The Phaistos Disc decoded - Inscription on the clay plate is in ancient Georgian language
19 October, 2018
The Phaistos Disc decoded - Inscription on the clay plate is in ancient Georgian language
July 3 makes the 101st anniversary since the Phaistos Disc was discovered on the island of Crete. The finding of Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier put the ancient history of Europe upside down. The text on the disc, the diameter of which is 16 cm and that weighs 380 grams, is written in the Proto-Kartvelian (Proto-Georgian), with the pictographic script, which existed before the invention of alphabet.

Phaistos Disc dates back to about 1850-1600 BC and an old religious chant is inscribed
on it. The authors were singing to an ancient goddess Nena-Nana, which means that the oldest Georgian literary monument is not the Martyrdom of Shushanik written in the 5th century AD, but this 4 000-year-old hymn.
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The origins and script of the Phaistos disc raises lots of questions among scientists. Photo courtesy: keeptalkinggreece.com

What the Phaistos disc says?


The disc serves as a proof to some of the famous European science theories that Proto-Georgians and their related tribes were living in Mesopotamia and Western Asia, as well as in Black and Mediterranean sea basins and boasted rich culture, writing and art. As a result, it turns out that the foundation of European culture is not the old Greek culture, but rather the old Proto-Georgian one.

For centuries, European scholars have been trying unsuccessfully to solve the mysterious text of Phaistos Disc. But Austrian doctor Herbert Zebisch has chosen a different course of research, creating a computer program (PC), where it is possible to insert any language and then compare them for the distribution of disc marks. The only language that responded to the program was the Proto-Georgian one. Zebisch decided to study old Georgian language, but he died in 1993.

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Phaistos disc

Who deciphered the Phaistos Disc?


Apparently, the text written in the ancient Georgian language was destined to be deciphered by a Georgian. It was a famous Georgian scientist Gia Kvashilava who started to study Phaistos Disc and Europe was surprised by the result.

On November 1, 2008, in London, at the British Royal Academy of Art, the Georgian mathematician informed the scientific community that the text on the clay plate is written in ancient Georgian language and is dedicated to the Colchian goddess of fertility Nana. The words used in it are still used in Svaneti, Samegrelo and Lazeti (regions of Georgia).
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Inside the ancient Minoan Palace of Knossos (1700 BC) - Crete, Greece. Photo courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org

Gia Kvashilava's linguistic theory was so well argued that even the most radical minded scientists, who opposed his opinion, were forced to admit that the mystery of Phaitos Disc was finally unlocked.

What does the writing explain and how did it come to the island of Crete? Gia Kvashilava, academician and linguist elaborated on the secret of Phaistos Disc.

- Does your research reveal that we have a 4 000-year history?

- This requires recognition of scientific circles. Phaistos Disc has proven only some theories. In particular, one of them is the Humboldt theory, which argues that 4000 years ago Georgian tribes lived on the Mediterranean coast and that was before these areas were settled by Indo-European tribes. The theory of migration of tribes was developed by Georgian scientist Tamaz Gamkrelidze and Russian Vyacheslav Ivanov. In 1984 they published a book called "Indo-Europeans and Indo-European language".
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Bull leaping Minoan fresco archmus. Heraklion. Photo courtesy: smarthistory.org

- Where did Proto-Georgians go from Europe?

- Three things happened: they blended with the invaders, were exiled and killed. The culture of Indo-European tribes was not of the same level as the cultures of the tribes that had lived there, and so Indo-Europeans borrowed from them some words too. The Dutch linguist Fournee says that in the Greek language there are 5,000 words whose roots cannot be explained in Indo-European languages, while Greek is also an Indo-European language. So he checked with the Kartvelian languages and expressed the possibility that in the Greek language there are 5000 words of Kartvelian origin.

- How did Georgian texts appear in Crete?

- Dr. Zebisch said that the Proto-Greek language, the Pelasgian, is the mother of Kartvelian languages and Strabo says that the priests of the Colchian tribes, the Korybantes, lived in Crete and were the half-brothers of Aeetes, king of Colchis. The Korybantes had a sacred script, a chrysography, or a golden script. According to Pavle Ingorokva and Shalva Nutsubidze, this mystery was inscribed on the Golden Fleece and this was the reason why the Greek Argonauts visited Colchis get hold of it.
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Knossos palace, throne room. Photo courtesy: wallswithstories.com

- The words in the text are close to which Kartvelian (Proto-Georgian) language or dialect?

- According to the theory of Tamaz Gamkrelidze and Givi Machavariani, the Proto-Georgian language was dissolved 5000 years ago. The first to separate was Svan language and there remained Georgian proper and Megrelian-Laz together. In the year 2000 BC, these Proto-Georgian languages dissolved as well. The text of the Phaistos Disc is inscripted in a common Georgian-Laz language, which confirms Gamkrelidze-Machavariani's theory. There is Svan language influence as well.

Is the Phaistos Disc vocabulary still in use?


- Are the words on the Phaistos Disc still used in today's Svan or Megrelian-Laz languages?

- Yes, the words are the same, otherwise I would not be able to understand the content that was written 4000 years ago. If we had lost Svan and Megrelian-Laz we would not be able to decipher the Phaistos Disc. After the separation, these languages did not change much and they almost maintained their original appearance they had 4,000 years ago.
Until now, there was a notion that the whole European ancient culture was based on ancient Greek language, but now it is found that it is based on the oldest cultures of the Mediterranean peoples.

- What led you to the right path in the research process?

- My studies are based on the materials accumulated over hundreds of years. I studied and examined over 1500 scientific books and works. For centuries, they tried to decipher the Phaistos Disc in almost every language, but no theory was presented from linguistic perspective. As for our theory, it is linguistically very well founded.

P. S. Despite the fact that Gia Kvashilava's discovery is quite sensational, it somehow could not find any response in Georgia. We think that the Ministries of Culture, Monument Protection and Sports and Education and Science should finance and support such projects.

The article was first published on the 31st of August 2017 and was edited later.

First photo courtesy: crystalinks.com

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Interview with the man who discovered the oldest inscription in the world
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