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Map of the Troas

Troas ( Greek  Τρῳάς ) is the ancient name of a landscape in the northwestern part of Asia Minor , southeast of the strait of the Dardanelles (in ancient times Hellespont) and north of the island of Lesbos . A mountain range in the southeast and east separated them from the rest of Asia Minor. The Troas surrounded the ancient city of Troy . After Stephanos of Byzantium , the Troas was also called Teukris, Dardania or Xanthe .


The area of ​​the Troas consisted of the catchment area of three rivers, the Simoïs ( Dümrek Çayı ) in the north, the Skamander ( Karamenderes Çayı ) and the Satnioeis ( Tuzla Çayı ) in the south. In the west and south it bordered the Aegean Sea , the north and east borders were already unclear in antiquity (cf. Strabon : Geôgraphiká. 13th book). Strabo followed Homer when he laid the northeast border of the Troas on the Aisepos river ( Gönen Çayı ) and the southeast border on the Gulf of Adramyttion ( Edremit Körfezi) . The Troas was largely occupied by the branches of the steeply rising wooded Ida Mountains (Kaz Dağı) , which rise steeply up to 1774 meters , between which only the valley of the Skamander stretches, which flows through several broader stepped plains down to the Hellespont .

Origin of name

The Troas was named after its inhabitants, the Trojans mentioned by Homer (Τρῶες Trōes ). The people got their name from a mythical eponym , King Tros , a grandson of Dardanos . Nothing is known about the origin of the Trojans and their relationship to other peoples, and no traces of their own language have survived. Conjectures point towards a Thracian or Phrygian origin. Strabo (13, I, 8) called the Trojans (Troer) part of the Thracians.

Landscape of the Troas

Parts of the Troad were the scene of the Trojan War in Greek mythology . The Homeric Ilios , located in Troas, can be linked to Wilusa, which is mentioned several times in Hittite sources , according to a theory that is still controversial today, which was created by the Indo-Europeanist Paul Kretschmer and which is currently represented by, among others, the ancient orientalist Frank Starke and the classical philologist Joachim Latacz . According to this, the ancient Greek name of Wilusa was Wilios in Mycenaean times , from which the omission of the "W" ( Digamma ) became Ilios or Ilion in pre-Homeric times .

Furthermore, it is believed by the followers of this research opinion that the Taruiša mentioned in Hittite archives can be connected with the Troas (or Troy). Latacz suspects that the Hittites / Luwians and Greeks adopted an underlying older form of place name in their languages ​​at different times (Taruwisa / Tru (w) isa - Troy). In contrast to the impossibility of a purely Indo-European phonetic equation between the two place names, which he assumed , Ivo Hajnal considers the possibility of a relative formal identity of the Homeric Τροίη with the Hittite Taruiša to be given.


The area of ​​the Troas was settled as early as the Neolithic Age. Traces of settlement from the early Bronze Age were found in the lower and upper Skamander plains .

Greek settlement areas on the Aegean Sea in the 5th century BC Chr.

From the early 1st millennium BC BC the Troas, especially on the coast, was populated mainly by Aiolians . More important places from Greek times that also minted coins are Abydos , Alexandria Troas , Antandros , Assos , Birytis , Dardanos , Gargara , Gergis , Hamaxitos , Kebrene , Kolone , Lamponeia , Lampsakos , Neandreia and Skepticism .

Obol from Neandreia (Troas) with ram and NEAN, around 400 BC Chr., Cf. Szaiert / Sear No. 4091

The landscape belonged to the Mysia region during the Diadoch period . In the Roman Empire it was part of the Roman province of Asia . Under Byzantine rule, the Troad was on the theme of the Aegean Islands , and during the Ottoman Empire it was part of Bigha.

Today the Troas is part of the Turkish province Çanakkale and includes the area of ​​the peninsula of Biga (Biga Yarımadası) . On the southwestern Cape Bababurun lies Babakale, the westernmost point of mainland Asia Minor.

