B O O K  R E V I E W

by Felice Vinci



The back cover of the English edition of this book, originally published in Italian in 1995, mentions how Vinci "explains  how the cool, foggy, weather described by Ulysses matches that of northern climes rather than the sunny, warm, Mediterranean and Aegean."   This indeed is what the Odyssey suggests. This and other investigations in Part One of his book does indeed ring very true. But when he looks for  Baltic content in the Iliad, he fails in my view. His evidence is weak and can be read in other ways not involving the Baltic, and some evidence is completely contradictory, and yet fails to be mentioned. For example, the the book's cover notes continue: " ..and how battles lasting through the whole night would easily have been possible in the long days of the Baltic summer. "  Vinci does not make any reference to the night when the Trojans are camped on the plain with fires going, and the Iliad explains how the mountains, glades and headlands are visible under the bright moonlight. This shows that nightime fighting could occur because of clear nights with full moon, and therefore there is no need to see nighttime fighting as evidence of there being a short Baltic night.  There is much more that Vinci does not discuss that in fact undermines his theory when applied to the Iliad.  Another example is his reference to the Odyssey showing that the boats were  two-prowed (the stem and the stern the same) like northern boats (ancestral to Viking boats). But in my search of the Iliad I found a passage that described the sterns of the Iliad boats to have a raised deck, which means they were true Greek warships. My  view therefore is that Vinci did indeed find Baltic Origins in the original content of the Odyssey, but not in  the Iliad. He should have titled the book "The Baltic Origins of the Odyssey".   It is generally accepted by scholars that  the Odyssey and Iliad were written by different poets and the Odyssey some time later - probably as a sequel  after the Iliad was popular and the whole Trojan War tale known.  But  in general Vinci and the promotions of the book lead the reader astray by speaking as if "Homer" is one person.  "Homer's Epics" says the title. This  makes the reader think both epics were written by the same person, hence giving the impression what applies to one applies to the other.  This of course helps Vinci find readers accepting a transder of his  findings (like the two-prow boat) from the Odyssey to the Iliad. It isn't until page 204 is that  Vinci acknowledges scholars have for a long time believed the two "Homer" tales were written by different authors. I can see why it is advantageous both for his theory and book sales to bury this information;because if the epics are not "Homer's" epics but epics by two different authors, then each epic can have very different origins, and  
the Odyssey can be merely  adapting references to details of the Trojan War from the Iliad already known and now famous, while introducing and adapting new northern Norwegian and Baltic information to masquerade as Greek places.  This very logical and straightforward interpretation  fits what scholars know about how minstrels created works from many sources. Indeed if I myself were to create a sequel to the Iliad today, I would begin by getting to know the details found in the Iliad, and nestle them into my new tale, and then adapt all my new content to fit the Iliad and the Greek world.   But Vinci cannot entertain this MOST LIKELY scenario, because his theorizing is more elaborate and he has a larger agenda. He is promoting a strange concept of the entire Greek world - place names and culture - having a Baltic origin, which moved south as a result of cooling after a "climatic optimum" around 2500BC. Thus to serve this larger theorizing he had to find that the Trojan War occurred in the northern Baltic and he had to find that the writers of both the Iliad and Odyssey even if separately, wrote about the same Baltic war.    But let's overlook the manipulations that hide the most logical interpretations. Let's ASSUME Vinci was right. If so then the  Iliad itself should reveal it had references to the Baltic. But when I carefully read the Iliad, I did not find any Baltic. I found nothing to go against the traditional view that  the Iliad  was set in the Aegean world.  Yes,  there are discrepancies, but not the kinds of evidence that prove a northern setting.  The significant discrepancies relate to Lycia and Lycians.  Wishing to pursue the real truth, I began a research into Lycia, and discovered the more likely location of the Trojan War - southwest Turkey, the ancient Xanthos valley that was Lycia. This setting also solves many of the small discrepancied too related to the Dardnelles location like presence of wood, and the possibility of mist and nighttime coolness as a result of being surrounded by the Taurus mountains. ( You can read the paper I created documenting my findings, at the link at the bottom of this page.) The following text elaborates on these brief comments.

       In this book Felice Vinci covers the old ground about how the Odyssey epic poem derives much content from the northern world of the day.  This is not new. But Vinci continues along this line and discovers the strong possibility that IN GENERAL the author of the Odyssey,  used material from the northern world extensively (not just for the tales on the journey), and his details regarding an archipalego at the Jutland Peninsula further suggest that  the Odyssey author lived there, in the north, and used content from his own experience in the north.  In my view, judging from the Odyssey author's  extensive references to household antics, this author was actually a minstrel in such a household. He certainly had no experience in war, and would not have been capable of writing about war like the author of the Iliad did.

