Ilion - is it a fiction of Homer or a historical place?

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Ilion - is it a fiction of Homer or a historical place?
Ilion - is it a fiction of Homer or a historical place?

Troy (Ilion) is a legendary city. Location of the Trojan War, which was described in Homer's epic poem and mentioned in his other epic, The Odyssey.

Today, Ilion is the name of the archaeological site at Hisarlık in Anatolia, near the northwestern coast of Turkey, southwest of the Dardanelles, under Mount Ida.

During the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus, the new Roman city of Ilium was built on the site of the destroyed Ilion. It prospered until the founding of Constantinople, but gradually declined throughout the Byzantine period.

Legendary Troy

view of Troy, reconstruction

The history of Troy originates in myths and legends. According to Greek mythology, the Trojans were the ancient inhabitants of the city of Ilion in Asia Minor. Although in Asia, Troy appears in the legends as part of the Greek culture of city-states.

In the legends, Ilion is a city famous for its we alth derived from the developed maritime trade with the West and the East. The Trojans produced luxurious clothes, were famous for their work with metal and impregnable walls that surrounded the city.

Trojan royal familycomes from Zeus himself and Electra - the parents of Dardanus. Dardanus is the legendary founder of Troy who, according to Greek mythology, was born in Arcadia and later founded Dardania, which was then ruled by Aeneas.

After the death of Dardanus, the kingdom passed into the hands of his nephew Tros, who named the people and country by his own name - Troad. Ilus, son of Tros, founded the city of Ilium (Troy), named after him. Zeus gave Ilus the Palladium. Poseidon and Apollo built walls and fortifications around Troy for Laomedon, the youngest son of Ilus.

Greek entry into Troy

A few decades before the Trojan War, Hercules conquered Troy, the city of Zeus, and killed Laomedon and all his sons, except for the young Priam. Priam later became king of Troy. During his reign, the Mycenaean Greeks invaded and conquered Troy during the Trojan War (thought to have taken place between 1193 and 1183 BCE).

Mount Ida was the place where the famous "Judgment of Paris" took place, which marked the beginning of the Trojan War. From the peaks of this mountain, the gods watched the military actions, it was there that Hera diverted the attention of Zeus to allow the conquest of the great Ilion. This is where Aeneas and his men rested while waiting for the Greeks to leave.

Troy Homer

Trojan horse

In Homer's poem, Ilion is a city located on a hill beyond the Scamadra plain, where the battles of the Trojan War took place.

Greeks and Romans did not dispute the historical authenticity of the Trojan War and identified Homer's Ilion with the city of Anatolia. Alexander the Great,for example, visited the site in 334 BC. e. and offered sacrifices at the alleged graves of Achilles and Patroclus.

Ancient Greek historians believed that the Trojan War took place in the XII-XIV centuries BC.

Some modern historians suggest that Homeric Troy - the city to which the Greeks sailed on ships - was not in Anatolia, but elsewhere. They offer England, Croatia and even Scandinavia. Of course, most scientists reject these assumptions.

Status of the Iliad

walls of Troy

The dispute about the historical authenticity of the Iliad flares up from time to time with renewed vigor. The more we learn about the history of the Bronze Age, the more interesting is the answer to the question of how true the historical information collected from the lines of the Iliad and the Odyssey is.

Historians, anthropologists and archaeologists have come to a common opinion that the Iliad is not a chronicle of war, but a story of personalities, fictional characters. It pays more attention to the character traits of strong personalities than to the historical accuracy of small details. The Trojan War in the Iliad serves rather as a background for the development of individual tragedies of the main characters of the epic.

The problem of the historical value of Homer's Troy faces the same questions as Plato's Atlantis. In both cases, the story of the ancient writers is regarded by some as true and by others as mythology or fiction. You can try to make real connections between the pages of the book and historical events or places, but these connections are highly subjective.

Homer's poem "Iliad" as a legend

Some archaeologists and historians claim that none of the events presented by Homer is historical fact. Others admit that it is impossible to separate mythology and reality in the works of this ancient Greek writer.

In recent years, historians have hypothesized that Homer's stories are a synthesis of several ancient Greek stories and myths about various sieges and military expeditions that took place during the Bronze Age.

The Iliad as historical fact

reconstruction of Troy

Another point of view is that Homer had access to the epic works and chronicles of the Mycenaean period. From this point of view, the poem describes a real historical military campaign that took place at the beginning of the decline of the Mycenaean civilization.

The pages of the Iliad are heavily spiced with mythology, but historians believe that archaeological or textual evidence consistent with the events mentioned in the Iliad must have survived.

From a linguistic point of view, some of the verses of the Iliad are out of rhythm, as if they were written before or in another language. It is suggested that Homer may have borrowed some verses from other historical documents.

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