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ON THE MILITARY ARCHITECTURE OF TROY: Some remarks on the difficulty of conquering the city

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1111Restored Plan of Troy’s citadel adapted from W. Dorpfeld’s excavations. The successive archaeological and urban levels are noted. Note also the outer and inner walls of Troy VI.
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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My initial intention was to give an outline of the military architecture of Troy but the detailed studies of W. Dorpfeld, M. Wood, H. Schliemann, R. Neumann, C.W. Blegen, J.L. Caskey, M.Rawson, M. Korfmann, D. Easton and others, most of which are free on the internet, does not leave any room to add something new to the subject beyond the usual data. Therefore, in this article I will deal with the essential result of that architecture, namely the difficulty of conquering the mighty fortress which Troy VI had been.
Which of the archaeological urban levels of the city discovered and excavated by H. Schliemann at the hill of modern Hissarlik was the city of Homer’s epic? This is one of the main problems concerning the Homeric Epic Cycle. It is considered certain that the Homeric Troy corresponds to one of the levels VI (about 1900-1250 BC) and VIIa (about 1250-1180 BC). Wilhelm Dörpfeld who in 1893-94 continued Schliemann’s excavations in Troy, indicated level VI as the Homeric city. Dörpfeld found that the last phase of that level (VIh) was hit by an earthquake and concluded that after the blow, the city was captured by enemies who according to his view they were the Homeric Achaeans. The German archaeologist found that the earthquake caused damage to the city but the destruction was the work of man, a view based on the discovery of extensive fire traces in the VIh destruction level and on archaeological evidence, mainly traces of military activity.
This theory of Dörpfeld and those who agree with him today (e.g. M. Wood and others) is the most believable in my opinion, that is why in this article I will base my analysis on the assumption that Homer’s Troy was the archaeological level VI (phase VIh). In a future article I will deal with the arguments of those who argue that Homer’s city was the level VI and the ones of those who argue that that city was level VII (less likely).

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A rare and detailed representation of the total city of Troy (urban area and citadel). Most of the modern representations use to deal just with the architectural and engineering status of the citadel. Most of the defensive features mentioned in the text are noted, but please observe notably the scalar urban distribution of the buildings of the lower city and the citadel, essentially being the fourth defensive line of Troy (Copyright: National Geographic Magazine. Art by William Cook. Source on Troy: Troy project).

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JASON’S ARGONAUTS: a Historical and Geopolitical approach to the myth of the Argonautica (part I)

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The Mycenaean Dendra armor (15th c. BC) belongs to the era in which the Argonaut campaign took place. On top of the armor there is a characteristic boar-tusk helmet which in this case is equipped with bronze cheek-protectors.
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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TABLE: LIST of the ARGONAUTS and their origins

The first two columns of the table quote the legendary heroes of the Argonaut campaign and the city of origin of each one, according to the ancient literature. I composed and added the third column in order to present the peoples/tribes who were the bearers of the traditions or cults of the respective heroes (local deities or agathodemons) or the peoples/tribes inhabiting the listed cities. Hercules is usually referred as a Theban in the ancient texts, but he was a hero/deity of the Achaeans, as possibly was Hylas as well. For this reason I place the Cadmeian people to the city of Thebes, who surely were in control of her in the time of the Argonautica.
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ARGONAUT / REGION or CITY  / TRIBE(People)
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THESSALY
Jason / Iolkos /Minyans
Akastos / Iolkos / Minyans
Admetos / Pherae / Minyans
Peleus / Phthia / Achaeans
Aethalides / Alope / Achaeans
Eurytos / Alope / Achaeans
Echion / Alope / Achaeans
Eurydamas / Ktemene / Dolopes
Asterion / Peiresiae / Lapiths
Polyphemus / Larissa / Lapiths
Koronos / Gyrton / Lapiths
Iphiclos / Phylake / Minyans
Mopsus / Titaros / Lapiths
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THRACE
Orpheus / – / Thracians
Kalais / – / Thracians
Zetes / – / Thracians
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AETOLIA
Meleager / Kalydon / Aetolians (?)
Laokoon / Kalydon / Aetolians (?)
Iphiclos / Pleuron / Aetolians (?)
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Πολύχρυσαι Μυκῆναι…

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Αναδημοσίευση από το σπουδαίο Ιστολόγιο Ανιχνευτές  (http://anihneftes.wordpress.com/ για Αρχαία Ελληνική Ιστορία και Αρχαιολογία και   http://anihneftes.blogspot.gr/  για Νεότερη Ελληνική Ιστορία κ.α.)

