Troyan War: a Mythical Or a Real Battlefield
The name Troy alludes both to a spot in legend and a genuine archeological site. In legend, Troy is a city that was blockaded for a long time and in the end vanquished by Hellenes. Troy likewise alludes to a genuine antiquated city situated on the northwest shore of Turkey which, since relic, has been distinguished by numerous individuals similar to the Troy talked about in the legend, the cutting-edge Turkish name for which is Hisarlik. There are number of excavations taken place on the land of Hisarlik. In any case, for what reason would we say we are in any event, discussing Troy or Hisarlik, for what reason would it say it was unearthed so often, why have we spent such a large amount of assets digging just that part of land on earth, or on the other hand why even Hollywood has made a film on that name or why there are even groups of football and baseball named after trojans? Homer knows it all.
Homer was a blind Greek poet and the unbelievable creator of the Iliad and the Odyssey, two epic poems that are the focal works of antiquated Greek writing. In the Iliad Homer expounds on part of the way through the Trojan war, portraying the inceptions of the war, how Helen fled from her better half, the ruler of Sparta (Menelao), with the sovereign of Troy (Paris). In it Homer additionally expounds on the Greek legends, for example, Achilles and Ajax, he likewise expounds on a portion of the Trojan legends, for example, Hector. The Trojan horse is then referenced by Homer and thought to be a finesse Greek military methodology that at last crushed the Trojans. Agamemnon set the city ablaze. Homer likewise composed the Odyssey which was tied in with King Odysseus’ arrival adventure to Greece after the Trojan war. The Trojan War occurred in the twelfth or thirteenth century BC and kept going around 10 years. Is it safe to say that it isn’t intriguing the way, Greeks went at war for only a beauty for a long time, which is accepted to be a genuine long time to them and not for some other reasons like business, exchange, draw of riches, land and so forth.? Along these lines, many accepted that the Trojan war didn’t really occur and was believed to be only a Greek legendary story until the late 1870’s the point at which a German Archeologist named Heinrich Schliemann unearthed the site by utilizing the account of the Trojan war from Homer.
Heinrich Schliemann was a perplexing character, part visionary and part virtuoso in mask. A considerable lot of his counterparts viewed him as an idealistic, as he went around in Turkey outfitted with little yet a beat-up release of Homer’s ‘Iliad.’ Using these two writings Heinrich Schliemann had the option to locate the real region of Troy. Through exhaustive unearthing Schliemann had the option to uncover numerous degrees of Troy and accepts that the ninth level was the Troy depicted in Homer’s writings because of the way that there was proof of consumed dividers. Schliemann was resolved to find old Troy – thus he did. Thus, after this the race began to uncover the territory of troy so as to discover whether the Troy which Schliemann accepted to be of Homer was really the one or not.
The contest among Troy and the Greek city-states, as per Homer, started when Paris, child of Troy’s King Priam, conveyed Helen back to Troy as a reward from the goddess, Aphrodite. Menelao, so as to which asks his brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae to design an intrusion of Troy to right this wrong. Agamemnon had for the longest time been itching to assume control over Troy however was much of the time halted by his sibling thus considered this to be a chance to at long last assume control over this wonderful city. As indicated by Homer, the undertaking set out with 100,000 men and more than 1,100 boats. In Homer’s accounts the divine beings were included during the war. They would descend and participate in the war and help the Greeks and Trojans in various parts of the war. Homer underestimated that his group of spectators realized a war had been battled for what was on the other hand called Ileus or Troy. The poet was for the most part worried about depicting the anger of Achilles and its results. He utilized Troy and the war as a lovely setting for a contention among men and divine beings.
By relating the 52 days of a year ago of the contention in his Iliad, Homer has portrayed us perfectly, how the antiquated Greeks were, the means by which they used to live, how they used to arrange and praise occasions, how they rehearsed sports, truth be told, he subtleties us with everything what we might want to think about the old Greeks. Be that as it may, what guards numerous individuals and history specialists to accept is the means by which Homer presents to us the manner by which the old Gods would have helped in the war and the reality displayed by him that the 10 year of contention was done so as to bring Helen once again from Troy.
