The origins and ethnic identities of both the Trojans and the Etruscans have puzzled scholars for centuries.  Most of what little we know of the Trojans has come to us mainly through Homer and other Greek story tellers.  Likewise, most of what little we know about the Etruscans comes to us through the eyes of the Romans.  The Etruscans have left us many inscriptions in their own language and alphabet—which have been deciphered.  As a result we now know that the Etruscan language is not like any other of the world’s great language groups—although attempts have been made to identify it with Semitic, Caucasian, and/or the Indo-European of the surrounding Italic cultures.  While it does show influences from all of these strains, these influences are so slight as to be non-conclusive.   Scholars now place Etruscan in what they call the “Tyrsenian” language group which includes Rhaetic and Lemnian, the language of the Aegean island of Lemnos.  This “Tyrsenian” connection will be important later as we shall see.


Unlike the Etruscans, the Trojans have left us with absolutely nothing.  Not a single example of their written language has been found.  Archaeologists have confirmed that the archaeological level “Troy VIIa” is the Troy of Homer’s epics because it dates to the late 13th and/or early 12th century—which also corresponds to the golden age of the Mycenaean Greeks during which time a Greek culture such as that described by Homer actually existed on the Greek mainland, as verified by archaeology.   For the most part, Homer, and other Greek story tellers dealt with the Trojans as if they were of the same culture as the Greeks and spoke the same language—a story-telling necessity.           


Unfortunately most classicist scholars who have written about the culture and language of Troy are themselves speakers of an Indo-European language and fully steeped in the classics of the Indo-European speaking Greek and Roman cultures.  This, along with Homer’s influence, has led to an assumption by many that the Trojans must have been Indo-European closely related to the Greeks.  Some 19th century scholars thought that the Trojans might have been Semitic, but that view was discarded by the beginning of the 20th century.  However, the Semitic theory did resurface during the last half of the 20th century (more on that later). 


Just as the Greek classicists like to view the Trojans through Greek eyes, their counterparts in Anatolian archaeology like to see a Hittite connection with the Trojans.  This view was given a huge boost in 1995 when a single seal written with cuneiform symbols in the Luwian language was found.  Luwian was the Lingua Franca for the Hittite (Indo-European speaking) Empire based in central Anatolia.  While there is no evidence that Luwian was ever spoken in Troy, a number of scholars have latched on to that idea based on that single Hittite seal—not a tablet, but a simple seal. 

To be honest though, there is one term and two names that scholars have been able to glean from other Hittite writings which might apply to Troy.  One is a place name transliterated as wi-lu-sa which scholars see as being close enough to Homer’s Ilium.  Indeed, the Hittite account calls it “steep Wilusu,” which is echoed by Homer’s “steep Ilium.”  Why steep?  Because ancient Troy was built on a hill, or high place, to make it easier to defend.   This will be important later in our discussion.   Homeric scholars also now tell us that their Ilium was originally pronounced as filium with the “f” sound being originally derived from a “w” sound so that an ancient Mycenaean Greek wilium would correspond with the Hittite wilusa.   


The other term that might seem to support the view of Troy as a Luwian-speaking city was the Luwian name of Pariya-Muwa which meant “exceptionally courageous,” and which some scholars see as the origin of the Trojan’s Priam.  There is also one other Luwian name Aleksandus which may well be Aleksandros, given as a “second” name for the Trojan prince Paris.


Homer, however much he has the Trojans speaking Greek to the Greek heroes, pours cold water on the idea of the Trojans speaking either Greek or Luwian.  “In this great city Priam has many allies.  But these foreigners all talk different languages” (Iliad II. 800-805).  “. . . Such was the conglomerate of languages that went up from the great Trojan army, which hailed from many parts, and being without a common language used many different cries and calls” (Iliad IV. 437-439). 

Many of the Trojan allies were Luwian speakers, yet it appears that everyone spoke a different language.  As a result of all this confusion, and lack of solid evidence pointing to an Indo-European origin for the Trojans, there is no consensus among scholars as to the ethnicity of the Trojans.  Before offering my own theory—and supporting evidence—I will first deconstruct the “Trojans as Luwian-speaking Hittites” theory.


As for the single Hittite seal found in the Troy VIIa level, virtually all scholars now recognize it as not being locally produced.  It is now considered to be a product imported from the neighboring Hittite Empire.  Even if a cache of tablets inscribed in the Luwian language were to be found in the Trojan royal palace, it would not be conclusive evidence that the Trojans spoke Luwian.  The only thing it would prove is that scribes employed by the Trojan government were capable of reading Hittite diplomatic messages. 

In this context one must bear in mind that at Tell al-Amarna in Egypt, which was the site of Akhetaton, Pharaoh Akhenaton’s temporary capital in the 14th century B.C., a large cache of cuneiform tablets were discovered written in a Canaanite/Akkadian hybrid.  This does not prove that the Egyptian’s were Semites.  It only proves that scribes employed by the Egyptian government were trained to read Akkadian cuneiform, the diplomatic Lingua Franca of the age.

