X 697

The tablet KN X 697 was found in the “Northwest Passage” (findspot: F 19), which is part of the northern portion of the great corridor connecting the West Magazines of the Palace of Knossos. This fragmentary tablet shows no logograms and cannot be traced back to a specific documentary class – this is, in fact, a common feature in Series X. The scribal hand is unknown. However, this document differs from others (KN X 7629) since what remains of the inscription running two lines appears to be interesting enough as to formulate several observations on its content.

In the upper part, the toponym pa-i-to and the term ko-we-ja – presumably, an adjective describing a group of workers – are preserved.

Melena (1975) hypothesized that these could be female workers in the charge of a palace officer (as regards, in particular, the role of the collector and suggested an interpretation of the term as a der., in the light of ko-wo, cf. ko-we, ]ko-we-jo (?) (the term ]ko-we-jo  is attested on KN Dk(1) 925, Dq(3) 445) in the ambit of recordings of rams (OVISm); see Olivier 2001, Greco 2010). John Killen and other scholars (Docs.2, Killen 1983a, Landenius Enegren 2008, Rougemont 2009) basically shared the same general view on the fact the these could be female workers, although they suggested that ko-we-ja was most probably a variant spelling of ko-ru-we-ja, fem. pl. adj. referred to female workers of the textile industry. Ko-ru-we-ja occurs on KN L(6) 472, where the ligature TELA+PU describing  pu-ka-ta-ri-ja (/puktaliai/ cloth “of double thickness, folded”) is also attested (DMic s.v., Nosch 2010). As emphasized by Rougemont (Rougemont 2009), this interpretation is supported also by the fact that the findspot of the tablet, deposit F 19, is precisely part of the West Magazines, the area which have yielded most of the documents concerning the textile production of the Palace.

In the lower part of the tablet, it is interesting to find a-nu-to-jo, prob. gen. of MN a-nu-to. The anthroponym a-nu-to is in fact attested in KN As(2) 1516, where the fragmentary form  ]ti-jo is also preserved. As regards the restoration of this term, several hypotheses have so far been formulated. If – among other interpretations – pa-i-]ti-jo should possibly be correct, then it would be interesting to notice another possible relation between Phaistos and a-nu-to  (Greco 2018, 118; however, as for other interpretations see KT VI, 25).

The importance of a-nu-to might be supported also by the recurrence of the term on 5 stirrup-jars from Tyrinth (TI Z 8, TI Z 54) and Thebes (TH Z 863-865 e TH Z 961) (Sacconi 1974 e 2018).

The stirrup-jars (also known as false-neck amphorae) belong to a category of vessels of various sizes which were used for trading liquid commodities, such as olive oil or wine. They often bear inscriptions in Linear B on their belly or shoulder. These inscriptions were typically painted before firing with the same paint used for the decoration of the vessel.

Inscribed stirrup jars normally show short and standardized texts. These may fall into two main classes: longer and more articulated texts may include an anthroponym + a toponym/ethnic + another anthroponym in the genitive case / the adjective wa-na-ka-te-ro (“belonging to the wanax”) or its abbreviation wa; shorter and simpler texts generally include only a single term – this may be a toponym, or – more frequently – an anthroponym  (Van Alfen 2008, 235-242; Zurbach 2016, 613-614), such as a-nu-to.

The same anthroponyms may appear in different contexts. However, it is not always possible to establish whether we are simply in the presence of homonymy, or they actually refer to the same individuals.

.1        ko-we-ja  /  pa-i-to[

.2        a-nu-to-jo  ,        [


Koweja/ women of kowa at Phaistos

of Anutos 


ko-we-ja: feminine plural adjective probably designating a group of female workers involved in the textile industry. This form may be a variant spelling of ]ko-ru-we-ja, fem. pl. adj., cf. also ko-ro-we-ja (DMic s.v.; Docs.2; Killen 1983a; Landenius Enegren 2008; Rougemont 2009). According to another hypothesis, it might be interpreted in the light of a collector’s name *ko-we. Within this view, ko-we-ja would be the women belonging to (the collector) ko-we (Melena 1975).


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.


a-nu-to-jo: masculine anthroponym a-nu-to in the singular genitive case.
Etymon: Prob. /Anutos/, Ἂνυτος, cf. ἄνυμι “to bring to an end, to accomplish.

‘Palm-leaf’ tablet in a fragmentary state. Incomplete on the right. The tablet fragment measures ca. 5.17 x 2.65 x 1.24 cm.

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