Many scholars, including Carl Blengen American archaeologist who worked at the site in the 1930s, believed the Trojans were of Greek origin. This conjecture was attributed to the Greek names given to the characters in the Iliad but that isn’t the case. Homer mentioned a close relationship between the Trojan allies and in particular with the Dardanians. Excavations at the site of Troy/Ilios/Troya/Troia have found artefacts that showed the Trojans were in fact indigenous to the region and related to the Indo-European people who migrated to the area.
Archaeological investigations have surmised the people from Dardania and Troy shared a kinship, their ancestry a mixture of Anatolian and Luwians. The latter came from south eastern Anatolia, a province the Romans later called Cilicia. The Greeks and Romans thought Dardania was a subset of Troy however it was the other way around. Troy was a state of Dardania.
The city’s location, a maritime thoroughfare between east and west, saw Troy grow in population and wealth. It soon surpassed its mother city and became a powerful port. Pottery and seals found at the site have also indicated the city had treaty connections with the Hittite Empire and traded with the Egyptians. There were also Mykenai and Minoan pottery found at the site. Possible remnants from the invasion? Probable.
Another piece of anecdotal hint the Trojans and their allies weren’t Greek was the language spoken. Homer even included it in his poem. In Book 2, Line 804 the messenger goddess Iris in the guise of Polites, tells Hektor to allow the commanders of their allies to issue orders as there were made up of “scattered foreigners speak different languages”.
In Book 4, line 437, the Greeks are forging towards the Trojan army:
‘Their speech and dialects were all different, as they spoke a mixture of languages—the troops hailed from many parts.’
There are also the names of the Trojans, given in Greek as the audience was Hellenistic and more recognisable. Alexander/Alaksandu, better known as Paris was first noted in Hittite text and ruler who established trading links with the Hittites. Wilusa, Hittite word for the Greek interpretation Ilios. Priam/Piyama-Radu and Hektor are considered indigenous names though the spelling of the former changed.
The Greeks did migrate to the west coast of Asia Minor and there is evidence they settled in the famous city. This was identified as Troy VIII. Nine layers later and thousands of years of history, it is the perfect time capsule capturing human development and tragedy.
TRUE IDENTITY OF ANCIENT “DARDANIANS” AND “TROJANS” (Dardanus, Dardania, Dardanelles, Troianus (Trojans), Troas, Troad, Ilium) BY POLAT KAYA
The Greek Age of Bronze: Troy history