Likewise, without further supporting evidence the two seemingly Luwian names of Pariya-Muwa and Aleksandos/Aleksandros could be imports—names borrowed from the neighboring culture.  Homer provides sixteen personal names of Priam’s relatives, all of which scholars now trace “pre-Greek Anatolia.”  Even Joachim Latacz, one of the chief proponents of the theory that Luwian was the “official” language of Troy, concedes that it is highly probable that another language was in daily use.


I was first introduced to this theory while living in Saudi Arabia during the late 1990s.  I read an article by a Saudi archaeologist who claimed that the Trojans were Arabic.  His reasoning?  The late bronze age Trojans used a style of pottery identical to that used in late bronze age Yemen.  Archaeologists really love their pottery.  They think that all pottery styles in all cultures change every 50 years and that you can therefore date all archaeological finds based on the style of pottery found there. 

They also believe that when a certain pottery style is found in two different geographical locations, that they have to have been produced by the same culture.  I personally find both concepts laughable.  I have a nephew who produces Hohokam and Mimbres (of the U.S. southwest) pottery replicas from the 8th to 14th centuries which he sells to museums and wealthy collectors.  So, I can just see some future archaeologists digging up my nephew’s home and declaring that my 21st century nephew must have been a Hohokam/Mimbres hybrid living a 600 year life during what we call the middle ages. 

But then I picked up a copy of the Iliad and read in Book One that at the beginning of the Trojan war, Zeus was off in Ethiopia, but upon his return he agreed to help the Trojans.


So, what in the hell was Zeus doing in Ethiopia?

The people of ancient Ethiopia were of Caucasian (i.e. white) descent and spoke the same language and worshiped the same gods as did the South West Semitic speaking Yemenis.  Knowing the Yemeni/Semitic nature of the Ethiopian race and culture I could not help but make the connection with what the Saudi archaeologist said about the pottery and what Homer said about Zeus being in Ethiopia.  Of course, most scholars believe that what Homer meant by Ethiopia was North Africa, not the Ethiopia of today which is in East Africa on the coast facing Yemen.  But who knows?  At the least it got me to thinking more seriously about the Trojan-Semitic connection.  


Anthropologists hate the concept of cultural diffusion, but hay, it happens.  In the case of pottery, it gets traded around.  Large jugs containing wine or grain from the Levant may end up in Greece or North Africa and then lie there for future archaeologists to discover in the context of a Greek or Carthaginian ruin.   A potter in one country may be fascinated by a style in another country—and imitate it on his own ceramics. 

And, if a particular style is selling well . . . why change after 50 years?  Why not just keep doing it?  As a result, I discount the idea that the Trojans were Southwest Semitic speaking Arabs just because of a similar pottery style.  However, that article by that Saudi Archaeologist did get me to thinking about Troy in a different light.  

Also, keep in mind for the moment that ancient Yemen had some significant, and powerful kingdoms during the Bronze and Iron ages.  Chief of those was Saba’ (sometimes called Sheba in the Bible).  What is now Yemen and what is now Ethiopia formed a common cultural identity speaking a related Southwest Semitic language, and were often ruled by the same kingdom.  So, what in the hell was Zeus doing in Ethiopia?


As I began to look at Troy in a new light, through the lens of ancient Semitic languages, the first thing that popped out to me was the name of Troy itself.  The word TWR, or TOR (the “W” in Semitic could be pronounced either as the consonant “W,” or as the vowel “U”, or “O,” or as a diphthong containing one, or both, of those vowels), occurs in Arabic with the meaning of “mountain,” or “high place.”  Anciently it also carried the meaning of “citadel,” and “tower.”  (In fact our own word for Tower is probably derived from the same root).  Although, in some dialects, TWR (with the emphatic “T,” became SWR (with an emphatic “S”).  

The Phoenician city of Tyre is called SWR in modern Arabic.  In Old Hebrew it was SWR with Tzadee, waw, Rosh.  (Meanings in Old Herbrew could be “God,” “rock,” “refuge,” as well as “Citadel,” “high place”).  It (Tyre) was called “citadel” because that is what it was.  “Troy” is derived from the same root because not only was it a “citadel,” but it was also built on high ground, hence Homer’s “steep Troy.” 

In the Hittite (and old Greek) wilusa/wilium I see the Semitic wiliya meaning state, or province, derived from the root WLY meaning “to be adjacent to,” and from the same root comes WLLY “to rule, to govern.”  From the same root also comes waliy meaning “helper,” “supporter,” “ally,” “friend,” and walin meaning “ruler,” “governor.”

From that standpoint I began to look at some of the names that Homer gives for the Trojans and their close allies.


Where the Hittite scholars see pariya-muwa for Priam, I see “Ephraim,” or even “Abram,” the original proto-Semitic name of the later Hebrew Abraham, and Arabic Ibrahim.  Paris is obviously “Faris,” meaning "knight" in Semitic.  Hector can only be “Hal-Qader,” “the capable one.”  Pandarus is the Greek equivalent of “Bandar,” a name still popular in the Arab world today.   Antarus is Greek for “Antar,” a name of an ancient Arabic hero. 

Homer’s Noeman can only be the Semitic Na’man, meaning “pleasant” (the ‘aiyn phoneme was usually conveyed in Greek as an “O”).   Prytanis would be “Britani” meaning “one who has taken a covenant.”  Halius would be “Haliwi,” “the adornded one,” and Alastor could have been derived from either “al-Astouri,” “the legendary one,” or “al-Shater,” “the wise one,” “the sharp one.” 