For the ones who accept that Trojan War may have occurred have perhaps few reasons other than what Homer displayed, which could be, the geological area of Troy has made us unmistakable that it was a truly appropriate spot to access Black Sea effectively. What’s more, in view of the exchange of the nations situated over the ocean, Troy was profited by the assessments which it got. So the Greeks would have needed to possess it, so as to profit themselves by having simple access to land and water. Moreover, Greeks were additionally charmed towards the expectations for everyday comforts of the individuals of Troy and they may have heard stories about Troy and the wealth which were available there, so they may have done battle hence. What’s more, different reasons might be the Trojan War was not caused or reached out by Helen getting away Sparta with Trojan ruler Paris. The war was really activated by delicate manliness found in pioneers. Helen assumes a negligible job in the pages of The Iliad, rather Homer spotlights on the connections and activities of legends, who all happen to be men. The Homeric gallant code, which is for the most part constrained to guys, is surrendered by those we anticipate that it from the all together should secure their very own advantages. It is likewise accepted by some that there must not have truly been a solitary Trojan war, yet numerous such wars which were battled in the purpose of respect, pride, obtain wealth and so forth.
At this point, I really think we have got enough archeological and historical evidence which help us to support the fact that, yes there was indeed a Trojan War. The Iliad in fact is no less than a proof to us, given by Homer. Though he might have added things to make it presentable and intriguing towards his audience, but he might have heard about the war from his ancestors and other folks who would have recited to him about the great battle which took place approximately 500 years before him. Other than that, we also cannot just ignore the efforts done by Heinrich who was able to locate Hisarlik with the help of two of Homer’s work. And was also able to gather some evidences which were relevant to what Homer presented in the Iliad (e.g. Cup of Nestor). Some key evidences to believe it as a historical event are, we can with a high level of likelihood recognize the site presently known as Hisarlik in northwestern Turkey with the antiquated bastion of Troy, put on the map by the epic lyrics of Homer. Level VIh of this site best accommodates Homer’s depiction of Troy. We got Hittite texts as well, to trust it. In those writings we get the chance to find out about a spot named Wilusa, towards which Greeks demonstrated their political interests, it was situated far-north of Anatolia and had a place with Hittite domain. A few looks into affirmed that Wilusa which was anticipated to be Troy in Hittite writings, was really the Troy, as a result of the water tunnel which was dated by the assistance of innovation and technology. And furthermore, one exceptionally known proof, which we can’t overlook of is the Linear B tablets. It is a noteworthy source since it is a wellspring of composed clear for the Trojan war, the tables give us a knowledge into the presence and the fall of The Mycenaean domain and the impacts that Trojans had on this fall.
Decisively we have now truly got enough to accept that Trojan War can be considered as a chronicled occasion instead of a fantasy, its fair it didn’t really happen the manner in which Homer introduced and we have enough current archeological and authentic proof to help this reality and to foresee as well, that what truly would have occurred there around then.
- Latacz, Joachim. Troy and Homer: towards a Solution of an Old Mystery. Oxford Univ. Press, 2004.
- Alden, Maureen. Homer beside Himself: Para-Narratives in the Iliad. Oxford University Press, 2001.
- Cline, Eric H. 2. The Trojan War in Context: Mycenaeans, Hittites, Trojans, and Sea Peoples. The Trojan War, Jan. 2013, pp. 27–38., doi:10.1093/actrade/9780199760275.003.0002.
- Introduction: Dialogue. Homer’s Iliad and the Trojan War: Dialogues on Tradition, doi:10.5040/9781350012714.ch-001.
Helen of Troy and Her Role in Launching the War
One in six American women are victims of attempted or completed rape according to the National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Unfortunately, rape is common. It is not so wrong, then, to suggest the large possibility of Helen of Troy’s abduction by Paris to be against her will. Rape is never the victim’s fault. Helen is an example of such a victim. She in no way should be blamed for starting the Trojan war through being with Paris, as she did not knowingly go with him and engage in sexual relations with him. It is absolutely ridiculous to blame victims for their misfortune, especially for their misfortune playing a part in starting war. If someone were to accidentally be struck by lightning and it was misconstrued as a gunshot that started a war, should we blame the stricken victim, or should we pity him and perhaps even praise him for withstanding such a tragic event?
Take into consideration that Helen was in the same position as the lightning strike victim. And, even if Paris did not violently and forcibly assault Helen, she is still not to blame, he is. Paris’s persuasive discourse could have convinced poor Helen into going with him. Persuasion, true persuasion, can be a nasty tool when attempting to convince innocent people to make poor decisions they do not recognize as wrong. Such a cause for Helen’s leaving with Paris acquits her of blame for the war: it was the persuader, Paris, not her.
