Mythological journey from Balıkesir to Rome
BALIKESİR – Anadolu AgencyThe mythological journey of Aeneas, son of Ankhises, a member of the family of Troy, and the goddess Aphrodite who was recognized as one of the founders of the Roman Empire, will be revived with a new project.
For the journey, which starts from the ancient city of Antandros in the northwestern province of Balıkesir’s Edremit district and ends in the Italian capital, sailboats will be constructed using lumber from the Kaz Mountains, which was known as the location of Mount Ida in mythology.
Ege University Archaeology Department member Prof. Gürcan Polat, the head of the Antandros archaeological excavations that have been continuing for 16 years, said that Ankhises and Aeneas were known as the biggest heroes after Hector, a Trojan prince and the greatest fighter for Troy in the Trojan War.
He said that the mission of Aeneas was to leave Troy to form a new city and maintain his ancestors for centuries on that land, adding, “In order to make it real, this mythological hero and other Trojans came to Antandros in the skirts of the Kaz Mountains.”
He said that after spending some time there, Aeneas left Antandros in the early spring with 20 newly-constructed sailboats.
“Upon the orders of the gods, Aeneas was the person who was expected to form a new Trojan city. So, he was an important figure in the establishment of the Roman Empire. He is known as the ancestor of the founder of this empire. After leaving Antandros, Aeneas came to Castro in Italy. In this framework we have made am EU project titled ‘Anatolia-Europe Mythological Historical Connection Antandros-Casto.’ Photography exhibitions were opened and symposiums were held everywhere. People have been informed about the issue.”
Journey with wooden sailboats
Polat said the next step was to construct the ancient boats used in that period. “We will follow the same route as Aeneas with these boats. We will revive the ancient journey between Antandros and the Roman Empire,” he added.
Stating that they had meetings and collaborations with some Italian academics who have taken part in the excavations, Polaty added they would organize a workshop in the spring, too.
He said that the mayors along on the ancient route, which included Greece, Albania, Tunisia and Italy, would be invited to the workshop and informed about the project.
“We want them to known about this project, too. There is such a strong and historical connection between the Roman Empire and Antandros. We have made this project to raise awareness on this connection both in European Union countries and Turkey. We will construct 15-20-meter wooden sailboats and oars to travel from Antandros to Rome. The project is not only limited to this journey; our goal is to make a documentary about the journey and air it on European televisions. In this way, we will make this place a center of attraction. Europeans already know Aeneas very well,” Polat said.
He also added that the lumber necessary for the sailboats would be obtained from Mount Ida, just as it was at the time. “We will take a mythological journey with two ancient sailboats and a consort,” he said.