, also , Ilion
) was a city, both factual and legendary
, best known for being the center of the
, as described in the Epic Cycle
and especially in the Iliad
, one of the two epic poems attributed to
refers to the
inhabitants and culture of Troy.
evidence from the Iliad
and the Odyssey
show that the name Ἴλιον formerly began with a digamma
(Ϝίλιον): this was later proved by the
Hittite form Wilusa
is the name of an archaeological site, the traditional location of
Homeric Troy, Turkish
Truva, in Hisarlık, Anatolia, close to
the seacoast in what is now Çanakkale province in northwest Turkey, southwest
of the Dardanelles under Mount Ida.
A new city of Ilium
was founded on the site in the
reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus
. It flourished until the establishment of
Constantinople and declined gradually during the Byzantine era.
In 1865 an
English archaeologist, Frank Calvert,
excavated for many years the site at Hisarlık, near Truva, where in
1870 a wealthy German businessman,
Heinrich Schliemann, also began
excavating in this area which he claimed to be the ancient city of
Later excavations revealed several cities built in
succession to each other. One of the earlier cities (Troy VII) is
generally identified with Homeric Troy.
While such an
identity is disputed, the site has been successfully identified
with the city called Wilusa
back to earlier Wilion
with a digamma
) is thought to be the Greek rendition of
The archaeological site of Troy was added to the UNESCO World Heritage
Ancient Greek historians placed the Trojan War variously in our
12th, 13th, or 14th century BCE: Eratosthenes
to 1184 BCE, Herodotus
to 1250 BCE, Duris of Samos
to 1334 BCE. Modern archaeologists
associate Homeric Troy with archaeological Troy VII.
In the Iliad
, the Achaeans
their camp near the mouth of the river Scamander
(presumably modern Karamenderes
), where they had beached their
ships. The city of Troy itself stood on a hill, across the plain of
Scamander, where the battles of the Trojan War took place. The site
of the ancient city is some 5 km from the coast today, but the
ancient mouths of alleged Scamander, some 3,000 years ago, were
about that distance inland, pouring into a large bay which formed a
natural harbour, but has since been filled with alluvial
material. Recent geological findings have
permitted the reconstruction of how the original Trojan coastline
would have looked, and the results largely confirm the accuracy of
the Homeric geography of Troy.
Besides the Iliad
, there are references to Troy in the
other major work attributed to Homer, the Odyssey
, as well as in other ancient Greek
literature. The Homeric legend of Troy was elaborated by the Roman
in his Aeneid
. The Greeks and Romans took for a fact
the historicity of the Trojan
and the identity of Homeric Troy with the site in Anatolia.
Alexander the Great
example, visited the site in 334 BCE and made sacrifices at tombs
there associated with the Homeric heroes Achilles
In November 2001, geologists John C. Kraft from the
Delaware and John V. Luce from Trinity
College, Dublin presented the results of investigations, begun in
1977, into the geology of the region.
They compared the present geology with the landscapes and coastal
features described in the Iliad
and other classical
sources, notably Strabo
, and concluded that there is a regular
consistency between the location of Schliemann's Troy and other
locations such as the Greek camp, the geological evidence,
descriptions of the topography
accounts of the battle in the Iliad
. Further work by John
Kraft and others was published in 2003.
After the 1995 find of a Luwian
at Troy VII, there has been a heated discussion over the language that was spoken in Homeric Troy
Starke of the University of Tübingen recently demonstrated that the name of Priam is connected to the Luwian compound
Priimuua, which means 'exceptionally courageous'.
"The certainty is growing that Wilusa/Troy belonged to the greater
Luwian-speaking community", although it is not entirely clear
whether Luwian was primarily the official language or in daily
A small minority of contemporary writers argue that Homeric Troy
was not in Anatolia, but located elsewhere: England, Croatia, and
Scandinavia have been proposed. These theories have not been
accepted by mainstream scholars.
