Aug 11, 2012

Nikos Deja Vu - The Return of Heracleidae (or the Dorian Invasion) Greece

Hellenic National Defence

The Return of Heracleidae

The Dorian invasion

The Dorian invasion, sometimes called the Dorian migration (Greek: Κάθοδος των Δωριέων), which took place ca. 1100 BC, describes the descent of the Hellenic Dorian tribe, from area north of the Caspian Sea into mainland Greece and Peloponnesus as well as the islands of the Aegean Sea.

Considered as an invasion, the advent of the Dorians is generally advanced to explain the swift collapse of Mycenaean civilization in ancient mainland Greece.

Peloponnesian cities that the Dorians invaded include Corinth, Olympia, Sparta and Mycenae. Many archaeologists attribute the destruction of Mycenae, a pivotal Mycenaean city, to these invading Dorians.

Concurrent effects are the disruption of long-distance trade and possibilities of civil war and natural disaster, as well as the colonisation of islands in the Aegean sea and the west coast of Asia Minor.

The Dorian invasion was partly responsible for the subsequent Greek Dark Ages. The written record is nonexistent; the Dorian migration is documented in the mute archaeological record: widespread burning and destruction of Bronze Age sites both in Crete and the mainland of Greece, many of which were reduced to villages or abandoned, and the introduction of iron-working ended the Bronze Age in the Aegean.

Ancient Greece

Who are the Dorians

The Dorians were one of the ancient Hellenic tribes acknowledged by Greek writers. Traditional accounts place their origins in the north, north-eastern regions of Greece, ancient Macedonia and Epirus, whence obscure circumstances drove them south into Attica and the Peloponnesus, to certain Aegean islands, and to the SW coast of Asia Minor. Late mythology gave them an eponymous founder, a certain "Dorus", son of "Hellen", the mythological patriarch of the Hellenes.

Beginning about 1150 BC, the Dorians invaded the Greek mainland, the Peloponnesus, Crete and other places throughout the Mediterranean, disrupting the Bronze Age Mycenaean civilization. Peloponnesian cities that the Dorians invaded include Corinth, Olympia, Sparta and Mycenae. Many archaeologists attribute the destruction of Mycenae, a pivotal Mycenaean city, to these invading Dorians.

Though most of the Doric invaders settled in the Peloponesse, they also settled on Rhodes and in Asia Minor, where in later times the Dorian Hexapolis (the six Dorian cities) would arise: Halicarnassus, Cos, Cnidos (Asia Minor); Lindos, Kameiros (Camiros), and Ialyssos (in Rhodes). These six cities would later become rivals with the Ionian cities of Asia Minor. The Dorians also invaded Crete. These origin traditions remained strong into classical times: Thucydides saw the Peloponnesian War in part as "Ionians fighting against Dorians" and reported the tradition that the Syracusans in Sicily were of Dorian descent (Thucydides, 7.57). Other such "Dorian" colonies, originally from Corinth, Megara, and the Dorian islands, dotted the southern coasts of Sicily from Syracuse to Selinus. Culturally, in addition to their Doric dialect of Greek, these colonies retained their characteristic Doric calendar revolving round a cycle of festivals of which the Hyacinthia and the Carneia were especially important (EB 1911).

The Dorian invasion was partly responsible for the subsequent Greek Dark Ages. The written record is nonexistent; the Dorian migration is documented in the mute archaeological record: widespread burning and destruction of Bronze Age sites both in Crete and the mainland of Greece, many of which were reduced to villages or abandoned, and the introduction of iron-working ended the Bronze Age in the Aegean.

The Dorian invasion

The Dorian invasion, more often called the Dorian migration in modern texts, is co-related with ash layers at Mycenaean sites and changes in burial practices, from Mycenaean group burials in tholos tombs to individual burials and the burning of the corpse, previously unknown. Considered as an invasion, the advent of the Dorians is generally advanced to explain the swift collapse of Mycenaean civilization in ancient mainland Greece. Concurrent effects are the disruption of long-distance trade and possibilities of civil war and natural disaster, as well as the colonisation of islands in the Aegean sea and the west coast of Asia Minor.

Mythic origins

According to a myth based on an etymological fantasy, the Dorians were named for the minor district of Doris in northern Greece. Their leaders were mythologized as the Heracleidae, the sons of the legendary hero Heracles, and the Dorian incursion into Greece in the distant past was justified in the mythic theme of the "Return of the Heracleidae". The most famous of Dorian groups were the Spartans, whose austere and martial lifestyle was much admired and feared.

