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Thread: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

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    Default Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    The Wikipedia article for the Danube civilization is replete with references for how the Danube civilization of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic-era (i.e. copper metallurgy) Balkan peninsula is the direct ancestor of Minoan civilization of Crete, Cycladic civilization, and Helladic civilization, including its last phase, Mycenaean Greece. It goes as far as to call them the "offspring" of the older Danube civilization.

    However, this Google Books search yields basically no information on this supposed linear relationship between the Old Europe or Danube civilization and the subsequent Cycladic, Helladic, Mycenaean, and Minoan civilizations of the Aegean Sea. I've also found little to nothing in the scholarly journal database JSTOR about this proposed relationship.

    The Danube civilization, for reasons of agricultural and natural disasters plus the invasions of the Indo-Europeans, was already well into decline by the end of the 4th millennium BC (c. 3000 BC). In fact, the Greeks themselves were Indo-European newcomers to southeastern Europe. If the Mycenaean Greeks and Minoans of Crete were influenced at all by the Danube civilization, or more specifically the Cucuteni-Trypillian and Varna cultures, to what extent has that been proven? What hard evidence in artwork, architecture, ceramic pottery, metal tools, etc. shows a direct link between these civilizations? Or is the Wikipedia article that I've shared simply full of hot air? I haven't been able to check the sources used for that article, so I'm not sure which credible academics support this theory.

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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    I read it to longe ago that i can't differ what kind of Greece civilizations they influenced, but according to Harald Haarmann (you might wanna read him if you get translations of his books) 1/3 of the old Greek words originated in the language of the Danube Civilization. While one group of the Greeks were probably Anatolian Nomads which herd domesticated animals and soon lived in villages, the Danube words are basically what you need to describe a culture that is more centered on hunting and gathering and agriculture. He discovered 76 names of plants and their parts, 48 words for domesticated animals, 34 for tools, 20 for religion, mythology and iconography, 18 for environment phenomena, 15 for social relationships, 13 for clothing, 12 Body-parts, 11 for building structures, 10 for craftsmanship and 9 for food. And these are the ones he is rely sure of.

    Haarmann, Harald: Das Rätsel der Donauzivilisation. Die Entdeckung der ältesten Hochkultur Europas, p 61.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harald_Haarmann

    If you want to know something about old languages besides Greek, Latin and Aramaic you should read his books, because i rarely read about a scientist who is that much in to the material.

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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    What?

    For starters, the people of the Old Europe culture, or Danube civilization if you will, most certainly spoke a language that wasn't Indo-European, since their civilization came before the Indo-European invasion of Europe by their steppe horsemen and charioteers. If that be the case, how could approximately 1/3 of all Greek words stem from a non-Indo-European language, when etymological studies of the Greek language place it squarely in the Indo-European language family? With the roots of its words coming from the earliest Indo-European language? Even though the cultures of the Danubian civilization developed proto-writing, the Vinča symbols, I was unaware that we had reconstructed their extinct language to the extent that we know of its exact influence on later languages like Greek. After all, the only non-Indo-European language to have survived into the modern age is Basque, spoken in the Pyrenees region of southwestern France and northeastern Spain. Other pre-Indo-European languages, such as Etruscan, have not survived, but for the latter we have concrete evidence of its influence on Latin.

    If Haarmann's findings are correct, then that has enormous implications for the understanding of who the early Greeks were, in this case a mixed people who came from Asia and melded with people already living in the Balkans (absorbing an enormous part of their vocabulary, as you suggest). Unless I haven't been paying attention very carefully, has this created major headlines?

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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    What?

    For starters, the people of the Old Europe culture, or Danube civilization if you will, most certainly spoke a language that wasn't Indo-European, since their civilization came before the Indo-European invasion of Europe by their steppe horsemen and charioteers. If that be the case, how could approximately 1/3 of all Greek words stem from a non-Indo-European language, when etymological studies of the Greek language place it squarely in the Indo-European language family? With the roots of its words coming from the earliest Indo-European language? Even though the cultures of the Danubian civilization developed proto-writing, the Vinča symbols, I was unaware that we had reconstructed their extinct language to the extent that we know of its exact influence on later languages like Greek. After all, the only non-Indo-European language to have survived into the modern age is Basque, spoken in the Pyrenees region of southwestern France and northeastern Spain. Other pre-Indo-European languages, such as Etruscan, have not survived, but for the latter we have concrete evidence of its influence on Latin.

