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The terms Dardan and Dardanian in classical writings were synonymous with the term Trojan, the Dardans being Trojans, an ancient people of the
Troadin northwestern Anatolia. The Dardans derived their name from Dardanus, the mythical founder of Dardania (Asia minor), an ancient city in the Troad. Rule of the Troad was divided between Dardania and Troy. Homer makes a clear distinction between the Trojans and the Dardanians. [ "Review: Some Recent Works on Ancient Syria and the Sea People", Michael C. Astour, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 92, No. 3, (Jul. - Sep., 1972), pp. 447-459 writing about someone who identified the Dardanians with the Trojans: "Which is, incidentally, not so: the Iliad carefully distinguishes the Dardanians from the Trojans, not only in the list of Trojan allies (11:816-823) but also in the frequently repeated formula keklyte meu, Tr6es kai Dardanoi ed' epikuroi (e.g., III:456)]
The Royal House of Troy was also divided into two branches, that of Dardania, and that of Troy (or Ilium). The House of Dardania was older than the House of Troy, but Troy later became more powerful than Dardania.
Aeneasis referred to in Virgil's Aeneidinterchangeably as a "Dardan" or as a "Trojan", but strictly speaking Aeneas was of the Dardanian branch. Many rulers of Romeclaimed descent from Aeneas and the Houses of Troy and Dardania.
The strait of the
Dardanelleswas named after the Dardans, who lived in the region.
The ethnic affinities of the Dardans (and Trojans) and the nature of their language remain a mystery. The remains of their material culture reveal close ties with
Thracians, other Anatolian groups, and Greek contact.
Archaeological finds from the Troad dating back to the
Chalcolithicperiod show striking affinity to archaeological finds known from the same era in Munteniaand Moldavia, and there are other traces which suggest close ties between the Troad and the Carpatho-Balkan region of Europe. Archaeologists in fact have stated that the styles of certain ceramic objects and bone figurines show that these objects were brought into the Troad by Carpatho-Danubian colonists; for example, certain ceramic objects have been shown to have Cucuteni origins [Hoddinott, Ralph F., The Thracians, Thomas & Hudson Inc., 1981. Pgs.35-38] .They are totally unrelated to the later Thraco-Illyriantribe of the same name [Macurdy, Grace Harriet, The Wanderings of Dardanus and the Dardani, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 46 (1915), pp. 119-128] .
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