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Troy


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Troy is the name of the Bronze Age city attacked in the Trojan War, a popular story in the mythology of ancient Greece, and the name given to the archaeological site in the north-west of Asia Minor (now Turkey) which has revealed a large and prosperous city occupied over millennia. There has been much scholarly debate as to whether mythical Troy actually existed and if so whether the archaeological site was the same city; however, it is now almost universally accepted that the archaeological excavations have revealed the city of Homer's Iliad. Other names for Troy include Hisarlik (Turkish), Ilios (Homer), Ilion (Greek) and Ilium (Roman). The archaeological site of Troy is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Troy in myth

Troy is the setting for Homer's Iliad in which he recounts the final year of the Trojan War sometime in the 13th century BCE. The war was in fact a ten-year siege of the city by a coalition of Greek forces led by King Agamemnon of Mycenae. The purpose of the expedition was to reclaim Helen, wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta and brother of Agamemnon. Helen was abducted by the Trojan prince Paris and taken as his prize for choosing Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess in a competition with Athena and Hera. The Trojan War is also told in other sources such as the Epic Cycle poems (of which only fragments survive) and is also briefly mentioned in Homer's Odyssey. Troy and the Trojan War later became a staple myth of Classical Greek and Roman literature.

In the Iliad, Homer describes Troy as 'well-founded', 'strong-built' & 'well-walled'.

Homer describes Troy as 'well-founded', 'strong-built' and 'well-walled'; there are also several references to fine battlements, towers and 'high' and 'steep' walls. The walls must have been unusually strong in order to withstand a ten-year siege and in fact, Troy fell through the trickery of the Trojan horse ruse rather than any defensive failing. Indeed, in Greek mythology the walls were so impressive that they were said to have been built by Poseidon and Apollo who after an act of impiety were compelled by Zeus to serve the Trojan king Laomedon for one year. However, the fortifications did not help the king when Hercules sacked the city with an expedition of only six ships. The sacking was Hercules' revenge for not being paid for his services to the king when he killed the sea-serpent sent by Poseidon. This episode was traditionally placed one generation before the Trojan War as the only male survivor was Laomedon's youngest son Priam, the Trojan king in the later conflict.

Troy in Archaeology

Inhabited from the Early Bronze Age (3000 BCE) through to the 12th century CE the archaeological site which is now called Troy is 5 km from the coast but was once next to the sea. The site was situated in a bay created by the mouth of the river Skamanda and occupied a strategically important position between Aegean and Eastern civilizations by controlling the principal point of access to the Black Sea, Anatolia and the Balkans from both directions by land and sea. In particular, the difficulty in finding favourable winds to enter the Dardanelles may well have resulted in ancient sailing vessels standing by near Troy. Consequently, the site became the most important Bronze Age city in the North Aegean, reaching the height of its prosperity in the middle Bronze Age, contemporary with the Mycenaean civilization on the Greek mainland and the Hittite empire to the East.

Troy was first excavated by Frank Calvert in 1863 CE and visited by Heinrich Schliemann who continued excavations from 1870 CE until his death in 1890 CE; in particular, he attacked the conspicuous 20 m high artificial mound which had been left untouched since antiquity. Initial finds by Schliemann of gold and silver jewellery and vessels seemed to vindicate his belief that the site was actually the Troy of Homer. However, these have now been dated to more than a thousand years before a probable date for the Trojan War and indicated that the history of the site was much more complex than previously considered. Indeed, perhaps unwittingly, Schliemann would add 2000 years to Western history, which had previously gone back only as far as the first Olympiad of 776 BCE.

The excavations continued throughout the 20th century CE and continue to the present day and they have revealed nine different cities and no less than 46 levels of inhabitation at the site. These have been labelled Troy I to Troy IX after Schliemann's (and his successor Dorpfeld's) original classification. This has since been slightly adjusted to incorporate radio-carbon dating results from the early 21st century CE.

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Troy I (c. 3000-2550 BCE) was a small village settlement surrounded by stone walls. Pottery and metal finds match those on Lesbos and Lemnos in the Aegean and in northern Anatolia.

Troy II (c. 2550-2300 BCE) displays larger buildings (40 m long), mud-brick and stone fortifications with monumental gates. Schliemann's 'treasure' finds - objects in gold, silver, electrum, bronze, carnelian and lapis lazuli - most likely come from this period. This 'treasure' includes 60 earrings, six bracelets, two magnificent diadems and 8750 rings, all in solid gold. Once again, finds of foreign materials suggest trade with Asia.

Troy III - Troy V (c. 2300-1750 BCE) is the most difficult period to reconstruct as the layers were hastily removed in early excavations in order to reach the lower levels. Generally speaking, the period seems a less prosperous one but foreign contact is further evidenced by the presence of Anatolian influenced dome ovens and Minoan pottery.

The archaeological site of Troy has impressive fortification walls 5 m thick & up to 8 m high constructed from large limestone blocks.

Troy VI (c. 1750-1300 BCE) is the period most visible today at the site and is the most likely candidate for the besieged city of Homer's Trojan War. Impressive fortification walls 5 m thick and up to 8 m high constructed from large limestone blocks and including several towers (with the rectangular plan as in Hittite fortifications) demonstrate the prosperity but also a concern for defence during this period. The walls would have once been topped by a mud brick and wood superstructure and with closely fitting stonework sloping inwards; as the walls rise they certainly fit the Homeric description of 'strong-built Troy'. In addition, sections of the walls are slightly offset every 10 m or so in order to curve around the site without the necessity for corners (a weak point in wall defence). This feature is unique to Troy and displays an independence from both Mycenaean and Hittite influence. The walls included five gateways allowing entrance to the inner city composed of large structures, once of two stories and with central courts and collonaded halls similar to those of contemporary Mycenaean cities such as Tiryns, Pylos and Mycenae itself. Outside the fortified citadel the lower town covers an impressive 270,000 square metres protected by an encircling rock-cut ditch. The size of the site is now much bigger than first thought when Schliemann excavated and suggests a population of as high as 10,000, much more in keeping with Homer's grand city-state.

Finds at the site point to the existence of a thriving wool industry and the first use of horses, recalling Homer's oft-used epithet 'horse-taming Trojans'. Pottery very similar to that on the Greek mainland has been discovered, principally the Grey Minyan ware which imitates metal vessels. There are also imported ceramics from Crete, Cyprus and the Levant. In marked contrast to Mycenaean palaces, there is no evidence of sculpture or fresco-painted walls.

Troy VI was partially destroyed but the exact cause is not known beyond some evidence of fire. Intriguingly, bronze arrow heads, spear tips and sling shots have been found on the site and even some embedded in the fortification walls, suggesting some sort of conflict. The dates of these (c. 1250 BCE) and the site destruction correlate with Herodotus' dates for the Trojan War. Conflicts over the centuries between Mycenaeans and Hittites are more than probable and may well have been the origin of the epic Trojan War in Greek mythology. There is very little evidence of any large-scale war but the possibility of smaller conflicts is evidenced in Hittite texts where 'Ahhiyawa' is recognised as referring to Mycenaean Greeks and 'Wilusa' as the region of which Ilios was the capital. These documents tell of local unrest and Mycenaean support of local rebellion against Hittite control in the area of Troy and suggest a possible motive for regional rivalry between the two civilizations. Intriguingly, there is also a bronze Mycenaean sword taken as war booty and found in Hattusa, the Hittite capital.

Troy VIIa (c. 1300-1180 BCE) and Troy VIIb (c. 1180-950 BCE) both display an increase in the size of the lower town and some reconstruction of the fortifications but also a marked decline in architectural and artistic quality in respect to Troy VI. For example, there is a return to handmade pottery after centuries of wares made on the wheel. Once again, this correlates well with the Greek tradition that following the Trojan War the city was sacked and abandoned, at least for a time. Both Troy VIIa and Troy VIIb were destroyed by fires.

Troy VIII and Troy IX (c. 950 BCE to 550 CE) are the sites of Greek Ilion and Roman Ilium respectively. There is evidence that the site was populated throughout the so-called Dark Ages but the settlement did not return to a level of significant development until the 8th century BCE. Ancient Troy was never forgotten though. The Persian King Xerxes is said by Herodotus to have sacrificed over a thousand oxen at the site prior to his invasion of Greece and Alexander the Great also visited the site before his expedition in the opposite direction in order to conquer Asia.

