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< Back to question Where is the City of Troy? Show more Show less

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?

The ruins of Troy are in Hisarlik, Turkey Show more Show less

In 1870, amateur archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann started wide-scale excavations at Hisarlik which provided evidence that Troy existed there.
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Hisarlik matches Homer's description of Troy

Most scholars agree that Hisarlik's setting matches Homer's description of Troy, and the evidence found during excavations of the site also seems to match Homer's narration.
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Proponents


Context

In 1822 Charles Maclaren first suggested Hisarlik might be the site of Troy, but it wasn't until 1870 that Heinrich Schliemann, a wealthy, amateur archaeologist, started conducting wide-scale excavations, and found a walled citadel. Hisarlik is the site most commonly referred to as the site of Troy by classicists and archaeologists today.

The Argument

Heinrich Schliemann was a very wealthy adventurer and world traveler, with a passionate interest in Homer. It was actually the archaeologist Frank Calvert who had an inkling that Troy was located at Hisarlik, but Schliemann had the funds to excavate the site and received most of the credit for the findings.[1] The topography of Hisarlik matches the topography of Troy mentioned in Homer's Iliad, to the extent that most scholars and classicists now call Hisarlik the site of Troy. In the Iliad, the Greek soldiers camp near the mouth of the River Scamander (now Karamenderes), and the city of Troy stands on a windy hill overlooking a plain, which would have been the plain of Scamander. One issue with pinpointing the location of the Greek camp in relation to the city is that the landscape has drastically changed over thousands of years because of the erosion caused by the rivers. However, researchers found that Homer's descriptions of the landscape around Hisarlik make sense, considering how the land has changed over time, and how it appears now.[2] Archaeologist and writer, Eric Cline, suggests that Schliemann may have found Priam's palace, but due to his poor archaeological skills, he dug too far down and destroyed some evidence. Cline said, “He found Troy, but he also destroyed Troy.”[3]

Counter arguments

Schliemann was not a professional archaeologist and some scholars critiqued his excavation skills, saying he destroyed important archaeological evidence and mixed up artefacts from different time periods and layers of Troy. He was a Homer fan who desperately wanted to find the Lost City of Troy - he, therefore, treated Homer as a historian rather than a poet, and used the Iliad as a guidebook rather than fiction. This meant he may have taken some of the descriptions and artefacts in the poem a bit too literally. Since Troy existed thousands of years ago, it is difficult to pinpoint the location based on a description that was written hundreds of years after the time it is describing. There is too much room for inaccuracy.

Premises

[P1] Excavations at Hisarlik uncovered a citadel similar to that described by Homer in The Iliad. [P2] The topography of Hisarlik is very similar to that of Homer's Troy. [P3] Most scholars and classicists now claim Hisarlik is the site of Troy.

Rejecting the premises


References

  1. https://www.thoughtco.com/heinrich-schliemann-and-discovery-of-troy-169529
  2. https://www1.udel.edu/PR/UDaily/2003/troy030303.html
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/aug/09/lost-cities-2-search-real-troy-hisarlik-turkey-mythology-homer-iliad

This page was last edited on Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 22:55 UTC

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