Trojan Battle Order

The Trojan Battle Order or Trojan Catalogue is an epic catalogue in the second book of the Iliad[1] listing the allied contingents that fought for Troy in the Trojan War. The catalogue is noted for its deficit of detail compared to the immediately preceding Catalogue of Ships, which lists the Greek contingents, and for the fact that only a few of the many Trojans mentioned in the Iliad appear there.

War of Troy, from Vergilius Romanus

Historicity questionEdit

Structurally the Trojan Battle Order is evidently inserted to balance the preceding Catalogue of Ships. It is, however, much shorter. Denys Page summarizes the prevailing explanation that "the Catalogues are substantially Mycenaean compositions rather expanded than altered by the Ionians" (Page 1963, pp. 153–154). Noting that the Greek catalogue occupies 265 lines but the Trojan catalogue only 61, Page wonders why the Ionian authors know so little about their native land and concludes they are not describing it but are reforming poetry inherited in oral form from Mycenaean times (Page 1963, pp. 137–139).

Some examples of Mycenaean knowledge are (Page 1963, pp. 141–143):

  • Alybe in the catalog is the birthplace of silver, yet Hecataeus, the Ionian geographer, does not know where it is.
  • The catalog mentions Mount Phthires near Miletus and the Maeander. Hecataeus supposes it was the prior name of Latmus.

There is also some internal evidence that the Trojan catalogue was not part of the Iliad but was a distinct composition pre-dating the Trojan War and incorporated later into the Iliad (Page 1963, p. 140):

  • Of the 26 Trojans in the catalog, only 5 appear among the 216 in the Iliad.
  • The major Trojan leaders: Priam, Paris, Helenus and a few others do not appear in the catalog at all.
  • At Il. 2.858 the Mysians are commanded by Chromis and Ennomus; at 14.511 ff. by Gyrtios.
  • At 2.858 the Mysians live in Asia Minor; at 13.5, Thrace.
  • At. 2.827 Apollo gives Pandaros his bow; at 4.105 ff it is made by a craftsman.

Page cites several more subtle instances of the disconnectedness of the Trojan catalog from the Iliad; neither is it connected to the catalog of Greek forces. Another like it appears in the Cypria (Burgess 2004, p. 138).

The catalogue in detailEdit

The catalogue lists 16 contingents from 12 ethnonyms under 26 leaders (Luce 1975). They lived in 33 places identified by toponyms.

Line Ethnic Identity Leaders Settlements
II.815 Trojans Hector None stated (Troy)
II.819 Dardanians Aeneas, Archelochus, Acamas None stated.
II.824 Trojans of Mt. Ida Pandarus Zeleia
II.828 No name given. Adrestus, Amphius Adresteia, Apaesus, Pityeia, Mount Tereia
II.835 No name given. Asius Percote, Practius, Sestus, Abydus, Arisbe
II.840 Pelasgians, who were spearmen Hippothous, Pylaeus Larissa
II.844 Thracians bounded by the Hellespont Acamas, Peiroüs None stated.
II.846 Ciconians, who were spearmen Euphemus None stated.
II.848 Paeonians, archers, "from far away" Pyraechmes (Asteropaios is also recognized as a leader in book XXI) Amydon, river Axius
II.851 Paphlagonians Pylaemenes of the Eneti Cytorus, Sesamus, along the river Parthenius, Cromna, Aegialus, Erythini
II.856 Halizones "from far away" Odius, Epistrophus Alybe
II.858 Mysians Chromis, Ennomus None stated.
II.862 Phrygians Phorcys, Ascanius "Far-off" Ascania
II.864 Maeonians Mesthles, Antiphus Under Mt. Tmolus
II.867 Carians Nastes, Amphimachus Miletus, Mt. Phthires, streams of the Maeander, crest of Mycale
II.875 Lycians "from far away" Sarpedon, Glaucus River Xanthus


The list includes the Trojans themselves, led by Hector, and various allies. As observed by G. S. Kirk, it follows a geographical pattern comparable to that of the Greek catalogue, dealing first with Troy, then with the Troad, then radiating outwards on four successive routes, the most distant peoples on each route being described as "from far away" (Kirk 1985, p. 250). The allied contingents are said to have spoken multiple languages, requiring orders to be translated by their individual commanders.[3] Nothing is said of the Trojan language; the Carians are specifically said to be barbarian-speaking, possibly because their language was distinct from the contemporaneous lingua franca of western Anatolia.[4]

The classical Greek historian Demetrius of Scepsis, native of Scepsis in the hills above Troy, wrote a vast study of the "Trojan Battle Order" under that title (Greek Trōikos diakosmos). The work is lost; brief extracts from it are quoted by Athenaeus and Pausanias, while Strabo cites it frequently in his own discussion of the geography of northwestern Anatolia.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Lines 816-877.
  2. ^ The Anglicised spellings of the names in the table are generally as in (Rieu 1950). The order of contingents is that of the catalogue.
  3. ^ Β803-806. Kirk considers this "quite fantastic" (Kirk 1985, p. 245) though it seems a normal feature of fighting forces brought together from several nationalities.
  4. ^ The lingua franca would have been Luwian, though the poet has no name for it. Alternatively, Carian may earn this epithet as the most familiar foreign ("barbarian") language to a Greek of the eastern Aegean when the Iliad was composed (Dalby 2006, p. 132).
  5. ^ Strabo, Geography book 13.


  • Burgess, Jonathan (2004), The Tradition of the Trojan War in Homer and the Epic, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 0-8018-6652-9
  • Dalby, Andrew (2006), Rediscovering Homer, New York, London: Norton, ISBN 0-393-05788-7
  • Kirk, G. S. (1985), The Iliad: a commentary. Vol. 1: books 1-4, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-28171-7
  • Luce, J. V. (1975), Homer and the Homeric Age, New York: Harper & Row, ISBN 0-06-012722-8
  • Page, Denys (1963), History and the Homeric Iliad, Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press
  • Rieu, E. V., tr. (1950), Homer: The Iliad, Harmondsworth, Baltimore: Penguin
  • Watkins, Calvert, "The language of the Trojans" in Troy and the Trojan War: a symposium held at Bryn Mawr College, October 1984 ed. M. J. Mellink (Bryn Mawr, 1986).