A Doric temple to Athena was constructed in the early 3rd century BCE along with new fortifications under Lysimachos (c. 301-280 BCE). The Romans also held Troy in high regard and even referred to the city as 'Sacred Ilium'. In Roman tradition, the Trojan hero Aeneas, son of Venus, had fled Troy and settled in Italy thus giving the Romans a divine ancestry. Julius Caesar in 48 BCE and Emperor Augustus (reign 27 BCE -14 CE) rebuilt much of the city and Hadrian (reign 117-138 CE) also added buildings which included an odeion, gymnasium and baths. Emperor Constantine (reign 324-337 CE) even planned to build his new capital at Troy and some construction work began until Constantinople was chosen instead. Over time the site declined, most probably because the harbour had silted up and the once great city of Troy was finally abandoned, not to be rediscovered for another 1500 years.


Fall of Troy: The Legend and the Facts

The legendary ancient city of Troy is very much in the limelight this year: a big budget co-production between the BBC and Netflix: Troy, Fall of a City , recently launched, while Turkey designated 2018 the “ Year of Troy ” and plans a year of celebration, including the opening of a new museum on the presumed site.

So what do we know about the city, ruins of which have been painstakingly excavated over the past 150 years? The television series is set around 1300-1200BC, at the height of the Late Bronze Age. During this period Mycenaean city states based in modern-day Greece were competing with the larger Hittite empire (located in modern-day Turkey) to control the trade routes leading towards the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

Troy (in ancient Greek, Ἴλιος or Ilios), was located in western Turkey – not far from the modern city of Canakkale (better known as Gallipoli), at the mouth of the Dardarnelles strait. Its position was crucial in controlling the trade routes towards the Black Sea and, as the Trojan prince Paris mentions to the Spartan king Menelaus in Homer’s epic tale, the Iliad, the city controlled access to Indian silks and spices.

The probable location of the ancient city of Troy. Author provided

The Late Bronze Age was an era of powerful kingdoms and city states, centered around fortified walled palaces. Commerce was based on a complex gift exchange system between the different political states. The trade system was mainly controlled by the kings and evidence referring to private merchants is very rare. These kingdoms exchanged not only silks and spices, but also gold, silver, copper, grain, craftsmanship and slaves.


Doniphan County History

Doniphan County’s history starts long before it was named and organized in 1855.

During the Pleistocene Era, glaciers moved across a large section of North America and edged just into the northeast corner of Kansas. As the glaciers moved, they ground up rocks into fine material. Then when the glaciers melted, the fine material, known as loess, was left behind. The loess is 60 to more than 100 feet deep on the river bluffs in Doniphan County. The deep loess soil is very rich and fertile. The fertile soil, combined with the county’s usually ample rainfall, makes the land perfect for crop production. The landscape is also full of trees, steep hills and river bluffs which provide breathtaking views, especially visible at the 4-State Scenic Lookout in White Cloud. From this spot, one can gaze out over the meandering Missouri River and view land in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska on a clear day. Doniphan County’s landscape is truly unlike anywhere else in Kansas.

Early Beginnings

The first people in this area were paleolithic hunters and gatherers who passed through for thousands of years in search of wild animals, fruits, grains, nuts and roots. Since they were constantly on the move, they had no permanent settlements. The Neolithic Indians settled in this region within the last seven or eight hundred years. They knew how to grow corn, squash, pumpkins, beans and other crops. Some of the earliest village sites and burial mounds have been located near the towns of Doniphan and Fanning. These people are considered to be some of the early ancestors of the Kansa Indians.

Frenchmen arrived and were recorded in contact with the Kansa Indians as early as 1724 near Doniphan. They traded goods and established a settlement and friendship before both parties moved on many years later. When Lewis and Clark stopped at the Doniphan site in 1804, they reported that they could tell where the village had been but that there was no longer anyone living in the area.

By the 1830’s, there were four new tribes located in the Doniphan County area including the Kickapoo, Iowa, Sac and Fox. In 1837, Reverend S. M. Irvin founded a Presbyterian Mission east of the present city of Highland. This mission was the parent church of the first Protestant church in Kansas, the Highland Presbyterian Church. Highland College (now Highland Community College), an outgrowth of the mission school, is the first and oldest establishment of higher education in Kansas, chartered in February, 1859. The campus’s oldest building is named Irvin Hall accordingly.

Settling Kansas & Firsts

In the late 1840’s and early 1850’s, thousands of emigrants traveled the St. Joseph, Missouri branch of the Oregon-California trail in search of gold or farm land. In 1850, between 25,000 and 30,000 people passed through the Doniphan County area heading for the West Coast.

With the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, many settlers moved into Doniphan County. Some smaller towns that popped up at that time included Cincinnati, Buffalo, Landondale, Rogersville, Lee, Smithton, Lawrence II, Fairview, Evansville, Lewiston, Petersburg, Syracuse, Winona and Iola, none of which exist today. Larger towns at the time included Lafayette, White Cloud, Iowa Point, Charlestown, Columbus, Whitehead’s Trading Post (Bellemont), Roseport (now Elwood), Palermo, Geary City, Doniphan, Troy, Bryan (now Wathena), and Highland.

In order to protect property from claim jumpers, squatter’s associations were organized. At first, the Squatter’s Association at Whitehead’s Trading Post carried out the functions of county government. It served as the place to register claims, as a court to settle disputes over claims, and as a police force to protect claims. Doniphan County, Kansas was founded on September 18, 1855 as one of the 33 original counties established by the first Territorial Legislature. County officials met at Whitehead’s Trading Post until the first courthouse was built in Troy in 1856. The County was named for General Alexander Doniphan, of Mexican War fame, and founded by Joel P. Blair, E. B. Rogers, and A. Dunning.

Late in the autumn of December 1859, Abraham Lincoln came to Doniphan County during his campaign trail to speak on antislavery in Elwood, Troy and Doniphan. Local lore says Lincoln visited Sidney Tennent, a Troy citizen, at his house across the street from the courthouse after his Troy speech. Today there is a monument of Lincoln and additional information about the first and oldest remaining house located at 138 E. Walnut St., Troy, KS. One of Lincoln’s honor guards is buried in the Doniphan Cemetery south of Troy.

The Pony Express was a private mail service which began in April, 1860 and operated for 18 months between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California until the connection of the transcontinental telegraph on October 24, 1861. The Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express Company provided a 10-day delivery between the terminal points. There were forty riders in the saddle in each direction, and 190 stations and 400 station keepers kept the operation working smoothly. Riders were paid $25 a week and rode 10 to 15 miles before changing horses, 75 miles before being relieved. After riders crossed the Missouri River in St. Joseph, MO, Doniphan County had the first stations in Kansas at Elwood and Troy. The route nearly follows the current path of Highway 36 for four more counties west into Kansas before trailing northwest into Nebraska.

The first railroad in Kansas was built in 1860 between Elwood and Wathena. Shortly after, work on the railroad was discontinued until after the Civil War. By 1868, the St. Joseph and Denver railroad (St. Joseph and Grand Island) was extended as far west as Troy and then on to the Brown County, Kansas line. The first train in Kansas traveled from Elwood to Wathena on April 28, 1860. Several new towns were established along these tracks including Moray, Ryan’s Station, Severance and Leona. In 1908, a brand line of this railroad was built from near Severance to Highland. This railroad line no longer exists.

Sol Miller, a well-known journalist, established The Kansas Chief newspaper in White Cloud in 1857, and in 1872 moved the paper to Troy. The Kansas Chief is the oldest newspaper in circulation to survive under its original name in Kansas. Miller was also actively involved in politics and in the establishment of the Kansas State Historical Society. The Kansas Chief later consolidated with The Wathena Times and The Highland Vidette newspapers and moved to Wathena where it is still in weekly circulation today, serving all of Doniphan County.

The city of White Cloud gained more prominence in 1913 when ten-year-old Wilbur Chapman sold his prize-winning pig to raise money for a leper colony. Coin saving banks were created in the shape of a pig, manufactured and sold, resulting in the origination of the “Piggy Bank” as we know it today. A monument to this effort can be seen today on White Cloud’s Main Street.

