Cyprian Boules

Transcribed by Brian Colless 

Enkomi Clay Balls

These are small clay balls (French: boules) bearing short inscriptions in the  Cyprian script of the Bronze Age, commonly known as  'Cypro-Minoan' (CM); my preferred term is 'Cyprian Cuneiform' (CC), but it is true that the characters in this writing system were borrowed from Cretan Linear A (hence 'Minoan'). We could use a term Kaptarian (Cretan) for the Linear A texts, and Alashiyan  for the Cyprian inscriptions, after the Bronze-Age names for these islands: Kaptara and Alashiya (Colless 2016).

The texts on these spherical artefacts are here transcribed according to my table of CM/CC signs (column B). The origin of the Cyprian signs in the characters of Cretan Linear A, and ultimately in the pictophonograms of Crete, is presented elsewhere, under the heading Aegean Syllabic Signs. Examples: KA  (+)  goes back to a picture of a cane basket (a complete circle, with the full cross-weaving shown, not just a cross);
A  )+(  was a double-bladed ax;
YA  E
|  was a door (as was the letter D in the alphabet).

The Cyprian cuneiform characters are not always visible or legible; many are idiosyncratic; so there are many question marks (?) in the transcriptions.

The purpose of these objects is not known: could they be identification documents to be shown by the owner when arriving for work? or theatre tickets, with the seat number appearing after the name? or for casting-lots, for calling individuals to various religious and secular tasks (Ferrara and Valério 2017).

The inscriptions seem to be personal names; for example, i-li-pa-li (B79/b53/84), Semitic 'ili-ba`li, "My god is Ba`al".  They usually have two parts: a-li-sa-ri | ku (B80/b54/85); sometimes with the short part first, a | si pa ro  (B2/22). Some of the sequences might be titles: siparo invokes the West Semitic word for 'scribe' (spr);  kumori (B37 [40]) and kumuro (B1 [21]) have the root sounds of West Semitic kmr 'priest'.

The  numbering of items here is according to the two editions of Emilia Masson: B1 (a1), B27 (b1), but the additional designations a1-a26 are omitted as unnecessary; B1 will suffice.

The numbers in square brackets refer to Jean-Pierre Olivier, Édition holistique des textes chypro-minoens (2007) p. 64 - 111: B1 [021], B27 (b1) [030].

However,  each object has two numbers: [##o30] indicates its position in the corpus; "ENKO[MI] Abou 027" is its catalogue name [where  ENKO refers to its find-spot (provenance, Enkomi), A = argile (clay), bou = boule (ball)]

The same numbering is given by Silvia Ferrara, Cypro-Minoan Inscriptions, Volume II: The Corpus (Oxford 2013), here shown in square brackets [1] to [91].

The numbers for the characters are those of the original classification tables of Emilia Masson 1974, Cyprominoica, SIMA 31:2.

Enkomi Boules A (1-26) (Emilia Masson 1971a, SIMA 31:1, 11-18)

B1 [21] ku mu ro | pa mo ku si lo |  110 42 (=39=55) 97 | 6 73(=77) 110 27 5 

B2 [22] a | si pa ro  102(=101) | 27 6 97

B3 [23] si ta nu  27 4 103(=68) 

B4 [24]
a mo ta ro ku mo | ri  102 73 4 97 110 73(=77) | 85(=96) 
cp B19, B48, for amotaro;  B37 for kumori, which suggests the bar is intrusive here; kmr is a West Semitic word for 'priest', and this might have relevance here.
                                            
B5 [88] a la ke ro || to  102 87 107 97 48(=16=57) 4 (Hala Sultan Tekké) cp. B42

B6 [28] ku ri ne 110 96(=85) 34(=2)

B7 [25]
ka sa to | ti mo po li mo  25 48(=16=57) 13 | 23 72 12(=14) 9 72
Sign 72 is not the simple divided rectangle (door, YA, Sign 69); in the Enkomi tablets 72 is MO, simplified from the double form (spine with ribs on each side). The reading MO here is supported by the double MO (77=73) in B8 [26] in timomalimo .

