Love Letter to Linear A

O Linear A, how can I understand you, when it’s been 3,450 years since you let anyone know you?

It was another lifetime when you last circumspectly enumerated quantities of figs, olives, and oil, but I never forgot the complexity and precise ornamentation of your forms, the way they undulated curvilinearly, and then seemed to sharply swerve. No other scripts did that.

Recall how, long ago, you spoke to me from stone vessels, from papyrus and parchment, and clay tablets, already palimpsests, already vanishing to pre-history; how my fingers traced each finely adumbrated hapax legomenon. Recall, dear friend, how in syllabograms and logograms, you encoded meaning, and your meaning made the world: the flourishing culture, the refined jewelry, the pottery with symmetrical patterns, the frescoes on palace walls — it was you, Linear A, even if no one realized it at the time.

The way your “ka” syllabogram appeared to be a primitive representation of the sun, your clever aliquot system of fractional notation, how you made me smile by logographically differentiating between quality wine and cheap, flavorless wine: these are the things that keep recurring.

I would journey to Knossos, to Kato Zakros, to Phaistos, excavate any ruined palace of 1,000 rooms, crawl in dust, and discover you anew, that you may rescind the silence of your thousand mouths of stone, break apart, and cease your muted scorn. And I would decipher you, reconstruct your civilization lost to time, and understand the Minoans as they understood themselves.

O Linear A, who were the Minoans?

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