A clay tablet exhibited at the Archeological Museum of Mycenae (MY V 659)  is reminiscent of an account sheet as indicated by the strokes on the right hand side of the tablet. A chance look at the second row revealed the signs sequence ( = A-RE-HA-SA-DA-RA). Sometimes read as A-RE-KA or A-RE-CHA. Some scientist do interpret this sequence as „Alexandra“. Such a reading is wrong. The tablet illustrates how once the Slavs called themselves , namely Vanas, and pushes the stay of the Slavs in the Balkans at least two thousand years into the past.


Author: Igor Tureček

Between 1951-1953 Michael Ventris succeeded in giving sounds to the linear B writing signs. He could syllabify over some words and he thought he got an Etruscan or Etruscan similar text. Then, on John Chadwick´s (classical linquist) advice, he supposed the text to be some Greek dialect. Second error happened when he gave approximately 10 % of the signs wrong sounds. The meaning of the linear B text remained undisclosed. This continued until 1991, the year when Antonín Horák published his book The Slavs The Very Other Way (possible translation The Slavonic Paradigm Inverted). He revealed that the clay tablets should be read as Slavonic and not Greek. After translation with Slavonic dictionaries, I found out the text is most probably a song or a  poem.

Hypothesis We suppose the text is Proto-Slavonic.

AREHA SADARA actually means – preserving the word order - nuts hided (or rubbed off). The sound value of the circled cross (6th sign from left) is either “KA” or “HA” or “CHA”. The pronunciation of “CH” is like in “Lochness” or "Bach" .

The chance look motivated me to explore this tablet in greater depth.



Transliteration of rows
1st: VO-DI-JE-JA-stroke-KE-MI-NI-JA-
2nd: MA-NO-stroke-A-RE-CHA-SA-DA-RA-
3rd: RI-TA-RA-stroke-NE-TA
4th: E-RI-TU-VA-NA-stroke-TE-O-DO-RA
6th: A-NE-Á-stroke-TU-KA-TE
8th: ??-KA-RO-stroke-KE-TI-DE
9th: ??-??-??-??-??-VO-ME
10th: ??-??-??-??-??-??-RA
11th missing
12th missing
13th missing
Transliteration of the vertical inscription: SE(or RE?)-stroke-??-??-KE-RA-ME-stroke-KI-RA
Left: Clay tablet fragment from Archeological Museum at Mycenae.
Kredit Gautier Poupeau, Wikimedia
Right: Facsimile of the clay tablet fragment.

The strokes at the ends of rows have been omitted. In the same way the circle signs with four dots inside interpreted by the scientific community as „QE” (Nr. 78 of the Ventris table). The alleged meaning „sum” is an error. The correct reading should be ŠČĚ or ČE (pronunciation rules see below).

Pronunciation rules

š ….. like “-sh” in “English”

č ….. like “cz-” in “Czech”

šč ….like “š” + “č” in one expiration. Let the air flow as if you would like to pronounce many „š“ – like „šššššššššš“ – and at the end of this „š“ tone up the air flow and exspirate „č“. The air flow change you realize with your tongue pressing against velum palatinum. When you have learned it, you reduce the number of „š“ just to one.

v ……like “v-“ in “value”; The present transliteration using „w-“ was left. There is no difference in pronunciation between „w” and „v“. This is the reason why do I transliterate VODIJE and not WODIJE.

CH …like “-ch-” in “Lochness”.

Ě…….like “YE”

Á…….like “-a-“ in “car”

Strokes between the signs are not word delimiters but they are graphemes of speech sounds not coded in Linear B. In the following transcription they have been substituted by correct graphemes and are written in small letters.


Transcription of the clay tablet is in Proto-Slavonic using Czech diacritic signs. Czech signs are used because of their shortness.

