Monday, March 29, 2021

Legends of Troy: Troy Game, Troy Dance

A few notes on what are known as the Troy Game and the Troy Dance.

For the most part, a Troy Game is a Roman military exercise known as a lusus Troiae.  The main source is Virgil.  

The fullest description of the exercise is given by Vergil, Aeneid 5.545–603, as the final event in the games held to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Aeneas's father, Anchises. The drill features three troops (turmae) — each made up of twelve riders, a leader, and two armor-bearers — who perform intricate drills on horseback. 
... The column split apart
As files in the three squadrons all in line
Turned away, cantering left and right; recalled
They wheeled and dipped their lances for a charge.
They entered then on parades and counter-parades,
The two detachments, matched in the arena,
Winding in and out of one another,
And whipped into sham cavalry skirmishes
By baring backs in flight, then whirling round
With leveled points, then patching up a truce
And riding side by side. So intricate
In ancient times on mountainous Crete they say
The Labyrinth, between walls in the dark,
Ran criss-cross a bewildering thousand ways
Devised by guile, a maze insoluble,
Breaking down every clue to the way out.
So intricate the drill of Trojan boys
Who wove the patterns of their prancing horses,
Figured, in sport, retreats and skirmishes …
Complex intertwining manoeuvres as a display of horsemanship were characteristic of Roman cavalry reviews on the parade ground. The Greek military writer Arrian describes these in his book The Art of Military Tactics (Technē Taktikē), and says they originated among the non-Roman cavalry units provided by the allies (auxilia), particularly the Gauls (that is, the continental Celts) and Iberians. The Troy Game, however, was purely ceremonial and involved youths too young for military service.  ... 

Augustus established the lusus Troiae as a regular event. Its performance was part of a general interest in Trojan origins reflected also in the creation of the Tabulae Iliacae or "Trojan Tablets," low reliefs that illustrate scenes from the Iliad and often present text in the form of acrostics or palindromes, suggesting patterned movement or literary mazes.

Above is a Tabula Illaica, showing scenes from the trojan war, with fine text covering its central column. 

In addition to the equestrian routine known as a Troy Game, there may have been a war dance performed by soldiers on foot that was also named for the city of Troy.   Below are sketches of the 4 scenes on the Etruscan Wine Jug from Tragliatella,  The bottom line shows a labyrinth with the word TRUVA.  The third line shows what may be a war dance, perhaps a Troy Dance.  

The foot placement of the soldiers on the third line is odd, perhaps they are doing a war dance.  

Sunday, March 21, 2021

A Few Notes on the Destruction of Troy

There are several stories about the destruction of Troy.  I will recite a few here and in future blog posts.  I am especially interested in remarks about the city, but remarks about the destruction of other things will be taken into account as well.  

I will start with Strabo, who wrote in the second half of the first century.  

Though many writers have made collections of such instances, those collected by Demetrius of Scepsis will suffice since they are appropriately cited. For example, he mentions these verses of Homer: "And they came to the two fair-flowing springs, where two fountains rise of deep-eddying Scamander; the one floweth with warm water, while the other in summer floweth forth like hail"; and then he does not allow us to marvel if at the present time the spring of cold water is still there, whereas the one of hot water is no longer visible. For, says he, we must lay the cause to the shutting off of the hot water. And he recalls on this point the words of Democles, who records certain great earthquakes, some of which long ago took place about Lydia and Ionia as far north as the Troad, and by their action not only were villages swallowed up, but Mt. Sipylus was shattered — in the reign of Tantalus. And lakes arose from swamps, and a tidal wave submerged the Troad.  (Strabo, Geography 1.3.17)

A tidal wave submerged the Troad?  The Troad is the area containing Troy, and the designation usually takes in the entire Biga Peninsula (everything west of a line from Zeleia to Adramyntium on the map below). 

Needless to say, if a tidal wave submerged the entire peninsula, it would have devastated the city in the plain at Troy.  Strabo also mentions earthquakes.  

Let's move on to Quintus of Smyrna, who lived in the late 4th century.  His topic is Poseidon's destruction of the wall built around the camp of the Argive/Achean/Danaan/Greek forces at Troy.  