The Trojan priest Laocoon, who tried to warn the Trojans not to bring the wooden horse inside their city, and then tried to get them to burn when they did bring it in, and was subsequently punished by the gods when a giant sea serpent straggled him and his sons, is also suspiciously Semitic.  In Laocoon, I see the Arabic Luqman.

There are, of course, many other names of Trojans and their allies which can be defined as Semitic, but that should suffice for this discussion.


Another clue to the possible origins of the Trojans is the plethora of containers made out of Ostrich shells found by archaeologists digging Troy.  Ostriches, of course, never lived in Anatolia or Greece, but they were rather plentiful in Arabia, Mesopotamia, and the Syrian and Canaanite deserts in between up until the time of Christ.  The Ostrich eggs were obviously an item of trade which the Trojans received from the Semitic Levant, but the question is why did they alone, of all the Anatolian and Aegean peoples, have such a liking for Ostrich eggshell containers?  Could it have been a predilection handed down to them from ancient Levant/Semitic ancestors?

So, if the Trojans were Semites, which part of the Semitic-speaking world could they have come from?


The origins and ethnicity of the Minoans are as mysterious to most people as are the origins and ethnicities of the Etruscans and the Trojans.  Unlike the Trojans, the Minoans did leave behind a fair number of hieroglyphic inscriptions in their language.  But unlike the Etruscans, unfortunately, none of these have been deciphered.  Attempts to “reverse engineer” Minoan Linear “A” from Cretan Linear “B” have all failed.  Linear “B” was broken by Michael Ventris in the 1950s using code-breaking techniques.  It has turned out to be Mycenaean Greek and dates to later than the Minoan Linear A inscriptions do.  (Linear B was used after the Greeks had taken over Crete and other Minoan settlements)  Scholars are unanimous now that Linear A could not be Greek.  Attempts to connect it to Luwian Hittite have also failed. 


Attempts to tie Minoan Linear A to an archaic form of NW Semitic were first made by Cyrus Gordon during the 1960s and 70s.  Dr. Gordon was a professor at Brandeis University who specialized in NW Semitic and Greek, so he was able to look at the problem from the lens of both Greek and NW Semitic linguistics.  He swore to his dying day that the Minoans were Semitic.  Unfortunately, his theories were never accepted by his peers—though they were never really rejected either. 

A German scholar named Jan Best picked up the torch in 2001.  Writing in an obscure German academic journal about Ugarit, he resurrected Gordon’s theories (of a Semitic/Levant origin for the Minoans) and tried to expand upon them.  His views, also, have not been accepted by his scholarly peers, but nor have they been disproved.  Until Minoan Linear A is cracked, there will be no way to positively identify what language group it belongs to.  So, without linguistics to aide us, we have only archaeology and Greek myths and legends to help us identify the Minoans (as opposed to the later Mycenaean Greeks who wrote in the Linear B script).


According to the Greeks the island of Crete (the core of the Minoan civilization) was colonized by Phoenicians from the city of Tyre (there’s that word TWR/TYR/SWR again).  In Greek mythology a Phoenician princess by the name of “Europa” was seduced by the god Zeus who assumed the form of a white bull.  “Europa” rode on his back across the sea to the island of Crete.  There, after mating with Zeus, she bore several children, among whom was “Minos,” which became a generic name for the kings of Crete and gave us the term for the Minoan culture.  “Europa” herself, of course, gave us the modern name for the continent of “Europe,” since the Minoan Linear A culture was the first literate civilization on/in the European continental sphere.


Classical scholars see in the name “Europa,” a “wide-faced cow,” from the Greek “Eurw,” meaning “wide,” and “Os,” meaning “ox.”  I guess this would fit with Zues being a bull.  Maybe that is the correct interpretation.  Or, maybe not.  Modern Arabs use a term “Arouba” to refer to themselves.  It means “Arabness.”  Whenever I hear them pronounce that term “Arouba,” it is pronounced exactly like the way they pronounce the modern continent “Europe.”  They only difference being that “Arabness”/“Aruba” begins with an “Aiyn,” whereas “Europe” begins with a glottal stop and the vowel “Ah.”  But this distinction would be invisible (or inaudible) to a Greek speaking person, since all Indo-European languages lack the “Ayin.”  The “B” to “P” change is also a natural linguistic evolution. 

So, could this myth really just signify that a Semitic cultural identity and language, called “Arabness,” (‘Arouba) be what “Zeus” transported from the Levant to Crete?  That makes a lot more sense than having a human princess fall in love with a Bull.  Incidentally, the Greeks believed that Zeus was born on the island of Crete, and the Minoan civilization was heavily identified with Bull worship.  Hundreds of stylized bull horns decorated the walls of the great palace at Knossos.  Therefore, the Greeks had to work Zeus and the bull into the myth somehow.