Archeological plan of the Hisarlik
Aegean civilization is a general term
for the Bronze Age civilizations of Greece and the Aegean
The layers of ruins in the citadel at Hisarlik are numbered Troy I
Troy IX, with various subdivisions:
- Troy I 3000–2600 BCE (Western Anatolian EB 1)
- Troy II 2600–2250 BCE (Western Anatolian EB 2)
- Troy III 2250–2100 BCE (Western Anatolian EB 3 [early])
- Troy IV 2100–1950 BCE (Western Anatolian EB 3 [middle])
- Troy V: 20th–18th centuries BCE (Western Anatolian EB 3
- Troy VI: 17th–15th centuries BCE
- Troy VIh: late Bronze Age, 14th century BCE
VIIa: ca. 1300–1190 BC, most likely setting for Homer's
- Troy VIIb1: 12th century BCE
- Troy VIIb2: 11th century BCE
- Troy VIIb3: until ca. 950 BCE
- Troy VIII: around 700 BCE
- Troy IX: Hellenistic Ilium, 1st
The archaeological site of Troy was added to the UNESCO World Heritage
The first city on the site was founded in the 3rd millennium BCE.
the Bronze Age, the site seems to have been a flourishing
mercantile city, since its location allowed for complete control of
the Dardanelles, through which every merchant ship from the
Sea heading for the Black Sea had to pass.
Around 1900 BCE a mass migration was set off by
to the east. Cities to east of Troy were destroyed
and although Troy was not burned, the next period shows a change of
culture indicating a new people had taken over Troy.
Troy VI was destroyed around 1300 BCE, probably by an earthquake
. Only a single arrowhead was found in
this layer, and no remains of bodies.
Troy VIIa, which has been dated to the mid- to late-13th century
BCE, is the most often-cited candidate for the Troy of Homer. It
appears to have been destroyed by war.
city on this site, Hellenistic Ilium,
was founded by Romans during the reign
of the emperor Augustus and was an
important trading city until the establishment of Constantinople in the fourth century as the eastern capital of the
times the city declined
gradually, and eventually disappeared.
Beneath part of the Roman city, the ruins of which cover a much
larger area than the citadel excavated by Schliemann, recent
excavations have found traces of an additional Bronze-Age
settlement area (of lower status than the adjoining citadel)
defended by a ditch.
With the rise of modern critical history, Troy and the Trojan War
were consigned to the realms of legend. However, the true location
of ancient Troy had from classical
times remained the subject of
interest and speculation, so when in 1822 the Scottish journalist
available material and published A dissertation on the
topography of the plain of Troy
he was able to identify with
confidence the position of the acropolis
of Augustus's New Ilium in north-western Anatolia. In 1866 Frank Calvert
, the brother of the United
States' consular agent
in the region, made
extensive surveys and published in scholarly journals his
identification of the hill of New Ilium (which was on farmland
owned by his family) as the site of ancient Troy. The hill, near the
town of Chanak, was known
to the Turks as Hisarlik.
In 1868 the German self-taught archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann
visited Calvert and
secured permission to excavate Hisarlık. In the 1870s (in two
campaigns, 1871–73 and 1878–9) he excavated the hill and discovered
the ruins of a series of ancient cities dating from the Bronze Age
to the Roman period. Schliemann
declared one of these cities—at first Troy I, later Troy II—to be
the city of Troy, and this identification was widely accepted at
that time. Schliemann's finds at Hisarlik have become known as
. They were
acquired from him by the Berlin museums, but significant doubts
about their authenticity persist.
The view from Hisarlık across the
plain of Ilium to the Aegean Sea
After Schliemann, the site was further excavated under the
direction of Wilhelm Dörpfeld
(1893-4) and later Carl Blegen
These excavations have shown that there were at least nine cities
built one on top of each other at this site.
excavations were resumed by a team of the University of Tübingen and the University of Cincinnati under the direction of Professor Manfred Korfmann, with Professor Brian Rose
overseeing Post-Bronze Age (Greek, Roman, Byzantine) excavation
along the coast of the Aegean Sea at the Bay of Troy.
