Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Perspicuous Explanation of the Trojan War

Malakh HaTzadik It makes sense, but the Achaeans are not depicted in the Iliad as the heroes of the Greeks. The Danaans are, and they were the ancestors of both the Argives and the Dorians. Historians make a mistake by differentiating between groups based on whether or not they inhabited the Peloponnesian Peninsula (all of whom were not ethnically homogeneous) but not according to actual distinguishing markers such as religious beliefs and practices or linguistic differences. The way I see it, Homer uses the terms Danaans, Achaeans and Argives interchangeably, but also very intentionally: 'Danaans' is an ethnic/tribal affiliation, referring to the tribe of Dan, so called in the Bible, which settled Greece side-by-side with the Mycenaeans from Crete and Phoenicia, which I see as part of the same network as the Minoans. Both groups basically displaced the Pelasgians, which just describes whoever was there first. This relates directly to the founding myth of Greece, where the offspring of Dan and of the Phoenicians both have their origins in Egypt, but are quite distinct until they came together and founded the kingdom of Argos. 'Argives' refers to the culture which was centered around Argos, which was originally a settlement of and the original capital of the Danaan civilization, which waned in proportion with the rise of the Phoenician centers of Thebes and Mycenae. By repeatedly referring to the Greek host as Argives, Homer clearly means to say that the expedition against Troy was led by a race of people who were ethnically associated with Argos, even though the kings of Mycenae and of Sparta (both of Ionian origin) were chiefest among them. 'Achaeans' refers to the inhabitants of the land of Greece, and is inclusive of the Danaans and Argives and everybody else. For some reason, historians don't count Dorians and the other inhabitants of Thessaly among the Achaeans, but they have no reason not to, as they were both Danaans by descent and inhabitants of Greece. The Myrmidons in the Iliad, for instance, are said to have come from Aegina, which in my estimation was probably the first island which the Danaans came to on their way to the Peloponnesian mainland.

As you can probably tell, I'm with you on the Achaeans and Dorians are cousins connection. Where I dispute Lascelles' contention is in the fact that the Athenians had a vested interest in upholding the pro-Danaan angle of the Iliad story, because it justified the rise of the Athenian state on many accounts, and any incentive they would have had to destroy any other account would have been rooted in something other than the placing of the Trojan War. In fact, drawing on what's left of the 5th century playwrights, I would say that the rivalry with Ionia as depicted in the Iliad is the whole basis for the Athenians' mythological and literary traditions. For example, while he wasn't exactly the city's founder, Theseus is credited with the establishment of Athens, having earned his fame for the attack on Crete, the origin of the Mycenaean culture. As it pertains to the Iliad, the House of Atreus is directly related to the most ostracized characters in all of Greek/Athenian mythology: it begins with Tantalus, and relates to Sisyphus, but then you have the scandals involving Aegisthus and of course Agamemnon, and Atreus himself who fed his own nephews to their father, among other things. Laius and Oedipus were directly descended from Cadmus, the progenitor of the Phoenician civilization in Greece; in some versions it was Laius who killed Chrysippus, and in others it was Atreus and Thyestes. Anyway, this is significant because the Greeks who recorded these events and the lineages of these men placed their origins in Phrygia. I see the deliberate associations between the very wicked among them with their other-than-Greek (encompassing both Dorian and Achaean cultures) origins as a matter of cultural/religious contention. Cadmus brought the Phoenician cult center to Samothrace, and it spread to Thebes from there... Thebes was always despised by the Athenians and others, especially the Dorians... when Alexander the Great (a Dorian by birth, who claimed descent from the Danaan Achilles) came along, he massacred the city's inhabitants and wiped it off the map. I'm sure he was motivated at least in part by the Athenian Aristotle, but probably much more so by his obsessive reading of Homer. After all, it was no doubt the Homeric legacy which influenced Aristotle to be so hostile to non-Hellenic civilizations. And then of course the Romans related their own founding myth to a crisis the origins of which are in the age-old Greek/Phoenician rivalry, except that this time it was Ionian Greeks vs. colonists from Tyre.