1st  VODI   JE......JA-šč ...KE ...MI....NI....JA
VODIJE ≈ guiding, similar to srbcr. "voditi" meaning to lead, guide
VODÍ JE = he-she guides them, is another possible reading
JA-šč = work or working, „jášč“ means also „producing-exercising“ and appears also in words like „dajášč“ („giving“, HG IV-16, AH_str 27), „larojašč“ („chiselling“,) inscription on a statue of an actor at Volterra amphitheatre, AH_str193), „načánjašč“ („beginning“, Stela from Novilar, AH_str150), „rujášč“ („plowing“, Kn 1416, AH_str81) and several others.
WO-DI-JE-JA could be found on PY Cn 1287, MY V 659, KN Ap 639.3, PY Ub 1318.3, Vn 34.1 probably followed by a stroke which till this time was interpreted as a word delimiter. Of course, this is wrong because JA and a stroke interpreted as „šč“ form an integral word „jašč“.
KE ME = to me, pronunciation probably „ke mje“, dat. sg.
NI = no, not
JA = I
NI JA = not me

2nd  MÁ............NO-v ..............ARECHA....SADARA

MÁ = he-she has
NO-v = new or fresh
ARECHA = nuts, in Belorussian „apзхi“ (pronounce like „aréchi“), in Russian „opéхи“ (pronounce like „arjéchi“), „urra“ in Basque language. A change from „a-“ to „o-“ like e.g. „arecha“ into Czech „ořechy“ and in other Slavonic languages you will also find in PY Cn 1287: ařějom“ (we are ploughing) into „ořeme“ (we are ploughing); and in AH_str43, AH_str44.
SADARA = from Serbian verb saderati = rubbed off or stripped
ARECHA SADARA = he has new rubbed off nuts (or walnuts)
3rd  RITA….....RA-n…….NĚ….TA
RITA = scruff, rag, marsh, bog. swamp, covered with reeds
RA-n = morning, early
NĚ = no, not
TA = „here“ or „there“
NĚ TA = „not here“ or „not there“
4th  ER ......... I ............TU.......VÁNA-m........TĚ…..ODORA
ER srbch. jer =  {because | since | as}
I = engl. {and | by stress even | in a negative sentence even, nor even | i te = and how}
TU = { there, therein | here }
Vana-m = "to the Vanas - to the Slavs" dat. sg., see also AH_str190, AH_str193, AH_str157, AH_str55
TE = {conj. co-ordinative and | conj. subordinative that}
ODOR regional = { suffering, affliction, tribulation | robber }
ODORÁ = {uniform | gown}
TE ODORÁ 2.3.sg. from ODORATI
meaning work off by plowing
5th  OTOVO......VIJE......TUKA............TĚ
OTOVO = rey stock
VIJE ≈ similar to srcr. "vijati"  ⇒ "on vije" = he drives, persues, chases, goes after, cleans
TUKA = turkey
TĚ = perhaps "and"
6th  A…....NĚ.....Á j .....TUKA......TĚ
A  NĚ = but not
A-stroke = Possibly Aj meaning also. There are several possible interpretations like  "ad" meaning hell or underworld, "al" means pink, "am" has the same meaning like "ham" and means yoke, "ar" means shame or square measurement "are", "as" means a roman coin, "at" means a breeding studhorse.
7th  PIROVO.........ZAKIRA
PIROVO ≈ similar to "pirovao" meaning "he feasted", from srbcr. "pirovati", also a wedding or a celebration, in Serbian „pirovati“ also means „to banquet“ or „to celebrate a wedding“
KIRA = rent, rental, in srbcr. „kirija“ means „rent“, „leasing“, „freight“
ZAKIRA = he is charging
8th  UKARO-šč.....KE ...TI.....DE
Interpretation of the 8th lines is uncertain, since missing the first character. However, the word theme "-kar-" or "-karo-" suggests a possible connection to "karaj" (meaning to reproach, to criticize, to control, but also to educate, to farm), found on the tablet PY Ta 711.
UKAROŠČ = cropping; Alternatively ukárášč = reproving, warning, educating.
KE = the meaning might be "that" as in analogy AH_str40, i.e. translation of the PY Er 312 tablet.
TI = pers. pronoun "you"
DE = interjection and augmentative particle: come on, why, well
14th Transcription of the vertical inscription (possibly 14th row), is:
         SE(or RE?)-stroke-??-??-KERAMĚ-j…..KIRÁ
KERAMĚ-j = wheeler or potter, also found on tablet PY Cn-1287. Findings of the same words on other clay tablets supports strongly (validates) the Proto-Slavonic hypothesis.
Hypothetical translation
1  He is adding work to me, not I him
2  He has new (fresh) rubbed off nuts
3  Though he is not an early rag    ................................... (translation not certain)
4  Because Vanas here that work it off by ploughing ... (translation not certain)
5  The rey stock cleans turkey their
6  But not also his turkey
7  He charges bridals
8  You cropping man, do you? Come on
Translation of vertical inscription is only partially possible
14 ...... ceramist charges
Model of Mycenae castle where the tablet was found
Kredit State University of New York

