Margalit Fox applauds the forgotten Alice Kober in this absorbing book about her contribution to the decoding of Europe’s oldest scriptMinos, a bronze-age king who ruled over the city-state Knossos in Crete, wasn’t one for winning hearts and minds. According to Greek mythology, he’d regularly (possibly as often as every year – accounts differ) throw 14 kids to the minotaur in his labyrinth, built by Daedalus, whom he also locked up. He had a mechanical giant who patrolled the shore outside his palace.He was also real, according to Arthur Evans, an English archaeologist who unearthed an ancient palace with a maze of interconnected rooms at Knossos in 1900. Inside the palace were hundreds of clay tablets written in a script that had never been seen before. The tablets dated to about 1450BC – seven centuries before the Greek alphabet existed – making them the earliest examples of writing ever found in Europe. But if there were revelations in these texts about Minos, they were locked away. No one even knew the language that they transcribed, and there were no handy Rosetta Stone-style translations lying around.The quest to crack this code has been traced by authors before, as acknowledged by Margalit …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books