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Text #9348

"Phrygians", in Wikipedia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrygians

The Phrygians were an ancient Indo-European people, initially dwelling in the southern Balkans – according to Herodotus – under the name of Bryges (Briges), changing it to Phruges after their final migration to Anatolia, via the Hellespont.

From tribal and village beginnings, the state of Phrygia arose in the eighth century BC with its capital at Gordium. During this period, the Phrygians extended eastward and encroached upon the kingdom of Urartu, the descendants of the Hurrians, a former rival of the Hittites.

Meanwhile, the Phrygian Kingdom was overwhelmed by Cimmerian invaders around 690 BC, then briefly conquered by its neighbour Lydia, before it passed successively into the Persian Empire of Cyrus the Great and the empire of Alexander and his successors, was taken by the Attalids of Pergamon, and eventually became part of the Roman Empire. The last mention of the language in literature dates to the fifth century CE and it was likely extinct by the seventh century.

The Phrygians spoke an Indo-European language. Some contemporary historians, among which Strabo is the most known, consider the Phrygians a Thracian tribe, part of a wider “Thraco-Phrygian” group. Other linguists dismiss this hypothesis since Thracian (and hence Daco-Thracian) seem to belong to the Satem group of Indo-European languages, while Phrygian shared several similarities with other Indo-European languages of the Centum group (like Latin, Greek or the Anatolian languages). According to the latter group, of all the Indo-European languages, Phrygian seems to have been most closely linked to Greek, suggesting that the two languages belonged to the same dialectal subgroup of early Indo-European. Although the Phrygians adopted the alphabet originated by the Phoenicians, only a few dozen inscriptions in the Phrygian language have been found, primarily funereal, and so much of what is thought to be known of Phrygia is second-hand information from Greek sources.

After the collapse of the Hittite Empire at the beginning of the twelfth century BC, the political vacuum in central-western Anatolia was filled by a wave of Indo-European migrants and “Sea Peoples”, including the Phrygians, who established their kingdom with a capital eventually at Gordium. It is presently unknown whether the Phrygians were actively involved in the collapse of the Hittite capital Hattusa or whether they simply moved into the vacuum left by the collapse of Hittite hegemony. The so-called Handmade Knobbed Ware was found by archaeologists at sites from this period in Western Anatolia. According to Greek mythographers, the first Phrygian Midas had been king of the Moschi (Mushki), also known as Bryges (Brigi) in the western part of archaic Thrace.

A conventional date of c. 1180 BC is often used for the influx (traditionally from Thrace) of the pre-Phrygian Bryges or Mushki, corresponding to the very end of the Hittite empire. Following this date, Phrygia retained a separate cultural identity. E. g. in classical Greek iconography the Trojan Paris is represented as non-Greek by his Phrygian cap, which was worn by Mithras and survived into modern imagery as the “Liberty cap” of the American and French revolutionaries.

Phrygia developed an advanced Bronze Age culture. The earliest traditions of Greek music are in part connected to Phrygian music, transmitted through the Greek colonies in Anatolia, especially the Phrygian mode, which was considered to be the warlike mode in ancient Greek music. Phrygian Midas, the king of the “golden touch”, was tutored in music by Orpheus himself, according to the myth. Another musical invention that came from Phrygia was the aulos, a reed instrument with two pipes. Marsyas, the satyr who first formed the instrument using the hollowed antler of a stag, was a Phrygian follower of Cybele. He unwisely competed in music with the Olympian Apollo and inevitably lost, whereupon Apollo flayed Marsyas alive and provocatively hung his skin on Cybele’s own sacred tree, a pine.

It was the “Great Mother”, Cybele, as the Greeks and Romans knew her, who was originally worshipped in the mountains of Phrygia, where she was known as “Mountain Mother”. In her typical Phrygian form, she wears a long belted dress, a polos (a high cylindrical headdress), and a veil covering the whole body. The later version of Cybele was established by a pupil of Phidias, the sculptor Agoracritus, and became the image most widely adopted by Cybele’s expanding following, both in the Aegean world and at Rome. It shows her humanized though still enthroned, her hand resting on an attendant lion and the other holding the tympanon, a circular frame drum, similar to a tambourine.

