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The Kingdom Of Ahhiyawa And The Dispersed Kernels Of Truth Which Have Cumulatively Been Recorded By Homer As The Trojan War

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The Kingdom of Ahhiyawa and the Dispersed Kernels of Truth Which Have Cumulatively Been Recorded by Homer as the Trojan War

Any historical or archaeological investigation of the Trojan War will most likely begin with a close reading of Homer's Iliad which unfortunately only records a few days of the colossal clash said to have lasted for ten years . This conflict involved a coalition of Greek states sailing to Asia Minor to lay siege to Troy. . According to Homer, the aforementioned coalition consisted of leaders from distinct areas of the Mycenaean world including Pylos, Tiryns, and Thebes (The Iliad Book II ). These rulers were characterized as being subordinate to Agamemnon of Mycenae, a figure which can be viewed as the supreme allied commander of Mycenaean forces in the struggle against Troy- a leader whose clout over his neighbors was amplified in times of war (Palmer 1961). However, the Trojans' struggle was not hopeless. When defending against the Mycenaean onslaught, the Trojan forces were joined by allies and together they defended the city of Troy until it was ultimately razed by the Mycenaeans (Blegen 1963).

For twenty five hundred years, an analysis of the historical integrity of the Homeric epics would be intricately bound with either the romantic desire to interpret the Iliad as a historical reality or with the pessimism stemming from a logical and highly conservative outlook. Luckily, the modern scholar has a greater frame of reference when attempting to evaluate the Trojan War's historicity and can now use the archaeological record and the increasing availability of ancient texts to supplement Homer's descriptions. C.M Bowra claimed that "Archaeology has brought the Trojan War back from legend to history" and I could not agree with him to a greater extent. This paper will attempt to analyze the historical roots of Homer's epic through a lens of critical analysis which will be focused through the various components of the archaeological record, specifically the Hittite texts demonstrating the relationship between the Mycenaeans and its Anatolian neighbors.

Studies evaluating the possible relationship between the Hittites and Homeric Greeks began as early as 1924 when Emil Forrer entertained the notion that the "Land of Ahhiyawa" mentioned in Hittite texts corresponded to the Land of the Achaeans, one of the three names which Homer used to recognize the collective Greek coalition. (Guterbock 1983 ) This initial connection was formed via a linguistic similarity between the Greek word for "Achaeans" and its derivatives, Akhaiwoi, Akhaiwiya and Akhaiwa, and the name of a Hittite kingdom of Ahhiyawa (Latacz 2004 ). However, many critics were quick to point out that an audible similarity between words were not indicative of a linguistic connection. Among these was Ferdinand Somer who in 1930 dismissed Forrer's work as overtly speculative analysis based largely on "kling-klan Etymology (Ferdinand Somer qtd. in Bryce 2002 )." Despite these accusations, I am convinced that the Kingdom of Ahhiyawa was indeed a Mycenaean kingdom.

The easiest way to reach this conclusion is to analyze all existing or potential descriptions of Ahhiyawa's location. To do this it is imperative to recognize that the Hittites recognized the King of Ahhiyawa as "a king equal in rank " to the great kings of the age-the kings of Hatti, Egypt, and Babylon .According to Michael Wood, that this implies that "Ahhiyawa was a powerful kingdom with vassal states," one that was worthy of mention among these great powers (Wood 1998). The Hittite tablets support this hypothesis as it is mentioned that the king of Ahhiyawa had colonies (or at least a base of operations) in the city of Millawanda which is generally accepted as being Greek Miletus (Strauss 2006) . Common sense dictates that it is difficult for two great powers, and it has already been established that Ahhiyawa was a great power, to coexist within close proximity of each other for extended periods of time. Therefore, it is deduced, that the King of Ahhiyawa "cannot have been the ruler of some country in Anatolia, where there is no room for another power besides Hatti" (Guterbock 1984). But where exactly was this formidable kingdom of Ahhiyawa? For the answer, one must return to the Hittite texts.

All indications seem to indicate that Ahhiyawa was located "overseas" (Wood 1998). The Tablets mention the kingdom of Ahhiyawa's merchant vessels and a Hittite sponsored embargo which was devised to disrupt trade with their enemies (Page 1959). Another hint which the tablets provide for the existence of an "overseas" is that in one instance, a man Piyamarudu , boarded a ship against the Hittite King's will and traveled to Ahhiyawa.

Another primary indication of The Kingdom of Ahhijawa's distance from Hatti is the fact that in the Twenty-Two known references in Hittite texts to the kingdom of Ahhiyawa, this kingdom is clearly depicted as a peripheral power which played a minute role in Anatolian affairs (Wood 1998). This role seems to be limited to local raids along the coast of Anatolia, particularly in the region surrounding Miletus, tensions which will be analyzed in further detail as the paper progresses (Beck 2002). A fragment of a tablet has also been deciphered as stating that ""the king of Ahhiyawa retreated," which indicates that he was carrying out operations in Anatolia (Guterbock 1984).

Hans Guterbock has been praised for his great wisdom regarding the Ahhiyawa question which he simplified to its purest essence by noting that "the Ahhiyawa question has become a matter of faith- there are believers and skeptics" (1984). When the believers find mentions of people boarding boats bound for Ahhiyawa, they immediately associate that with meaning that they are bound for mainland Greece . On the other hand, when the skeptics see the same information, they quickly refute the previous claims by deducing that boats could have just as easily been used to travel along the shore of Asia Minor. I associate myself with the believers, and thus will henceforth associate the kingdom of Ahhiyawa with a Mycenaean empire in the Aegean.

The possibilities of a Mycenaean empire have also been simplified to" two possible positions: that it existed or that it did not (Thomas 1970). Although no Mycenaean diplomatic texts survive, it is conceivable that a Mycenaean empire existed and that it was headquartered in Mycenae (Wood 1998). Tradition describes the land of Mycenae as polychrysos, a land rich in gold ( Mylonas 1973 ). However, its extreme wealth as evident by its tombs is nothing short of enigmatic as Mycenea has limited naturar resources (Bryce 2002 ). A very likely explanation



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