But Earth-shaker's jealousy now burned against those long walls and towers uppiled by the strong Argives for a fence against the Trojans' battle-onset. Swiftly then he swelled to overbrimming all the sea that rolls from Euxine [Black Sea] down to Hellespont, and hurled it on the shore of Troy: and Zeus, for a grace unto the glorious Shaker of Earth, poured rain from heaven: withal Far-darter [Apollo] bare in that great work his part; from Ida's heights into one channel led he all her streams, and flooded the Achaeans' work. The sea dashed o'er it, and the roaring torrents still rushed on it, swollen by the rains of Zeus; and the dark surge of the wide-moaning sea still hurled them back from mingling with the deep, till all the Danaan walls were blotted out beneath their desolating flood. Then earth was by Poseidon chasm-cleft: up rushed deluge of water, slime and sand, while quaked Sigeum with the mighty shock, and roared the beach and the foundations of the land Dardanian. So vanished, whelmed from sight, that mighty rampart. Earth asunder yawned, and all sank down, and only sand was seen, when back the sea rolled, o'er the beach outspread far down the heavy-booming shore. All this the Immortals' anger wrought. But in their ships the Argives storm-dispersed went sailing on. So came they home, as heaven guided each, even all that 'scaped the fell sea-tempest blasts.  THE END  (Quintus of Smyrna, Post-Homerica, final lines) 

Quintus is talking about the destruction of a "rampart" or of "those long walls and towers" built by the Greeks somewhere in the Trojan plain near the shore.  This passage recalls a passage in Homer on the same topic, the destruction of the Greek walls in the Trojan plain.  

While brave Patroclus was tending wounded Eurypylus in his hut, the Greeks and Trojans milled together fighting, and it seemed the Danaans’ trench and the thick wall behind it would not long protect them. They had built the wall and dug the moat to defend the ships and their vast spoils, but had failed in ritual sacrifice to the gods. Built in violation of immortal will, it could not stand for long. In fact while Hector lived, and Achilles nursed his anger, and Priam’s city remained intact, the Achaeans’ mighty wall remained. But when the best of the Trojans were dead, and many Greeks too though some survived, and Troy had fallen in the tenth year, and the Greeks in their ships had sailed for their native land, Poseidon and Apollo would agree to destroy it, channeling the force of all the rivers against it, those that flow from Ida to the sea. RhesusHeptaporusCaresusRhodiusGranicusAesepus, fair Scamander and Simoïs, by whose banks lay many an ox-hide shield, many a helmet, many a warrior of that well-nigh immortal generation: all these rivers Phoebus Apollo would merge together, and for nine days turn their flood against the wall, while Zeus poured down continual rain the quicker to wash it to the sea. Poseidon, Earth-Shaker, the trident in his hands, would further the destruction, sweeping its foundations, all the stones and beams, into the waves, all that the Greeks had laboured so hard to establish; would turn the rivers back into their channels confining their fair streams; cover the long beach again with sand, and make all smooth again by Hellespont
(Iliad Book XII, lines 1ff)

Both passages describe many rivers in the area flooding at the same time and washing the Greek walls away.  Quintus includes an earthquake: "Then earth was by Poseidon chasm-cleft: up rushed deluge of water, slime and sand, while quaked Sigeum with the mighty shock, and roared the beach and the foundations of the land Dardanian." Sigeum is NW of Troy about 4 miles, Dardania is NE more than 15 miles from the city.  By "the land Dardanian" he probably does not mean merely the area around the city of Dardania, but the area in the northwest Troad.  

Finally, consider the account of Dio Chrysostum, a Greek writer living in the first century. Dio's 11th Oration is about Troy and maintains the thesis that Troy was never captured.  Dio claims to have learned his tale from Egyptians.  

I, therefore, shall give the account as I learned it from a certain very aged priest in Onuphis, who often made merry over the Greeks as a people, claiming that they really knew nothing about most things, and using as his chief illustration of this, the fact that they believed that Troy was taken by Agamemnon and that Helen fell in love with Paris while she was living with Menelaus; and they were so thoroughly convinced of this, he said, being completely deceived by one man, that everybody actually swore to its truth.  My informant told me that all the history of earlier times was recorded in Egypt, in part in the temples, in part upon certain columns, and that some things were remembered by a few only as the columns had been destroyed, while much that had been inscribed on the columns was disbelieved on account of the ignorance and indifference of later generations. He added that these stories about Troy were included in their more recent records, since Menelaus had come to visit them and described everything just as it had occurred.  When I asked him to give this account, he hesitated at first, remarking that the Greeks are vainglorious, and that in spite of their dense ignorance they think they know everything. (11.30)

Dio claims that the Acheans were never able to effectively fight Hector, who survived the war and became king of Troy.  