An English reader might be surprized that various Slavonic languages like Serbian, Croatian and Belorisan are being used as reference languages. As a matter of fact, Slavonic languages developed very early and they can view back at least a 12000 years old history. They have reached a very solid level of development which is sufficient up to the present. Some words did not change for several thousands of years. For example the word „kiša“ or „kiše“ (in Serbian „rain“ or „it is raining“) which is being used in meteorological TV-news, you may also find on the clay tablet from Hagia Triada HT-87 in the form „NI KIŠE“ (= „it does not rain“) approximattely 4000 years old. And, of course, written in Linear A. The same holds for this tablet where we could identify Serbian "pirovo" (wedding, celebration) and "zakira" (charging).

Mycenae castle from bird’s-eye
Kredit State University of New York
What tells us this tablet
Up to now the scientists assumed Linear B tablets represent accounting data, various lists of goods or executed work. This tablet proves something different. Linear B was not used only for bureaucratic and administrative purposes. As we have seen at second sight - i.e. the hypothetical translation - this tablet shows assertions which could be understood in various ways: list of issues, list of arguments or points. They concern work, relationships between co-workers, wedding etc. But if we examine the endings of the rows then at third sight we surprisingly observe a rhyme:
1st row: -JA
2nd row:.......-RA
3rd row: -TA
4th row:.......-RA
5th row: -TE
6th row: -TE
7th row:.......-RA
8th row: -DE
9th row: -ME
10th row:......-RA
14th row:......-RA
This means the tablet might be a record of a poem or a song - unfortunately incomplete. Against this background the ŠČĚ sign might not represent a sum of some commodity and might have completely different meaning. And indeed, ŠČĚ might mean ŠČĚPATI which in Serbian means „get by the hand“. And we may speculate that ŠČĚ plus two strokes at the end of the line might be a sign instructing to do something during singing or dancing.
Until we do not have proves for this circumstance, we should also keep in mind Horak’s interpretation that strokes on the right hand side camouflage the real content of the tablet as the ruling class was not literate and the Slavonic slaves could write.
For the time being, scientists (mykenologists) allegedly read the name Alexandra in the tablet, which is reportedly derived from the Hittite "Alaksandus" (see link at Cadmus in the literature). A more detailed description of the translation is also at the BBC site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A4596735). The Alexandra translation is gritty because under the hypothesis of Greek origin it is necessary to omit some characters, add sounds etc. In the Slavic interpretation there do not occur these little cheats, because there is no need to make any changes. We just need to split the text into words only. The neolitihic Slavs did not delimit into words. This was introduced later on. Instead Alexandra, the correct reading is ARECHA SADARA. ARECHA, i.e. nuts, is very importand for us. It demonstrates that the Vanas knew the word "nut" already about 1500 BC. Today, the Serbo-Crotians still use it and the word appears in the names of Greek villages. In 1941,  Max Vasmer published a book  Die Slaven in Griechenland and gathered 2195 Greek geographical names of Slavic origin. His intention was to document the settlement of  Slavs in Greece in the 6th cent. AD. But if we take into account the tablet MY V 659, we must ask whether it is legitimate to consider  the 6th cent. AD as the century of settlement of Slavs in Europe only? Other facts, which are scattered in the various articles, point out that the Slavs settled in the Balkans and the Mediterranean region ever since the Neolithic, if not sooner. In the following list there are 21 names of Greek  villages, which have the word "Arecha-" (nut) or "Liskovec" (nuttree) in their name. We want to support the idea of autochton settlements of Slavs in Greece and Europe at all.