With the development of the railroad, inland cities grew and fruit production spread to nearly every part of the county. Doniphan County was at one time the apple center of Kansas, and fruit was the main agricultural product in the county until around the 1950s. There was even a bank in Wathena called Fruit Growers State Bank during that time.

Various scenes from the 1973 film Paper Moon were shot on Main Street in White Cloud.

Doniphan County Courthouse

The courthouse, built in 1906, is the fourth to serve Doniphan County in Troy. The county offices outgrew the temporary first courthouse by 1858, the second building burned down, and by 1900 the third courthouse was deemed too small and was razed for the present building. The current courthouse is an excellent example of the Romanesque influence on government build­ings in Kansas. George P. Washburn, one of the best architects in Kansas, designed it the construction grant was given to J.H. Wagenknecht of Wath­ena for a sum of $42,000. The courthouse was dedicated on July 4th, 1906 before one of the largest crowds to gather in Troy. The Doniphan County Courthouse, located at 120 E. Chestnut St., Troy, KS, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

In 1979, Indian Monument “Tall Oak” was sculpted from a 250-year old burr oak tree by artist Peter Toth in the courtyard in front of the courthouse. Toth created one monument for each of the fifty states to raise the nation’s awareness of the plight of the American Indian. Tall Oak stands nearly 27 feet tall.

Doniphan County, Kansas, located in the extreme northeastern corner of the state, is bordered on three sides by the Missouri River and by the states of Nebraska and Missouri on the north and east. Troy is the county seat of Doniphan County. The county is crossed east to west by U.S. 36 Highway with agriculture being the main industry. When you visit, bring your camera as you will find it continues to be a place full beauty and character.

Discover more about Doniphan County by visiting the Tourist Attractions page. Additional county history can be found by contacting the Doniphan County Historical Society and the Kansas Historical Society .


Troy - History

Best Time to Visit
May-June
September-October

Airports
Canakkale Airport (30km)

Best Places to Stay
Canakkale

Troy (aka Troia in ancient Greek, Wilusa by Hittites, or Ilios of Greeks) is an ancient site located at Tevfikiye (Hisarlik) near Canakkale in the northwest of Turkey. The mound is home to 9 different layers, and not only for literature as in Homer’s Iliad or archeology with its 4000 years of history but also for human history, it has a high ranking of global value considered as the time capsule of ancient civilizations.

Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad, earned Troy its fame and claimed the Trojan War had been fought on the archeological site. In the epic poem, a wooden horse was used to convey the Myceneaens (Achaean league) in the center of the impenetrable city, where they eventually captured during the Trojan War between the Trojans and the Mycenaeans. Whether the story is accurate or not, a Trojan dispute was fought in the 12th century that was thought to lead to the creation of Hittite, Wilusa, to become Illion and later Troia.

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Troy (aka Troia in ancient Greek, Wilusa by Hittites, or Ilios of Greeks) is an ancient site located at Tevfikiye (Hisarlik) near Canakkale in the northwest of Turkey. The mound is home to 9 different layers, and not only for literature as in Homer’s Iliad or archeology with its 4000 years of history but also for human history, it has a high ranking of global value considered as the time capsule of ancient civilizations.

Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad, earned Troy its fame and claimed the Trojan War had been fought on the archeological site. In the epic poem, a wooden horse was used to convey the Myceneaens (Achaean league) in the center of the impenetrable city, where they eventually captured during the Trojan War between the Trojans and the Mycenaeans. Whether the story is accurate or not, a Trojan dispute was fought in the 12th century that was thought to lead to the creation of Hittite, Wilusa, to become Illion and later Troia.

Planning a trip to Troy soon? Answer this trip planner and get your FREE quotation within 24 hours.

At a Glance

Myth and Real

Before Arrival

What to See

Tips & Etiquette

During the heights of the Bronze Age, Troy relished its golden ages when it had the power, also thanks to its location controlling the trade routes. After the Trojan War, the city was deserted till 700 BCE when Greeks settled the Troas region.

Alexander the Great (descendant of Achilles), who was on his way to conquer Asia, also stopped by the glorious city to honor the heroes and governed the area around the 4th century BCE. This visit was rather romantic and more of a personal one where he switched his armor with that of Achilles.

Named as New (Sacred) Ilium, Romans ruled the area from 85 BCE, and the city had glorious times again thanks to the belief of the Aeneas, one of the heroes of Troia, and considered as the ancestor of Romulus and Remus (the founders of Rome). This legendary was turned into a great marketing, and Troy, even back then, became a popular destination for tourism and pilgrimage.

As Constantinople flourished, the city lost its importance, and many assumed that it was just a mythical place invented by Homer before the self-proclaimed archeologist, Heinrich Schliemann, demonstrated its presence. Archeological excavations are still ongoing, so the ancient city is still visible, and it has a great deal to teach the world.

In Search of Troy because of Homer’s Iliad

The legend tells us that the sea goddess Tethys and the Titan of the Atlantic Sea, Oceanus had a beautiful daughter named Electra. She would become the wife of Zeus later and would bring Dardanus to the world. The son of Dardanus founded the city- later called Troad, and his son, named Ilus, would establish the city of Troy.

The Mount Ida (Kaz Dagi) rising above the city was home to the first beauty contest, of which candidates were Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Paris, the judge of this beauty contest, chose Aphrodite, and he was promised the love of Helen, the beautiful queen of Menelaus, the king of Sparta. Eventually, Paris abducted the beautiful queen from Mycenae and brought her to his homeland, to the castle of his father, King Priam.

As a result, the brother of Agamemnon, who is the king of Mycenae, loaded his army along with a vast list of Achaean troops and landed on the shores of the city to start the legendary war that would turn into ten years of besieging. While thousands lost their lives in the war, the idea of Odysseus, pretending to abort the siege, Epeius building the massive Trojan Horse, and leave it at the shores of the city. The warnings of Cassandra (the daughter of Priam) did not result in good, and the horse was taken into the fortified walls with celebrations considering it as a present of Athena.

Later in the night, the Greek fleet came back, and the army hiding inside the horse opened the gates to the Greek troops, and at the end of the night, the whole city was burned and destroyed. The sons of King Priam’s were killed with all the other men, while women were taken to Greece as slaves to be traded in different cities.

It is not precisely known when Homer wrote this great epic. Some believe it was right after the war, around the 12th century BCE, and some believe it was even earlier, around the 9th century BCE.

So, while there is no firm evidence of all these happenings or the other speculations about the history, there is still a piece of evidence supported by the bronze arrowheads and fire-damaged bodies found around the archeological site.

In summary, Trojan Horse might be a myth, but the city and more than one war are real!

Hittite References to Troy

Hittites’ capital, Hattusa, located in today’s Bogazkale in central Turkey, was quite far from Troy. The tablets found at this capital and the ones in Egypt have mentions of a mighty city near Dardanelles named Wilusa (Greek: Ilios) reigned by a king named “Alaksandu” or Alexandros, birthname of Paris, the Trojan prince.

According to the vessels found on the site, these lands were under the Hittite rule or at least had good trade relations. However, while the Hittites had a perfect archiving system, this was not the case for western Luwians.

Troy in the Bible

Troy is not mentioned in the bible, but there is a mention of the city of Troas in Acts 16:8 and 20:5-6. While Paul’s missionary journeys were much more later than the myth of the Trojan Horse, it is still a debate if it is the same location or not.

Excavations

While the city’s location was known approximately by the works of Homer, Herodotus, and Strabo, the exact location of the site was not known until the modern days.

In 1822, Charles Maclaren proclaimed that the mound of Hisarlik was the exact location. Still, the idea was not taken into consideration by the scholars believing the legend was rather based on myths.

The site was first excavated by Frank Calvert in 1863 and visited and taken over by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann who continued the excavations from 1870 till his death in 1890.

Upon his death, his assistant and architect of the protect, Wilhelm Dörpfeld, continued the project from 1893 till 1894. Dörpfeld successfully numbered the levels from I to IX (from the lowest upward) and exposed the impenetrable fortifications of Troy VI, which he defined as the “Homeric Troy.”

From 1932 to 1938, led by Carl W. Blegen, the University of Cincinnati (USA) continued the excavations using new technologies of the time and newer methods.