Additionally, Helen was considered the most beautiful woman in the world at the time (consider more beautiful than, say, Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Lawrence, Beyoncé, Mila Kunis, et cetera), and was desired by many men. She had the beauty of a goddess, understandably, as her parents were Zeus and Lena. Helen cannot be held accountable for her mesmerizing desirability causing the abduction, and subsequently, the Trojan war. If anything, she should be pitied for having to withstand Paris’s kidnapping and possible rape. Once again, a factor in Helen’s situation that she could not have controlled caused her great misfortune that, unfortunately, lead to war.
It is also relevant to consider the topics of fate and the Gods, as these could have been the major factors in Helen’s leaving with Paris. She could not have controlled divine forces and the will of the universe, so why blame her? If it was indeed the Gods and fate to blame, that is a misfortune to Helen, not her choice. If it was a love for Paris that deceived Helen into going with him, that is a misfortune to Helen, not a sin. Love is a force more powerful than any person. She could have been mislead through a tragic affliction, but no matter what the reason, Helen did not plan to go with Paris, so the war was not her doing.
In summation, Helen of Troy is not responsible for causing war. In each set of possibilities of why she went with Paris, she is not the one to blame. Whether she was abducted by force and possibly raped, evilly persuaded and tricked into going with Paris, thrown into the events that transpired by fate and divine forces, or was seduced by the power of love to go with Paris, Helen did not cause her abduction purposefully. She should not be held accountable for causing war, and instead should be pitied and even praised for having to go through such taxing events and being wrongfully blamed for the catastrophic incident of war.
The History of the Trojan War
Thesis The Trojan War started in c.1200 BC when Aphrodite offered Paris of Troy Helen of Sparta for the apple of discord, He accepted her offer. Aphrodite made a plan to make Helen of Sparta fall in love with Paris; She disguised Paris as a diplomatic emissary. Then he went to Sparta, Helen welcomed him with open arms, while Menelaus was away in Crete, The god of love Eros, shot an arrow at her making her fall in love with Paris. They married and left for Troy. When Menelaus returned home from Crete, he realized that Helen had run off with Paris. He and Odysseus went to Troy to retrieve Helen, But all diplomatic attempts failed So Menelaus invoked the oath of Tyndareus and with help from his brother Agamemnon, Called all Greek leaders who had previously been in line to marry Helen to fulfill their pledge. They also needed the help of Achilles, because of the prophecy that Troy would only fall with his help. Odysseus, Telamonian Ajax, and Phoenix went to Skyros where they knew Achilles was hidden. Achilles was disguising himself as a woman, Then there, they either blew a warhorn, on the sound of which Achilles was the only woman that took a spear in hand; or they appeared as merchants selling jewels and weapons. Achilles was the single woman interested in the weapons
The reason the war started is technically that of Menelaus; he failed to sacrifice one hundred oxen to Aphrodite which began her wrath. The story of Trojan War highlights how deeply the Greeks and Trojans believed that the Gods and the rituals used to appease them affected everything they did in their daily lives.The Cause Of the Trojan WarIt started at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis where Eris, The goddess of discord, threw a golden apple to Aphrodite, Hera and Athena addressed “To the Fairest.” The reason Eris had thrown the apple was that all the Gods and Goddesses were invited attend except Eris. Zeus refused to judge the goddesses and gave the task to Paris, A mortal prince, to choose who was the fairest; He couldn’t decide between the three, so The Goddesses bribed him with gifts. Hera offered to make him king of all men if she had been chosen as the fairest, Athena promised him victory in war, and Aphrodite offered him the most beautiful woman in the world. Because of her offer he selected Aphrodite, she told him that she would get him, Helen of Sparta, the only catch was that she was married to Menelaus, King of Sparta. Paris went to Sparta while Menelaus was in Crete, Helen welcomed him with open arms. Eros, God of love, shot an arrow at Helen and made her fall in love with Paris, They eloped immediately and went back to Troy.
