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The Mycenaean World: Language


Admission requirements

The course is open to Master and Research Master students in Classics and Ancient Civilisations: Assyriology and Classics, as well as Research Master and PhD students associated with OIKOS.

A working knowledge of Ancient Greek (a completed language acquisitition course) is required.


Mycenaean civilization flourished in mainland Greece and the Aegean islands in the Late Bronze Age. The Mycenaeans have left behind an impressive material legacy, including the remains of mighty palaces, precious objects, decorative pottery, as well as thousands of clay tablets. These tablets, which all form part of local administrations, are written in the Linear B script, which was deciphered in 1952 by Michael Ventris. The documents are written in the Mycenaean language, an archaic form of ancient Greek.
This course gives an introduction to Mycenaean language, grammar and the Linear B script. The language will be taught in a hands-on manner, by reading a selection of prepared texts in class (partly in Linear B, partly in transliteration); in addition, students are expected to independently prepare a number of texts and articles for the exam. While close-reading the texts, we will deal with philological and interpretative problems. The course also pays attention to the linguistic relationship between Mycenaean and later Greek dialects, including the language of Homer.
It is recommended to combine this course with “The Mycenaean World: Culture”. Included in the programme are guest lectures by experts from various disciplines (history, archaeology, linguistics).

Course objectives

At the end of the course, students

  • have knowledge about the Linear B writing system (in transliterated form) and of Mycenaean phonology and morphology

  • are able to discuss the relation between Linear B script and Mycenaean phonology and morphology

  • are able to discuss the linguistic relation between Mycenaean and later forms of Greek

  • are able to translate, interpret and contextualize texts written in Mycenaean with the help of a commentary


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture/Seminar

Assessment method


  • Mid-term exam on Linear B script, phonology and morphology

  • Final exam with short open questions on prepared texts and articles


  • The mid-term exam counts for 25% of the final mark, the final exam for 75%.

  • Additional requirement: the grade of both parts must be at least 5.


There is one resit option for both parts.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

  • Y. Duhoux and A. Morpurgo Davies (eds.), A Companion to Linear B: Mycenaean Greek Texts and their World. Part 1. Louvain-la-Neuve: Peeters, 2008. (ISBN: 9789042918481)

  • Course Syllabus on spelling, phonology and morphology

  • Other articles (to be communicated at the start of the semester).


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte.
Registration Contractonderwijs.

Not applicable.


Dr. L.C. van Beek


Not applicable.