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Near East Kingdoms

Ancient Anatolia

 

Teucri / Teukroi (Bronze Age)

FeatureThe ancient region of Dardania in the form which was known to the Greeks appears to have been a creation of Indo-European arrivals into Anatolia during the mid-third millennium BC. These were the Luwians, part of the South Indo-European migratory group. It was probably West-Luwian-speakers from Arzawa who migrated outwards from that early state to infiltrate the western coastal regions of Anatolia (see feature link for an examination of the origins of the Luwians).

Dardania was located in the north-western corner of Anatolia, to the immediate north of Troy, and facing modern Gallipoli across the Dardanelles. It can often be included as part of the Troad, the peninsula region at the far north-western corner of Anatolia which was heavily involved in the Trojan War.

The Teucri (or Teukroi) are attributed to this region in the late sixteenth century BC. A possible linguistic connection with them has been suggested with the Tjekker, one of the later Sea Peoples. There appears to be some archaeological evidence to support this theory, although it could instead be a later addition to what was already there. They were probably of the same ethnic stock as the Trojans, a mixture of aboriginal Anatolians and incoming, culturally and linguistically-dominant Luwians, with later influxes of Hittites and Mycenaeans thrown into the mix.

According to Greek mythology Batea, daughter of the Teucer who ruled the Teucri, was married to Dardanus. He inherited the kingdom and the land of the Teucri thereafter became the land of the Dardanoi. Following the fall of Troy, the Teucri largely lost their identity. According to Herodotus the Gergithae, 'a remnant of the ancient Teucrians', participated in the Ionian revolt against Persia in the early fifth century BC and were 'conquered' by Hymeas.

The geographer Strabo gives the Teucri an origin in Crete, but the same is claimed for the Lukka by the Greeks. It is clear that they did not really know about Teucri origins. Although classifying them as Luwian-speakers offers the most likely option, it is equally possibly that they were a native Anatolian tribe and their story mirrors the Indo-European influx into the region and eventual domination of it at the expense of the indigenous natives.

Central Anatolian mountains

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information by Edward Dawson, from The Histories, Herodotus (Penguin, 1996), from The Iliad, Homer (Translated by E V Rieu, Penguin Books, 1963), from The Horse The Wheel and Language: How Bronze Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World, David W Anthony, from The Kingdom of the Hittites, Trevor Bryce (1998), from The Hittites, O R Gurney (1991), from The Illyrians, J J Wilkes (Blackwell, 1992), from Proto-Indo-European Language and Society: Late Neolithic in the Pontic-Caspian Region, Rolf Noyer, from Review: Some Recent Works on Ancient Syria and the Sea People, Michael C Astour (Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol 92, No 3, Jul-Sep 1972), from Trojans and Their Neighbours: An Introduction (Ancient Peoples), Trevor Bryce (2005), and from External Links: Indo-European Chronology - Countries and Peoples, and DNA clue to origins of early Greek civilisation (BBC News).)

c.1527 - 1503 BC

Scamandrus

Mythical father of Teucer.

c.1503 - 1481 BC

Teucer / Teucrus

Teucri chieftain. Territory absorbed by the Dardanians.

In Greek mythology the daughter of Teucer is Batea. She is married to Dardanus who subsequently inherits the rule of the Teucri under the name of Dardania with his followers being known as the Dardanoi. The legend makes it clear that the place is named for the people who control it, which begs the question what had it been named beforehand?

The river god, Scamandrus, and Achilles
The river god, Scamandrus, mythical ancestor of Teucer of the Troad, fights against the Mycenaean hero of the Trojan War, Achilles

If, as is possible, the Teucri represent the indigenous Anatolians of the second millennium BC, then the Indo-European Dardanians can be seen as migratory arrivals who are integrating into local society, but who very quickly dominate it.

This process is suitably late for the western coast of Anatolia, but the timing is realistic when it is pointed out that just three centuries before this the Hittites had enacted a much more violent takeover of native Hatti cities in central Anatolia.

 
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