Excavations were taken over by a new team of Turks, Germans, and Americans organized by Manfred Korfmann. Most of the findings from the classical era (Greek and Roman) were brought to light by C. Brian Rose from the University of Cincinnati.

After 2012, Canakkale 18 Mart University continues the excavations with the new team under the direction of Rustem Aslan from Canakkale 18 Mart University.

Getting There

Troy is approx. 30 km away from the nearest city, Canakkale, where there is an airport, but there are no direct flights from Istanbul. The best way to get there instead is by land & ferry combination, which is 500 km and takes little more than 6 hours depending on the season, traffic or stops.

From Canakkale to Troy, there are public buses every hour, and the bus trip takes around 45 minutes. However, getting from Istanbul by bus and then other buses until you get to the ancient site means you will be wasting most of your time on the buses.

Where to Stay

The options for accommodation and restaurants are somewhat limited compared to those in Canakkale. Since the ancient site is only 30 km away from the city center, we favor this option considering it is also easier to take the ferry to Gallipoli the next or the previous day. The city center also has a good variety of restaurants along the seafront (Kordon), where you will also get to see the wooden Trojan horse model used in the 2004 Wolfgang Petersen movie “Troy”.

When to Go

You’ll be able to go to the archeological ruins almost any time of the year if you’re from a chiller corner of the world.

In general, the best times to visit the site are in the early summer and before fall, meaning May, June, September, and October.

The coldest months are January and February, but the temperatures even then dip below around 4°C (40°F). The temperature rises to 43°C (110°F) in the middle of the day around July and August when it hardly rains.

Is Troy Worth Visiting?

Absolutely, yes. Technically, you can take a day trip from Istanbul however, we don’t recommend it. The journey (or bus trip) takes about 6 hours/one way, and you will already feel tired once you reach there. The best way to make the most of the visit is to stay one night and see Gallipoli on the other day.

However, if you have limited time and this is a must-do on your bucket list, get ready to wake up around 06:00 in the morning, enjoying a scenic ride through Thrace and crossing Dardanelles, finally get back to Istanbul by 21:00 or 22:00 at the latest.

1. Roman Odeon (Music Theater)

Built closer to the agora, the Odeon was a small theater for musical events that consisted of a semi-circular orchestra planned separately from the skene (stage).

2. Roman Bouleuterion (Council Chamber-Senate)

The bouleuterion, offering a great view of the entire site, served as a place of political gatherings. Today, you can still enjoy its podium, and the marble seats date back to the reign of Augustus.

3. South Gate

It would not be strange to assume that this was the entrance to the town, but the only thing that survived to the present day is the paved roadway along with a water channel in the center.

4. Altars and Temple of Athena

The presence of the Athena temple can be seen only in the shrines and monasteries. The west and north of the altars have to be pictured. Lysimachos built the glorious new temple promised by Alexander the Great, but little remains.

The Dardanelles, the European Turkish, and the Menderes (Scamander) river plains have a great view from these heights. The “burnt town” (Troy II), which was assumed by Schliemann to have been the town of Priam, is still in the foreground.

5. Fortification Walls

To supersede the existing walls of the older Troy VI, the fortification walls of the Troy VI were built in several steps. While not equal in height, the rectangular limestone blocks were perfectly set to maximize the durability of the defense. The walls were over 4 meters thick and around 9 meters in height.

6. Defensive Tower of Troy VI

Visiting the Eternal Stone of Troia, make a right turn and head to the fortifications of Troy VI. The defensive towers were erected on these fortifications out of limestone that could last longer and were pretty strong, rising around 10 meters high.

7. Mycenaean Houses of Troy VI

Surpassing the walls of Troy VI, you can see the settlements of the Mycenaean houses. Considering the iron or steel was not available when houses were built, the exquisite stonework and the quality of artistry are pretty remarkable.

8. Schliemann’s Trench

Between the first and second groups of Troy II dwellings, the wide north-south trench, which Schliemann traversed, allows tourists to see the walls of homes and parts of ancient settlers made of stones attached to earth mortar. The restored eastern wall, made of air-coated clay bricks, marks the boundary of the large, long buildings. The base of the ramp is crossed by a wooden bridge through the three-ring walls of Troy II.

9. The Ramp of Troy II

A well-preserved paved ramp will let you access the interior of Troy II. Archeological findings revealed that the ramp was below a large tower. Nearby is where Schiemann discovered the Priam’s Treasure, which he was wrong about the date- around 1000 years.

10. East Gate

The East Gate wall is superposed by a Roman stone wall that had its columns on the east end of the temple. A curving passage some 10 meters long and 1,8 meters wide was created by the defensive wall from the south. The massive North-Eastern Tower can be seen on the Mycenaean walls from one of the more than 20 calcareous altars surrounding the Temple of Athena.

11. Troia Museum

Opened and announced as “The Year of Troy” by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 2018 to honor the 20th anniversary of getting listed UNESCO World Heritage List in 1998, The Troia Museum is an award-winning project out of 150 candidates.

The museum sits on a vast space of over 11,000 m2 that exhibits more than 2000 findings consisting of sculptures, inscriptions, sarcophagus, altar, milestone, ax, and similar cutting tools, terracotta ceramics, bone objects, figurines, glass bracelets, metal pots, gold caches objects, jewelry, guns, coins, ornaments, glass/terracotta scent bottles, and tear bottles.


Historical Timeline

On February 26, 1887, an act of the Alabama Legislature establishes State Normal School Troy as an institution to train teachers for Alabama's schools. Joseph Macon Dill is appointed as first president.

The University grants teaching certificates to its first graduates: Kitty Corley, Celeste Darby and Emesa Locke. Edwin Ruthven Eldridge is appointed second president.

TROY establishes its first summer school, called the Normal Institute.

The Normal Ray is established as a combination literary journal and student newspaper, published monthly.

The TROY Alumni Association is organized with 28 charter members the first president was Edgar M. Wright.

The school is renamed Troy State Normal College.

The State Normal Exponent, the University’s first magazine, begins publication.

Edward Madison Shackelford is appointed as the third president.

The college is separated from the Troy City Schools system.

The athletic program begins the first football team is formed.

The Alabama Legislature appropriates $40,000 for the purpose of building a girls' dormitory.

The first edition of the Palladium, the University's yearbook, is published.

The Student Army Training Corps forms with 110 men.

The first student government is formed.

The Old Hilliard Place was purchased from W.B. Folmar through a $35,000 city bond issue for the new campus.

The Normal School begins using Kilby Hall on the site of the current campus in Troy.

Ground is broken on Bibb Graves Hall.

The State Board of Education changes the charter of the institution and renames it Troy State Teacher's College.

The Tropolitan, TROY's official student newspaper, is founded.

Matthew Downer Pace is appointed as acting president of Troy State Teacher's College.

Charles Bunyan Smith is appointed president.

A crew of students constructs the campus lagoon.

Sherrill Busby is named TROY's first football All-American.

The marching band is formally organized.

Due to World War II, enrollment drops to an all-time low of 119.

Poet Carl Sandburg visits and lectures during homecoming.

Non-education certificate related BA and BS degrees are made available to students.

Construction begins on the football stadium.

The band marches in uniform for the first time during a football game with Livingston State Teaching School the TROY band was the first marching band among the state's normal colleges.

TROY establishes first extension course at Camp Rucker, the college's first formal military partnership.

One of 15 colleges chosen nationally for a pilot program preparing teachers to deal with the topic of religion in the public schools.

The State Board of Education recognizes the University's growth and expansion and drops Teacher's from Troy State College's name.

The TROY Collegiate Singers appear on a nationwide Christmas radio program aired by the Mutual Broadcasting Company.

A Medical Technologist program is offered.

An engineering technologist and engineer aide program is offered.

Frank Ross Stewart is appointed as president.

A separate Troy State College teaching center is established at Fort Rucker which evolves into the present-day Dothan Campus.

Enrollment passes 2,000 for the first time.

Dr. Ralph W. Adams is appointed as president.

The University's Greek system is developed.

A teaching center is established at Maxwell Air Force Base which evolves into the present-day Montgomery Campus.

The Sound of the South starts, under the direction of Dr. John M. Long, with 35 members.

December 14, 1967, Troy State College officially becomes Troy State University.

