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The City of Troy is known for being the location of the famous Trojan war between the Greeks and Trojans. This war is described in Homer's Iliad, an Ancient Greek epic poem. But was Troy just a literary or mythological location or does it really exist to this day? If so, where is it?

Troy is a mythological city and does not exist Show more Show less

Before 1870, nearly all scholars believed that Troy was a mythological place. There is still not enough evidence to prove it existed.
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The Iliad is filled with mythology

Gods and goddesses play large roles in the battle of Troy as told by Homer, demonstrating that much of what we know about Troy is based on mythology.
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Proponents


Context

While it is clear that gods and goddesses play a large role in the Iliad, it is perhaps not so well known that the whole story of the Iliad completely relies on mythology. From the Judgement of Paris to the Walls of Troy, the foundations of Homer's story rest on the actions of the gods. This strongly suggests that Homer's Troy does not exist, and is merely part of great mythological storytelling.

The Argument

The myth of the Judgement of Paris is the whole basis for the Trojan War. In this myth, Zeus (King of Gods) is holding a banquet and the Eris (Goddess of Discord) leaves the Golden Apple of Discord at the feast and addresses it “to the fairest”. This leads to an argument between Hera (Goddess of Women and wife of Zeus), Athena (Goddess of Wisdom and Warfare), and Aphrodite (Goddess of Love) about who the fairest goddess is, with all hoping to claim the prize. Zeus brings the Trojan prince Paris to be the judge, and the goddesses each offer Paris a bribe. He awards Aphrodite the golden apple after hearing the promise of gaining the most beautiful woman in the world. Then, chaos ensues. Paris gets Helen of Troy, and Helen's Greek husband Menelaus sends the Greek army to Troy for war. Athena and Hera fight with the Greeks out of petty jealousy of Aphrodite.[1] The Walls of Troy were supposedly built by Poseidon (God of the Sea). Both Poseidon and Apollo (God of Archery) were temporarily stripped of their authority when they rebelled against Zeus, and so they were sent to serve King Laomedon of Troy. Laomedon promised to reward them well if they built enormous walls around the city to protect them.[2] Apollo is also responsible for sending a plague to the Greeks when Agamemnon refused to return Chryseis to her father, who was one of Apollo’s priests. Additionally, Achilles is the son of a sea nymph, Thetis, and his impressive armour is forged by Hephaestus (God of Fire). So much of his character arc and actions are defined by the gods, and since he is one of the most important characters in the Iliad, we can see just how important mythology is to the story.

Counter arguments

Although the Iliad clearly contains elements of mythology, the events that unfold between the mortals could stand alone without the gods and goddesses playing their parts. Some people believe that the Gods are merely personifications of forces of nature such as the weather, the ocean, disease, natural disasters, and so on. If we view the gods in this light, there is not so much evidence to suggest that the Iliad is all a fallacy. While some passages are clearly fiction, the Trojan war probably still occurred.

Premises

[P1] Mythology is the foundation of Homer's Iliad. [P2] The whole definition of mythology centres around a lack of truth. [P3] Homer's Troy is a story and does not exist.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] The use of mythology in Homer's work doesn't remove the possibility that some of the elements of the story are true.

References

  1. https://www.owleyes.org/text/iliad/analysis/mythology
  2. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Laomedon

This page was last edited on Monday, 7 Sep 2020 at 18:13 UTC

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