North Pontic Indo-Europeans in Troy

  • Leonid L. Zalizniak Institute of Archaeology, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Keywords: Troy, Northern Pontic region, Asia Minor, Indo-Europeans, Anatolian language group, Hittites-Luwians, Phrygians, Armenians.


The paper contains the text of author’s lecture at the conference “Trojan colloquium” which took place in Kyiv in May, 30th, 2018. The questions of connections between ancient Asia Minor population and North Pontic region are considered on the base of archaeological sources and Indo-European studies.

The lower Troy layers contain the traces of several invasions of Anatolian group of Indo-European peoples from the Balkans (the Hittites, Palayans, Luwians) and also the Phrygian and Armenian ancestors. They had been formed in the Danube River region in the 4th millennium BCE under the influence of Chalcolithic migrants from the North-Western Pontic region. Migration of the Hittites-Luwians from Balkans to Asia Minor in the 3rd millennium BCE was a part of great spread of Indo-European tribes in the Chalcolithic-Bronze Era from two centers of Indo-European ethno-genesis which situated in the north of Central Europe and in the North Pontic region.

The fall of Homer’s Troy (layer VІІа) clashes with the invasion of “sea people” and the destruction of the Hittite Kingdom (about 1200 BCE). A leading role, in opinion of I. Diakonov and L. Klein, in Troy’s fall and in the Hittite Empire disintegration was played not by Mycenaean Greeks, but by Phrygian and Armenian ancestors, militant “musks” of the Assyrian sources. During the invasion of “Sea Peoples” they came to Asia Minor from the West — from the Balkans. The beginning of the mentioned ethnic groups formation was linked with the Lower Danube and the North-Western Pontic region, in particular, with Usatovo-Chornavoda II cultures population. Traces of the contacts of native languages: Thracian, Phrygian, Armenian, Greek with the Indo-Iranians bind them to Northern Pontic region. Just here the majority of researchers place the Indo-Iranian motherland, the ancestors of whom they consider the Yamna and Catacomb cultures population.

Archaeological and literary sources testify the participating in the Asia Minor ancient history of three more peoples from the North Pontic Steppe — Sabatinovka culture tribes, Cimmerians and Scythians. “Sabatinians” apparently took part in the invasion of “Sea Peoples” which is proved by finds of bronze weapons, typical for the final Bronze Age of the North Pontic region, at the Middle East territory. Cimmerians in 675 BCE destroyed the Phrygian state with the capital of Gordion and founded the Gammira state. The latter was destroyed in 605 BCE by Scythians who had come to Asia Minor, as well as the Cimmerians, through the Caucasus.


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