The late Austrian linguist Ernest Klein saw an Akkadian origin for the word “Europa,” believing that it was derived from “erebu,” which is the Chicago Assyrian dictionary entry meaning “to set,” “to be in the west.”  However, since he claimed to have also known Arabic he should have known that the Akkadians spelled “erebu” the way they did because the cuneiform system they borrowed from the Sumerians had no way to denote certain Semitic phonemes such as the ‘aiyn and the ghaiyn.   The Akkadians would have pronounced “erebu” as “gharebu,” as in the Arabic “ghrab,” meaning “west.”  So, that Akkadian “erebu” origin for the word “Europa” can be discarded.


We can not leave “Europa” without mentioning “Cadmus.”  According to Greek legend, Cadmus was Europa’s brother, and after she was abducted by Zeus, their parents, the king and queen of Tyre commissioned him to seek her out and escort her back home.  Instead, he ended up on the Greek mainland where he supposedly founded the city of Thebes.  The ancient acropolis of that city was originally called the “Cadmeia” in his honor. 

To anyone who has studied any of the Semitic languages, the term “Cadmus” appears as an obvious Greek mangling of the Semitic root QDM, meaning “the east,” or “coming from the east.”  In other words, these Greek legends and myths are hinting at a Semitic, or proto-Semitic, colonization not only of Crete, but also of portions of the Greek mainland in an age prior to the arrival of the “golded-haired,” blue-eyed, Indo-European Mycenaean Greeks.


We use the term “Minoan” to refer to that pre-Greek civilization that inhabited the island of Crete and a few other nearby islands.  The Greeks coined that term from their title for the kings of that civilization, all of whom they called “king Minos.”  But the word “Minos” is not Greek, therefore, it may well have been Minoan in origin.  Whether or not the Minoans ever used that term to define their kings, or whether or not it was ever the name of a single king—can only be guessed at.  Perhaps it was a term the Minoans used to describe their culture in general?   If that is true it might be tempting to see the word having been derived from the Semitic term for port or harbor: miina’     

This would certainly make sense since the Minoans were a sea-faring people and most of their cities were built around, or near, ports and harbors.


Though we can not decipher their language, the Minoans did leave us pictorial representations of what they looked like.  These come in the beautiful frescoes they painted on the walls of their palaces.  When one looks at these paintings, one can not help but be impressed by how Semitic the people depicted look:  The aquiline noses and the jet black hair.  Certainly far removed from the blonde-haired Mycenaean Greeks (remember Homer’s “golden-haired Achilles”).  The Minoans pictured on the Frescos at Knossos, Crete could easily fit into the modern harbor town of Tyre, Lebanon—or any other place in the Middle East.


Prior to the coming of the Indo-European Greeks and the possibly Semitic Minoans, the island of Crete and the islands of the Aegean were inhabited by a people identified with the “Cycladic culture,” named after the Cycladic islands where their mother-goddess worshiping culture was first uncovered by archaeologists.  Nothing is known about the linguistic or ethnic identities of these people—nor do we even have theories.  However, it appears that they inhabited not only the islands, but much of mainland Greece and western Anatolia as well.  (It is tempting to see in Sparta’s “Helots” remnants of this ancient race, made subservient by the conquering Indo-European Greeks). 

The possible Semitic/proto-Semitic colonization of Crete is usually thought to have occurred around 2600 B.C.  That is when what we call “Minoan” culture began.  That is when the Bronze Age began in Crete (which had begun 800 years earlier in Sumer and the Near East).  These Semites, or proto-Semites, would have then intermingled with the native population producing an entirely new culture and ethnic composition—while retaining vestiges of their Semitic origin.  The same patterns would have continued throughout the Aegean Islands, and on the Greek mainland as well (i.e. Thebes). 

The Minoan Linear A culture reached its peak during the period of roughly 2,000 B.C. to 1550 B.C.  That’s when they controlled the Mediterranean Sea and began their own specifically Minoan Colonization of other areas around the Mediterranean.


By this time (2000 B.C. – 1550 B.C.) the Minoan culture had achieved its own unique identity and set about establishing colonies of its own throughout the east Mediterranean and (possibly) beyond.  They established a large commercial colony in the Egyptian delta at Tell el-Dab’a excavated by an Austrian team, and another one in what is today Israel at Tel Kabri excavated by a German/Israeli team.  A couple of Minoan sites in Syria have also been excavated by modern archaeologists.  Hints of Minoan influence, if not outright colonization have also been found in Anatolia, and other areas of the Mediterranean.  (Cline, Eric H. and Assaf Yasur-Landu, Minoan Frescoes at Tel Kabri: Ageans in Israel, in Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 2013, pp. 37-44).


One of the chief products that the Minoan seafarers sold to the other Eastern Mediterranean cultures was bronze.  Bronze was first utilized in ancient Sumer in the late 4th millennium B.C.  It’s use then spread throughout the ancient world reaching Crete around 2600 B.C. when the supposed early proto Semites began establishing themselves on the island.  Bronze was manufactured by blending tin with copper. 

Copper is found in its natural state throughout the Near and Middle East.  Tin is another matter.  The earliest sources were in what is now Afghanistan.  Sites in Anatolia, in the Taurus mountains of southern Anatolia, were then exploited as early as 2800 B.C.  The closest port to this source of Tin was the city of Tarshish (also called Tarsus). 