The enemy then sailed back to the harbour of the Achaeans and landed under darkness, built a wall about their ships, and dug a trench because they feared Hector and the Trojans, and made preparations as if it were they who expected a siege. Now while the Egyptians agree with Homer on the other points, they insist that he does not speak of the wall as having been finished, their reason being that he has represented Apollo and Poseidon as having at a later time sent the rivers against it and swept it away. The most plausible explanation of it all was merely the foundations of the wall that were inundated. Indeed, even in our day the rivers still make a marsh of the place and have deposited silt far out into the sea.  (11.75f)

Dio wants to accept Homer's story of the Greek wall being washed away, but he thinks that the upper, mud brick parts of the walls were not washed away by the gods, only the stone foundations required divine destruction.   But he is talking about flooding nonetheless.  This is all he says about the destruction of Troy.  He does not accept that it was captured or destroyed by Greeks. Rather, the Trojans survived, grew stronger and prospered.  

The story goes that after the Achaeans sailed away there was a great multitude assembled in the city, and that the allies were not all inclined to depart, and that, further, Hector discovered that Aeneas would not be satisfied if he did not get some share in the royal power, as Priam had promise him, so he claimed, if he saw the war through to the end and expelled the Achaeans; so Hector sent the colonists forth, generously supplying means and dispatching with Aeneas as large a force as he wished, with all goodwill. He assured Aeneas that he was fully entitled to reign and have an authority no whit inferior to his own, but that it was better for him to get another country; because it was not impossible for Aeneas to become master of all Europe, and in that event he had hopes that their descendants would be rulers of both continents as long as their race endured. Accordingly, Aeneas adopted the suggestion of Hector, partly to please him, partly because he hoped to achieve greater things. So thanks to vigour and spirit the colony became an actuality and under the guidance of fortune's favourites was a power at once and in future times. Then Antenor, so they say, on observing Aeneas' preparations, likewise desired to get a kingdom in Europe. So another similar expedition was fitted out. The story adds that Helenus, complaining that he was getting less than Deïphobus, petitioned his father, obtained a fleet and army, and sailed to Greece as though it were waiting for him, and occupied all the territory from which the treaties did not exclude him.  And so it happened that when Diomede in exile from Argos heard of Aeneas' expedition, he came to him, since peace and friendship existed between them, and asked for his help, after relating the misfortunes that had befallen Agamemnon and himself. Aeneas welcomed him and his little fleet of ships and gave him a small part of his army, since he had brought all the country under his sway. Later those Achaeans who had been driven out by the Dorians, not knowing in their weak condition which way to turn, made their way to Asia and to the descendants of Priam and Hector as to friends and allies, and then, with the friendly consent of these, founded Lesbos, whose inhabitants allowed them to do so through friendship, and other not inconsiderable places. (11.140f) 

The war ends in Trojan colonization of the world, according to Dio.  


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Comparing the Aeneid and the Excidium Troiae

After looking at the Excidium Troiae, I decided to examine the Aeneid, which is its main source.  Virgil wrote this in the late first century bce, so, around 1200 years after the bronze age collapse. Only a small slice of it deals with the fate of Troy.  There are several places in which the Excidium sounds like the Aeneid.  I will review a few of those below. 

The story begins with Aeneas at sea, having left the destroyed city of Troy.  He arrives in Carthage, where he tells his tale to Queen Dido.  

"By destiny compell'd, and in despair,
The Greeks grew weary of the tedious war,
And by Minerva's aid a fabric rear'd,
Which like a steed of monstrous height appear'd:
The sides were plank'd with pine; they feign'd it made
For their return, and this the vow they paid.
Thus they pretend, but in the hollow side
Selected numbers of their soldiers hide:
With inward arms the dire machine they load,
And iron bowels stuff the dark abode.
In sight of Troy lies Tenedos, an isle
(While Fortune did on Priam's empire smile)
Renown'd for wealth; but, since, a faithless bay,
Where ships expos'd to wind and weather lay.
There was their fleet conceal'd.  (Aeneid, II,17f)

Minerva would be Athena in Homer's vernacular. Virgil describes Tenedos as an island that was formerly wealthy but has fallen on hard times.  The Excidium follows him here.  