UnlikeReply1May 14 at 8:17am
Tom Vutayan Damn, you know your stuff. Because of what you just said, I'm going to start reading the Iliad from the beginning, again. Very slowly. I knew that Homer was accurate in his descriptions, but I've underestimated him. The best way, then, to interpret the post-war upheaval is: the Dorians saw an opportunity & rose up against those Achaeans who were of Mycenaean/Minoan descent--seeing as the latter were quite wicked. Perhaps, one can infer that, though the Achaeans (with heavy Danaan involvement) won the war, the Mycenaean leaders of Achaia brought ruin to Greek society in general, because of the protracted war. Which is why Athens was not overrun: it being a Danaan city. (As for Athens, what I've read is that the Athenians & Ionians were related--in that they were of the tribe of Judah, whereas the other Danaans were of the tribe of Dan.) What you said explains Linear A & Linear B--why the Mycenaeans spoke a language to the...
Tom Vutayan ...why the Mycenaeans spoke a language which was a variation of Linear A. The Mycenaeans & the Minoans were akin. What we have is: Minoans accompanied the Danaans to Greece (Ionia also). Eventually, the former gained the upper hand, for they were able to take control of the kingship (at Mycenae & Sparta). And this would explain the Sacred Band of Thebes & why Philip ii annihilated them & why Alexander demolished Thebes.
Tom Vutayan As for how the Trojans fit into the picture, the city of Troy was taken over by Judahite settlers led by Darda or Dardanus--who had a brother named Chalcol, & he led a group to Athens (some of whom then left for Ionia, which also received settlers from Tyre, as you said). Chalcol & Darda were the sons of Zerah, who was a son of Judah. This explains how Mt. Ida got its name.
Malakh HaTzadik I certainly didn't mean to make you reread it from the beginning, but I hope it serves whatever purpose you have for doing so. I haven't read it since 20 years ago, so maybe we can revisit this when you've found something to challenge or corroborate something I've said. What you've said in your reply is more or less perfectly in line with what I was thinking... I'm just not sure exactly how the Mycenaean civilization met its demise, how much influence they had over the dominant Argives, or whether they were colonists from Phrygia, or whether it was the other way around. Another thing is that there is a possible identification of the Mycenaeans and/or Minoans as the Egyptians' "Sea Peoples," and by that I mean that I think it's just as likely that the Phoenicians were not native to Phoenicia. If I recall correctly, the old theory was that the name of Phoenicia has its origin in the name of Philistia, which basically means they were the inhabitants of the coastal regions of Canaan, particularly Gaza and maybe Tyre/Sidon. If that's actually the case, then clearly the arrival of the Phoenicians in mainland Greece (though not the islands) was the direct result of a population migration precipitated by the Israelite invasion of Canaan. This fact, combined with the failure of the tribe of Dan to conquer its allotted territory (of Philistia) and then mysterious disappearance from the Israelite record, would explain why both groups migrated to Greece. In other words, they didn't so much accompany the Danaans as they were forced to find a suitable refuge, and the hostilities simply resumed once they came into contact again. It's clear that the Argives had the upper hand early on, having come in greater numbers, but the founding myth of Argos is interesting... on the one hand, you have the Danaids murdering all the sons of Aegyptus except Lynceus, and on the other, Lynceus murders Danaus and sets up the Danaid Dynasty. (Is it really a Danaid dynasty if it was created by an Egyptian or Phoenician man? And ALL the kings of all corners of Greece were descendants of this dynasty.) I'm thinking that whatever this event represents is tantamount to a schism between the city of Argos and the tribe of Dan proper, and that the rise of Mycenae might have been brought about by the further migrations and therefore reduced population in Greece of the tribe of Dan. (At this point, I associate the loci of the tribe of Dan with the settling of Ireland and of Denmark. I don't think you can really call it the tribe of Dan once the Danaid Dynasty is established, but I can certainly see how the later Greeks who had no knowledge of what happened to the other Danaans would still see it that way.) The story of Europa at least as far as it's told in the Iliad makes her the daughter of Phoenix, and Minos her son and therefore nephew of Cadmus and Cilix. Not that that really helps to show which came first, but at least it shows that the Minoans, Mycenaeans and Cilicians all had a common Phoenician origin. I think after the colonization of Cilicia, the influence which the Danaans and the Phrygians (which I assume at this point were an extension of the Hittite