Indo-European Toponymy in Minoan Crete: An Etymological Approach

Francesco PERONO CACCIAFOCO*, Niki Cassandra Min EU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingConference Proceedingpeer-review


Linear A is the yet undeciphered Aegean writing system of the ancient Minoan civilization which flourished in Crete. Many attempts have been made to decipher Linear A, or connect it to a plausible language family, with limited success. The Indo-European connection to Linear A has been rigorously explored over time because of the Mycenean Greek encoded by its descendant writing system, Linear B. This paper proposes possible etymologies of place names in the Linear A script, following a hypothetical relationship to the Indo-European family of languages. We apply historical-phonetic methodologies and the comparative method in order
to analyze these plausible toponyms. Potential place names were determined using Linear B phonetic values to determine the phonetic equivalents of Linear A signs, and by examining the position of these sign clusters on various articles. This paper does not attempt to connect Linear A to a language family – rather, it explores the hypothetical connections that could be drawn, the reconstructions we could make, and aims to contribute to the current debate and discussion around Minoan toponymy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOnomastics in Interaction with Other Branches of Science
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 27th International Congress of Onomastic Sciences (ICOS)
EditorsUrszula BIJAK, Paweł SWOBODA, Justyna B. WALKOWIAK
Place of PublicationKraków, Poland
PublisherJagiellonian University Press
Number of pages13
Volume1 (Keynote Lectures, Toponomastics)
ISBN (Electronic)978-83-233-7502-9, 978-83-233-7501-2
ISBN (Print)978-83-233-5305-8
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2023
Event27th International Congress of Onomastic Sciences (ICOS): ICOS Kraków 2021 - Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
Duration: 22 Aug 202127 Aug 2021
Conference number: 27


Conference27th International Congress of Onomastic Sciences (ICOS)
Abbreviated titleICOS 2021
Internet address


  • Linear A
  • Toponymy
  • Language Deciphering
  • Minoan
  • Proto-Indo-European


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