Agamemnon and Menelaus prayed to Minerva so that she would answer them on how Troy could be approached. To them the goddess responded that they had to prepare deceptions, and as if spreading out they should carry themselves with ships and army from Troy about to return to their province, and at the island of Tenedos they should hide themselves, and a wooden horse should there be secretly built according to Minerva's instruction in order that Troy may be penetrated with it. Hearing that answer, they obeyed Minerva and brought themselves to the island of Tenedos with ships and army, as Virgil described it: Within sight is Tenedos, an island well noticed by fame, full of activities when Priam's regime stood, now only a bay and harbor unsafe for keels of ship. When they arrived at Tenedos, in a hidden bay they gathered, and a wooden horse began to be constructed by them.  (Excidium print edition page 13)

They give similar descriptions of Tenedos.  They are also similar on the matter of the Trojans celebrating when the Greeks sailed to Tenedos. 
We thought, for Greece
Their sails were hoisted, and our fears release.
The Trojans, coop'd within their walls so long,
Unbar their gates, and issue in a throng,
Like swarming bees, and with delight survey
The camp deserted, where the Grecians lay:
The quarters of the sev'ral chiefs they show'd;
Here Phoenix, here Achilles, made abode;
Here join'd the battles; there the navy rode.
(Aeneid, II 30f)

And as this was happening in Tenedos, the day being bright, the Trojan citizens spread out through the walls where the armies and ships of the Greeks used to be, they saw no one and they were filled with joy. Thinking that they were free of enemies, they started to sing in Virgil's tongue: 'Here lay the Dolopian bands, there stern Achilles had pitched tent, here with fleets, here armies accustomed to fight.'  (Excidium, print edition page 14)

Both texts describe Trojans exiting the city and surveying the former Greek camp.  They also tell similar stories about Sinon, the Greek smooth talker.  

Meantime, with shouts, the Trojan shepherds bring
A captive Greek, in bands, before the king;
Taken to take; who made himself their prey,
T' impose on their belief, and Troy betray;
Fix'd on his aim, and obstinately bent
To die undaunted, or to circumvent.
About the captive, tides of Trojans flow;
All press to see, and some insult the foe.
Now hear how well the Greeks their wiles disguis'd;
Behold a nation in a man compris'd.
Trembling the miscreant stood, unarm'd and bound;
He star'd, and roll'd his haggard eyes around,
Then said: 'Alas! what earth remains, what sea
Is open to receive unhappy me?
What fate a wretched fugitive attends,
Scorn'd by my foes, abandon'd by my friends?'
He said, and sigh'd, and cast a rueful eye:
Our pity kindles, and our passions die.
We cheer youth to make his own defense,
And freely tell us what he was, and whence:
What news he could impart, we long to know,
And what to credit from a captive foe.
"His fear at length dismiss'd, he said: 'Whate'er
My fate ordains, my words shall be sincere:
I neither can nor dare my birth disclaim;
Greece is my country, Sinon is my name.
Tho' plung'd by Fortune's pow'r in misery,
'T is not in Fortune's pow'r to make me lie.
If any chance has hither brought the name
Of Palamedes, not unknown to fame,
Who suffer'd from the malice of the times,
Accus'd and sentenc'd for pretended crimes,
Because these fatal wars he would prevent;
Whose death the wretched Greeks too late lament-
Me, then a boy, my father, poor and bare
Of other means, committed to his care,
His kinsman and companion in the war.

Here Virgil begins the saga of Sinon Palamedes, who convinces the king of Troy that the horse is a sincere sacrifice that ought to be brought into the city to the temple.  The Excidium also emphasizes this character. 

