A LANGUAGE expert claims to have decoded an ancient Greek relic that has baffled researchers for over a century.
The Phaistos Disc has a diameter about as long as your hand and is decorated on both sides with a spiral of stamped symbols.
The Phaistos Disc is decorated on both sides with a spiral of stamped symbolsCredit: Alamy
In total, the clay slab is covered with hundreds of “picture” segments created from 45 individual symbols, the meaning of which is disputed.
In 2018 an expert who has studied the Phaistos Disc for 30 years said he had “99 per cent” solved the mystery surrounding the artefact’s message.
Gareth Owens, a linguist and archaeologist at the Crete Technological Institute, said the key to unlocking the 4,000-year-old antique’s secrets is the Minoan goddess of love, Astarte.
According to his data, the disc is a religious text about a “pregnant goddess” who takes shape in the face of Astarte.
The clay slab is covered with hundreds of ‘picture’ segments created from 45 individual symbols, the meaning of which is disputedCredit: Getty
“There is no doubt that we are talking about a religious text,” Owens said.
“This is clear from a comparison made with other religious words from other inscriptions from the holy mountains of Crete. We have words that are exactly the same.
“I suspect that the Phaistos Disc is a hymn before Astarte, the goddess of love. Words such as those mentioned on the disc have been found on Minoan offerings.
“As with today’s offerings, people pray when they are troubled, because of health problems or personal reasons. Man doesn’t change, after all.”
The Phaistos Disc disc was discovered by the Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier in 1908.
It was found at Phaistos, a palace on the island of Crete that was built by the Minoans, an ancient and advanced civilisation.
The Phaistos Disc disc was discovered by the Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier in 1908Credit: Getty
The Bronze Age artefact, which dates back to the second millennium BC, has 241 picture segments organised into a spiral of stamped symbols.
Those symbols comprise 45 distinct designs that were apparently made by pressing hieroglyphic stamps into a disc of soft clay, which was then baked.
The message inscribed on the object, as well as the reason for making it, has remained a hot topic among archaeologists since its discovery.
That’s because it’s thought to be written in a language lost when the Minoans were wiped out in 1450 BC under mysterious circumstances.
Owens and his team compared what little we know about the two Minoan languages, known as Linear A and Linear B, with other languages to come to their conclusions.
“We are reading the Phaistos disc with the vocal values of Linear B and with the help of comparative linguistics, ie comparing with other relative languages from the Indo-European language family,” he said.
The relic dates back 4,000 years and was found on the island of CreteCredit: Getty
“Reading something, however, does not mean understanding.”
The archaeologist believes that one side of the 15cm-wide disc is dedicated to the pregnant mother goddess and the other to Astarte.
The findings sparked debate among his fellow experts but the mystery surround the relic is far from solved.
Down the years, researchers have interpreted the disc as a calendar, a tool for astronomy and even a miniature version of a board game.
Some experts even believe that the object is a hoax created all the way back in 1908 to sell to unsuspecting artefact collectors.
It’s likely the true meaning of the Phaistos disc will never be known for sure.
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