The starting point is offered by a simple observation about the Cainites and their characteristic occupations, which have a timely match in those of the Cilicians, a people that Homer places – like the Lycians – at the foot of Mount Ida. Described in the Iliad among those fighting alongside the Trojans, they inhabit Thebe Hypoplakia (Stählin 1907 [1]), where Eetion (Gardiner 1907 [2]; Zarker 1965 [3]; Jackson 1988 [4]), father of Andromache, was killed by Achilles before the epic war began (6, 397, 415) (Desideri & Jasink 1990 [5]: 12, 27; Capecchi 1991 [6]: 98 n. 56; Wathelet 1989 [7]: 137–139). Strabo quotes Callisthenes – the historian in the service of Alexander the Great – about the migration of the Cilicians from northwest Anatolia to historical Kilikia, the region that overlooks the island of Cyprus. Callisthenes located near Phaselis the towns of Thebe and Lyrnessus, founded by the Cilicians of Troad who, after leaving the plain of Thebe Hypoplakia had partly fled to Pamphylia (Prandi 1985 [8]: 77; Milns 2006 [9]). The same problem arises for the Lycians, whose history wants them to thrive on the stretch of coast in front of Rhodes and according to Homer also inhabitants of Zeleia (2.824), on the slopes of Mount Ida (Quattordio Moreschini 1983 [10]; Bryce 1977 [11]; Filoni 2004 [12]: 541-545; Bachvarova 2015 [13]; Desideri & Jasink 1990 [5]: 27, 31, 44; Salmeri 2000 [14]: 164 and n. 128; Oreshko 2019 [15]: 158–159). The question of the original home of the Lycians is bound to remain unsolved, but now it is important to cross the Homeric data about the Cilicians of Troad with the profile of the Lycians and Cainites inGenesis, noting some convergent traits, on which it is worth pondering. In the Iliad, we hear of Achilles playing the lyre (φόρμιγσ) stolen from the king of Thebe (9.188), then of the horse Pedasus (16.152ff.), and finally of an iron block (σόλος), which Eetion enjoyed throwing (23, 826-835). These three objects – which belonged to the king of the Cilicians and then ended up in the hands of Achilles, after the conquest of Thebe – are symbols of the characteristic activities of that people in history: music, horse breeding and the iron industry. This interpretation is reasonably certain, because – as we shall see – Cilicia is historically known for excellence in all three areas. It is noteworthy that Adah and Zillah, the wives of Lamech, bore to their husband three children endowed with the same skills Achilles took advantage of when he sacked the Cilicians: music, metallurgy and horse breeding. As we shall see in further detail, these are the fields where the Cainites excel according to Genesis.

Originally Published: April 5, 2021

Last Updated: April 30, 2021

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