The Phrygians also venerated Sabazios, the sky and father-god depicted on horseback. Although the Greeks associated Sabazios with Zeus, representations of him, even at Roman times, show him as a horseman god. His conflicts with the indigenous Mother Goddess, whose creature was the Lunar Bull, may be surmised in the way that Sabazios’ horse places a hoof on the head of a bull, in a Roman relief at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Assyrian sources from the 8th century BC speak of a king Mita of the Mushki, identified with king Midas of Phrygia. An Assyrian inscription records Mita as an ally of Sargon of Assyria in 709 BC. A distinctive Phrygian pottery called Polished Ware appears in the 8th century BC. The Phrygians founded a powerful kingdom which lasted until the Lydian ascendancy (7th century BC). Under kings alternately named Gordias and Midas, the independent Phrygian kingdom of the 8th and 7th centuries BC maintained close trade contacts with her neighbours in the east and the Greeks in the west. Phrygia seems to have been able to co-exist with whatever power was dominant in eastern Anatolia at the time.

The name of the earliest known mythical king was Nannacus (aka Annacus). This king resided at Iconium, the most eastern city of the kingdom of Phrygia at that time, and after his death, at the age of 300 years, a great flood overwhelmed the country, as had been foretold by an ancient oracle. The next king mentioned in extant classical sources was called Manis or Masdes. According to Plutarch, because of his splendid exploits, great things were called “manic” in Phrygia. Thereafter the kingdom of Phrygia seems to have become fragmented among various kings. One of the kings was Tantalus who ruled over the north western region of Phrygia around Mount Sipylus. Tantalus was endlessly punished in Tartarus, because he allegedly killed his son Pelops and sacrificially offered him to the Olympians, a reference to the suppression of human sacrifice. Tantalus was also falsely accused of stealing from the lotteries he had invented. In the mythic age before the Trojan war, during a time of an interregnum, Gordius (or Gordias), a Phrygian farmer, became king, fulfilling an oracular prophecy. The kingless Phrygians had turned for guidance to the oracle of Sabazios (“Zeus” to the Greeks) at Telmissus, in the part of Phrygia that later became part of Galatia. They had been instructed by the oracle to acclaim as their king the first man who rode up to the god’s temple in a cart. That man was Gordias (Gordios, Gordius), a farmer, who dedicated the ox-cart in question, tied to its shaft with the “Gordian Knot”. Gordias refounded a capital at Gordium in west central Anatolia, situated on the old trackway through the heart of Anatolia that became Darius’s Persian “Royal Road” from Pessinus to Ancyra, and not far from the River Sangarius.

Later mythic kings of Phrygia were alternately named Gordias and Midas. Myths surround the first king Midas connecting him with a mythological tale concerning Attis. This shadowy figure resided at Pessinus and attempted to marry his daughter to the young Attis in spite of the opposition of his lover Agdestis and his mother, the goddess Cybele. When Agdestis or Cybele appear and cast madness upon the members of the wedding feast. Midas is said to have died in the ensuing chaos.

The famous king Midas was said to be a son of the kind Gordius mentioned above. He is said to have associated himself with Silenus and other satyrs and with Dionysus, who granted him the famous “golden touch”.

The mythic Midas of Thrace, accompanied by a band of his people, traveled to Asia Minor to wash away the taint of his unwelcome “golden touch” in the river Pactolus. Leaving the gold in the river’s sands, Midas found himself in Phrygia, where he was adopted by the childless king Gordias and taken under the protection of Cybele. Acting as the visible representative of Cybele, and under her authority, it would seem, a Phrygian king could designate his successor.

