By Published On: July 11th, 2023Categories: 2023, All, Humanities, Original Research

Trojan War and Epic Cycle: The Historical and Literary Version Where, How, When and Why The Trojan War Myth was invented

Vasileios L. Konstantinopoulos
University of the Peloponnese, Dept. of Philology, Kalamata, Greece
President Literary Society PARNASSUS,
Saint George Sq., 8 Karitsi, 10561 Athens, Greece

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.8135778


There are two aspects about the Trojan War, the historical and the literary. For 1200 BC, the Late Bronze Age there are two epigraphical testimonies, the Hettite inscriptions and the Linear B tablets. Due to the fact that the latter do not contain historical information, only the Hettitic inscriptions remain, which provide us with very important historical information about the relationships between the Hittite empire, the kingdom of Troy and the kingdom of Ahhijawa. An important contribution to the historical reality is also offered by the excavations of the professor Manfred Korfmann (University of Tübingen) that brought to light the lower city with a moat. So the city is a typical Eastern city with Appaliuna (=Apollo) as one of the main gods. The Treaty of Alaksandu, king of Troy, and Muwatalli, king of Hattussa, and other Hittite documents confirm that Troy was a vassal of the Hittite empire and thus under its protection. Therefore, in the 13th century BC the Trojan War could not have taken place, as the Achaeans would have faced the powerful Hittite force. In the 12th century the Achaeans were not in a position to campaign, because the Mycenaean centres had collapsed. So, the Trojan War is a literary and not a historical event. Thus, the Epic Cycle is examined with the various works and more specifically the Iliad and the Odyssey, their grammar, their structure, the editing of the text during the Alexandrian age and the famous Homeric question.


Trojan War, Hittite inscriptions, Linear B tablets, Ahhijawa, Treaty of Alaksandu, the seal of Troy, the Epic Cycle, the Homeric question.

1. Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the Trojan War is a historical or a literary event. For this rea-son we analyse the main testimonies in the Late Bronze Age, which are the Hittite inscriptions, because the Linear B tablets in the Mycenaean centres do not include historical information, but mainly record storage ma-terial with the exception of the Pylos tablets. The fall of the Mycenaean centres in the 12th century BC excludes the case of a Mycenaean war expedition against Troy, while a potential Mycenaean attack on Troy in the 13th century would have been vigourously countered by the Hittites, who protected Troy, according to the Treaty of Alaksandu.
Therefore, it remains to examine the Trojan War as a literary event, appearing from the 9th century BC on-wards. The Epic Cycle is analysed, where the Iliad and the Odyssey are contained, which were originally composed orally (oral composition) and were later written. An important role is played by the dactylic hexam-eter and the Aeolic and Ionic elements of the epic are explored, the role of Athens in the time of Peisistratus in the creation of the entire epic and the role of the Alexandrian grammarians in the analysis and the commen-tary of the text.
Various theories and arguments (historical, literary, astronomical, epigraphic etc), have been proposed re-garding the reality of myth of this polemic enterprise event (de Jong 2005; Finley et al., 1964; Korfmann, 2004; Papamarinopoulos et al., 2012, 2014).

2. Historical Version

The archaeological, the philological, the linguistic and the historical sciences try to answer reliably the ques-tion if the Trojan War has happened or not. Two sources are the most credible from the 12th century BC, when Trojan War supposedly happened, the Hittite inscriptions (Sommer, 1932; Laroche, 1971; Haas, 2006; Müller and Gernot, 2002-2013; Sachermeyr, 1954) and the Linear B tablets (Ventris and Chadwick, 1956; Chadwick, 1976; Ruipérez-Melena, 1996; Konstantinopoulos, 2013). The former enlighten the relationships between the Trojans, the Hittites and the Mycenaeans, while the latter unfortunately contain mainly accounting infor-mation and secondly social, religious and administrative information. Very important help is provided by the second excavating activity, which has been conducted by the professor Manfred Korfmann (University of Tü-bingen), the results of which are annually published in the scientific magazine STUDIA TROICA (Korfmann, 1993). The results of these excavations were the discovery of a lower city (Figure 1), with additional walls and moat. From a religious point of view, bronze small statues of an Eastern deity, as well as stone columns were found, which prove an Eastern influence. In the point of view of many religionists and professor Korfmann, these are a typical symbol of the god Appaliuna, who was obviously identical with the god Apollo.
The name of Troy in the Hittite inscriptions is Wilussa or Truwissa (Latacz, 20022; Garstang and Gurney, 1959; Bryce, 2002; Bryce, 2007) and its location was in the Northwest side of Asia Minor. This place, which is near Thrace and Phrygia, leads some scholars to the thought that the Trojan people belonged to the Thracophrygian nation and therefore their language was the Thracophrygian (Wooduizen, 2017). According to other scholars (Bryce, 2007), the Trojan people were the Luwians (Macqueen, 1986), a point of view that ori-ents us to think that the Trojans were speaking the Luwian dialect, which is an Indo-European dialect and was lingua franca in the Hittite empire.....

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