Empire) exerted over the Phoenician colonists is what led to the Ionian culture. I would guess that Ionia came about as a deliberate effort by the Minoan/Mycenaean civilization to set up trade colonies along the coast of Asia, and that they never got that far inland, but met their Cilician cousins somewhere in the middle and started to spread their Greek influence, so that Troy was much more influenced by Greece than vice-versa. Without an actual relationship of some sort between the Phoenician settlers in Greece with those across the Aegean, it's hard to imagine how relations would have soured to the point of a prolonged war which all the Greek nobles were called upon to fight. Think also about the role which the Ionian city-states played in the Greco-Persian Wars, both as the Persian vanguard, and as liberated participants in Alexander's retribution. I also think I may have misled you on the Danaan origin of Athenian/Attican culture... that would indeed explain why it was never overrun, and also why Athens was subject to Minos according to the Theseus tale, but I think it was a lot more Phoenician in origin (perhaps owing to this subjugation) than the other city-states around at that time, and that this is what ultimately led to the rivalry with Sparta which remained more or less completely isolated from Phoenician culture. (Recall in the Iliad that Menelaos is both a morally upright man and a fierce warrior, unlike his brother.) What I meant to say is that the way they portrayed the Mycenaeans was as notoriously wicked; whether that's an accurate portrayal or whether it's merely the result of an attribution bias is open to debate. Personally, I think they were just repeating the same stories that they had heard from their predecessors (like Homer), and that the idea that the Mycenaeans were "wicked" according to Greek morality is definitely in keeping with what we know about the Canaanites.
UnlikeReply1May 15 at 10:01amEdited
Malakh HaTzadik I hadn't heard of the theory associating Athens with Israelite origins. I'm extremely skeptical that anyone could make the link via a tribal identity like the one with Dan, but would like to see what you have on that. My understanding of the naming of Mt. Ida has been based on the Romans' embassy and on the oracular tradition. I believe the word means 'goddess,' and the oracle there was basically the Trojan version of the Oracle (of Athena, as opposed to Apollo) at Delphi. The Romans returned from Ida with a relic which was supposed to symbolize the goddess and which became their centerpiece for the Magna Mater cult (to which they attributed not just their victory over Carthage, but also the Sibylline Books altogether: as far as the Romans were concerned, 'sibyl' refers to the oracle, first at Ida, then at Cumae, and I'm pretty sure they saw Cassandra as the Phrygian sibyl, which is how she's portrayed in pop culture now, and begs the question of what was going on with the Judgment of Paris since Paris was her brother and since it supposedly led to the war--also of interest is the role of Peleus in both the events leading to the Judgment, and the reign of Pelias and fate of Phthia as far as I've related them below)... I've always thought of this object/symbol as the Palladium of the Iliad, but that the Romans carried with them a fake copy. Wasn't Aeneas supposed to have carried it with him to Latium? I don't remember. I know that Diomedes and Odysseus supposedly stole it, and that has implications for the failed protection of Athena when Cassandra was raped by Ajax. I can see why Homer would attribute the theft of the Palladium (i.e. the removal of Troy's divine protection) to the same duo that devised the strategy to sack the city... Diomedes was the king of ARGOS, and son of Athena's favorite warrior among the Seven Against Thebes. Likewise, Heracles is also depicted by Homer as having overcome both cities all by himself, so the animosity between the Danaans and the Phoenicians/Ionians is self-evident from at least the time of the Argonauts. If you take the chronology seriously, the implication of the cultural association of Thebes and the Trojan civilization is that as soon as the Greeks finally defeated Thebes, they moved on to Troy. (Personally, I think they sacked Thebes, marched through Thessaly, destroyed the cult center at Samothrace, and then Homer picks it up where the Achaeans are held up in Dardania on their way to Troy. Briseis is described according to the blonde/blue description which Homer gives the Danaan heroes. Agamemnon took Cryseis from Moesia, which tells me the Greeks went so far north over land that they passed Thrace, contrary to the understanding that they just boarded their ships and sailed straight to Troy or maybe disembarked on a few islands along the way. Look up Thoas of Aetolia, both the Chryses, Neleus and Peleus; their stories all relate back to specific associations between Achaea and the Danaans or Mycenae and the Trojans.) Assuming