Then one of the people by the name of Palamedes Sinon said: 'I will make it so that the horse be led to Troy.' To him they said: 'By what way?' Sinon answered: 'Cudgel me and go around before a slope, and send me in the marshes of Troy through the night.' And it was done. Indeed, the day being bright the shepherds of Troy as usual went out in the marshes with their herds and stocks, where they found Sinon cudgeled and girded lying before the slope, whom with great clamor they brought to king Priam with hands tied to the back. After he had been brought to king Priam, his fame traveled throughout all Troy. And a congregation of Trojans was formed before the king. The king started to ask him about the present crowd. To him he thus said: 'Tell us, from what origin are you, and what is your kindred.' To him Sinon thus answered: 'From the kin of king Palamedes, whom the Greeks killed; and when I wanted to assume something before his death, I devised hostilities among the Greeks.  ...  Meanwhile, they made a horse of marvelous size, which they wanted to offer to the temple of Minerva which was built outside the wall for the sake of their return. That fear he hopes your kingdom to be already here. Therefore have it be taken from the temple of Minerva which is outside the wall, and there send that horse to the temple of Neptune which is inside the city [and in his protection Troy was built]; and it will be necessary that Apollo and Minerva, due to a promise to them is seen to be broken, are angered, and when they start to sail they would rouse tempestuous power and sink them in the main. And you will be deprived of enemies. And with such a plot and in Sinon's manner of perjury she (Troy) was captured which neither ten years nor a thousand ships managed to vanquish. (Excidium print edition page 15

Sinon is integral to the plot in both the Aeneid and the Excidium.  This passage makes clear that there was a temple to Neptune/Poseidon inside the city, and that Troy was built around the temple.  

In the following passage, Aeneas recounts the night Troy was taken.  He was asleep, and dreamed of Hector, then awoke to find the city aflame.   

"'T was in the dead of night, when sleep repairs
Our bodies worn with toils, our minds with cares,
When Hector's ghost before my sight appears:
A bloody shroud he seem'd, and bath'd in tears;
Such as he was, when, by Pelides slain,
Thessalian coursers dragg'd him o'er the plain.
Swoln were his feet, as when the thongs were thrust
Thro' the bor'd holes; his body black with dust; ...
His hair and beard stood stiffen'd with his gore;
And all the wounds he for his country bore
Now stream'd afresh, and with new purple ran.
I wept to see the visionary man,
And, while my trance continued, thus began:
'O light of Trojans, and support of Troy,
Thy father's champion, and thy country's joy!
O, long expected by thy friends! from whence
Art thou so late return'd for our defense?
Do we behold thee, wearied as we are
With length of labors, and with toils of war?
After so many fun'rals of thy own
Art thou restor'd to thy declining town?
But say, what wounds are these? What new disgrace
Deforms the manly features of thy face?'

This passage is recognizable as the inspiration for a similar passage in the Excidium, in which Hector appears to Aeneus while Troy is in flames.  

Behold, before my eyes the most mild Hector seen come to me shedding many tears, with stiffening and rough beard, having thong of swelling feet. Thus he said like this: 'You sleep, oh goddess-born; your enemy holds the walls, rushes down from the high summit on Troy. We are no longer Trojans, Ilium and the great glory of Troy no longer exist.' (print edition page 18)

Virgil does not refer to "the high summit on Troy" mentioned by the Excidium.  The words acropolis and citadel do not appear in Book II of the Aeneid.  So, Virgil is not the source of the Excidium's distinction between the city and the citadel at Troy.  

I also do not see in the Aeneid any mention of marshes outside the gates or walls of Troy.  So, Virgil does not appear to be the source of that detail from the Excidium.  

In the Excidium the Greeks build a temple of Minerva outside the gates of the city of Troy. 

Agamemnon and Menelaus besieged Troy with a thousand ships and ten dukes, where they erected a temple of Minerva outside the walls, and sought counsel on what should be the future for them. The answer to them was: unless through Achilles, son of Peleus and Tethys, there will be no way that Troy could be breached. (Excidium print edition page 9)

In the account by Dares Phrygius there is a temple of Apollo outside the gates.  

Hecuba, bewailing the loss of Hector and Troilus, her two bravest sons, both slain by Achilles, devised, like the woman she was, a treacherous vengeance. Summoning her son Alexander, she urgently begged him to kill Achilles, and thus to uphold the honor of himself and his brothers. This he could do in an ambush, catching his victim off guard. She would summon Achilles, in Priam’s name, to come to the temple of the Thymbraean Apollo in front of the gate, to settle an agreement according to which she would give him Polyxena to marry. When Achilles came to this meeting, Alexander could treacherously kill him. Achilles’ death would be victory sufficient for her.  ...  Accordingly, on the next day Achilles, along with Antilochus, Nestor’s son, came for the meeting. Upon entering the temple, he was treacherously attacked. Spears were hurled from all sides, as Alexander exhorted his men. Achilles and Antilochus counterattacked, with their left arms wrapped in their cloaks for protection, their right hands wielding their swords; and Achilles slew many. But finally Alexander cut down Antilochus and then slaughtered Achilles, dealing him many a blow. Such was the death of this hero, a treacherous death and one ill-suiting his prowess.  (Dares Phrygius 34