        The problems in the book begin after Vinci completes his coverage of the Odyssey in part one. He then PROJECTS the discovery that details in the Odyssey come from the Baltic, into the Iliad. But is he justified in doing that?  It has long been known, and he  himself acknowledged, that the writers of the Odyssey and Iliad were different people in spite of both being called "Homer".  If that is the case then each author could have written about completely different worlds. It is presumptuous to assume the author of the Iliad  behaved like the author of the Odyssey, in using Baltic information. At least it has to be discussed as a viable alternative, but is not.  But that is the premise for all that follows in Vinci's book, regardless of whether ONE "Homer" was the author of both, or TWO "Homers" wrote one each. The alternative of the epics being DIFFERENT creations with the sequel borrowing from the original, is the most probable scenario, but is  not even discussed so that the reader can be lead up a less likely even impossible other garden path.

        It is clear that the  Iliad author, describes a real war that occurred somewhere - there is so much vivid detail. But what is the basis of assuming this real war occurred in the Baltic, rather than where the details suggest - in the Aegean world?  The Dardanelles location can still be wrong, but the actual location can still be in the southern world, such as Lycia which is often mentioned. At issue is Vinci's connecting what he finds about the Odyssey describing Baltic information, to the Iliad, as if both were connected, rather than being completely separate in time and space which it is the more obvious plainer, simpler, and more probable truth.

        What is Vinci's basis for projecting his theory about the Odyssey into the Iliad? Well, he says, the Odyssey makes correct references to the narrative, geneology, geography, etc, same as the Iliad, and so was describing the same Baltic events. WAIT!!!  Just because the author of the Odyssey cites Iliad references, does not mean the author accessed raw data, especially if there is strong evidence the Odyssey was written centuries later than the Iliad. A good quote from the Odyssey, suggesting it was written centuries later is this passage which mentions trade in iron (Butcher-Lang translation).
And now am I come to shore, as thou seest, with ship and crew, sailing over the wine-dark sea, unto men of strange speech, even to Temesa, in quest of copper, and my cargo is shining iron.   This places the Odyssey at the beginning of the Iron Age, as late as 400BC even later, because  iron has by this text become established enough to be a trade item.  Previously it would be a rare thing not commonly traded.

        Vinci is of course free to offer his interpretation - a Baltic war around 1800 BC  and two authors named "Homer", both in the Baltic, and both writing independently about the same events.  But at least in a properly written book of this nature, the alternative interpretations should be at least discussed. He must show how the common interpretations should be considered wrong. He discusses the arguments for and against the Dardanelles location of Troy, therefore he is capable of discussing the question of the validity of connecting the Odyssey and Iliad to the same world, rather than  treating them as completely separate works arising from completely different locations and times - ie one could be written in the Baltic, the other in Greece. Vinci's reluctance to raise a debate about something that works strongly against his theory is what makes his book very poor from the perspective of science and journalism and the pursuit of truth. You are not pursuing truth if you do not discuss alternatives, but only promote your own theory.

        After writing that constantly implies a single author "Homer" for both, it is not until page 204, that Vinci states  there were two authors like most believe. His view however is that both lived in the Baltic,  the author of the Iliad lived in northern Baltic, and the author of the Odyssey lived at the Jutland Peninsula and they both made reference to the same Baltic war.  But where is the evidence? Where is the evidence the Iliad describes a Baltic war? There is none. The Iliad could have been written anywhere by any author about any war anywhere. The Odyssey could then simply make references to the information in the Iliad.

       Well, one can argue that MAYBE the authors of the Odyssey and Iliad were drawing from the same Baltic legends about a war. That is Vinci's premise.  But let us look at the facts.  There is no evidence that the author of the Odyssey was referring to any Baltic Trojan war, as opposed to simply copying details out of the Iliad.  If he had access to raw legends, then he would have inserted more detailed accounts of events of that war.  The author of the Odyssey certainly would have loved to have some good war-text rather than having to write endlessly on a household soap opera at "Ithaca". So, we conclude that the author of the Odyssey had nothing else to use about the Trojan War events beyond what he learned from the Iliad itself, and his references to the Trojan War were purely copied from the Iliad to make the Odyssey SEEM like a sequel.

         But this can be seen as ONE point of view, and Vinci can still claim that two Baltic authors were contemporary and wrote independently about the same war.  The real test comes from whether or not the actual evidence demonstrates that both the Odyssey and the Iliad were describing the same northern world.  How good is Vinci's evidence from the Iliad? Does the evidence from the Iliad back it up? I am suggesting here that on closer scrutiny it does not and that Vinci is resting his case mainly on the Odyssey and the act of projecting interpretations of the Odyssey onto the Iliad.

        As the promotions of the book show, Vinci argues a northern origin for the content of both the Odyssey and Iliad based on geographical and climatic discrepancies with the Mediterranean. He argues that the weather depicted is not like the Mediterranean, and that topography described for certain Greek locations does not agree with the actual topography of the Greek islands. What I say is that discrepancies in the Odyssey indeed point to Baltic content masquerading as Iliad and Greek  people and places.  But discrepancies in the Iliad do not point to Baltic content, but to the Iliad describing a war elsewhere in the Aegean world  (see my Lycia -Troy paper in the link at bottom)

       Vinci exploits the findings in the Odyssey to project a Baltic setting into the Iliad. First through most of the book promotions and text, the reader is encouraged to believe "Homer" is one person hence what applies to one epic applies to the other. Next  he avoids all matters of how minstrels create their work - by borrowing and adapting - and avoids even mentioning the possibility that the Odyssey and Iliad are completely separate, and that the Odyssey simply exploited the already known Iliad in creating a 'sequel'. The reader is led up a garden path by omissions of important facts. (Later when he justifies his choice of Troy location, there is further omission of archeological and geological science supports).

