Before the First and Second World War there was another – Zero World War, the finale of which was the infamous Trojan War.
In the history of world culture the Trojan War has remained a truly epic event, as it was described in Homer’s „Iliad.“
Now scientists from Switzerland have presented a theory that the famous battle between the Achaeans and Trojans may have been a decisive one World War Zero.
As stated by Eberhard Zangger, head of an international Luwian research organization in Zurich, the battle destroyed an entire Mediterranean civilization some 3200 years ago.
Scientists say the Trojan war was not started by the ancient gods and a beautiful woman (as depicted by the beginning of Homer’s military events in the „Iliad“), but from the Luwians – the sister nation of the Hittites, who lived on the west and southwest coast of Asia Minor.
Swiss geoarchaeologist Eberhard Zangger claims he was able to find the missing piece of the puzzle, thanks to which it is possible to recreate the panoramic historical canvas. He repeatedly tried to prove the truth of the events of the Trojan War.
According to him, the battles between the Greeks and Trojans are preceded by the fall of the mysterious Luwian civilization.
Having appeared in the middle of the III century BC. to II century BC. The Luwian nation established its influence over the entire eastern Mediterranean. The territory in which it thrived had been particularly rich in minerals and metal ores, which probably allowed them to consolidate power in antiquity.
After studying a large number of satellite images, Zangger concluded that that region of Asia Minor was tightly populated in the era of the late Bronze Age. He discovered about 340 large settlements, a few of which are dug up today. „Some of these cities are so large they can be seen from space,“ claims the scientist.
In ancient Hittite texts there is mention of several small kingdoms in western Anatolia, who spoke different dialects of the Luwian language. Small nations came together to form a union, which then, according to Zangger, begun to take shape as the Luwian civilization.
At first the Luwians lived peacefully with its neighbors – the Egyptians, the inhabitants of the New Kingdom and with the Hittites of Anatolia and Central Mycenaeans who lived on mainland Greece. But peaceful coexistence soon ended with the Luwians. Judging from ancient records, the Luwians considered themselves so powerful that they decided to go to war against the Hittite Empire.
Their confidence was not unfounded – soon after the first attacks, the Hittites fell under the pressure of the Luwian army.
Ancient Egyptian chroniclers who also bear witness to the collapse of the Hittite army repeatedly mention the „sea peoples“, which according to Zangger were precisely the Luwians. Having conquered the Hittites and getting a taste of power and riches, the Luwians set their sights on a new victim and continued their military campaigns, this time against the Egyptian New Kingdom.
The Luwian army achieved victory after victory, but this did not help to protect their own country – in just a few decades the otherwise powerful civilization began to crumble. For a long time historians and archaeologists have been trying to identify the reasons for its sudden disappearance.
Scientists blamed climate change, natural disasters and social instability. But according to Zangger the reasons lie with the Mycenaeans. Hearing about the dire situation of the Egyptians, the inhabitants of Greece, as if anticipating that the next strike by the Luwians will be on them, quickly formed their own coalition.
Following the „attack is the best defense,“ method, the Mycenaeans crossed the Aegean themselves and attacked the powerful Luwians. Overwhelming its restless neighbors, the Mycenaeans undermined their own country – realizing that nothing more was threatening them, they began a feud with each other and launched a civil war. Subsequently, among the ruined cities was Troy.
Eberhard Zangger argued that only this sequence of events is consistent with the notes of preserved ancient texts from all over the eastern Mediterranean.
Zangger’s colleagues have reacted more skeptically of his otherwise seemingly consistent theory. „For Zangger’s theory of a mighty civilization to become truly undeniable, archaeologists must find examples of monumental art and architecture across western Anatolia, and texts from the same places,“ says Christoph Bahuber- a professor and Orientalist at Oxford University.
Scientists believe the theory is just a „pathetic story.“ Bahuber reminds that historians should question the ancient epics, including the work of Homer. According to the scientist they hardly contain even a small part of historical truth.
Zangger has responded to attacks from colleagues at Oxford with several ancient texts of the Trojan War, which coincided with the story told by Homer . Incidentally, one of them set in the first century BC, refers to the lost Egyptian monuments and today has been only mentioned in other sources.
Objections to Zangger’s allegations are unfounded. First, it is unclear whether the Trojan War was the fall of the Hittite nation, the end of the Mycenaean civilization, a cause or consequence of the invasion of the “sea peoples”.
Second, to maritime nations refers not one tribe, but many. But despite the criticism and controversial judgments, the theory of Zangger has contributed to the growing interest in the era of the late Bronze Age.
Mass archaeological research in Western Anatolia will bring only benefit science that recognizes even Bahuber. „Actually I am very glad that he managed to draw attention to this region,“ says the scientist.