Governor Lurleen B. Wallace appoints eight members to the newly established Troy State College Board of Trustees, removing the institution from the control of the State Board of Education.

The Troy State football team wins the 1968 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) football national championship. This win is the first of 11 national championships TROY has won in four sports.

The nursing school is established.

The Theatre Department forms the popular touring troupe The Pied Pipers.

The University accepts its first official foreign exchange student.

TROY's first international sites are established in Europe in contract with the United States Air Force.

The Phenix City Campus is opened as a branch of the main campus.

TSU-TV begins broadcasting.

WTSU radio begins broadcasting as an NPR affiliate.

Construction begins on Pell Avenue fraternity housing.

The Trojan football team wins the NCAA Division II National Championship with an 18-7 victory over North Dakota State.

Both the Men's and Women's golf teams win NCAA Division II National Championships.

The baseball team wins the NCAA Division II National Championship.

The Trojan baseball team wins a second NCAA national title.

The Trojan football team defeats Portland State 31-17 to win the NCAA D-II National Championship.

Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., is appointed as Chancellor.

The Adams Center Performing Arts Theater opens with Brighton Beach Memoirs as the first play.

Chase Riddle retires as Trojans baseball coach the most winning coach in TROY baseball history.

Plans begin to move athletics from NCAA Division II to Division I

Enrollment at the Troy Campus tops 5,000, total enrollment passes 14,000

The Alabama Supreme Court hears arguments on campus and TSU-TV broadcasts the session live, a first for the state's highest court.

A study by USA Today finds the Troy Campus to be the safest campus in the Alabama and one the 15 safest campuses in the nation.

The Men's basketball team sets an NCAA scoring record with a 258-141 win over DeVry Institute.

In its final year of Division II competition, the men's basketball team advances to the national title game.

The Trojan football team advances to the national semi-finals in its first year of Division I-AA play.

Cowart Hall reopens as a dorm for female students a new pool, weight room and volleyball courts also open.

Environmental Science and Sports Medicine are added to the TROY curriculum.

Basketball coach Don Maestri and baseball coach John Mayotte are each named Coach of the Year in the East Coast Athletic Conference in the first year of Division I competition for the two sports.

Legendary band director Dr. John M. Long leads the Sound of the South for his final homecoming game the School of Music is named for him in December.

Hurricane Opal causes $1 million in damage to the University.

The Olympic Torch Relay stops on the Troy Campus on its way to the Centennial Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta.

Money Magazine selects TROY as one the nation's 25 best buys in public higher education.

The City of Troy issues the then-largest building permit in its history for the $6.5 million renovation and expansion of McCall Hall.

University initiates its first capital campaign, Quest for Excellence, chaired by alumnus Harrel McKinney.

TROY acquires the 12-acre site of the former Alabama Baptist Children's Home near the Troy Campus the property later becomes home to Sorority Hill and the Southeast Alabama In-service Center.

The Women's basketball team makes its first appearance in the Division I championship tournament.

The City of Troy provides $4.5 million to fund improvements to Memorial Stadium and Sartain Hall

The Hawkins-Adams-Long Hall of Honor, which houses the Alabama Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame and the National Band Association Hall of Fame of Distinguished Conductors, is dedicated.

Ground is broken on the Rosa Parks Library and Museum at the Montgomery Campus.

The Board of Trustees votes to move the Trojan football program from Division I-AA to I-A effective 2001.

The renovated and expanded Pace Hall-Rotary International Living and Learning Center, home to the Office of International Programs and international student housing, opens.

TROY's budget tops $100 million for the first time.

Troy arts patron Claudia Crosby donated $1.3 million to renovate the Smith Hall Auditorium and fund arts and theater scholarships the then-largest individual gift ever received by the University.

The Alumni Association charters its first international chapter in Kirov, Russia 11 Kirov residents and TROY graduates sign the charter.

Ground is broken on the Library/Technology Building at the Dothan Campus

Award-winning actress Polly Holiday spends two weeks at TROY as a visiting professor of theater

A food court and fitness center are added to the Adams Student Center work begins on Claudia Crosby Theater.

TROY begins its first school year on the semester system.

The TROY Alumni Association is organized with 28 charter members the first president was Edgar M. Wright.

Dr. Christi Magrath receives the University's first National Science Foundation grant at the time the largest individual grant received by a TROY faculty member

The TROY Collegiate Singers Perform in Carnegie Hall for the first time.

TROY total enrollments tops 18,000

The Rosa Parks Library and Museum opens at the Montgomery Campus

Quest for Excellence Capital Campaign concludes with about $20 million raised.

TROY Football moves into NCAA Division 1-A, now known as the Football Bowl Subdivision the inaugural season is highlighted by an SEC win over Mississippi State on Oct. 13.

Irish Week Celebration is initiated (Alabama's official St. Patrick's Day parade)

The first 1+2+1 program students arrive on the Troy Campus from China.

The First Leadership Conference Celebrating Black History Month is held.

The Men's basketball team wins the Atlantic Sun Conference and participates in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since moving to Division I.

A new softball complex is completed

TROY enrollment tops 20,000 for the first time.

All TROY students receive a University email address.

A new Soccer/Track Complex is completed.

The University is invited into the Sun Belt Athletics programs.

In April of 2004, the Board of Trustees votes to drop State from the University's name to better reflect the institution's worldwide mission.

The renovated Quad is dedicated at the Troy Campus.

Construction completed on the Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium Tower.

TROY hosts its first nationally televised (on ESPN 2) home football game from Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium with a win against nationally ranked #19 Missouri.

TROY plays in the Silicon Valley Classic bowl game in its first D-I bowl appearance and its first bowl invitation in school history.

Troy University officially begins its new era as a unified, worldwide institution—One Great University.

The General Academic Building opens at the Troy Campus.

Inaugural Odyssey Convocation for first-year students and parents is held.

The TROY Trojans win the 2006 New Orleans Bowl against the Rice Owls, the first bowl game win for TROY, after capturing TROY's first Sun Belt Conference title.

The Children's Wing dedicated at the Rosa Parks Library and Museum.

The TROY baseball team wins Sun Belt Conference title and Sun Belt tournament Championship.

TROY embarks on its second capital campaign, Building Beyond Boundaries, chaired by distinguished alumnus Dr. Manuel H. Johnson.

The Trojan Village dorms and the new Barnes and Noble bookstore officially open.

TROY worldwide enrollment nears record 30,000.

University announces plans to begin the state's first Interpreter Training Program classes begin in 2008.

The Alabama Commission on Higher Education grants approval for TROY to offer its first doctoral degree—the Doctorate in Nursing Practice.

The Trojans are named Sun Belt Conference co-champions.

The Lott Baseball Complex at Riddle-Pace Field debuts.

Gov. Bob Riley commits $8 million to the Bibb Graves Hall renovation project.

Confucius Institute is officially dedicated.

The TROY Trojans play in New Orleans Bowl, captured the Sun Belt Conference championship and played both LSU and Ohio State, the past year's BCS National Championship playoff teams. In non-conference play, the Trojans faced Big 10, Big 12 and SEC teams.

Jack Hawkins, Jr., Hall is dedicated.

Renovations begin on Bibb Graves Hall.

TROY receives an A1 bond rating, its highest rating ever, from Moody's Investor's Services.

Forbes magazine ranks TROY as the top public university in Alabama in it its annual college and university survey.

The Trojans football team marks its first undefeated season in the Sun Belt Conference and claimed their fourth-straight league championship.

TROY forms the Manuel H. Johnson Center of Political Economy.

The TROY Dance Repertory Ensemble performs in The Great Hall in Beijing as part of the celebration of the Sino-American 1-2-1 Dual Degree Program's 10th anniversary.

TROY Trojans play in GMAC Bowl as Sun Belt Conference champions.

The first graduating class of TROY's first doctoral program, the Doctorate of Nursing Practice, receives diplomas.

Troy University mathematics professor Dr. Sergey Belyi is named a Fulbright Scholar and will spend three months at East Ukrainian National University and Donetsk National University collaborating on mathematical research.

A new dining facility opens on the Troy Campus.

TROY cuts the ribbon on Trojan Arena, and the men’s basketball team opens the facility with a 56-53 win over the SEC’s Mississippi State.

