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"The Trojan War as Military History" Topic


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554 hits since 24 May 2023
©1994-2023 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Swampking24 May 2023 11:46 a.m. PST

I just received this book and have started reading it. I'm not exactly sure where this book is going to lead. My initial reaction is pure caution. I have a feeling that while he is using the Illiad as a jumping off point (according to the Introduction), his reliance on Greek myth and legend might be a little too much.

Again, I've only just started reading it and while I'm a fan of Drews' work on chariot warfare (frankly, I think all chariot warfare in the Bronze Age was more akin to the horse archers of the Parthians), it'll be interesting to see the author's evidence and how he imagines Late Bronze Age warfare.

Has anyone read it?

Happy gaming!

Renfield24 May 2023 12:06 p.m. PST

Link?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2023 12:49 p.m. PST

Here you go, Renfield:
link

I looked at it, but I'm deeply suspicious. It's too easy to stack up a heap of "surely this must mean" on a very weak narrative foundation. The reading sample stops before he gets very far into military events, and there are no reviews. (I'm also getting a little leery of spending military history money on something I'm not going to game.)

smithsco24 May 2023 8:09 p.m. PST

Don't know this book but I highly recommend The Trojan War: A New History by Barry Strauss. Makes a strong case comparing the Iliad to historic evidence a d archaeology of the era that it was mostly seaborne raiding with a few sieges and almost no pitched battles. Excellent read. I found his work convincing

Swampking25 May 2023 11:34 a.m. PST

I am going to game the Trojan War. I also like to collect books on 'my' periods.

I'm not so sure about Strauss' assertions. While I do respect him as a military historian; I'm still not convinced by his arguments. I am convinced more by Eberhard Zangger's arguments about a Luwian coalition, although I do have some questions about the timeline.

My main point about Strauss' contentions is that the Trojans had a navy, as related by a letter from a Cypriot admiral. A 'piratical' raid on Troy would only work if the Trojan navy was absent from Trojan waters. Also, if the Illiad is to be believed, Achilles seems to have conquered many 'cities' – now, what that means is up for debate. However, battles would have had to have occurred. Sorry, but 'raids' just don't seem to cut it when the armies of the period fielded masses of chariots and it appears that the Mycenaeans also fielded chariots as well.

Again, the late Bronze Age is a pain because there is a dearth of documents and the timelines clash.

I might have to go back and reread Strauss' book and various others and see if there is a grain of truth or some areas of truth that can be gleaned from all the books I have on the Trojan War. I only wish someone would have translated Wilhelm Dorpfeld's book on his excavations of Troy but people in Hell want ice water, as my German is way too rusty to get through it.

HMS Exeter25 May 2023 4:02 p.m. PST

You could try scanning the book, paragraph by paragraph into a translation app. Tho you'd probably end up with…

"The chariots Mycenean descended onto the region of grain and plates and came forward to husband the Captains of Trojan to deploy their call waiting."

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2023 4:18 p.m. PST

This is one of those periods that's always going to be partly fantasy. There just isn't enough historical record to be sure of anything.

I like your approach, and I hope to see a lot more of whatever you come up with. In photos!

- Ix

smithsco25 May 2023 5:25 p.m. PST

There is so much room to interpret. I just went and read some of Zangger's work and theories. Interesting. Compelling. But also conflicting with Eric Cline's work on the bronze age collapse. The link between Luwians and the Sea People seems suspect because of archaeological evidence and DNA evidence from Palestine.

It just illustrates to me how little we actually verifiably know of the period.

Swampking26 May 2023 3:48 a.m. PST

I have a tendency to disregard Prof. Cline his seeming willfull ignorance on the Luwian issue counteracts his other work, in my opinion.

HMSExeter yeah, some of those online translators come up with some bizarre translations! They remind me of my 1st Year university students who are writing their first 'formal'/'academic' essay in English oh man, the horror!

