March 17, 2018

Most interesting video-conference on Luwians, Troy and the Sea Peoples

All archaeogenetics and no archaeology makes people go mad. So let's spice this a bit with this absolutely enticing video of a conference by Dr. Eberhard Zangger, which I have watched thrice already, twice tonight alone.

I love the general outline of the exposition even if I know some details, like the outline of Lower Troy are controversial. 

I also did pose the following questions as commentary to the video:
  1. How can the professor be so sure that all ancient Western Anatolian nations were Luwian and not from other diverse ethnicities? How that they were the only ones in the last Sea Peoples' wave? Just the same we see some non-Greeks in the Greek side of the Trojan war, I would expect some non-Luwians in the Trojan side as well, assuming the Trojans were Luwians and not Tyrsenians or something else. 
  2. What about the Phrygians who show up in Anatolia, West and East (Armenians) after the Bronze Age collapse, out of nothing (they seem to originate in an obscure Paeonian tribe, the Bryges)? Not a single mention of them: I guess they would blurr the nice "Luwian" homogeneity. 
  3. What about the Greeks (Danaoi, Denesh) and their Pelasgian (Peleset, Philistine) neighbors and often allies (Achilles himself and his Myrmidons were that)? They seem also involved in that late Sea Peoples wave and there is coincidence of cultural Hellenization (and not Luwianization) of Cyprus precisely in that period of the late Sea Peoples' attacks against Syria, Egypt and whatever else. Let's not forget that the Egyptians speak of the foreign peoples making a COALITION in their "islands", and I would say that this coalition involved peoples from all the Aegean, and not just the Asian side of it (although very good point about Evans' racism and his horrible influence on Aegean studies). 
But please don't let my nit-pickiness wrong what I think is a great conference dealing with a topic that has been way too neglected and even purposely ignored. There is a lot of good stuff in the video.

By the way, this is the Wikipedia map of Luwian inscriptions (unsure of what exactly the German legend says, "early" and "late" maybe?, but it's definitely about Luwian inscriptions):

Credit: Hendrik Tammen (CC-license)


  1. Very interesting, of course, and interesting also your questions (and much many could I do), but anyway old Anatolian peoples had nothing to do with Turks, whereas Germans have much to do to-day.

    1. As far as I can tell modern Turks are basically descendant of ancient Anatolians, particularly those from this and later periods.

    2. Yes, but people didn't dissappear completely they got mixed . When I did my DNA test it showed that I am 70 percent south Caucasian remaining 30% greek, Italian as well as askhazi jew!

    3. Yes, absolutely. People got mixed but how much it is from each layer?

      Ashkenazi and other Western Jews are Cypriot-like, identical to Cypriots and very very close to available Turkish samples: they only represent ancient Anatolian or Cypriot roots, nothing else. There's a lot of myth about Jews but they are nothing but descendant of Anatolian converts, the "true Jews" are the Palestinians who are genetically distinct and identical to Bronze and Iron Age Canaanites.

      Greeks are a bit more different but not that much, the sit next to Turks and Armenians, and also of course nearby Balcanic peoples like Bulgarians in all genetic analyses.

      As for "Italian" I don't know exactly how to read it but it's clear that Italy was massively influenced by Aegean and other Eastern Mediterranean inflows in the Bronze-Iron ages' transition (Etruscans-Teresh, Sekelesh-Sicels/Siculi), with a major signature in Y-DNA J2, absent in Neolithic Europe before this period (except surely in the Balcans, where it has probably been a feature since some 5000 BCE). This Eastern Mediterranean influence was later scattered westward by the Roman Empire.

      So it does not mean much, a reductive reading would say you're Anatolio-Aegean, with nothing of relevance from elsewhere.

  2. Good points, particularly about Hellenization. It also brings up the issue of how long IE Anatolian language speakers were in Anatolia. I think the archaeology and written history points to not much earlier than 2000 BCE, although the conventional wisdom based upon the great divergence of IE Anatolian languages from other IE languages favors a much earlier date.

    1. In agreement, Andrew. My idea is that the Anatolian language group may originate in Maykop and migrated southwards with Kura-Araxes, although this culture can also be associated to Hurro-Urartean and thus to NE Caucasian languages. Maybe there was an ethnic duality in this culture? I wish I knew more but in any case Kura-Araxes would allow for a quite older branching of the Anatolian subfamily of Indoeuropean within the Kurgan model.

      So it'd seem I'm rather in agreement here with Mallory than with Anthony or Parpola, the three theorists of IE expansion that the Hitittes article mentions without reaching to any clear conclusion re. their origins. Probably there was a duality of proto-Anatolian and NE Caucasian populations in Kura-Araxes and I do wonder if linguistics has something to say about this, because we should find, if so, stronger vocabulary affinity between these two groups than between NE Caucasian and the rest of Indoeuropean.

  3. Thank you for sharing this interesting conference.
    As far as the relation Phrygians / Armenians is concerned, I have read several times that you present this kinship as an undisputed fact. On my side, despite intensive research, I have not been able to find a single element, not a single, be it archeological, linguistic or genetic to support this claim. Maybe I missed something? I would be grateful if you could develop.

    1. As likely fact. Actually I cannot pinpoint the source but it is something I've been reading from various people in various occasions from many years ago and that seems to fit several facts: (1) they replaced Urartu (Hurrians), apparently with support of Assyrian domination by the end of the Phrygian chronology (refugees?), (2) they carry obvious Balcanic European genetics, more than your average Turk, notably terminal branches within R1b-M269 (cf. Balaresque 2009's raw haplotype data), (3) the Armenian language almost always appears as affiliated with Greek language in Indoeuropean cladograms, something that seems also be the case with Phrygian language (although as dead language it is a more obscure matter). Any other possible Indoeuropean source population (Anatolics, Iranics, Thracians) seems discarded thus and we must agree that the arrow of colonization was Bryges (from Albania and Macedonia) > Phrygians > Armenians.


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