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 Dd)

The Dd series includes 48 palm-leaf tablets written by the scribe H 117 (Olivier 1967; Aurora 2015, DAMOS, Database of Mycenaean at Oslo). They record rams, ewes and old sheep. The first word of the text is the shepherd’s name, written in a larger size, while the following part of text is smaller and arranged in two lines. On the upper line, the name of the collector is recorded, while, on the lower one, the place name. The logograms are distributed on two lines: the male and female animals on the upper one and the old animals on the lower one. There are, however, two exceptions: KN Dd 1342 e KN Dd 1468+. In the first tablet, rams are recorded using a larger logogram, while ewes and old sheep are written smaller and on two registers. In KN Dd 1468+, the text is written on only one line.

The distinction between adults and old animals is interesting. The difference seems to be related to the productivity of the animals. In modern times, sheep are productive for breeding to about 4-5 years, and maximum to 7 years for wool production. In Mycenaean times, as living condition would have been less favourable, the sheep would have been exploited up to 5-6 years and then considered old and destined for slaughter (Halstead 1999, 153-154; Greco 2002, 218). Similarly, in the Ancient Near East some Neo-Babylonian texts record sheep too old for breeding and therefore intended for sale or slaughter (Greco 2010, 54-55).


Dd 1342 +

KN Dd 1342 records a flock located at Phaistos, under the supervision of ]ra-to-jo. The personal name of the shepherd responsible is not preserved. Instead, the place name (pa-i-to) and the collector’s name, which may be integrated as we-]ra-to-jo (Landenius Enegren 2008, 56; Rougemont 2009, 438-439), are known. The two words lie on two registers, respectively upper and lower, consistent with the standard formula of the Dd-series texts.

The flock consisted of 267 rams (OVISm), 30 ewes (OVISf) and 3 old animals (pa OVISm). The former are indicated using a larger logogram and numbers, while the other two are recorded using smaller signs, distributed over two lines.

.A        ]ra-to-jo                                  OVISf   30

.B        ]pa-i-to      OVISm   267     pa   OVISm   3

(At) Phaistos, under the supervision of ]ra-to-jo, 267 rams, 30 ewes, 3 old animals.

]ra-to-jo: male personal name of a collector, in the nominative singular. The collectors were a small group of officials active both in the management of flocks and in the sphere of textile production, but data in our possession does not allow us to definitively delineate their function (Greco 2010 and class D-). As for ]ra-to-jo, if we consider the name as complete, this seems to be attested perhaps also on the fragment Dv 9603+, where only the syllabograms ]ra-to[ are visible in association with signs traceable to pa-i-to. ]ra-to-jo can be interpreted as the masculine name we-]ra-to-jo, to be connected, perhaps, to the adjective we-ra-ti/te-ja, which indicates “the women of we-ra-to” in KN Ak(3) 784 and KN Ap(1) 618 (Landenius Enegren 2008, 56; Rougemont 2009, 438-439).

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.

pa: determinative, acrophonic abbreviation of pa-ra-jo, corresponding to the Greek adjective παλαιός, -α, -ον, ‘old’, often in opposition with ne-wo, νεός, -α, -ον, ‘new’. When it precedes OVISm, it specifies the sheep which had passed the productive age and, therefore, were sold or slaughtered (Halstead 1999, 153-154; Greco 2002, 218).


⇒  Further information on LiBER

The tablet KN Dd 1342 belongs to a homogeneous group of texts compiled by scribe H 117. It measures about 10-14 x 2-2.5 x 1 cm (Olivier 1967).

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