Who were the Trojans and where did they come from?

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.

An artist's impression of Troy VIh/VIi in around 1400 BC http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/KingListsMiddEast/AnatoliaTroy.htm

An artist’s impression of Troy VIh/VIi in around 1400 BC

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.

A bronze seal written in the almost universal Anatolian language of Luwian which was discovered at Troy in 1995 Middle East Kingdoms: Ancient Anatolia http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/

A bronze seal written in the almost universal Anatolian language of Luwian which was discovered at Troy in 1995
Middle East Kingdoms: Ancient Anatolia http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/

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.

If anyone has any further information regarding the origins and proper names of the Trojans I’d love to hear from you. Thank you for visiting and reading.




Further reading:
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


Accursed Women
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13 thoughts on “Who were the Trojans and where did they come from?

  1. A very interesting post indeed… I didn´t know that Troy was a state of Dardania. Neither that “trojans´ spoke a sort mixture of languages…
    Thanks for letting me know more about the identity of trojans… Best regards, Luciana.
    Aquileana 😉


    • I must admit that little piece of evidence surprised me too. Much like reading Pandora opening an urn and not a box. When you dig into the past something always interesting turns up 😀
      Thanks Aquileana, always enjoy reading your comments.


    • It’s always nice to get clarification isn’t it? The concept of Trojans being Greek bugged me when it was quite obvious they weren’t.
      Got to love Hollywood and glossing over the facts!
      Thanks Eric 😀


  2. Bella, you are always such a wealth of information. A very thought provoking post. As for origin, I’d read that some researchers suspect it was Luvian, others that it was Lydian. There is an Assistant Professor, Alwin Kloekhorst, Leiden University Centre for Linguistics, who concluded that the original language of Troy was possibly a precursor of Etruscan. 🙂


    • Etruscan? Wow, now you have whetted my interest to learn more! Possible, why not? They still haven’t deciphered the Etruscan script, too complex, as far as I have read. Could be wrong.
      I have seen Luvian used as another spelling of Luwian, I guess they are interchangeable. I’ve also read the Trojans may be Lydian, I guess more evidence is needed!
      Grazie Bella, going to find out more about the language origins 😀


  3. Luciana, another great post on relating the historical and archaeological evidence for the Trojan War as backdrop to Homer’s Illiad. You’ve brought up an interesting evidence regarding the origins of the Trojans. Whatever their beginnings, the brutal sacking of a great city must have left an enormous impact across the region for legends to be written about it centuries later. You’re posts have been extremely informative, providing interesting background to the heroes and political situation. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading them.


    • Thank you so much Linnea! And you are right, whatever happened to “Troy” has resonated over the years. It must have been a great war or many wars that has created an incredible and rich legend.
      Always look forward to your insightful comments 😀


  4. While it can be frustrating, I love the way digging into history often raises more questions than it answers. I would bet the real story of the Trojans would be even more fascinating that what was recorded in Homer’s account.


    • It certainly does! It’s fantastic what historians and archaeologists have been able to piece together but there is still so much not known. I guess that what makes it so interesting, trying to answer those questions.
      Thanks JM 😀


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