Troy & the Trojan War
Between Myth and Reality. Nobody would ever have been really interested in the prehistoric site of Troy if Homers "Iliad" had not been a "best seller". It has been in publication now for 2700 years! Schliemann conducted excavations in Troy in 1870, followed by Dörpfeld and later in 1935 Blegen from America continued the excavations there. Today it is the University of Tübingen which leads the works at Troy. The dream of Eric Schliemann in the 19th century was to prove that the Trojan War was not just a myth but that it was real. A war, which was in a way the first war in the world between the East and the West!
The Site:- Troy is situated about 60 km north from Lesvos. This is as the crow flies via the sea. Achilles sailed this route every time he needed a break on Lesvos, hunting wild animals or chasing beautiful girls, during the ten year war. Today the journey is a bit longer due to boarder controls. Troy was founded in 3000 B.C. and was demolished and reconstructed nine times by 500 A.D.
The Myth:- According to Greek epic poetry, the Trojan Paris, son of the king, took the beautiful Helen to Troy despite the fact that she was married to Menelaus King of Sparta in the Peloponnesus. She was may have been forced to go but some traditions imply she went of her own free will – it is difficult to say - especially because, according to myth, Aphrodite promised to give Helen as a gift to Paris because he gave the apple to her when ……
In any event, Agamemnon, King of Mycenae and brother of Menelaus, rallied together Greek princes who owed him allegiance and set sail to attack Troy. However modern economists say that it was the strategic position of Troy which controlled the sea ways which was the real attraction and not Helen ..… but who cares about economists most people prefer the romantic story!
The Greeks laid siege to the "well-fortified"
city in a ten-year campaign marked by various successes and failures.
Eventually it took a clever trick to defeat the Trojans - a large wooden
horse seemingly left as tribute by the fleeing Greeks - but which really
contained Greek warriors in its belly. And, thus, the source of the
cliché, "beware of Greeks bearing gifts."