    If Haarmann's findings are correct, then that has enormous implications for the understanding of who the early Greeks were, in this case a mixed people who came from Asia and melded with people already living in the Balkans (absorbing an enormous part of their vocabulary, as you suggest). Unless I haven't been paying attention very carefully, has this created major headlines?
    Yes in his studies he found out that large parts of the Greek language have indeed not Indo-European roots and it is even more surprising that they belong in larger categories and are not just single words. Until now i haven't read a linguist who is really disagreeing with him, which is hard because he is such a authority in the field. Following up, he presents his theory that this influence clearly presents a hint that the Greek language at one point got influences by immigrants which had a completely different lifestyle and the major population had to overtake their terms for new things because they didn't knew them at the points. He things that these people, if they are not people from the Danube civilization, they at least lived in that region before, because many plants the words describe are from those regions and not Greece or Anatolia.
    Last edited by Marcus Aemilius Lepidus; November 13, 2014 at 10:47 AM.

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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    If that be the case, how could approximately 1/3 of all Greek words stem from a non-Indo-European language, when etymological studies of the Greek language place it squarely in the Indo-European language family?
    Same reason how English the "Germanic" language has so many ing French words.
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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    There are non-Greek placenames found all over Greece that date back to pre-Greek populations such as Larissa, Zakynthos etc.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelasgians
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorian_...xternal_Greeks
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Greek_language





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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    Quote Originally Posted by hellheaven1987 View Post
    Same reason how English the "Germanic" language has so many ing French words.
    That's a bit different, considering how that was directly related to the Norman conquest and hence the infusion of Anglo-Norman French with Middle English and the continued influence of French on Early Modern English. By the time the Mycenaean peoples built their civilizations the far more ancient Old Europe culture and the lost Danube civilization would have been long forgotten. It's amazing they had any influence on the development of the Greek language at all. We didn't even know their entire civilization existed until about the early 20th century.

    Quote Originally Posted by neoptolemos View Post
    There are non-Greek placenames found all over Greece that date back to pre-Greek populations such as Larissa, Zakynthos etc.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelasgians
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorian_...xternal_Greeks
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Greek_language
    Cool! Thanks for sharing those. They are certainly helping to piece together the picture.

    In either case, the borrowing of words from a conquered culture and bygone civilization does not equate to a line of continuum from the Danube civilization to Mycenaean civilization. One is not the father of the other, and the latter is not the offspring of the former. That's what I'm getting at here. The Wiki article makes this very bold claim and I want to know if there's more to it than some borrowed words.

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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    This becomes interesting if you look in to the few words that handle mythology etc. Some cults and those are connected with agriculture and hunting probably survived from this time.

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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    I read some theories that said that Danube civilization, or more exactly its late and most developed phase, Cucuteni-Tripolie culture, was the craddle and the origin of Indo-Europeans. Yamna culture and another one, forgot its name now, were just offshots of Cucuteni-Tripolie, formed by people migrating from there and adapted in time to different life conditions (like living in steppes, mixing with locals and so on).

    At some point some new elites or new religious ideas emerged (they used both inhumation and incineration in some times and some areas, and kurgan structures dated around 4000 BC, long before any supposed "invasion from the steppes", were discovered around). The biggest blow was however given by climate changes (Piora Oscillation, sub-boreal phase etc). This provoked the fall of agriculture followed by internal struggles, fight for resources, fragmentation of society, the rise of new elites and a new religion (most of them abandoned the old Earth Goddess or Mother Goddess cults, probably due to fall of agriculture, and take the new Sky Father god cults, but the Earth Mother ones were still present to few Indo-European groups long after that) and the shift from agriculture toward herding in many areas.
    And eventually the migration of various groups, either chased by others either in search for new lands with new resources. These groups, sometime combined with people they found in their way will form the classic Indo-European various population.

    So is not impossible that similarities to exist betwen later Greeks (of classic ancient era) and old Danube civilization, probably a mix of various groups will eventually form the Greeks as we know them from classic ancient era. But every Indo-European group have more or less roots in that civilization I think
    Last edited by diegis; November 13, 2014 at 05:24 PM.

