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Kingdom of Dardania by Clare Maluda
 

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  • I suppose, the Summer Olympics 2012 now in hot progress in London, the conditions are just right for a story about ancient Greece.

    APHRODITE AND ANCHISES. The Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite tells how Zeus put into the heart of Aphrodite an overwhelming desire for the mortal Trojan, Anchises ... (Oxford University Press, Chapter 09).

    Hesiod, in around 700 BCE, a century after Homer wrote The Iliad with its 716 characters, told the story of the origins of the gods and goddesses of Mt Olympus. This ancient Greek work is translated in today's English as The Theogony of Hesiod.

    Hesiod (ll 1008-1010) "And Cytherea with the beautiful crown was joined in sweet love with the hero Anchises and bare Aeneas on the peaks of Ida..."

    Cytherea (Lady of Cythera) is Aphrodite, Olympian goddess of pleasure, joy, beauty, love and procreation. She is also known as Kypris (Lady of Cyprus) and ancient Rome named her Venus. She bore two mortal offspring with Anchises, or Ankhises of the Kingdom of Dardania, Mysia (near Troy, in Anatolia, Asia Minor): Aeneas, and Lyros, Princes of Dardania.

    Aeneas, a cousin of King Priam of Troy, who led Troy's Dardanian allies during the Trojan War, next led a band of Trojan refugees to Italy where he became the leader of Roman culture outside of the city of Rome. According to legend, he is the progenitor of the Julian genes via his offspring, Ascanius, or "Iulus." He is the hero of Virgil's epic, The Aeneid. Here, his exemplary life highlights the Roman virtues of devotion to duty and reverence for the gods.

    Stories of Aeneas can also be found in Pausanias, Hyginus' Fabulae and Ovid's Metamorphoses.
    He is mentioned with his brother, Lyros, in Apollodorus.

    Their kingdom, Dardania, was founded by Dardanus, son of Zeus and the Pleiad, Electra. He started the dynasty of Dardania and Troy (or Illium).

    A United Kingdom website, historyfiles, states, "Dardania was located in the northwestern corner of Anatolia, to the immediate north of Troy, and facing modern Gallipolli across the Dardanelles." Another site places the ancient Kingdom of Dardania in today's Balkan territory of Kosovo.

    Through the window I could see Mr Dardani in front of his house. I was reading The Iliad then and the book was close at hand. Old Bert and Homer's ancient Greeks held my attention equally for a moment.

    Mr Dardani's first name, Humbert, was borne by two kings of Italy in the 19th and 20th centuries.

    The Bee English Dictionary defines "Dardan" as a native of ancient Troy.

    Merriam-Webster defines "Dardani" as an ancient Illyrian people.

    The name "Dardani" is thought to be derived from an Illyrian word meaning "pear." But the region of the Dardani was not considered part of Illyria by Strabo, or Strabon, (64/63 BC - circa 24 AD), a Greek geographer, philosopher and historian. It could be by that time it no longer was.

    I suppose, it can be said that, like the Olympics, the Kingdom of Dardania, and thence this story of Mr Dardani, a man who loved his family, his gal, Mrs Dardani, their pet, Mini, were inspired like the stories of the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece, by the august slopes of Mt Olympus.


    Photo of ancient Greek writing by John-Paul Hussey, Neos Kosmos
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