This temple of Apollo is "in front of the gate".  So, the Excidium agrees with Dares that there is a temple outside the walls of the city.  They disagree about the temple's deity.   They probably disagree about who built it. The Greeks built the temple in the Excidium, the Trojans surely built the temple of Apollo in Dares' account.  


Thursday, March 18, 2021

Notes on the Excidium Troiae

The Excidium Troiae [Destruction of Troy] (also known as the Rawlinson Excidium Troiae) is a short, anonymous Medieval manuscript that tells the stories of Troy, Aeneas and the founding of Rome.  At around 35 pages, more than 20 of them describe events after the war.  It is a Latin text, perhaps based on an earlier Greek text.  It uses the names of Roman gods, rather than the Greek names Homer used. An English version of the Excidium is available online, along with a scholarly treatment that points out the uniqueness of several stories in the Excidium, especially the story of Achilles birth and upbringing. 

I noticed three references to marshes outside the walls or gates of Troy.  I  do not recall seeing that sort of description anywhere else. The following paragraph appears after the Greeks have gone to the nearby island of Tenedos to build the wooden horse.   

And as this was happening in Tenedos, the day being bright, the Trojan citizens spread out through the walls where the armies and ships of the Greeks used to be, they saw no one and they were filled with joy. Thinking that they were free of enemies, they started to sing in Virgil's tongue: 'Here lay the Dolopian bands, there stern Achilles had pitched tent, here with fleets, here armies accustomed to fight.' And when they were filled by joy, they threw open the gates of the city, and all herds and beasts of burden already secure rushed out into the marsh before the walls. And when Troy already stood secure, at Tenedos a wooden horse was created in the manner of divine Pallas. And when it had been perfected, they started to deliberate how would that horse be brought out to Troy. Then one of the people by the name of Palamedes Sinon said: 'I will make it so that the horse be led to Troy.' To him they said: 'By what way?' Sinon answered: 'Cudgel me and go around before a slope, and send me in the marshes of Troy through the night.' And it was done. Indeed, the day being bright the shepherds of Troy as usual went out in the marshes with their herds and stocks, where they found Sinon cudgeled and girded lying before the slope, whom with great clamor they brought to king Priam with hands tied to the back.  (print edition page 14)

Palamedes Sinon goes on to gain the favor of the king, and to influence him into bringing the horse into the city.  Note these two remarks: 

1 "they threw open the gates of the city, and all herds and beasts of burden already secure rushed out into the marsh before the walls"

2 Sinon's story mentions marshes twice ("send me into the marshes of Troy", and "the shepherds of Troy as usual went out in the marshes")

The first passage  describes marshes outside the walls of Troy.  Sinon's story treats the marshes as integral to the city and its way of life. This does not sound like the city on the ridge at Hisarlik.  Rather, the Excidium seems to be describing a city in the plain. 

The manuscript also makes a clear distinction between the city and the acropolis at Troy.  

Behold, before my eyes the most mild Hector seen come to me shedding many tears, with stiffening and rough beard, having thong of swelling feet. Thus he said like this: 'You sleep, oh goddess-born; your enemy holds the walls, rushes down from the high summit on Troy. We are no longer Trojans, Ilium and the great glory of Troy no longer exist.' (print edition page 18)

This passage speaks of a "high summit on Troy".  

Laocoon hastened down from the top of the great citadel accompanied by a crowd. (print edition page 16)

This passage speaks of "the top of the great citadel" at Troy.  

When Priam, indeed, saw his son killed by Pyrrhus before his eyes, he started to rebuke and curse him, Pyrrhus killed Priam before the altar like he did him, as Virgil described: This was the end of Priam's fate, this result of the lot bound him: witnessing the burned Troy and its collapsed citadel, and him, the supreme regnant of Asia over so many peoples and lands. He, a large trunk, lay down at the beach, and his head torn away from the shoulder, a corpse without a name. [This is the end of Priam.] (print edition page 19)

This passage speaks of "the burned Troy and its collapsed citadel" as though these are two distinct sights.  .  

