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August 8, 2002

Homer In The Baltic

Minor Historical Adjustment?

Such being the life of a writer, I've only recently gotten around to reading my copy of the December 2001 edition of ├ćon (Volume VI, No.2), subtitled A Journal of Myth, Science, and Ancient History. In it, Felice Vinci, an Italian nuclear engineer with interests in ancient history, and who has been conducting research into Homeric geography since 1992, presents an article with the above title reaching the startling conclusion that the events described by Homer in the Iliad and the Odyssey didn't take place at the Agean end of the Mediterranean at all, but in the Scandinavian area of Northern Europe, where places such as Troy and Ithaca can still be identified.

The Bronze Age flourished in the Baltic regions during the "climatic optimum," of the 2nd millennium B.C. When conditions declined, a blond seafaring race migrated southward to found the Mycenaean civilization in the 16th century B.C., and it was these people, Vinci states, who brought their orally transmitted sagas with them from their ancestral homeland. Historians have made the erroneous assumption that the written versions set down centuries later originated in the places where they were found. Evidence offered by Vinci includes;

  • Detailed geographical descriptions from Homer that historians (e.g. Strabo) have long had trouble identifying in the Mediterranean, but which match Baltic islands and coasts closely.
  • Place names that astonishingly resemble ones given in the Greek accounts. Examples: Askainen (Ascanios), Karjaa (Caria), Nasti (Nastes), Lyokki (Lycia), Kiila (Cilla), Raisio (Rhesos), Kiikoinen (the Ciconians); and so it goes.
  • Locale and surroundings on the northern shore of the Gulf of Bothnia that fits perfectly with Homer's account of beaches, landscapes, and sites battles in the Trojan war. And of Troy itself, the indicators point to a Finnish town that still stands there. Its name? Toija. The Danish medieval historian Saxo Grammaticus talks of the population of this region as the "Hellespontians." The Gulf of Bothnia inlet from the Baltic was known as the Hellespont.
  • Climate and periods of daylight-darkness that fit the northern Baltic pattern but not that found in the Mediterranean
  • Rich finds of Bronze Age swords, spear points, and other relics, architectural styles, ship designs, again far more consistent with Scandinavian custom.

For more information on Aeon, visit www.aeonjournal.com or contact the publisher, Ev Cochrane, at ev@aeonjournal.com.

 
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