Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2014.12.19

Harald Bichlmeier, Studien zur Verwendung der Lokalpartikeln im Mykenischen.   Wiesbaden:  Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 2014.  Pp. 152.  ISBN 9783954900121.  €39.00.  

Reviewed by José Miguel Jiménez Delgado, Universidad de Sevilla (

Table of Contents

This book is a lexicographic monograph on the so-called local particles in Mycenaean Greek. While some syntactic uses have been taken into consideration because local particles function as adverbs and prepositions, most of the text is devoted to their appearance in compounds. The occurrences, different possibilities of interpretation, and bibliographical references are systematically collected under each particle and are analysed in alphabetical order. At the end of the book, the results are arranged by function and particle. There are also complete indices of cited bibliography, Mycenaean words, and texts.

The introduction (“Forschungsstand”) is limited to an explanation of what is meant by “local particle” and to a description of the problems related to the shortcomings of Linear B for rendering Greek. A brief summary of the organisation of the book is also provided. The status quaestionis, strictly speaking, is reduced to some bibliographical references appearing in notes which are not discussed.

The book is mostly devoted to the appearance of the local particles in compounds, which amount to at least 90% of their occurrences in Mycenaean Greek. Adverbs and prepositions are not frequent in Mycenaean texts. Nevertheless, this is a very important issue for the study of Ancient Greek given that Mycenaean data confirm to a certain extent what we can deduce from Homer: prepositions are ancient adverbs that became associated with a noun. In this regard, it is regrettable that some examples are missing, namely, three probable examples of u-po used as a preposition: u-po ka-ro (PY Ub 1318.6), u-po we-e-wi-ja (PY Ub 1318.6), and u-]po ka-*56-ṣọ (KH Ar 4.1). Furthermore, one should observe that /hupo/ is not included in the list of prepositions offered in the final chapter (§24.1), and that /apo/ and /eks/ are included amongst adverbs, though that is not the case, see §§6.2 and 9.2 respectively.

Moreover, some of the particles studied prove difficult to classify as local. The adverb ἅμα, mostly temporal, albeit admitting also a local sense, can be used as an improper preposition with dative, yet it is not productive in verbal and/or nominal composition. The adverb ἔτι is not a local particle in Greek no matter what its etymological origin may be. It is never used as a preposition, and it is quite rare in composition. The same can be said of καί. The case of u-pi- is more difficult since there is no alphabetic parallel: its only occurrence in a gentilic designation (u-pi-ja-ki-ri-jo) makes it difficult to decide whether we have to analyse the first member of the compound as (h)upi- or (h)up-. A prehellenic origin is also possible. Finally, the accentuation of ἔν is unknown in Greek, and ἔξ is only accented in anastrophe.

One of the most remarkable features of this book is the author’s thoroughness in handling the different possibilities of interpreting each item. It is easy not to agree with the author in all cases since a number of them are quite elusive. Some of the discrepancies have been listed in the appendix below.

The bibliography is very complete and up-to-date even though the number of references in Mycenaean studies has become so considerable that it is difficult to know all of them. Perpillou’s study of the prepositions in Mycenaean, including their use in composition, is lacking.1 Also missing are Bernabé’s proposal for interpreting a-pi-qo-to2 as well as Melena’s recent papers on the untransliterated syllabograms.3 The book is very nicely edited, though it is not without mistakes and typos.4

Despite the problems discussed above, which are much less troubling than they might seem, this is a very interesting book in which the author exhibits an impressive knowledge of Mycenology as well as Greek and IE linguistics. I highly recommend it to those interested in Mycenaean Greek and/or in any IE branch.