Natural landscapes

The map shows the different natural areas of the Troas according to their geological or geomorphological relevance

On both sides of the Dardanelles waterway, that 65 km long, up to 100 m deep and 1.3 to 6 km wide strait between the Sea of ​​Marmara and the Aegean Sea, a river valley that was submerged below sea level due to tectonic subsidence in the Pleistocene , traditionally used as the border between Europe and Asia is called, hardly folded, soft, tertiary sea and brackish water sediments of sandstones, clays, marls and limes characterize the relief. With elongated, flat spurs and sedge, they form the basis of rural rain- fed agriculture . Narrow beach bays are set into the steeper coastal areas of the bank hill country with clear shoreline terraces of Ice Age sea highs. In contrast to the rather poorly forested tertiary hill country of the narrow Gelibolu Peninsula on the European side, the Troas in Asia Minor as the western part of the 100 km wide Biga Peninsula offers a varied landscape, especially in its higher parts, and a varied relief from rocky high mountains to the flat coastal courtyard .

In these forest mountainous areas of the Troas, tertiary basins within the mostly arable ridge landscapes serve as the main bearer of more intensive farming. These include, as sink zones with alluvial soils, the Skamander- Dümrek plain in the vicinity of Troia or the Ezine - Bayramiç basin on the lower and middle Skamander (Kara Menderes), which drains the Troas as a 124 km long main river with a large number of tributaries. The Kalkberglandschwellen of Çiçekligöl Dağı and Fiğla Dağı with its basalt tops (Ballı Dağ) form a strikingly separating barrier between the western and inner Troas, in which the scamander cut himself with a narrow breakthrough valley (Araplar Boğazı) between Ezine and Taştepe. The higher mountainous countries, some of which have ore-bearing deposits, are grouped - each opposite - around the depression zone of the central scamander between Ezine and Bayramiç. In the west lies the granite mountains of the 579 m high Çigri Dağı with the ruins of Neandria. Opposite, about 70 km away in the east, rise the granite mountains of the Dağları oil doors, enveloped by the folded Paleozoic of Sakar Dağı. Particularly striking examples of granitic wool sack weathering with tafoni formation can be found in the granite regions around the Çığrı Dağı and southwest of it at Kocalı, Yavaşlar, Kayacık, Karakışlar, Belenobası and Tavaklı, on the southeastern edge of the Salihler plateau near Kuşçayır as well as at the Yançayır . between Kocaköy and Gülpınar. In the southeast, the crystalline slate mountain range of the partly densely forested Kaz Dağı ( Ida Mountains ) rises up with the Paleozoic northwest and western roofs of Dede Dağı, Çal Dağı, Dikilidağ and Delitepe. Opposite in the northwest the wooded Salihler slate plateau (Büyükhayrettin Tepesi) rises to over 500 m. Subsequently to the northeast, foothills of andesitic-trachytic volcanic mountains with extensive high forests in Kara Dağı, Aladağ and Gökçedağ reach heights of more than 750 m. Opposite, in the southwestern Troas, the volcanic landscape of Kavak Dağı, Karbastı Dağı and Yoyu Dağı forms an extensive plateau, mostly with few trees. The volcanic rocks, which are conspicuously present everywhere, together with the thermal springs of Kestanbul Kaplıca and Tuzla, identify the Troas as a latent tectonic unrest zone. Severe earthquakes in this region are likely to be responsible for the decline of ancient cities such as Troy or Alexandria Troas .


According to all previous knowledge, in the 19th century, with few exceptions, the Troas was "undeveloped and covered with spruce and oak". Although considerable parts of the Troas are still covered with forest today, the landscape has changed significantly, especially in the surroundings of the villages - less due to the increase in agriculture, more due to the overstocking of small animals by the farmers. Arable farming is rare within the forest mountains. Small livestock farming is largely practiced on clearing islands today, which uses and damages the bush and forest landscapes in the wider vicinity of the farms through forest pasture. Uncontrolled overgrazing, especially by goats, has created unmistakably striking landscape characters in many parts of the Troas, from which the stages of a long landscape destruction can be read. Degraded forest, bush and grass landscapes of various degrees of destruction by cattle bites and kicking have become typical. Such landscapes are particularly noticeable on the volcanic plateaus interspersed with forest in the southwest of the Troas, where the conditions for economically justifiable agriculture are modest and therefore small livestock farming predominates. In the hilly areas between Ezine and Karadağ, but especially in the south-western mountainous areas around Tuzla Çayı, which are relatively densely populated with villages and characterized by volcanic blankets, the traces of traditional small-scale livestock farming are evident everywhere, even outside the vicinity of the settlements. While the higher hinterland and the flanks of the valley heirs between Tavaklı, Ayvacık and Assos are (again) covered by partly dense forests due to afforestation, the parts near the sea often appear as bare or bush-covered plateaus with marginal farming based on small livestock. Here there are no longer smaller clearing islands within the forest, here extensive barren pasture areas spread out.

