The Prestigious Pedigree Of Aeneas, Descendant Of Dardanos
One hears of Aeneas’ pedigree for the first time from his own mouth, in the Iliad, as he stands facing his arch-foe, Achilles, on the battlefield before Troy: ‘ Learn then my lineage if you will – and it is known to many – in the beginning Dardanos was the son of Zeus, and founded Dardania, for Troy was not yet established on the plain for men to dwell in, and her people still abode on the spurs of many-fountained Ida. Dardanos had a son, king Erichthonius, who was wealthiest of all men living; he had three thousand mares that fed by the water-meadows, they and their foals with them… Erichthonius begat Tros, king of the Trojans, and Tros had three noble sons, Ilos, Assaracus, and Ganymede who was comeliest of mortal men; wherefore the gods carried him off to be Zeus’s cupbearer, for his beauty’s sake, that he might dwell among the immortals. Ilos begat Laomedon, and Laomedon begat Tithonus, Priam, Lampus, Clytius, and Hiketaon… But Assaracus was father to Capys, and Capys to Anchises, who was my father.’
Aeneas, legendary ancestor of the Julii, with the god of the Tiber by Bartolomeo Pinelli (pre- 1835) (Public Domain)
This is one of the finest, if not the finest, pedigree in the world. It is one to which numerous dynasties have laid claim, by forging ancestral connections back to Aeneas or Priam. The Caesars did so, and later the kings of France and the Holy Roman Emperors. So, too, did the kings of Dark Age Gwynedd in north Wales, via a purely mythological great grandson of Aeneas, invented for them by their own bards and monks, called Brutus of Troy, and the Tudors later forged a link back to it to benefit from its prestige.
This pedigree, that the Homeric Aeneas, at least, may have learned during his time with Anchises at Palaiskepsis, on the hill of Küçük, linked him back to the very origins of Dardania and placed him in a delicate position that would affect him deeply, in relation to the royal family of Troy.
Aeneas fleeing from Troy, by Pompeo Batoni (c. 1750) (Public Domain)
Creating The Founding Hero Dardanos
Dardanos’ name was invented, like the names of many founding heroes, by Greek etiology. This assumed, incorrectly, that most realms and cities were named after founding heroes. Dardania existed, so there must have been a founding hero called Dardanos.
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Extract from Anthony Adolph’s In Search of Aeneas, Classical Myth or Bronze Age Hero? Available 15 October 2023 at Amberley Books
Top Image: Aeneas defeats Turnus, by Luca Giordano, 1634–1705. The genius of Aeneas is shown ascendant, looking into the light of the future, while that of Turnus is setting, shrouded in darkness by Luca Giordano (17th century) (Public Domain)
By: Anthony Adolph