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 Dv)

The Dv series comprises 280 palm-leaf tablets compiled by the scribe H 117 and deals with the inventory of the flocks of sheep of the Palace. However, it has been impossible to determine in detail the characteristics of the flocks recorded, due to the fragmentary state of the documents included in this class (Olivier 1967; Aurora 2015, DAMOSDatabase of Mycenaean at Oslo); only eight documents in this series mention the toponym pa-i-to (Phaistos) (Greco 2010, 148). In fact, the fragmentary nature of these texts allows us to formulate hypotheses concerning only the number or sex of the sheep recorded.


KN Dv 1607 +

KN Dv 1607’s text is arranged into two lines and follows a regular format like many documents written by the scribe H 117 dealing with husbandry: on the left, the fragmentary sequence ]ti-ro, larger than the other words, suggests the original presence of the shepherd’s name, while on the right there are two registers bearing information of a different nature. Indeed, the lower register contains the toponym (here, pa-i-to), while the upper one mentions the collector in charge of supervising the shepherd’s work: we-we-si-jo, who appears in the genitive singular (we-we-si-jo-jo), followed by the logograms of the sheep. It is possible to identify at least two types of animals, rams, and ewes (OVISm and OVISf), although the fragmentary nature of the text does not allow us to establish whether another type of animal was indicated on the lower register next to the toponym (Greco 2010, 149).

Although, as mentioned in the introduction (cf. Introduction to the Dv series), the fragmentary nature of the text has led scholars to place the tablet in the Dv series (KT VI s.v.), however, the way information is arranged, as well as the large unmarked space after the notation of the toponym on the lower line led Greco (Greco 2010, 149) to propose to mark this tablet as Db, following the model of documents such as KN Db 1160+, with which KN Dv 1607+ seems to share the main format.

.A        ]              we-we-si-jo     OVISm   2̣7     OVISf [

.B        ]ti-ro  /  pa-i-to                                          [

]ti-ro, (at) Phaistos, 27 rams and x ewes under the supervision of Werwesios

]ti-ro: end of an anthroponym (perhaps an hapax) in nominative singular or nominative of rubric. Although the fragmentary nature of the tablet does not allow us to know more precisely about the identity of this individual, the fact that the word is larger than the others and in the first position on the left suggests that it is the name of the shepherd who oversaw the registered animals. In addition, as Landenius-Enegren mentions, the documentation bears traces of at least two other shepherds’ names with the ending –ti-ro, although not associated with the locality of pa-i-to: ke-ti-ro, at e-ra, and a-ti-ro, who appears together with the collector ko-ma-we-to at e-ko-so (Landenius-Enegren 2008, 45).

We-we-si-jo: masculine anthroponym, in nominative 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 evidence currently available 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 is involved both in the management of large flocks as well as 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 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.

⇒ Further information on LiBER

Tablet Dv 1607+ belongs to a group of homogeneous texts compiled by scribe H 117. Therefore, it seems likely that this tablet originally measured ca. 10‒14 x 2‒2.5 x 1 cm (Olivier 1967).

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