         In other words, is he DEPENDING on the strong case in the Odyssey to argue something that might not really be in the Iliad?  And that in turn DEPENDS on the reader being prepared to think that what applies to the Odyssey applies to the Iliad. This is done by either letting the reader have the impression one man wrote both epics, or that  two men lived in the same world and wrote about the same northern details.   Clearly there is a design in this book to encourage in every way the reader believe that what applies to one applies to the other. That way discoveries that the Odyssey had Baltic references can simply be transported into the analysis of the Iliad.

     The question I asked was - would Vinci have gotten anywhere with his theory had the Odyssey not existed? The answer is probably not. Any intelligent scholar who steps back and looks at Vinci's theory from a distance realizes the only reason they are intrigued by Vinci's book is that the Odyssey arguments - part one of the book - are indeed strong. Vinci HAS produced something worth looking at in Part One.  But then h
e exploits that to expand his theories into the Iliad and add his own twists about some proto-Greek Baltic and climatic warming and a large migration. (More about that later below).

        Vinci might believe that scholars accept the entirity of his views, when the truth may be that they are drawn to it ONLY because  they like what he has done with the Odyssey.  If you are one, you should let him know that you, like me, like his analysis of the travels of Odysseus (Ulysses), but have great reservations as to the rest of it. Let him know, or else he will have a wrong illusion regarding support for ALL his  theories.  One of the purposes I have here in this review is to inform him that I, like most scholars, accept the Baltic origins of the Odyssey, but am very reserved about all the rest of his arguing and theorizing owing to the fact there is no solid evidence. 


       No real evidence? Let us demonstrate.  I carefully looked at his arguments, and took note of whether the evidence came from the Odyssey or the Iliad.

        Again and again I found Odyssey evidence of northern setting very good, but the Iliad evidence was subjective and vague.  He tended throughout the book to first cite the evidence in the Odyssey, and then extend the conclusions into the Iliad. A good example is his noting the Odyssey featured two prowed boats, but he failed to present evidence of it in the Iliad, hence the reader was influenced into believing it also applied to the Iliad. He does this frequently - and actually relies on the fact that there IS an illusion in the public that "Homer" is the author of both.  No he cannot remind the reader that we are dealing with the Epic Tales of Two Homers!! If you accuse him of misleading the reader, he will shout and claim he states he accept two authors at page 204. But shouldn't it be right in the beginning? Let us look at the beginning of the book, the Introduction. It begins as follows:
Ever since ancient times, the geography of Homer's two epics the Odyssey and the Iliad, .....(page 1)   If he was not seeking to exploit the public's thinking the same person authored both, it would have read,  the two epics connected to a Trojan War. As I said, had the Odyssey not been written, he would have next to nothing because the Iliad simply does not have the same strong evidence of Baltic content. -  as I will demonstate with examples further down,

        After his strong findings of Baltic content in the Odyssey, Vinci NEEDED and WANTED the Ilia
d to have Baltic content as well.  One event two authors independently describing the same events. But if the public thought one author, two epics, that suited his case too. So let's not even speak about two authors until some lines on page 204!  Either way it was in his interest NOT to tell the reader that the epics are likely to have been separate works by different men in different locations and times with the Odyssey adapting from the Iliad.  Imagine if historically, someone had begun to call the authors by different names, such as Homerody  versus Homerili. Would he have even been able to write the book and hook readers so easily?  Well he at least would have been able to write a book entitled "The Baltic Origins of the Odyssey"  and if he wanted speculated on the Iliad, but that is all he could do if the public was not predisposed to think both had the same author.

        To summarize - just because the Odyssey has Baltic content, and then describes details from the Trojan War, does not mean that the Iliad also has Baltic content. The Iliad could have been written anywhere on the planet about a war that occurred anywhere on the planet, since the Odyssey could simply borrow from the Iliad, as part of the adapting process. As I said, it is as obvious as if today an author decided to write another sequel to the Iliad - you simply use all the information in the Iliad to begin with, and then add your own, being careful to tie it to the Greek world. 

        Let us now look at some of the instances in which the Iliad appears to describe the true Greek world, and projecting from the Odyssey into the Iliad does not work.


        Well here is the first instance of the Iliad not supporting Vinci's arguments.
Vinci finds the Odyssey's "Ithaca" not being the Greek Ithaca, because the real Greek Ithaca is a rough and rugged terrain, while the one in the Odyssey is quite the contrary.  This is the discrepancy that allows Vinci to propose that the Odyssey "Ithaca" is actually an island near the Jutland Peninsula.  BUT IN FACT THE ILIAD GETS IT RIGHT! This is the first evidence that the Iliad is actually describing the real Greek world.         "He is Ulysses, a man of great craft, son of Laertes. He was born in rugged Ithaca, and excels in all manner of stratagems and subtle cunning."  


