Did the Trojan War occur?
The existence of a war in Troy is undeniable; however it is not the Trojan war of Homer’s Iliad. It is believed that Homer’s account may have been based on a real event therefore having some truth but due to the mythological nature of the source, the unreliability of oral transmission and the exaggerated romantic theme, the account is not a valid source for historians. Written evidence such as the Hittite records and the different theories presented by archaeologists Schliemann, Dorpfield, Blegen and Korfmann strongly suggest the occurrence of a war in troy and have some links to the Iliad. Despite these links, there is only enough evidence to support the existence of a war in Troy but not explicitly Homer’s Trojan War.
The discovery of the Hittite records has confirmed the existence of a war in Troy. The clay tablets written in cuneiform script revealed the defeat and separation of a powerful kingdom; Arzawa which was seen as a threat to the Hittite civilisation. One of Arzawa’s lands Wilusa, located in the North West coasts of Anatolia (Turkey) was a suspected candidate for the city of Troy. The city name was not only translated by linguist Professor Hawkins to be ‘Troy’ but was also mentioned in letters between Ahhiyawa (thought to be Mycenae) and the Hittites as the site of a long-standing feud between the two. The location of Wilusa and the political tensions surrounding it suggests that conflict between the Hittites and Ahhiyawa may have been the ten year war described in The Iliad. Although this may give some validity to Homer’s account, it is important to be aware that Homer’s Iliad is a secondary source written 500 years after the event and contains mythological elements exaggerated for his romantic plot. Homer’s main source of research was from oral transmissions over a long period of time. Homer’s accounts are unreliable because the information he obtained were most likely altered. Therefore the Hittite records only...
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