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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    The Wikipedia article for the Danube civilization is replete with references for how the Danube civilization of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic-era (i.e. copper metallurgy) Balkan peninsula is the direct ancestor of Minoan civilization of Crete, Cycladic civilization, and Helladic civilization, including its last phase, Mycenaean Greece. It goes as far as to call them the "offspring" of the older Danube civilization.
    As always wiki articles on the Balkans suffer from protochronistic hoghwash. The Minoans and Myceneas were tow distinct people, the relation between them is abotu the same as the relation between romans and greeks. Also the proto-Greeks weren't even in the Balkans at the time when the Danubian civilization was at its peak.

    I also call on them influencing 1/3rd of greek vocabulary. That's not how languages work and we don't know a single word of "danubian". Thos foreign words in greek could be corrupted celtic or thracian, troglodyte, pelasgian, phrygian, butmir (who were situated between the greeks and danubian civilization and lived at the right time, corrupted illyrian.
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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    Quote Originally Posted by diegis View Post
    I read some theories
    Whose theories? Which academic says this? Back in the 1950s Lithuanian-American archaeologist Marija Gimbutas was the first to coin the phrase and postulate the Kurgan hypothesis about the Yamna culture being the progenitor of all Indo-European languages, by speaking the proto-Indo-European language. Gimbutas was also one of the leading researchers into the Old Europe or Danube civilization. The vast majority of scholars today still hold the consensus that her Kurgan hypothesis is correct. They do challenge her, however, on her possibly incorrect or unsubstantiated idea that a previous matriarchal peaceful mother-goddess worshiping society was replaced by a warlike and hostile patriarchal group of Indo-Europeans who assimilated the natives of the Balkans by force or wiped them out via warfare.

    One scholar in particular doubts here whole Kurgan model though, and that is Kathrin Krell (1998). However, she does so for completely different reasons than you've proposed, and certainly didn't claim that the pastoral, chariot-riding nomadic Yamna culture was merely an offshoot of the already agriculturally-settled and town-dwelling Cucuteni-Tripolie peoples. Colin Renfrew (1999) also points out the fact that there is no hard evidence for the use of horses by mounted warriors in Europe until about 1000 BC (despite the earlier burial of chariots elsewhere in the world). This would seem to undermine the whole invasion from the steppes theory.

    However, by 1000 BC Indo-European peoples had long since migrated into mainland Greece from Anatolia and the Balkans, as evidenced by the rise of the Mycenaean Greeks. Their corpus of writing, along with that of the Hittites in Anatolia, are considered the earliest evidence of Indo-European languages put down into writing that has survived. The Mycenaean people's neighbors to the south on the isle of Crete, the Minoans, on the other hand, founded their civilization several centuries before this and spoke a language that is to this day still unclassified, since the Minoans were not Indo-European speakers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Adrian View Post
    As always wiki articles on the Balkans suffer from protochronistic hoghwash. The Minoans and Myceneas were tow distinct people, the relation between them is abotu the same as the relation between romans and greeks. Also the proto-Greeks weren't even in the Balkans at the time when the Danubian civilization was at its peak.
    I'd go even further than you on the point about the Mycenaeans and Minoans. The linguistic difference between the Mycenaeans and Minoans would have been more like the difference between Han Chinese and Semitic Phoenician. At least the Greek and Latin language of the Romans belonged to separate branches of the same Indo-European language family, like the Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Celtic and Germanic languages. The Minoans founded their civilization on Crete before the Mycenaean people established their own on the mainland, and the Minoans did much in the way of influencing the culture and civilization of early Mycenaean Greece.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Adrian View Post
    I also call on them influencing 1/3rd of greek vocabulary. That's not how languages work and we don't know a single word of "danubian".
    I haven't read Harald Haarmann's work on the matter, so I'll give him the slight benefit of the doubt as to his findings. Yet I too remain skeptical about this posited hypothesis of his. A full third of all the words in the Greek language sounds like quite a stretch that would require a rigorous examination of the archaeological record to prove that. Unfortunately, I don't think enough remains from the time period in question to give any solid answer.