     Vinci  argues as proof the Odyssey portrayed northern boats by references in the text to boats having two prows (pointed at both ends so that they can be rowed in either direction -- like a Viking boat)  But where is his evidence that the same boats are found in the Iliad? Here is an instance in which Vinci projects something entirely from the Odyssey, without looking for corroboration in the Iliad.

        So I looked throught the Iliad for corroboration. There are none. In fact what I found was quite the opposite. The boats in the Iliad are exactly like Greek warships. The prows and sterns are different.  I also found that the battles at the boats were always at the sterns.   Why? (Because the Achaeans had an advantage by fighting from a platform) In addition there was one passage which actually described the stern
(From the Butler translation) Therefore he left the raised deck at the stern, and stepped back on to the seven-foot bench of the oarsmen. Here he stood on the look-out, .....     This raised deck at the stern is exactly what we see in Greek images of Greek warships.  So here is one instance where the Iliad does not agree with the Odyssey, and that the Achaean ships could not be Baltic ships.  This is very significant, very significant. More than anything else, it proves the 'Catalogue of Ships' describes REAL GREEK NATIONS WITH REAL GREEK WARSHIPS at the time the Iliad was written.  The Iliad is actually set in the Greek world. These are not Viking-like ships pointed at both ends, capable of being rowed or sailed in both directions. The Iliad does NOT describe the north.

          Vinci spends considerable time arguing that because fighting occurred at night it must have occurred at a northern latitude where in summer the night is very short. But I came across the description of the scene when the Trojans were camping overnight on the plain (Butler prose translation - prose translations are better as the author does not have to reword in order to fit a meter):
Thus high in hope they sat through the livelong night by the highways of war, and many a watchfire did they kindle. As when the stars shine clear, and the moon is bright--there is not a breath of air, not a peak nor glade nor jutting headland but it stands out in the ineffable radiance that breaks from the serene of heaven; the stars can all of them be told and the heart of the shepherd is glad--even thus shone the watchfires of the Trojans before Ilius midway between the ships and the river Xanthus. A thousand camp-fires gleamed upon the plain, and in the glow of each there sat fifty men, while the horses, champing oats and corn beside their chariots, waited till dawn should come.  The peaks, glade, and jutting headlands are all visible in the moonlight. There is plenty of light for nightime fighting.  We do not even have to theorize a bright moonlit night. The Iliad actually supplies us with the information! Since a moon waxes and wanes slowly, such moonlit nights would have lasted a week. Perhaps the night fighting occurred when the moon was fullest and highest.


        Vinci  uses reference to "Wide Hellespont" as proof the "Hellespont" was a wide sea like the Gulf of Finland and not the narrow channel the Dardanelles is.  But what about the following passage from the listing of participants on the Achean side.

Acamas and the warrior Peirous commanded the Thracians and those
that came from beyond the mighty stream of the Hellespont.

    Here the Hellespont is described as a "mighty stream" which would accurately describe the Dardanelles.

    But later  the Hellespont is indeed described as wide:

but I will give up his body, that the Achaeans may bury
him at their ships, and the build him a mound by the wide waters
of the Hellespont.

        Then in Book 7  again the Hellespont is a "mighty stream"

 he made all level by the mighty stream of the
Hellespont, and then when he had swept the wall away he spread a
great beach of sand over the place where it had been.

        Then in Book 17 we are back to the "broad Hellespont"

        but they would neither go back
to the ships by the waters of the broad Hellespont, nor yet into
battle among the Achaeans

    So according to the Butler translation, that is all there is. Other references to the Hellespont do not add any adjective.  What do we have - two instances of a mighty stream and two instances of a wide body? Well, my first criticism of Vinci's book is that his book should be offering this information. He selects only "wide Hellespont" because it suits his theory. A proper well written book of a scientific nature should show all sides, and let the reader judge. But Vinci has hidden the references to the 'mighty stream' in order to not undermine his desire to make the Gulf of Finland into the "Hellespont".  Generally bad science hides data that contradicts the scientist's theory.

    If I were writing on this topic, what I would do is propose that the writer of the Iliad, extensively used another site than the Dardanelles for the war - I believe the Xanthos River valley of Lycia (today the Esen River valley of southwest Turkey).  In that Lycian context, the writing would indeed have made reference to a wide sea - the Aegean - bordering Lycia.  (See bottom for a link to my analysis of Lycia as the site of the Trojan War)  Insofar as the Aegean was also the sea dominated by Hellenes Greeks, it could have been regarded as a "Helles- pont"

    But my criticism here is that Vinci shows very bad form here in hiding contradictory data. It should be shown and discussed.


        With his use of "wide Hellespont" to identify the Gulf of Finland as the Hellespont, Vinci proposes that Troy was located in southwest Finland on the north side. But why not the south side of the Gulf of Finland - since the location of Tallinn has been a very strategic location since the Bronze Age and there is even a Bronze Age fortified settlement there.

