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, DAMOS, Database 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.


Da 5075

The tablet Dv 5075 shows analogous characteristics to the other tablets compiled by H 117 dealing with the flocks of sheep of the Palace. The text structure is common: in fact, the tablet typically presents on the left what remains of a shepherd’s name – ]mo –, further pieces of information are provided on the right on two lines. A toponym (pa-i-to) appears, in the locative case, in the lower section, followed by o, the acrophonic abbreviation for o-pe-ro, /ophelos/, “deficit” (DMic s.v.) and, originally by the logogram OVISm (raws); the top line contains a collector’s name (we-we-si-jo) followed the logogram by OVISm (rams). The numerical entries which normally follow the logograms are not preserved.

It is interesting to note that the collector we-we-si-jo, Werwesios, must have been one of the most important functionaries of Knossos (as regards the role of collectors). He occurs in the archive no less than forty times, and it would seem that he dealt with both the management of flocks and the production and collection of wool (cf. KN Od 502). 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 both the palatial interests and his own, controlling the whole production chain from sheep breeding and wool collection to the final fabrication of luxury garments.

Although a parallel might be offered by the anthroponym a-qe-mo (Db 1160 +) (Landenius-Enegren 1999, 55), the shepherd’s name recorded in this tablet cannot be determined with certainty, due to the fragmentary state of the text (Greco 2010, 153).

One may infer that the tablet originally recorded a shepherd, whose name has now been lost (perhaps a-qe-mo?) and who was in charge of managing a flock of rams under the direct control of a collector, we-we-si-jo, and that at the time when the tablet was compiled there was a deficit of sheep.

.A        ]             we-we-si-jo     OVISm

.B        ]mo  /  pa-i-to  ,                              o   ỌṾỊṢ[m



]mo, (at) Phaistos, under the supervision of Werwesios, rams … , a deficit of raws ….


]mo: end of an anthroponym in the nominative singular (nom. of rub.). Although the fragmentary nature of the text does not allow us to formulate hypotheses about the identity of this individual, it is interesting to note that a shepherd called a-qe-mo, attested on Db 1160 + (Landenius-Enegren 1999, 55), is known to have managed a flock at Phaistos under the control of the same collector we-we-si-jo (Greco 2010).

We-we-si-jo: masculine anthroponym, in the 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 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 is 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.

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.

o: acrophonic abbreviation for o-pe-ro, a noun normally recorded in the nominative singular and generally interpreted in the light of Gr. ὄφελος /ophelos / meaning “deficit” cf. Gr. ὀφέλλω (eol.) / ὀφείλω (Att.), “to be due”.

The tablet Dv 5075 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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