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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    Whose theories? Which academic says this? Back in the 1950s Lithuanian-American archaeologist Marija Gimbutas was the first to coin the phrase and postulate the Kurgan hypothesis about the Yamna culture being the progenitor of all Indo-European languages, by speaking the proto-Indo-European language. Gimbutas was also one of the leading researchers into the Old Europe or Danube civilization. The vast majority of scholars today still hold the consensus that her Kurgan hypothesis is correct. They do challenge her, however, on her possibly incorrect or unsubstantiated idea that a previous matriarchal peaceful mother-goddess worshiping society was replaced by a warlike and hostile patriarchal group of Indo-Europeans who assimilated the natives of the Balkans by force or wiped them out via warfare.

    One scholar in particular doubts here whole Kurgan model though, and that is Kathrin Krell (1998). However, she does so for completely different reasons than you've proposed, and certainly didn't claim that the pastoral, chariot-riding nomadic Yamna culture was merely an offshoot of the already agriculturally-settled and town-dwelling Cucuteni-Tripolie peoples. Colin Renfrew (1999) also points out the fact that there is no hard evidence for the use of horses by mounted warriors in Europe until about 1000 BC (despite the earlier burial of chariots elsewhere in the world). This would seem to undermine the whole invasion from the steppes theory.

    However, by 1000 BC Indo-European peoples had long since migrated into mainland Greece from Anatolia and the Balkans, as evidenced by the rise of the Mycenaean Greeks. Their corpus of writing, along with that of the Hittites in Anatolia, are considered the earliest evidence of Indo-European languages put down into writing that has survived. The Mycenaean people's neighbors to the south on the isle of Crete, the Minoans, on the other hand, founded their civilization several centuries before this and spoke a language that is to this day still unclassified, since the Minoans were not Indo-European speakers.
    .
    Here some links, the author is Axel Kristinsson (he is an academic from Iceland, I found some other saying something along the same line but can't find them now, nor have much time to search)

    http://www.academia.edu/2944128/Indo...pansion_Cycles

    Here is a shorter presentation of what Kristinsson say

    http://reteaualiterara.ning.com/prof...opean-homeland

    Here is another article (mostly on linguistic)

    http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/indoeuropean.html

    The truth is that things are still in debate but what Axel Kristinsson said seem to me the most logical theory

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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    Quote Originally Posted by diegis View Post
    Here some links, the author is Axel Kristinsson (he is an academic from Iceland, I found some other saying something along the same line but can't find them now, nor have much time to search)

    http://www.academia.edu/2944128/Indo...pansion_Cycles

    Here is a shorter presentation of what Kristinsson say

    http://reteaualiterara.ning.com/prof...opean-homeland

    Here is another article (mostly on linguistic)

    http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/indoeuropean.html

    The truth is that things are still in debate but what Axel Kristinsson said seem to me the most logical theory
    Judging by the bibliography to the first article you've shared, he uses an impressive array of secondary literature. I will try to spend some time looking over those sources and reading his article in full.

    However, be careful calling Mr. Kristinsson an academic. According to his own CV, he obtained a BA in 1986 and Candidatus magisterii (i.e. Master of Arts degree) in 1991 from the University of Iceland. However, his attempts from 1991 to 1998 to obtain a doctoral degree are stated as "incomplete." In other words, he is not a doctor of philosophy (PhD). He calls himself an "Independent scholar" from 2004 onwards, after working as a curator for the Borgarfjörður Heritage Centre.

    I'm sure he has some interesting ideas, but are his ideas carefully vetted, critiqued, and analyzed through a proper academic peer-review? He is not attached to any institution and is doing this virtually by himself, so keep that in the back of your mind as you read his material.

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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    That's a bit different, considering how that was directly related to the Norman conquest and hence the infusion of Anglo-Norman French with Middle English and the continued influence of French on Early Modern English. By the time the Mycenaean peoples built their civilizations the far more ancient Old Europe culture and the lost Danube civilization would have been long forgotten. It's amazing they had any influence on the development of the Greek language at all. We didn't even know their entire civilization existed until about the early 20th century.
    That is quick to say, as far as I know Danube civilizations were ultimately assimilated into Indo-European culture due to arrive of Indo-Europeans, so claiming that culture was ancestor of Bronze Age culture was technically not wrong, nor it was surprised that the language somehow survived partially into Bronze Age (as like Sumerian language and writting system).
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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    The talk page for that Wiki article doesn't fill me with confidence.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talkanube_civilization

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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glaive View Post
    The talk page for that Wiki article doesn't fill me with confidence.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talkanube_civilization
    Agreed. I voiced my concerns there as the user "PericlesofAthens."

