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Daniel Parry




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PostPosted: Sat 04 Apr, 2020 4:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great pictures and agree on your classical attributions of the date the Trojan War to the late Bronze Age (though didn't many argue it was 1190 BC or thereabouts.)

I am not necessarily disagreeing with you on any of these points by the way. Just love the subject and want to hear everyone's views from the horse's mouth and present my doubts and questions.

I also have to ask the question everyone asks about the Trojan War - how many on each side, base on your belief in the war and the period you attribute?
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Daniel Parry




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PostPosted: Sat 04 Apr, 2020 4:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I read Centuries of Darkness. Interesting but still not 100% convinced by their logic or due diligence. But I may be in future. It's persuasive, I agree.

Did you read Manuel Robbins, book on this ? I find his arguments for cause, if not dating, really interesting.

If anything the seemingly random pattern and date of destruction of the Mycenean sites give me headaches, as does the tie in with the Hittite collapse (which was a collapse be it Bronze Age collapse or civil war). Unless of course you take the position that everything is out of sync because of Egyptian chronology.

Not entirely surprised as my great aunt was an Egyptologist and my god-mother was Medieval Curator at the British Museum, and I always got told off at dinner for questioning the established thinking 'but..... but...why … why'

Interesting. And hope you are well in Australia. Hundreds dying by the day here in hospital.

D ...
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Apr, 2020 2:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is one boars tusk helmet in the entire book and the author goes to some trouble to tell us that it came from an earlier time. Conversely, there are at least twenty five references to bronze helmets: [3.18; 3.316; 4.495; 5.562; 5.681; 7.12; 7.206; 10.30; 11.43; 11.96; 11.351; 12.184; 13.305; 13.341; 13.714; 15.535; 16.130; 17.3; 17.87; 17.592; 17.294; 20.111; 20.117; 20.397; 23.861]

Bronze helmets in the Odyssey: [10.206; 18.378; 21.434; 22.102; 22.111; 22.145; 24.523].

All of the armour, shields, and weapons described in the Iliad can be found in the archaeological record and date to the end of the Bronze Age.

Quote:
I also have to ask the question everyone asks about the Trojan War - how many on each side, base on your belief in the war and the period you attribute?

IMO the number of ships is an accurate accounting. Bardic traditions are pretty good at retaining this kind of information.

Quote:
Did you read Manuel Robbins, book on this ? I find his arguments for cause, if not dating, really interesting.


Robbins' book relies too much on outdated scholarship. I've shown that he is wrong about the military equipment described in the Iliad. There is also no evidence to suggest that the Trojan war was about trade. We know what Bronze Age trading cities looked like: there are warehouses, large docks, and stockpiles. Troy has none of that. If Troy was a tin-trading centre, then were are all the ingots of tin? If the Achaians wanted to take over Troy and use it as a trading base, then why did they destroy all the infrastructure that might have made that possible?

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Last edited by Dan Howard on Mon 06 Apr, 2020 6:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Daniel Parry




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Apr, 2020 6:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Dan

I know. That was one stark example, though it would be one heck of an old helmet (500 years old ?) to wear in battle if the Trojan war was in the late Bronze Age c1000-950BC. And therefore why is it even there in the text ? Or maybe the style continued longer or maybe because of incorrect dating, per your argument, it should be dated later. But it would still be very, very old.

I am not disagreeing, just trying to get to the answer and interested, but I guess my issue remains that lots of references to bronze helmets could potentially refer to the period of the oral poets, which could have spanned 300-500 years depending on when you place Homer and when you place the Trojan war, not to period of the original composition of the Illiad or the Trojan War, if it happened. Or to earlier bronze helmets - depends on how you interpret the descriptions in Homer as precisely relating to a particular type of helm too.

But there are questions around the date of the language, religious habits (the Illiad has a lot of traits of the later classical Greek pantheon of gods in it whereas it's uncertain that pantheon existed in the bronze age in the detailed form in the Illiad) and other accoutrements (such as drinking vessels) or tower shields in the Illiad which could match an earlier period. Plus, as you say, the dating of when a lot the Mycenaean cities fell into decline and whether that was a collapse or not and when it occurred as if it did that would help date the war..

