Homer’s Iliad is a powerful, beautiful, and awe-inspiring work of ancient Greece. An epic poem and a classic of world literature, the Iliad recounts portions of the war between Greece and the city-state of Troy. Most entrancing are his vivid & wonderful descriptions of the Great City of Troy and illustrious recounts of the events that took place on this ancient site. It is not a surprise that the 19th century German archaeologist or arguably treasure hunter, Heinrich Schliemann was spellbound to find Homer’s classical city of Troy and it is often said that we know so much about Troy today because of one man’s obsession, indeed of his childhood dream which he made come true.
Although Schliemann did in fact discover a vast amount of archaeological evidence, it is debatable just how much of this actually belongs to the Age of the Trojan War and just how much of his finds support the existence of Homer’s troy? The criticisms of Schliemann are numerous; however, despite his faults and his overzealous approach to his excavations at Troy, he did lead the way and, in some respects, make possible the overwhelming amount of valuable research conducted at Troy since.
Schliemann began his preliminary excavations on the Ancient site of Hisarlik, Turkey in the April of 1870, an ancient high plateau that archaeologist Frank Calvert had already formulated as being ‘an artificial mound with the ruins and debris of temples and palaces which succeeded each other over long centuries’. Schliemann was immediately convinced by Calvert that this was the site of Homer’s Troy. Over 1871-73 he would make three major campaigns totalling over nine months work. He decided to drive fast trenches through the mound, removing hundreds of tons of earth and rubble, demolishing earlier structures which stood in his way. Among the walls were parts of the limestone city wall of Lysimachus and in two places behind it, an earlier wall of limestone blocks which Schliemann considered too fine to be...
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