Saturday, September 17, 2016

How Historically Accurate was Iliad? A Guess of it being VERY accurate in circumstances

In 2013 Jack wrote Lita:
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And there are others who point out that if the Bible has a similar basis in fact to other ancient historical records such as, say, Homer’s Iliad, then it’s hardly a very good basis for determining the development of life on earth.

Why exactly so?

What is exactly unhistoric about the Iliad?

Details of small importance (which one can expect in merely human tradition), like mixing arms from own to those of recorded time (bronze arms more likely to be genuine than iron arms)?

Such small detail will not overthrow the overall history.

Choice of authorial viewpoint (in the tenth year, concentrating on a story of Achilles)?

Unless the story chosen is unhistoric (which would remain to be proven), this does not really affect historic accuracy of story related. It could affect accuracy of historical viewpoint - if biassed (which this one is not, story giving equal importance to Achilles and Hector) - unless there were balancing materials.

Figure of Hector, just to involve one decent character amid all cruel and lustful and vengeful and cowardly ones?

That is conjecture (it was in fact suggested by Walter Leaf), but cannot be proven. Iliad could be historically accurate on Hector too. Especially if Homer was descended from Astyanax. We know HE did not continue royalty in Troy iself and traditions diverge about his fate (Homer giving no version in Iliad) so they seem to be educated guesses (like we also have about Caesarion). Why not add Homer descending from him to these? Unless we prefer Homer descending from Ulysses - or from both. A guess on why Iliad would be accurate is as good as a guess on why it would be inaccurate.

Figure of Cassandra, a prophetess of Apollo who was always right but never believed, as cursed by that god for refusing his advances?

For one thing, I think her main importance is after Iliad, when horse is left behind by Greeks.

For another, she could have been a prophetess of the true God (not to the world, but to the Trojan community which missed a chance of listening to her) who refused to simply worship Apollo. I have a hunch that the "age of heroes" was an age in which the evil Apollo cult of Delphi (on its real evils, compare the voodoo mediums now and the poor slaves possessed by "a Pythonic spirit" - presumably Apollo in Pagan eyes - of whom at least one was exorcised by St Paul). Her story could be the story of someone really resisting (as Hippolytus son of Theseus could have really opposed unseemly evils of the Venus cult) but recalled by a community which was no longer resisting these evils.

So, though one can guess that some parts of the story are as standing unhistoric, it would be difficult to pinpoint something as "this we can dismiss" (beyond details of weaponry ... and we cannot even be sure iron was lacking, since if Troy find supposed to be relevant was carbon dated to 1290's and earliest iron find (among very nearby Hittites) is carbon dated to before 1100, weapons of iron could also be used. Homer could be as accurate about Trojan war's weaponry as Beowulf poet is, if not of Geatish at least of Old English weaponry.

The "personal" rather than geopolitical motive of the war could also be historic. Some say Iraq was invaded for purely geopolitical reasons, but Saddam Hussein being accused of accumulating weapons of mass destruction is even so a historic accusation. Troy could have been attacked after a personal affront, because Trojans were not providing a purely diplomatic one.

I have not watched or read Anouilh's play "La Guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu" but this would seem after my viewing resumés to be his thesis.

And ONE item I would agree to be unhistoric, or in my view or thesis TWO RELATED ones:

  • Absence of reference to Hittites (identified as such);
  • Presence of persons whose prowess was not at Troy.

I think Troy may well have fallen before Hattusha. If so, Hittites would have been more or less (at least diplomatically) involved in conflict.

We have the following scenarios on how the war relates to Hittites:

  • Both Trojans and Achaeans + Thessalians with Achilles are part of Hittite Empire.

    This is Walter Leaf's notion.

    If so, Trojan War could have been part of the Hittite civil war which led to the fall of Hattusha.

  • Trojans are so, but not Achaeans.

    Hittite and Egyptian texts tend to confirm (after what I gathered and recall) that Trojans were, at some time. We have no such confirmation about Achaeans, at least yet.

  • Trojans were so before the War, but no longer during the war.

    A German scholar has argued that Luwians (including Trojans) destroyed Hattusha before the Achaeans did so with Troy.

  • There were no Hittites - well, this is the only disproven notion. And all others involve SOME curious silence about Hittites on Homer's part.

My hunch is this, Hattusha was not destroyed just by Luwians being successful in a siege. Hattusha was abandoned and destroyed by those besieged (this hunch is from "Dark Lord's of Hattusha", another contemporary scholarly view in a documentary - Leaf is a few decades old).

If besiegers and besieged agreed to dissolve Trojan Empire, because seeing in the Civil War a sign "from the gods" that their world wide Imperial project (as the documentary considers they had) was not fated to succeed (but St Joseph descends from the wife of "Uriah the Hittite" through Solomon!), and they also agree to stop speaking about Hittites.

But of course plenty of the people who had ancestors fighting at Kadesh were still alive - so their exploits were by polite lying and compromise between personal honour telling stories and Imperial dishonour hiding overall stories - transferred to a smaller conflict one could still talk about. That smaller conflict being Troy.

If so, Ethiopians on the side of Trojans (not very prominent in Iliad) would imply Ethiopians were allied to Hittites at Kadesh. Egyptians on the side of Greeks - sorry, Achaeans - would imply Achaean forces at Troy were helping or continuing the Egyptian war effort at (now no longer mentionable) Kadesh.

This deliberate lying about the role of the Hittites - which by the time of Homer had presumably made him genuinely ignorant of Hittites - would be the only major departure between history and Iliad.

And such a departure would not have happened through the chosen people of God, from truth.

Therefore, the chosen wording would imply Genesis is "as accurate as the Iliad is, or would have been if they had not lied about Hittites, Apollo and Cassandra and been mistaken about their gods".

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Stigmata of St Francis

Two PS.

This post is, numbering also the drafts, 566. In actual published ones, when (and if) I do so in a moment, 546. But if 666 is Greek letters TEITAN, 566 is CEITAN (a fifth C Athenian spelling English pronunciation of Satan). You can conclude (as with posts or blogs having 666 in the numeric version of link (blog ID, post ID) that there is something Satanic about it. Or you can say on such a level these numbers are not relevant. Or you can conclude, as I do, someone is praying for me to "see" there is something Satanic about my approach to Paganism. I don't think it really is, but I do think those praying are not very attentive readers, and I wonder how I shall behave so as no longer have their prayers so relevant for me - unless they change their minds after reading a bit better.

Other thing, what the documentary on Dark Lords of Hattusha said (I think it was on BBC, I saw a video on youtube) about Hittite religion and sense of honour and laws suggests to me that heirs of Hittite culture could involve Greeks, Etruscans (mount Alverno is in Etruria) and Romans, but perhaps also Japanese (for which I think the figure of Puduhepa is suggestive both with regards to Venus Mater and to Amaterasu)./HGL

A third one, I tried to link to article on Puduhepa, but the admin here requires a second (usually not required) login for my continuing that search./HGL

Update, Our Lady of LaSalette day:

Link about Puduhepa (may God have mercy on her)./HGL

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