When Menelaus came back from Crete and found out what happened, He had Odysseus go to Troy with him to retrieve Helen, When all diplomatic attempts had failed he invoked the oath of Tyndareus and with the help of his brother Agamemnon. He called all the Greek leaders who had been in line to marry Helen to fulfill their pledge. They had also needed the help of Achilles because of a prophecy that Troy would only fall with his support. Phoenix, Telamonian, Ajax, and Odysseus went to Skyros where they knew Achilles was hidden. Achilles was disguising himself as a female, Then there, they either blew a warhorn, on the sound of which Achilles was the only woman that took a spear in hand; or they appeared as merchants selling jewels and weapons. Achilles was the only female intrigued by the weaponry. The Siege Of TroyMenelaus’s brother happened to be Agamemnon, who was the most powerful king amongst the Greeks. Menelaus and Agamemnon visited all of the Greek Chieftains and persuaded them to take part in a colossal expedition which they were preparing to take down Troy, Agamemnon had been chosen as commander-in-chief; next to him were the most important Greek heroes, his brother Menelaus, Patroclus, and Achilles. Two unrelated men named Ajax, Nestor and his son Antilochus, Teucer, Idomeneus, Diomedes, Odysseus, and Philoctetes, who, however, at the very start of the expedition had to be left behind. They didn’t appear on the scene of action right until the fall of Troy.
The entire army consisted of 100,000 Greek warriors and 1,186 ships assembled in the harbor of Aulis. Before they left for the expedition, they made sacrifices to secure the favor of the gods for the voyage to Troy. While making the sacrifice, a snake darted out from under the altar, went up a tree, devoured eight young sparrows, and the mother had finally turned into stone. This omen Calchas, the seer of the host, interpreted that it meant the war would last nine years and end in the tenth year with the fall of Troy. Agamemnon had previously met an oracle from Delphi that Troy would fall when the heroes of Greece fought amongst each other. In Homer, the crossing to Troy starts immediately, but in the following story, the Greeks accidentally land in Mysia, in the country of Telephus, They’re scattered by a storm and driven back to Greece, and then assemble anew at Aulis. Once they had arrived, they learn divine disfavor is preventing them from crossing into Troy until Agamemnon agrees to sacrifices his daughter, Iphigenia, to appease the enraged gods, this was an incident that was entirely unknown to Homer. After landing, skirmishing, and setting up their camp. Odysseus and Menelaus proceed as ambassadors to Troy, to demand the surrender of Helen, in spite of the inclination of Helen herself and the warning of the Trojan Antenor, never takes hold, owing to the opposition of Paris.
War was declared, the amount of the Trojans numbered less than one-tenth of the Greeks. Even though they had many brave heroes such as Glaucus, Aeneas, Sarpedon, and especially Hector, in fear of Achilles, they didn’t dare to engage a general attack and remained holed up behind massive walls protecting the city. The Greeks couldn’t do anything against the well-fortified and defended town, and see themselves confined to laying ambushes and devastating the surrounding area, and compelled by the lack of provisions, had to resort to foraging expeditions in the surrounding by sea and land by general Achilles. As the last decisive tenth year reaches, The Iliad narrates the events of this year, restricting itself to the space of fifty-one days. During the war, the Greeks have taken multiple war prizes from the encompassing countryside. One of these prizes is Chryseis, the daughter of Chryses, a priest of Apollo. He came in priestly garb into the camp of the Greeks to redeem his daughter from Agamemnon. He is rudely put down, and Apollo consequently visits the Greeks with a plague. In an assembly of the Greeks requested by Achilles, the seer Calchas declares the only means of the appeasing the god to be the surrender of the girl without ransom.
Agamemnon consents to the general wish. But, in the way of compensation, takes from Achilles, who he considers to be the instigator of the whole lot, his favorite slave Briseis. Achilles withdraws, furious, to his tent and implores his mother, Thetis to attain a promise from Zeus that the Greeks should meet with disaster in fighting the Trojans until Agamemnon returns the girl and restores Achilles” honor. The Trojans immediately take the open ground, and Agamemnon is induced by a promise of victory, conveyed in a lying dream from Zeus, to start the fight. The armies are standing opposing to one another, prepared to fight when they agree to a treaty that the entire conflict will be decided by a battle fought between Paris and Menelaus. Paris is defeated in the battle and is only saved from death by the interference of Aphrodite. When Agamemnon presses for the attainment of the treaty, the Trojan Pandarus breaks the truce by shooting an arrow at Menelaus, and the treaty breaks apart. The first open pact in the war begins, in which, under the safeguard of Athena, Diomedes performs marvels of courage and damage even Ares and Aphrodite. Diomedes and the Lycian Glaucus are on the verge of fighting when they recognize one another as genealogical guest-friends and stop their fight, an indicator of how important the concept of hospitality, XENIA, in Greek. The day ends with a tentative duel between Hector and Ajax son of Telamon. They make a truce to bury their deceased, and the Greeks, acting on the input of Nestor, surrounding their camp with a wall and trench.