this is accurate, then the war began at the gates of Thebes or the field between Thebes and Athens, and all you have to do to find out where the lines were clearly drawn is trace the origins of the Seven who waged it: Argos (Adrastus, Iphis, Amphiaraus, Mecisteus and Capaneus--Tydeus was from Calydon in Aetolia but was banished and moved to Argos where he married the daughter of Adrastus) and Arcadia (Parthenopeus), which suggests an alliance between the Danaans and their Pelasgian neighbors, which backed the Argive-friendly Polynices for the Theban throne. Some of these men were supposedly sons of Argonauts. Although Aeson and Jason had a purported lineage from Minos, it was Aeson's half-brother Pelias who was born to Poseidon (one of the "Sea Peoples"?) and who angered the gods, which led to Hera's support of Jason and the Argonauts. Jason was educated by Chiron, whose other students are a who's-who list of Danaan champions prior to and including the Trojan War. I can't help but think that the story of Jason is the story of the onset of the war between Thebes and the Argives... to me, it seems that Iolcus was the center of power of the Phoenicians in Thessaly (actually Phthia: Thessaly is named for Jason's son Thessalus), and that nothing remains of it probably for that reason or because of misidentification, and that Thebes has historical precedence because it was fortified as a bulwark against Danaan incursions to the North beyond Attica. Most people think Iolcus was near modern Volos, which I see more as the ancient port of the Pelasgian-Danaid settlement of Larissa. The implication is that there were two power centers (one Danaid, one Phoenician) in Thessaly, or else that Iolcus is none other than Larissa. If the Iolcus-Volos connection is legitimate, then the Danaids certainly had more power in the region right from the get-go, having merged with and established themselves over the Pelasgians (as in the Peloponnesus), but the description of Pelias' ambitions in Thessaly seem to suggest there was a struggle. If the struggle was finished immediately before the Epigoni and Trojan wars, as the story goes, then I'm probably right; Thebes was attacked after Jason came to power because it was involved in the struggle and was the bastion of Phoenician resistance, and Troy because it was next in line, and the Achaeans had already assembled an invasion force, so following the Epigoni war was the best time to attack, but they knew they'd need the support of all the vassals around Greece. Hence the involvement of Mycenae as well as the petty kingdoms.

Anyway, since the Seven Against Thebes are all Argive royals, I tend to think that they were governors of different cities/regions/fiefs under Argive control, rather than the way it's interpreted as that Argos had three kings and all that. It could very well be that one of them was understood as being the "king" of Attica/Athens even, but that no one who recorded the story was concerned about listing the various settlements because they were understood or because Argos had the hegemony. Perhaps the Trojans aided the Thebans, and this is what led to open conflict between the Trojans and Achaeans. It would also explain how the expedition led by Polynices failed in spite of massive Argive support. And if you consider that Oedipus as King of Thebes was aligned against the Phoenicians (he did murder Laius after all), then the war was the result of one son following the Theban tradition, and the other (like Oedipus) disavowing it. According to Wikipedia, "In the Thebaid, the brothers [Eteocles and Polynices] were cursed by their father [Oedipus] for their disrespect towards him on two occasions. The first of these occurred when they served him using the silver table of Cadmus and a golden cup, which he had forbidden." And then Sophocles canonized the Athenian view by telling us that Creon sided against Polynices, which of course is a way of saying that Thebes remained true to the Phoenician customs, leading to the Epigoni war.
UnlikeReply1May 15 at 10:36amEdited
Malakh HaTzadik Another question for you: Darda is obvious, but do you have an explanation for the etymology of Chalcol? This name immediately brings to mind Chalcis, which is so close to Thebes that I can't help but wonder if Chalcis = the Iolcus of the Jason story. That would really help to explain a lot of things, as Euboea was supposedly settled by Ionians from Attica. On the other hand, it also brings to mind Colchis, which of course is where the Argonauts sailed to. Evidently Zerah took contraband from Jericho and led a contingent of the tribe of Judah into Egypt and wasn't heard from again? This I find most interesting, as Herodotus regarded the Colchians as colonists from Egypt. It also occurs to me that Colchis is within the land of Iberia (obvious Hebrew connection there), but I've never investigated the Iron Age history of Iberia. It seems there was a group of people called the "Moschi" there. Thoughts?