According to the Iliad, the Phrygians were Trojan allies during the Trojan War. The Phrygia of Homer’s Iliad appears to be located in the area that embraced the Ascanian lake and the northern flow of the Sangarius river and so was much more limited in extent than classical Phrygia. Homer’s Iliad also includes a reminiscence by the Trojan king Priam, who had in his youth come to aid the Phrygians against the Amazons (Iliad 3.189). During this episode (a generation before the Trojan War), the Phrygians were said to be led by Otreus and Mygdon. Both appear to be little more than eponyms: there was a place named Otrea on the Ascanian Lake, in the vicinity of the later Nicaea; and the Mygdones were a people of Asia Minor, who resided near Lake Dascylitis (there was also a Mygdonia in Macedonia). During the Trojan War, the Phrygians sent forces to aid Troy, led by Ascanius and Phorcys, the sons of Aretaon. Asius, son of Dymas and brother of Hecabe, is another Phrygian noble who fought before Troy. Quintus Smyrnaeus mentions another Phrygian prince, named Coroebus, son of Mygdon, who fought and died at Troy; he had sued for the hand of the Trojan princess Cassandra in marriage. King Priam’s wife Hecabe is usually said to be of Phrygian birth, as a daughter of King Dymas.

The Phrygian Sibyl was the priestess presiding over the Apollonian oracle at Phrygia.

Herodotus, claims the priests of Hephaestus told him a story that the Egyptian pharaoh Psammetichus had two children raised in isolation in order to find the original language. The children were reported to have uttered bekos meaning “bread” in Phrygian. It was then acknowledged by the Egyptians that the Phrygians were a nation older than the Egyptians.

The invasion of Anatolia in the late 8th century BC to early 7th century BC by the Cimmerians was to prove fatal to independent Phrygia. Cimmerian pressure and attacks culminated in the suicide of its last king, Midas, according to legend. Gordium fell to the Cimmerians in 696 BC and was sacked and burnt, as reported much later by Herodotus.

A series of digs have opened Gordium as one of Turkey’s most revealing archeological sites. Excavations confirm a violent destruction of Gordion around 675 BC. A tomb of the Midas period, popularly identified as the “Tomb of Midas” revealed a wooden structure deeply buried under a vast tumulus, containing grave goods, a coffin, furniture, and food offerings (Archaeological Museum, Ankara). The Gordium site contains a considerable later building program, perhaps by Alyattes, the Lydian king, in the 6th century BC.

Minor Phrygian kingdoms continued to exist after the end of the Phrygian empire, and the Phrygian art and culture continued to flourish. Cimmerian people stayed in Anatolia but do not appear to have created a kingdom of their own. The Lydians repulsed the Cimmerians in the 620s, and Phrygia was subsumed into a short-lived Lydian empire. The eastern part of the former Phrygian empire fell into the hands of the Medes in 585 BC.

Under the proverbially rich King Croesus (reigned 560–546 BC), Phrygia remained part of the Lydian empire that extended east to the Halys River. There may be an echo of strife with Lydia and perhaps a veiled reference to royal hostages, in the legend of the twice-unlucky Adrastus, the son of a King Gordias with the queen, Eurynome. He accidentally killed his brother and exiled himself to Lydia, where King Croesus welcomed him. Once again, Adrastus accidentally killed Croesus’ son and then committed suicide.

Lydian Croesus was conquered by Cyrus in 546 BC, and Phrygia passed under Persian dominion. After Darius became Persian Emperor in 521 BC, he remade the ancient trade route into the Persian “Royal Road” and instituted administrative reforms that included setting up satrapies. The capital of the Phrygian satrapy was established at Dascylion.

Under Persian rule, the Phrygians seem to have lost their intellectual acuity and independence. Phrygians became stereotyped among later Greeks and the Romans as passive and dull. Phrygians remained subjects to the Hellenistic kingdoms that ruled the area and later to the Roman Empire, but the Phrygians retained their culture and their language until it became extinct in the 5th Century.