Once the battle begins again, Zeus forbids the gods to take part in it and imposes that the fight shall end with the defeat of the Greeks. On the following night, Agamemnon already begins to think about fleeing, but Nestor advises reconciliation with Achilles. Agamemnon sends an embassy, including Odysseus, to make amends with Achilles. The efforts of ambassadors are, however, fruitless. Then Odysseus and Diomedes go out on a night-time reconnaissance mission, kill many Trojans, and capture a Trojan spy. On a succeeding day, Agamemnon’s bravery drives the Trojans back to the walls of the town; but he, Odysseus, Diomedes, and other heroes leave the battle wounded, and the Greeks retreat behind the camp’s walls. The Trojans advance and attack the Greek walls. The resistance of the Greeks is daring, but Hector breaks the rough gate with a rock, and the stream of enemies pours itself free into the camp. Once again the Greek heroes who are still adequate and can take part in the battle, especially the two Ajaxes and Idomeneus. They become victorious with the help of Poseidon in repelling the Trojans, while Telamonian Ajax makes Hector dash to the ground with a stone; but the latter soon reappears on the battlefield with the new strength given to him by Apollo at the order of Zeus. Poseidon is obliged to leave the Greeks to their fate; they retire again to the ships, which Ajax in vain defends. The Trojans advance still further to where they can begin torching the Greek ships. Hector and Achilles this point, Achilles allows his friend Patroclus to borrow his armor and enter the battle with their set of soldiers to help the distressed Greeks. Supposing it to be Achilles himself, the Trojans in fear flee from the camp before Patroclus, who chases them to the town and lays low vast numbers of the enemy, including the brave Sarpedon, whose corpse is only rescued from the Greeks after a relentless fight.
At last Patroclus himself is killed by Hector with the help of Apollo; Achilles” arms are lost, and even the corpse is with difficulty saved. And now Achilles repents of his anger, reconciles himself to Agamemnon, and on the following day, furnished with new and splendid armor by Hephaestus at the request of Thetis, avenges the death of his friend on countless Trojans and finally on Hector himself. The Iliad closes with the burial of Patroclus and the funeral games initiated in his honor, the restoration of Hector’s corpse to Priam, and the burying of Hector, for which Achilles allows an armistice of eleven days. Immediately after the death of Hector, the following legends bring the Amazons to the help of the Trojans, and their queen Penthesilea is killed by Achilles. Then arrives Memnon at the head of an Ethiopian contingent. He slays Antilochus son of Nestor but is also killed by Achilles. Death of Achilles now comes to the fulfillment of the oracle given to Agamemnon at Delphi; for at a sacrificial banquet a violent quarrel arises between Achilles and Odysseus, the latter declaring craft and not valor to be the only means of destroying Troy. Soon after, in an attempt to force a way into the hostile town through the Scaean gate, Achilles falls, killed by the arrow of Paris, directed by the god. After his burial, Thetis offers the arms of her son as a prize for the bravest of the Greek heroes, which provokes a fight among the Greeks for the title and the arms. Odysseus wins, and his main competition, the Telamonian Ajax, kills himself.
Trojan Horse: An Analysis of Accepting Such a ‘Gift’
The Hollow Horse
One of the main stories told throughout Greek mythology is the story of the Trojan War. In the story, the Greeks and The Trojans battle for the fair Helen. When it appeared that the Greeks had lost, they set sail, leaving behind a wooden horse. When Troy decided that they were victorious, they accepted the giant wooden horse into the gates of the city. Little did the Trojans know that inside the hollow horse, Greek soldiers were hiding, awaiting nightfall. The decision of the Trojans to accept the horse was ultimately a bad decision.
When the Trojans saw the magnificent horse, they looked upon it as a trophy. Although Cassandra the prophetess and Laocoön the priest of Apollo had both argued against allowing the horse into the gates, the Trojans ignored the warnings (“The Trojan War: c. 1200 BCE”). Cassandra was cursed by Apollo to always predict the truth but to never be believed. She warned Paris not to go to Sparta. She “continued to predict the calamities in store for the Trojans” but was never listened to (Bell 161). Laocoön also warned the Trojans not to allow the horse into the gates when he said, “I fear the Greeks even when they offer gifts” (Laocoön 633). He too was ignored and was punished by the gods for his warnings (Laocoön 634). The giant horse loomed outside of the gates while the soldiers inside held their breath, waiting for victory. When the Trojans had come upon the statue, “they believed it meant that the Greeks had withdrawn, leaving them the victors” (“The Trojan War: c. 1200 BCE”). The tremendous statue was allowed into the city of Troy. When day turned to night, the Greeks snuck out of the statue and destroyed the city of Troy. Fires were created and men were killed. Women and children were stolen from their homes and sent or sold away.