TROY celebrates its 125th birthday with a gala celebration and events on each of its Alabama campuses and around the world.

TROY dedicates Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy in renovated and expanded Bibb Graves Hall.

TROY dedicates Confucius Institute offices in Bibb Graves Hall and recognizes Confucius Classroom partner schools in Birmingham and Montgomery.

Dr. John M. Long, director of bands emeritus, is honored with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award.

The TROY football team defeats Navy 41-31 on Nov. 10 in the University’s Military Appreciation Game at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Troy University celebrates the career and service of former Congressman Terry Everett, dedicating R. Terry Everett Hall and opening the Everett Congressional Library on the Dothan Campus.

TROY dedicates a major renovation of Wallace D. Malone Jr. Hall on the Dothan Campus to add classroom and lab space for degree programs in the College of Health and Human Services.

TROY holds 10th 1-2-1 Sino-American Dual Degree Program commencement ceremony in China.

“The Chronicle of Higher Education” names Troy University as a “2013 Great College to Work For” in the area of “Work/Life Balance.”

Troy University officials, joined by the Troy University Foundation officers and the Catholic Archdiocese of Mobile, formally open and dedicate the John Henry Cardinal Newman Center residence hall.

TROY dedicates the new John M. Long Hall, home to the University’s Long School of Music.

The Alabama Commission on Higher Education approves TROY’s first-ever doctor of philosophy degree – the Ph.D. in Sport Management.

TROY joins The Campus Kitchens Project, a national organization that empowers student volunteers to fight hunger in their community, with the official launch of its own Campus Kitchen.

TROY officials dedicate the Center for Student Success in honor of Dr. John W. Schmidt, a retired University administrator who served in leadership positions including Senior Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Senior Vice Chancellor for Advancement and External Relations.

The Hall School of Journalism and Communication is ranked 6th nationally in the Radio Television Digital News Association's 2014 Best College Journalism Schools survey.

Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor, is one of nine chancellors worldwide and the only one in North America to receive the World Confucius Institute's Individual Performance Excellence Award.

TROY opens its Phenix City Riverfront Campus along the banks of the Chattahoochee River. The 48,000-square foot, four-story, $11.5 million building houses the Phenix City Campus' business, nursing and social work programs

The John M. Long School of Music takes delivery of the largest current collection of new Steinway pianos in the state, culminating the University’s initiative to become an All-Steinway School. The delivery brought the School’s inventory to 29 Steinway pianos, including the first two Sterling Steinways ever produced.

TROY celebrates the completion of its “Building Beyond Boundaries” capital campaign, announcing the effort had exceeded its goals in raising $258.3 million.

TROY’s Rosa Parks Museum, located on the University’s Montgomery Campus, celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

The Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park opens on the Troy Campus, featuring an amphitheater and several prominent art installations, including “Violata Pax Dove,” by the artist Fred “Nall” Hollis located on the Daniel Foundation of Alabama Plaza, 200 replica terracotta warriors by the artist Huo Bao Zhu and the International Arts Center.

Troy University Libraries receive national attention after installing exercise bikes containing stations for laptop computers were installed at the Troy and Dothan campuses.

Troy University, Barnes and Noble and Montgomery officials cut the ribbon on the new Trojan Cafe on the University's Montgomery Campus.

DeMarcus Ware Day is declared in Alabama, and the University salutes its Super Bowl champion alumnus by presenting him with the Distinguished Leadership Award.

Five Troy University students are part of The Leon Levy Expedition, a 30-year excavation of Ashkelon, Israel, that unearths what archeologists believe to be the world’s first discovered Philistine cemetery.

The Trojans football team posts a win over Ohio in the Dollar General Bowl to cap a 10-win that included the program’s first-ever ranking in the Associated Press Top 25.

In a historic fall commencement ceremony, Sara Shoffner received the University’s first Doctor of Philosophy degree, earning the Ph.D. in Sport Management.

TROY football completes its best season ever, posting an 11-2 record, capturing a share of the Sun Belt Conference title and winning the New Orleans Bowl over North Texas. The epic season included a 24-21 win over LSU in Baton Rouge on September 30.

Troy University and Troy Bank and Trust partner to launch the IDEA Bank, an initiative of the Sorrell College of Business aimed at cultivating and supporting student entrepreneurs who will launch business ventures in collaboration with faculty, fellow students and mentors from the community. As a part of the effort, the college launched the Troy Bank and Trust Entrepreneurship Program, an interdisciplinary minor designed to provide students with a strong understanding of business and entrepreneurship theory, practices and applications.

TROY announces plans for the creation of the Coleman Center for Early Learning and Enrichment at the University’s Dothan Campus. The facility will be named for James F. Coleman, the longtime chairman of Coleman Worldwide Moving, whose family’s donation helped make the project possible.

TROY unveils North End Zone facility at Veterans Memorial Stadium as new football season kicks off.

Troy University receives grant from the U.S. Department of Education to implement the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, which is designed to provide first generation and underrepresented undergraduate student populations the opportunity to pursue graduate and doctoral degrees.

TROY received a $3.2 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish the Center for Materials and Manufacturing Sciences, focusing on research in the areas of polymers and polymer recycling.

TROY dedicated the new Earl Hutto Studio in Wallace Hall that provides broadcast journalism students to opportunity to hone their craft in a state-of-the-art television studio. The studio is named in honor of Hutto, a renowned news broadcaster who went on to serve eight terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, who alongside his wife, Nancy, donated $100,000 toward the renovation of the TROY TrojanVision studios.

TROY unveils a clock in front of Smith Hall as a part of a celebration honoring Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr.’s 30 years as Chancellor.

TROY’s School of Accountancy earns accreditation from AACSB International, making the Sorrell College of Business one of only 189 colleges of business worldwide to hold dual AACSB accreditation.


Is Troy a True Story?

Directed by Wolfgang Petersen and written by David Benioff, the 2004 film Troy is a historical war drama that is loosely based on Homer&rsquos ancient Greek poem, Iliad. The legend of Troy has often been a part of popular culture and is one of the most talked-about stories. The movie depicts the tale of a war that lasts for over ten years when the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta, Helen, elopes with Paris, a Trojan Prince. One of the biggest hits of all time, the Academy Award nominated film stars big names such as Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Eric Bana, and Diane Kruger as Helen.

Is Troy Based on a True Story?

No, ‘Troy’ is not based on a true story. However, the film is based on the epic poem &lsquoThe Iliad.&rsquo Interestingly, the jury is still out on the possibilities of ‘The Iliad’ being an authentic part of history. &lsquoThe Iliad&rsquo talks about men and Gods in close interaction with another making it belong to the realm of mythology and folklore rather than history. However, there might be some factors that could be rooted in reality or borrowed from actual events.

The City of Troy

Historians have revealed that Troy itself was at a very strategic site for trade and political purposes since it commanded the entrance to what is today called Dardanelles. It was common knowledge – whoever had Troy, would have control over the commercial route. Therefore, it is possible that the reasons for war were probably more practical rather than solely clashing over a woman. Being an epic poem, exaggeration is to be expected in terms of scale, events, and the personalities of the characters. A film based on the poem takes more creative liberty on the writer&rsquos part.

The German archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann, landed in Turkey in the late 19th century to find the city of Troy described in Homer&rsquos Iliad. His persistent effort resulted in the discovery of not one but nine Troys, built on top of each other&rsquos ruins. The 100-foot tall mound in Hisarlik (in Northwest Turkey) became the site of the excavation. Archaeologists consider the sixth Troy from the bottom to be the Troy depicted in The Iliad.

Later documents revealed evidence of inhabitation from 3000 B.C. to 1350 A.D. Recent excavations reveal charred debris and scattered skeletons dating back to 1180 B.C., which may have inspired parts of the Trojan War. In Homer&rsquos time, which was roughly 400 years after this, the ruins would have probably still been visible.

Trojan Horse

The much talked about Trojan horse too may be partially rooted in reality. The wooden horse that carried the Greek soldiers into the city of Troy has been debated to be metaphorical. One of the arguments is that it was a poetic representation of the wooden ships. Another states that a horse was etched on the gates by a Trojan who betrayed Troy and used it to signal the Greek armies to attack when Trojans least expected it.