So, the Excidium describes the walls of Troy as contiguous with marshes, and distinguishes the citadel from the city.  Dares Phrygius also distinguished the citadel from the city of Troy. 

During the whole night the Greeks did not cease wreaking slaughter and carrying off plunder. With the coming day, Agamemnon called all of his leaders to a meeting on the citadel. After giving thanks to the gods, he praised the army and ordered that all the booty be gathered together and fairly divided. (41f) 

This passage distinguishes the carnage of the city from a meeting place "on the citadel."  


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Legends of Troy: Roman and other European Lineages

Here is an old reference to Brutus of Troy, in a work published in 1287.  Historia Destructionis Troiae by Guido dele Colonne, translated by Mary Elizabeth Meeks, Indiana U Press, 1974. (The author is aka Guido de Columis.)  

The following are lines 24-43 of book two (pp 9f).  

Though Troy itself was completely destroyed, it rose again, and its destruction was the reason that the city of Rome, which is the chief of cities, came into existence, being built and extended by the Trojan exiles, by Aeneas, that is, and Ascanius, his son, called Julius.  Afterward certain other provinces received from among the Trojans an enduring settlement. Such is England, which we read was settled by the Trojan, Brutus, which is why it is called Britain.  Likewise such is France, which after the fall of Troy is said to have been settled by King Francus, a companion of Aeneas, who founded near the Rhine a great city which, as well as the whole province, he called France, from his own name.  The city of the Venetians was settled by the Trojan Antenor.  We read that Sicily also did not lack their colonizing; it is said to have been settled first by King Sicanus, who arrived in Sicily from Troy, which is why it was called Sicania.  Later, having departed from Sicily, leaving in Sicily his brother, Siculus, which is why it was later named Sicily, he went into Tuscany, which he filled with a colony of many people.  We read that the above mentioned Aeneas founded many cities along the sea coast in the kingdom of Sicily.  Such is the great city of Naples, and Gaeta, land of an ungovernable people.  

Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote about Brutus in 1135.  Here is Guido, a Sicilian, referring to him in 1287. As for Francus, he is like Brutus: an invention designed to attach elites from one age to elites from prior ages (perhaps under the false assumption that what is most ancient is most authoritative).  

Francus is an invention of Merovingian scholars which referred to a legendary eponymous king of the Franks, a descendant of the Trojans, founder of the Merovingian dynasty and forefather of Charlemagne. In the Renaissance, Francus was generally considered to be another name for the Trojan Astyanax (son of Hector) saved from the destruction of Troy. He is not considered to be historical, but in fact an attempt by medieval and Renaissance chroniclers to model the founding of France upon the same illustrious tradition as that used by Virgil in his Aeneid (which had Rome founded by the Trojan Aeneas).  (Wikipedia)

Of course, Aeneas is said to be the founder of Rome.  He, along with Antenor, who was a Dardanian/Trojan wise man, are said to have betrayed the city in some accounts (especially Dares Phrygius). 

According to Virgil's Aeneid, the Venetian city was founded by the Trojan prince Antenor in 1185 B.C., after the destruction of Troy… Archaeological findings confirm the ancient origins of the city, which developed between the XIII and XI centuries BC and linked to the civilization of ancient Venetians.
In the Iliad, to avoid the conflict with the Achaeans, Antenor begs the Trojans to give Helen back to her husband Menelaus, but no one pays attention.
For many ancient and medieval authors, Antenor is considered a traitor: he allegedly betrayed the Trojans and delivered Palladio - the talisman of the invincibility of Troy - to Odysseus and Diomedes, receiving in exchange the salvation for himself and his family.
For this reason, Dante Alighieri named Antenora the IX round in the final part of Inferno, where traitors are confined.  (Venice Inside)

Meanwhile, King Siculus, the alleged founder of Sicily, seems to go back no further than Thucydides. 

So, it is not just Rome and England that are allegedly founded by Trojans after the war. Those two along with France, Venice and Sicily are mentioned in a single paragraph.  


Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Raising Horses in the plain of Troy

Charles Maclaren wrote a lot about ancient Troy's alleged horses.  