The passage cited by Vinci to justify the north side location was the one in which Hera sent the south and west winds upon Troy to deal with a flood and save Achilles. Vinci's reference to support the southwest Finland site for Troy:

"I am going to arouse [toward Troy] a violent storm of Zephyrus and the bright Notus from the sea" Iliad 21.334-3

     This Vinci says is why he has chosen to find Troy in  southwest Finland. Well I think he is lying. The reason he chose southwest Finland is because he found a location that even contained some Finnish names that vaguely sounded Homeric. For
later there is a passage in which Achilles is at the beach, and calls on the NORTH and west winds to blow, in order to light a funeral pyre.  

    The following is the passage Vinci does not offer, which speaks of the NORTH and west wind.(Butler translation - Book 23)

Now the pyre about dead Patroclus would not kindle. Achilles therefore bethought him of another matter; he went apart and prayed to the two winds Boreas and Zephyrus vowing them goodly offerings. ................................................
..............., and the two winds rose with a cry that rent the air and swept the clouds before them. They blew on and on until they came to the sea, and the waves rose high beneath them, but when they reached Troy they fell upon the pyre till the mighty flames roared under the blast that they blew.
     The latter reference requires the beach and plain to be pointing in the northwest direction. That is consistent with the traditional Troy location.

        Once again this is a discrepancy in the content of the Iliad, and yet Vinci does not discuss it.  A PROPER book would have presented the contradiction and discussed it, looking for an explanation.  Is there some way of  envision a site for Troy in which both a southwest and northwest wind would work?

        If I were writing the book, I would point out the discrepancy and offer as my suggestion that the discrepancy arises from Homer using the southwest Turkey,  Xanthos Valley, location where the coast faces southwest, and at other times using the Dardanelles location where the beach bordering the Dardanelles faces northwest.  (This is additional evidence that the actual battle in the Trojan War may have occurred in Lycia. See link at bottom)


    While the Odyssey descriptions of the sea and weather - especially on the Norwegian coast, clearly describe the northern world, we cannot clearly state that the Iliad does the same. The dark color of the sea, its grey or violet color - is not a good argument in any case.  . When the water is choppy, all seas look the same, all  reflecting the color of the sky.  I believe the color of the sea, like the weather, was often used metaphorically. As for references to extreme weather, even snow, in the Iliad, we find that these events are always connected to the gods. It would be a poetic device that rare and extreme weather events be assocaited with the presence of the gods.  To assume this is 'normal' weather is erroneous when connected to the behaviour of deities. Ancient peoples associated only RARE AND EXTREME weather to the deities. A thunderstorm for example was a demonstration of the wrath of Zeus, and not normal everyday weather.

    HOWEVER, as I said at the start, the Iliad is not without discrepancies with the traditional Dardanelles location of Troy. But as I say these discrepancies do not mean a northern location. When I read the Iliad, to me it was impossible to place the war in the northern Baltic - the Iliad describes very large landscapes with mountains all around - there are no real mountains in the Baltic basin which was depressed by the last Ice Age glacier. Also the Iliad implies great opulence and wealth at Troy, and archeology has not found that level of wealth in the Bronze Age Baltic.

    But even if there is no basis of locating the Trojan war in the north,  a case can be made against the Dardanelles location for many passages in the Iliad.  I believe this is because a good amount of the Iliad is actually taking place in Lycia. I came across passages like these which  fit Lycia well:

    (Iliad Book 3)
_ As when the south wind spreads a curtain of mist upon the mountain tops, bad for shepherds but better than night for thieves, and a man can see no further than he can throw a stone, even so rose the dust from under their feet as they made all speed over the plain.

     (Iliad Book 16) As the east and south wind buffet one another when they beat upon some dense forest on the mountains--there is beech and ash and spreading cornel; the top of the trees roar as they beat on one another, and one can hear the boughs cracking and breaking

    Both these passages describe the effect of the southwest wind on mountain slopes. These passages also completely reject a north Baltic location, as there are no mountains in the Baltic. (Unless we go over to Norway).  These passages also describe mountain sides recieving rain that  promotes the growth of trees. If we imagine the location to be southwest Turkey, the Xanthos Valley, ancient Lycia, then it all fits well. The southwest wind blows in from the sea, laden with water. It  is lifted by the mountains, cools, drops its water on the slopes as mist and rain - and at highest latitudes as snow.  The rain promotes  the mountain slopes with forests - another requirement in the Iliad. On calm nights, cool air can descend into valleys from the mountain slopes and create microclimate effects such as night coolness.

     The point here is that the discrepancies in weather, landscapes, character of the sea, between the Iliad descriptions and the Darandelles location, need not be interpreted as indicative of a Baltic location, but a Lycian location - and the Lycian location is even better because the mountains figure strongly in the Iliad tale, but all around the Baltic we only have rather low hills - no real mountains.