Obviously, the Minoans established a colony in Tarshish to exploit this source.  “Taurus,” of course, is the Greek corruption of the Semitic word for Bull “Thawrah,” which became “Toro,” in modern Spanish.  Remember how the Minoan culture, art, and architecture were based on “Bull” motifs?  The name “Tarshish,” was also probably derived from “Thawrah.”  (Note that Tarshish, Tarsus, and Thawrah are spelled in Semitic with a regular (non-emphatic "t") whereas Tyre, TWR, TOR, etc., are all spelled with the emphatic "t").  (In other words, Troy, Etruria, Tyre, etc., do not come from the same Root word as do Toro, Taurus, Tarshish, and thawrah).


The Hittite expansion in central and southern Anatolia in the 17th century B.C. forced the Minoans to look elsewhere for their tin.  Afghanistan was too far away and the Afghanistan tin trade with the Near East was controlled by the Babylonians and the Assyrians.   The only other option for the sea-faring Minoans was to look to the west, namely the fabled “tin isles,” meaning what we today call the British Isles. 

While there is no evidence that the Minoans directly colonized the British Isles, they must have gotten their tin from there somehow in order to remain major exporters of Bronze to Egypt and other Near Eastern powers.  There is evidence of trade routes dating from that period connecting the Normandy coast with Southern Gaul.   If the Minoans did not sail out into the Atlantic to trade directly with the inhabitants of the “tin isles,” they may have obtained the precious metal from traders at ports in Southern Gaul. 


When we put all of those cards on the table, or stick all the pins in the map of Minoan colonization, we see colonies in Israel and Syria, colonies in Egypt, colonies on the Greek mainland, the Islands of Rhodes, Cyprus, and throughout the Aegean islands, and probably colonies in the Western Mediterranean (Sicily, Spain, and Southern Gaul, if not the British Isles).  So, when we look at the extent of this Minoan commercial (and Imperial?) expansion combined with their absolute control of the Mediterranean during their heyday, it would boggle the mind to imagine them NOT having a colony at Troy in order to control trade between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, and between the land masses of Europe and Asia.   


We mentioned above the single seal discovered at Troy with Hittite hieroglyphics used by some scholars to postulate a Luwian (Indo-European/Hittite) speaking population of Troy.  To counter that, several inscriptions in Minoan Linear A have also been found.  Of course, these objects, like the seal in Luwian, could be imported objects and can not be used to prove Minoan occupation.  However, archaeologists have also found Minoan frescoes at Troy.  Of course, it is possible that it means nothing more than that wealthy Trojans may have hired Minoan artists to paint their villas.  However, I maintain, that in view of all the other evidence mentioned above, that the Minoan frescoes and the Minoan Linear A inscriptions found at Troy should be considered in the mix as pointing to an actual Minoan colony there.


Above I mentioned the fact that the probably proto-Semitic Minoans were preceded in Crete and the Aegean Islands by the Female Goddess worshiping peoples of the Cycladic culture.  Evidences of that Cycladic religion were evident in much Minoan art indicating that the religion of the earlier inhabitants continued to survive alongside of the Bull-worshiping proto-Semitic settlers of Crete throughout the heydays of Minoan civilization. 

It would seem likely then, that there was a genetic and ethnic mixing of the two peoples.  The same must have occurred also at Troy and other areas around the Aegean Sea.  Perhaps all that remained of Minoan/Semitic influence at Troy by the time of the Trojan War, was the name of the place and the above-mentioned names of individual persons—as well as their predilection for Ostrich shell containers and Arabic pottery styles.  Or perhaps more?  

That shall remain as one of the unsolved mysteries of history, but the Semitic influence there, at least to some extant, can not be denied—especially when we have Homer telling us that Zeus, who was born on the Island of Crete, sided with the Trojans against the Greeks after he returned from Ethiopia.


As mentioned above, all sorts of theories have been proposed for the origins of the Etruscans.  Of those, the Trojan origin appears to be the strongest.  It began with the Romans.


The Roman poet Virgil told of the Trojan hero Aeneas and his Trojan companions being the progenitors of the Roman race.  Virgil’s story about Aeneas and the founding of Rome went like this: 

Aeneas was a minor Trojan hero in Homer’s version of the Trojan War.  After his city’s defeat he fled the region with an unspecified number of Trojan followers.  After six years of wandering around the Mediterranean, a storm blew them to the North African coast where they were welcomed by the Carthaginians. 

The queen of Carthage, Dido, who was married, fell in love with the hansom Trojan hero Aeneas and married him (after dumping her husband).  The Trojans thus stayed in Carthage for another year after which Aeneas, commanded by the gods, led his group to the west coast of Italy.  Their descendents became the Romans.


While most myths and legends are sometimes based on kernels of truth, tiny or otherwise, they also usually contain lots of elaborations and/or outright B.S.  Virgil’s Aeneid was no exception, so we shall try to separate possible fact from outright fiction in his account. 


First of all, the Romans were Indo-European speaking Latins, just like their neighboring Latin tribes residing in central Italy.  These Indo-European Latins did not come from Troy, they came from the Eurasian steps just like the rest of the Indo-European groups most of whom appear to have invaded their respective countries of Italy, Spain, Greece, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, and India at about the same time around 2,000 B.C. 

