Discussing the proportion of Greek versus non-Greek names observed in the documents from the Room of the Chariot Tablets, Jean Driessen remarked that if the concentration of Greek names is related to the social context of the personnel mentioned - a highly controversial question -, this may have some consequences in our understanding of the social composition of the cnossian population in the latter stages of Greek Bronze Age. Moreover, being the RCT the oldest Linear B deposit at Knossos, Driessen wonders if comparing the results deriving from the analysis of these personal names with the whole cnossian corpus from the other deposits could be historically (with the Greek and non-Greek names thematically restricted to different socio-economic contexts or mutually mixed) and linguistically (being in relation with the language-shift in Crete) significant. Unfortunately, “no reference work exist to perform such an analysis”, except the studies made by Baumbach (Ap, As, C- series), Ilievski (D- series) and Varias Garcia (B- series) and the statistical analyses carried out by R. Firth, that shows a trend in which non-Greek names are generally restricted to inferior socio-economic contexts. Moreover, it is difficult to assess whether carrying a Greek name actually implies ethnic group affiliation. If in conditions of language shift a congruence between mother-tongue and social status can be traced, because some socially distinct groups often lead the rest of the population, it is equally possible (as suggested by sociolinguistic parallels) that individuals belonging to a socially inferior class may have chosen Greek names (possibly to acquire status) or can get nick-names by Mycenaean administrators, who can also try to hellenizing names they can’t understand. Keeping in mind these basic problems, the aim of this paper is to suggest, also on the basis of the prosopographical study made by Landenius Enegren, some remarks about this topic by examining personal names from Linear B sets from Knossos not jet analyzed in a socio-linguistic perspective, focusing on difficulty in recognizing the identity of people bearing the names and the way in which Mycenaean scribes registered the personnel (often by professional designations, ethnics or simply VIR/MUL ideograms) and wondering if the data represent the whole island population.
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