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 De)

The De series comprises 47 “palm-leaf” tablets, compiled by the scribe H117 (Olivier 1967; Aurora 2015, DAMOS, Database of Mycenaean at Oslo). The tablets record rams, ewes, and missing sheep. They also record the toponym, the shepherd’s name, and the collector’s name. Typically, the data are distributed on two lines. However, there is not always a fixed order.


De 1085 +

This tablet was first attributed to the series Dv. However, it has recently been re-classified in the De series, on the basis of similarities with the content of KN De 1084 (KT VI; DMic. Sup. s.v.), although a record of missing sheep (o OVISm) – a distinctive element of the De series – is missing. The tablet is, in fact, fragmentary on the right. Therefore, it is impossible to establish which type of sheep was probably recorded after OVISm e OVISf.

The classification of this tablet in the series De remains therefore uncertain. In fact, the tablet might also fall well into the Dd or Df series (Greco 2010, 149), if the missing record of sheep were old (pa OVISm) or young (pe OVISm) respectively. However, the attestation of the collector’s name Alkaios both on KN De 1084 and on KN De 1085 + might suggest a trait d’union between these documents. For this reason, the classification of the tablet in the De series appears to be more likely.

As regards KN De 1085 +, it seems that the above-mentioned collector was probably in charge of supervising a flock consisting of 36 rams, 11 ewes, and an unknown number of sheep of unknown typology. The flock was managed by the shepherd Ki-mu-ko and was located in the Phaistos area.

.a                               a-ka-ị-jo

.b        ki-mu-ko  , / pa-i-to      OVISm   36      OVISf   11[      ]OVIS[m

Ki-mu-ko (at) Phaistòs, under the supervision of Alkaios, 36 rams, 11 ewes, x sheep (?).

Ki-mu-ko: masculine anthroponym in the nominative singular. This is the name of a shepherd at Phaistos (pa-i-to), who managed a flock under the supervision of the collector Alkaios.

The term may be considered to be a graphic variant of ki-mu-ku, the only anthroponym attested in KN Db 1327, possibly again a shepherd’s name.  However, we may notice that the toponym attested in KN Db 1327 is su-ki-ri-ta.

A-ka-i-jo: masculine anthroponym in the nominative singular, possibly *Ἀλκαῖος. This appears to be a collector’s name, the same recorded also in KN De 1084. If we add the sheep recorded in the two tablets KN De 1084 and KN De 1085 +, the total amount of animals under the supervision of Alkaios is about a hundred. Since this number is relatively low, Alkaios may be considered to be a “small” collector (Greco 2010, 60).

Etymon: this name has been interpreted as an ethnic in the light of the toponym a-ka.

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.

⇒ Further information on LiBER

The tablet KN De 1085 + 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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