Trojan War: A New History

The Trojan War: A New History


The Trojan War is one of history’s most famous conflicts, a ten-year-long war waged over the beautiful Helen. For more than two thousand years this story has been a source of artistic inspiration. But is it true?In The Trojan War historian and classicist Barry Strauss explores the myth and the reality behind the war, from Homer’s accounts in The Iliad and The Odyssey to Heinrich Schliemann’s discovery of ancient Troy in the late nineteenth century to more recent excavations that have yielded …

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A vision of Troy according to ancient sources [1152×544](r/MapPorn)

This is actually really inaccurate according to all archaeological and historical (ancient or modern) data.

For starters the scale is out of whack. The city should not stretch all the way across the peninsula. Here is a map showing how big the Troad peninsula was, Troy only occupied a small portion of it, not this huge metropolis.

Another example showing the rivers and the famed Plain of Troy.

Here it is on Google Maps:'27.0%22N…

There is also zero evidence of that inner harbour/lake at Troy VIIh (the “Homeric Troy”) or any of the other levels of Troy. The plain was fed by a pair of rivers that converged very near Troy and flowed into the inner bay. They could use and divert those rivers, but never in such a scale. The harbours used were the natural bay where the rivers debouched and a smaller one facing the Aegean. There were also none of those little artificial lakes around Troy.

The city was also very different. For starters there was no castle with a moat around it, the citadel was a complex of palaces and religious houses that looked the same as the lower city houses only were bigger, richer, and more opulent. This is a close up of what the citadel might have looked like (of which there is a lot of excavated ground):…

OP is correct in saying that the citadel was once believed to be all, but that recently more has been found. However, it’s not as expansive as the illustration suggests. This is the boring archaeological diagram of what has been excavated so far, and you can see the outlines of an outer wall (called the Lower City wall). It’s significant, and Troy was likely one of the biggest cities in the ancient Near East (with 5,000 to 10,000 people), and the way the city is set up basically proves that the culture was a lot more Hittite than Mycenean Greek or anything else. So a lot has been learned over the past couple of decades.

This is the best and most faithful representation of what Troy VII might have looked like:…

I love that people can be excited about Troy as the real city that it was, not just the legend, and there’s a lot to still discover about it, but I think it’s important to be cautious about how it’s portrayed. Especially in such a historical period where archaeology is so necessary, it’s easy to take a little thing, a tiny piece of evidence, and blow it out of proportion; for example seeing any evidence of using river water for crops and jumping to the conclusion that Trojans were master canal builders – there’s no solid evidence of the kind. It’s easy to mythologize Bronze Age civilizations, especially Troy, but reality is, unfortunately, less glamorous; however, its complexities can still blow you away if you don’t expect too much from a civilization that lived 3,500 years ago.

Source: Historian with extensive research knowledge of the Late Bronze Age Near East, including Troy.

EDIT: Well, since I’ve been gilded (thanks for that, by the way) I’ll go the extra mile and give some book rec’s for those who want to know more.

Disclaimer: Most of these are very academic-y, can be quite dense; unfortunately when it comes to this topic this is the norm, but I’ll spare you guys the real dull ones. I’ll start with one of the most accessible.

The Trojan War: A New History by Barry Strauss.

In Search of the Trojan War Paperback by Michael Wood.

The Trojans & Their Neighbours Paperback by Trevor Bryce.

1177 BC: The Year Civlization Collapsed by Eric H. Cline.

Greece in the Bronze Age Paperback by Emily Townsend Vermeule.

Life and Society in the Hittite World Paperback by Trevor Bryce.

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Barry Strauss

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Simon & Schuster

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The Trojan War: A New History

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A vision of Troy according to ancient sources [1152×544]

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