Preliminary Notes (Sd series)

The Sd series consists of 24 documents, all found in the Arsenal (Bernabé 2016b, 527), one of the deposits just outside the Palace of Knossos (Del Freo 2016, 187). This group of tablets has been almost entirely assigned to the scribal hand H 128, although the attribution of a few documents remains uncertain, due to their fragmentary nature (KN Sd 4422, 8519, 8544, 9937 and 9939) (KT VI). Sd documents are palm-leaf shaped tablets typically with no guidelines; information is provided on two writing registers. Only KN Sd 4406 (infra) and Sd 4450 have three lines; while KN Sd 4406 has a guideline dividing line 1 from lines 2a-b. With a few exceptions, this group of texts presents a fairly consistent format. The second line (.b) usually bears the noun i-qi-ja, nominative for chariot (cf. i-qo ‘horse’ /(h)i(k)kwos/: Gr. ἵππoς, but IE *ek̂u̯o-), in the lower left-hand corner; this term is usually recorded in larger character than the rest of the document and is associated with the perfect participle a-ra-ro-mo-te-me-na, indicating that the chariot is “assembled” (DMic s.vv.; Bernabé et alii 1993, 132-135; Bernabé 2016b). On the right, there is *241 CUR, which is written larger than the rest of the text. The logogram indicates that the text deals with chariots that have already been assembled although without wheels. (class S). In addition to this ‘basic core’, the texts may contain additional information: the lower line deals with the structural characteristics of the chariot, such as the presence of ivory inlays (a-ja-me-no/na e-re-pa-te) or probably the colouring in purple or vermilion (po-ni-ki-jo and mi-to-we-sa, respectively); the upper line, instead, deals with the ‘additional’ equipment provided, of various types (such as blinkers and bits, o-pi-ja-pi and o-po-qo, respectively, or the reins, a-ni-ja-pi) often made of leather (wi-ri-ni-jo) with horn or bronze decorations (ke-ra-ja-pi, ka-ke-ja-pi, respectively) (DMic s.v.l.; Bernabè et alii 1993, 141; Bernabé – Lujàn 2008; Lujàn – Bernabé 2012). In some cases, missing (but clearly expected) parts are also recorded by using the expression o-u-qe + noun’ (lit. “and (there are) not…) (Barnabé 2016b, 527). Therefore, everything written in the lower line would seem to constitute the most important data set, which is frequently transcribed slightly larger than the rest, just like the noun i-qi-ja: it has therefore been hypothesised that the documents in this series should be read from bottom to top (fig. 10).


Fig.10. KN Sd 4401 (CoMIK s.v.).

As regards terminology, the chariot description in the Sd series is considered to be the most detailed. It may also be noticed that the extremely rich vocabulary tends to be repeated rather consistently in the documents of this series. This could suggest that while writing these documents, scribe H 128 used to follow a ‘visual’ order, perhaps precisely by observing the chariots he was recording (Driessen 1995). On the one hand, mentions of toponyms are rarer: place names are attested with certainty only in three documents, namely KN Sd 4404, Sd 4407 and Sd 4413, where the words ku-do-ni-ja, se-to-i-ja and pa-i-to appear. On the other hand, the evidence might suggest that the tablets without any toponymic reference recorded chariots intended to stay in Knossos, whereas those with toponymic indications were meant to record chariots related to one of the three localities. However, it is also possible that these three tablets were the initial documents of as many groups of texts (dossiers), all aimed at recording chariots in some way related to one of the toponyms mentioned. This implies that the Sd series might have been organised into four distinct dossiers referring to four locations in the kingdom rather than – less likely – a large group of tablets devoted to Knossos and only three documents devoted to three other toponyms.

It should be noted that it is not possible to know whether the toponymic reference refers to the place where the chariots were located or to the place where they were only produced.

Thus, Lejeune, Bernabé and Duhoux hypothesise that the chariots probably came from the recorded place names and were destined for storage in Knossos (Lejeune 1968; Aspects, 99; Barnabé et alii 1993). Driessen suggests instead that the chariots were sent to pa-i-to, se-to-i-ja and ku-do-ni-ja (Driessen 1995, 486, 492, but see also Killen 2008, 178 n.46), perhaps as a means of prestige, as suggested by the presence of the rich decorations mentioned above (Killen 2001, 168-169).


KN Sd 4406

KN Sd 4406 is the right-hand fragment of a palm leaf-shaped tablet, and it is the only one in the series with information organised on three lines with ruling. However, it should be noted that words written on line 2a are considerably much smaller than the rest of the text and that the space occupied by this line is not defined by rulings, as is the case of lines 1 and 2b. Hence, it is possible that this entry was added between lines 2b and 1 because there was insufficient space: it is no coincidence that information on line 2a completes what is recorded on line 1, as a comparison with other complete texts in the series confirms (see, e.g., KN Sd 4413.a a-ra-ru-]ja , a-ni-ja-pi , wi-ri-ni-jo , o-po-qo , ke-ra-ja-pi , o-pi-i-ja-pi).