The Romans, however, who early on recognized at some level that their Etruscan neighbors to the north of them had a more ancient, superior culture to their own, adopted much of Etruscan culture and virtually appropriated Etruscan myths as their own—especially any myth or legend that could connect them back to the Greeks and/or Trojans who were considered to have been the most advanced and admirable cultures around.   In the Roman mind, it gave them cultural legitimacy to be identified with participants in the Trojan War—even though the city of Rome itself wasn’t founded until 753 B.C., nearly half a millennia after the Trojan War.


Next we shall look at Aeneas’s decision to depart the defeated Troy and spend six years wandering the Mediterranean.  Six years to get to Carthage from Troy seems be a reach, since at most, it should take only a few weeks—even with 12th century B.C. nautical technologies.  That is, unless they took a detour to the Eastern Mediterranean first.


Egyptian inscriptions (supported by archaeological evidence) speak of several waves of attacks against the coastal areas of the Levant and the Delta region of Egypt.  These attacks occurred between the late 13th century B.C. to the early 12th century B.C., the estimated date of the Trojan War.  Historians and archaeologists believe that what happened was that the ten-year long Trojan War was so destructive to both the Trojan homeland and Greek homeland that it left entire cities and tribes of people homeless and without sustenance. 

So, they took to the sea, piracy, and mass migration.  They appear to have invaded central Anatolia first, obliterating the Hittite Empire, and then proceeded east along the southern coast of Anatolia, then south along the coastal areas in Syria.  Both by sea and by land they worked their way south culminating in their invasion of Egypt.  Historians call this mass movement of peoples the “Sea Peoples,” after the Egyptian term “Peoples of the Sea.” 


In Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses II’s account of his “victory” over the Hittites at Qadesh in Syria in 1274 B.C. he mentions several peoples (nations) of western Anatolia who were allied with the Hittites.  These were the Masa, the Lukka, and the Derdan, who have been identified with the Mysians and Lycians who Homer later names as allies to the Trojans, and the Dardanians identified with the Trojans themselves. 

Another Egyptian account dated at around 1232 B.C. mentioned an actual invasion of Egypt by a hostile confederation including a number of the “countries of the sea.”  The peoples mentioned were the “Tursha,” (identified with the Etruscans), and the “Akhaiwasha” (Identified as the Achaean Greeks). 

An Egyptian account dated 1191 B.C. had this to say:  “The foreign countries made a conspiracy in their islands.  All at once they were removed and scattered in the fray.  No land could stand before their arms, from Hatti (Hittite Empire), Kode, Carchemesh, Arzawa, Alashiya on, being cut off.  A camp (they set up) in Amor (Syria, the Levant).   They desolated its people, and its land was like that which has never come into being.  They were coming forward to Egypt, while the flame was being prepared before them.  Their confederation was the Peleshtu, the Djekker, the Shekelesh, the Denyan, and Weshesh, lands united.  They laid their hands upon lands as far as the circuit of the earth.”   Other Egyptian accounts also mention a people called srdn as having taken part in these invasions/mass migrations.


Putting these pieces together it appears that in the earlier Egyptian account which occurred prior to the Trojan War, the Trojans and their allies were allied with the Hittites and took part in the battles against the Egyptians for control of Syria.  But in the later two accounts, which seem to have occurred after the Trojan War, we see all sorts of peoples coming from the Aegean and swarming over, and obliterating, the Hittite Empire, Syria, and then finally invading Egypt. 

In some of these instances it appears that Greeks and Trojans, formerly bitter enemies, allied themselves together in an attempt to conquer new lands for themselves.  Based on that, many scholars assume that the Trojan War was so destructive to both countries that both peoples were forced to look elsewhere for sustenance.  Hence the invasions.  Perhaps for some of these groups of peoples (who may have had a Semitic lineage) it may have been an attempt to return to, and reclaim, lands myths and legends said they had originally come from?


The Peleshtu have been identified with the Pelesgians, mentioned often in Greek tales as inhabitants of eastern Greece and some of the Aegean Islands.  They are thought to either be Ionian Greeks, ancestors of the Greeks, or descendents of the pre-Greek inhabitants of Greece (Minoans/Semites/Cycladians?).  It should be pointed out that scholars believe that the terms Pelesgians and Peleshtu were originally derived from the Proto-Semitic/Canaanite root P-L-SH meaning “to wander,” or “to invade.”   

After their failed attempts to conquer Egypt, the Peleshtu (who were culturally 100% Mycanean Greek by that time, regardless of their true, possibly Semitic, origins) were given permission by Egypt, in a treaty, to settle in what is now Gaza.  They became the Philistines of the Bible. 

The Denyen have been equated to the “Danaan,” often given as ancestors to the Greeks in Greek mythologies.  Allied with the Peleshtu, they too settled the lower Levant coast and became the tribe of Dan which was to later join the Israelite confederation.  The Shekelesh, after being repulsed by Egypt, sailed west and settled the large island to the south of Italy which is today called Sicily (Shikily), in their honor. 

The SRDN of Egyptian inscriptions have been identified with the Sard(is) of Western Anatolia (neighbors of the Trojans).  They are also identified with the Tyrrhenians/Tyrsenoi and after joining the other groups in raiding Egypt, sailed west to settle on the large island of “SaRDiNia” (to which they gave their name) off the west coast of Italy—just opposite of the Etruscans.  