Although many of the Tertiary Riedel of the western Troadic coastal areas and on both sides of the Middle Scamander are taken up by cereal crops, the Troas as a whole is still rather extensively managed. If one ignores the fact that large parts of the landscape of the Salihler Plateau, the Kavak Dağı or the Kaz Dağı are already covered with a dense forest cover, one can find remains of larger pine and oak stands, even in the more open landscapes, among the latter the Walloon oaks (also called "Gerbereich", Quercus ithaburensis macrolepis) had a historically special position as a supplier of tannins. Of the 974,000 hectares in Çanakkale Province, almost 54% are forest and scrubland and only 34% are cultivated land. Agricultural areas with few trees are rather rare, and the establishment of the agricultural landscape with trees that provide shade, such as wild fruit or hawthorn, is typical. In addition, charcoal burning in the Troas is of considerable economic importance. Olive trees and Walloon oaks occupy the grain areas widely as floor crops, and fruit trees cultivated in small and large gardens in the vicinity of the villages give some parts of the troadic cultural landscape the varied image of a horticultural region. In the hinterland of Assos, the irregular block corridors and field paths surrounded by hedge bushes are reminiscent of one of those typical European hedge and bend landscapes, such as those found in Schleswig-Holstein, the French Les Landes, Ireland or Great Britain. Especially in the inland basins and coastal plains that are flooded with fertile alluvions, the Troas is now showing its most intensive use. Just a few decades ago, such areas were hardly irrigated and largely cultivated with traditional arable crops. This was obviously not always the case in the past: Remnants of old abandoned arable terraces refer in many places in the mountainous areas - especially in the vicinity of ancient settlement remains - to a once significantly more intensive cultivation of the area in terrace cultivation, which, according to the current state of research, not only extends into the "modern Greek" Settlement of the Turkish west coasts goes back, but at least to the late antique-Byzantine.

The population density in Turkey, which has increased since the beginning of the 20th century, resulted in an increase in land grabbing in the Troas, in some cases to the point of irrationality. It also happened there at the expense of forests and pastures. Because the yields were too low, many farmers tried to intensify as an alternative. In place of the usual fallow rotation, there were initially fruit rotation and fertilization in order to keep overuse of the soil within limits. At first there were hardly any alternatives to clearing the mountainous lands or intensifying existing arable land, as parts of the Alluvialland of the Troas were regularly flooded until a few decades ago during floods. Despite the drainage, parts are still boggy today. This is especially true in the lower delta regions of the Skamander and Tuzla Çayı. This increased the fertility of the soil, but at the same time - in addition to the spread of malaria - due to the highly hygroscopic soil, the swamp and mud, which severely impaired cultivation.

Today the basins and coastal plains are drained almost everywhere, and after the construction of small dams (gölet), various state irrigation systems are available. The development of the floodplains had begun in the Troas by settled Muhacir (political returnees from lost areas of the Ottoman Empire). The establishment and expansion of an extensive and effective irrigation and drainage network in Turkey had already been carried out before the Second World War by the DSI (Devlet Su Işleri = State Water Construction Authority) and was later carried out by the Soil and Water Authority (Topraksu) since the mid-1960s. vigorously advanced. Despite the significant expansion of arable land within the Troas by more than a third since the 1970s, the grain fields there tended to decline. During the post-war years, agriculture was also largely mechanized in the Troas, which began earlier in the coastal regions and regions close to Europe than in the Troad hinterland. In contrast to the large coastal plains of Turkey, there was no expansion of the cultivation areas in the Troas in favor of cotton, which was only cultivated occasionally at the time, but the traditionally customary crops were initially continued to be cultivated.