Ἀραχοβίτσα ON, Kr. Argithea, Karditsa (Lex., Stat. Ap.). Aus slav. Orěchovica wie oben S. 21. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_5.htm#1

ἈράχοβαON, Kr. Philiatōn (Lex., A.), aus altslav. Orěchovo zuorěchъ»Nuß, Nußbaum«, s. Hilferding I 287, Miklosich, Bildung 291. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_1a.htm#2

ἈραχοβίτσαON, Kr. Joannina (Lex., A.). Belegt auch als Ἀρεαχοβίτζαν, Acc. s. Epirotica, Frgm. 2 ed. Bonn. S. 227, 13. Der Name stammt aus altslav. Orěchovica. Vgl. skr. ON Orahavica. Weitere Belege s. Miklosich, Bildung 291. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_1a.htm#2

Ἀράχοβα ON. Kr. Parakampylíōn (St. Ap., Lex., Nuch.) aus slav. Orěchovo wie oben S. 21. Vgl auch Hilferding I 291. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_1a.htm#3

Ἀραχοβίστα O. N., Kr. Ktimeniōn (St. Ap., Lex., Nuch.) aus slav. Orěchovica wie oben S. 21. — Hilferding I 291 liest fälschlich Δραχοβίτσα und deutet den Namen von einem slav. *Dragovica. Die ersten Lesung ist gesichert und entscheidet die Deutung gegen Hilferding. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_4.htm#3

Ἀραχοβίτσα ON, Kr. Argithea, Karditsa (Lex., Stat. Ap.). Aus slav. Orěchovica wie oben S. 21. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_5.htm#1

Ἀράχοβα ON am Krisäischen Meerbusen = altgriech. Ἀνεμώρεια nach R. und Neumann-Partsch, Griechenland 166. Es steckt darin ein slav. *Orěchovo wie oben S. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_10.htm#521.

Ἀράχοβα ON, Kr. Lebadeia (Stat. Ap., Lex.). Nuch. nennt den Ort Ῥάχοβα. Bei R. findet sich Ῥάχωβα und Δῆμος Ἀραχώβης. Aus slav. *Orěchovo wie oben S. 21. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_11.htm#2

Ἀραχοβίτικα ON, Kr. Trikkala (Nuch., fehlt in den Stat. Ap.). Eine griechische Neubildung von einem *Ἀράχοβα. In der Nähe dieses Ortes liegt Καρυώτικα. Also zwei »Nußorte«. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_14.htm#1

ἈράχοβαON, Kr. Aigieis (Nuch., Stat. Ap., Lex,). Aus slav. Orěchovo. Also »Nußort« wie oben S. 21 und 114.http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_16.htm#5

ἈράχοβαON, Kr. Phelloē (Lex., Stat. Ap.). Dafür Ῥάχοβα bei R und Nuch. Zu deuten wie der vorhergehende Name. Ἀραχοβίτικα ON, http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_16.htm#5