Text #9349

"Mushki", in Wikipedia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mushki

The Mushki were an Iron Age people of Anatolia, known from Assyrian sources. They do not appear in Hittite records. Several authors have connected them with the Moschoi (Μόσχοι) of Greek sources and the Georgian tribe of the Meskhi. Two different groups are called Muški in the Assyrian sources (Diakonoff 1984:115), one from the 12th to 9th centuries, located near the confluence of the Arsanias and the Euphrates (“Eastern Mushki”), and the other in the 8th to 7th centuries, located in Cappadocia and Cilicia (“Western Mushki”). Assyrian sources identify the Western Mushki with the Phrygians, while Greek sources clearly distinguish between Phrygians and Moschoi.

Identification of the Eastern with the Western Mushki is uncertain, but it is of course possible to assume a migration of at least part of the Eastern Mushki to Cilicia in the course of the 10th to 8th centuries, and this possibility has been repeatedly suggested, variously identifying the Mushki as speakers of a Georgian, Armenian or Anatolian idiom. The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture notes that “the Armenians according to Diakonoff, are then an amalgam of the Hurrian (and Urartians), Luvians and the Proto-Armenian Mushki (or Armeno-Phrygians) who carried their IE language eastwards across Anatolia.”

The Eastern Muski appear to have moved into Hatti in the 12th century, completing the downfall of the collapsing Hittite state, along with various Sea Peoples. They established themselves in a post-Hittite kingdom in Cappadocia.

Whether they moved into the core Hittite areas from the east or west has been a matter of some discussion by historians. Some speculate that they may have originally occupied a territory in the area of Urartu; alternatively, ancient accounts suggest that they first arrived from a homeland in the west (as part of the Armeno-Phrygian migration), from the region of Troy, or even from as far as Macedonia, as the Bryges.

Together with the Hurrians and Kaskas, they invaded the Assyrian provinces of Alzi and Puruhuzzi in about 1160 BC, but they were pushed back and defeated, along with the Kaskas, by Tiglath-Pileser I in 1115 BC, who until 1110 BC advanced as far as Milid.

In 709 BC, the Mushki re-emerged as allies of Assyria, Sargon naming Mita as his friend. It appears that Mita had captured and handed over to the Assyrians emissaries of Urikki, king of Que, who were sent to negotiate an anti-Assyrian contract with Urartu, as they passed through his territory.

According to Assyrian military intelligence reports to Sargon recorded on clay tablets found in the Royal Archives of Nineveh by Sir Henry Layard, the Cimmerians invaded Urartu from Mannai in 714 BC. From there they turned west along the coast of the Black Sea as far as Sinope, and then headed south towards Tabal, in 705 BC defeating an Assyrian army in central Anatolia, resulting in the death of Sargon. Macqueen (1986:157) and others have speculated that the Mushki under Mita may have participated in the Assyrian campaign and were forced to flee to western Anatolia, disappearing from Assyrian accounts, but entering the periphery of Greek historiography as king Midas of Phrygia.

Rusas II of Urartu in the 7th century fought the Mushki-ni to his west, before he entered an alliance with them against Assyria.

Hecataeus of Miletus (c. 550 - 476 BCE) speaks of the Moschi as “Colchians” (perhaps, Georgian speaking), situated next to the Matieni (Hurrians).

According to Herodotus, the equipment of the Moschoi was similar to that of the Tibareni, Macrones, Mossynoeci and Mardae, with wooden caps upon their heads, and shields and small spears, on which long points were set. All these tribes formed the 19th satrapy of the Achaemenid empire, extending along the southeast of the Euxine, or the Black Sea, and bounded on the south by the lofty chain of the Armenian mountains.