Upon the death of Eurystheus an oracle tells the Mycenaeans to choose a Pelopid king and Atreus and Thyestes — already installed in nearby Midea by Sthenelus — contend for the prize. Atreus eventually wins out and his son, Orestes, returns to Mycenae and seizes the throne from Aletes, son of Aegisthus.

Orestes expanded his kingdom to include all of Argos, and he became king of Sparta by marrying Hermione, his cousin and the daughter of Menelaus and Helen. Finally, Tisamenus, Orestes' son by Hermione, the daughter of Helen, inherits the throne.

The Heracleidae ("children of Heracles") return to the Peloponnese, led by Hyllus, the son of Heracles, and Iolaus, Heracles' nephew, and contend with the Pelopidae ("children of Pelops") for possession of the Peloponnese.

The Heracleidae base their claim to power on their descent, through Heracles, from Perseus, the founder of Mycenae, whereas Tisamenus was a Pelopid whom the Heracleidae regard as a usurper.

After a year, the Heracleidae are driven out by plague and famine. Upon consulting the Delphic oracle, they were told that they had returned before their proper time: the god said they should await "the third crop." 

Accordingly, after three years, the Heracleidae invade the Peloponnese again, and Hyllus challenges the Peloponnesians to single-armed combat. In the ensuing duel with Echemus, king of Arcadia, Hyllus is killed and the Heracleidae undertake to withdraw for fifty years.

The Heracleidae invade again, under the leadership of Aristomachus, the son of Hyllus and Heracles' grandson. But Aristomachus is slain in combat with Tisamenus and his army, and the Heracleidae withdraw once again.

Upon consulting the oracle again, the Heracleidae are told that "the third crop" referred to the third generation of Heracles' descendants.

The Return of the Heracleidae under Heracles' great-grandsons is finally successful — although Aristodemus is slain by a thunderbolt, and his sons Procles and Eurysthenes assume leadership of his forces.

Temenus, Procles and Eurysthenes (the sons of Aristodemus), and Cresphontes cast lots for the kingdoms. Temenus becomes master of Argos, Procles and Eurysthenes of Sparta, and Cresphontes of Messenia.

Cresphontes secured the rule of Messenia for himself by the following stratagem: it was agreed that the first drawing of lots was for Argos, the second for Lacedaemon, and the third for Messenia. Both Temenus and the sons of Aristodemus throw stones into a pitcher of water, but Cresphontes cast in a clod of earth; since it was dissolved in the water, the other two lots turned up first.

Traditionally, this "Return of the Heracleidae" takes place eighty years after the Trojan war — between 1100 and 950 bce — and is represented as the recovery by the descendants of Heracles of the rightful inheritance of their hero ancestor and his sons. 

For ancient historians, the Return of the Heracleidae explained the spread of Doric language and culture throughout areas regarded as Achaean during the Minoan and Mycenean eras: in the historical period the whole of the Peloponnese with the exception of Arcadia, Elis, and Achaea is Doric, along with Doris in northern Greece and the islands of Crete and Rhodes.

The traditional date of the "Dorian Invasion" correlates with archaeological evidence of widespread burning, destruction, or abandoning of Bronze Age sites on both Crete and the mainland in Late Helladic IIIC (1200-1050 bce), and the beginning of the Dark Ages in Greece.

The destructions are clear, but their causes are much disputed — theories run the gamut from economic factors, to social upheaval, climatic change, or external invasion.

And it is generally agreed that Doric speakers did enter Greece around this time, but most likely as a migration after the Mycenaean centers were destroyed. (The late Bronze Age was a period of migration throughout the Mediterranean basin.)

Dorians Tribes through the Ages
(from 1600 - 1100 BC to Today)

  1. Pontians
  2. Macedonians
  3. Cretans
  4. Spartans
  5. Epirotes
  6. Rhodians
  7. Cypriots
  8. Troyans (?)
    New evidences (2008) in south Italy reports: "part of people of Troy should be primal Dorian race"
    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/169476/Dorian-invasion
    http://n1k0s.multiply.com/reviews/item/3

Lion hunt mosaic from Pella Lion hunt in ancient Macedonia

Sources:

  • Foundation of Hellenic World
  • Britannica
  • Helios - Eleftheroudakis
  • Foundation for Hellenic Studies
  • Hellenic Foundation for Culture

Nikos Deja Vu
http://n1999k.blogspot.com
http://youtube.com/nikosdejavu

No comments:

Post a Comment