The excavations of Troy (Hisarlik) led by German
Henrich Schliemann from 1870, then in collaboration
with Wilhelm Dörpfeld in 1882 (and later led by
Carl Blegen from Cincinnati University between 1932
and 1938), revealed nine main settlements (Troy
I to Troy IX) in different layers from 3000 BC until
400 AD, that is to say from the Early Bronze Period
till the Roman Period.
The long history of Troy is that of the development
of a wealthy trade city interrupted by tragic episodes,
natural disasters, fires, wars, invasions, massacres...But
after each resurrection the city extended, improved
its town planning and reinforced its fortifacations.
Troy was also known as Ilios* or Ilion, a
name which can be found in the Iliad, Homer's
epic poem where he immortalized it through mythological
characters: Helen**, the spouse of Menelaus,
king of Sparta, was abducted to Troy by Paris
who had fallen in love with her. Troy became the
stake in the ten year-lasting Trojan war between
Achilles and the Achaeans
led by Agamemnon, the brother of Menelaus and King
of Mycenae, and Hector and the Trojans led by Priam,
the father of Paris and king of Troy. To avenge
the death of his friend Patroclus, Achilles,
armed with a shield forged by smith-god Hephaestus,
killed Hector in a duel and dragged his body seven
times around the city walls behind his chariot.
He was himself killed later by Paris. Realizing
that the city could only be taken by trickery, the
Achaeans feigned to go, leaving as a gift the huge
Trojan Horse inside which their warriors were concealed....
According to Archaeoligical evidences, Troy VIIa
was destroyed around 1200 BC, at the same period
as the Iliad's Troy.
Dardanos, son of Zeus and the Pleiad Electra daughter
of the Titan Atlas and Pleione, was the founder
and king of the city of Dardania located in the
foothills of Mount Ida (near Çanakkale)
on the Asian shore of the Strait
of the Dardanelles.
From Dardanus' grandson Tros, the people gained
the additional name of Trojans and the region gained
the additional name Troad. Tros' son Ilus subsequently
founded a further city called Ilion (also Ilios
or Ilium) more commonly called Troy and the kingdom
was split between Ilium and Dardania.
The mythological origin of the Trojan War is related
to the Myth of the Apple of Discord:
Zeus was preparing a wedding banquet for King Peleus
and Thetis and did not want to invite the goddess
Eris - later called Discordia by the Romans
- because she took pleasure stirring up disputes
among mortals and immortals alike. This made Eris
angry and she, who was terrible in appearance, fashioned
a golden apple and inscribed upon it KALLISTI
("To The Prettiest One"). On the wedding
day, she managed to roll the apple across the floor
of the banquet hall. Three of the invited goddesses,
each laid claim to it because of the inscription,
and they started to fight. Zeus, to calm things
down, chose Trojan Paris as arbitrator, but each
of the goddesses offered him a tempting bribe. Athena
offered him heroic war victories and Hera offered
him great wealth, but Paris chose Aphrodite who
offered to help him seduce and abduct the most beautiful
woman on earth: Helen the wife of Menelaus, the
king of Sparta who led an army to Troy to get her
The beauty contest
took place on Mount Ida, or Kaz Dagi,
located to the south-est of Troy in the Kaz Dagi
National Park near the Edremit Bay between the towns
of Ayvacik and Edremit. The park offers magnificent
landscapes and vistas, peaceful green areas and
several hot springs.
different settlements of Troy :
I (about 2920 - 2350, Early Bronze) developed
the "Troy Littoral Culture" that showed
affinities with the Culture of the Aegean and the
Cyclades. Troy I is characterized by the first type
of house called primitive "megaron"
formed by a rectangular room with an open part in
II (about 2550 - 2250) presents a development
of the preceding settlement. The fortified city,
which became the center of a kingdom, showed evidence
of town planning. Due to its strategic location
on the trade routes at the entrance of the Strait
of the Dardanelles
and to its contacts with the East and the West,
the city exceled at metalwork (gold, silver, copper,
pewter, bronze) and potter's wheel work exporting
jewels, pottery... From that period date the solid
gold and silver objects and jewels which, among
other marvels, belonged to the wrongly designated
Treasure of Priam which was discovered by Schliemann
and taken to Berlin.
III (about 2250 - 2200): following the fires
that destroyed Troy II and the Indo-European wave
of invasion, a progressive decadence and a decline
in the prosperity of the city appeared.
IV, V (2200 - 1700, Middle Bronze) : it is the
Period of Anatolian Troy because from now on, the
houses were built like in the center of Anatolia,
with a terraced roof and they stood the ones next
to the others forming a continuous facade. Inside
was an oven with a hood.
VI (about 1700 - 1300, End of Middle Bronze
to Late Bronze) : this period marks a real revival
of the city as a high artistic level was reached.
It is Homer's Ilios, Priam's city with beautiful
houses, and defended by high and strong walls. However
it was destroyed by an earthquake.
-Troy VIIa (about 1300 - 1200, Late Bronze)
: former materials were re-used to mend the houses
and city walls. The population increased extensively.
But about 1200, Ilios was destroyed by war which
agrees with the Trojan War depicted in Homer's Iliad.
However, it is also thought that the Achaeans might
have achieved victory after the city was first destroyed
by an earthquake, and that they erected a horse
statue as a token of their gratitude for the efficacious
help of Poseidon, the god who made the earth quake.
This event might have fed Homer's poetic imagination.
VIIb1, VIIb2, VIIb3 (about 1200 - 1000, Early
Iron Age): the local culture continued until the
VIIb2 period when a change in civilization occured.
A new type of pottery, which was only found in the
VIII (about 700 - 85 BC, Greek Archaic to Hellenistic
Period): about 700, the city was destroyed and occupied
by the Aeolian Greeks.
In the 6C BC, Troy came under the domination of
the Persians and, according
to Herodotus, Achaemenid
sovereign Xerxes had 1,000 oxen immolated in the
Temple of Athena Ilia. In 334 Alexander
the Great in turn came to offer sacrifices to
the Temple, promissing
to erect a new and more beautiful one. Thanks to
this vow fulfilled by Lysimachus
who rebuilt the city, Ilion was renamed "Ilion
the Holy City". Devastated by the Galatians
in 278 and 218, the city was finally destroyed by
the Romans in 85 BC.
IX (85 BC - 400 AD, Roman Period): as the Romans
considered that Trojan Hero Aeneas was their ancestor,
they attached much importance to the city which
they called Ilium. Julius
Caesar offered sacrifices, but it was Emperor
Augustus who had the Temple enlarged and building
works done such as the construction of the walls,
the 5th century, Troy, which had become a bishopric
during the Byzantine
Period, little by little fell into oblivion.
Recently, Byzantine vestiges and numerous tombs
dating back mostly to the 13th and 14th centuries,
have been brought to light.
During 500 years, there was no other settlement
until Schliemann founded "Schliemannopolis"
formed by the hutments installed near the citadel
for the purpose of the excavations.
excavations, that started again in 1988 and led
by Manfred Korfmann from Tübingen Üniversity, are
still in process today.
archaeological site of Troy is of major significance
in the understanding of the development of the European
civilization at a critical stage in its early evolution.
It is moreover of exceptional cultural importance
because of the profound influence of Homer's Iliad
on the creative arts.
has been declared by UNESCO to be one of
the Eminent Cultural Heritages of the World.
The different settlements of Troy
Troia- projekt des Instituts für Ur- und
Frühgeschichte un Archaeologie des Mittelalters
der Eberhard- Karls-Üniversitat Tübingen