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Troy

Schliemann Trench at Troy by Julian Fong

Schliemann Trench at Troy by Julian Fong via Flickr

Troy is an ancient city with archaeological ruins located in Turkey. According to Homer‘s Illiad, it was attacked by the Greeks for ten years, a conflict commonly known as the Trojan war. In a space of 4000 years the city was rebuilt nine times.

For many years Troy was thought to be a mythical place, much like Atlantis. But in the 1870’s its ruins were discovered by Heinrich Schliemann.

Sadly, Schliemann’s ham-handed excavations did much damage to the ancient site. As the Wikipedia entry about him notes:

Schliemann began work on Troy in 1871. His excavations began before archaeology had developed as a professional field. Thinking that Homeric Troy must be in the lowest level, Schliemann and his workers dug hastily through the upper levels.¹

The fall of Troy, by Johann Georg Trautmann (1...

The fall of Troy, by Johann Georg Trautmann (1713–1769). From the collections of the Grand Dukes of Baden, Karlsruhe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michael Wood‘s In Search of the Trojan War, an investigation into the myth and archaeology of Troy, is available on DVD and highly recommended. And the general idea of Troy has cropped up in TV and movies, most recently Helen of Troy (2003) and Troy (2004) with Brad Pitt.

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On the Web:

¹ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Schliemann  In 2009 (the last revision for “Troy” at earthpages.ca) this Wikipedia entry was cited:

His career began before archaeology developed as a professional field, and so, by present standards, the field technique of Schliemann’s work leaves a lot to be desired. Thinking that Homeric Troy must be in the lowest level, he dug hastily through the upper levels.


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Illiad

Scene from Book XXIV of the Iliad: Hector's co...

Scene from Book XXIV of the Iliad: Hector's corpse brought back to Troy (detail). Roman artwork (ca. 180–200 CE), relief from a sarcophagus, marble via Wikipedia

The Illiad is a Greek epic by by Homer about the siege of Troy.

Not unlike the much larger Indian epic, the Mahabharata, this Greek tale involves a grand-scale war between two opposing factions. Divine gods and goddesses often appear and, like the Indian story, offer their assistance to favored mortals.

Together with the Odyssey, the Illiad is one of the pillars of existing Greek myth.

Rather than my trying to summarize the story, it’s better to leave that to an expert. For an excellent outline with commentary and original Greek terms, see Sir Paul Harvey’s work, freely available at http://www.archive.org/details/oxfordcompaniont006050mbp (PDF, page 220).

Related Posts » Aeneas, Aesculapius, Athena, Hesiod

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