Thursday, July 23, 2009

Phaistos Disc

Phaistos Disc
Andre Willers
24 Jul 2009

Synopsis :
This is not a language , but a pictographic description of a very rich man's holdings . Ie a Bronze Age Platinum Credit card .

Discussion :
See "Bronze age credit cards"
His holdings would have been too large to fit on the normal necklace .
It would have been worn clasped in a holder with the necessary identifiers .
You won't find too many of these kicking about . Too valuable .

Decipherment :
Given this , the decipherment is a snap .
It is meant to be read by rotating the disk .
I was inclined to think it was a hoax , until I realized that the measurements are expressed in a base 7 (seven) . Not common , although Celts used a base nine .

There are 35 =7x5 cartouches on the one side . (I leave the other side for checking )

At the center is the name of our tycoon :
A eight-leaved flower , a male face and a straight arrow .
In our terms , "Honest Abe" .
Not much has changed .

He then proceeds to list his assets in every subsequent cartouche (cartouches being a characteristic borrowed from Egypt) :

Going around the spiral :

1.A man holding a wheat stalk with 5 sheaves ( a big wheat producer : 7^5=15 807 units)

2.1 A stylized house plan indicating his immediate underlings (7x8 = 56)
2.2 A well symbol signifying sufficient water
2.3 A three-fletched arrow signifying men at arms (probably personal retainers 7^3= 343 in number)
2.4 A hide symbol , sheep/goats . Number unknown.
2.5 A hide symbol signifying oxen (well known bronze age symbol . Our term "pecuniary" from Latin pecus=oxhide comes from this) . Number unknown .
2.6 A circle with 7 symmetrically arranged circles within it : signifying urns of olive oil . Probably the origin of the peculiar seven-based number system . Six amphorae in a circle and one in the center gives seven . The size of amphorae in the bronze age is known . So this can be cross-checked . This would have been important in shipping .
2.7 A head with a Mohawk hearcut . Easily identified slave .

The quantities would have been encoded in markers which are unknown now . But he had a lot .

3. The next cartouche repeats his name .

4. Subsequent cartouches lists his subsidiary holdings in various parts .
Some pictographs are clear (like the fish and reed ones : holdings in the Euphrates delta) . It seems he had extensive holdings in the Egypt delta (the funny "Y" shape with reed ) .
There is a distinct rhinoceros head with Ibex horn and oil symbol in one cartouche , (North Africa)

The oil and hide symbol recurs many times . This guy was a trader in easily transportable items . Essences (think perfumes ) and hides . Tusks and horns . The bird symbol recurs a few times . I surmise it meant feathers . A valuable , lightweight item .

5. He kept on repeating his name (boasting ) . Not an unknown characteristic in tycoons of any age .

6. His entourage would have been under strict orders to destroy the disk in event of his demise . How it survived must have a real fluke (more likely human skullduggery) .

7. He must have been a real go-getter to build up such a portfolio . Probably known .
I call him "Honest Abe" , but "Lotus Straight-Arrow" would be a better translation .
As trustworthy as a second-hand car dealer .
(Some cartouches has what looks suspiciously like camels) .

8. Identity markers .
The whole thing was set in golden clasp ceremonial setting . There are distinct indentations on the rim where the clasps were fixed . This would have carried priestly seals signifying authenticity . Much more valuable . There is a small probability that this is lying around where the disk was originally found if it was a natural disaster . In which case , the remains of "Honest Abe" and his entourage might be close by , as well .

Sic transit pecunia .

Andre .

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