Troy - History or Legend

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Whether the Trojan War is legend or history is actively debated amongst historians. To prove there was a Trojan War, one must first prove that the city of Troy actually existed. The literary evidence of Homer’s Iliad, the ancient names assigned to Troy, the archeological evidence and the evidence of eminent archeologists all seem to support the existence of a city similar geographically and historically with Troy, while the discovery of weapons lends support to the theory that a war did take place within the city of Troy. Homer’s Iliad, one of the earliest written sources of ancient Troy, is the basis upon which the myth of the Trojan War has been built. This epic poem, written in 700 BC, (five hundred years after the war) is a compilation of the oral histories passed from one generation to another. The poem focuses on the wrath of Achilles, using Troy as the poetic setting for a conflict between men and gods. According to Korfmann, “There is nothing in the archeological record to contradict the assertion that Troy and the surrounding countryside formed the setting for Homer’s Iliad in 700 BC.” In his description of the city , the terrain, the landscape, the natural features, etc, can be matched up with the archeology and geography around Troy today. There are however inconsistencies in the Iliad which have questioned its reliability. Homer’s audience however, knew that a war had been fought in Ilios or Troy and accepted the mythology of the poem and the exaggerated feats of its Greek heroes without questioning its historical accuracy. Nonetheless, this source documents the famous oral story of Troy while simultaneously suggesting the citadel and Troy being located as a valuable port and gateway to the Dardenelles and Black Sea. Ajax’s tower shield is consistent with Bronze Age shields depicted in artwork, in both shape and size. The details in the Homerian epic

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