Searching for Hisarlik

I'm not sure what Fairfax is doing here, it's a little intellectual for a New Zealand newspaper publication isn't it? What happened to the 20 stories on the All Blacks loss last night? Someone must be on sick leave....

“Searching for the real Troy story in Turkey”

Anyway it's there, so lets talk about it. Very well known German classicists came to blows over Troy back in the 2000s. And like one of those classicists I've never held Heinrich Schliemann in much regard. For one thing he is reputed to have moved archeological articles from elsewhere (such as Athens, as you would) to Hisarlik to 'find them'. For myself I think that Hisarlik is a very, very unconvincing Troy. In fact I'd look for Troy elsewhere both in space and time. We date Homer to the 7th or 8th Century BCE these days but the Classical Greeks didn't, believing Hesiod to be the earlier writer of the two. As Hesiod is often dated to the 7th Century BCE this moves Homer to the 6th Century BCE or even later. There is also some humour in the Iliad and that is by most accounts a 5th Century BCE writing innovation. That's where I would place Homer although I'd find only resistance to this in classicist circles. Do I care? No I don't.

I think the Iliad reads like a reworked Battle of Plataea*.

It's a propagandistic piece about how the god fearing very much hierarchically organized Greeks defeated the democratic orientated Trojans. The Iliad does not necessarily think that this was a good thing.

Make of that what you will.

It's also a Greek David and Goliath story in some ways. Which is apt as the oldest Synagogue found in the world is on Delos which is more or less on the other side of Athens to where Plataea is.

Plataea, Athens & Delos (see arrows). Hisarlik (supposedly Troy) is up to the North of all these places (added in red text). It's about 16km from Gallipoli.^

Greece in the 5th Century was a lot larger than the map above. It included Sicily and parts of Italy proper as well as various city states on the southern side of the Mediterranean. In fact Greece itself didn't exist, just city states who sometimes worked together and who had the Greek language, learning and organization in common. Frogs on a pond. Just as described in the Iliad. A very 5th Century thing rather than something from the Bronze Age.

Did someone mention Plato?

* interestingly Kolb now views Troy as being in Greece but still dates it to the Bronze Age.

^ Argos an impressive city at the time of Homer and with frequent mentions in the Iliad is not marked on this map. Sparta which the Iliad hardly mentions is marked on this map. Helen of Sparta? No, in the Iliad (original Greek version) it was always Argive Helen or Helen of Argos. For another time.

#history #Homer #Hisarlik #archeology