April 30, 2009
The Trojan War
The Trojan War is one of the most famous conflicts in history, the subject of homers Iliad, one of the greatest pieces of western literature. Many readers know that this literary masterwork is based on actual events. There is some disagreement about how much of homers tale is true. We know that homer had an extensive imagination but he also based his story on historical events. Drawing on recent archeological research, historian and writer Barry Strauss outlines what really happened in troy more than 3000 years ago.
The Trojan War was most likely the climax of the long fight over power, wealth, and honor in western turkey. The main part of this war took place on the offshore islands of troy, the war itself was mainly a bunch of small battles scattered thorough the neighboring towns and lands. Strauss shows us where homer sometimes exaggerates and distorts some points of history for example Cyclops were not man-eaters or even real for that matter. He puts the Trojan War into the context of its time, explaining the strategies that both sides used and compares the war to modern battles everywhere else in the eastern Mediterranean area. With his imaginative reconstitution of the conflict and his insights into the famous characters and events of homers great epic, Strauss tells the story of the fall of troy as history without losing the poetry side and grandeur that continued to draw readers to this ancient masterpiece.
For many years it was thought that troy was an insignificant place that never had a chance against the Greek warriors who could easily take over the city. Some even claim that troy never existed. Today we know that troy was indeed a large and prosperous city, just as homer said. The men in the Trojan military were not Greeks but vassals of the powerful Hittite Empire to the east of troy in modern day turkey and they spoke a...