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C O U R S E 
Greeks at War: Homer at Troy
Robert Garland, Colgate University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Was the Trojan War a Historical Event?
Notes taken on May 25, 2015 by Edward Tanguay
the Trojan War
if it was fought, was the first great encounter between East and West
the origin of the divide between us and the others
a divide which continues to play itself out today in the context of Middle Eastern politics
the Trojan War reminds us that the divide has always been there
its roots are so ancient that they may never be eradicated
Homer tells us about the war as an embedded reporter
he has 100 different ways to describe how a man dies
invites us to enter into the mindsets of maniacal killers, heroes, cowards, common soldiers, officers and generals, husbands, wives, and parents, all those gathered up in the furious onslaught of war, all those whose lives are affected by it and all those whose lives are destroyed by it
Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890)
German businessman and a pioneer of field archaeology
an archaeological excavator of Hisarlik, now presumed to be the site of Troy
promoted the belief that the Iliad was based on history
literally put Troy on the map
an incurable romantic
a hard-headed businessman
made his fortune in the USA
he had colossal energy and a phenomenal memory
he knew at least a dozen languages including Arabic and Greek
it is said that he was given a history book at the age of seven and a picture of the capture of Troy deeply affected him
at the age of fourteen he heard Ancient Greek being declaimed and the sound of the language utterly enthralled him
he was also a first-rate fantasist, he couldn't stop making things up which includes his account of his excavations
he became utterly obsessed by Homer's legends and determined to prove that the Trojan War actually happened
he lived the dream, he even divorced his first wife to marry a Greek girl Sophia with whom he had two children who he named Agamemnon and Andromache
he used his fortune to finance archeological digs when archeology was in its infancy
he became, in effect, the father of the study of prehistoric Greece, the time before their were any written records
we are still in the grip of Schliemann's vision, someone who we know to have misinterpreted his data, and in the view of many scholars, did so deliberately
modern name for Troy
four miles from Aegean coast
it would have been closer to the coast in antiquity
but these settlements were not so close to the sea so they wouldn't be so vulnerable to pirates
1. which level of Troy represents the one belonging to the Trojan War?
there are nine levels
Troy 1
the earliest, the one at the bottom
Troy 2
Schliemann thought the legendary Troy was this one
certainly incorrect
Troy 6-8
the most likely layer to be the legendary Troy
Troy 9
the latest, the one at the top
the is no resolution yet
Manfred Korfmann
latest archeologist to do major work at the Troy archeological site
excavated from 1988 to 2005, when he died
discovered more than 50 Mycenaean cremations south of Troy with grave goods
might be evidence of the Greek camp
found evidence of a defensive ditch around Troy
similar to the one described by Homer
no strong physical evidence of the huge city described by Homer
but found Bronze Age pottery shards over 5 acres
in his view was a large city
shows evidence that Troy 6 came to an end due to destruction caused by war
what he couldn't say is whether the destruction was caused by the Mycenaeans Greeks
if Troy was destroyed by the Mycenaeans, they didn't have long to bask in their victory
Mycenaeans culture imploded a half century later around 1200 BC for unclear reasons
what was Troy like?
houses made of mud brick
circuit wall that enclosed the houses made of masonry was 4-5 meters thick
stone on the lower courses, mud brick on the upper
some scholars doubt the Trojan War
there is not conclusive evidence
there is good evidence that it was burnt but no evidence that it was burnt by the Greeks
Sir Moses Finley
Homer's war, the war of the poems, and the war of the tradition, is a timeless event, floating in a timeless world
there is some evidence that there was contact between the Hittites were in contact with peoples who might have been the Greeks
whether the Trojan War happened will probably forever provoke disagreement