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Changing NamesTradition and Innovation in Ancient Greek Onomastics$
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Robert Parker

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266540

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266540.001.0001

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Greek or Minoan? Names and Naming Habits in the Aegean Bronze Age

Greek or Minoan? Names and Naming Habits in the Aegean Bronze Age

(p.21) 2 Greek or Minoan? Names and Naming Habits in the Aegean Bronze Age
Changing Names

Torsten Meißner

British Academy

The decipherment of Linear B in 1952 has added a completely new historical dimension to the study of Greek personal names. Due to the administrative nature of the texts, the Linear B documents provide ample evidence for personal names at the end of the Aegean Bronze Age. Much of the research has focussed on interpreting and etymologising individual names, a task made difficult, and to some extent uncontrollable, by the nature of the script that renders the Greek language less precisely than the later alphabetic script. The criteria to identify and therefore define a personal name in Linear B is examined and some common interpretations are questioned on this basis. Naming habits and name structures are also examined and compared to the situation in the first millennium, and the differences between the two periods are highlighted. This article argues that any overarching account of personal names in Mycenaean Greek needs to be sensitive to the different sites and find spots of Linear B documents, and therefore to the historical and social contexts reflected in the texts. The main aims of this article are both methodological and practical and can form the basis for future work in this area.

Keywords:   Mycenaean onomastics, Linear B, Linear A, Minoan language, Knossos, Pylos

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