Ἀράχοβα ON, Kr. Buphagiōn (Nuch., Stat. Ap., Lex.). Am slav. Orěchovo »Nußort« wie oben S. 21. Eine griechische Ableitung haben wir in Ἀραχαμίτες ON, Kr. Tripolis, nach R II 713. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_19.htm#1

ἈράχοβαON, Kr. Kalamia (Nuch., Stat. Ap., Lex.). Ein »Nußort«, slav. Orěchovobzw. Orěchova, wie oben S. 21 und 150. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_20.htm#1

Ἀράχοβα ON, Kr. Messene (Lex.). Zu deuten wie der vorige Name. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_20.htm#1

Ἀράχοβα ON, Kr. Leuktru, südlich von Kardamyle (Nuch., Stat. Ap., Lex.). Wohl identisch mit Ἀρέχοβα locus Mainae, a. 1618 bei Mikl.-Müller III 272. Entspricht einem slav. Orěchovo bzw. Orěchova »Nußort«, wie oben S. 150. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_21.htm#2

ἈράχοβαON, Kr. Oinúntos (Nuch., Stat. Ap., Lex.). Zu identifizieren mit ἈράχοβαΜεγάλη»in Laconia on the western slope of the Parnon Mountains; according to the Chronicle of Morea in the confines of Skorta« (s. J. Schmitt, The chronicle of Morea, Glossar s. v.). Etymologisch zu deuten wie das vorige. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_21.htm#2

Ὀρέχοβον ἢ Ῥάχοβα ON, Kr. Florina (Lex.), bei K. Orěchovo. Nach K. nur Bulgaren. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_23b.htm

Ὄροβνικ auch Καρυαί, ON, Kr. Florina (Lex.), nach K. Orovnik. Aus *Orěchovьnikъ »Nußort«, wie die griechische Form Καρυαί zeigt. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_23b.htm

Ῥάχοβα ON, Kr. Berrhoia (Lex.), fehlt bei K. Es ist ein »Nußort«, slav. Orěchovo bzw. Orěchova. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_23d.htm

Ῥεάχοβον Ort unweit Lozikin und Rendini 2, urk. a. 1327, s. Viz. Vrem. XVII 240. Auch Ῥεάχοβα nach urk. a. 1286, s. Viz. Vrem. XIII 27. Aus slav. *Orěchovo. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_23d.htm

ΛασκοβίκιαἢΛακοβίκιαON, Kr. Zichne (Lex.), fehlt bei K. Der erste Name ist als »Haselnußort« zu stellen zu bulg. Lěskovec (oft), skr. Leskovac, sloven. Leskovec (beides sehr häufig) und beruht auf der Vorstufe eines altslav. *Lěskovьcь. Der zweite griechische Name ist offenbar aus dem ersten umgestaltet durch volksetymologische Anlehnung an griech. Λάκκος »Graben«. http://www.promacedonia.org/en/mv/mv_3_23e.htm


The most important finding is that the writer knew a Slavonic language, probably Serbo-Croatian, and that the tablet is not a form of Greek dialect. Also, on this tablet we have a testimony how the Slavs called themselves, namely VANAs. In some details, the translation might not be fitting in each word as we do not know the language to a sufficient extent and about 25-30 signs are missing but we must opposite Michael Ventris conclusion that A-RE-HA-SA-DA-RA means "Alexandra". In fact, the meaning is "rubbed off nuts".
srbcr = serbocroatian
sg. = singular
pl. = plural
nom. = nominative
gen. = genitive
dat. = dative
acc. = accusative
AH_str... = citation of Horák (1991) plus page (str...) -
{...} = a set of notions
| = logical "or"; def. 1110
Antonín Horák: O Slovanech úplně jinak, Publisher Lípa, Vizovice, 1991.
Kadmos. Band 4, Heft 2, Seiten 138-145, ISSN (Online) 1613-0723, ISSN (Print) 022-7498, DOI: 10.1515/kadm.1965.4.2.138,//1965
The author thanks Petr Jandáček for fruitful English suggestions.