Help support TMP

"The Trojans were Greeks ?" Topic

20 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Ancients Discussion Message Board

1,295 hits since 14 Dec 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2017 11:42 a.m. PST

How to apply the theory to the Trojan question to deduce that the Trojans were Greeks?

A first Greek wave – called "Proto-Ionian" rather than "Ionian" or "Pelasge" to avoid confusion – having come by sea, through the Strait of the Dardanelles, it was quite natural to attribute to it the foundation of Troy, a simple fishing village originally.

And this is what archeology verifies: the famous "Maritime Troia-Kultur", covering the period 2900-2200 BC. our era in round figures, is closely related to the Cycladic Civilization, gradually occupied by Proto-Ionians.

The probable natural disaster of -2200 that put an end to the "Proto-Ionian civilization" properly modified things again.

From Troy IV, the city, initially founded in territory Luvite, became Anatolian again.

But it still kept the traces of its Greek origin: its kings bear double names, both Greek and Louvites: Priam / Podarkčs and Pâris / Alexandros.

It is an Alexandus / Alexandros who signed around 1280 a treaty of alliance with the Hittite king Muwatalli II.

Various facts that have intrigued archaeologists and historians find their explanation in the framework of this "History of Troy, revised in the light of the Proto-Ionian theory", which shows a Troyan city in the recent Bronze non-Achaean, but louvito / proto- Ionian: "Why do not we find traces in the Hittite texts of this Trojan War if it was a war between Greeks and Anatolians?" – "Why is Mycenaean pottery, so abundant in and around Miletus, practically absent in Troas, as well as in Lemnos and Lesbos?" – "Why did Muwatalli II send Hittite troops under Gassu's command to fight against Piyamaradu, a" condottiere "allied with the Achaeans, who was attacking Wilusa at that time?" – "Why in the Homeric legend, are the Trojans' gods Greek gods? " – Why, in this same legend, do most Trojan names have a Greek etymology? "- Etc.

The Greeks have often been at war with each other: it is enough to remember the oath that unites the leaders of the expedition against Troy among them, so that they do not fight against each other.

How then to explain the importance in the Greek legends of this famous war?

It must be understood that, because of its Luvito-Greek population and its past, Troy was, at the time of the Mycenaean extension in the 14th / 13th centuries, a tempting prey for the Achaeans / Mycenaeans.

With the blessing of the Hittites, interested then by the destruction of the kingdom of Arzawa (see the exchange of friendly correspondence between Hittites and Achaens under Suppiluliuma around 1340), the Achaeans had established themselves in Miletus after Mursilis II destroyed this city towards -1316.

But the "honeymoon" between Hittites and Achaeans ended when the latter claimed to extend their influence to Troy.

Hence the treaty of alliance between Muwatalli II and the Trojan King Alexandros to -1290 …

In spite of this alliance, the Achaeans finally had to conquer the city, but this conquest was very ephemeral because of the terrible tsunami of -1200.

The memory of this semi-fratricidal war remained nevertheless in the Greek memory …

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2017 1:23 p.m. PST

Not impossible, but I'd allow for ignorance. "Washing Machine Charlie" was not part of the Anglosphere, despite the name--nor, for that matter, was "Charlie" a generation later. And Homer seeing everything through the interactions of the Greek gods tells us more about Homer than about the religious practices of the Trojans. A Marxist would explain the whole 12th Century BC in terms of class struggle--but that doesn't mean any of the Mycenean Greeks were Marxists.

If we ever find Troy's diplomatic correspondence--still not impossible--we may be able to change our fact/speculation ratio.

rvandusen14 Dec 2017 7:49 p.m. PST

The evidence is so scanty that not much can be said that is definitive. I recall reading that the only known writing from the excavation of Troy is fragments of Luwian.

Perhaps the Trojans were Hellenized Luwians? Not Greek in origin, but influenced by the Achaean palace culture through frequent contact. The trade routes were extensive in the late Bronze Age.

I have a pair of old novels that fictionalizes the life of Agamemnon. I think they are called "The Warrior in Bronze" and the "King in Splendor." The author has the Trojan War start due to Mycenae's desire to to gain access to Black Sea grain and gold through the Hellespont, which is blocked by the Trojan fleet. The elopement of Helen and Paris is used as a cynical casus belli to justify the war and recruit allied kings for the expedition.

