Troy was considered a mythical city until archeologist Heinrich Schliemann discovered the remains of the city in 1871. Archeological digs have brought up many truths about the history of Troy, and about the Trojan War, which supposedly occurred around 1250 B.C. The war is the subject of the epic poem, The Iliad by Homer, however, there are several theories regarding the existence of Troy and the events of the Trojan War.
In 1871, Heinrich Schliemann, with the aid of geographical clues mentioned in The Iliad, discovered the legendary city of Troy on a coast in North West Turkey (TROY). The remains of the city of Troy were located on the hills of Hisarlik in Anatolia, Canakkale (CÃANAKKALE), and nine layers of the city have been unearthed at the site, each built on top of each other (TROY). Great damage was done to the newer layers of Troy, due to Schliemann lacking in archeological knowledge and his thinking that the oldest layers of Troy were the most important (ThinkQuest. “The). Historical artifacts, such as arrowheads and pottery, were found while excavating the city, and findings show that the city of Troy was bigger than was originally thought (TROY).
Archeologists have questioned which layer of Troy was the city Homer mentioned in his epic poems. There are two cities which fit the time period, and therefore could have been the Troy mentioned in the in The Iliad: Troy VI and Troy VII (Hirst).
Troy VI was a magnificent city, and “was a city like no others” (ThinkQuest. “Troy). The walls of this sixth layer were over four meters thick, about nine meters tall, and was well-fortified than the previous cities (History). Because of the impressive walls, archeologists believed that this was the Troy under King Priam’s rule (ThinkQuest. “Troy). However, Troy VI was possibly destroyed by an earthquake, not by fire, and judging from the lack of bodies unearthed, researchers believe many of the citizens escaped the disaster (ThinkQuest. “The). This fact disfavors the theory that this city was the Troy Homer wrote about in his poem.
The other candidate for the city in The Iliad is Troy VII, which was also a great city (ThinkQuest. “Troy). Archeologists agree that Troy VII is the better choice as the Troy in the poems, as it was supposedly destroyed by fire, like the city in The Iliad (ThinkQuest. “The). Also, the time Troy VII was built is the most fitting for the time period of when the Trojan War occurred (TROY). The war occurred around 1250 B.C., and Troy VII stood from 1275 B.C. to 1240 B.C., according to archeologist Carl Blegen (History). Furthermore, foreign graveyards were discovered near the site where the Greek army may have set up their camp during the war (ThinkQuest. “The).
However, Homer’s Troy is still unidentified, as historians offer several different theories, such as the legend of the Trojan horse is a metaphor for the earthquake which destroyed Troy VI (History).
The “mythical” city of Troy was discovered and may be proved that it existed, but a question still remains about whether the Trojan War really occurred. One theory historians suggest is that possibly, there were more than just one major Trojan War (Riorden). Some historians believe that the “Trojan war” was a mixture of various stories (Trojan War. Trojan), and that it was a “process rather than a single event” (Lovgren). It is believed that there was not a single war that lasted for ten years, and The Iliad was an integrated story of many different wars that occurred. There is evidence indicating that a Trojan war or wars occurred, and that Homer chose to feature several of them in his poems as one long war (Lovgren). Also, regarding the Trojan horse, experts take this episode of the poem as a metaphor for the earthquake which was the downfall of Troy VI (History). If this is so, then it is likely that Homer might have “taken the description of Troy VI and the destruction of Troy VII, and, using poetic license, blurred the two...
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Wilkens, Iman Jacob
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