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Near East Kingdoms

Ancient Anatolia

 

Percote (Troad) (Bronze Age)
Incorporating Abydus, Adresteia, Apaesus, Arisbe, Mount Tereia, Pityeia, Practius, and Sestus

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). The city of Percote was one such city within the Troad.

This small city was located on the Anatolian coast of the Hellespont, to the north-east of Troy. It receives more than one mention in Greek mythology, but never plays a major role, and it was not even in existence by the time of Strabo (63 BC to around AD 24). Apparently its people and those of the strongly-related Hyrtacidae were neither Trojan nor Dardanian and may perhaps have been Thracian instead.

The city also commanded peoples from various smaller cities or towns. Abydus, or Abydos, was located in Mysia, a city which provided one of the earliest crossing points of the Dardanelles but which was abandoned in the early fourteenth century AD. Arisbe, or Arisba, lay between Abydus and Percote, although it was abandoned at some point after the second century AD. Barely mentioned in history, Practius lay close to Arisbe. Sestus, or Sestos, was located on the Thracian side of the Hellespont, directly opposite Abydus. The forces they supplied to the Trojan War were led by Asius of the Hyrtacidae.

This honour was probably due to the close relationship by marriage between the Hyrtacidae and Percote. The mother of Asius was Arisbe, first wife of Priam of Troy who later married Hyrtacus, and also a daughter of Merops of Percote. Potentially she had followers of her own who founded the city of Arisbe in her name.

The two sons of Merops led further contingents from several small cities or towns in the region, perhaps without the permission of their father as he did his best to dissuade them. Adresteia, or Adrastea, was irrigated by the River Granicus. Apaesus, or Paesus, was known to the Hittites as Apaawa and was later recolonised by Miletus. Mount Tereia was another city, location unknown, although Strabo speculated about it. Pityeia, or Pityea, was located on the Propontis coast but its precise location has been lost.

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.1180s BC

Merops / Merope

Seer and ruler of Percote.

According to Greek legend, Merops, ruler of Percote, is father to Arisbe, the first wife of Priam of Troy, who later marries Hyrtacus of the Hyrtacidae. Another daughter is Cleite, while two sons are named Amphius and Adrastus.

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)

fl c.1180s BC

Adrastus / Adrastes

Son. Founded Adresteia? Killed at Troy.

fl c.1180s BC

Amphius?

Brother. Killed at Troy.

c.1193 - 1183 BC

Amphius and Adrastus lead units from Adresteia, Apaesus, Mount Tereia, and Pityeia, to the Trojan War on the side of Troy. They fight alongside the Percote contingent which is commanded by the Hyrtacidae, but both are killed by Diomedes.

The Hyrtacidae assemblage of troops consists of units from Abydus, Arisbe, Practius, and Sestus and is led by Asius. He is frequently shown as a generalised Thracian leader, and seems to fight alongside the Thracians during the war.

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.

 
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