The SRDN (called Sherden and Shardana by scholars) of western Anatolia are not only mentioned by the Egyptians as being among the invaders of the Delta (along with the Sea Peoples), but they are also mentioned as occasionally serving as mercenaries in Egyptian armies.  The earliest mention of them comes from the late 14th century where they are mentioned in connection with Byblos, one of the big five of the early Phoenician sea-faring city states, but without any mention of the true homeland of the SRDN (Sanders, N.K. THE SEA PEOPLES: Warriors of the Ancient Mediterranean, pp. 105-106).


Here it should be noted that the great palaces of the Mycenaean kings in Greece were abandoned, and the entire Mycenaean golden age collapsed, at about the same time that Troy was sacked, according to archaeologists.  So it appears that both Trojans and Mycenaean Greeks were on the move—as indicated by the Egyptian accounts.  Of significance also, is that the collapse of the literate Mycenaean culture touched off a several century “dark ages” in Greece lasting until the time of Homer (C. 800-750 B.C.) when the Greeks adopted the Phoenician alphabet to their language and began writing again.


One more piece of “evidence” linking Trojan War survivors with the colonization of western Italy, etc., can be found in Greek myth.  In Homer’s Iliad, Odysseus plays a key role.  Then, in the Odyssey, Homer has Odysseus roam around the Mediterranean Sea, including the western Mediterranean, for 10 years before finding his way home.  This would seem to be a mythical representation of the travels of some of the above-mentioned “Sea Peoples,” indicated that the Greeks, even five-hundred years after the Trojan War, and even after five-hundred years of illiteracy, still had a memory of at least some of the Trojan War heroes wandering the Mediterranean Sea.”   


We have seen from the Egyptian accounts that there might be some truth to the myth that a group of Trojans, whether led by Aeneas or someone else, might well have wandered the Mediterranean Sea (pillaging and plundering) for six years before landing in North Africa.  Indeed, the Egyptian accounts do mention the Tursha (there’s that Semitic word TWR again), identified as the Trojans, among the Sea Peoples. 

There is a problem, however, with the idea of these Trojans landing at Carthage and being accepted by Dido, the queen of Carthage.  The Trojan War, and these subsequent migrations and invasions of the Sea Peoples, occurred in the 13th and 12th centuries B.C.  Carthage was not founded until 814 B.C.  This is the traditional date given by Greek accounts and confirmed by carbon 14 dating.  Therefore, there could have been no Carthage, and no queen of Carthage named Dido in the 12th century when Aeneas and his pals showed up.


However, the Phoenicians did have another colony in that area which pre-dated Carthage.  This was the city of Utica, which lies in the NW of present-day Tunisia.  Classical authors place the founding of Utica at 1100 B.C. (which would put it close to the Trojan War dates).  However, modern archaeology has not been able to identify any remains prior to the 9th century B.C.  It should be noted, however, that the term “Utica,” is derived from the Semitic  ‘Atiqah  meaning “ancient,” (which has given us our word “antique”), or “Old Town,” whereas “Carthage” is derived from the Semitic Qariyat-Hadasha meaning “new town.” 

It may also be possible that remnants of the proto-Semitic Minoans may have settled in that region after the Mycenaean Greeks destroyed their civilization on Crete.  We may never know the answer to whether or not “Aeneas” and his band of Trojan survivors ever did pay a visit to Semitic settlements in North Africa on their way to NW Italy.  But perhaps the desire to identify these Trojans with Semitic settlements in the West Mediterranean—especially those with an ancient connection to the mother city of Tyre—might be significant.   

Also, of significance to this discussion, Classical sources name one of the original pre-Greek, pre-Carthaginian groups of people living in Sicily as the Elymians, who classical sources said were descended from the Trojans (Beazley, Matthew, WARS IN  SICILY in Ancient Warfare vol. VII, Issue 2, p.5).  

In the name “Elymians,” it is tempting to see “El-Lemian,” which would tie them to “Lemn(os),” the large island off the coast of Troy, the inhabitants of which spoke the “Tyrsennian” language supposedly related to Etruscan.  One can also see a proto-Semitic “hal-Mina’,” or “El-Min(os), in that word tying them to the Minoan Linear A culture of Crete.  Interestingly, the island of Lemnos remained free of Greek influence up until Hellenistic times—even though Greeks had dominated all the lands around them since the time of Homer.


Etruria was the name of the land in Western Italy that the Etruscans lived in.  Scholars have connected it with tur(sis) a pre-Greek “Mediterranean” (i.e. Minoan/Semitic) loan word (the Greeks always add is,os, or sis to Middle Eastern words that they adopt to their language).   Notice the original root of TUR/TWR (appearing once again) which means “tower/citadel” in Semitic.  The Roman word for the people who lived in Etruria was Etruscan (from turs-ci). 

About these people the Greek poet Hesiod said:  “And they (the sons of Circe) ruled over the famous Tyrsenians, very far off in a recess of the holy islands.”  A Homeric hymn has Tyrsenian pirates seizing Dionysus:  “Presently there came swiftly over the sparkling sea Tyrsenian pirates on a well-decked ship . . .”    

