Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


15 December 2013

Linear B pe-re-ke-u, pe-re-ke, and pe-re-ko: Contextual and Etymological Notes

Michael Franklin Lane Kadmos 50 (2012): 75-100.


It has been widely accepted that the Linear B lemmata pe-re-ke-u, pe-re-ke, and pe-re-ko [reflect the Mycenaean verbal root found also alphabetic Greek πλέκω, πλέξις, πλοκή, πλόκος, πλόκανον, etc. However, there are both internal contextual and external “etymological” (i.e. historical phonological) obstacles to this interpretation. I propose here instead that better contextual and etymological sense is to be had in interpreting pe-re-ke-u as a denominal pertinentive noun /* plekeús /, and pe-re-ke as an inflection of the verb /* plēkō / (perhaps /†plēkō /) “to shear, strip of (wool)” (unlikely “flaying”, despite this English word being cognate). Both the noun and verb are derived from a stem * pleH1-k connoting “flaying, stripping, tearing”. (I argue that pe-re-ko [- need not be included in this etymology.) The stem is evident in at least the Germanic and Baltic Indo-European subfamilies, and relicts of the Mycenaean word /* plékos/ “shearing”, “thing shorn”, or “stripping”, may be found in alphabetic Greek. The role of persons described as pe-re-ke-we in the Late Helladic palace-administered economy must now be reconsidered.

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