|Era||c. 1300 BCE|
The Trojan language was the language spoken in Troy during the Late Bronze Age. The identity of the language is unknown, and it is not certain that there was one single language used in the city at the time.
One candidate language is Luwian, an Anatolian language which was widely spoken in Western Anatolia during the Late Bronze Age. Arguments in favor of this hypothesis include seemingly Luwian-origin Trojan names such as "Kukkunni" and "Wilusiya", cultural connections between Troy and the nearby Luwian-speaking states of Arzawa, and a seal with Hieroglyphic Luwian writing found in the ruins of Troy VIIb1. However, these arguments are not regarded as conclusive. No Trojan name is indisputably Luwian, and some are most likely not, for instance the seemingly Greek name "Alaksandu". Additionally, the exact connection between Troy and Arzawa remains unclear, and in some Arzawan states such as Mira, Luwian was spoken alongside both pre-Indo-European languages and later arrivals such as Greek. Finally, the Luwian seal is by no means sufficient to establish that it was spoken by the city's residents, particularly since it is an isolated example found on an easily transportable artifact.
When one remembers that Luwian names in -ss and -nd- are rare in the Northwestern corner of Anatolia, Anatolian hieroglyphs absent, and that archaeology suggests that a branch of the Greeks remained behind in this region, where Ahhiyawa should be located, this may just add one more argument to the hypothesis that the "Trojans" called themselves "Akhaiwoi" and spoke some form of Greek.
Proponents of an east to west migration hypothesis on the origin of the Etruscans like Robert S. P. Beekes place their original homeland adjacent to ancient Troy. Herodotus claims the Etruscans sailed from Lydia (the people of which, Beekes contends, lived north of its classical era location) to Italy. Beekes asserts that the presence of a related language on the island of Lemnos (roughly 65 km from Athos peninsula in northeastern Greece and 70 km from Troas in Turkey) represents a remnant from those remaining after the migration from the Proto-Tyrsenian urheimat in northwest Asia Minor. More specific evidence related to the Etruscan relation to Troy is the name Hittite record of the city of Truwiša which is supposedly the etimology of both and the story of Aeneas is connected with the arrival of the Etruscans to Italy. For historical, archaeological, genetic, and linguistic reasons, a relationship between Etruscan and the Indo-European Anatolian languages (Lydian or Luwian) has not been accepted, just as the Lydian origin story reported by Herodotus is no longer considered reliable as demonstrated by Dominique Briquel, and a hypothetical Trojan origins of the Etruscans does not enjoy the consensus of scholars specialising in Etruscan civilisation, even if it is cyclically re-proposed by Indo-European linguists and Orientalists without providing evidence. Etruscans called themselves Rasenna, which shows no resemblance to Truwiša, and no archaeological or linguistic evidence have been found in Anatolia that might prove the eastern origin of the Etruscans, just as, after more than 90 years of archaeological excavations at Lemnos, nothing has been found in the Greek Island that would support a migration from Lemnos to Etruria. Linguist Rex E. Wallace summarizes all the problems of the hypothesis of an east to west migration hypothesis on the origin of the Etruscans:
Etruscan origins lie in the distant past. Despite the claim by Herodotus, who wrote that Etruscans migrated to Italy from Lydia in the eastern Mediterranean, there is no material or linguistic evidence to support this. Etruscan material culture developed in an unbroken chain from Bronze Age antecedents. As for linguistic relationships, Lydian is an Indo-European language. Lemnian, which is attested by a few inscriptions discovered near Kamania on the island of Lemnos, was a dialect of Etruscan introduced to the island by commercial adventurers. Linguistic similarities connecting Etruscan with Raetic, a language spoken in the sub-Alpine regions of northeastern Italy, further militate against the idea of eastern origins.
Moreover, a 2021 archeogenetic analysis of Etruscan individuals concluded that the Etruscans were autochthonous and genetically similar to the Early Iron Age Latins, and that the Etruscan language, and therefore the other languages of the Tyrrhenian family, may be a surviving language of the ones that were widespread in Europe from at least the Neolithic period before the arrival of the Indo-European languages, as already argued by German geneticist Johannes Krause who concluded that it is likely that the Etruscan language (as well as Basque, Paleo-Sardinian and Minoan) "developed on the continent in the course of the Neolithic Revolution". The lack of recent Anatolian-related admixture and Iranian-related ancestry among the Etruscans, who genetically joined firmly to the European cluster, might also suggest that the presence of a handful of inscriptions found at Lemnos, in a language related to Etruscan and Raetic, "could represent population movements departing from the Italian peninsula".
In ancient Greek Epics
In Ancient Greek literature such as the Iliad, Trojan characters are portrayed as having a common language with the Achaeans. However, scholars unanimously interpret this as a poetic convention, and not as evidence that the Trojans were Greek speakers. For instance, Calvert Watkins points out that the Spanish epic poem Cantar de mio Cid portrays its Arab characters as Spanish speakers and that the Song of Roland similarly portrays Arabs as speaking French. Some scholars have suggested that Greek-origin names for Trojan characters in the Iliad motivate a more serious argument for the Trojans having been Greek speakers. Putative etymologies for legendary names have also been used to argue that the Trojans spoke other languages such as Thracian or Lydian. These arguments have been countered on the basis that these languages would have been familiar to classical-era bards and could therefore be later inventions.