From these classical sources there are several things we can deduce about these Tyrsenians.  One, they seem to be very adept to sea travel possessing ships with more than one deck of oars (remembering that sea power was a trade mark of the Minoans and their Semitic successors the Phoenicians).  Two, they are thought of as living very far off in “holy islands” (sounding again an awful lot like Minoans and Phoenicians).  The “holy islands” are not identified, but could possibly be Sicily and Sardinia.  

Whomever the name Tyrsenoi/Tyrsenians referred to in earlier accounts (whether Minoans, Phoenicians, or displaced Trojans) by the 6th and 5th centuries B.C. that term referred specifically to the Etruscans.  In Pindar, these Tyrsanoi as Etruscans are grouped with the Carthaginians as a threat to Magna Graecia (meaning the Greek colonies in Italy and Sicily):  “I entreat you, son of Cronus, grant that the battle-shouts of the Carthaginians and Etruscans stay quietly at home . . .”  


Then there is the Tyrrhenian Sea, which is located off the west coast of Italy, and which scholars virtually all agree was named after the Etruscans.


The language and ethnicity of the Trojans can not be specifically identified.  However, from the evidence of the name Troy/Toryes being derived from the Semitic word for Citadel (TWR), and the plethora of Semitic names among the Trojan heros, Zeus’s preference of Troy over the Greeks, and Zeus’s connections with Crete, as well as Zeus visiting Semitic inhabited places of Africa prior to the Trojan War, plus archaeological evidence, scanty though it be, it does appear that the Trojans must have had a strong Minoan/Semitic influence. 

I would propose that the Minoans must have established colonies along the west coast of Anatolia—given the fact that they established colonies everywhere else in the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean Seas.  That there was a pre-Minoan/Semitic population descending from the Cycladic culture is also probable.  Therefore, I would propose that the Trojans of the Trojan War were a mixture of these two ethnic/linguistic groups—as many of their allies in western Anatolia must also have been. 

The evidence is also overwhelming that these Trojans, and some of their allies (as well as some of their enemies, the Mycenaean Greeks), sailed west at some point after their city of Troy was destroyed and settled in Sicily, Sardinia, and what was to become Etruria in western Italy.  Here, in Italy, they (displaced Trojans) intermingled with the descendents of another pre-Indo-European group identified with the “Villanova” culture. 


Thus, their Minoan/Semitic culture, ethnicity, and language, already mixed with the earlier Cycladic culture of western Anatolia and the Aegean islands, became further diluted and mixed with the non-Indo-European descendants of the Villanovans.  It is the distortions from these mixtures that makes Etruscan impossible to pigeon hole into any of the major linguistic groups. 

None-the-less, a few probable Semitic features, other than the more obvious name of their country Etruria, did remain into Roman times.  Here are a few examples:  One of the most popular of Etruscan names was Tarquinus (in the Roman spelling).  In that name it is impossible to not see the Semitic Tariq.  One of the Etruscan words for son was mar which was also the Akkadian word for “son.”  

This has caused some scholar to postulate a Mesopotamian origin for the Etruscans.  The original Semitic for son was “bar,” which became “ben” in Hebrew and Arabic, and “mar” in Akkadian.  A similar evolution of “B” to “M” may have occurred in Troy and/or Etruria independent of any Akkadian influence.  The Etruscan “apa” for father is close to the Semitic “Abba,” and so on.


The term “Rostrum,” in Roman times, referred to the beak or “head” of a ship and as “Rostra,” a speaker’s platform, or “head” of the stage, public gathering, etc.  It was pronounced with a very long “O” meaning that at some point in the distant past there was most likely another phoneme between the “R” and the “S.”  That missing phoneme was the Semitic glottal stop.  The origin of the word was “Ra’s,” meaning “head” in Semitic.  Modern Hebrew pronounces it “Rosh,” with a long vowel in the middle.   

The Roman Latin terms for both temporary military fortified positions and permanent fortifications was “castra,” “castrum,” and “castellum.”  Knowing that the Semitic “Q” was always spelled as a “C” in Latin, and that the Semitic emphatic “S” was usually  spelled “st,” and that the “R” often comes out as an “L,” it is obvious that that Latin “Castra” and “Castellum” were derived from the Original Akkadian “Qasarum,” meaning, “castle,” “fortified place” (Arabic “Qasr”).   

It is true that these two terms, “Rostra,” and “Qastra,” (there are others which space does not allow me to go into here) could have easily been adopted by Latin speakers via Carthaginian influence.  But when one holds these terms up next to the “mar” term (which could have only come from an older branch of the Semitic family and not from Carthaginian which used the “ben” form), and the name Etruria itself, Tyrsenoi, Tyrrhenian Sea, etc., plus the fact that the Romans stole so many customs and legends from the Etruscans and called them their own, the likelihood is that these terms too, were taken from an old form of Etruscan.


Dothan, Trude, and Moshe Dothan, PEOPLE OF THE SEA: The Search for the Philistines. 


Gordon, Cyrus H., GREEK AND HEBREW CIVILIZATIONS: The Common Background. 



CADMUS from Wikipedia 

EUROPA from Wikipedia 

TROJAN LANGUAGE from Wikipedia. 

TYRRHENIANS from Wikipedia  


TROY from Wikipedia 

THE TROJAN WAR from Wikipedia   




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