Iman Jacob Wilkens
'WHERE TROY ONCE STOOD'
The Mystery of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey Revealed
Revision of 1990/1 editions by
New text for Part II, Chapter 1, including the
© Iman Jacob Wilkens
The Iliad is quoted in
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The World of
Be fire with fire;
threaten the threatener,
and outface the brow of bragging horror.
Euripides (480 BC):
Seven years after the Trojan war
not even a trace of the walls was evident
[ 'Where Troy Once Stood' by I.Wilkens, revised edition; Part II, Chapter 1; page 1 of 22 ]
Troy in England
Homer's Troy or Ilion
The first part of this book led to the conclusion that the Trojan War was certainly not fought in the small plain near Hissarlik in Turkey and that the search of Homeric Troy in Turkey is a blind alley. At the same time many reasons were given for seeking Troy in a country with a temperate climate, and, because of the mention of tides, bordering on the Atlantic. Moreover, since the customs described in the Iliad are typically Celtic, and since Troy's enemies, alternatively called Achaeans, Argives or Danaans, were definitely not ‘Greeks' (as they are unfortunately called in some translations), the search of Troy should focus on regions in western Europe formerly inhabited by Celts. However, these Celts were not, as explained elsewhere in this book, the peoples now living on the western fringes of Europe, but their conquerors originating from the Continent (much like the French owe their name to the Franks, a teutonic people that conquered Gaul in the fifth century AD).
If not for the almost religious belief that Homeric Troy was situated in Turkey, because of its proximity to the Hellespont, Lesbos, Tenedos and Samothrace, and of course also because the story was passed on in ancient Greek, a systematic search for the legendary city might begin by listing the features of the Troad as described in the Iliad (see below). Few of Homer's descriptions bear even the vaguest resemblance to the Hissarlik region, and yet rather than search elsewhere for a region that actually does fit the descriptions, scholars have ascribed the mismatch to the poet's fantasy and his utter ignorance of geography.
Although it is well-known that European prehistory has known migrations over great distances, it was never suspected that the origin of the epics should be sought with the Pelasgians, who, according to the Greek historian Herodotus (5th century BC), were a non-Greek people who had founded Athens and given new geographical names to many places in Greece -which they called Pelasgia- and around the Mediterranean1. As their Greek name ‘pelasgoi' indicates2, the Pelasgians must have been the mysterious ‘Sea Peoples' who were the terror of the Mediterranean during the second millenium BC. According to the Egyptians they came from the Great Green Sea and visited their country on an embassy in 1341 BC, followed by several attacks in the 13th century. Although the Sea Peoples operated from bases in the Mediterranean, it turns out that they originated from various coastal regions in Western Europe, one of which fits all of Homer's descriptions of Troy and the Troad, which are the following (with references to the Iliad in brackets):
[ 'Where Troy Once Stood' by I.Wilkens, revised edition; Part II, Chapter 1; page 2 of 22 ]
[ 'Where Troy Once Stood' by I.Wilkens, revised edition; Part II, Chapter 1; page 3 of 22 ]
The Troad on the Ocean
As the Mediterranean Sea, was never called ‘Oceanus' by the Greeks, the Troad should be sought near the Atlantic Ocean which, because of its substantial tidal movements, was called the ‘backward-flowing Oceanus' (apsorro-os okeanos, XVIII,399, often translated incorrectly as ‘circling ocean'). The Greek poet Aeschylus (6th-5th century BC) mentioned surging tides also at Aulis, from where the Achaean invasion fleet departed (see Chapter 15: The fleet in Aulis, Denmark, and Explanatory Note 14: Iphigenia in Aulis). A logical candidate for the Troad is England, where the wide bay of the Wash is ideally suited to host a large fleet.
As early as 1879 the French-born Belgian lawyer Théophile Cailleux wrote that Troy was situated in East Anglia where he had noted two huge wardykes south of the Wash. Here, he identified the river Cam with the Iliad's Scamander and the river Great Ouse with Homer's Simoïs and deduced Troy's location on the heights outside Cambridge known as the Gog Magog Hills3.However, Cailleux did not continue his research as he was confronted with a major problem: if Troy were in England, where had all the 29 regiments of Achaeans, Argives and Danaans come from? (from Scandinavia to south Spain, see Chapters 5-10). And where was Mycenae, the capital of their Commander-in-Chief Agamemnon? (in France, see Chapter 11). Cailleux was on the right track but he had too few arguments for a break-through in conventional thinking. And to make matters worse, a Roman coin was found under one of the dykes, but that does not mean that no traces remain of the wardykes mentioned in the Iliad.
The Rivers of the Troad
As most of Europe's rivernames are very ancient, one might hope to find some resemblance between the rivernames of Homer's Troad and those of Cambridgeshire, if Troy actually was in England as Cailleux believed. Homer mentions nine rivers in the Trojan plain, and many others elsewhere in the Troad but until now it was always thought that these names were the fruit of the poet's imagination, in particular because there are far too many of them for the small plain of Hissarlik. This might be the reason why E. Zangger, in search of Atlantis in Turkey, and naturally assuming that Troy - which is linked to Atlantis in mythology – was Hissarlik, omitted all rivernames from the following citation from the Iliad without even informing the reader of this omission4. Yet it is precisely these quaint prehistoric river names
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