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The Man Who Deciphered Linear B: The Story of Michael Ventris download epub

by Andrew Robinson


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The Man Who Deciphered Linear B: The Story of Michael Ventris. Jane Jakeman, Man Who Deciphered Linear B, by Andrew Robinson - The decoding of a fascinating human story, The Independent, 24 April 2002. Andrew Robinson, Silent letters from the past.

The Man Who Deciphered Linear B: The Story of Michael Ventris. Thames and Hudson (2002)  . Times Higher Education Supplement, 24 May 2002. The Sunday Times, 8 March 2009. Andrew Robinson, Decoding antiquity: Eight scripts that still can't be read.

Andrew Robinson has written more than twenty-five books on the arts and sciences. Michael Ventris, the man at the heart of this book, was a rather shy, somewhat diffident man who had trained as an architect and married young. He is also a regular contributor to magazines, such as Current World Archaeology, History Today, The Lancet, Nature, and Science.

Accomplished little book on Englishman Michael Ventris who deciphered Linear B the ancient Minoan script in 1952.

Andrew Robinson is a King’s Scholar of Eton College, where he won the headmaster’s Greek grammar prize, and holds a degree from Oxford University; he was also a visiting fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge.

Andrew Robinson tells the fascinating story of Michael Ventris, the architect/amateur linguist . Published by Thriftbooks. com User, 16 years ago. Andrew Robinson's "The Man Who Deciphered Linear B" should be dry and academic in the worst possible senses of those words.

Andrew Robinson tells the fascinating story of Michael Ventris, the architect/amateur linguist who 'cracked' the code of Linear B and proved to the world that it contained an ancient form of Greek. The story unfolds with the same drama as a murder mystery or detective story. Robinson makes what could have been a complicated story eloquent and clear. Although I recommend this book highly, at the end of it I still felt in the dark about Ventris himself.

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This book tells the life story of Michael Ventris, an intriguing and contradictory man, a gifted linguist but a divided soul, together with that of his remarkable decipherment of Linear B. Dubbed the Everest of archaeology. Dubbed the Everest of archaeology, the decipherment was all the more remarkable because Ventris was not a trained classical scholar but an architect who had first heard of Linear B as . Welcome to Literature Tube Archieve The free online library containing 450000+ books. Read books for free from anywhere and from any device. Listen to books in audio format instead of reading.

And here is a new one: the story of Michael Ventris. As Andrew Robinson's excellent study reveals, the real story was more complex. The legend goes as follows: baffled scholars are trying to decipher a mysterious script, "Linear B", inscribed on clay tablets which Sir Arthur Evans has excavated at Knossos. Suddenly, Ventris has a brilliant insight. This proves to be true and the secrets of the tablets are revealed. Except that this is the mythologised version. We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

“Highly readable . . . a fitting tribute to the quiet outsider who taught the professionals their business and increased our knowledge of the human past.”―Archaeology Odyssey

More than a century ago, in 1900, one of the great archaeological finds of all time was made in Crete. Arthur Evans discovered what he believed was the palace of King Minos, with its notorious labyrinth, home of the Minotaur. As a result, Evans became obsessed with one of the epic intellectual stories of the modern era: the search for the meaning of Linear B, the mysterious script found on clay tablets in the ruined palace.

Evans died without achieving his objective, and it was left to the enigmatic Michael Ventris to crack the code in 1952. This is the first book to tell not just the story of Linear B but also that of the young man who deciphered it. Based on hundreds of unpublished letters, interviews with survivors, and other primary sources, Andrew Robinson’s riveting account takes the reader through the life of this intriguing and contradictory man. Stage by stage, we see how Ventris finally achieved the breakthrough that revealed Linear B as the earliest comprehensible European writing system.

40+ illustrations

Comments: (7)

JoldGold
I'm going to ding just one star, but for multiple reasons. Normally, I'd be a lot harsher, as the errors could easily have been avoided and there's no excuse for that. In this case, though, none of the errors really change anything. The historical facts are essentially correct, the chain of cause and effect in the decypherment is fundamentally sound, the errors are purely ones of bias, with touches of insufficient research in places. A single consequential failing equals a single star of penalty.

It's clear the author is highly caught up in Ventris' brilliance (and he was brilliant) and the failings of centralised, proprietary research (a known problem in academia). Both points are valid, although it should be pointed out that centralised researchers are capable of brilliance and that being independent doesn't make one brilliant. It's a complicated world.

The new-fangled "s's" is annoying but in style guides and grammar texts. I dislike it intensely as it is disruptive to smooth reading and worsens the correlation between written and spoken English.

Some of those who played a crucial role in decypherment are given insufficient acknowledgment and credit. That matters in this game we call academia.

Unfairness isn't merely a matter of who gets to see their name in print (many involved are dead, in any case), because of the way research is evaluated (and funded) and because of how libraries with academic sections try to figure out what is important enough to keep on the shelves, significant work that rarely gets referenced rarely gets seen. It's similar to excessive secrecy in the effect it has, it's very toxic. I have no desire to reward an author for the fact that everyone gets fairly treated across the literature as a whole, the author had no say in what others did and played no positive role there. There being no real harm done is happenstance and that's not a good thing to promote.

