Dirk Puehl‘s Today’s Memory
Traditional date of the fall of Troy
Originally shared by Dirk Puehl
24 April 1184 BCE, #onthisday, 3,200 years ago, the city of Troy fell after ten years of siege, at least according to the Greek polymath of the third century BCE, Eratosthenes of Cyrene.
„I fear the Greeks, even those bearing gifts”. The story of Troy’s fall itself, like many other legends of the Trojan War, is not told in Homer’s „Iliad”, though. The epic actually covers only a few weeks of the 10th year of the war during Agamemnon’s and Achilles’ quarrel over the „rosy Briséis” – even though the coming sack of the city is mentioned. Ulysses’ ploy, Laocoön and the snakes, Aeneas and the Palladium and all the primal scenes that took place after Achilles’ son Neoptolemus and his warriors jumped out of the Wooden Horse and put many-towered Ilium and her inhabitants to the sack are stories told in the Epic Circle, especially the Iliupersis, the „Sack of Illium”, probably by one Arctinus who lived in the 8th century BCE while other events of the war were retold first by Ulysses himself in Homer’s “Odyssey”. However, wherever and if ever these events took place, their narrative marks the birth of Western literature and established the cultural identity of classical Greece. Along with a first-rate debate among archaeologists and classical philologists whether the site discovered by Schliemann under Hisarlik Hill in Turkey in 1873 really was the Homeric Troy, what Bronze Age culture or cultures built and inhabited the place, if the events told by Homer and in the Epic Cycle really happened, which of the ten settlement layers under the hill was the one occupied by then and what role the Bronze Age town actually played in the wider context of the Aegean cultural cycle and that of the Ancient Orient. And, naturally, about the identity of Homer himself.
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Depicted below is Johann Georg Trautmann’s (1713 – 1769) imagination of „The Burning of Troy” from 1762.
#ancienthistory #culturalhistory #europeanhistory #europeanliterature #history #mythology