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What Problems Have You Identified In Making Connections Between The World Described In The Homeric Poems And The Archaeological Evidence You Have Stud

1890 words - 8 pages

What problems have you identified in making connections between the
world described in the Homeric poems and the archaeological evidence
you have studied? How far do you think it is possible to resolve these
problems?

In this essay I shall demonstrate that it is not currently possible to
resolve the problems I have identified in making connections, between
the world of the Homeric poems and the archaeological evidence I have
studied. This essay will deal with two specific areas, the first is
that of the problems associated with the citadel of Troy while the
second, will deal with the problems posed by, Homers descriptions of
the armour and the weapons used by the hero’s of the Iliad.

In book six of the Iliad Homer mentions a series of features in
relation to the citadel of Troy. These range from the description of
the hero’s houses, such as Hektor’s ‘well established dwelling’ in 370
and Paris’ ‘high house’ in 503, to the descriptions of the defences of
the city as found in lines 327 where he mentions ‘the steep wall’, and
in line 386 the ‘great bastions of Ilion’. When looking at the
archaeological evidence that remains at the site of Troy (known today
as Hissarlik), we find that there are several related problems which
make its interpretation and therefore its connection to the world
described by Homer in the Iliad difficult. The first problem
relates to the history of the site in terms of its habitation. First
settled in 3000BCE, evidence from archaeology suggests that there are
a total of 50 settlement layers that makeup the mound on which the
citadel was built, (These have subsequently been subdivided into nine
sections i.e. Troy I to Troy IX for ease of reference). This raises
problems in that each successive settlement built upon the remains of
the previous, re-using their materials. And in the case of the Romans
(who built the settlement known as Troy IX), completely removing the
top of the mound, and thus the centre of the 13th century BCE
settlement known as Troy VI. This is a major problem as Troy VI is
generally accepted as the settlement which corresponds to the period
in which the Trojan war of the Iliad is set. Another problem relating
to the citadel is the damage that was caused to the site by Heinrich
Schliemann, Troy’s first excavator. Working on the assumption that
Homers Troy lay at the bottom of the mound, Schliemann dug a series of
trenches through the site, an action which resulted in the loss of a
great deal of evidence.

Despite these initial problems, some material evidence relating to
Troy VI does survive on the site. Such as parts of its defensive
walls (the remains of which are fifteen feet high and six feet thick),
and an eastern bastion, there are also just behind the walls the
foundations of a number of large buildings. The...

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