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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    the simple fact that german scolars (english,polish, russian), whom are not of greek descend, wount admit mycenean hellenic greeks are a super race of native old europeans. Inferior indo-europeans like the germanic and/or turkic tribes are infiltrating greek old european terminology by saying mycenean or achaeans are indo europeans. that i cannot believe of such a superior greek culture is part of eurasians. this cannot be. nomadic tribes infiltrating greek culture and wisdom are doing this since we've dealing with nomadic parasite tribes.

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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    Is the "Old Europe" of the Danube culture a civilisation (in the classical sense of having cities)? Just nitpicking, but using anachronistic or loose terminology feeds into debates about civilisations as if they were discrete units or traditions that can be claimed or fitt4ed into lineages for the purposes of nationalist chest thumping.

    There are areas of cultural development that surely left cultural "DNA" in succeeding cultures but as mentioned there seems to be a lot of anachronistic cultural stake claiming going on.

    IIRC Greek is an outlier among IE languages with a high proportion of words of unknown origin: this suggests to me that Hellenic culture is the result of fruitful interaction of diverse cultural influences (which to me is consistent with Hellenic culture as we know it in its classical phase).
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    Default Re: Does the Danube civilization have anything to do with Mycenaean Greece and the Minoan civilization of Crete?

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger1982 View Post
    the simple fact that german scolars (english,polish, russian), whom are not of greek descend, wount admit mycenean hellenic greeks are a super race of native old europeans. Inferior indo-europeans like the germanic and/or turkic tribes are infiltrating greek old european terminology by saying mycenean or achaeans are indo europeans. that i cannot believe of such a superior greek culture is part of eurasians. this cannot be. nomadic tribes infiltrating greek culture and wisdom are doing this since we've dealing with nomadic parasite tribes.
    What? Your message here is completely garbled and lost. What are you trying to say, exactly? You seem very confused about this topic.

    Nice necro post, btw.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    Is the "Old Europe" of the Danube culture a civilisation (in the classical sense of having cities)? Just nitpicking, but using anachronistic or loose terminology feeds into debates about civilisations as if they were discrete units or traditions that can be claimed or fitt4ed into lineages for the purposes of nationalist chest thumping.

    There are areas of cultural development that surely left cultural "DNA" in succeeding cultures but as mentioned there seems to be a lot of anachronistic cultural stake claiming going on.

    IIRC Greek is an outlier among IE languages with a high proportion of words of unknown origin: this suggests to me that Hellenic culture is the result of fruitful interaction of diverse cultural influences (which to me is consistent with Hellenic culture as we know it in its classical phase).
    Well, the odd non-Greek words in the Greek language could be attributed to inhabitants of the mainland, or they could be relics of the still untranslated Minoan language (which is still indecipherable with Linear A writing that is a direct descendant of the Mycenaean Linear B script). If the Minoans had such a cultural impact on the Greek-speaking Mycenaeans, even giving birth to their system of writing (several centuries before the Phoenician-derived Greek alphabet), then it's probably fair to say some of the ancient Minoan language also rubbed off onto their language as well. I find it fascinating that the extinct Eteocretan language of Crete, attested in Greek alphabetical writing of the 7th - 3rd centuries BC, was most likely the direct descendant of the even older Minoan language. Someone who is knowledgeable about Eteocretan should probably weigh in here and clear this up. Who knows? Maybe there is some strong evidence from the existing writings of the Eteocretan language that can show the true origins of where a lot of these non-Greek words in the Greek language came from.

    Quite frankly, that sounds a lot more plausible than the language of the Old Europe civilization in the Balkans influencing Mycenaean Greek some 1,500 years after the decline of the former. In terms of a timeline, the distance of the collapse of the Old Europe civiliation to the rise of the Mycenaean Greek civilization is roughly the same time span as the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the present day, 2016. I think that alone makes the Minoan language the stronger and more obvious candidate, by virtue of the principle of Occam's razor.

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