In search of Trojans again

Frank Rossi iglesias at
Thu Jan 28 00:42:49 UTC 1999

Last year on the previous Nostratic list, I raised some questions
concerning the assumed relationship between Rhaetian (or Rhaetic) and

Since then I've been following the discussions on Indo-Tyrrhenian,
Indo-Anatolian and Indo-European (as defined by MCV), and the thread "In
search of the Trojans", in which the initial question was whether the
language of Troy was Luwian.

Speculation 1: Assuming instead that the language of the Trojans was a
descendant of Indo-Tyrrhenian (the Trojans may also have used Luwian and
other Anatolian languages just as the people in Italian Switzerland and
Luxembourg use French and German), I have noticed an interesting parallel
between the legends concerning the foundation of Rome and Padua as
"reported" by Virgil in the Aeneid.

It seems to me that the "Johnny-come-lately" speakers of Indo-European
Latin and Venetic may have appropriated the more prestigious legendary past
of the neighboring Indo-Tyrrhenian speakers (Etruscans and Rhaetians,
respectively). In other words, the Etruscan and Rhaetian languages may have
been brought to Italy by "refugees from Troy" before 1000 BCE. Thus,
according to this view, Etruscans and Rhaetians originally spoke the same
language, but it diverged over the following centuries. The languages may
also have re-converged later due to the influence of the more prestigious
Etruscan culture as it spread into the Po valley bringing with it, among
other things, the alphabet used by the Rhaetians.
(There may have been earlier Indo-Tyrrhenian (Rassenic) languages, such as
North Picene ?, already in Italy from an earlier date. See for example,
Katachumen's posting of January 11).

Speculation 2:

1) According to Herodotus, the Etruscans came from Lydia, south of Troy.
2) This was accepted by Virgil, who used the terms Lydian and Etruscan
3) During Roman times, the inhabitants of Sardi, the capital of Lydia, were
officially recognized as "brothers and blood relations of the Etruscan

This suggests to me that the Anatolian language Lydian may have had a
Trojan (Indo-Tyrrhenian) substrate and therefore probably preserved enough
Trojan elements to justify the above claims.

What then were the languages spoken in the Aegean (Greece and western
Anatolia) *at the time of the Trojan war*? I assume a patchwork of
different languages in different places:
a) Languages, with decreasing numbers of speakers, descended directly from
Indo-Tyrrhenian: Trojan ? (which gave rise to Etruscan and Rhaetian by
emigration), Lemnian (which formerly may have been spoken in Attica too).
b) Indo-Anatolian languages (descended from Indo-Tyrrhenian) that had come
back into the area from the north (through the Balkans as suggested by MCV).
c) Indo-European languages, with increasing numbers of speakers, that had
come back into the area from the north (Balkans, Steppes) later still:
pre-Greek, psi-Greek ?, Mycenean Greek.
d) Further east in Anatolia there may also have been pockets here and there
of unrecorded languages, with decreasing numbers of speakers, possibly
related to North Caucasian (going back to Indo-Tyrrhenian times and
earlier) and other languages with self-sustaining numbers of speakers,
probably related to Kartvelian (which must been spoken somewhere in the
area to explain the presence of Georgian).

I am aware that all this is hypothetical, but I would appreciate any
Frank Rossi

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