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Στοά, ἀρ. φύλ. 292, 24.11.1876

« Περὶ τοῦ σκελετοῦ ὅστις εὑρέθη ἐν Μυκήναις ἡ ἐν Ναυπλίῳ ἐφημερὶς «Ἀργολὶς» δημοσιεύει τὰ ἑξῆς.

Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα εὗρον προσωπίδα χρυσῆν, νεαροῦ ἀνδρὸς καὶ μέγα φύλλον χρυσοῦ, δίκην θώρακος. Ὁποία ὅμως ὑπῆρξεν ἡ ἔκπληξίς των, ὅτε ὑπὸ τὴν προσωπίδα καὶ τὸν θώρακα εὗρον σκελετὸν ἀνθρώπινον σῶον, διατηροῦντα ἔτι μορφὴν ἀνθρωπίνην, εἰ καὶ πελιδνοτάτην, ὡσεὶ καστανόχρουν! Ἦτον ὥς τις μούμια. Ἡ σιαγὼν διατηρεῖ ἔτι ὅλους τοὺς ὀδόντας, 32 τὸν ἀριθμόν. Φαίνεται ὥς τις κοιμώμενος! Τὸ στῆθος εἶναι εὐρὺ καὶ διατηρεῖται ἔτι ὁ θώραξ συνεχόμενος οἱονεὶ ὑπὸ ἐπιδερμίδος.

Εὑρέθησαν δὲ σὺν αὐτῷ μία ὡραία χρυσῆ ζώνη μὲ κροσσοὺς χρυσοῦς, ξίφος μὲ λαβὴν χρυσῆν ἐξαίσιον καὶ πολὺ ὑπέροχον πάντων τῶν τέως ἀνευρεθέντων. Ἔτι δὲ καὶ παραξιφίδιον ὡραῖον, σπιθαμιαῖον. Πρὸς δὲ καὶ (πρῶτον ἤδη) τεμάχια ξύλων κατὰ τὸ μᾶλλον καὶ ἧττον ἐφθαρμένα. Τὸ μοναδικὸν τοῦτο θέαμα ἐθάμβωσε πάντας. Δὲν ἦσαν πλέον τέφρα καὶ ὀστᾶ. Ἦτον ἄνθρωπος προαιώνιος σύσσωμος. Παράδοξον! Ἐσκέφθησαν νὰ μεταφέρωσι τὸν σκελετὸν αὐτόν, ἀλλ’ εἶδον, ὅτι τοῦτο εἶναι ἀπολύτως ἀδύνατον καὶ ὅτι μόλις τὸν ἐγγίσωσι θὰ διαλυθῇ εἰς τὰ ἐξ ὧν συνετέθη, εἰς τέφραν. Μεγίστη δὲ φροντὶς καταβάλλεται νὰ διατηρηθῇ τὸ λείψανον τοῦτο ἀκίνητον, ἄθικτον εἰς τὸ μέρος, ἐν ᾧ εὑρέθη, νὰ καλυφθῇ δὲ τοῦτο διὰ μεγάλου ὑαλίνου θολωτοῦ πώματος καὶ νὰ στεγασθῇ ἀκόμη, ὡς σεπτὸν καὶ ἀνεκτίμητον ἀγλάϊσμα τῶν ἐρήμων Μυκηνῶν.

Ὁ Κύριος Ἐρρίκος Σχλίεμαν ἀποτελειώσας τὰς ἐν Μυκήναις ἀνασκαφὰς ἔρχεται ἐντὸς τῆς ἑβδομάδος ἐνταῦθα κομίζων τὸ σῶμα τοῦ νεκροῦ ἐκείνου, ὃν ὑπολαμβάνει ὡς τὸν τοῦ Ἀγαμέμνονος. Τὰ τελευταῖα ἀνακαλυφθέντα εἶναι τὰ ἑξῆς: Δύο πλάκες χρυσαῖ σφυρήλατοι, ἑκάστη τῶν ὁποίων παριστᾷ βουκέφαλον καὶ λέοντα καταδιώκοντα ἔλαφον· κύπελλον χρυσοῦν μετὰ δύο σειρῶν τοῦ συμβολικοῦ σημείου τοῦ ἁγίου πυρός, ἕτερον μέγιστον κύπελλον χρυσοῦν· ἕτερον ἐξ ἀλαβάστρου ὕψους 0,25, δύο ἀργυρᾶ κύπελλα, 128 κομβία χρυσᾶ, 4 λαβὰς ξίφους περιβεβλημένας χρυσῷ, δύο ἐπίσης χρυσοῦς σωλῆνας, 11 ξίφη χάλκινα, ἐξ ὧν τὰ δύο μόνον ἀκέραια καὶ μήκους τὸ μὲν 0,94 τὸ δὲ 0,74.

