Friday, October 10, 2008

Troy





Speaking of historical sites, we saw Troy, of Homeric fame. I’m not talking about the father of Bart. That’s right, Tory existed before Brad Pitt popularized it. In fact, Homer wrote a few thousand years ago. Most of you probably remember the story of the Trojan Horse, Helen of Troy, etc.

While I won’t recount that fully for you here (and much if it is considered mythical—the involvement of Aphrodite, for instance), there are a few things to say…

Troy had nine "stages". The city existed from about 3000BC onward (and we saw ruins from even that period—just imagine, leftovers of buildings from 5000 years ago!). In the US we get excited about a 200 year old spruce tree.

Situated just off the Dardanelles, it controlled the area around the first cove out of the wind. Before tacking was invented, ships had to stop here and wait for the winds to die down. They say Troy was highly enriched by these winds. The Dardanelles have also been strategic forever as well (see my Gallipoli post). This made Troy important from a military vantage point.

Consequently, there were a number of Trojan wars. And the Greeks were, in fact, often the competitors. The residents of Troy were very clever. Their walls arced around in such a way to make a battering ram impossible in a siege, and their general defenses were quite strong. You can see the varying layers of the city, including the Roman walls (oh, that’s so only 1800 years ago), and the like.

Unlike some of the other classical sites, it isn’t amazingly preserved (and it is only preserved as well as it was because it was buried in dirt). You see, the city burnt a number of times and the mud brick buildings were reduced to rubble and left for thirty or forty years at a time. This mud-brick couldn’t be recycled, so it just got built on top of. The city ended up rather tall.
It was quite amazing, nonetheless. The age itself, the mythic elements, the parts of the mythic elements that turned out to be true, the role of the Dardanelles (which were so important in WWI)—it was all fascinating and enjoyable.

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