Speaking of one of Priam 's ancestors, [Homer] says, “ Dardanus had a son, king Erichthonius, who was the richest of mortal men; he had three thousand mares grazing in the marsh, rejoicing in their tender foals.” What a picture have we here of the public economy of the heroic age in one passage of nervous brevity and pastoral beauty!  (McClaren, 124) 

From here, McClaren goes on for several pages calculating how many horses a square mile of Trojan plain can support.  

To get the necessary pasture ground for three thousand mares, we must assume that the space between the streams was nearly all a natural marsh in the time of Erichthonius; we may infer that it continued so for many generations, and was a source of wealth to that prince's successors, till a deficiency of corn land for the sustenance of the population was felt, and, further, that the poet saw it in this condition before the drainage had commenced, or before it had made much progress. When he rehearsed the story of the Iliad to the Ionic and Æolic colonists on the shores of the Ægean, if the marsh had been as small as it is now, it would have stood in glaring contradiction to his words; and to save his credit with his auditors, he would either have reduced the number of mares pastured on it to one thousand instead of three, or he would have told that its ancient magnitude greatly exceeded what was then seen. (McClaren 127f)

McClaren is thinking about Homer and his audience, but not about floods.  He quotes Forschhammer on it, but appears to forget about it after that.  

“When the rain , beginning in Mount Ida, extends to the plain, the wide and deep bed of the Menderé is completely filled; in a half or a quarter of an hour it rushes over its banks on both sides ; on the left side it fills the swamps below Bunarbashi, while the Kirk Jos sends off a stream in the direction of its ancient bed to join the Menderé farther down.  On the right it covers the high part of the plain over to the Kalifat Asmak, and transforms that stream into an impetuous river . If the rain continues a few hours, it often happens that the inundation prevails over the whole plain from the Hellespont to the springs at Bunarbashi. It happens also that about the season of the heaviest rains, the strong south-west winds blow, checking the current of the Hellespont, and raising the level of its waters, while these again impede the discharge of the rivers, and increase the inundation in the lower part of the plain.” (Forschhammer, cited by Maclaren, 1863 p. 62f )   

Forschhammer is not as explicit about the dangers of these floods as he could be.  Consider the following remark from Walter Leaf, who visited the plain in the early 20th century.  

"The Mendere is a considerable stream throughout the year; in winter it often brings down heavy floods, which overflow the whole plain, and leave it covered with silt and tree-trunks." Leaf p 30 

Silt and tree trunks?  How many mares pasturing below Pinarbasi will be wiped out in an event like that? The flood plain is not just a threat to humans, but to horses too.  Perhaps one could keep 3000 mares on the prominences around the plain, coming into the plain in small groups at the edges.  But horses living 24-7 in the plain are betting against the odds.  

This raises an interesting series of questions about what is under the mud in front of Hisarlik.  Surely, part of the tell contains living quarters.  Another part will be military.  Another might be stables and livestock containment.  

Look at Hattusa.  A great deal of the walled area is undeveloped.  Those open spaces allow for horses and livestock to be protected inside the walls. Also, perhaps, orchards.  

Hattusa is not the only city with walls that enclose a good deal of open space.  Uruk is that way, perhaps even more so.  

Uruk and Hattusa are good models for thinking about the mound at the foot of Hisarlik.  It is probably not urban dwellings from side to side and end to end.  Rather, there are probably one or more residential districts along with open spaces in which horses, livestock, orchards and military installations could be protected from floods and invaders. 

The above graphic is from Luwian Studies.  It shows a map of Hattusa projected onto the plain of Troy.  The raised earth anomaly at the foot of Hisarlik is around twice the size of the walled compound of Hattusa.  So, it could contain twice the amount of development found there, and also contain twice the amount of open space.  

In non-Homeric accounts of the war (Dares Phrygius and Dictys Cretensis), Trojans have lots of horses, and they have these horses inside the city walls.  It would be impossible to have so many horses and men inside the little fortress on Hisarlik, which is only about 660 feet across, and was filled with many  buildings.  If there were battalions on horseback formed inside the walls and then moved outside the walls as these authors contend, then there must have been a walled area containing open spaces large enough to accommodate it.  

24 Anomalies in the Plain of Troy

"From Hısarlık, we can see several other mounds." In Search of the Real Troy