The Historic Accuracy Of Homer’s Iliad

2986 words - 12 pages

Homer’s Iliad has been a European myth for many millennia , the long poetic narrative written in the 8th century B.C. recounts a fearsome war fought over a beautiful woman. The reliability of Homers Iliad as a true historical document has been challenged for hundreds of years and only through archaeological studies can the truth be deciphered. The Iliad was written five centuries after the war, where the stories had been passed down through the oral tradition, therefore the type of society reflected within the poems resemble much more the time of Homer . The fact and fiction of the Iliad has been uncovered through archaeology. Archaeologist found a site in which they thought to have been ‘Troy’ destroyed by the powerful country of Mycenae in the late Bronze Age. They found large amount of material culture from where they could reconstruct the society, this included pottery, engravings, murals and clay tablets. A reason for the Trojan War has always inspired great controversy. The Trojan War according to Homer was fought over the abduction of a beautiful women but this theory appears improbable. Other causes which could have sparked a war is Troy’s geographical positioning. This made it extremely opulent, where other countries of the Aegean would trade there goods and use its harbour. The Mycenaean’s being an extremely imperial, violent and militaristic country would have seen Troy as a great opportunity to gain territory and wealth, on this motive the war took place.
The Iliad alone would never have been a reliable source without archaeological evidence to verify the actuality of a Trojan war. Therefore archaeologists have been working on the site known as hissarlik since the 1800’s to uncover truths about the myth. Frank Calvert a British amateur archaeologist is seen to be the first person to discover the mound called Hissarlik situated in the Troad area in north-western Asia Minor in 1865 .Although not having the resources to carry out further investigation, he invited wealthy German business man turned archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann to investigate. Schliemann was obsessed with the Iliad, having been read it as a child and seeing a depiction of Troy in a common history book by Ludwig Jerrer triggered his desire to find the remains of the city. He wasn’t a trained archaeologist but had a crucial guide to the location of sites that would prove the reality of the Homeric poems. Schliemann discovered that there were nine major levels, their chronology ranging from c. 3000 to 1100 B.C. From the beginning Troy had been a fortified stronghold as explained in the Iliad. “The well-walled city of Troy” . Finds also indicated that its occupants were wealthy. Therefore primarily Schliemann thought Troy II in which he found gold diadems, gold earrings, rings, buttons and bracelets discovered in the citadel wall was the treasure of king Priam. Later it was discovered that Troy II was far too early by more than one thousand years to have been the...

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