UnlikeReply1May 15 at 10:57amEdited
Malakh HaTzadik One more thing: I can't confirm this Chalcol and Darda connection. The name in the Bible is Dara, which is more suggestive of the Dorians than of the Dardanians. However, I take the story of Dardanus as a confirmation of the Samothrace-Crete-Phoenicia-Phrygia connection. Apparently Dardanus' brother Iasion was the one who founded the Demeter/Magna Mater mystery religion of Samothrace, and was murdered by Dardanus who merged his bloodline with that of the king of Phrygia (who was originally from Crete) to produce the royal house of Troy. I'm sure his wife's name Chryse is the origin of the name Chryses. One version is that Dardanus was Arcadian, the other that he was Tyrrhenian. I don't see any difference between the two groups (these are just two ways of saying the same thing really, except that the latter implies a religious affiliation which is common with the bull-worshipers of Minos, Egypt, Phoenicia, etc.). I would say both of these facts (of his being involved in the establishment of the Samothrace cult and of his Arcadian origin) contradict the association with the Biblical character, unless it just so happened that he was an outcast from Judah on account of his Canaanite religious preferences who settled in Arcadia with the Danaans. Certainly the close association between Judah and Dan would justify this, as would the religious apostasy of Judah (following Benjamin) after the Israelite invasion of Canaan, but I've still never seen anything that would convince me that members of the tribe of Judah settled anywhere outside of Palestine save Denmark.
Tom Vutayan The scenario you put forth for the arrival of the Danaans in Greece from the Levant I've heard before--after all, the Bible does speak of the disappearance of most of the tribe of Dan, as you said. But what I've not heard before is that the Israelite invasion of Canaan drove some of the Phoenicians to set sail for Greece. When considered together, this theory sounds quite plausible. For sure it sounds better than the other theories I've come across. Good detective work there. Anyway, I think you're on the correct path with your assessment of the events which led up to the Trojan War. What I find curious is: if Troy was the reason why Polynices' coalition failed, then why such an important ally of Thebes was not mentioned in any of the records? Maybe the Trojans' contribution was minor but just significant enough to give victory to the Thebans? But then, Athens was not a major player in the Trojan War, as far as I can tell--so I can see why that would be the case. From what you said, I can extrapolate this: Argos was preeminent during the war against Thebes, and Mycenae became ascendant just prior to the siege of Troy. And Sparta being free from Phoenician/Minoan influence is interesting. Menelaus was Agamemnon's brother (both being Mycenaean), but the former's character was opposite of the latter. This reminds me of Uriah the Hittite, who was an upright man, unlike the stock from which he came out of. Now as for Dara vs. Darda, I've come across some sources saying that both are interchangeable. It could be what you made allowance for: Dardanus was a son of Judah who went rogue, embracing Canaanite beliefs. I did think, in the back of my mind, that Chalcol & Athens are irreconcilable, as far as names go. So, it could be that Chalcol ended up in Colchis, and Jason & the Argonauts sailed there because Chalcol, like his brother Dara/Darda/Dardanus, was an apostate. I have to say that I'm blown away by the picture forming in my mind of all the goings-on. Also, Dardanus' apostasy would explain Troy's siding with the Thebans, for that city's pro-Phoenician stance was established by its founder (the Troy of the Iliad, anyways). When it comes to Iberia, I don't know anything concerning that country. I wasn't even aware of an Iberia next to Colchis. "Iberia" being derived from "Eber"/ "Heber" or "Hebrew"--this I agree with.
Tom Vutayan I saw a documentary about the Philistines from the Oriental Institute (I think it was.) on Youtube. They talked about how the cauldrons used by the Philistines were exactly the same as the cauldrons used by the Mycenaeans. This is corroboration.
Malakh HaTzadik I lost my original post! I guess I'll just have to concede the point for now that Troy appears to lack mentioning in the Thebes cycle, though I would also counter that Argos and Arcadia also do. Except that I never got past Aeschylus and Sophocles, so...See More
Malakh HaTzadik Tell ya what, I find the idea that a single faux pas like the abduction of Helen could have incited this huge conflagration, a whole lot more believable with the assumption that the pyres had already been built by both belligerents. And that is probably the first time I've ever accidentally used the same consonant at the start of each word five consecutive times.
