"Archaeology Has Proved the Historicity of the Trojan War." Discuss

1746 words 7 pages
"Archaeology has proved the historicity of the Trojan War." Discuss

"… he [Heinrich Schliemann] found layers of ruins … and two bore unmistakable signs of violent destruction. One of these layers, the seventh according to more recent excavators, was no doubt the city of Priam and Hector. The historicity of the Homeric tale had been demonstrated archaeologically." - M.I. Finley, the World of Odysseus


The Trojan War and its characters are detailed in the writings of Homer, Vergil, Dante and many others. It is a fantastical tale of a decade-long siege of a powerful city by a massive pan-hellenic force. However, even though it has proved to be such a rich source of inspiration for writers, poets and artists throughout
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Homer's poems must therefore not be considered gospel, even if we ignore all references to the gods' intervention. It would be best to look for a city that resembles the Troy portrayed in the Iliad, a Troy that inspired Homer's verse. But if we are not using the epic poetry as a base, then any city supposedly identified as Troy cannot be proved to be Troy. Schliemann was convinced that he had found Troy:

"With great joy I announce to Your Majesty that I have discovered the tombs which the tradition proclaimed by Pausanias indicates to be the graves of Agamemnon, Cassandra, Eurymedon and their companions, all slain at a banquet by Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthos." - telegram from Schliemann to King George of Greece

Nine different cities were found at Hisarlik – each built on the previous one's ruins. The seventh city is generally agreed to be the Troy of the Trojan War. Its towers and sixteen-feet thick walls are still visible today as ruins. Archaeological dating techniques have given us the dates of each layer.

The main reason for the controversy surrounding Troy's identification is the paucity of archaeological evidence. Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier, a modern-day archaeologist currently, formerly a professor of archaeology at the University of Heidelberg was interviewed on the importance of Troy:

"… it's always a question of preservation. The lower city was largely destroyed by later building activities, so all that remains are


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