But who WERE the Trojans?

Cecil’s 7/20/07 column, Was there a real Trojan war as depicted in the Iliad? Is “Agamemnon’s death mask” real? leaves a major question unanswered and, indeed, unmentioned: Who were the Trojans? Culturally, I mean. Did they speak the language and worship the gods of the Greeks, as portrayed in the Iliad? Or of the Hittites, the most powerful civilization in Anatolia? Or did they have a language and gods and culture all their own? Do all those excavations by and after Schliemann reveal any clues?

I posed this question in GQ three years ago but the answers were all over the place.

I don’t think there is enough evidence to firmly answer the questions you are posing. With the exception of a single cuneiform seal (marked with Luwian characters, an Anatolian language), the Trojans left no written material, so we at best can make some indirect guesses relying on the scant second-hand sources available.

It’s pretty solid, for example, that the inhabitants of Troy were more closely related to the Hittites that the Greeks. You can also draw some conclusions based on the geography/economy of the area (e.g. Trojans were generally wealthy, there was a large mechantile class, and was fairly diverse, given its likely status as a major port of call) Beyond that you’re going out on a limb…

Hehehe, hand him a saw while you are at it. :wink:

It doesn’t appear clear that “Troy” can actually be identified one way or the other. It would not be surprising if the city that has been excavated was owned by different cultures at different times.