Sacrificial Feasting in the Linear B Documents

by Thomas G. Palaima

Hesperia, Volume 73, Issue 2
Page(s): 217-246
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4134894
Year: 2004


Linear B tablets and sealings from Thebes, Pylos, and Knossos monitor preparations for communal sacrifice and feasting held at palatial centers and in outlying districts. In this article I discuss the nature of the Linear B documents and focus on the fullest archaeological and textual evidence, which comes from Pylos. Translations of the key texts are presented in an appendix. Individuals and groups of varying status were involved in provisioning commensal ceremonies; prominent among the participants were regionally interlinked nobility, the wanaks (“king”) and the lāwāgetās (“leader of the lāos”). Commensal ceremonies helped establish a collective identity for inhabitants of palatial territories. Two land-related organizations, the da-mo (dāmos) and the worgioneion ka-ma, represented different social groups in such unifying ceremonies.