The Trojan War Essay

Over the past years a lot of archaeological and literary evidence has helped us gain a better understanding of the history of Troy. Much hard work has gone into the excavations there by many archaeologists, and many interesting artefacts have been found. The story of the Ancient City of Troy is a great one, however many people believed it didn’t exist and that Homers Iliad, the story of the Trojan War was just some story. This has since been proved untrue as the city of Troy was discovered, and the pieces of this amazing puzzle have fallen together.

Homer described Troy as an exceptionally large city with large high powerful walls, wide streets, twisting paths and large houses. Some of the archaeologists that have contributed to the excavation of these historic ruins are, Frank Calvert, Heinrich Schliemann, Wilhelm Dorpfeld, Carl Blegen and Manfred Korfman. Many people believe that Heinrich Schliemann was the man who found the fallen city of Ancient Troy , however they are wrong. Frank Calvert was the first archaeologist on the site of Troy. He arrived in 1865 and found the city of what he believed to be Troy.

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He disproved several theories about the location of troy and instead focused on a small hill called Hisarlik. He sank trial trenches into the mound and was certain that this was the site of the Trojan War. He shared his finding with Heinrich Schliemann. With permission from the government to excavate on the site, Calvert went to the British Museum to ask for funding for an excavation of the area. He was however denied the money. Calvert had to leave the site but knew that for a person with the right funding, it would prove to be an excellent excavation site.

Schliemann then decided to step in and funded the excavation himself. Calvert was never given credit for the discovery of Troy. He may not have been given credit for his findings, but he gave us archaeological evidence that helped us better understand what happened to the city of Troy. The excavations by Calvert taught us were the city was actually located. Heinrich Schliemann was the next archaeologist on the site, and probably the one who caused the most controversy. He started excavation at the site in 1870. Schliemann caused a lot of damage to his beloved Troy.

He worked on the site for three years with 160 men helping him. In his rush to find the ‘real’ Troy he dug straight through the other levels until he found a level that looked like it had suffered from burning . He had dug through to level two . He had also found a great stone gate, wide enough to fit two chariots through side by side. This was a massive clue, as Homer had described a similar gateway in his Iliad . As a result of Schliemann’s unorganised dig he had destroyed other levels of troy which were more likely to be the Troy Homer described.

Schliemann had many convinced that he had found the fallen city of Troy, but others were not so sure. He needed something to prove that this was the Troy from the Trojan War. Then during his last season of excavation at the location of Troy he found it, King Priam’s lost treasure. He dug out the treasure, and placed them on his wife which he then took a photo of . It turned out that Schliemann’s wife wasn’t even in the country when he found the treasure. There was also suspicion that he had just bought the jewels from an antique shop in the town.

In 1873 Schliemann concluded his excavation. Although he had destroyed a lot of troy, he had found where the city was located, and this was something many people believed impossible, he had given us evidence that troy had existed, giving us a better understanding of the once powerful city. The excavations by Schliemann taught us that the city of Troy had been destroyed and rebuilt many times. The next archaeologist arrived on the site in 1893, his name was Wilhelm Dorpfeld. Dorpfeld had originally helped out with Schliemann’s excavation.

Following Schliemann’s death in 1890, Dorpfeld took over the excavation. He discovered two more cities to add to the seven that Schliemann found , and believed that troy VI was the troy of the Trojan War. It was three hundred yards of battlement that established the perimeter of the city. Dorpfeld also labelled the other areas excavated by Schliemann as Troy I – IX, also signifying with levels were from the bronze age (I – VII), the Greek (VIII) and the Romans (IX). He also discovered some Mycenaean Pottery in level VI.

Dorpfeld believed that level VI was Homers Troy as wide streets, large houses, defensive walls and watch towers were supposedly in this city , and that’s what he had found. Wilhelm Dorpfeld left the excavation in 1894. He contributed to our understanding of Troy by finding more levels, and deciphering which one he believed to be Homer’s Troy. Dorpfeld’s excavation taught us that the level VI was most likely to be Homers Troy. Carl Blegen was the next archaeologist on site. His excavation lasted a massive seven seasons, from 1832 – 1838.

Blegen excavated in areas untouched by Schliemann and Dorpfeld and he sampled all the sites history. Blegen believed that troy VI fit the description of Homers troy but it had not been destroyed by a battle, rather by a natural disaster. Blegen believed that Troy VIIa must have been the Troy of the Trojan War. He proved this by the fact that the walls of this level had been destroyed by a fire. He also discovered human remains and Achaean arrowheads. With this evidence, it seemed that he was correct. However many people disagreed. Troy VIIa does not fit homers description.

The houses in this city were poorly built and cramped. Carl Blegen it seems had not found the city of Homers Troy. He had however added to our understanding of the Great City by proving that level VI was not the level of the Trojan War. Blegen taught us that it was not level VI of Troy that was Homers Troy; it also gave us the unlikely possibility of it being level VIIa. In 1988 a German archaeologist by the name of Manfred Korfman came to the site of Troy. He worked with a large team of international experts and had the help of the latest technology.

Korfman was the man who discovered that the city was much larger than originally expected . After he arrived on the scene, he began to speculate. The gateways were impossible to close off and any invading army could simply have walked right in. He began to wonder if these were the outside city walls. His team started excavating outside the walls and they found items dating back to the late Bronze Age. The area was too big to excavate with spades, so the team tried a different angle. They used Magnetic imaging to look beneath the surface . He’d set out to find and explanation and that was what he found.

A ditch surrounded the outside of the walls of the city , and this was where they people of Troy lived. With the new evidence it seemed so much more possible that the Trojan War actually happened. The new discovery of the ditch had proven the perimeter of the city, which Homer had described as the time it, took Achilles to drag a dead Hector around behind his chariot . With all this new evidence it seemed extremely possible that Homers Iliad was true, however it still hadn’t proven that the city had been destroyed by a great war like the Iliad ad stated. Korfman and his team however eventually started finding traces of a violent past. They started finding arrowheads and human remains half buried, and also burnt by fire. It was an extremely weird burial in the middle of the city, out in the open. The defenders of the city had attempted burial, however when the city was finally taken over they abandoned it . Korfman had found a city that was destructed by war. From Korfman’s excavations and discoveries we have learnt that there really was a city of troy that suffered from a war.

We also learnt about the outside ditch which finally explained so many mysteries about the story. In conclusion, there has been a lot of debate about what actually happened to this fallen city. Many great archaeologists contributed to our current knowledge of Troy, and they all put in a lot of hard work and time. There has been a lot of evidence to sort through and decide whether Homers story of the Trojan War was fact or fiction. A lot has been discovered about the city, and there is probably a lot more we will find out in the future.


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