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 rams and ewes (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 numerical entry, while a toponym appears in the lower section.  (Greco 2010, 148).


Preliminary Notes (series Db)

The documents of the series Db record both rams and ewes (these are represented by logograms OVISm and OVISf). Among the 92 documents in this series, compiled by scribe, H 117 (Olivier 1967; Aurora 2015, DAMOS, Datatabes of Mycenaean at Oslo), only five mention the toponym pa-i-to (Phaistos).


Dn 1160 +

Db 1160 + shows a common structure: it typically presents on the left a shepherd’s name in larger characters (a-qe-mo), the inscription then continues on the right on two lines; the top line contains a collector’s name in the genitive case (we-we-si-jo-jo), followed by logograms for sheep and the related numerals; a toponym (pa-i-to) regularly appears in the lower section.

This text records rams and ewes managed by the shepherd a-qe-mo, at Phaistos, under the supervision of we-we-si-jo (Werwesios), one of the most important collectors of Knossos (as for the role of collectors): this functionary occurs in the archive of Knossos no less than forty times, and it would seem that he dealt with both the management of flocks and the textile production. It seems likely that he was in charge of many ateliers of weavers and cloth-workers. His figure appears therefore to be distinct from other collectors. It seems, in fact, that he may have managed not only sheep breeding but also wool collection and the production of textiles and luxury garments.

The anthroponym a-qe-mo is a hapax (perhaps /Agwhermos/ (?) from PIE *gwher (?) (Melena 2014, 33; but see DMic s.v. a-qe-mo for other tentative hypotheses). However, it is interesting to note that ]mo occurs on Dv 5075. This is a shepherd’s name and it is therefore not excluded that it might be the same as in Db 1160 +.

The tablets were compiled by the same scribe (H 117), they mention the same toponym pa-i-to (Phaistos) and the same collector, we-we-si-jo. It seems, therefore, that the shepherds mentioned in these tablets worked in the same place and under the supervision of the same collector (Landenius-Enegren 1999, 55). On the other hand, this might be also a coincidence, since we-we-si-jo and pa-i-to recur very often; on Dv 5075 no numerical entries are preserved and the tablet is too fragmentary to allow us to establish a certain relation between the two texts (Greco 2010, 153).

.A                            we-we-si-jo-jo   ,̣  OVISm   94̣     ỌṾỊṢf   6̣[

.B        a-qe-mo  /  pa-i-to                 [


A-qe-mo (at) Phaistos, under the supervision of Werwesios, 94̣ rams 6̣[ ewes


A-qe-mo: anthroponym in the nominative singular, prob. a hapax (but see below). This is the name of a shepherd at Phaistos (pa-i-to). A parallel might be offered by Dv 5075, where the end of a shepherd’s name, ]mo, is preserved (Landenius-Enegren 1999, 55). However, on the basis of currently available evidence, it seems safer, for now, to suspend our judgement on the identification of the shepherd on these tablets, considering the fragmentary state of Dv 5075 (Greco 2010, 153).

Etymon: anthroponym of uncertain interpretation, perhaps /Agwhermos/ (?) < PIE *gwher (?) (Melena 2014, 33; but see DMic s.v. a-qe-mo for other tentative hypotheses).


We-we-si-jo-jo: masculine anthroponym, in the genitive singular, of a collector. The term collector denotes a small group of functionaries involved in the management of both flocks of sheep and textile production. The currently available evidence does not allow us to investigate the functions of this figure more in depth (Greco 2010). However, as regards we-we-si-jo, it seems clear that he was one of the most important collectors; in fact, he was involved both in the management of large flocks and the sector of wool production and weaving, and it seems likely that he managed a very large area in central-southern Crete, especially at Phaistos.

Etymon: the interpretation of this name as, possibly, /Werwesios/, in the light of Hom. εἶρος  ‘wool’, is of special interest, considering his involvement in the management both of large numbers of animals and the activity of wool weaving and production.


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

The tablet Da 1164 + belongs to a group of highly homogeneous texts compiled by scribe H 117. It measures ca. 10-14 x 2-2.5 x 1 cm (Olivier 1967).

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