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.  


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