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THE SEA PEOPLES: HISTORY, WEAPONRY AND A DETAILED LIST OF THEIR TRIBES (13th-12th century BC)

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By  Periklis    Deligiannis

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An  excellent  depiction (by  Igor Dzis)  of  the sea  battle  against  the  Sea  Peoples,  in  the  Nile  Delta (Copyright: Igor Dzis 2010)

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The  ‘Sea  Peoples’  (as  mentioned  in  Egyptian  and  Greek  Records – in  the  later  as  Pelasgoi, meaning  exactly  ‘Sea  People’)  was  a  tribal  union  of  the  Aegean  and  western  Asia  Minor,  whose  invasions  in  the  eastern  Mediterranean  around  1229-1187  BC  caused  destruction  of  cities,  states  and  empires  (Hittite  Empire)  and  countless  victims.  Shortly  after  the  destruction  of  Troy  VI  (almost  certainly  the  Homeric  Troy)  by  the  Achaeans (Mycenaeans),  probably  in  the  middle  13th  century  BC,  began  the  disintegration  of  the  Mycenaean  world  because  of  the  prevailing  famine  and  anarchy.  These  conditions  are  due  to  broader  socioeconomic,  political,  commercial  and  climatic  causes,  occurring  in  Asia  Minor  probably  earlier  than  the  Mycenaean  territories.  The  impressive  palaces  of  Mycenae,  Pylos  and  other  Mycenaean  citadels  belong  mainly  to  the  13th  century  BC,  giving  a  false  image  of  prosperity  for  them.  Nevertheless  it  was  a  period  of  decline  for  the  Mycenaeans,  as  shown  by  the  archaeological  findings.

The  Achaean  kings  (wanaktae)  were facing  financial  problems  as  their  factories  were producing  about  half  the  products  compared  with  the  production  of  the  14th  century  BC.  They  lacked  skilled  craftsmen  and  slaves,  although  their  territories  were  been plagued  by  overcrowding.  The  commercial  sea  routes  that  they  used  were  becoming  more  and  more  insecure,  due  to  the  increasing  piracy  and  raids,  and  their  savings  had been ‘evaporated’.  The  monarchs  and  aristocrats  were  forced  to  seek  new  areas  for  raw  materials,  new  resources,  laborers  and  slaves,  probably  lands  for  colonization,  to  plunder  the  goods  of  other  countries  and  to  discover  new  trading  routes.  So  they  destroyed  Troy,  but  soon  after  they  had  to  abandon  Greece  en  masse,  due  to  the  final  failure.  The  Achaean/Mycenaean  and  other  Aegean  navigators  who  suffered  this  politico-economic  collapse,  turned  to  the  open  sea,  and  became  the  famous  Sea  Peoples  already  from  the  first  half  of  the  13th  cent.  BC.  The  British  archaeologist  Elizabeth  French (University  of  Manchester),  suggested  that  Tiryns  in  Argolis,  the  last  Mycenaean  palace  that  was  abandoned  by  its  inhabitants (except  Athens),  was  the  base  of  the  Sea  Peoples.  She  supported  her  theory  on  the  archaeological  conclusion  that  Tiryns  had  experienced  its  greatest  prosperity  (about  1200  BC)  when  the  other  Mycenaean  citadels  had  already  turned  to  ruins  or  ‘lingered  out  their  lives’.  In  my  opinion,  Tiryns  was  probably  the  base  of  the  two  tribes  that  probably  gave  rise  to  the  Later  ‘wave’  of  the  Sea  Peoples,  i.e.  the  Peleset/Philistines  (Peleset/Pulasti  in  Egyptian,  Pelasgians  in  Greek)  and  Denyen/Danuna (most  probably  the  Greek  Danaans).

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