Guest Author - Rebecca Graf
Most of our past is full of legend and mystery. We are drawn in by the daring escapades of pirates, soldiers, and explorers. The drama that royalty brings to the table makes our mouths water. We concoct our own stories and add to the mystery of the island of Roanoke or the princes in the tower. The legends captivates us. Legendary Troy is no different.
Homer, Herodotus, and Thucydides along with many other ancient writers mentioned a city by the name of Troy. They talked of the handsome Paris seducing the most beautiful woman in the known world. Visions of the passions that drove her husband to launch one thousands ships and face death by the thousand intrigue us. Like with many legends, we wonder how much of it true.
Archaeology has discovered that the myth of Troy has a lot more fact to it than historians originally thought. The Troy that gave us Paris and Helen was located near the Aegean Sea and the northern part of modern-day Turkey. Our imaginations along with the stories usually have the city in modern-day Greece. We have to understand that the borders of countries thousands of years ago were not the same as they are today.
The Troy from the legends was located in one of the most beautiful and perfect trade route positions. They were the entryway into Asia. This was a city that was not trying to be an ancient civilization that sought to take over the world. They were willing to stay closer to home and make diplomatic relations work with various other civilizations. They were allies with the Hittites. They traded with the Mycenaean. And, obviously, they were pretty tight with Sparta (Helenís home) for a while.
It could be said that Troy was very prosperous, modest, and just waiting for disaster. What really brought down Troy? Was it the face that launched 1000 ships? Was it an old rivalry between Achilles and Hector? Since proof of these people existing has not yet been found, it is only with assumptions that we can go with what archaeologists have their hands. Mycenae was a very ambitious, rich, and powerful culture. Seeing the modest yet impressive resources of Troy had to make the Mycenaean king's mouth watering. To be able to conquer such as city, take its wealth, and take up its position in the trade routes of the Middle East, would be quite an accomplishment. More than likely, this was the reason that the walls of Troy came tumbling down and not over the possession of a beautiful woman.
Before Heinrich Schliemann discovered the site of ancient Troy in the late 1800s, Troy was just a myth. The legend became reality as more archaeologists were able to dig deeper at Troy, discoveries of the Mycenaean civilization occurred, and records from other cultures such as the Hittites came to light. The city might not have had the grandeur of the Romans, the Egyptians, or any of the Chinese dynasties. What it did have was the ability to last thousands of years through the creative minds of poets and writers.
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