Although cotton is one of the so-called cash crops of the Turkish agricultural landscape, its increased cultivation was rather hesitant during the Troas. Despite the expansion of the irrigated land (currently only about 42% of a possible 120,600 hectares are irrigated), cotton cultivation has remained rather without a noticeable dominance. Cotton crops only cover 1.5% of the cultivated arable land there. About 30 years ago the average yields of cotton in the Troas were about 500 kg / ha. Today they are about three times as high, but do not even reach the national mean (3800 kg / ha 2004). With the oil crisis at the end of the 1970s, the acreage for cotton had also decreased in the Troas since the early 1980s. Nonetheless, the Troas farmers produce more than twice as much cotton today as they did 30 years earlier: Due to a wide range of intensification measures, cotton experienced significant growth rates with a noticeable increase in yields per hectare after the 1990s. While the average yields of cotton in the Troas were around 30 years ago around 500 kg / ha, today they are around three times as high, but do not even reach the national mean (3800 kg / ha 2004). On the other hand, thanks to progressive intensification, the vegetable cultivation areas in the Troas could be increased significantly at the expense of cotton. The winners of the agricultural land expansion through drainage and irrigation of the alluvial plains were undoubtedly not the cotton farmers, but the vegetable farmers of the Troas.

An agricultural peculiarity of the western Anatolian coastal landscapes are olive tree cultures. In the Troas, too, the olive tree is the most important fruit-bearing tree, which partially plays a dominant role in extensive monocultures. Its fruits are mainly used for oil production and as table olives. An intensification of olive cultivation in the Troad has been recorded since the beginning of the Greek colonization in archaic times. In addition to being used as edible oil, olive oil served as the most important fuel for lighting in antiquity, as evidenced by the numerous clay antique oil lamps that have been found. Until the beginning of the 20th century, olive oil production on the coast of Asia Minor was predominantly in the hands of the Greek population.

The northernmost Aegean olive tree area in Turkey is located around the Gulf of Edremit on the southern slopes of the Kaz Dağ (Ida Mountains) and on the western Troas coast with huge monocultures (over nine million trees). Many areas are owned by the administration of pious foundations (Vakıf) and are cultivated in large companies. This gives the Edremit area a reputation for producing the highest quality oils and edible olives in Turkey. In the Troas one finds such olive cultures especially on the middle and eastern Edremit Gulf coast between Assos and Edremit, on the western Edremit Gulf coast between Sürüce and Deveboynu Burnu as well as in the western Troas with emphasis around Geyikli, Geyikli İskelesi and Dalyan, Bozköy, Kumburun, Çamoba, Mecidiye, Darıköy, Gökçebayır and Kemallı, where a flourishing soap and oil industry has developed.

The climate diagram for Çanakkale shows the clear division of the (Mediterranean) climate for the coastal location with a short, hot-dry summer and a typical winter rain regime.


The conspicuous presence of extensive olive tree cultures from the coasts to far inland indicates the location of the Troas in the (largely) frost-free Mediterranean climate area. According to Oğuz Erol: The Biga Peninsula, and thus also the Troas, is part of the climatic area of ​​the Marmara region. On the other hand, the area of ​​Sırrı Erinç and Michael Alex is still counted as a Mediterranean type, which reveals itself as a climatic transition region between the extremes of the Aegean region on the one hand and the Black Sea region on the other. However, you shouldn't be fooled by the high summer temperatures of up to 39 ° C. In summer we have a little cooler and more humid conditions than in the Aegean. While the well-known trade wind of the Etesien (Meltemi) drives the wind motor as a cooling north-west wind in summer, the climate is sometimes determined by colder Poyraz winds from the northeast, which remain effective far into the Dardanelle Depression and the Aegean Sea, which is for shorter ones Rainy periods is responsible.

The climate diagram for Bayramiç also shows the two clear division of the climate for the inner Troas with a short, hot-dry summer and winter rain regime - however with slightly more precipitation and slightly higher summer and slightly lower winter temperatures.

