The Trojan War. Confined totally to the pages of Homer's The Illiad, the indulgent fantasy of a Greek poet who lived over two and a half thousand years ago- or a historic fact at the centre of the most famous quarrel ever? The Illiad is the ancient tale of a mighty city called Troy that lay at the edge of Asia Minor whose prince abducted Helen, the most beautiful woman of all time, from the king of Greek Sparta, causing the Greeks to send an army in a thousand ships to attack and lay siege to Troy for 10 years. Historians have long doubted the credibility of Homer as a reliable historical source. However evidence has been uncovered by archaeologists to suggest that The Iliad has some basis in truth within the epic saga and that although the Trojan War occurred, it may not have occurred as according to Homer. Evidence such as the excavation of Hissarlik, Troy VI and the Hittite tablets has proven the existence of Troy as well as the occurrence of the Trojan War. The Illiad version of the battle is altered by poetic license in the reason and duration of the war and also the real defenders of Troy, however at the centre of Homer's tale is an actual event all the more epic for being true.
Troy was dismissed by all credible historians as an old Greek myth before Heinrich Schliemann excavated the ancient city. Schliemann, a millionaire merchant, had read Homer's account of the Trojan War and had later searched the pages of The Illiad for geographical clues. He believed they placed ancient Troy in the northwest corner of modern day Turkey. In 1870, Schliemann began preliminary excavations at the mound of Hissarlik where local custom also reinforced his belief that this was the site of Troy. Schliemann- an amateur excavator with no real archaeological experience -dug a trench through the centre of the mound. This process was destructive and destroyed large walls, however, it did reveal a walled palace with a paved ramp... [continues]
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