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Troy and Homer - Latacz H.

Troy and Homer - Latacz H.

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Published by Evita Dionysopoulou

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Evita Dionysopoulou on Jul 21, 2012
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07/21/2012

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The Opposing Side:‘Achaians’ and ‘Danaans’—Two More Names Rehabilitated
Whether or not we assume that Taruwisa/Tru(w)isa can be equatedwith Troy, the name of the
besieged city
in the
Iliad 
is historical,since it has been proven that Wilusa and Wilios are one and thesame. But we must then proceed to note that the names of thebesiegers in the
Iliad 
are no invention either. The besiegers camefrom the region known broadly to us as ‘Greece’. (We shall return tothe matter of the geographical variations of the territory of ‘clas-sical’ Greece.)What does Homer call these people? It will surprise nobody tolearn that they are never called ‘Greeks’. ‘Greeks’ (Griechen, Grec-ques, Greci, etc.) is a modern term, which derives from the Latin.When the people of Italy first encountered those of the Balkanpeninsula, they came upon a tribe which called itself ‘Graikoı ´’,which the newcomers adopted as ‘Graeci’. The same principleexplains why the Germans are known to the French as ‘Allemands’:the first Germanic tribe they encountered was the Alemani. How-ever, the besiegers collectively are also never called ‘He ´lle¯nes’ byHomer, that is, by the name this race has used for almost threethousand years, corresponding to ‘Hella ´s’, the name of the country.Instead, in the
Iliad 
, the besiegers have three different names:
Achaioı´ 
,
Danaoı´ 
, and
Argeı´ oi
. All three are mutually interchange-able and do not denote separate tribes but rather all the aggressorscollectively.This trio has always been a cause of puzzlement in Homericstudies. Why is there no all-encompassing term? And if a choice of three exists, for whatever reason, why precisely these three? In the
 
area of settlement of the people we term ‘Greek’, there had been agreat number of different tribes and clans ever since they moved intotheir new homeland in about
2000 bc
. Why should these threenames have been selected? Furthermore, as far as we can tell, byHomer’s day at least two of them, ‘Achaioı ´’ and ‘Danaoı ´’, as generalterms for the Greeks, did not exist at all. In fact, there had appar-ently been no general term for centuries. It is highly likely that nonehad ever existed, except in bardic poetry. In reality, by Homer’s timethe only terms were ‘Ionian’, ‘Aeolian’, and ‘Dorian’ for the largegroups. The name ‘Achaian’, centuries later, giving Latin
Achaei
Achaea had been a Roman province since
146 bc
—came from theregion of Thessaly known as ‘Achaia’ (possibly for the second timein Greek history).Here too the key to an understanding can only be found in thehistorical reality. Just as in the case of the twin names Wilios andTroy there was no conceivable motive for inventing a name, so herein the case of the trinity Achaioı ´ /Danaoı ´ /Argeioi no rational motivecan be offered to explain why at a particular moment a particularpoet should have invented three names for the attacking army. Whatwould his audience have made of it? Given the abundance of realand available possibilities, would they not have found such inven-tions strange? But if the trinity comes not from invention but fromhallowed tradition, what was the origin of the tradition?
‘achai(w)ia’ and ‘achijawa’
It is easiest to answer this question in the case of the first name,‘Achaioı ´’.In the Hittite documents, ‘Ah˘h˘ijawa¯’ (now usually writ-ten ‘Achijawa’) occurred at an early date as the name of a country.Not only does this name bear an obvious phonetic resemblance tothe ‘Achaioı ´’ found in the
Iliad 
(and to the adjectival form ‘Achaiı ´s’,which appears five times)—as with ‘Ilios’, it is to be expected thatthe ‘w’ will be lost in the Homeric form, so originally ‘Achaiwoı ´’,‘Achaiwı ´s’. But this word also, considered geographically and pol-itically, seems to point to the people we know as ‘Greeks’. So werethe Homeric ‘Achai(w)oı ´’ the same as the inhabitants of Hittite‘Ah˘h˘ijawa¯’? This question was posed by Emil Forrer as early as
the opposing side 121

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