The winters are not always as mild as statistical mean values ​​suggest. It is not uncommon for the Lodos to blow as a dreaded wintry southwest to southeast storm from October to April. Then the area lies in the area of ​​the train tracks of low pressure areas that run from the Aegean Sea to the Black Sea, on the back of which cold air inrushes with snowstorms from the northwest are not uncommon. Despite moderate annual mean temperatures of 15–20 ° C near the coast and 10–15 ° C in higher regions, winter is already quite fresh with mean values ​​between 0 and 10 ° C (January). Then there is even frost on the mountainous lands of Kaz Dağı and Karadağ. Statistics record an average of 26.2 frost and 3.9 snow days a year even for the coastal city of Çanakkale. The lowest temperature measured there was −11.0 ° C. The now and then frozen olive groves signal the “proximity” of the Troas to the temperate climatic area of ​​Central Europe with sudden winter cold air inrushes from the north to sometimes far south to the Gulf of Edremit (winter 1986/87). The massif of Mount Ida (Kaz Dağı) extends with its 1,774-meter-high main peaks well over the winter frost limit, acts as a climatic divide the Aegean Sea, the landscape of Troas bordered to the south striking off and allowed there in the frost, drier south easily extended Olive groves on the mountain flanks and the western foothills. Spring arrives there much earlier, even in somewhat higher altitudes than on the Salıhler plateau or the north side of this mountain range. In the higher Kaz Dağı, the precipitation is well over 1000 mm per year. In the Mediterranean winter precipitation regime with summer drought, mean annual precipitation can vary from 600 to 1000 mm depending on the location and height (Çanakkale: max. 977.7 mm, min. 414.0 mm). Rainfall amounts of 500–600 mm, which fall with 80 percent certainty at least every year, are more than sufficient for rain-fed agriculture in the rural Troas. Here on the heights of Kaz Dağı, the " Troy fir " ( Abies nordmanniana subsp. Equi-trojani, syn. Abies equi-trojani ), also known as the Asia Minor fir or Western Turkish fir, is the only natural occurrence between 300 and 1650 m in a kind of retreat domicile.


  • Heinrich Schliemann : Troy: Results of my latest excavations . On the construction site of Troy, in the heroes' graves, Bunarbaschi and other parts of the Troad in 1882. FA Brockhaus, Leipzig 1884 ( digitized [accessed on July 25, 2017]).
  • John M. Cook : The Troad. An archaeological and topographical study. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1973. ISBN 0-19-813165-8
  • Horst Schäfer-Schuchardt: Ancient metropolises - gods, myths and legends. The Turkish Mediterranean coast from Troy to Ionia. Belser, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-7630-2385-2 , pp. 55-73. - (Overview of Alexandreia Troas , Neandreia , Chryse , Ida Mountains and Assos )
  • Catherine Hofmann: The Homeric Troas or How can epic, terrain and map be brought into harmony? In: Cartographica Helvetica 25 (2002) pp. 37–46 full text
  • Justus Cobet : The Troas as a historical landscape. In: Dagmar Unverhau (ed.): Interpretation of history on old maps. Archeology and history. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2003. pp. 332-377. ISBN 3-447-04813-1
  • Günther A. Wagner, Ernst Pernicka , Hans-Peter Uerpmann (eds.): Troia and the Troad. Scientific approaches. Springer, Berlin [et al.] 2003. ISBN 3-540-43711-8
  • Alexandra Trachsel: La Troade. Un paysage et son héritage littéraire. Les commentaires antiques sur la Troade, leur genèse et leur influence. Schwabe, Basel 2007. ISBN 978-3-7965-2254-3
  • Volker Höhfeld (Ed.): City and landscape of Homer. A historical-geographical guide to Troy and the surrounding area. Zabern, Mainz 2009, ISBN 3-8053-4076-1

