Last week, we looked at the rise and fall of the Hittites, the Indo-European speaking people group that was a major power in the Middle East in the second millennium BC. We heard a couple of theories about why the Hittite Empire collapsed: first, a sedition against its own founding principles leading to revolution and dissolution; second, a victim of the unstoppable collapse of the Bronze Age. Both theories are supported factually, and both are true. The Hittites might have survived the internal dissension, but they picked a very bad time to squabble, since the elemental forces bringing about the Collapse were forming. Weakened by internal politics, what had been a virtually unstoppable army was not available nor properly led when the Indo-European speaking Greeks scanned Asia for a good place to expand. It was a perfect storm, and it arrived at Troy, the westernmost outpost of the Hittite Empire.
In our Western education system, we hear a lot more about Greeks as pillars of Western Civilization and of their victory at Troy than about the Fertile Crescent. This is a failing of the Western education system, in that it teaches virtually nothing about the true roots of Western civilization being in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, the Levant, and Egypt. Part of the reason for this blindness to the Middle Eastern roots is that the Neolithic and Chalcolithic Revolution in the Fertile Crescent were not revealed until the last century, and there has not been enough time since that discovery to overcome the 2000-year legacy of subsequent Greco-Roman predominance in culture. But it is much more than a mere lack of time.
Today, a new problem lowers the likelihood of history being seriously studied and understood. I am referring to the disdain shown history by the current public education system, which has been permeated by a Postmodern perspective on the past e.g. “I don’t want to learn about dead white men.” Increasingly, the astronomically expensive private education system, including its most expensive Ivy League stratum, show disdain for factual history, and seek to propagandize a false ideology that all races contributed equally to modern achievements. The average graduates of the United States public school system can’t explain the foundation of their own nation only a couple of centuries ago.
Rather, in the place of studying history, modern students’ heads are filled with political psychobabble encouraging acceptance-as-fact of the whining complaints of every minority group about its perceived mistreatment. These minorities are encouraged to shift the blame for their multi-century underachievement from their forefathers to others as a consequence of some kind of racial conspiracy. A factual account of the history of these perceived conspiracies over the last 600 years is absent, e.g. the role of Islam in promoting African slavery; the universal existence of slavery among all races on all continents throughout history; the factual accounting of where all the progress came from over the centuries; the factual origin and violent expansion of Islam over its history, and the West’s belated counterattack four hundred years too late, all misrepresented by the West’s breast-beating educators.
So, Homer’s story of the siege of Troy is important for what Homer really said about the Trojans and the Greeks, and how many times the city changed hands over the following 1,000 years, mostly reconquests by non-Greeks who saw Troy as their familial or spiritual ancestor—the Persians who lost it to Alexander, and the Romans who took it from the Greeks and claimed Trojan refugees as their founders.
If you haven’t seen the recent movie Troy, do see it to get your blood up. I think it treats Achilles fairly as the psychotic monster who wanted eternal fame (which he has), and Hector as the true family man and patriot willing to sacrifice his life for his people. What a contrast! In truth, in the perspective of what had come millennia before in western Asia and northwest Africa, the “Golden Age of Greece” was a few violent centuries’ flash in the pan of history. I hope that gets you thinking—even if it makes you angry.
Have you read Homer’s Iliad? Or Euripides’ Iphigenia? The Iliad is a far older and truer read on Achilles and his dishonorable honor among a universally vile invading horde, while Iphigenia casts a much later and favorable light on Achilles’ honor. However, both dramas show the Mycenaean Greeks as the savages they were. For those who hope for justice, they will find satisfaction that, shortly later, the Mycenaeans disappeared in the universal pandemonium of the Aegean and western Asia during the Collapse of the Bronze Age. But it seems clear the Mycenaeans led the way into the maelstrom at Troy.
I have not found a video as well-rounded and insightful as the History Channel’s production, and I found a version on YouTube which is well-preserved and free of ads, lasting 90 minutes. The excellence of this video is multi-dimensional. You will learn how archaeological methodology grew more productive between Heinrich Schliemann’s primitive methods in 1870 and today’s methodology at Troy, which has made huge progress, revealing Troy’s enormous size—a fact which was needed to reconcile to Homer’s description—and sealing the site as Troy among most skeptics. Take the time to carefully view this video and you will receive an enormous lesson in the immeasurable value of modern excavation methods.
And you will understand what the beginning of the end looked like to Troy’s prime ally at Hattusa.
Thanks for visiting.
R. E. J. Burke