Nor did he invent the practice of not being secret. Archimedes and Euclid relied extensively on circulating ideas and documents being updated, preceding him by quite a bit. He didn't really develop the idea much beyond his strategy of releasing the worknotes early-ish and often. For real progress in this conceptual bazaar of ideas, you'd need to wait a decade or so and into a wide range of sciences.

However, as I said, these do not change the events or the processes. These are peripheral to the main story the book is about, which is the cracking of Linear B. This is not an instruction manual on decrypting languages, nor is it professed to be anyone's story other than that of Michael Ventris. It certainly isn't claiming to be a book on grammar! They are technical errors, not factual errors.

I never recommend buying just one book on how something was discovered, as omissions and contextual weirdness is inevitable. This is no exception. If you want to understand a discovery, get into the minds of the discoverers, mentally journey with them, you need both enthused narratives like this (nobody can learn from the dull) and objective but lively books.

Always start with the enthused, if you can, as you need to be interested to go further. This is a great book as your starting point on Ventris-spotting. If that's all you want, that's fine. If you're intrigued, as I am, on intellectual problems and challenges, this is only your starting point.

I will wrap up by saying that the three major breakthroughs in ancient texts (hieroglyphs, cuneiform and Linear B) all used very different methods. Yet other methods exist today. If you're eager to be Ventris Mk. II and solve the remaining unreadable languages, you have a chance but expect your reading list to have some really odd titles.
Qane
Some of the reviews say there's not enough of Michael Ventris' personal life in a book entitled "The Man Who Deciphered Linear B." But there is enough to show what type of person he was - seemly cool, aloof, but obviously capable of great passion when it came to, well, Linear B. As he died in the mid-1950's I think, and didn't keep a journal, most of the outline of the man comes from scholarly-type correspondence and comments made by friends and family long after M.V.'s death. But there is, as I said, there is sufficient info on his personal life and the information surrounding the deciphering of Linear B is well written and my eyes did not glaze over while reading the technical parts. If you are interested in Linear B or deciphering in general, this is a good book.
Xava
Robinson's description of of the labors of many on this endeavor, the cooperative efforts and lack of cooperation, how the script was massaged with rules of Greek grammar, the relationships and frequencies of symbols is all new to me and most interesting. Following premises until they proves false, and eventually having insight that isn't based on evidence at hand was incredible. The personal material about his life ,other than to explain his character and an idea of how he approached problems and his diligence, seemed more than wanted to know. It was a good read.
White_Nigga
Andrew Robinson's "The Man Who Deciphered Linear B" should be dry and academic in the worst possible senses of those words. It is, to the contrary, an utterly fascinating mystery and linguistic puzzle which Robinson lays out methodically for his readers--even those who had little previous interest in linguistic puzzles.
Michael Ventris, the man at the heart of this book, was a rather shy, somewhat diffident man who had trained as an architect and married young. Instead of leading the staid life it seems fate had laid out for him, he spent most of his short adult years working on the Linear B--a tablet found at a Mediterranean archaeological dig, and a tablet which had all but been pronounced indecipherable by many scholars with better credentials than Ventris's. Ventris ignored their conclusions and did eventually decipher the tablet. The story is filled with surprises and sudden discoveries, with disappointments and fortuitous guesses, and so on. It is quite a ride. There is even the occasional spot of humor--as when Ventris was stopped by a suspicious Customs agent who said, "These Pylos Tablets--exactly what ailment is it that they're supposed to relieve?"
I learned a great deal from this book. Among the more memorable nuggets was the fact that an alphabet generally contains between 20 and 40 characters--if there are more than 40 characters, it is probably a syllabary (meaning, a system by which each character represents an entire word rather than just one letter or other element WITHIN a word). I highly recommend this for any student of lost language--and anyone who enjoys a twisty-turny thriller!
Qusserel
Too personal mixed with science.
Goodman
Those interested in psychological reconstruction or psychoanalytic biography will not like this book.
It is most useful for those with a linguistic interest to see how the author links V's profession with his hobby--although, in the end, the "hobby" dominated.
Also strongly hints at both methodological and personal differences with Alice Kober.
most interesting, quite informative, and a pleasant read.
Ueledavi
This book is about half biography and half story of the decipherment. It is important to know that in case someone wanted a straight forward academic decipherment history. With that said, this is a wonderful and interesting story about a man I knew little about. Seeing how his personality affected his work really drives home both his genius and the luck involved in something like this. I could not put it down once I started reading it.
The Man Who Deciphered Linear B: The Story of Michael Ventris download epub
Professionals & Academics
Author: Andrew Robinson
ISBN: 0500289980
Category: Biographies & Memoris
Subcategory: Professionals & Academics
Language: English
Publisher: Thames & Hudson; 1 edition (April 1, 2012)
Pages: 168 pages