There are also a lot of bronze armour pieces found dated to c1200 BC are there not ? (unless you challenge that dating per the earlier emails) And some attribute (I don't necessarily find this 100% convincing either) that the hollowed eyed helms referred to helms with cheeks and/or neck guards on seals and wall paintings from c13/12th century BC.

I think it's all open to debate and respect your scholarship on this, just feel the number of bronze helmet or armour references in the Illiad which could by interpretation be attributed to examples from the very late bronze age doesn't necessarily mean that the armour of the Trojan War was definitely of that period. You are still relying on the fact that the Illiad reflected actual events in any accurate way, was not materially altered (difficult for a very long standing oral poem) and that it was mostly composed close to the time of events and that later poets did not use their own environment to describe the scene. Even given a date for the war of 950 BC you could be looking at an oral transmission life of 350 years depending on when people believe Home lived and then when the final version was established, more if the war was earlier.

Beowolf has lots of Christian elements in it which would not have been relevant at the origin of the tale. Tales change. But that said Beowolf also contains lots of details which have been proven true by archaeological record.

Anyway, I think it's fascinating, your study of this. The reference to bronze helmets in the Odyssey is interesting - far fewer - perhaps because they had lost a lot of their armour through their voyage ?

I think one of the proofs of the historicity or at least antiquity of the Illiad is by comparison with the Odyssey. The Odyssey is so clearly in its narrative construction and content a classic fictional adventure tale, that discerning what in the language and styles of the two poems is different will lead you to what is older and more original in the Illiad and maybe closer to the truth of the Trojan War.

Great stuff
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Apr, 2020 6:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If the chronology is fixed, it all sorts itself out. Homer was writing about events that only occurred a few generations before his time, not several centuries. The boars tusk helmet is only anachronistic by a couple of centuries. Try removing the Dark Age and revising all dates before the tenth century down by two hundred years. Now look at all the evidence using this new dating paradigm.
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Last edited by Dan Howard on Mon 06 Apr, 2020 6:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Daniel Parry




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Apr, 2020 6:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry I missed the last bit of your email - I was referring to Robbins in the dating or causes of abandonment of the Mycenaean cities.

Re Troy, if it has a bay and beach easily accessible to anchor of pull ships up to (the Greesk must have found it so if the catalogue of ships is correct) then would you need large docks and warehouses (which Bronze Age cities are you thinking of here for reference ?). Also it would not have been a tin trading or producing city by its location I think, but may have been a duty taxing city on those passing through, in which case no major infrastructure would have been needed ?
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Martin Kallander




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Apr, 2020 11:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Martin Kallander wrote:
Do you have any images of you wearing it? I'd like to see how it looks on a person.

The misses took some photos when I first received it but I can't find them atm.


Aw :c I hope you post the pictures if find them at some point
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Daniel Parry




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PostPosted: Sat 31 Oct, 2020 2:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry Dan but had another thought about this as I find it really interesting.

Pylos is clearly important in the Illiad as being the home of Nestor, who is a major figure. Pylos (I was reading another book about it the other day) was supposed by traditional chronology to have been destroyed either by revolt or invasion in about 1200 BC. The citadel was destroyed by fire and didn't become a major centre again I think, but was inhabited in classical times much later. Many people think it was abandoned for a long time after its destruction.

Now if you adjust your Bronze Age chronology by 200 or so years as is your approach, it would make the destruction of Pylos around 1000 BC or later if you think the Trojan War took place in the 10th century BC. And I think it is important for your approach that Pylos was a major functioning centre at that time as you view the Illiad as a largely factually accurate account I think, so Pylos must have been standing and prominent. Otherwise Nestor would not have been a figure in the Illiad, nor Pylos, as they would have been figures of an earlier and maybe forgotten age.

The thing I have always known Pylos for since school was the huge cache of Linear B tablets found there, many of which were preserved by being baked by the fire, and found in situ. So they form a snapshot of the moment in time of the destruction of Pylos ? But Linear B per the Pylos tablets is a crude written representation of Mycenaean Greek, far more archaic and very different to Homeric Greek, such that linguists think there is a substantial difference between the two.