        The counterclockwise listing of the Catalogue of Ships in the Iliad works well if we apply it to the Aegean world.  There is no basis for applying it to the Baltic which Vinci does. We have already noted that the Iliad ships are Greek warships, not Baltic ships. There is no evidence to apply the Catalogue of Ships to the Baltic  and Vinci's finding place names fitting Homeric names is absolutely silly.  

        Throughout his book, for both the Odyssey and Iliad, Vinci tries to find on the modern map place names that fit names in these epic tales.  It is very surprising as any scientist with an understanding of laws of probability should know this simply does not work because the sounds made by the human vocal apparatus are limited. Sound patterns repeat often without there being any connections. This is something any trained linguist would have told Vinci if he had asked one. Unless you actually do some background work on modern place names, and discover something more than merely vague sound similarity, you have utter random connections in sound. If Vinci had done background work on the Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish and Estonian place names he claims are Greek in origin, he would also have discovered that most had intrinsic meanings in those languages. For example  VInci claiming Estonian island of Hiiumaa was Chios, because of similarity to Estonian "Hiiumaa", is absurd because "Hiiumaa" means 'land of groves'. It is clearly of Estonian invention and not a 3000 year old Greek word!!!! And so we can go through all those supposed 3000 year old place names and find similar ordinary meanings, especially in the Finnish names where places are so new they still have descriptive names. And yet Vinci laughably claims they are 3000 year old Greek names?!!!  Of course readers who do not know the language and cannot see it, can be fooled.  Speakers of Italian and English will of course be blind to this nonsense.

       The only way it is possible to connect Baltic place names to the Greek world, is if the Baltic names had NO meaning no matter how hard we looked, that they were mysterious.  There are some that for one reason or another the origins cannot be detected easily. But that does not mean it is a 3000 year old Greek word.   Even the place name in Finland that Vinci was so inspired to think of as being derived from "Troia", namely the small Finnish town of Toija can be interpreted to arise from some variant of  'work, business' (TOI- stem) and 'agent' (-JA suffix) that is to say that "Toija" in my view identifies some original 'place-of-business' 'a place people went to expedite business' that grew into a village, and retained that descriptive name of the facility built there. All places in olden times were named by describing them. Vinci, not knowing Finnish, not knowing Estonian, not knowing Swedish, and not knowing Norwegian, cannot see the intrinsic basis for meanings of most of the  supposed 3000 year old Greek place names!!! and so is completely naive and in the dark about it, and so are readers in all the other languages the book is published, other than the language in question.


        Here is another example of how Vinci selectively chooses quotes from the Iliad that fit his needs, and excludes those that don't. He writes in his book that the justification of regarding allies of Troy as all being local from the region of southwest Finland, is that Hector later in the Iliad addresses the allies of Troy as 'neighbours'. I did not find that word used in the Butler translation, but if it is there in the Greej, remember the term 'neighbours' is dependent on scope. For example today, England is 'neighbours' with France. But that is not the problem. The problem is that Vinci does not present the very clear and blunt description by goddess Iris to Hector that the allies of Troy come from distant places and speak many languages.

       The following spoken by Iris to Hector:
" Hector, I charge you above all others, do as I say. There are many allies dispersed about the city of Priam from distant places and speaking divers tongues. Therefore, let each chief give orders to his own people, setting them severally in array and leading them forth to battle."

      Vinci's exclusion of this, is completely inexcusable, and shows that Vinci is PUSHING a personal theory in the worst possible way  by NOT showing contrary information, and NOT discussing them. This quote agrees perfectly with what has always been assumed and clear - the Achaeans basically include all the Greeks on the west side of the Aegean, and the Trojans and allies include all the NON-Greeks on the east side mainly, and that what the author of the Iliad has set out to do is to generally portray a great poetic and symbolic fictional event of the Greek world against the non-Greek world at an ideal symbolic Troy between them. (Click the link at bottom for a more detailed discussion).

     This is perhaps the strongest evidence of very unscientific behaviour. It is a very basic understanding in the world today that bad science is science that is selective - only shows the results that fit the hypothesis. Vinci's book is very bad science, which is surprising because he is supposedly a nuclear engineer. 

        I have only begun to show the discrepancies in Vinci's book between what he says and what the Iliad actually says. These discrepancies as described above are very serious - any one of them can discredit his entire basis for attributing the Iliad with the Baltic too.  As I say, in my view, contrary to Vinci's approach, the evidence when looked at carefully actually shows that the Odyssey Trojan War content was copied from the Iliad, before Baltic content added, and the Iliad was an independent earlier work written in the Greek world from sources that do not necessarily come from the assumed location of Troy at the Dardanelles.


        Last but not least, the most contentious part of Vinci's book is his constant theme of a proto-Greek Baltic, and then a great migration to Mycenea, where the place names, legends, and culture of this proto-Greek Baltic are imposed on the Aegean peoples there. This cannot be in any way supported by archeology or history either in the south or north. It isn't even supported by common sense.  What is more probable - ONE Odyssey author  masquerading Baltic places as Greek places within ONE epic work, or thousands of people carrying our a migration, establishing a seat of power and imposing their  former homeland names onto the Aegean?  Even I could right now adapt the place I am right now, with Ithaca, simply by calling where I am "Ithaca". I do not need to carry out some monumental migration and conquest.  That is why it defies common sense.

