Here I set out on a quest for a Semitic language in ancient Crete
For Linear A, I am basically using:
Carlo Consani e Mario Negri, Testi Minoici Trascritti con Interpretazione e Glossario (Roma 1999). More readily accessible for us all is John Younger's relevant website
Yves Duhoux, L'Étiocrétois. Les textes, la langue (Amsterdam 1982). An amazing monograph.
For the Semitic viewpoint on the evidence:
Cyrus H. Gordon, Evidence for the Minoan Language (Ventnor 1966)
C. Gordon, The Decipherment of Minoan and Eteocretan, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 1975, 148-158.
Jan Best, The Language of Linear A, in Jan Best and Fred Woudhuizen, Lost Languages from the Mediterranean (Leiden 1989) 1-35.
Gordon and Best have numerous publications on the subject
Of course, I am basically reliant on L. Godart and J.-P. Olivier, Recueil des inscriptions en Linéaire A (5 volumes).
The book that has stimulated me to look into this subject again:
Brent Davis, Minoan Stone Vessels with Linear A Inscriptions (Leuven-Liège 2014).
Evidence for kingship is hard to find in Crete, and at this point I am struggling to detect a word for it in the Linear A and Eteocretan documents that are available at present.
When the language is West Semitic (Phoenician, Hebrew, Arabic) the word is malku/malik/melek. In East Semitic (Akkadian, Babylonian, Assyrian) it is sharru ($arru). In the decipherment of the Ugaritic cuneiform alphabet script, and in the cracking of the West Semitic (Phoenician) alphabet, and its predecessor the West Semitic (Byblian) syllabary, mlk was an important clue. See my summary article, which does not mention mlk!
My search for an instance of m-r-k (r represents l or r) in the Cretan texts has been fruitless, thus far.
Nevertheless, there may be a word for 'ruler' in Praisos 2 (Eteocretan): MOSEL, Hebrew moshel (Gordon 1966, 11).
And malik can be seen (and also sar) in Cypro-Cretan (Cypro-Minoan) documents:
Enkomi cylinder, lines 2-3 <https://sites.google.com/site/collesseum/cypriancylinder>.
Cyprian tablet from Ugarit (RS 20.25) line 19 <https://sites.google.com/site/collesseum/ccnamelist>
On the Hagia Triada tablets a term SARU occurs (86, 94, 95, 123); also SARO (9, 17, 19, 42); and SARYA (11. 18, 28, 30, 32).
Jan Best (11-15) has studied HT 11b. one of the SARYA tablets (he transcribed SARA2 as sari, 'my king').
He notes that the two words accompanying it could be Semitic titles. My version of these would be:
RUZUNA = Hbr razon, 'dignitary, potentate' (root rzn, 'have weight'); in Proverbs 14: 28 it is in parallel with mlk, 'king').
SAQERI = Hbr sokher, 'trader'; in i Kings 10:28, it refers to 'the king's buyers' (Solomon's agents).
The tablet ends with the KURO, meaning 'total', and that seems to correspond to Semitic kullu, Hbr kol, 'all'.
In Creto-Semitica (1) Kingship, I struggled to find a Semitic word for 'king'. In Linear A texts, SARU was a faint possibility (East Semitic sharru 'king', or Hebrew sar 'prince, officer, leader'), but no trace of West Semitic malku. However, Eteocretan MOSEL (written in Greek alphabet letters) could be moshel 'ruler' (Hebrew). Now we look for numerals, if any.We now begin a quest for numbers/numerals in Linear A texts ('Eteocretan A', perhaps) and ' Eteocretan H' texts (Hellenic, in that they use the Greek alphabet, but the language is the same as in some, if not all, Linear A inscriptions). I must ask from the outset this puzzling question: if the language is indeed West Semitic, why did they not use the Byblos syllabary in the Bronze Age, and the Phoenician alphabet in the Iron Age, since Linear A and the Greek alphabet are not suited to a language which has so many different sounds needing to be separately recorded?
If we could find the words for the numbers (the names of the numerals) we could see immediately which language family we are looking at, whether Afro-Asiatic (Hamito-Semitic), 'Euro-Asiatic' (Indo-European), 'Anatolic', 'Caucasic' (Hurrian), Finno-Ugric (it has been suggested that Sumerian might belong here, but its numeral-names are entirely different), or an unknown unique tongue. In the latter case, it has been said that what we see in the Linear A and Eteocretan documents bears no resemblance to any known language; but practitioners of the 'discredited' etymological method of decipherment will beg to differ, along several separate paths, of course, and mine will be the Via Semitica.
We know the signs of the Cretan numerical scheme: it is a decimal system, with digits (|) for 1 to 9, and horizontal strokes (--) for tens; but these ideograms conceal the names of the numbers from us.