- Bryce, Trevor (2005). The Trojans and their Neighbours. Taylor & Francis. pp. 117–122. ISBN 978-0-415-34959-8.
- Watkins, Calvert (1986). "The language of the Trojans". In Mellink, Machteld (ed.). Troy and the Trojan War: a Symposium Held at Bryn Mawr College. Bryn Mawr Commentaries.
- Yakubovich, Ilya (2008). "3.6" (PDF). Sociolinguistics of the Luvian language (PhD Thesis). University of Chicago.
- Şaraplı, Onur (2019). "The Late Bronze Age Anatolia: The Origins of Trojans In the Context of Language and Culture". Karadeniz Uluslararası Bilimsel Dergi (44): 231. doi:10.17498/kdeniz.567117. ISSN 1308-6200. S2CID 240494784.
- Mellaart, James (1958). "The End of the Early Bronze Age in Anatolia and the Aegean". American Journal of Archaeology. 62 (1): 9–33. doi:10.2307/500459. ISSN 0002-9114. JSTOR 500459. S2CID 193089026.
- Beekes, Robert S. P."The Origin of the Etruscans"Archived 2012-01-17 at the Wayback Machine. In: Biblioteca Orientalis 59 (2002), 206–242.
- Hornblower, Simon; Spawforth, Antony; Eidinow, Esther, eds. (2014). The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization. Oxford Companions (2 ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 291–292. ISBN 9780191016752.
Briquel's convincing demonstration that the famous story of an exodus, led by Tyrrhenus from Lydia to Italy, was a deliberate political fabrication created in the Hellenized milieu of the court at Sardis in the early 6th cent. BCE.
- Barker, Graeme; Rasmussen, Tom (2000). The Etruscans. The Peoples of Europe. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-631-22038-1.
- Turfa, Jean MacIntosh (2017). "The Etruscans". In Farney, Gary D.; Bradley, Gary (eds.). The Peoples of Ancient Italy. Berlin: De Gruyter. pp. 637–672. doi:10.1515/9781614513001. ISBN 978-1-61451-520-3.
- De Grummond, Nancy T. (2014). "Ethnicity and the Etruscans". In McInerney, Jeremy (ed.). A Companion to Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pp. 405–422. doi:10.1002/9781118834312. ISBN 9781444337341.
- Shipley, Lucy (2017). "Where is home?". The Etruscans: Lost Civilizations. London: Reaktion Books. pp. 28–46. ISBN 9781780238623.
- Ficuciello, Lucia (2013). Lemnos. Cultura, storia, archeologia, topografia di un'isola del nord-Egeo [Lemnos. Culture, history, archeology, topography of a north Aegean island]. Monografie della Scuola Archeologica di Atene e delle Missioni Italiane in Oriente 20, 1/1 (in Italian). Athens: Scuola Archeologica Italiana di Atene. pp. 68–116. ISBN 978-960-9559-03-4.
- Wallace, Rex E. (2010). "Italy, Languages of". In Gagarin, Michael (ed.). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 97–102. doi:10.1093/acref/9780195170726.001.0001. ISBN 9780195170726.
Etruscan origins lie in the distant past. Despite the claim by Herodotus, who wrote that Etruscans migrated to Italy from Lydia in the eastern Mediterranean, there is no material or linguistic evidence to support this. Etruscan material culture developed in an unbroken chain from Bronze Age antecedents. As for linguistic relationships, Lydian is an Indo-European language. Lemnian, which is attested by a few inscriptions discovered near Kaminia on the island of Lemnos, was a dialect of Etruscan introduced to the island by commercial adventurers. Linguistic similarities connecting Etruscan with Raetic, a language spoken in the sub-Alpine regions of northeastern Italy, further militate against the idea of eastern origins.
- Posth, Cosimo; Zaro, Valentina; Spyrou, Maria A. (24 September 2021). "The origin and legacy of the Etruscans through a 2000-year archeogenomic time transect". Science Advances. Washington DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science. 7 (39): eabi7673. Bibcode:2021SciA....7.7673P. doi:10.1126/sciadv.abi7673. PMC 8462907. PMID 34559560.
- Krause, Johannes; Trappe, Thomas (2021) . A Short History of Humanity: A New History of Old Europe [Die Reise unserer Gene: Eine Geschichte über uns und unsere Vorfahren]. Translated by Waight, Caroline (I ed.). New York: Random House. p. 217. ISBN 9780593229422.
It's likely that Basque, Paleo-Sardinian, Minoan, and Etruscan developed on the continent in the course of the Neolithic Revolution. Sadly, the true diversity of the languages that once existed in Europe will never be known.