B8 [26] ti mo ma li mo 23 77(=73) 43 9 77

B9 [29] to ta ro | a   13 4  97| 102  cp B11 for tota

B10 [27] ra no to | ra  15(=75) 17 13 | 15  cp B27 for ranoto

B11 [20] se pu ro | to ta  44 61 97 | 13 4 
cp B9 to ta; B47, B51 for sepuro; spr is 'scribe' in West Semitic.

B12 [11] a wi na  101(=102) 37(=41) 8

B13 [12] [----] | sa pu pa ni  [   ] | 16(=57=48) 61 6 99(=100) 
 

B14
[2] i ni sa | u  104 99(=100) 16(=57=48) | 19

B15 [13] mo si ma | ke si   73(=77) 27 53(=43) | 107 27

B16 [14] mo ri | pa  77(=73) 85 | 6

B17 [15] ta mi sa? si -  4 91 16? 27 -                                                                    

B18 [3] sa pi li |  57(=16=48)  50(=51) 9 |

B19 [16] a mo ta ro |-   101(=102) 73? 4 97 | - 
cp B4 and B48, for the reading amotaro, though here the divided rectangle looks like Sign 59 YA, rather than 72(=73) MO.

B20 [18] wi ru ko | u  41(=37) 28 21 | 19 
cp B21

B21
[4] wi ru ko | ma   41(=37) 28 21 |  43(=53)  cp B20

B22
[5] ma ke ni  53(=43) 107 99

B23 
[6] a ta na pi | ka  101(=102) 4 8 50(=51) | 25

B24 [7] e ke li wi  38 107(=108) 9 41(=37)

B25 [8] ru ka ri  28 25 96(=85)

B26 [81] sa a la na | ka   57(=16=48) 102(=101) 87 8 | 25

Enkomi Boules B (1-55) (Emilia Masson 1971b, Alasia 1, 479-499)

B27(b1) [30] ra no to | pi su ne ro  15 17 13 | 50(=51) 32(=47=106?) 34(=2)  97 cp B10


B28(b2) [32]
a si ki ze?  102(101) 27 70 86(=88 ZE? or 64 O? )

B29(b3) [33] la sa lu  87 16 24

B30(b4) [34] sa wa ze | ka  16 95 (WA, or 96 RI?) 88 | 25 (or is 88 la?)

B31(b5) [31] a ka ro? -  102(=101) 25 97? -

B32(b6) [35] li ya | ta i wi ma   9 69 |4 104 37  53

B33(b7) [36] sa ro  16 97

B34(b8) [37] ku su ro | ti ra  110 46(=47=106) 97 | 23 15(=75)

B35(b9) [38] su nu| se   46(=47=106) 103 (NU, or 17 NO) | 44

B36(b10) [39] su ra ri ze  106 21 15 (RA, or 25 KO)
85(=96) 88 (or is 88 LA?)

B37(b11) [40] ku mo ri  110 73(=77) 85(=96)

B38(b12) [41] sa nu ni ti | ta  57(=16=48) 103 99(=100) 23 | 4

B39(b13) [42] we ri  ze? ke? 1 85(=96) 88  112 (or we ri la ze)

B40(b14) [43] ne ti mo ri | lo  1 (2 NE?) 23 72 85(=96) | 5  cp B64, B66, B67, B69

B41(b15) [44] si pi po | pi  27 50 14(=12) | 50  [cp B61]

B42(b16) [45] a la ke? ro | ze   102 87 107 97 | 112 [cp. B5 45 60 69]

B43(b17) [46] ku nu ke li si | ze   110 68(=103) 107  9 27 | 112

B44(b18) [54] a li sa ri ra   102 9 48(=16=57=82) 85(=96) 15

B45(b19) [55] a la ke ro | mu  102 87 107 97 | 39  [cp B42]

B46(b20) [56] si na ki | sa   27 8 70 | 16(=48=57)

B47(b21) [47] se pu ro |\|sa? ku  45 61 97 | 48? 110  [cp B11, B51]

B48(b22) [48] a mo ta ro | ti  102 73 4 97 | 23 [cp B4]