I understand the Phoenician derived Greek alphabet was probably only just coming into use in Homer's time and that Linear B was possibly used for a long time through the Bronze Age. But if Homer, as you suggest, was composing about events only a few generations before his time, why such a huge gap between his Greek language and the last Linear B Greek language records of a city which must have been a power centre at the time of the Trojan war if it was factual ? Or do you disagree that the Pylos tablets represent a materially different Greek to Homer's ? Or disagree that Pylos ceased to become a major centre after it's apparent destruction ?

It really interests me this. You have caused me to dust off a lot of old books. Even read the Illiad and Odyssey again in translation and tried to remind myself how to read Homeric Greek for certain passages. It's been a long time !
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Nov, 2020 8:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With the revised chronology Pylos wasn't abandoned for centuries. It was resettled shortly after it was razed. The latest research suggests that Pylos wasn't important at all. It seems that the region was only unified under a single ruler shortly before it was razed and likely never had much influence.

Michael B. Cosmopoulos, "State Formation in Greece: Iklaina and the Unification of Mycenaean Pylos", American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 123, No. 3 (July 2019), pp. 349-380.

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Daniel Parry




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Nov, 2020 11:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Dan. I will read that with interest if I can get an online link to it.

I wasn’t so much talking about the importance of Pylos per se but the importance of it to your arguments for the timing and historicity of the Illiad and the Trojan War.

Re its importance, there is a pretty significant palatial site there recording an area under control (how big the hither and thither areas are is debatable sure) and the Linear B tablets show a pretty sophisticated centrally controlled state (as that’s what Linear B does – it’s a simple method to record administrative records in the forms that survive).

Also re it’s importance generally, haven’t the post 2015 excavations of Tholos tombs there (accepted that is pre late Mycenaean period) turned up incredibly rich finds showing connections via trade with Minoan and Egyptian civilisations and a wealthy leader(s) at least so it would seem to have had some significance at least in prior periods and in the palatial period. By the way I thought the representation of the sword on the seal they found there was fabulous – so much detail.

But I think for your position that the Trojan War was a historical event and the Illiad is a reasonably accurate record of it to the extent you can attribute it to a certain period (10th century BC in your case I think) and argue that Homer was writing about events only a few generations before his time, two questions come to mind.

Firstly, Nestor is a strange character in the Illiad, and his role in giving advice but not always listened to and recounting his own heroic adventures of his youth almost suggest a fictional or semi-fictional role (he feels a bit like a Falstaff in Shakespeare). But he appears in the Illiad and the Odyssey and probably in pieces of the Epic cycle which are missing. If the Illiad recounts a war which was real and quite recent you would expect the main characters to be real and Nestor is a senior king and senior figure to a degree, in a world where I doubt you got a seat at the top table unless you had some power. So you would want to identify Nestor with a kingdom of some stature wouldn’t you, if you think it is historical ? If it was never an important place, then that detracts from the picture of Nestor’s status in the Illiad ?

Secondly there is the issue of the language in Linear B in the tablets found from the destruction of Pylos. If you think the destruction was 200 years later and close to the time of the Illiad and Homer wrote only a few generations after that, why the discrepancy in language. I know there are commonalities between Linear B Greek and Homeric Greek but a lot of differences as I understand it.

I have heard the argument in favour of there being no dark ages of how could the society have gone from literacy to no literacy for a period of a few hundred years and then re-emerged as a literate society. I don’t think that is necessarily as hard to solve as the counter argument.

In terms of levels of literacy, compare the Roman empire. We have evidence not only of the number of written works produced but how Romans of a relatively wide, if well to do class, were literate. We have some pictures of schools in frescos, references to tutors, examples of wax tablets for writing practice. Yet compare that to the post Roman period and the enormous drop in the number of written works produced but the level of literacy and the concentration of literacy within the monasteries and the church at least for a period. And with Linear B we are not even talking about that level of original literacy. We are talking about a limited writing system to administer a palatial system and possibly limited to a narrow group of people (we don’t know). Once that political system diminished, you can imagine the use of that limited written language falling away sharply I think. Linear B was used I believe for an extended period but in a limited way.

What is harder I think to account for is, if the late Bronze Age was re-dated and close within a few generations to Homer, how they went from a very basic written form of a more archaic Greek to the Ionic Greek of Homer, which was then written in the Phoenician script maybe some generations after Homer, in such a short period of time ? Unless you think the language is closer in time.