Priam and his sons are shown as more Anatolian than Greek. The city keeps royal stud farms and provides chariot horses to the Hittites.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2017 10:58 p.m. PST

Homer, in Book 4, Line 437, wrote about the Trojan Army:

"Their speeches and dialects were all different, because they spoke a mixture of languages – the troops were from many parts." This would indicate that at least a majority did not speak Greek?

But the Trojans have also many allies who are not Greek and do not speak Greek …

That the Trojans were originally Greek settlers, does not seem impossible given the location of the city …

RudyNelson15 Dec 2017 4:02 p.m. PST

I regarded them as Hittite or Hittite influence. The Trojan War lasted at least ten years as the Greeks sought to isolate the city from its neighbors and allies. Sadly not enough information is out there on these campaigns.

Do I think their culture was total Hittite or Greek? No, it was a mixture of the best of each? I always put credence to the opinion that the Sea People were violent marauding refugees from the Trojan Wars. Not all from Troy but also it's neighbors.
I do not fully support the notion that the Romans were Trojan exiles.

Swampking17 Dec 2017 5:04 a.m. PST

As stated before, the evidence is so scanty as to the origin of the acropolis (the city of Troy was located on the plain below) that it's hard to say what language the inhabitants spoke.

However, I do not support the idea that they were Greek. Simply because the location of the acropolis is close to the sea makes absolutely no difference. There were inhabitants in Anatolia that could have founded the city long before Greek traders or fishermen washed up on the shore. Frankly, until writing is found in Anatolia that provides a better picture of the Luwian civilization, we may never know.

With all due respect Rudy, there is no evidence that they were Hittites or even under Hittite influence. As I've stated previously, just because they signed a treaty with the Hittites does not mean that they were Hittites. After all, the Danes signed several treaties with the Russians in the 18th century. Does that make them Russian? Heck, the Free French forces in WW2 wore American uniforms, does that make them Americans?

While it is true that masses of Mycenaean stirrup jars have been found at the citadel, that only indicates trade, not influence. As far as I can recall from the archaeology, only a few Hittite cult objects have been found at Troy. Again, does that indicate influence? The treaty of Aleksandrus is only a military alliance. There is no archaeological evidence that indicated the Hittites ever had influence that extended that far into Anatolia. There is a fleeting reference to the Hittite king 'campaigning' in the southern part of Anatolia (Millawanda/Miletus?) but, there are no references to Troy in the Hittite archives other than the treaty of Aleksandrus.

Furthermore, using Homer as a historical source is dangerous. There can be no doubt that the Luwians in the area were a series of city states, as numerous tells indicate. However, to rely on Homer without realizing that the archaeological record, which is damn near nonexistent in the Troia region of Anatolia (and doesn't appear to change with the current Turkish government), in regards to documents that state who these people were, what language/s they spoke, where they came from, or, indeed, what wars were fought can be perilous.

We can speculate but speculation without evidence is about as useful as divination by chicken entrails and studying tea leaves and the flight of birds.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2017 10:49 a.m. PST


I point out that historically the Mycenaeans are part of the sea peoples.


The Trojans are not Greek or not Greek at the time of the siege of the city, but their ancestors certainly …

And if there are no Greeks, why the Trojans can converse with the Mycenaean without translators in the Iliad ?

The Last Conformist17 Dec 2017 1:10 p.m. PST

And if there are no Greeks, why the Trojans can converse with the Mycenaean without translators in the Iliad ?

Not that we should accept that the conversations occured as Homer reports them – for a start, people don't ordinarily speak in hexameter – but it's surely not particularly far-fetched that elite Trojans knew the language of their neighbours, even if it wasn't their own.

jim197319 Dec 2017 4:08 a.m. PST

It's an interesting discussion because we will never know but you can make many logical arguments one way or the other.
Less than 1000 years later there were cities dotting the Anatolian coast that mixed Greek and Anatolian culture. Could the same not have happened in the Bronze Age?
It seems unusual to me that the myths would Hellenise the Trojans if there wasn't some connection between the cultures. If the Trojans were completely foreign I would imagine the myths stating that "our" heroes with the help of "our" gods triumphed over "their" heroes and gods making "us" superior, rather than myths linking the opponents with language and religion.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2017 7:55 a.m. PST

Yes It seems unusual that the myths would Hellenise the Trojans if there wasn't some connection between the cultures.

jim1973 it's very well thought!