B49(b23) [49] i mo? na so | to  104 72 (MO or YA?) 8 67 | 13

B50(b24) [50] ku ne mo pi  110 34(=2) 73 50

B51(b25) [51] se pu ro | ra  45 61 97 | 15  [cp B11, B47]

B52(b26) [52] a nu ku so | ti  102 68(=103) 110 67 | 23

B53(b27) [53] ke ku ti  107 110 23 

B54(b28) [57] ka sa ro | pa  25 82 97 | 6  [cp B55]

B55(b29) [58] pa ka sa  ro | su  6 25 82  97 | 46(=106, 109)  [cp B54]

B56(b30) [59] to to ro | pi  13 13 97 | 50  [cp B76]

B57(b31) [60] a pa so mi ya (mo?)  102 6 67 91 72

B58(b32) [61] a | pa   102 | 6

B59(b33) [62] [ka? to? | ne? ]

B60(b34) [63] a la ke? ro  102 87 104? 97 [cp B42, 45, 69; and B5]

B61(b35) [64] si pi po | a la to  27 50(=51) 12 | 102 87 13(=)78  [cp B41]

B62(b36) [65] ku ti zo  110 23 59

B63(b37) [66] o la| o to mi ze   64 87 | 64 13 91 88 [LA and ZE differentiated?

B64(b38) [67] ne ti mo? ri? | o   2 23 72 85 | 64  [cp B40, B66]

B65(b39) [68]
a  mu?  | to ki/ya/mo?  ta   102  39? | 13 70/72?   4

B66(b40) [69] ne ti mo ri | ke?   (NE 2 or WE 1?) 23 72 85 | 112  [cp B40, B64]

B67(b41) [70] o lo lu | pi? to li ya   64 5 24 | 50?  13 9 72
[cp. B72, B83]

B68(b42) [71] pu? ri ze? | o?   83 85 88 | 84

B69(b43) [72] a la ke?  ro | si   102 87 104? 97 | 27  [cp B60]

B70(b44) [74]  [    ]

B71(b45) [75] ta ye po ya | lo   4 36 12 69 | 5

B72(b46) [76] o lo lu | su?   64 5  24 | 46 [cp o-lo-lu, B67]

B73(b47) [77] su? ki no | mo   46(=47=106) 70 17 | 73?  cp Semitic skn steward

B74(b48) [78] ka to   25 13  [or ato?]

B75(b49) [79] a pa ti ? ?   101 6 23 ? ?

B76(b50) [80] to to ro  | ke mu   13 13 97 | 107 39  [cp. B56]

B77(b51) [82] ru lu ku ro | ku   28 24 110 97 | 110

B78(b52) [83] ke? [    ] ke?   112 [    ] 112

B79(b53) [84] i li pa li  104 9 6 9 [Semitic 'lb`l  Baal is my god]

B80(b54) [85] a li sa ri | ku   102 9 48 114 | 110  [cp B44]

B81(b55) [86] pa pa ta ni su  6 6 4 99 32

B82 [87]  [zo no li se]  

B83 [89] o lo lu | mo  64 5 24 | 73  (Hala) [cp. B67, B72]

B84 [90] sa ta nu? ze?  48 4 68? 86 (Kition, Laranaca)

B85 [91] ta to? ri? [        ]  4 13  [    ]  (Kition)

NOTE
B5
[88] says a la ke ro || to
B42 [45]
has the third sign damaged, possibly  ke: a la ke? ro | 112 (=ke? z- ?)
B45 [55] a la ke ro | mu.
B60 [63]
(damaged) a la ? ro.
B69 [72] has a la i? ro | si
If the rare sign 112 (in B42) were a variant of KE (with four or more dots instead of two vertical strokes; but perhaps it is ZE) it would indicate that the name is a-la-?-ro; but by comparing B39 [42] and B43 [46] we see KE together with  112, which could then be ZE (originally depicting a saw with teeth); and incidentally, 88 (with one tooth) could be another form of ZE (also 88, with two teeth), not
a variant of 87 LA

