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 The Trojan War

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PostSubject: The Trojan War   Mon 24 Apr 2017, 15:29

Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships,
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?

From Christopher Marlowe's poem.

24th April 1184 BC is one of the dates ascribed to the fall of Troy. Long regarded as myth in Western Europe until Heinrich Schliemann's investigation of the Hisarlik mound, found evidence that cities had indeed existed on this site.

The best candidate now appears to be Troy VIIa. Which dates to the correct time frame and shows evidence of having been burned down.

The walls of Troy VII on the left, with the Roman Troy IX on the right:

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PostSubject: Re: The Trojan War   Mon 24 Apr 2017, 15:42

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PostSubject: Re: The Trojan War   Mon 24 Apr 2017, 15:47

Reconstruction of Homeric Troy:

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PostSubject: Re: The Trojan War   Mon 24 Apr 2017, 15:56

Hittite correspondence of the time mention a city called Wilusa, which has been identified by some historians as Ilium/Troy.
In addition there is also Hittite records of a warlike renegade by the name of Piyama-Radu (Priam ????)
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PostSubject: Re: The Trojan War   Mon 24 Apr 2017, 16:16

Ramses II defeated enemies called the "Sea-Peoples" at the Battle of the Delta in 1175 BC.



Could these be the same raiders who sacked Troy????
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PostSubject: Re: The Trojan War   Tue 25 Apr 2017, 09:01

The problem with trying to work out historical fact from a mythical starting point is that one is basically beginning in a dead end. Schliemann's catastrophic destruction (in archaeological terms) of Bronze Age Troy is a graphic example of just how tragically wrong it can all go, but in fact his crime has been emulated in some form by almost all subsequent historians who take the Homeric myth as having a necessary basis in specific fact. Like "biblical archaeology" etc, the temptation to prioritise particular forensic archaeological data which supports a hypothesis and ignore all the rest is too strong to resist and the crime is compounded by then presenting the falsely bolstered hypothesis as fact. It happens with Troy all the time.

It doesn't however happen with Hissarlik, and the local museum run by the Turkish Heritage Organisation is a model of how such myth-laden sites should really be addressed. There you will see "Troy" quite correctly presented as a fable associated with the settlement next door, and the growth, demise, subsequent growth, and then ultimate demise of that settlement is presented in the context of the network of citadels and forts along that stretch of coast which prospered throughout the period in question. There is evidence of violent assault on "Ilium" at least five times over the best part of a thousand years, all of which were extremely destructive for the citadel but none of which would have warranted a military mobilisation as put forward in the fable, and certainly none which required a prolonged siege lasting a decade. Analysis of the water sources alone suggests - like most such citadels - that an effective siege required only a sustained deprivation of water and food for a few months.

The "Sea-Peoples" have given rise to several fanciful theories, from survivors of the volcanic destruction of Minoan Crete to Mycenaean expeditionary forces. Such fancy is possible as the details in the written record are sparse and very open to interpretation. Wunderlich (whose book about Minoan Crete is worth reading as a sort of "Evans antidote") quite sanely suggested that "Sea-Peoples" should not be regarded as a generic reference to a single race of people, much like the term "Viking" is abused historically to the same end. Egypt's maritime border would quite naturally have been its most dynamic in terms of perceived invasion threat, and in fact all such encroachers were termed "Sea-People" in the records. When such threats became occasionally concerted they merited a special mention, but to extrapolate from such vague sources a geographical or common cultural source for one such incident is treading on very thin historiographical ice indeed.
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