Strabo locates the Moschoi in two places. The first location is somewhere in modern Abkhazia (Georgia) on the eastern shore of the Black Sea, in agreement with Stephan of Byzantium quoting Hellanicus. The second location Moschice (Moschikê) – in which was a temple of Leucothea, once famous for its wealth, but plundered by Pharnaces and Mithridates – was divided between the Colchians, Armenians, and Iberians (cf. Mela, III. 5.4; Pliny VI.4.). These latter Moschoi were obviously the Georgian Meskhi or Mesx’i (where Greek χ, chi, is Georgian ხ, x). Procopius calls them Meschoi and says that they were subject to the Iberians (i.e., Georgians), and had embraced Christianity, the religion of their masters. According to Professor James R. Russell of Harvard University, the Georgian designation for Armenians Somekhi, preserves the old name of the Mushki.

Pliny in the 1st century AD mentions the Moscheni in southern Armenia (“Armenia” at the time stretching south and west to the Mediterranean, bordering on Cappadocia). In Byzantine historiography, Moschoi was a name equivalent to or considered as the ancestors of “Cappadocians” (Eusebius) with their capital at Mazaca (later Caesarea Mazaca, modern Kayseri).

The ancient city of Mtskheta, near Tbilisi, is believed by Georgian experts to be the former capital of the Mushki state. According to the medieval Georgian Chronicles, the city was built by the legendary patriarch Mtskhetos, one of five sons of Kartlos, the legendary patriarch of the Georgian nation (who was in turn said to be a son of Torgom, the Georgian spelling of Biblical Togar Mah, son of Gomer, son of Japheth, son of Noah). According to the Chronicles, during Mtskhetos’ lifetime the descendants of Torgom (including Georgians, Armenians and other South Caucasian nations) were united and successfully resisted the attacks of the “Nimrodians”, which Georgian experts interpret as a reference to ancient conflict between the Mushki and Assyria. Excavations in Mtskheta have confirmed the town dates back at least as far as 1000 BC.

The Chronicles, the older Conversion of Kartli, and the older still Armenian chronicles of Moses of Chorene all give conflicting accounts of Mtskheta’s history prior to and during the conquests of Alexander the Great. According to the Conversion, Mtskheta remained the chief city of “Kartli”, the medieval native name for Georgia, up until Alexander’s arrival, who changed the ruling dynasty in Mtskheta by installing Azo, said to be a prince from Arian Kartli. According to the Chronicles, after Mtskhetos’ death, Kartli broke up into several smaller, warring regions, until unity was restored by Azo, said to be one of Alexander’s Macedonian generals, who was in turn expelled by the (half-Persian) local prince Parnawaz, and it was Parnawaz who founded the new ruling dynasty of Kartli. Moses of Chorene says that Alexander installed a Persian satrap named Mithridates in Mtskheta.

While Georgian experts disagree over the details of their interpretations of these accounts, they generally agree that they reflect a decline of the Mushki state and rise of Persian influence before the arrival of Alexander, who, perhaps more as a side-effect than by any effort on his part, ushered in a new era of unity in much of the Mushki state’s former territories under a new dynasty, who preferred the name Kartli over Mushki. Mtskheta remained the capital of the Kartli state, which became known in most languages as Iberia, until the 5th century AD.

People in what is now a south-central Georgian region continued to favor a variant of the old Mushki name, and today call themselves Meskhs and their region Meskheti. They speak a dialect of Georgian called Meskhuri, which among Georgia’s regional dialects is relatively close to official Georgian. The town of Mtskheta is not in today’s Meskheti region, but lies about 100 km to its northeast, in the Kartli region.

Massagetae

Georgian historians believe the Massagetae is another name for the Mushki, in contradiction to prevailing opinion which places the Massagetae in Central Asia. They base their argument on statements by Herodotus that the Massagetae lived “beyond the Araxes” (1.201) and that “after crossing the Araxes, Cyrus was sleeping on the territory of the Massagetae” (1.209), while rejecting as a mistake a third statement by Herodotus that “on the west the Caspian is bounded by the Caucasus; eastwards lies an immense tract of flat country … the greater part of this region is occupied by the Massagetae” (1.204). Georgian historians also point to the similarity of the names Massagetae, Mtskheta and Meskheti, and to the lack of archeological evidence for a Massagetae state in Central Asia.

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