Agreed! We know so little about the Bronze Age collapse and the Aegean Bronze Age. Heck, there are over 40 tells in Anatolia alone that could shed light on the internal political structure of the Late Bronze Age/Trojan War and other parts of history but the Turkish government's archeological policies are mind-boggling to say the least! As soon as an archeologist hits any kind of man-mand structure in the dig, they can't go further but must clear off that area. In other words, if they come across Roman ruins or Byzantine, they can't go further down to the Bronze Age (or anything older). I understand the reasoning behind it but c'mon! There is so much history in Anatolia that has yet to be uncovered that it seems to be an asinine policy, to say the least! Also, there doesn't appear to be that much money put into Anatolian archeology at present. Admittedly, the digging season is shorter than other places (like Greece, for instance) and the Turkish government seems to have an averse reaction to anything related to Troy; however, I'm convinced that the evidence for what really happened is there somewhere probably in an allied state's archives that has yet to be uncovered but the money and the will seem to have dried up.

Yellow Admiral my Trojan-esque armies are all 15/18mm (with a few Amazons in 20mm but they work quite well with the new Museum Miniatures 'Z' range). As soon as I get a few units finished off, I'll take a few pics and post them.

At present, I think the only manufacturers I don't have ready to paint are: Donnington (not sure on the size but some of their 'Wars of the Ancient Med.' minis would look great as heroes), MY (Mick Yarrow again, not sure on the size and style) and Aquifiler (an Italian company again, not sure on the size and/or availability).

The Mycenean Coalition are OG15s, Museum, Essex (for Creatans) and Gladiator. The Luwian League are Museum, Magister Militum (the old Chariot line – Amazons), Gladiator (from Fighting 15s), Lancashire, OG15s and Essex, again, with a few 20mm Amazons (3d printed – Amazon 'heroines') thrown in the mix. The minis also come from a couple of different periods. I thought that the OG15s 'Enemies of Rome' Lusitanians looked awesome as Trojan heavy infantry, so those will be pressed into service, as both Trojan heavy infantry and Trojan/Luwian heroes I've already got a 'Sarpedon' painted up using that mini.

I have a few 'test' minis painted just to practice techniques and color schemes but I need to really hop on the chariots for the heroes, as those will be first. Maybe I can get a few painted up this weekend and get the pics posted on Monday.

smithsco26 May 2023 4:21 a.m. PST

I didn't know that about Turkish archaeological policies. I also understand the why but it is frustrating. It makes sense that the answer is out there but what you described is disheartening in ever finding it.

Swampking26 May 2023 4:46 a.m. PST

smithsco,
I learned about that policy from a Turkish colleague of mine. His speciality is Roman/Byzantine archeology. He's been on countless digs in Turkey and he stated to me, "We know there are other artifacts/structures further down but we can't touch them."

However, I think that the advances in GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) and other techniques that aren't as invasive might be the answer. Finally, I also believe that the real 'lower' city of Troy lies just a few meters below the Trojan plain core samples brought up a massive amount of debris but again, the money and the will to excavate the Trojan plain is not there. People seem to think that the present site of Troy is all there is if they only knew the true extent of that site their minds would explode!

if that's the case, we might actually hit the 'archive' of Troy assuming that they used clay tablets and not wood (a theory advanced by a couple of Anatolian experts a few years ago). Finally, I think that some answers might be found in Schliemann's 'trash' pits which were supposed to have been excavated by Manfred Korfmann. If he did excavate them, his findings were never published, or, if they were, I have yet to hear anything about them.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2023 4:50 p.m. PST

Not the lower town. Find where the Greeks dumped the rubble when they leveled the Citadel to build Troy VIII, and I bet you'd turn up the VIh/VIIa archives--in clay, baked and waiting for us. But given the pace of archeological publication, if someone found them this year, nothing would be published in my lifetime.

Anyone for Richard Powell's Whom the Gods would Destroy? He's presuming and discussing the lower town in his novel decades before archeology caught up with him. Pretty good for a man whose serious interests were elsewhere.

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