Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

The city of Troy

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 31, 2016

Troy (Ancient Greek: Troia and Ilion, or Ilios; Latin: Trōia and Īlium; Hittite: Wilusa or Truwisa; Turkish: Truva) was a city situated in what is known from Classical sources as Asia Minor, now northwest Anatolia in modern Turkey, located south of the southwest end of the Dardanelles/ Hellespont and northwest of Mount Ida at Hisarlık.

It is the setting of the Trojan War described in the Greek Epic Cycle and especially in the Iliad (Ancient Greek: Ilias, sometimes referred to as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium), one of the two epic poems attributed to Homer. Metrical evidence from the Iliad and the Odyssey seems to show that the name Ilion formerly began with a digamma: Wilion. This was later supported by the Hittite form Wilusa.

A new capital called Ilium was founded on the site in the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus. It flourished until the establishment of Constantinople and declined gradually during the Byzantine era.

Apaliunas was the tutelary deity of the city of Wilusa (Hittite: URUWi-lu-ša), a city of the late Bronze Age Assuwa confederation of western Anatolia, a confederation of states in western Anatolia, defeated by the Hittites Tudhaliya I around 1400 BC. A number of fragmentary Hittite records imply that the anti-Hittite rebellion of the Assuwa league received a certain decree of support from Mycenaean Greece (Ahhiyawa in Hittite).

Wilusa is known from six references in 13th century BC Hittite sources. It is often identified with Troy VIIa in archaeology (destroyed in ca. 1190 BC), and with legendary Troy of the Greek Trojan War cycle (according to the chronology of Saint Jerome, dated to the 1180s BC). In terms of etymology, Ilios/Ilion, a Greek name for Troy, is identified with Wilusa.

Apaliunas is considered to be the Hittite reflex of *Apeljōn, an early form of the name Apollo. Apaliunas is among the gods who guarantee a treaty drawn up about 1280 BCE between Alaksandu of Wilusa, interpreted as “Alexander of Ilios” and the great Hittite king, Muwatalli II. He is one of the three deities named on the side of the city. In Homer, Apollo is the builder of the walls of Ilium, a god on the Trojan side. A Luwian etymology suggested for Apaliunas makes Apollo “The One of Entrapment”, perhaps in the sense of “Hunter”.

Further east of the Luwian language area, a Hurrian god Aplu was a deity of the plague – bringing it, or, if propitiated, protecting from it – and resembles Apollo Smintheus, “mouse-Apollo” worshiped at Troy and Tenedos, who brought plague upon the Achaeans in answer to a Trojan prayer at the opening of Iliad. Aplu, it is suggested, comes from the Akkadian Aplu Enlil, meaning “the son of Enlil”, a title that was given to the god Nergal, who was linked to Shamash, Babylonian god of the Sun, and with the plague.

In the late Babylonian astral-theological system Nergal is related to the planet Mars. As a fiery god of destruction and war, Nergal doubtless seemed an appropriate choice for the red planet, and he was equated by the Greeks to the war-god Ares (Latin Mars)—hence the current name of the planet. In Assyro-Babylonian ecclesiastical art the great lion-headed colossi serving as guardians to the temples and palaces seem to symbolise Nergal, just as the bull-headed colossi probably typify Ninurta.

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