Fascinating stuff
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Nov, 2020 12:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Parry wrote:
Firstly, Nestor is a strange character in the Illiad, and his role in giving advice but not always listened to and recounting his own heroic adventures of his youth almost suggest a fictional or semi-fictional role (he feels a bit like a Falstaff in Shakespeare). But he appears in the Illiad and the Odyssey and probably in pieces of the Epic cycle which are missing. If the Illiad recounts a war which was real and quite recent you would expect the main characters to be real and Nestor is a senior king and senior figure to a degree, in a world where I doubt you got a seat at the top table unless you had some power. So you would want to identify Nestor with a kingdom of some stature wouldn’t you, if you think it is historical ? If it was never an important place, then that detracts from the picture of Nestor’s status in the Illiad ?


I think it makes sense: Pylos was apparently not a very important city, so people valued Nestor for his experience but he lacked the political power to force his opinion onto people. At the same time he would need to promote his claims of experience in order to have any influence at all.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Nov, 2020 12:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nestor didn't have any political influence. In the book he is like the old uncle who is constantly saying "Back in my time..." and everyone else is politely humoring him while wishing he would shut up.
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Aris Kritikos




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Nov, 2020 12:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi !

Are you aware of this study ?
It dates the Trojan War based on astronomical evidence. I paste here the abstract:

''A solar eclipse’s evolution was described in the Iliad in a stepwise mode manifested in increasing
gradual darkness, during a warm day at late noon; from Sarpedon’s death time to few later from
Patroclus’ death time. We examined the solar eclipses within the time span 1400-1130 B.C. and we
found that only the annular solar eclipse on 6th June 1218 yr B.C. observable in Troy with significant
obscuration 75.2 % fits fully with the Homeric descriptions.''

Here is the full article:

http://maajournal.com/Issues/2014/Vol14-1/Full8.pdf

/Aris
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Nov, 2020 1:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That eclipse study is pointless because it assumes that the current chronology is correct. With the revised chronology those eclipses occurred in the tenth century.

Here is a study that demonstrates that the Greeks themselves thought that the Trojan war ended in c.940BC.
Kokkinos, N., 2009b. “Ancient Chronography, Eratosthenes and the Dating of the Fall of Troy”, Ancient West and East 8, 37-56

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Aris Kritikos




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2020 10:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:

Here is a study that demonstrates that the Greeks themselves thought that the Trojan war ended in c.940BC.


I am sorry but i dont think this statement is accurate.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2020 1:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aris Kritikos wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:

Here is a study that demonstrates that the Greeks themselves thought that the Trojan war ended in c.940BC.

I am sorry but i dont think this statement is accurate.

How can you make that judgement when you haven't read the study?

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A. Villanueva




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Nov, 2020 2:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have been following the discussion for the past week and i found it incredibly interesting.

However, i have read a few points that i find intriguing. If we assume that Pylos and Nestor indeed had no political influence, then how could he bring so many ships and, presumably, men to the war? If per Dan's argument we could trust the catalog of ships, then we should assume that it shows that Pylos was at least of certain importance, as Nestor brings one of the largest contingents of the whole army.

If Pylos was razed and ceased to be of importance, and we have the Linear B associated to Mycenae which predates the razing, then we could stablish a contextual link between the pottery style associated to Mycenae and Pylos in the Illiad and the Linear B findings. I read the last studio provided by Dan and the authors recognize that although following those Greek authors and genealogies they can reach the 940 b.C date, dendrochronology and C14 dating usually provide much earlier dates.

In this study "Wardle K, Higham T, Kromer B (2014) Dating the End of the Greek Bronze Age: A Robust Radiocarbon-Based Chronology from Assiros Toumba." they point at aproximately 1350 b.C for the end of Mycenean palatial society. Even if they overestimate the age of the findings, I think we should look at well before 1100 b.C to date "the Trojan war", in whatever form it did happen.
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Aris Kritikos




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Nov, 2020 12:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Aris Kritikos wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:

Here is a study that demonstrates that the Greeks themselves thought that the Trojan war ended in c.940BC.

I am sorry but i dont think this statement is accurate.

How can you make that judgement when you haven't read the study?


The statement made that the Greeks themselves thought that the war took place in the10th century is wrong because they had dated the war from 14th to 11th century.
This paper that you linked assumes that they calculated wrong for different reasons.
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