Troy

Troy was a city in north-west Anatolia in what is now Turkey. It became legendary through the Trojan War that is described in the Greek Epic Circle and especially in the Illiad, which is attributed to Homer.

According to the legend the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Greeks after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband, the King of Sparta and of course, the gods had their fair share to do with this. Eris, the god of strife and discord, gave Athena, Aphrodite and Hera and golden apple, marked “for the fairest”. Zeus sent the three ladies to Paris to judge, who deserved the apple the most. Paris awarded it to Aphrodite, who in exchange gave him Helen, the fairest of all women, and made her fall in love with Paris. Unfortunately, Helen was already married to the King of Sparta…

Troy was besieged for ten years and many heroes of both sides like Achilles and Ajax, Hector and Paris died in the fighting. The city fell eventually through the ruse of the Trojan Horse – a horse shaped statue the Trojans believed to be left for them in front of their gate as a victory gift. Despite the warnings of Cassandra, the Trojans dragged the horse inside their city walls, not knowing that it was filled with Greek soldiers under the command of Odysseus. During the following night the soldiers from the horse slaughtered the city’s population and desecrated the temples, thus earning the gods’ wreath. Few of the Greek returned safely home while most of them founded colonies at far away places.

The ancient Greek believed Troy to be near the Dardanelles in what is modern-day Turkey. Yet, as time moved on people started to believe that the legend of Troy and its war was all fictional. Then in 1865 the English archeologist Frank Calvert started excavating on farm land, he had bought from a local Turkish farmer. After a chance meeting the German wealthy business man and archeologist Heinrich Schliemann joined him and eventually did not only take over Calvert’s excavations, but also his conviction that he was digging up the legendary Troy.

Since 1998 the excavation site in the province of Canakkale, Turkey is part of the UNESCO World Heritage list.

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