History Files
 

Please help the History Files

Contributed: 84

Target: 400

2023
Totals slider
2023

The History Files still needs your help. As a non-profit site, it is only able to support such a vast and ever-growing collection of information with your help, and this year your help is needed more than ever. Please make a donation so that we can continue to provide highly detailed historical research on a fully secure site. Your help really is appreciated.

Near East Kingdoms

Ancient Anatolia

 

Halizones / Alazones (Troad) (Bronze Age)

Towards the end of the thirteenth century BC, the international system in the Near East began to break down. Communications between the many smaller states, especially in Syria and Canaan, and the kings of Babylonia, Egypt, Elam, the Hittites, Mitanni and the Assyrians, gradually broke down as events overwhelmed many of them.

Then climate-induced drought and a loss of crops did more damage in the thirteenth century BC. Food supplies dwindled and the number of raids by habiru and other groups of peoples who had also banded together greatly increased until, by about 1200 BC, this flood turned into a tidal wave which destroyed the Hittites and many Anatolian and Syrian cities and states. A dark age descended on the eastern Mediterranean region.

The Troad or Troas was the peninsula region at the far north-western corner of Anatolia, formed by the territory to the north of the island of Lesbos, eastwards to Mount Ida, and then roughly in a direct line north to the Dardanelles where it meets the Sea of Marmara, opposite the shores of Thrace.

FeatureMysia was also part of the region while the principle city in this part of Anatolia, Troy, was nearby, and Dardania could also be included within the Troad, along with its native population of Teucri. Wilusa in the thirteenth century was a member of the Assuwa (or Assua), a confederacy of local minor states which probably included the states of the Troad and which had traditionally been allied to the Hittites (see feature link). One of the groups in the Troad at this time was known as the Halizones (or Alazones, the same name but recorded differently by another classical writer).

Listed in the Trojan order of battle, the origin of the Halizones is unknown. Homer says they came from 'Alybe far away, where is the birthplace of silver'. Suggestions include reading 'Alybe' as 'Chalybe', which would make them Chalybes, a group which settled in northern Anatolia on the shores of the Black Sea between the Halys and Trabzon. Related to the eastern Khaldi (of later Urartu) who neighboured the Hatti, they are thought to be early Georgians.

The name Chalybe could also derive from Hittite 'Khaly-wa', or 'land of Hatys', which would serve to confirm the theory. In addition, while Palaephatus places the Halizones in Mysia, Homer elsewhere refers to the Halizones chief, Odius, as the chief of the Paphlagonians, again placing them in north-eastern Anatolia.

It seems likely that the Halizones moved into the region at the same time that Paphlagonia emerged, displacing or subsuming the Kaskans, but seemingly existing alongside the Paphlagonian leaders of the Eneti (which is why the Halizones need to be detailed on a separate page).

Central Anatolian mountains

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from The Philistines and Other 'Sea Peoples' in Text and Archaeology, Ann E Killebrew (Society of Biblical Literature Archaeology and Biblical Studies, 2013), from The Histories, Herodotus (Penguin, 1996), from The Iliad, Homer (Translated by E V Rieu, Penguin Books, 1963), from The Kingdom of the Hittites, Trevor Bryce (1998), from The Hittites, O R Gurney (1991), from Trojans and Their Neighbours: An Introduction (Ancient Peoples), Trevor Bryce (2005), from the Argonautica, Apollonius Rhodius (3rd century BC Greek epic poem), and from External Links: the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, William Smith (Ed, 1854), and DNA clue to origins of early Greek civilisation (BBC News), and Geography, Strabo (H C Hamilton & W Falconer, London, 1903, Perseus Online Edition), and The Greeks really do have near-mythical origins, ancient DNA reveals (Science).)

fl c.1200? BC

Mecisteus

Chief of the Halizones?

c.1180s BC

Odius

Son. Chief of the Paphlagonians?

c.1180s BC

Epistrophus

Brother. Co-leader of the Halizones.

c.1193 - 1183 BC

Odius and Epistrophus, both sons of Mecisteus, lead the contingent of Halizones to the Trojan War on the side of Troy. Pylaemenes of the shaggy breast leads the main Paphlagonian force to fight alongside the Trojans.

Map of the Trojan War states c.1200 BC
Troy's various regional allies at the time of the Trojan War are shown here, many of which are only mentioned in later works by Homer, Herodotus, and other Greek chroniclers (click or tap on map to view full sized)

The Halizones contingent could also hail from Paphlagonia, although this is uncertain. Homer names Odius as the chief of the Paphlagonians, placing his Halizones in north-eastern Anatolia rather than in the Troad to which they are also linked.

It seems likely that the Halizones move into the region at the same time that Paphlagonia begins to emerge, displacing or subsuming Kaskans there until the latter finally vanish from the historical records in the eighth century BC.

Increasing drought in the Near East has already resulted in famine and the subsequent movement of peoples who are in search of new food supplies. Collectively known by chroniclers as the Sea Peoples, various groups are raiding the Mediterranean coastline, attacking kingdoms and destroying cities and, in some cases, even settling in the conquered areas.

Artist's impression of Troy
This illustration is another artist's impression of an unspecified version of Troy, although it is believed to be based on the city which existed around the time of the Trojan War, shortly before its defeat and destruction

The Trojan War feeds into this ongoing chain of calamity and destruction. With Trojan refugees fleeing in all directions, and even the victorious Mycenaeans being pushed out of their territory by migrating Dorians, both peoples probably add to the pressure on the states of the eastern Mediterranean.

The age of the migratory Sea Peoples can only be said to be over by around 1100 BC, as the turmoil and chaos (such as during Egypt's 'Third Intermediate Period' or in Syria) gives way to an already-active dark age and a gradual rebuilding of civilisation. During this period, Anatolia's coastline largely becomes a possession of various Greek states and cities.

 
Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original king list page for the History Files.