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 army of the king of the Mycenae, which took place ear- lier than 1184 BC, the date mentioned in alexandrian sources. Later on, following the settlement of the north- western shore of asia Minor by the aeolians, battles were fought which gave rise to the achillean story. Hence the conspicuous (herschend) place of Thessaly and the Thes- salians therein (cf. Paul Cauer, Grundfragen der Homer- kritik, Leipzig 1895, pp. 135 and passim).
in reply to all this, Meyer’s opponent Cauer says: “Das ist gewiss ein gesundes Prinzip, aber wo sind in diesen Fal- le die Zeugnisse, aus denen geschlossen, die Gründe, auf denen eine so überraschende Construction aufgefürt wor- den ist? (op cit., p. 137).
Having thus voiced his doubt as to Meyer’s hypothe- sis, Cauer goes on to elaborate his own opinion. Reflect- ed in the achillean story are battles preceding the Trojan war: those at Lernos, Thebes and Lesbos. The battles which are only cursorily mentioned in the Iliad also took place at the time of the initial aeolian conquests. Tenedos is not far away from Hissarlik; upon taking that island, the Greeks planned to conquer the littoral as well. The fact that it took ten years to take ilium could be gladly and easily forgotten by the descendants of the attackers when they had the bards tell that the tenacious resistance of the Trojans was only broken after ten years’ attempts. it is not accidental that t he Iliad leaves off at the point of Hector’s death, leaving the battle undecided. This is but an instance of the historical factors which gave rise to the epic under discussion unintentionally showing through. Finally, Cauer sees no contradiction between the Trojan war story and the fact that the aeolians fought but failed to establish themselves. Therefore—Cauer believes—Mey- er’s hypothesis, proceeding as it does from such contra- dictions, has no foundation. equally untenable is its cen- tral thesis, since Meyer always has the pre-aeolian peri- od begin at the time of the aeolian one. On the basis of the foregoing, Cauer concludes that, contrary to Meyer’s belief, achilles was not introduced in the Trojan story at a later date, as the Iliad is inconceivable without him.
Such nice yet controversial hypotheses are arrived at through sheer speculation. Let us now consider the ques- tion in the light of our epic poems—which are our best basis—Zeugnisse and Gründe, to see what is acceptable.
7. The Trojan story is certainly based on the events that took place at what are today the ruins of Troy; those are the battles between the aeolians and the autochthons. Meyer, Cauer, a. Holm, Beloch and others all agree on this point.
The aeolians came from Thessaly and Beotia, where aeolian was the principal language. The aeolian period is the most ancient in our Iliad
Those, then, are incontrovertible facts and the only question is whether or not the Trojan story had been in existence before the aeolians came to asia Minor. Be- lieving achilles to have been an aeolian hero, Meyer con- siders his position regarding the Trojan story as second-
Brothers Grimm where translating Serbian epic songs on Kosovo, collected by Vuk Karadžić, into German. They where impressed by their quality and equal them in Homeric poetry
Wilhelm Grimm (left) and Jacob Grimm (right) in an 1855 painting by Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann
ary and asserts that the story about him predates the aeo- lian colonization; on the contrary, Cauer holds that the story stemmed from aeolian battles a long the north-west coast of asia Minor. Let us now attempt to project that question on to our Kosovo legend. Here again we might ask whether the entire subject matter belonging to the Kosovo Cycle predates the Turkish invasion or stems from it. as in the case of the Trojan story, opinions would dif- fer. Where does the truth lie?—We have already seen that while neither extreme is true, there is some truth in both. Miloš was in reality a protagonist of the Kosovo event, but some elements from stories greatly predating the bat- tle of Kosovo have been attached to his image. Conse- quently, achilles, too, could have been an actual person taking part in the Trojan war. To put forward a few pos- sibilities, he may well have taken many towns and defeat- ed many heroes, fought at Lernos, Thebes and Lesbos, and even met his death in one of those battles between the acolians and the autochthons of asia Minor.
Goethe, painting by Joseph Karl Stieler
Johan Wolfgang Goethe was thrilled by the poetic quality of Serbian Kosovo-related epic ballads, became friend with Vuk Karadžić and even began learning the Serbian language in order to read them in original.

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