        The impossibility exists on so many fronts, from common sense to hard science, one can write a whole book on how utterly silly and impossible it all is. It is as much fanstasy as theories about undersea cities in the Atlantic. I can think of countless ways to refute it, to show it is impossible.  The most significant hard evidence is that archeology, which includes radio-carbon dating, does not find fortified settlements and bronze in the northern Baltic before about 1000BC. Fortification is the only indication of battles occurring.  But Vinci's 'climatic optimum' theory requires the war take place a thousand years earlier. Vinci's Trojan War would have used stone and bone weapons!!! Indeed as late as 500BC arrowheads were still made of bone. Compare the archeological story of the Baltic Bronze Age with the archeological story of a place like the ancient Lycia, and it is clear that Lycia is 1000% more probable than the primitive Baltic.

        The most amusing of all is Vinci's theory that  Indo-European farming peoples flourished in the arctic during the climatic optimum - when the north was much warmer - and then these Indo-Europeans began migrating south when the climate cooled.  He ends by claiming this original Indo-European homeland was in the region north of the Gulf of Bothnia of the Baltic Sea. Well, that entire area is even now very marshy and boggy. 4500 years ago, the entire region was still depressed from having just been freed from the Ice Age glacier, and so it was entirely marshland, bogland,much under shallow water. Hmmm. Maybe the original Indo-European farmed water plants and emerged like creatures out of the bogs? Like amphibians they emerged. Or were they sea people who crawled onto land and found it most comfortable to start off in bogs? Maybe they came onto land from Atlantis and preferred a wet marshland because their skins needed to be kept wet?

        This and many other bits of silliness seem to indicate that Vinci is very naive, but perhaps is not aware of his naivete. Perhaps he has read about Greece, and learned to read Greek texts, but it seems he has not learned about the Baltic, its history, prehistory, geology, languages, etc. I on the other hand, being of Estonian descent, have been attuned  to the Baltic realities now for some 40 years. It has always been my interest. I have no question that most people knowledgable in the truths about the north, will laugh like I did at Vinci's school-boy naive discussions as they wade through the book as it gets stranger and stranger towards the end.  I write this to those people of more southern climes for whom the Baltic and northern Europe in general is an unknown place, who cannot see all the silliness, because it is those people who will be 'taken in', by Vinci's theory.

    The main requirement when writing a book about the real world and wishing to discover the "truth" is not that the writer knows everything, but that he knows enough to know just how little he knows. This knowledge of how ignorant one is, is what is called 'wisdom'. Because if you know that you do not know much about something, you will make an effort to consult the books and experts to enlighten you.

        If Vinci's book were more normal in terms of a scientific work, and less school-boy naive, there would have been great deal he should have checked out and recorded in the book.  If you propose an ancient shoreline close to your proposed location of Troy, well what does Finnish geology say about where the shoreline went? I believe this information is available. (or did he check it out and it contradicted his theory?). If you propose structures and events occurring around 1800BC, make some discussion about what archeology says. So far Finnish archeology has not even found fortified coastal settlements for the Bronze Age. Many have been found in Estonian and southward, although no fortified settlements and evidence of war appear before about 1000BC. Maybe he did check it out and left it out of his book because it undermined his climatic optimum and grand migration theory in terms of dates.  There is plenty of evidence that he was selective in what he brought forward as evidence, and that much contradictory evidence was left out. He mentions that farmers have found artifacts and the Helsinki museum has some spearblades from the area. But what does archeology say about them? Surely a paragraph describing what archeology says is in order. It is inadequate to simply mention 'some spear blades have been found' What is the dating? Bronze spear blades could date to as late as the Roman Age.  The fact artifacts are found means nothing unless they are dated. By his theory the dating has to be about 2000BC. I am certain no Bronze items dating to that time have ever been found in southern Finland. There is so much that is left out and the reader is simply asked to "trust me".   Vinci's theory regarding a Baltic Troy resembles the Hans Christian Andersen tale about the "Emperor's New Clothes" The tailors tell the emperor they will make the clothes out of material that is visible only to people pure of heart, and invisible to others. Thus the tailors pantomime making the clothes, and the king, not being able to see it, does not wish to reveal he is not pure of heart. Finally they put the clothing on, and  the public sees a naked emperor. Finally a child shouts "He has nothing on!"

        Vinci's work is something like the work of these tailors. As I investigated the truth of his work, I sent him emails, and he always haughtily accused me of not reading his book - that it was all explained in his book. Read the book! If you cannot find it, you did not read it properly!.  I can see how many ordinarly people without any education in the subject of classical Greek, Homer epic poetry, or even archeology and geography -- not wishing to be seen as stupid and uneducated, might go along with the book and his theory pretending to agree event thought they really do not know what to think. And so they trust Vinci, actually believing that IF archeologists were to dig where he says, they will find wonderful things. There is something there!!! Vinci claims. But is that any different from the Emperor's tailors claiming there is something there? That there is real clothing not thin air? But when is the child going to stand up and shout "There is nothing there!" Well here is my review and I am telling you the reader "Open your eyes! There is nothing there except an Italian's crazy intellectual construct!!!"

