Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code by Margalit Fox

The Riddle of the Labyrinth by Margalit Fox --363 pages

How did two obsessed individuals translate an unknown script representing an unknown language? This fascinating book examines the unraveling of Linear B, an ancient script dating back over three thousand years to the Greek island of Crete.  The labyrinth in the title refers to the labyrinth of the mythological Minotaur near the city of Knossos.  The author examines the script’s discoverer, archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, and its decipherer, Michael Ventris.  But she also expounds on the unknown classicist Alice Kober, who laid the groundwork for Linear B’s solution, and who may have solved the riddle if not for her early death.  This book will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in ancient history, or the breaking of mysterious codes.

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