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The Riddle of the Labyrinth
The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code | Margalit Fox
5 posts | 9 read | 14 to read
In the tradition of Simon Winchester and Dava Sobel, The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code tells one of the most intriguing stories in the history of language, masterfully blending history, linguistics, and cryptology with an elegantly wrought narrative. When famed archaeologist Arthur Evans unearthed the ruins of a sophisticated Bronze Age civilization that flowered on Crete 1,000 years before Greeces Classical Age, he discovered a cache of ancient tablets, Europes earliest written records. For half a century, the meaning of the inscriptions, and even the language in which they were written, would remain a mystery. Award-winning New York Times journalist Margalit Fox's riveting real-life intellectual detective story travels from the Bronze Age Aegeanthe era of Odysseus, Agamemnon, and Helento the turn of the 20th century and the work of charismatic English archeologist Arthur Evans, to the colorful personal stories of the decipherers. These include Michael Ventris, the brilliant amateur who deciphered the script but met with a sudden, mysterious death that may have been a direct consequence of the deipherment; and Alice Kober, the unsung heroine of the story whose painstaking work allowed Ventris to crack the code.
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CaramelLunacy
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A story of the decipherment of Linear B - a script from the (then) earliest known European civilization first found on Crete. Fox discusses archaeologist Arthur Evans, who found the tablets, and Michael Ventris an architect and amateur linguist, who ultimately deciphered the script. But Fox's main interest lies with the largely overlooked Brooklyn born classicist Alice Kober whose painstaking and meticulous work laid the groundwork.

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hissingpotatoes
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5/5⭐ An incredibly engaging, fascinating story of the players involved in deciphering Linear B. The book explains well key linguistic, archaeological, historical, and cultural principles. I am so glad to have learned of the force-of-will that was Alice Kober. #bookspinbingo #booked2022

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azulaco
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#rockinmay #immigrantsong Did you know that most of the groundwork for deciphering Linear B was done by an immigrant? Alice Kober's parents immigrated to the US when her mother was pregnant with Alice. Alice grew up to be a brilliant classicist whose methodical work of several years went most of the way toward figuring out Linear B. She died young, so someone else cracked it and got the credit. ☹️️ But her groundwork was essential to the solution.

Cinfhen Sounds fascinating...how does it read...like fiction or more textbook? 5y
azulaco @Cinfhen It reads more like fiction or biography. Totally readable. 5y
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azulaco
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Currently reading this for a group read in #srcspring2017. Fellow word nerds, it is fascinating. It's about cracking the code of ancient Cretan Linear B script. It's been on my want-to-read list for a couple of years. So glad to be prodded into reading it now.

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quote
M_landis27
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How little academia has changed....