Possible evidence of a battle was found in the form of arrowheads
found in layers dated to the early 12th century BCE. The question
of Troy's status in the Bronze Age world has been the subject of a
sometimes acerbic debate between Korfmann and the Tübingen
historian Frank Kolb
In August 2003 following a magnetic imaging survey of the fields
below the fort, a deep ditch was located and excavated among the
ruins of a later Greek and Roman city. Remains found in the ditch
were dated to the late Bronze Age, the alleged time of Homeric
Troy. It is claimed by Korfmann that the ditch may have once marked
the outer defences of a much larger city than had previously been
suspected. The latter city has been dated by his team to about 1250
BC, and it has been also suggested- based on recent archeologic
evidence uncovered by Professor Manfred Krofmann's team- that this
was indeed the Homeric city of Troy.
In summer 2006 the excavations continued under the direction of
Korfmann's colleague Ernst Pernicka
with a new digging permit.
Hittite and Egyptian evidence
1920s the Swiss scholar Emil
Forrer claimed that placenames found in Hittite texts—Wilusa and
Taruisa—should be identified with Ilium and Troia
He further noted that the name of
, king of Wilusa, mentioned in one of the
Hittite texts is quite similar to the name of Prince
, of Troy.
unnamed Hittite king wrote a letter to the
king of the Ahhiyawa, treating him
as an equal and implying that Miletus (Millawanda) was controlled by the
Ahhiyawa, and also referring to an earlier
"Wilusa episode" involving hostility on the part of the
This people has been identified with the
Homeric Greeks (Achaeans
). The Hittite king
was long held to be Mursili II
1321–1296), but since the 1980s his son Hattusili III
(1265–1240) is commonly
preferred, although Mursili's other son Muwatalli
(ca. 1296–1272) is still considered a
The nation T-R-S is mentioned as one of the "Peoples of the Sea
" in ancient Egyptian
Egyptian inscription at Deir
el-Medina records a
victory of Ramesses III over Sea
Peoples, including some named Tursha (spelled [twrš3] in
These are probably the same as the earlier
Teresh (found written as [trš.w]) of the Merneptah Stele
, commemorating Merneptah
’s victory in a Libyan campaign at about
1220 BCE. Although this may be too early for the Trojan War
, some scholars have connected the name
to the city mentioned in Hittite records as Taruisas
These identifications were rejected by many scholars as being
improbable or at least not provable. Trevor Bryce in 1998
championed them in his book The Kingdom of the Hittites,
citing a recovered piece of the so-called Manapa-Tarhunda letter, which refers
to the kingdom of Wilusa as beyond the land of the Seha
(known in classical times as the Caicus)
river, and near the land of Lazpa (Lesbos Island).
Recent evidence adds weight to the theory that Wilusa is identical
to archaeological Troy. Hittite texts mention a water tunnel
Wilusa, and a water tunnel excavated by Korfmann, previously
thought to be Roman, has been dated to around 2600 BCE. The
identifications of Wilusa
with archaeological Troy and of
with the Ahhiyawa
remain controversial, but gained enough popularity during the 1990s
to be considered a majority opinion.
Trojan language and script
The language of the Trojans is unknown, although several Trojan
names may be identified as Luwian
. The status
of the so-called Trojan script
Troy in later legend
Such was the fame of the Epic Cycle
Roman and medieval times that it was built upon to provide a
starting point for various founding
of national origins. The progenitor of all of them is undoubtedly
that promulgated by Virgil in the
Aeneid, tracing the ancestry of the
founders of Rome, more
specifically the Julio-Claudian
dynasty, to the Trojan prince Aeneas.
The heroes of
Troy, both those noted in the epic texts or those purpose-invented,
continued to perform the role of founder for the nations of Early
Medieval Europe. Denys Hay
widespread adoption of Trojan forebears as an authentication of
national status, in Europe: the Emergence of an Idea
(Edinburgh 1957). The Roman de
was common cultural ground for European governing
classes, for whom a Trojan pedigree was gloriously ancient, and it
established the successor-kingdoms of which they were direct heirs
as equals of the Romans. A Trojan pedigree justified the occupation
of parts of Rome's erstwhile territories (Huppert 1965).