- the transition glide (cf. pa-ki-ja-si /sphagii̯ānsi/) was probably a graphic device to distinguish the absence of aspiration;
- the use of ra2 to render -rr- (n. 109) is deduced from a-ke-ra2-te, an aorist participle belonging to the paradigm of ἀγγέλλω or ἀγείρω in which the group liquid + sibilant might have evolved into ll or rr according to Ruipérez (in Acta Mycenaea I), but if ra2 renders a geminate this must be a palatalised one;
- in the author’s opinion, a-pu-ke contains apocopated ἀνα- before an obstruent (p. 14), but this is quite strange in Mycenaean;
- ki-ri-ta is interpreted in the singular /krithān/ (p. 15), although κριθή tends to be plurale tantum in alphabetic Greek;
- the sibilant is usually represented in Linear B before m, therefore a-pu-do-mo is unexpected instead of a-pu-do-so-mo despite the author’s opinion (p. 28);
- e-sa-pa-ke-me-na /en(s)-spargmenā/ would be a perfect participle without augment (p. 37); the augment is facultative in aorist forms, although it is necessary to mark this form of σπάργω (cf. σπάρξαν in h.Ap. 121) as perfect (note the irregular rendering of the sibilant before an obstruent to distinguish this sort of reduplication);
- it is rather improbable that e-ke-se-si is a dat. sing. (p. 44), in that case *e-ke-se-si-je would be expected;
- “Und der Sasāwōn…” (n. 452) is an inaccurate translation due to the fact that the copulative particle -qe is postposed to the verb e-ke in the original text;
- the meaning of o-pi + dat. must be related to ἐπί + dat. (p. 47), so that o-pi + personal name in dat. most probably refers to the person in charge, cf. Pi. P. 8.76 τὰ δ’οὐκ ἐπ’ ἀνδράσι κεῖται;
- o-pi … qe-to-ro-po-pi o-ro-me-no is probably not an instance of tmesis (p. 51), cf. e-pi i-ku-wo-i-pi (KN V 280.15), in which e-pi is construed with a noun taking -pi;
- o-pi-de-so-mo is interpreted as dat. pl. (p. 52) although it could perfectly well be a collective singular or even nom. pl.;
- the transposition of the aspiration, cf. o-pi-ja-ro /op(h)i-i̯alos/ (p. 53), is more likely to be post-Mycenaean, otherwise *o-pa-ro would be expected, cf. ἔφαλος;
- o-pi-ke-wi-ri-je-u cannot be an adjective (p. 55) since the suffix -ēu- only forms substantives;
- e-pi-qo-i /ep(h>i-(h)ikku̯oi̯hi/ (p. 57) cannot conceal an aspiration, which is secondary in the case of ἵππος (< IE * h1eḱu̯o-), otherwise *e-pi-i-qo-i would be expected;
- Dunkel’s hypothesis, in which some alphabetic insurmountable exceptions to the expected results of the first compensatory lengthening are Mycenaean archaisms, supposes that the Mycenaean evolution of the consonantal groups concerned was the lengthening of the preceding vowel, cf. ὦμος (n. 592), although the author seems to favour Ruipérez’s hypothesis, whereby the Mycenaean stage was the lengthening of the sonorant;
- anastrophe is unknown in Mycenaean texts, even in the case of e-ne-ka, so the postposition of pa-ro is rather unexpected (n. 753);
- the translation of u-po-o-pa ‘für opa’ (p. 91) is very strange; u-po does not indicate purpose but obligation (‘under opa’).

Furthermore, in some cases, certain interpretations are clearly unnecessary. Theoretically, they are possible but rather remote:

- this is the case with u-me-ta-qe-a-po (p. 26) where the interpretation of -a-po as a preposition ending in ō is completely out of place: it is not attested in alph. Greek; the adduced parallels are adverbs (κάτω, ἄνω); and anastrophe is not proper to Mycenaean texts;
- the verb form e-ke-jo-to can hardly be a future form (p. 36) considering that the future suffix -s- does not undergo aspiration in Mycenaean, cf. -a-se-so-si (PY Cn 608.1), do-se (PY Un 718.3.9), and do-so-si (PY Jn 829.1);
- the verbal adjective e-ka-te-re-ta cannot be related to ἐξαρθρέω (p. 37) -*e-ka-sa-te-re-ta would then be expected- nor can it be a compound of ἐν + κατά + τρητός since in that case *e-ka-ta-te-re-ta would be expected;
- as the author himself points out (p. 58), e-po-me-ne-u cannot be related to ἕπομαι since it does not contain a labiovelar.

In other cases, the context clearly precludes certain interpretations:

- a-re-sa-ni-e as a personal verb form (p. 37) in the same entry where a-pe-e-ke (= ἀφῆκε) appears;
- o-pi-ra-i-ja as a feminine occupational term (p. 54) in a series (PY Cn) where there is no other comparable instance;
- e-pi-qo-ra2 as an appellative (p. 56) despite the fact that it belongs to a list of place names;
- po-ro-e-ko-to as a personal verb form (p. 84) whose meaning (‘erreichte’) does not match what we expect to be recorded on a nodule;
- po-ro-ko-re-te as unrelated to ko-re-te (p. 87);
- po-ro-wi-to as something different from a month name (p. 88) although it is used to date some PY Fr tablets and appears as a temporal genitive in PY Tn 316.

