Trojan language
Erac. 1300 BCE
Language codes
ISO 639-3

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 isn't 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.[1][2][3]


Another candidate language is Greek.[4][5] Archaeologist James Mellaart in the American Journal of Archaeology summarized some of the arguments in favor of this hypothesis:[5]

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 theory that the "Trojans" called themselves "Akhaiwoi" and spoke some form of Greek.

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.[1][2][3] 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.[1][2][3]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Bryce, Trevor (2005). The Trojans and their Neighbours. Taylor & Francis. pp. 117–122. ISBN 978-0-415-34959-8.
  2. ^ a b c 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.
  3. ^ a b c Yakubovich, Ilya (2008). "3.6" (PDF). Sociolinguistics of the Luvian language (PhD Thesis). University of Chicago.
  4. ^ Şaraplı, Onur (2019). "The Late Bronze Age Anatolia: The Origins of Trojans In the Context of Language and Culture". Karadeniz Uluslararası Bilimsel Dergi: 231. doi:10.17498/kdeniz.567117. ISSN 1308-6200.
  5. ^ a b 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.