From (W)Ilios to Turkey

Rediscovering Troy and the Letter “W”

Everything in Trojan War Studies depends on the sound represented in our alphabet by the letter “w”. Bronze Age Ilium/Ilion is better called Wilion. (W)ilion/Troy was known to its eastern neighbours, the Hittites, as WILUSA. But between 1300 and Homer the Greeks forgot the sound “w”. The lost sound is known as digamma and represented by the symbol ϝ.

But my great discovery this week is that the sound “w” has resurfaced in western Turkey after three millennia! The Prime Minister (and aspiring President) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has his name pronounced ErdoWAN. He has another strong connection with the Bronze Age,and that is in his attitudes to women. He has recently said that all Turkish women should be producing three children, and that a woman without a headscarf is equivalent to “a house without curtains”

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