Some others throw light on the close link between horse and the god Poseidon, also known as the &ldquoshaker of the earth.&rdquo Could this mean that an earthquake destroyed the city and not the war? This would be consistent with some historians who believe that Troy was destroyed due to an earthquake. Some modern scholars have taken things more pragmatically and propose that the Trojan horse was indeed a siege engine, possibly shaped like a horse.

The History of Helen

Historically, there is no account of a woman called Helen. She is believed to be the daughter of Leda and Zeus and in some versions, the daughter of Zeus and Nemesis – the Goddess of Revenge. &lsquoThe Judgement of Paris&rsquo gives us a little context on why Paris felt the need to abduct or elope with Helen. Since Paris was promised Helen by Aphrodite, it is said that there is a possibility that Paris abducted Helen and that they did not elope.

History shows that the abduction or rape of a woman often became the cause of a feud between kingdoms and even smaller communities. Helen is a mythological character in Iliad, and it is said that in the end, she regrets leaving Sparta and starting the Trojan War. She was disliked by all the people in Troy except Hector and King Priam. Although she loves Paris, she regrets her marriage to him because she sees him as a weak man.

One of the versions of Helen&rsquos end states that she returned to Sparta with King Menelaus after the end of the war, and they happily lived out their days till Menelaus died. After her husband&rsquos death, she is said to have been driven out by her stepsons. She fled to Rhodes, where she was ultimately killed by the widowed Queen, Polyxo, avenging her husband&rsquos death, who died in the Trojan War.


Troy - History

Trojan Statue at Troy University The city of Troy is the county seat and the largest town in Pike County. From its origins as a small rural settlement, Troy has grown into a thriving college town as the home of Troy University. Troy operates under a mayor-council form of government. The mayor serves and is elected at-large, and the five council members serve single-member districts. Zebulon Montgomery Pike Once part of territory belonging to the Creek Indians, the land that would become Troy was first settled in the early 1830s. Known as Deer Stand Hill at this time, its first recorded white settler was William Soles in 1835. Subsequent settlers established textile mills and began raising cattle. Three Notch Road, originally a Creek hunting trail to Tennessee, became an official road in 1824 and was used as a trade route to Pensacola. In 1838, the owners of Deer Stand Hill, John Hanchey and John Coskrey, succeeded in having the county seat moved from Monticello to their property, a more central location in the county, and Troy was thus founded. Curbside Market in Troy The first mercantile enterprise in Troy was begun in the 1840s by James M. Thompson and Stephen D. Smiley, who ran a general merchandise store. A grocery and several taverns followed. A congressional act in 1842 established Troy as a Federal Post Office, and at least two post roads served it at the time. Troy's population was small at the outbreak of the Civil War in April 1861, but by 1863 John P. Amerine was able to organize enough men to form the Fifty-seventh Alabama Infantry Regiment in the city. The Troy Messenger, a daily newspaper, was established in 1866 and is one of the oldest newspapers in the state.
  • Educational services, and health care and social assistance (27.4 percent)
  • Retail trade (16.0 percent)
  • Manufacturing (15.6 percent)
  • Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services (10.3 percent)
  • Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (6.5 percent)
  • Public administration (3.9 percent)
  • Other services, except public administration (4.8 percent)
  • Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (4.5 percent)
  • Transportation and warehousing and utilities (3.4 percent)
  • Construction (3.2 percent)
  • Information (1.7 percent)
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (1.5 percent)
  • Wholesale trade (1.2 percent)
Troy University The Troy Public School System has one high school, one middle school, one elementary school, and an alternative learning center. The Troy-Pike Regional Center for Technology provides vocational training. There is also one private K-12 school. Troy is also home to Troy University, a public institution of higher education that was founded in 1887 with campuses in several other Alabama cities.

Pioneer Museum Smokehouse The Troy University Arboretum is a botanical garden and nature preserve located next to the Troy University main campus. It includes more than 300 different species of trees, as well as a 2.5-mile nature trail with a swamp, stream, and pond. Other places of interest include the Town Square Confederate Memorial Monument, the Johnson Center for the Arts, the Pioneer Museum of Alabama, the Pike County Lake Troy Recreation Center, the Bicentennial Park, and the Trojan Oaks Golf Course. Troy is host to the annual TroyFest, held in honor of local artist Jean T. Lake. This festival, which celebrates fine art and crafts, draws nearly 10,000 people to downtown Troy.


Was there a Trojan War?  [ edit | edit source ]

The big question researchers face is, was there ever a Trojan War? If there was, then is this really Troy? 

Unfortunately, the only written remains found at Troy, that date before the eighth-century B.C. Greek occupation, is a seal written in a language called Luwian, the seal being perhaps brought to Troy from elsewhere in Turkey. 

Scholars have noted that the topography of Troy as told in the legend does seem to generally match that of the real-life city and, as noted earlier, people as far back as Homer's time also believed this to be Troy. 

Yet the archaeological remains still pose problems. Troy at the time of the Trojan War was apparently destroyed by earthquakes and later on may have received people from southeastern Europe rather than Greece. 

These issues leave researchers with a mystery. "At one end of the spectrum of opinion is the conviction that there was indeed a war and that it was pretty much as the poet described it," send Bryce. "From that we pass through varying degrees of scepticism and agnosticism to the other end of the spectrum where the tradition is consigned wholly to the realm of fantasy."

Korfmann, the modern-day excavator of Hisarlik, believes the story of the Trojan War contains some truth. "According to the current state of our knowledge, the story told in the "Iliad" most likely contains a kernel of historical truth or, to put it differently a historical substrate," he writes. "Any future discussions about the historicity of the Trojan War only make sense if they ask what exactly we understand this kernel or substrate to be."


Bronze Age politics

The Hittites were an ancient Anatolian people whose empire was centred in north and central Anatolia from around 1600-1200BC. The Hittite empire, at its high point, included modern Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. The city of Troy was part of a small independent confederation named Assuwa that tried to resist the Hittite expansion but which eventually yielded and became a sort of vassal state to the Hittite empire.

Archaeologists working in Greece and Turkey have discovered a great deal of evidence of this complex political system, of the kind that might have inspired Homer’s epic. Political treaties discovered in the Hittite capital city, Hattusha dating back to the Late Bronze Age confirm the existence of a very powerful city not far from the Dardanelles strait called Wilusa (Greek Ilios/Troy) ruled by a king called Alaksandu (maybe the Trojan prince Paris – whose birth name, according to Homer, was Alexander). And archaeologists working in Troy have discovered skeletons, arrowheads and traces of destruction which point to us a violent end for Troy Level VII – as the late Bronze Age city has been designated by archaeologists (so far levels I to IX have been excavated).

At that stage, the political and economic system in the Mediterranean was disintegrating. A series of factors – states’ internal turmoil, mass refugee migrations, displacement of people, trade disruption and war – led to the collapse of the political system and to a new era. Because of new technology being adopted by the powers of the time, this has become known as the Iron Age.

The beginning of this new era witnessed destruction throughout the Mediterranean basin. Wealthy cities such as Troy as well as Mycenae and Tiryns in Greece were destroyed and abandoned. These events were so significant that the memory lasted for centuries. In Greek mythology, the tale of the fall of Troy was recorded in two epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, traditionally attributed to Homer and written about 400 years after these events.


Troy - History

3,000 years ago, the ancient Greek poet Homer told the story of the ill-fated city of Troy and the great Trojan War in his powerful epic, the Iliad. This mythical tale of love and war has captured imaginations ever since. You can read more about the story in our blog here.

While some have argued that the myth of Troy was just that – a myth – the allure of the story has led many to search for the site that, according to Homer’s poem, was one of the most important settlements of its time.

Since antiquity, Troy was believed to be located in an area called the ‘Troad’ in the northwest corner of modern-day Turkey. For centuries, pilgrims and travellers made the journey to the Troad to stand on the ground where they believed heroes once walked. In the 19th century, a Scotsman and an Englishman, Charles Maclaren and Frank Calvert, were the first to link a hill containing ancient remains with the site of ancient Troy. But the real breakthrough came in 1870, when the German businessman and self-taught archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann travelled to Anatolia with the purpose of uncovering the city and proving the Iliad was based on fact. Since then, the site that Schliemann claimed was ‘Troy’ has been the subject of extensive excavation and study. Although the evidence can’t prove that the Trojan War really happened, experts now agree that the settlement Schliemann excavated was the famous city…

The city of Troy

The site of Troy, in the northwest corner of modern-day Turkey, was first settled in the Early Bronze Age, from around 3000 BC. Over the four thousand years of its existence, countless generations have lived at Troy. Although they experienced periods of prosperity, life was not always easy for the Trojans – houses and fortifications fell to fire, earthquakes or battles and were built anew. The city sometimes grew, sometimes contracted as its people’s fortunes changed.

