Ventris, Michael

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British scholar, architect, and linguist trained in code-breaking during war service, who in 1952 deciphered the Linear B script of Minoan and Mycenaean Greece. He showed them to be an early form of Greek, dating from about 1500 to 1200 BC, roughly the period of the Homeric epics. In 1953, he published a historic paper with John Chadwick, "Evidence for Greek Dialect in the Mycenaean Archives." Their "Documents in Mycenaean Greek" (1956; rev. ed. 1973) was published a few weeks after Ventris' death in an auto accident and Chadwick's "The Decipherment of Linear B" (1958; 2nd ed. 1968) followed.