Tom Vutayan Well, let me state that I'm not an atheist. One of the reasons that I have an interest in the Bible is because I've found it to be an accurate--precise even--record of history. I've found nothing but corroboration for what it says, (corrupting) interpolations notwithstanding. Now back to the Trojan War, the picture in my mind is much more clearer. Both sides were waging massive campaigns. Both sides saw that hostilities were inevitable, & both were attempting to preempt the other. I can believe the 1.5 million figure. It was the Achaean empire vs. the Trojan empire. Then after some 10 years of war, you have the remnant of the Achaean invasion force on the shores of Dardania. At some point Ilion (the citadel at Pergamum) realized it was fighting a defensive war, & all it could do was hope for the best. (To borrow a term from the Vedas, the Danaans & their Pelasgian allies had the greater dharma--thus they would end up winning, despite the subtle & pervasive influence of the Mycenaeans.)

From Achilles' point-of-view, Agamemnon (Mycenaeans) was the greater enemy, since the former did point out that the Trojans had never personally done him any wrong. Achilles, I guess, was frustrated. Here he was, involved in a siege for which he saw no justifiable reason. It might even be that Agamemnon symbolizes the conniving Mycenaeans & how they were poisoning Hellenic society, yet I do recall that the Hittites did specifically name him in one of their documents (tablets). Achilles was in a quandary as to how to deal with the Mycenaeans.

Although "Dara" being cognate with "Darda" is not tenable, I do lean towards the Trojans having been Israelites (& mixing with the Phrygians and Phoenicians once they arrived in Asia Minor). Accepting as true what the Romans said about their own origins--both their mythic origin as Trojans under Aeneas & their "anthropological"/"archaeological"/"historical" provenance as a collection of huts being antinomous (An Italian professor (I forget his name.) said that both origin accounts are an antinomy: what he was getting at was that both are true (sort of hard to wrap my head around that one).)--we can then see their origin story fitting nicely with what Paul says in his letter to the Romans. He spoke of them as being Gentiles--that is, they were also of Israel. I've understood this as meaning that he implicitly accepted their mythic primordium as being true.

Fascinating, Heracles represents approval of Dorian intervention by the oppressed. And I do agree: the Dorians were Greeks also, closely related to the Danaans. It may very well be that Dara was their ancestor.

I also agree with you about the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet giving rise to the Phoenician alphabet. You saying that the origin of the Norse runic alphabet is Canaan via Greece does not surprise me--as I've been convinced for some time now that there is a connection between Hellas & the Scandinavian nations, namely Norway, Sweden, & Denmark. (I take it you are of Swedish origin.)

Yes, It could be that Helen's abduction occurred during a lull in the fighting--as the Trojan ambassador sent to Sparta to negotiate terms of peace, Alexandros (Paris) espied Menelaus' lovely wife & couldn't help himself. This egregious act by the Trojans (Priam or Ephraim supporting Paris in this) led to the resuming of hostilities.

As for your accidental use of a consanant five consecutive times: nothing wrong with alliteration every now & then, as I see it.
LikeReply1 minEdited
Tom Vutayan You hit the nail on the head: the Caucasian-Judahite connection has to do with the Assyrian captivity, & the Milesians and the Tuath Dé Danann coming from Scythia has to do with the emigration of Zerah's house. This is what I've also found.
Tom Vutayan Also, once Aeneas' party arrived on the banks of the Tiber River, they proceeded to mix with the local Latins. (From what I can tell, the Latins originally came from India. How long had they been there when the Trojans arrived is a good question.)
Tom Vutayan I forgot to say that 1 reason I can believe the 1.5 million figure for casualties is: the Old Testament speaks of the battles between the Northern Kingdom of Israel & the Southern Kingdom of Judah--of how up to a million men would show up to a battlefield.
Tom Vutayan The Hellenic version of "dharma" would be "arete."
Tom Vutayan From the First Theban War through to the Epigoni War & ending in the fall of Troy--that was almost half a century. It seems a more modern equivalent would be the Thirty Years' War.
Tom Vutayan Btw, I'm leaning towards a later date for the Trojan War (circa 800 BC). As I understand it, there was no Dark Age between the end of the Heroic Age (fall of Troy) and the time of Homer.