Swampking19 Dec 2017 8:49 a.m. PST

With all due respect, there is no evidence that the Mycenaeans were part of the Sea Poeoples. That argument was advanced by Nancy Sanders back in the 1960s and has been rejected by most historians.

The reason that the Illiad "Hellenised" the Trojans, at least in speech, was because Homer was composing in an oral society. Using "The Illiad" or "The Odyssey" as a "bible" to the Aegean Bronze Age is like using Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings" as a guide to pre-Celtic Britain!

While Homer's epics might contain a grain of truth or might be based on real, historical events, there are so many layers that it is impossible to take them at face value as real histories.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2017 9:44 a.m. PST

Do not agree with you Swampking because the Eqwesh (or Ekwesh or Akawasha or Akaouacha or Aqaywasha or Akaouach or Aqi-waša or Achaeans) are the people called Ahhiyawa by the Hittites whose exact location is not defined, but who is identified with the Achaeans.

They appear around 1900 and invade Greece.

This people is probably from the Balkans.

They do not seem to be present as an "independent" group under Ramses III (1184-1153).

Swampking20 Dec 2017 12:43 p.m. PST

Please cite your sources.

To my knowledge, no scholar has made that leap. A few have tentatively identified the various Sea Peoples with places in Anatolia, most notably Eberhard Zangger.

If a scholar has identified the Ekwesh with the Acheans, this is the first I've heard of it, and, frankly, I'd have to see the sources they used to make the connection.

While parts of place names can be tranmitted through time, Troy being a good example, we know next to nothing about the places in Hittite texts, and almost nothing about Bronze Age Greece. If, as you say, the Acheans were the Ekwesh, what sources were used to come to that conclusion?

Feel free to disagree but I would appreciate a source other than Homer or speculation 50 years out of date.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2017 12:05 a.m. PST


This might be helpful;


And it's not speculation 50 years out of date or from Homer

Swampking22 Dec 2017 6:55 a.m. PST

Thanks for the link. Will take a closer look at it over the Christmas holidays. However, it seems that after taking a look at the bibliography and from the brief perusal I did, the hypothesis still is based on outdated info or speculation. For instance, in the bibliography there are two books mentioned, one called "The Languages of the Sea People". That one, in my mind, is highly suspicious because, from my research, no one knows where the Sea People came from, nor what languages they spoke. So, how in the heck could anyone examine them, if there is no evidence as to their origin?

I'm not trying to be difficult, Paskal, but the 'facts' presented so far seem to be mere speculation. There is no evidence that Wilusa, if indeed it was the fictional Troy, was founded by Greeks. There is also no evidence, besides Homer, that stated that the Trojan kings used two titles. The various layers of the citadel (the city of Troy has yet to be excavated), seem to indicate a mass of human habitation stretching back to the dawn of history. Until, and if (probably never), the royal archives are found that tell the true story of the city, everything else is speculation.

Regarding the "Mycenaeans were part of the Sea Peoples" hypothesis. It's an interesting idea. There is some evidence that the Egyptians did know of the Mycenaeans but that evidence is so scanty and open to interpretation (like most things in Egyptian archaeology) that it's difficult to say.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2017 8:11 a.m. PST


Although I have to speculate, everyone is obliged with this kind of subject and that's why I ask the question hoping to find someone who could bring something new …

But on this site we learn interesting things

jim197322 Dec 2017 5:09 p.m. PST


That's why Bronze Age is fun! Relatively advanced civilizations rising and collapsing with little evidence so we can speculate away (within reason, of course)!


Paskal Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2017 11:10 p.m. PST

I love to speculate – LOL-

Swampking23 Dec 2017 4:26 a.m. PST


Don't mind the speculation but if it's out of date, it needs to be remarked upon.

I love the period, too, mainly for the reason you mentioned. :).

It makes you wonder. The palace civilizations collapsed so thoroughly, it's like a divine wind came along and swept them from the face of the earth.

While Drews brings up an interesting point regarding warfare and he may very well be correct, I'm also wondering about the hypothesis of Eberhard Zangger and his 'Luwian' civilization. Having read his work in German and English, he makes a compelling argument. It is unfortunate that for all the digging on Hisarlik, the royal archives of Troy has yet to be found.

Also, there are so many tells in Anatolia that have yet to be excavated that it is possible that more info will become available.

Speculate all you want – I'll try to keep you honest. :)

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP24 Dec 2017 7:01 a.m. PST

It will be easy for you since I am -LOL-

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.