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 4413

KN Sd 4413 is a partially fragmentary palm-leaf-shaped tablet organised on two lines of writing without ruling. The tablet comes from the Arsenal (L) and was written by scribe H 128.

As already mentioned for KN Sd 4406, KN Sd 4413 matches the other documents in the series as concerns the subject matter and the organisation of the written information. Indeed, in the lower left corner the term i-qi-ja appears. It is a nominative referring to the chariot, which, as we have already seen, is almost always present in this group of texts (see above, Sd series). This term is followed by the toponym pa-i-to (Phaistos), probably the place from where the chariots were sent or their final destination, and the perfect participle a-ra-ro-mo-te-me-na (/ararmotmenā/, gr. *ἀραρμμοτμένα < ἁρμότω), mounted or assembled, which suggests that the chariots were already assembled, as demonstrated also by the presence of the cur logogram on the right. The mention of a-ra-ro-mo-te-me-na also ensures that the lower line contained information about the wagon’s structural characteristics: not by chance, the term is followed by i-qo-e-qe (gr. ἵππος + ἕπομαι, cf. DMic s.v.) do-we-jo (gr. *δόρϝειος > δούρειος, from δόρυ, of wood, cf. DMic s.v.), most likely a wooden pole-stay (Crouwel 1981, 93-96), and po-ni-ki-ja, that informs about the colouring of the recorded artefacts (gr. φοινίκιος, purple; on this, DMic s.v. and above Sd series).

Like most of the texts in the series, also in KN Sd 4413 the upper line bears information about the ‘additional’ equipment of the chariot. Indeed, the sequence ‘a-ra-ru-]ja a-ni-ja-pi wi-ri-ni-jo o-po-qo ke-ra-ja-pi o-pi-i-ja-pi‘ informs that the chariots were equipped (a-ra-ru-ja) with reins (a-ni-ja-pi), leather blinkers (wi-ri-ni-jo o-po-qo) and a horn bite (ke-ra-ja-pi o-pi-ja-pi) (for the terms mentioned in this paragraph, see DMic s. vv. and above Sd series).

.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       cur[

.b              i-]q̣ị-ja  , / pa-i-to  ,  a-ra-ro-mo-te-me-na  , do-we-jo  ,  i-qo-e-qe  ,  po-ni-ki[-ja

.b Chariots: to/ from Phaistos, assembled, purple, with horizontal wooden axle

.a equipped with reins, leather blinkers, horn bite. CHARIOTS x.

a-ra-ru-ja: feminine perfect participle concordant with i-qi-ja (infra) and unanimously interpreted as ἀραρυῖα (<*ararusya, cf. ἀραρίσκω), with the meaning of ‘provided with…’ (DMic s.v.).

a-ni-ja-pi: this term has been interpreted as a Mycenaean rendering of the Greek ἡνίαι, reins (DMic s.v.). It occurs in the series in the instrumental case headed by a-ra-ru-ja (supra; the only exception being KN Sd 4402, 4422 and 4426, where it is attested in the nominative case).

wi-ri-ni-jo (variants wi-ri-ne-jo/wi-ri-ne-o): adjective used to qualify the material which 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 the instrumental of the terms /opōkwois/ (ὀπί + ὠπ- < *ōkw-) and 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 this 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 difficult interpretation, prob. “attachments (on top) to the reins” (*ἵα, cf. ἱμάς “leather strap”, Skt. sīma-).

i-qi-ja: nominative of rubric usually transcribed in the lower right-hand corner of the tablet and larger than the rest of the text. The term is universally interpreted as a Mycenaean rendering of the Greek ἱππία (< *ikkwia), chariot (see also i-qo ‘horse /(h)i(k)kwos/: gr. ἵππoς, but IE *ek̂u̯o-) (DMic. s.v.). This record is accompanied by the logogram cur in the Sd series and caps in the Sf series.

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.

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 carried by the logogram CUR. The term is interpreted as the perfect participle   *ἀραρμοτμένα, /ararmotmenā/, derived from Gr. ἁρμόττω, “mounted”, “assembled” (DMic s.v.l.); a-na-mo-to, “unassembled”, is attested instead in the Sf series (DMic s.v.l.).

do-we-jo: adjective used to qualify a material, interpreted as the Mycenaean rendering of the Greek δούρειος, of wood (<*δόρϝειος, cf. δόρυ) (DMic s.v.). The term always appears together with i-qo-e-qe (infra) probably to qualify it.

i-qo-e-qe: singular masculine noun in the instrumental case headed by a-ra-ru-ja (supra); the term is a compound derived from the union of the noun ἵππος and the verb ἕπομαι (cf. /hikkwohekwei/, lit. follow-horse). Therefore, it has been interpreted either as the helm of the chariot or as pole-stay, i.e. the horizontal axis joining the end of the helm to which the yoke is attached to the top of the caisson (DMic s.v.; Crouwel 1981; Bernabé – Lujàn 2008, 208; Del Freo – Perna 2016b, 762). In any case, it must have been a component made of wood since the term is always qualified by do-we-jo (supra).

po-ni-ki-ja: feminine adjective in the nominative related to i-qi-ja (supra), hence the interpretation with φοινίκιος, purple. In the series, the term is used to specify the colouring of the chariot (DMic s.v.).

⇒ Further information on LiBER

KN Sd 4413 is a palm leaf-shaped tablet, almost entirely preserved (the document is fragmentary only at the left and right ends); it measures 142.8 mm in length, 36 mm in height and 24.5 mm in thickness (measures takenby the pa-i-to/phaistos Project team in June 2019 at the Heraklion Museum).

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