Back To Babylon - The Inevitable Doom of Troy

The ancient city of Troy was doomed because they had gone in the wrong direction, towards Babylon, contrary to God's commandment.

The Trojans in Latium

Virgil's Aneid tells the story of the flight of Aeneas from the burning city of Troy and the eventual re-establishment of his kingdom in Latium (Italy), in a province on the north-west coast which became known as Alba Longa.

When the Trojans arrived in Latium, they were received by King Latinus in his temple of the gods, and he related to them some of their own history. He told them how Dardanus, their ancient and most celebrated king, had come from Latium. He welcomed them, not as strangers, but more like prodigal sons coming home, as if they had been Latins to start off with.(1)

Tell us, Dardans, since we had heard of you before ever you turned hither your course upon the ocean, and we already know both your city and your nation, what is your purpose? What reason or what need has carried you over all the blue ways of the sea to Italy's shore? Whether it is because you mistook your course, or because you were driven by storms - adversities of the kind which mariners often have to face on the deep - that you have entered between our river's banks and are now in port here, you must not hesitate to accept our hospitality and understand who the Latins are; for they are Saturn's kin who need no bond of law to keep them just, but are just by their own free will and hold to the way of their ancient God. Besides, I can remember that Auruncan elders used to tell a story, now perhaps dimmed by the lapse of time, how Dardanus himself had started from Italy's shore when he made his long voyage all the way to the Thracian Samos, which is now called Samothrace, and to the cities beneath Phrygian Ida, having journeyed there from his Etruscan home, Corythus. And now he has been received and enthroned in a golden palace of the star-glittering sky, and his altar lengthens the roll of deities.

In that case, Dardanus was going in the WRONG DIRECTION, contrary to the instructions of the One True God, who we read about in the Bible, and who scattered the nations from Babylon (Gen. 11:8). Either Dardanus himself, or his ancestors, must have already passed through Asia Minor, and possibly the Thracian Samos itself, on their westward journey to Latium. Then he decided to go back. No wonder the city was doomed.

The Trojans were descended from Tiras, the seventh and youngest son of Japheth. There was also a tribe called the Dardanians, descended from Dodanim, the grandson of Japheth through his fourth son of Javan. The lineage of Dardanus himself is uncertain, but he is more likely to be a Trojan than a Dardanian. It seems that Dardanus, and all the Trojans with him, went back to Asia Minor where they lived among the Dardanians, and they called themselves Dardans.

The Aneid continues with the battles between the Trojans and Rutulians, and eventually Aeneas kills Turnus, king of the Rutulians, in single combat, and establishes his right to marry Lavinia, the daughter of Latinus. Shortly before the final duel, there is a conversation between the gods as follows(2):

Juno says how the names Latium and Alban are to be preserved while the name of Troy should disappear.
But command not Latins, in a land which is their own, to change their ancient name, to become Trojans, or to be called Teucrians; command none to speak a different tongue or wear another garb. Let there be Latium still, and, down the centuries, Alban kings; let there be the Roman breed drawing power from Italian manliness. Troy has fallen, and fallen permit her, and her name, to stay.
The 'Creator of the world' (whoever he is) confirms that the Trojans will be absorbed into Italy:
The ancient folk of Italy shall retain the speech of their forefathers and their way of life; and their name shall be as now it is. The Trojans shall only blend, absorbed, in the Italian breed.
Note: At the time when Virgil wrote these words, not only had the name of Troy disappeared from Latium, it was also disappearing from Britain. Troia Newydd had been re-named Caer-Ludd, and the Romans called it Londinium. But today there are still a few streets named after Troy, as I have discussed in The Trojan City of London.

Why did the gods decree the demise of the Trojan name, just as Aeneas was about to gain a victory that would re-establish his kingdom in Latium? Obviously they didn't decree anything, because the pagan gods are no gods at all, they are just idols. But the Trojans themselves knew that if they continued to call themselves Trojans while in Latium, they might make the same mistake as their predecessors and go back to Troy.

The One True God of the Bible decreed that the nations should spread out over the earth from Babylon. The so-called 'destiny' of Aeneas, decreed by his gods, was to travel westward to Italy after the destruction of Troy. I sometimes wonder if the ancient pagans were hearing the voice of the One True God, even though they did not know Him.


1. Virgil, The Aneid, translated by W.F. Jackson Knight, Penguin Classics, 1958, ISBN 0-14-044051-8, p.181.

2. ibid, pp.334-335.

Copyright 2001

Mike Gascoigne
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