot be classified with precision, due to their fragmentary state (Greco 2010).

All these documents were found in the same place in the Palace of Knossos, the East West Corridor, located in an area just to the east of the great central court (conventionally known as J1) (Olivier 1967; Driessen 2000). They are dated approximately between LM IIIA2 and LM IIIB (between the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 13rd century BC) (Firth-Skelton 2016; Firth-Melena 2016a).

All texts show a homogeneous structure: they typically present on the left a shepherd’s name in larger characters, the inscription then continues on the right on two lines; the top line contains a collector’s name and the logogram for the animal (sheep), followed by a numeral, while a toponym appears in the lower section.  (Greco 2010, 148).


Preliminary Notes (series Da)

The Da series comprises 131 palm-leaf tablets compiled by the scribe H 117 (Olivier 1967; Aurora 2015, DAMOS, Database of Mycenaean at Oslo). It includes all the documents dealing with flocks made up exclusively of rams. Twelve tablets in this group mention the toponym pa-i-to (Phaistòs) (Olivier 1988; Greco 2010).


Da 1172 +

KN Da 1172 records that at Phaistos (pa-i-to) the shepherd ru-*56-ra-so oversawing 100 rams under the supervision of pe-ri-qo-ta (Periphontas), one of the “medium” collectors who doesn’t recurs in a specific toponym of Knossos (Greco 2000, 4-7; Greco 2010, 60-61).

Unfortunately, little can be said about the anthroponym ru-*56-ra-so, a hapax in Knossos’ documentation (DMic. s.v.; Greco 2010, 152-153). On the contrary, the name pe-ri-qo-ta appears in many documents: in the nominative case in KN Uf(3) 1022 (H 123) and KN Fh 8299 + (H 141), in the genitive (pe-ri-qo-ta-o) in three tablets of the Dq(3) series, KN Dq(3) 42, 46 and 8351 (H 127) and, finally, in the adjectival form pe-ri-qo-te-jo within the Dagv group (KN Da 1172 +, 1253 +, 1321 +, 1333 +, 5317, KN Db 1192 +, 1232, KN De 1231, 6060, KN Dv 1332, 1334 +, 1388, 1427, 8357 +), where this officer is related to different localities (do-ti-ja, e-ra, pa-i-to, ra-ja, ra-to, ri-jo-no, su-ri-mo, ti-ri-to, tu-ni-ja) leading flocks of 100-200 sheep (Greco 2000, 4-5,7; Greco 2010, 492-493, 728-729).

Although both pe-ri-qo-ta-o and pe-ri-qo-te-jo can be etymologically referred to the same anthroponym, pe-ri-qo-ta, these terms might describe two different individuals within the documentation from Knossos. Indeed, A. Greco (Greco 2010, 492-493, 514-515) recalls that “in the breeding documentation the only existing variants related to collectors are limited to the use of the name in the nominative or genitive, as it can be seen in a-no-qo-ta/ a-no-qo-ta-o, da-mi-ni-jo / da-mi-ni-jo-jo, u-ta-jo / u-ta-jo-jo, we-we-si-jo / we-we-si-jo-jo, all occurring in the same documentary and formular contexts. The case of pe-ri-qo-ta / pe-ri-qo-te-jo would be anomalous, therefore, for the formular standards used by the scribes”. Moreover, the two forms are attested in two different documentary groups, distinct for scribal hand and find-spot; as a consequence, we may also admit, probably, a slight chronological gap (Greco 2010, 492-493). On the contrary, J. Bennet refers both pe-ri-qo-ta and pe-ri-qo-te-jo to a single individual (Bennet 1992, 92). As a further hypothesis, since, as mentioned above, both names share the same etymology and appear in the Knossos’ documents as collectors, A. Greco and C. J. Ruijgh (Greco 2010, 515, Ruijgh 1999, 268-272) hypothesize that these individuals were different but belonged to the same lineage.

With this important premise, it is also significant to remember that, within the D- class, texts where pe-ri-qo-te-jo appears, are considered a coherent documentary dossier, ordered by collector. Indeed, if texts from the Dagv group seem to have been written (and stored) according to a topographical criterion or, at most, based on the association of a toponym with a specific collector (Greco 2010, 71-0), the tablets where pe-ri-qo-te-jo appears were probably stored only on the basis of the name of the collector, regardless of the toponym they referred to (Firth 1998, 62, 85-86; Greco 2010, 78-79, 84-90). It is unlikely that this method of data collection will have existed in parallel with that by toponym (or by toponym + collector), but rather must be considered the product of a different level of the administrative chain. According to this, the pe-ri-qo-te-jo set would be the “product of an (archival) research work starting from the Dagv census” (Greco 2010, 88), aimed at counting the number of animals per collector. It is also likely that this thematic dossier would have been dismembered; at this point, the tablets would have returned to recompose the toponymic series from which they had been extracted and the totalling of the sheep associated with pe-ri-qo-te-jo would have been reported in one of the tablets of the Dn series.  This administrative passage is recorder in KN DN 5668 which, unlike all other tablets in the Dn series, which reports totals according to topographic sorting, bears traces of sorting by collector, and specifically of ]qo-te-jo, unanimously attributed precisely to pe-ri-qo-te-jo. Finally, it should also be noted that the quantities of herds recorded in KN Dn 5668 (3300) are far greater than those preserved in the various documents of class D- where pe-ri-qo-te-jo appears (c. 1550), a discrepancy that can be explained by assuming a loss of at least half of the texts originally present in this dossier (Greco 2010, 392-393).

.A                                               OVISm   100

.B        ru-*56-ra-so  /  pa-i-to  ,  pe-ri-qo-te-jo                [

Ru*56raso, (at) Phaistos, under the supervision of Periphontas, 100 male sheep.

Ru-*56-ra-so: masculine anthroponym in the nominative singular, hapax in the documentation from Knossos about herding; it is used to indicate the name of a shepherd (DMic. s.v.; Greco 2010, 153).

Pa-i-to: toponym, in the locative (/nominative of rubric). This is a place name of pre-Greek origin, generally interpreted as /Phaistos/ (: Φαιστόϛ). The geographical localization in the plain of the Mesara, to the south of river Ieropotamos, is unanimously accepted.

Pe-ri-qo-te-jo: masculine singular nominative adjective derived from pe-ri-qo-ta, a masculine anthroponym which in the Knossian documents designates a collector, active both in Phaistos and in other localities related to the Knossos Palace (do-ti-ja, e-ra, pa-i-to, ra-ja, ra-to, ri-jo-no, su-ri-mo, ti-ri-to, tu-ni-ja); the term collector conventionally designates a small group of officials active both in the management of flocks and in the sphere of textile production, but the data in our possession does not allow us to definitively delineate their function (Greco 2010 and class D-).

Etymon: pe-ri-qo-ta is likely a compound of περί-, from the Greek term *Περι-χwοίτας (*Περιφοίτας). However, from a phonetic point of view, *Περι-χwόντας (*Περιφόντας), *Περι-γwώτας (*Περιβώτας) and *Περι-κwόλτας (*Περιπόλτας) seem also suitable (DMic. s.v.).

⇒  Further information on LiBER

KN Da 1172 + belongs to a homogeneous group of texts, written by the scribe H 117, and measures approximately 10-14 x 2-2.5 x 1 cm (Olivier 1967).

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