The Franks filled the lacunae of their legendary origins with
Trojan and pseudo-Trojan names; in Fredegar
's seventh-century chronicle of Frankish
history, Priam appears as the first king of the Franks.
Trojan origin of Franks and France was such an established article
of faith that in 1714 the learned Nicolas Fréret was Bastilled for showing through historical criticism that the
Franks had been Germanic, a sore point counter to Valois and
Similarly Geoffrey of Monmouth
reworking earlier material such as Historia Brittonum
legendary Kings of
to a supposed descendant of Aeneas
, in the Prologue
to his Prose Edda
, converts several
half-remembered characters from Troy into characters from Norse mythology
, and refers to them having
made a journey across Europe towards Scandinavia
, setting up kingdoms as they
Today there is a Turkish town called Truva
vicinity of the archaeological site, but this town has grown up
recently to service the tourist trade. The archaeological site is
officially called Troia
by the Turkish government
and appears as such on many maps.
number of tourists visit the site each year, mostly coming from
Istanbul by bus or by ferry via Çanakkale, the nearest major town about 50 km to the
The visitor sees a highly commercialised site,
with a large wooden horse built as a playground for children, then
shops and a museum. The archaeological site itself is, as a recent
writer said, "a ruin of a ruin," because the site has been
frequently excavated, and because Schliemann's archaeological
methods were very destructive: in his conviction that the city of
Priam would be found in the earliest layers, he demolished many
interesting structures from later eras, including all of the house
walls from Troy II. For many years also the site was unguarded and
was thoroughly looted.
- Trōia is the preferred Latin name for the city.
Ilium is a more poetic term:
XIII, I, 36, tr. H. L. Jones, Loeb Classical Library; Pliny,
Natural History, V.33, tr. H.
Rackham, W. S. Jones and D. E. Eichholz, Loeb Classical
- Geologists investigate Trojan battlefield, 7
February, 2003, BBC NEWS
- Iliad, Discovery.
- Harbor areas at ancient Troy: Sedimentology and
geomorphology complement Homer's Iliad, Geoscience World
- Press Release: Geology corresponds with Homer’s
description of ancient Troy University of Delaware
- Starke, Frank. "Troia im Kontext des historisch-politischen und
sprachlichen Umfeldes Kleinasiens im 2. Jahrtausend". // Studia
Troica, 1997, 7, 447-87.
- Iman Wilkens, Where Troy Once Stood, (Groningen
2005), p. 68.
- Troy VII and the Historicity of the Trojan War,
Dartmouth College (2000)- accessed 2007-03-17
Troy VII and the Historicity of the Trojan War
- Universität Tübingen setzt Ausgrabungen in Troia
- Carter-Morris, p. 34–35.
- George Huppert, "The Trojan Franks and their Critics"
Studies in the Renaissance 12 (1965), pp.
- A. Joly first traced the career of the Roman de Troie
in Benoit de Sainte-More et le Roman de Troie (Paris
- Exinde origo Francorum fuit. Priamo primo rege
- Larousse du XIXe siècle sub "Fréret", noted by Huppert
References and further reading
- Carter, Jane Burr; Morris, Sarah P. The Ages of Homer.
University of Texas Press, 1995. ISBN 0292712081.
- Easton, D.F.; Hawkins, J.D.; Sherratt, A.G.; Sherratt, E.S.
"Troy in Recent Perspective", Anatolian Studies,
Issue 52. (2002), pp. 75–109.
- Fantasies of Troy: Classical Tales and the
Social Imaginary in Medieval and Early Modern Europe,
edited by Alan Shepard and Stephen D. Powell. Toronto: Centre for
Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2004.
- Ilios. The city and country of the Trojans: the
results of researches and discoveries on the site of Troy and
through the Troad in the years 1871-72-73-78-79; (searchable
facsimile at the University of Georgia Libraries, requires