        It is easy to claim there is something there in the soil, knowing that no archeologists will spend valuable money and time digging at his Finnish Troy location based only on his impressions and contrived arguments. Because they do not go and dig, the new myth of a Baltic Troy endures and Vinci enjoys celebrity, like that emperor, and only children and wise scholars can see there is nothing there.

       In  Vinci's book there is a great amount of information that should have been provided and discussed, but was not. Surely if you make a bold claim that Troy was near Kisko, Finland, you have to do more work. You cannot just flippantly suggest the public just accept his theory on blind faith, and simply believe religiously that someday archeology will find truth.  Vinci has the world "by the balls" to use an American expression. You are damned if you disagree because the evidence is supposedly hidden in the ground, and you are damned if you agree and waste thousands in funds doing archeological investigations.


   A fine point: I said above that the Odyssey merely copied details about the Trojan War and its heroes from the Iliad. But it is not entirely that simple. Given that the Odyssey can be shown to provide Baltic information masquerading as Greek, the Odyssey writer can STILL use Baltic war legends and masquerade them as pertaining to the Trojan War. For example the tale of the Trojan Horse might in fact be a northern tale the writer of the Odyssey introduced. If we watch carefully for supposed Trojan War events that cannot be found in the Iliad, well there is a possibility that the author has taken real northern war tales in those instances, and adapted them to the Trojan War tale. So the question of what he copied from the Iliad, and what he adapted from Baltic legends, such as the Trojan Horse tale, is unclear and an area of possible study. There certainly were battles in the Baltic at least by 1000BC, because that is when coastal towns were fortified. Fortification suggests defence against attack from the sea. Thus one can still find battles in the Baltic, but nothing  like the battle described in the Iliad, which requires a valley surrounded by high mountains, and a very wealthy city, worthy of plundering. The theme of plundering Troy for its riches is very strong. For that reason a Lycian Troy makes a thousand times more sense than Vinci's north Baltic silliness. 

   The book  begins with very valid exploration of the Odyssey and evidence that the original new content was from the Baltic. But then the author presumes that what he found in the Odyssey, in respect to Baltic content will also be found in the Iliad, and sets out to do everything possible to find that elusive Baltic Troy. Finding a place in southwest Finland that he can  argue to fit the requirment, he now promotes it to the extreme - avoiding all information including contradictory information in the Iliad itself - to 'prove' it. Perhaps relying on readers believing that there is only one Homer, not reading the Iliad closely, not discovering the contradictions (the major ones I have described above).  I show above some of the discrepancies from the Iliad itself that contradict Vinci's hypothesis of the Trojan War occurring in the Baltic. In the end, everything after  his relevant exploration of the Odyssey is in my opinion"much ado about nothing".  A potentially good scholarly book is destroyed by his subsequent excursions into unprovable theories creating a book that reminds me of books on theories about Atlantis, mermaids, UFO's, and that sort of thing in which authors have become very obsessed and use faint indicators to draw enormous conclusions, and hide or are blind to contradicting evidence.   Had he limited himself to the Baltic origins of only the Odyssey he would have more recognition and scholarly respect.


But I did not end up wasting my time in my several weeks of investigating the truth or lack of truth in Vinci's theory. In the end, my review of the Iliad in conjunction with Vinci's book produced my discovery of the probable true location of the Trojan War as described.  I noticed how the text was calling the Scamander River by the name Xanthos. Xanthos is the river of Lycia. What if, I thought, Homer actually wrote about a Lycian war involving the real Xanthos River, and then forgot to replace the word Xanthos with Scamander. (Other discrepancies can be explained in a similar way) I then began a study of all information there was about Lycia, and to me great surprise I discovered that it fit the descriptions of the war in the Iliad very well.  Unlike the phantom Troy wearing the Emperor's New Clothes near Kisko, Finland, the Xanthos River Valley provides endless amounts of REAL data as it is an area filled with rich historic and ancient information.      You may read my paper on the probably real location of the war depicted at:. 
    In this paper I go into a detailed study of the Lycian location, using satellite photography to find that Troy was the Lycian ancient citadel of Tlos, which in Lycian language was TLAWA. If we say R instead of L in the same mouth position, that becomes TRAWA which becomes close to TROIA. (The Greek "Troia" could easily have been an early Greek language interpretation of the Lycian word Tlawa based on TL not being aesthetic in Greek compared to TR)
Note:  The above is a critical review from an educated scientific minded person.  Other reviewers are free to take other points of view.  If you do so, I am certain search engines will locate your other point of view and readers of each can make up their own mind.  Mr Vinci has been invited to comment on the above, and refute anything. I will be happy to include his counterarguments here. If he does not take up the invitation, it means he is allowing this critical review to stand as is.
AP Sept 2010.