For years the ancient story of Troy and the epic Trojan War has sparked dispute among archaeologists. Did it really happen? Was there a troy like the one Homer describes? What caused it? Historians are today still trying to prove the existence of troy and the Trojan War.
Our main source of interest in troy and the Trojan War is the Iliad. It is an account of the war, describing the events and people associated with it. It was written by Homer, the Greek bard who lived approximately 400 years after the war is said to have occurred. Our knowledge of Homer is very little and it is unknown whether he was a single person or a group of authors. He described Troy as being a colossal city of great wealth with enormous walls protecting it. The war lasted for 10 years, with the Iliad accounting for 55 days of it.
The Iliad cannot be taken on face value. It is littered with metaphors and inaccuracies. It is nonetheless an extremely useful piece of evidence that holds a foundation of truth.
An example of one of the inaccuracies in the Iliad is in Homer's description of Troy. He details the buildings present, naming a temple of Athena, who was a Greek goddess, a temple of this god would not be present in a town such as Troy. Instead of describing Troy he described an ancient Greek city.
Despite its flaws, the Iliad is still considered an accurate piece of evidence, and provides a story of human experience that has lasted the ages.
The reason the Trojan War story has lasted so long is because of its universal appeal. It has elements that appeal to everyone; it combines the features of a well made chick-flick, a forbidden love ending in tragedy, with action packed bloodshed sure to grab the attention of the lads.
The location of Troy is believed to be in North-West Turkey at the mound of Hissarlik. It was discovered by wealthy archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1870. There are differing views on Schliemann and his believability. He is thought to be a romantic man searching to find truth in his boyhood obsession, yet he is also believed to be a liar and a fraud. He began excavating in the hope of finding Homer's Troy. When he was unhappy with his findings and about to stop financing the dig something remarkable happened. Schliemann discovered a trove of treasure of inestimitable value in level 3 which he called Priam's Treasure'. This discovery gave credibility to the Trojan War and it was beginning to be seen as a possible event, but when Schliemann documented his find he mentions his wife Sophie being at his side as he made the discovery. In actuality Sophie was in Athens at the time. Schliemann's dishonesty made him seem untrustworthy and people questioned whether his treasure was authentic.
At the beginning of his excavations, Schliemann dug a large trench into the mound of Hissarlik in the hope of encountering remnants of great monuments and buildings. This destructive way of excavating damaged much of the layers and walls. This has made it difficult for other archaeologists following on with excavations and study, and a large amount of evidence has been lost. When this trench was dug, Schliemann discovered not one massive settlement of troy, but ten layers of settlements built upon one another dating from 3000B.C. up until 1400 A.D.
The 6th layer found at Hissarlik is now considered to be Homers' Troy. It was the strongest and largest settlement in the Bronze Age timeframe, and has a fortification wall surrounding the Citadel, and a ditch around the entire lower city. When this level was discovered it was thought to be too small to be troy. The walls surrounding the Citadel were thought to be the great walls surrounding the entire city. They indicated that the town was miniature and insignificant and did not match Homers description. A war of as...