The idea only sprouted because the Greeks were losing the battle of Troy. Helen had been stolen from the Spartans and Menelaus was furious. His army was determined to get her back for their king. The giant horse was created by the Greeks under Odysseus’ command. Odysseus knew that trickery would be the only way to win against Troy. Odysseus had “ordered a gigantic wooden horse to be built, hollow inside to accommodate many Greek soldiers.” (“The Trojan War: c. 1200 BCE”). With the hope of tricking the Trojans into accepting the horse, Odysseus and other Greek soldiers hid in the hollow horse while the rest of the Greek soldiers were sent home on their ships. Just Sinon was left behind in order to trick the soldiers into accepting the gift (“The Trojan War: c. 1200 BCE”). The Trojans were so overcome with excitement, that they accepted the horse as a trophy with little thought.
Allowing the horse into Troy was a bad decision because Troy was taken over and fell with the Trojan War. The Trojan War “lasted ten years and was successful only because of the Trojan Horse, a work of deception” (“War Engines: Land and Sea”). If Odysseus had not thought of the giant statue, the Trojans would have won the war. Despite the multiple warnings toward the Trojans, the “gift” was accepted into the gates of the city. The Trojans “dragged the horse inside the walls and held a raucous celebration. Late in the night, after the drunken revelers had fallen asleep, Odysseus and his men climbed out of the horse and sacked the city. Menelaus returned home with Helen” (“The Trojan War: c. 1200 BCE”). The city of Troy fell and the Greeks were victorious. The lesson the Trojans learned with their ten years war was that things aren’t always what they appear and that one should always look a little deeper into what appears to be a victory. They also learned that Cassandra had been right all along (Cassandra 209). This helped lead to the classic Greek mythological idea of fate and destiny.
The famous Greek myth of The Trojan War is an excellent example of a decision gone wrong. The decision of the people of Troy led to the downfall of the city. Ignoring the warnings of those who opposed the giant horse, Troy was destroyed by the clever Greek men hiding inside. The one decision that was made completely changed the outcome of many lives.
Trojan War, Homer and the other Historical Embracements of Iliad
For centuries, Homer’s epic Iliad was taken as literal interpretation of the Trojan War. Only rather recently has the reliability and accuracy of the Iliad in terms of depicting the war come into question. Modern historians and scholars have come to the same conclusion that the Iliad is not to be perceived as entirely historically accurate. In order to assess the amount of historical knowledge that is present, and the reliability of the epic as a literary source, the Homeric Question comes into play, along with the perspectives historians and scholars hold of the poem and the archaeological evidence of the Trojan War in correlation to the Iliad.
The Homeric Question calls into question the identity of Homer and the authorship of the Iliad (and the Odyssey). The origin and authorship of the poem is vital in this discussion as it depicts the reliability of the literary work. All known information on Homer was derived from the knowledge of the ancient Greeks; hence, it is most likely biased material as Homer’s work was deeply admired and was highly influential on the Greek culture. Ancient historians and scholars disagreed on the time frame of his life, yet everyone believed that he was blind, a statement based solely on a character in the Odyssey who was written as a blind bard. It was also generally assumed that Homer composed his epic poems with the aid of writing; however, in the eighteenth century the possibility of Homeric illiteracy was proposed. Scholar Robert Wood suggested that Homer had been as illiterate as his own characters from the Iliad. This proposal raised the question of how Homer composed the long poems he was credited with, if he was illiterate. It was later answered by Friedrich August Wolf’s thesis that the Iliad originally was an oral composition, and that, preserved by memory, it was eventually compiled into a form similar to the current Iliad. The Iliad being regarded as an oral history and being passed down by word of mouth are factors that immediately change its validity, as oral histories are significantly less reliable than those written down; memory can be easily manipulated, causing such history to be imperfect and subject to change. Thus, oral histories have the ability to be fluid and changeable. Similarly, Giambattista Vico claims that the Homeric poems were not the creation of one man, but rather the products of generations of nameless bards that refined the epics, a theory that dispels Homer as the true author. This theory is the most plausible, as it explains the inconsistences of the narrative and the poetic language used in the Iliad. Therefore, if the Homeric Question raises valid doubts and the epic poem was based on numerous differing perspectives and went through a process of refinement, it affects the overall reliability and accuracy of the depiction of the Trojan War.
