Giusto Traina is a specialist of ancient history. His first studies concerned landscapes (especially marginal lands), earthquakes, and ancient technology. In the last years he was interested in Classical and Oriental (especially Armenian) history, geography and historiography. He is currently writing a book on the kingdom of Greater Armenia (188 BCE-428 CE), working at the same time on late antique conceptions of geography.
Continuing investigations to the archaeology and history of Troy in the Late Bronze Age and Classical Antiquity, especially to the end of the settlement phases Troy VI, VII a and VII b, to the date and circumstances of the foundation of Greek Troy (= Ilion), the so-called Troy VIII, and to its growth, in addition to the role of the Trojan myth in the form of the Greek, Hellenistic and Roman town and the surrounding region, that means to the creation of an eminent mythical or heroic space. The studies during his activities in “Topoi” concentrate on enlarging the arguments for the program described just now: The foundation of Ilion by Greeks since 1000 B.C., the development of the legend of the Trojan War by the early Greek poets, the interpretation and presentation of ancient looking remains and monuments as evidence for the myth, then in the Hellenistic and Roman epochs the building of memorial buildings, which integrated the alleged remains and monuments of the myth, and the enlargements and modernized appearences of Ilion; by all that the Hellenistic and Roman periods created new identities. The importance of Ilion in the posthomeric-archaic epoch, finally the history of the search for Troy and of the excavations and the role of Troy and the Trojan myth in Turkish history and ideology.
An important argument for the early foundation of Greek Troy as expressed above ist the laying out of a Greek cemetery: Further arguments verify that this necropolis was created immediately after the end of the latest Bronze Age settlement, Troy VII b, that is in the 10/9th century.
In Antiquity people thought, that the existence of the impressive Late Bronze Age fortification wall, protecting still Troy VIII, gave strong evidence for the historicity of the Trojan myth. This wall was renewed in its old style or with old stones by the Greek inhabitants of Ilion again and again. The northern part of the wall even served as element of the Hellenistic fortification wall of the refounded, now enlarged town; and also at that time it was regarded als testimony of the alleged historicity of theTrojan War. Contrary to recent interpretations there are good new arguments to show that this part of the wall was found by H. Schliemann and C. W. Blegen, that the ancient sources are wrong in reporting its destruction about 600 B.C. and that it was destroyed only in 85 B.C. The study of the painted archaic pottery tells much about the cultural situation in posthomeric-archaic Ilion, namely that the originality at least in one, but in an important field of the material civilization, declined since 650/600 B.C. while Ilions reputation as the most famous mythical or heroic space in the Ancient World increased.
Turkish sources and announcements of the late excavator and Turkish freeman M. Korfmann reveal that the findspot “Hisarlık” and the Trojan legend plays an eminent role in Turkish history and ideology.
By the end of WWI, the Greeks whom we still hear claiming they want “no more lost homelands” reclaimed the recognition of their patris on the south-eastern Black Sea shore. Like for their Ancient and Byzantine ancestors, the strongest foundation of their identity was their difference from their environment and their claimed kinship with the Mediterranean Hellenism. However, above their attachment to Hellenicity, their community has been always defined by their Aegean cognates through their remoteness and acculturation.
A critical, global history of Hellenism in Pontus still needs to be written. Several points suggest the complexity of this study. “Pontus” designates the surroundings of the Euxine Sea and the North-Eastern Asia Minor – two territories whose real and imaginary frontiers have been shifting during four millennia of history. The sources, partial and fragmentary, involve multidisciplinary methodologies. The theoretical concept of “identity” must be refined: as Pontikos and Pontios cover different cultural realities, represented by various concepts over the time, the research must be focused on singulary aspects mentioned alltogether in the claims of the Pontians.
Concentrating on the Ancient Pontians, one undertands the need to distinguish between “Pontiacness”, as a geographic identity which corresponds to topic groups, and “Pontianness”, as an ethnic identity which involves community of language, religion, customs, and memory of single origin. The first Pontian ethnos was proclaimed in the context of Mithridates Eupator’s kingdom and of Pompey’s Bithynian province. A political willpower, extending upon a territory and acting for the cultural uniformisation of a plural society are the three factors to be studied in order to explain what made this people a people. Achaemenid, Anatolian and Hellenic elements, revealed by litterary, epigraphic, numismatic sources and archaeological finds, fournished the material of this historical process.
CSG-V – Reading Group for young academics.
Regular meeting every first Tuesday in the month.
If you are interested, please contact Kerstin P. Hofmann (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Anca Dan is interested in the history of Greek and Roman representations of spaces and peoples and in their receptions. After a PhD dissertation on the ancient geography of the Black Sea area, she prepares editions and commentaries of Pliny the Elder (Pontus and Caucasus, VI.1-46), Strabo (North-western Asia Minor, book XIII) and Dionysius of Byzantium (Description of the Bosporus). Within the Topoi’s CSG V, she works on the relationship between spaces and peoples, focusing on the invention of the first Pontian identity, in the Mithridatic kingdom and the Pompeian province of the Northern Cappadocia.
—> The conference volume has now been published and is available open access here.