Enkomi Clay Balls : INDEX

Vowels first A E I O U; consonants K L M N P R S T W Y Z

a | pa   102 | 6  B58(b32) [61]

a | si pa ro  102(=101) | 27 6 97  B2 [22]

a ka ro? -  102(=101) 25 97?  B31(b5) [31]

a la ke ro || to  102 87 107 97 48(=16=57) 4  B5 [88] [cp B42]

a la ke ro | ze   102 87 104? 97 | 112  B42(b16) [45]

a la ke? ro  102 87 104? 97    B60(b34) [63]  [cp. B42, 45, 69; and B5]

a la ke?  ro | si   102 87 104? 97 | 27  B69(b43) [72]

a la ke ro | mu 102 87 107 97 | 39  B45(b19) [55]  

a li sa ri | ku   102 9 48 114 | 110  B80(b54) [85] [cp B44]

a li sa ri ra   102 9 48(=16=57=82) 85(=96) 15  B44(b18) [54]

a mo?  ta ro | -   101(=102) 69?  4 104 | -  B19 [16]

a mo ta ro | ti  102 73 4 97 | 23 B48(b22) [48] [cp B4] (Ugarit: Amutara)

a mo ta ro ku mo | ri  102 73 4 97 110 73(=77) | 85(=96) B4 [24][cp B48, B37]

a  mu?  | to ki/ya/mo?  ta   102  39? | 13 70/72?   4  B65(b39) [68]

a nu ku so | ti  102 68(=103) 110 67 | 23  B52(b26) [52] 

a pa so mi ya  102 6 67 91 72 [YA or MO?]  B57(b31) [60] 

a pa ti ? ?   101 6 23 ? ?  B75(b49) [79] 

a si ki ze?  102(101) 27 70 86(=88?) B28(b2) [32]

a ta na pi | ka  101 4 8 50 | 25 B23 [6]

a wi na  101(=102) 37(=41) 8 B12 [11]

e ke li wi  38 107 9 41(=37)  B24 [7] 

i li pa li  104 9 6 9 [Semitic 'lb`l] B79(b53) [84]

i ni sa | u  104 99 16 | 19  B14 [2]

i ya na so | to  104 72 8 67 | 13  B49(b23) [49] 

o la | o to mi ze   84(=64) 9? | 84 13 91 88  B63(b37) [66] 

o lo lu | mo  64 5 24 | 73  B83 [89] [cp. B67, B72]

o lo lu | su   64 5  24 | 46  B72(b46) [76]  [cp. o-lo-lu, B67, B83]

o lo lu | pi? to li ya   64 5 24 | 50?  13 9 72  B67(b41) [70] [cp. B72, B83]

ka sa ro | pa  25 82 97 | 6  B54(b28) [057] [cp. B55 pakasaro | su]

ka sa to | ti mo po li mo  25 48(=16=57) 13 | 23 72 12(=14) 9 72  B7 [25]

ka to   25 13  B74(b48) [78]

ke ku ti  107 110 23  B53(b27) [53]

ku mo ri  110 73(=77) 85(=96)  B37(b11) [40] [cp W Semitic kmr 'priest'?]

ku mu ro | pa mo ku si lo |  110 42 (=39=55) 97 | 6 73(=77) 110 27 5  B1 [21]

ku ne mo pi  110 34(=2) 73 50  B50(b24) [50] 

ku nu ke li si | ze   110 68(=103) 99 64? 9 27 | 112  B43(b17) [46]

ku ri ne 110 96(=85) 34(=2) B6 [28] 

ku su ro | ti ra  110 106 97 | 23 21  B34(b8) [37]

ku ti zo  110 23 59  B62(b36) [65]

la sa lu  87 16 24  B29(b3) [33]

li ya | ta i wi ma   9 69 |4 104 37  53  B32(b6) [35]

ma ke ni  53(=43) 107 99  B22 [5]

mo ri | pa  77(=73) 85 | 6 B16 [14]

mo si ma | ke si   73(=77) 27 53(=43) | 107 27 B15 [13]