This is confirmed also by the fact that KN Sd 4406 conforms to the other documents of the group in terms of the information it conveys and its mise en page: at the bottom, the presence of the perfect participle a-ra-ro-mo-te-me-na /ararmotmenā/, “assembled” (cf. ἁρμόττω, ἁρμόζω) suggests that the lower line dealt with the structural characteristics of the chariot, while the attestation of wi-ri-ni-jo o-po-qo ke-ra-ja-pi o-pi-ja-pi suggests that the accessory elements were accounted for the upper part of the document. In particular, it is also possible to ‘restore’ the entries a-ra-ru-ja and a-ni-ja-pi in this section of the document because, in the texts of the series, the instrumental o-po-qo (blinkers) usually goes with the participle a-ra-ru-ja, (“equipped with…) and implies the presence of reins (a-pi-ja-piDMic s.v.l. and supra Sd series). In Line 2b, with the exception of the term i-qi-ja, which is always attested in the texts of the series and in the same position (larger, at the left margin of the document), the information is not attested as consistently elsewhere in this group of texts. Indeed, although the same lemmas are repeated throughout the ‘structural section’ of the chariot, they do not all appear together, and the presence of one or two of them often implies the absence of others (supra, Series Sd and Bernabé 2016b). In this matter, the syllabogram –to in fracture deserves special attention: analysing the other toponyms attested in the series, the only entry that could complete this sign is pa-i-to, attested also in KN Sd 4413; assuming this, KN Sd 4406 could also be considered among the documents written by H 128 and aimed at accounting for chariots related to the locality of pa-i-to /Phaistos/ (cf. supra – introduction to the Sd series and Bernabé 2016b, n.96).

.1        ]wi-ri-ni-jo  ,  o-po-qo  ,                  [

.2a      ]   ke-ra-ja-pi  ,  o-pi-i-ja-pi     CUR[

.2b      ]-to  ,  a-ra-ro-mo-te-me-na  ,         [


.1-2a (chariot?? fitted with) leather blinkers, bone??horn??  bite

2b. (from/to) Phaistos ?, assembled/mounted


wi-ri-ni-jo (varr. wi-ri-ne-jo/wi-ri-ne-o): adjective used to qualify the material whose o-po-qo (infra) is made of. It is generally interpreted as /wrinios/ ‘made of leather’ (cf. Hom. ῥίνεον DMic s.v.).

o-po-qo: this term may appear in documents of the Sd series accompanied with adjectives such as wi-ri-ni-jo/wi-ri-ne-jo (supra) or e-re-pa-te-jo/e-re-pa-te-o (Gr. ἐλεφάντειος, “of ivory”, according to DMic). It is interpreted as /opōkwois/ the instrumental (ὀπί + ὠπ- < *ōkw-) which means “with blinkers” (DMic s.v.l.). The term is usually associated to the perfect participle a-ra-ru-ja (- implicitly chariot – “provided with/equipped with”) which is normally attested in the documents of the series and, for this reason, expected to be at the beginning of line 1, although it is unfortunately not preserved in the present text (DMic s.v.).

ke-ra-ja-pi: adjective used to qualify the material (o-pi-ja-pi infra). It means made “of horn” cf.  /keras-/ “horn” (DMic s.v.).

o-pi-i-ja-pi: instrumental plural of a compound (o-pi– cf. ὀπί, ἐπί) of more difficult interpretation, prob. “attachments (on top) to the reins” (*ἵα, cf. ἱμάς “leather strap”, Skt. sīma-).

-to: may represents what remains of pa-i-to (perhaps in the locative case or in the nominative of rubric), as in KN Sd 4413. This is a place name of pre-Greek origin, generally interpreted as /Phaistos/ (: Φαιστόϛ). Its geographical localization in the plain of the Mesara, to the south of river Ieropotamos, is unanimously accepted.

a-ra-ro-mo-te-me-na: this is the most important word in the entire tablet and is usually included in the Sd series texts. A-ra-ro-mo-te-me-na would seem to be aimed at making explicit the information already conveyed by the logogram CUR. The term is interpreted as the perfect participle   /ararmotmenā/, in the light of Gr. ἁρμόττω, “mounted”, “assembled” (DMic s.v.l.); a-na-mo-to, “unassembled”, is attested instead in the Sf series (DMic s.v.l.).

⇒ Further information on LiBER

KN Sd 4406 is the preserved left side of a palm leaf-shaped tablet; the fragment measures 80.4 mm in length, 32.1 mm in height, and 13.5 mm in thickness (the measurements were taken by the pa-i-to/Phaistos Project team at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum in June 2019).

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