The Historic Accuracy of Homer’s Iliad Essay

The Historic Accuracy of Homer’s Iliad Essay

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Homer’s Iliad has been a European myth for many millennia , the long poetic narrative written in the 8th century B.C. recounts a fearsome war fought over a beautiful woman. The reliability of Homers Iliad as a true historical document has been challenged for hundreds of years and only through archaeological studies can the truth be deciphered. The Iliad was written five centuries after the war, where the stories had been passed down through the oral tradition, therefore the type of society reflected within the poems resemble much more the time of Homer . The fact and fiction of the Iliad has been uncovered through archaeology. Archaeologist found a site in which they thought to have been ‘Troy’ destroyed by the powerful country of Mycenae in the late Bronze Age. They found large amount of material culture from where they could reconstruct the society, this included pottery, engravings, murals and clay tablets. A reason for the Trojan War has always inspired great controversy. The Trojan War according to Homer was fought over the abduction of a beautiful women but this theory appears improbable. Other causes which could have sparked a war is Troy’s geographical positioning. This made it extremely opulent, where other countries of the Aegean would trade there goods and use its harbour. The Mycenaean’s being an extremely imperial, violent and militaristic country would have seen Troy as a great opportunity to gain territory and wealth, on this motive the war took place.
The Iliad alone would never have been a reliable source without archaeological evidence to verify the actuality of a Trojan war. Therefore archaeologists have been working on the site known as hissarlik since the 1800’s to uncover truths about the myth. Frank Calv...


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...iece together circumstantial evidence relating to the Iliad, such as the layers of Troy, the citadel of Mycenae and the shaft graves revealing numerous clues into what the Mycenaean civilisation was like. Mycenaean pottery found in Troy gives evidence to the importance of late Bronze Age trade and the wealth, inevitably leading to the Achaeans sacking Troy. The Hittite archives give outstanding evidence to this proving that the Mycenaean’s really did fight at Troy, although instead of it being a ten year time span, it was over hundreds. Therefore Homers legend seems to have been based on a real conflict between two super powers of the late Bronze Age. These conflicts were distilled into a tradition of a single war lasting around 10 years . It seemed the war occurred because Troy was a wealthy city with a strategic location and both super powers wanted to control it.

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