Ancient Greek History

The City of Troy Wasn’t Just a Myth

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The UNESCO World Heritage Site at Troy in TurkeyIn the Iliad, Homer recounted a tale of the Trojan War that, for a long time, many assumed was a myth. However, thanks to the tenacity of several individuals in the 1800’s, the real city of Troy was eventually unearthed. Now, we understand that Troy was actually a real city that was located in Asia Minor, which was a part of Ancient Greece at one time. Here’s more information about this ancient city:

Finding the Real Troy

Inspired by the Iliad, individuals such as Heinrich Schliemann and Frank Calvert set out to find it. Both Schliemann and Calvert eventually gained permission to excavate. Most of what we know about Troy was either read in the Iliad or discovered at the archaeological site itself. Mainly, the ancient epic poem was cross referenced with the findings at the excavation to authenticate whether or not that really was Troy. The current accepted location of ancient Troy is in modern-day Turkey in the southwest portion of the Dardanelles strait. Unfortunately, back when Schliemann and Calvert began exploring the site back in the mid-1800’s, the archaeological principals that are around today that are designed to help preserve sites today weren’t in place, which means that some of the original information could have been lost. It is largely accepted, however, that this was the location of the real Troy that was written about by Homer. Although there are still theories that indicate that Troy was actually located somewhere else, the accepted belief is that this truly is Troy. Since the initial excavation, teams have begun the process of analyzing the site with modern techniques.

From Fiction to Fact – Troy Emerges from the Rubble

With that discovery, Troy became much more than a myth. However, the question remained – how much of the mythological stories about the city, such as the Trojan War or the legendary Helen of Troy, were actually true? In analyzing the site, it is pretty well accepted that the city has been inhabited since the early Bronze Age in 3000 B.C. in Ancient Greece. The site was made up of cities that inhabited several layers, one stacked on top of the other, which means that the actual site dates much earlier than the Trojan War would date the site at. At its height, it looks as if the city itself is made up of five miles worth of streets, homes, and a castle. This fortified city actually rivals Ancient Athens in size and influence. There is even evidence that the settlement was vast enough for there to be inhabitants located outside the wall.

The city went through various stages of growth through the ages. In the early days, it wasn’t a city but rather, a settlement that was surrounded by stone walls. Over time, the settlement grew into a town, and then a city, and by the time the mythological “Trojan War” took place, it had become something much grander. Scholars are only now realizing that behind the myths, there is certainly an element of truth.

 

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia – Troy

Ancient History Encyclopedia

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com

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