A few interpretations are missing, some published after the book appeared:

- in a-mo-i-je-to (p. 8), a-mo- can also be interpreted as the pendant of alph. Greek ἁρμοῖ ‘just, lately, at once, tightly’;
- it would be possible to interpret a-po-te-ro-te (p. 25) as a locative in -thei (cf. alph. Greek -θι);
- ku-ta-ti-ja is the gentilic of ku-ta-to which has been associated with the Cretan place name Κύταιον, so that /kutatiā/ without the sibilant after u is preferable (p. 26);
- according to the contexts in which it appears, te-ko-to-(n)a-pe is interpretable as a place name (p. 29);
- the reading a-ti-ja-[ on MY X 1.1 (p. 32) has been updated to a-ti-ja-ṭị[, cf. Pasiphae 6, 2012, pp. 47-58;
- e-we-pe-se-so-me-na could also contain the future middle participle of ἕψω ‘to boil’ (p. 38), which is attested in alph. Greek;
- regarding e-ke-ra2-wo (p. 39), apart from other interpretations collected in DMic., there is a new proposal published by García-Ramón;5
- in the case of ku-su-to-ro-qa (p. 71), a new paper by Duhoux should be added,6 but especially its probable connection to alph. Greek συστροφή;
- in the case of do-ro-jo-jo (n. 758), the possibility of a dittography must be taken into consideration, given that it would otherwise represent the only case of a genitive dependent on the preposition pa-ro, which is systematically construed with dative in Mycenaean texts;
- (po-ro-)ko-re-te (p. 87) has also been related to κορέω;
- po-so-po-re-i (p. 90) could also be a derivative of ὠφελέω;
- u-po-di-jo-no (p. 92) is difficult to interpret; I wonder whether it may be related to δίεμαι.


1.   Jean-Louis Perpillou, Essais de lexicographie en grec ancien, 2004, pp. 129-188.
2.   Alberto Bernabé, “Hom. ἀμφίβροτος y mic. a-pi-qo-to, ¿un caso de etimología popular?”, in L. Gil et al. (ed.), Corolla Complutensis. In memoriam J. S. Lasso de la Vega contexta, 1998, pp. 39-48, available at
3.   José Luis Melena, “Filling gaps in the Mycenaean Linear B additional syllabary: the case of syllabogram *34”, available for download at here, in A. Martínez et al. (eds.), Ágalma. Ofrenda desde la Filología Clásica a Manuel García Teijeiro, 2014, pp. 207-226; “Filling gaps in the basic Mycenaean syllabary”, in A. Bernabé & E. R. Luján (eds.), Donum Mycenologicum. Studies in honour of Francisco Aura Jorro, 2014, pp. 75-85.
4.   to-sa ‘ki-ri-ta’ should read pa-sa ‘ki-ri-ta’ (p. 15), /amphi-le(u̯)i̯os/ should read /amphi-le(h)i̯os/ (p. 20), a-pi-ẹ-ṛạ-do-e-ro-i should read a-pi-ẹ-ṛạ˻˼do-e-ro-i (n. 196), /amphii̯-etās/ should read /amphi-i̯etās/ (p. 22), PY Xa should read Na 1044 (p. 23), *201VASshould read *2̣0̣1̣VAS (p. 26), /en-alip(h)thos/ should read /en-alip(h)tos/ (p. 36), Nominamtiv should read Nominativ (n. 517), ἰρίᾱ should read ὁρίᾱ (p. 62).
5.   José Luis García-Ramón, “Anthroponymica Mycenaea: e-ke-ra2-wo */En-kheriā-wōn/, *ἐγχειρία y ἐγχειρέω ‘emprender’ (*‘poner mano en’), ἐγχείρημα, ἐγχείρησις”, in Donum Mycenologicum, pp. 35-49.
6.   Yves Duhoux, “Linéaire B ku-su-pa, ku-su-to-ro-qa et les débuts de la science grecque”, Kadmos 52 (2013), pp. 53-68, at

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