It is this record of a people and their city that is preserved in archaeology. Each layer of occupation, one on top of the other, represents a phase in the city’s history, which archaeologists over the last 150 years have been exploring. These layers have been labelled Troy I to IX, with Troy I being the earliest settlement and Troy IX the most recent. Much remains to be discovered, but we now know enough today to get a good sense of the city’s development over time.

Troy begins

The original village of Troy (Troy I) was small, but it flourished and grew. By about 2550–2300 BC (Troy II) it had strong walls encircling a citadel that was still relatively small, but remarkably prosperous.

Troy was situated at the entrance to the Dardanelles strait, and in ancient times lay much nearer to the sea than it does today – the coastline has changed as river deltas have silted up. Its position was key to its prosperity, as the city could trade by sea as well as by land. It may also be that ancient ships, waiting for the wind and currents they needed to pass through the straits, provided a captive market for Trojan goods and services.

The city flourishes

Troy went from strength to strength. By the Late Bronze Age, about 1750–1180 BC (Troy VI and VIIa), a larger citadel was enclosed behind impressive sloping walls, parts of which can still be seen at the site today, and there is evidence of a large settlement in the lower town.

Trojan wealth was also built on the rich agricultural land in the surrounding area. In the Iliad, the Trojan prince Hector is ‘tamer of horses’ and horse-breeding may well have played a part in Troy’s prosperity. Horse bones have been found there in quantity, as well as bones showing the rearing and domestication of other animals. Sheep farming must have been particularly important, as there is evidence for extensive textile production at Troy and these textiles may well have been exported. It is only over the past few decades that modern archaeology, including the study of ancient plant and animal remains, has transformed our understanding of all these aspects of life at ancient Troy.

Troy and its neighbours – evidence for the Trojan war?

During the late Bronze Age (1750–1180 BC), the city was by far the most important settlement in the area but it was only a small player on the world stage. Troy appears in records from the Hittites (a civilisation which flourished in what is modern-day Turkey) as ‘Wilusa’, a name related to the Greek ‘Ilios’/’Ilion’, Homer’s other name for Troy. Towards the end of the Late Bronze Age, Wilusa was a small vassal state (a state without independence) of the mighty Hittite Empire of Anatolia. The capital of the Hittite Empire, Hattusa, was far away to the east near modern-day Boğazkale in Turkey. From Hattusa, Troy must have seemed a distant backwater. Yet its wealth and dominant position undoubtedly made it a prize. Did the Greeks (who came from ‘Ahhiyawa’ according to the Hittites, a name related to the ‘Achaea’ of Homer) look enviously at its prosperity?

Hittite tablets mention the Hittite empire fighting with the people of ‘Ahhiyawa’ over Wilusa – could this have been the Trojan War? There is even mention of a ruler there called ‘Alaksandu’ or Alexandros, which is another name for the Trojan prince Paris in Homer’s poem. This is all such tantalising evidence. Although it falls far short of proof, it builds up the picture of a feasible background for a Trojan War, in the interconnected but combative Late Bronze Age world.

Troy and Ilion

Troy fell into ruin at the end of the Bronze Age, around 1180 BC, as did all the centres of power of the Mediterranean world, for reasons that are not completely understood. The site was never completely abandoned, and its ruins must have remained visible for some centuries, probably up to the time of Homer, if the poet lived in the late 8th or early 7th centuries BC as thought. It was not long after this that Troy, known as ‘Ilion’, became a place of pilgrimage because of its heroic associations. The name Ilion is used by Homer interchangeably with Troy, and it is possible the inhabitants had always called their city something like Ilion, right back to its days as Wilusa.

Greek Ilion was a small town, but enriched by what one might call its ‘tourist trade’ of visitors seeking to pay their respects to the heroes of the past. Greek leaders and Roman emperors endowed it with wealth and privileges, including fine civic buildings. The Troy of the Greek and Roman periods was not otherwise a particularly important place, but it nonetheless flourished until the end of the ancient world (in the 6th century AD), and perhaps even beyond – there is some evidence for Byzantine settlement on the site as late as the 13th century AD. Troy can therefore be said to have had a lifespan of more than 4,000 years.

Troy lost

It seems completely astonishing that the site of Troy could later have been lost, but it was. Over time, its remains crumbled away to become part of a low hill in a flat landscape that was only sparsely populated. The hill did not seem to be anything special. More noticeable were the ‘tumuli’, or mounds, dotted around the Trojan plain. These were in fact mostly not Bronze Age but created at different dates in the Greek and Roman periods, mostly for burials. These mounds were very visible in the landscape, and so gave early visitors looking for the heroes the sense that they had found their graves. But the city of Troy, or Ilion, had been lost from view.

The search for Troy

The search for Troy became a major preoccupation for travellers, topographers, writers and scholars in the 18th and early 19th centuries when ancient Greece and its myths captivated public imagination in Europe. But it was not a simple matter and became a subject of heated debate. The division lay between ‘realist’ thinkers, who believed the story of Troy must be based on some historical truth, and opponents who claimed it was simply dreamed up in Homer’s poetic imagination and would never be found.

The Troad was mapped and explored and the prevalent theory of the ‘realists’ was that a hill called ‘Pinarbaşı’ had been the site of Troy, but they couldn’t find any evidence. In what should have been a breakthrough, a traveller named Edward Clarke visited a different hill, named ‘Hissarlik,’ in 1801 and identified it as the site of Ilion. He based this on the evidence of coins and inscriptions he found there. However only later in the 19th century would it dawn that Hissarlik was the site not just of Ilion, but also of legendary Troy, which was underneath the Classical remains.

Troy found

Frank Calvert lived in the Troad and owned land next to the mound of Hissarlik. An amateur but skilled archaeologist, he was convinced that there would be a good place to dig. So when Schliemann visited in 1868, with Homer in one hand and a spade in the other, determined to make his name in archaeology, Calvert found him easy to persuade. Calvert helped Schliemann, but it would be Schliemann’s name that became world famous, as the pioneer of archaeology who discovered and revealed the site of ancient Troy.

Huge publicity surrounded Schliemann’s finds. He announced to the world that in what is now called Troy II he had found the city of mythical King Priam and the Troy of the Trojan War. It was here that he discovered silver and gold vessels and jewellery, which he named ‘Priam’s treasure’ and which he believed included ‘the jewels of Helen’. His interpretation that the finds were evidence of the Trojan War was questioned at the time and, perhaps sadly for romantics everywhere, it is no longer accepted.

Later archaeological work at both Troy and on the Greek mainland, particularly at the site of Mycenae (one of the most important settlements of Bronze Age Greece), makes it clear that any feasible background for the story of the war must have been at least a thousand years later than the Troy that Schliemann claimed as ‘Priam’s Troy.’ Only then was Mycenaean Greece in contact with Troy, and powerful enough for the story to make sense. But of course, Homer was a poet and not a historian. It remains immensely difficult to link the Iliad specifically to the archaeology of Troy.

Schliemann’s excavations, between 1870 and 1890, marked the beginning of intensive archaeological exploration at Troy, by various international teams, that continues today, with current research led by Turkish archaeologists. Understanding of the site, its development over time and its place in the ancient world continues to grow. From an archaeological perspective, there is a rich history to be uncovered that stands quite apart from the myth of the Trojan War and is important in its own right. Yet the myth and the site remain inextricably linked. Few visitors can look out from the walls of ‘windy Troy’ across the Trojan plain without thinking of the massed Greek armies waiting to attack, or the women of Troy watching helplessly as battle rages below.

The BP exhibition Troy: myth and reality ran from 21 November 2019 – 8 March 2020.


Watch the video: Troy 2004 - Hector vs Achilles. Movieclips (May 2022).