We accept that KURO introduces the total of the numbers in lists, particularly on Hagia Triada tablets, but there is an example from Zakros: Tablet ZA 15ab concerns wine, as the five occurrences of the VIN ideogram testify. There are ten words in its list, and as usual we wonder whether they are names of persons (anthroponyms), places (toponyms), or things (common nouns); each has an accompanying numeral.
The first line of ZA 15ab has: *47 ku na sa VINa (and no numeral).
SA is a simple Y-shaped representation of a cuttle-fish (*sapia, sêpia).
NA is an eye with a tear-flow ( nama)
KU is dog-head, with an eye and a protruding tongue (kuôn).
AB 47 is a circle with X, and it might be YI, or a variant of AB46 YE, representing a person walking.
A sequence yikuna looks very Semitic, as a verbal form, from the root kwn, 'be'; but the additional SA produces a possible word from the root k-n-s or k-n-sh, 'gather, collect'. When we come to examine the formulas on offering-tables, we will encounter unakanasi, and 'collect' would fit the context of giving and gathering that a Semitic reading reaps from those inscriptions. Here the introductory word might refer to the wine that has been collected; it is a heading and therefore does not have a number.
ZA 4ab tells a similar story about wine, but it is damaged, and the first line is lost; it shares two words with ZA 15ab: kadi and sipiki. ZA 5b also has sipiki, again with a wine connection, but much of the text is lacking on both sides. Hebrew spq denotes 'abundance' and has been used with reference to wine; but Semitic sh-p-k has the meaning 'pour'; the universe is riddled with coincidences, and perhaps neither of these choices is valid. WS kad 'jar' or 'jug' was for liquids or grains. If these two items were containers (for pouring wine), then the rest of the words would presumably refer to vessels; but speculation is cheap. Incidentally, the -i ending could be the indicator of masculine plural (kadi, 'jugs')
Note also that the Zakros scribe distinguishes I and NO clearly (on ZA 6, for example): the sign for NO is an upraised hand (in my view it symbolizes kheirôn nomos, the law of force) with a prominent thumb on the right side; the I-character might be a suppliant's olive branch wound round with wool (' iketêria elaia) with the end of the thread projecting on the right. Also of importance for us is the sign AB34 (on ZA 6a.1) which, I have long maintained, stands for KRA (it represents a side-view of an eyeball with the pupil, glênê); and it is not a mere variant of AB35, KRO (klôstêr, 'thread' or 'line') which shows a cord wound on a stick, a measuring 'line'; this same character is the origin of Q in the alphabet (qaw, a 'line'). KRA appears in a Linear A legend on a bowl from Knossos (KN Zcb), in a word kratiri (=kratêr).
Turning now to the KURO in ZA 15, the sum of all the numbers (57+10+3+6+2+5+4+5+3) is 95; but the kuro total is divided into two parts: VINa 78, RA VINa 17.
HT 122b has an interesting addition to this practice (again there are two totals):
kuro 31 (122a 8) kuro 65 (122b 5) potokuro 97(?) (122b 6).
The potokuro must mean 'grand total', or 'sum total' of the two totals. If it is a Semitic term, perhaps it is bat (Hbr bath) kul, 'daughter total'; but this could possibly imply that the new total is less than its two parent-totals, but not necessarily; I have not found an analogy for this.
Here is another thought: it says 'pan-total', 'all in all'. Could poto be related to pant- or pantô(s), as a Greek loan-word? My suspicion is that there was a Hellenic dialect lurking in Crete (before the Mycenians came) and it may even be recorded on the imprinted disc from Phaistos, near Hagia Triada.
KIRO is another word on the administration tablets; it is believed to mean something like 'deficit'; at the moment I can only suggest a faintly possible connection with Hebrew kl', 'hold back, withhold')
Is there an equivalent to kuro in the late Eteocretan H inscriptions? These are not accounting documents, so there is no counterpart for 'total'. But on Praisos 1 and 3 there is a sequence KLES (Kappa Lambda Epsilon Sigma). Cyrus Gordon understood kl es as West Semitic kol 'ish, 'every man'.
One Semitic numeral that stands out in decipherment exercises is the number three (3): t-l- t/sh-l-sh. My search in Linear A texts has not brought anything like that to light. But Gordon has highlighted three possible numerals in Praisos 2 (and Yves Duhoux did not take sufficient account of these in his critique of Gordon's Semitic hypothesis):
SPhA[A] (Hbr sheba`) 'seven'; TSAA (Hbr tesha`) 'nine'; SAR (Hbr `eser) 'ten' (or perhaps TORSAR, 'twelve').
There is enough material here already to show that the two media of writing (Linear A, Greek alphabet) were not adequate for recording West Semitic: S syllabograms and Sigma had to cover a batch of sibilants (s, ts, shin, sin, t, z); and 'gutturals' had no letters to accommodate them ('alep, `ayin, gh, h, h., h). This will also make it easy for the sceptical to dismiss my case.