Trojan hero Aeneas' footsteps to be retraced by Turkish team
EDREMİT - Anatolia News Agency | 8/18/2010 12:00:00 AM |
The historic journey made by Trojan hero Aeneas from Antandrus (present-day Altınoluk in Balıkesir) to Italy's Latium region is to be retraced by a team of archaeologists. The journey, which seeks to unearth the common ties in Mediterranean culture, will be recorded for a documentary film that will be made to promote Altınoluk and Turkey to the world
Archaeologists at a dig at Balıkesir’s Antandrus (Altınoluk) site are making preparations to retrace the historic journey made by Roman Empire founder and Trojan hero Aeneas from Antandrus to Rome, as recounted in Virgil’s “Aeneid.”
“A ship, which we’ll name ‘Tempest,’ will set off from Altınoluk and follow the route that was taken by Aeneas’ band in 700 B.C. using sails and oars only,” said Excavation Chairman Gürcan Polat in detailing the plans for the journey from the northwestern Turkish province to Italy.
“Through the Aegean islands and passed the Greek coasts, the journey will continue to Castro, near present-day Ischia di Castro in Italy,” he said.
“It is known that Aeneas, who escaped from the Trojan War, had a ship made and put out to sea to found a new Troy. After some adventures, this sea journey ended near the Latium region in Italy,” said Polat. “Besides being an important hero for both Anatolia and Troy, he was a very important founder of the Roman Empire. This is why we want to create a big European project and retrace this adventure of Aeneas.”
The team’s plans to attempt to retrace Aeneas’ legendary region this year is an effort to unearth common ties among Aegean and Mediterranean cultures and to create a sense of history, according to Polat.
Excavations have been ongoing at the site for 10 years in the northwestern province, said Polat, an associate professor at Ege University’s archaeology department, adding that a team of 29 was working on a Roman villa, necropolis and settlement area along a slope at Antandrus.
Stating that they were working on various projects to promote the site, Polat said: “One of these is a European Union project in collaboration with Castro, a former Italian city and a sister city to Antandrus. The project aims to explore the relationship of the two ancient cities. We have proposed this project but have not confirmed that it will go ahead.”
[HH] Ship to set off from Altınoluk
The ship to be used in re-creating Aeneas’ journey will be built in the style of the post-Trojan period, the excavation coordinator said.
“Aeneas’ experiences in every place he passed will be dramatically re-created and documented. In this way, we will have a very significant historical documentary,” said Polat, detailing plans for a documentary film to accompany the seafarers. “I hope it will also contribute to the promotion of both Antandrus and Turkey abroad.”
[HH] Aeneas in Greek mythology
According to mythological sources, Trojan hero Aeneas, who was the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite, is considered Rome’s national hero. Leading the people of Troy after the city fell, Aeneas came to Antandrus (Altınoluk, in present-day Balıkesir in northwestern Turkey) and sailed out to sea with those who survived.
The winds dragged them to Carthage. After being hosted by Carthaginian queen Dido for some time, the Trojans went to central Italy and founded the city of Rome there.
Aeneas is the biggest hero of Troy after Hector while his sons, Romulus and Remus, founded the Roman Empire.
Aeneas is considered an important figure in Greek and Roman legend and history. He is a character in Homer’s “Iliad,” Quintus Smyrnaeus’ “Posthomerica” and Shakespeare’s “Troilus and Cressida.”