ne ti ya/mo ri? | o   2 28 72 85 | 64  B64(b38) [67] [cp. B40, B66]

ne ti ya/mo ri | ze   1 23 72 85 | 112  B66(b40) [69] [cp. B40, B64]

ne ti ya/mo ri | lo   1 23 72 85(=96) | 5  B40(b14) [43] [cp. B64, B66]

pa ka sa  ro | su  6 25 82  97 | 46(=106, 109)  B55(b29) [58] [cp. B54] 

pa pa ta ni su  6 6 4 99 46  B81(b55) [86]

pu ri ze/la? | o  83 85 88 | 84  B68(b42) [71]

ra no to | ra  15 17 13 | 15 B10 [27]

ra no to | pi su ne ro  15 17 13 | 50 32(=106?) 34 97  B27(b1) [30]

ru ka ri  28 25 96(=85) B25 [8]

ru lu ku ro | ku   28? 24 110 97? | 110  B77(b51) [82]

sa a la na | ka   57(=16=48) 102(=101) 87/59? 8? | 25  B26 [81]

sa nu ni ti | ta  57(=16=48) 103 99 23 | 4  B38(b12) [41]

sa pi li |  16 50 9 |  B18 [3]

[  ] | sa pu pa ni  [ ] | 16(=57=48) 61 6 99 B13 [12]

sa ro  16 97  B33(b7) [36]

sa ta nu? ze?  48 4 68? 86B84 [90]

sa wa? la? | ka  16 95 88 | 25 (or: sa ri ze) B30(b4) [34]

se pu ro |\|sa? ku  45 61 97 | 48? 110  B47(b21) [47]  [cp. B11, B51]

se pu ro | ra  45 61 97 | 15  B51(b25) [51]  [cp. B11, B47]

se pu ro | to ta  44 61 97 | 13? 4  B11 [20]  [cp. B47, B51; B9]

si na ki | sa   27 8 70 | 16(=48=57)  B46(b20) [56] 

a | si pa ro  102(=101) | 27 6 97  B2 [22]

si pi po | pi  27 50 14(=12) | 50  B41(b15) [44] [cp WS spr 'scribe'?)

si pi po | i? la to?  27 84 12 | 104 87 78?  B61(b35) [64] [ cp. B41 si pi po]

si ta nu  27 4 103 B3 [23]

su ki no | mo   46 70 17 | 73?  B73(b47) [77]

su ra ri ze  106 15/21 (KO) 85(=96) 88  B36(b10) [39]

su nu?| se   46(=106?) 103? | 44  B35(b9) [38]

| ta i wi ma  B32 [35]

ta mi sa? si -  4 91 - 27 - - B17 [15] 

ta to? ri? [        ]  4 13  [    ]  B85 [91]

ta ye po ya | lo   4 36 12 69 | 5  B71(b45) [75]

ti mo ma li mo 23 77(=73) 43 9 77 B8 [26]

to ta ro | a   13 4  97| 102 [cp B11] B9 [29]

to to ro | pi  81? 81? 97 | 50  B56(b30) [59]  [cp B76]

to to ro?  | ke? mu ?   81? 81? ? | 84 39 ?  B76(b50) [80] [cp B56]

| to ki/ya/mo?  ta   102  39? | 13 70/72?   4  B65(b39) [68]

we ri  ze? ke? 1 85(=96) 88  112 (or we ri la ze)   B39(b13) [42]

wi ru ko | u  41(=37) 28 21 | 19  B20 [18]

wi ru ko | ma   41(=37) 28 50? |  43(=53)  B21 [4]

ke/z-? [    ] ke/z-?   112 (KE or ZE?) [    ] 112  B78(b52) [83] 

[zo no li se]   B82 [87] 

REFERENCE BIBLIOGRAPHY

Silvia Ferrara and Miguel Valério, Contexts and Repetitions of Cypro-Minoan Inscriptions: Function and Subject Matter of Clay Balls,  BASOR 378 (2017) 71-94

COLLESS, Brian E. "The Mediterranean Diet in Ancient West Semitic Inscriptions", Damqatum 12 (2016) pp. 3-20