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e Elmar Schwertheim : Troas . In: Hubert Cancik , Helmuth Schneider (ed.): The New Pauly: Enzyklopädie der Antike . tape 12/1 . WBG, Darmstadt 2012, ISBN 978-3-534-26764-4 , Sp. 849 .
  2. Albert Forbiger (Ed.): Strabo’s description of the earth . tape 6 . Krais & Hoffmann, Stuttgart 1859 ( digitized [accessed on July 23, 2017]).
  3. Albert Forbiger (Ed.): Strabo's earth description . tape 6 . Krais & Hoffmann, Stuttgart 1859, p. 9 ( digitized version [accessed July 25, 2017]).
  4. Joachim Latacz : Troy and Homer. The way to solve an old riddle . 6th edition. Koehler & Amelang, Leipzig 2010, ISBN 978-3-7338-0332-2 , Ist ›Troia‹ = ›Taruwisa‹ / ›Tru (w) isa‹ ?, p. 152 .
  5. Ivo Hajnal : Ṷiluša - Taruisa. Linguistic reviews of the contribution by Susanne Heinhold-Krahmer . In: Christoph Ulf (ed.): The new dispute over Troy . CH Beck, Munich 2003, ISBN 978-3-406-50998-8 , pp. 172 ( digitized version [accessed July 24, 2017]).
  6. Elmar Schwertheim: Troas . In: Hubert Cancik, Helmuth Schneider (ed.): The New Pauly: Enzyklopädie der Antike . tape 12/1 . WBG, Darmstadt 2012, ISBN 978-3-534-26764-4 , Sp. 848 .
  7. ^ Volker Höhfeld: City and landscape of Homer. A historical-geographical guide to Troy and the surrounding area . Ed .: Volker Höhfeld. Philipp von Zabern, Mainz 2009, ISBN 978-3-8053-4076-2 , p. 17-36 .
  8. ^ Heinrich Schliemann: Ithaka, the Pelopones and Troy . Leipzig 1869, p. 125 .
  9. ^ Volker Höhfeld: City and landscape of Homer. A historical-geographical guide to Troy and the surrounding area . Ed .: Volker Höhfeld. Philipp von Zabern, Mainz 2009, ISBN 978-3-8053-4076-2 , p. 78 ff .
  10. Stephan WE Blum, Volker Höhfeld, Rüstem Aslan: Charcoal production and charcoal burning in the Troas, north-west Turkey . In: Manfred Korfmann (Ed.): Studia Troica . tape 15 . Philipp von Zabern, Mainz 2005, ISBN 3-8053-3480-X , p. 309-319 .
  11. Volker Höhfeld: Settlement processes in Turkish mountain forest countries since ancient times . In: Rustem Aslan et al. (Ed.): Wall show. - Festschrift for Manfred Korfmann . tape 3 . Bernhard Albert Greiner, Remshalden 2002, ISBN 3-935383-10-X , p. 948 .
  12. Ernst Fickendey: The olive tree in Asia Minor . Leipzig 1922, p. 30th f .
  13. Suraiya Faroqhi: Wealth and Power in the Land of Olives: Economic and Political Activities of Müridzade Haci Mehmed Agha, Notable of Edremit . In: C. Keyder; F. Tabak (Ed.): Landholding and Commercial Agriculture in the Middle East . New York 1991, p. 79 f .
  14. ^ Oğuz Erol: The natural spatial structure of Turkey . In: Supplements to TAVO . Row A, No. 13 . Reichert, Wiesbaden 1983, ISBN 3-88226-176-5 , pp. 49 f., 71 .
  15. Sırrı Erinç: Klimatoloji ve metodlar . İstanbul Univers. Coğr. Enstit. Yay, no. 35 . Istanbul 1969.
  16. Michael Alex: Climate data from selected stations in the Middle East . Supplements to TAVO, Series A No. 14 . Reichert, Wiesbaden 1985, ISBN 3-88226-278-8 , pp. 40 f .
  17. Michael Alex: Climate data from selected stations in the Middle East . Supplements to TAVO, Series A No. 14 . Reichert, Wiesbaden 1985, ISBN 3-88226-278-8 , pp. 41 .
  18. ^ Volker Höhfeld: City and landscape of Homer. A historical-geographical guide to Troy and the surrounding area . Ed .: Volker Höhfeld. Philipp von Zabern, Mainz 2009, ISBN 978-3-8053-4076-2 , p. 85 f .

Web links

Commons : Troas  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 39 ° 56 '  N , 26 ° 30'  E