The Iliad remains a subject of debate to historians and scholars alike in regards to its historicity. Modern historians generally agree that the Iliad reflects a set of historical events but that the accuracy of the Iliad regarding those events varies. Nevertheless, it is not possible to separate fact from pure myth in the poem because there is not enough evidence produced about those historical events. Historian Moses Finley notes that the Iliad was not a contemporary and historical work, but rather one of reflection and nostalgia. It is believed by countless others that the epic poem was a subjective piece of literature, due to its glorification of war. In contrast, Herodotus and Thucydides gave weight to Homer’s words in the Iliad and used the Homeric epics as a source of information about ancient Greece and its past, as the poem reflected upon the ideals and morals of Greek society. Both historians believed that the Iliad did illustrate the events of the Trojan War, yet even so, Herodotus disagreed with Homer’s account of the abduction of Helen and accused him of favouring that version in order to suit his narrative and to enhance the drama. This disparity signifies the variety of possible versions of the Trojan War, in the absence of knowledge of the accurate account. Consequently, this reading impacts the validity of Homer’s Iliad, as there is no supporting evidence that his depiction of the events is entirely accurate. The viewpoints of modern and ancient historians differ as they are influenced by their historical periods, along with their own values and perspectives that lead to opposing opinions in the ongoing debate about the historicity of the Iliad. As more is discovered of the Bronze Age, Finley concludes that the Iliad contains historical knowledge of the Greek Dark Age, or of Mycenaean Greece. Historians similarly analyze the bardic traditions of ancient Greek in order to assess the historicity of the epic poem. Being that the Iliad was an oral composition, bards spoke and sang the story, naturally causing it to be subject to slight changes and improvisations during the course of reciting and delivering. This reflects on the aforementioned unreliability of oral histories. Bards rely on improvisation each time they deliver the narrative, without regards to historical accuracy or linguistic consistency; they follow the outline of the story but the oral text itself is changeable. It is impossible to identify which version of the Iliad was written down and recorded in history. Through an analysis of the different perspectives that historians and scholars hold of the Iliad, it is evident that there is a discrepancy among the perspectives. This discrepancy is due to the absence of independent evidence about the historical events that occurred in ancient Greece in terms of the Iliad’s reliability.
Passages in the Iliad seem to correspond with the archaeological evidence found of the Trojan War, which supports the debate about the epic poem holding some form of reliable historical accuracy in its contents. Heinrich Schliemann, a German archaeologist, had complete faith in the historicity of the Iliad; he took it as the literal truth and set out to discover the city of Troy using the poem as a map of the area. Schliemann’s biased expectations inadvertently lead him to destroy the remains of other possible artefacts that supported Homer’s Troy. However, Schliemann’s excavations at Troy and Mycenae revealed newfound information about a previously unknown Bronze Age civilization; its weapons, bronze armor, and various other objects seemed to correspond to Homer’s descriptions and the date of these artifacts coincided with the theorized date of the Trojan War. Modern archaeologists currently understand Troy VIIa as the Troy depicted in the Iliad. The cause of the fall of Troy Vlla appears to have been caused by warfare, perhaps from the Trojan War. The size of the city correlates with the size of Troy depicted in the Iliad, thus further validating the possible historical knowledge present in the epic tradition. The Iliad corresponding to the archaeological evidence found among Hissarlike disproves the theory that the Iliad is purely legendary; however much it romanticizes and glorifies, it does in fact hold some significant historical basis of a city similar to Homer’s Troy existing at the same time as the assigned date of the Trojan War.
The question of the reliability of Homer’s epic Iliad and the authenticity and dependability of the poem in relation to its depiction of the historicity of the Trojan War can be analyzed through the Homeric Question, in regards to the possibility of the Iliad being composed by an assembly of people. This question frames the perspectives of historians and scholars, the debate that arises over historical accuracy, and the consideration of how descriptions in the Iliad coincide with archaeological evidence of the Trojan War. One may conclude that this debate about the Iliad as an accurate source is ongoing, so long as much information about Homeric Age is still unknown and lost in history.