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Troy

city, walls, homeric and schliemann

TROY, troi, or ILIUM, a famous ancient city in the northwestern part of Asia Minor, the capital of the Troad, a region lying on the coast of the lEgean Sea, at the entrance to the Helles pont (Dardanelles). The fame of Troy rests upon the two Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey (see HOMER), which, incidentally to their main themes, give an account of the long war in which the city was finally destroyed. The date of the latter event is generally placed at 1184 B.c. The cause of the war was the ab duction of Helen, the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta, by Paris, son of the Trojan king, Priam. Almost all the states of Greece proper united to avenge the insult and, under the leadership of Agamemnon, Icing of Mycenn, landed on the Trojan coast with a large army. After besieging the city in vain for 10 years, they finally took it by a stratagem. They placed outside the walls a large wooden horse in whose interior a number of Greek heroes were con cealed, and the rest of the army then retired to the ships as if they had given up the siege. The Trojans in exultation dragged the horse within the walls, and during the night the Greeks came forth and were joined by the main army which had returned from the ships. The city was now given over to fire, plunder and massacre. Among those who escaped was 2Eneas, who reached Italy, and, according to the legend, was the ancestor of the first Roman kings. The

Homeric legend of Troy is believed by modern scholars to be woven around a nucleus of fact. About the 6th century B.C. a new Troy, Ilium Novum, was founded on what has ever since been believed to be the site of the Homeric city. The place is now called Hissarlik, and lies a few miles from the southwestern entrance to the Dardanelles. Here Dr. Schliemann began excavations in 1871 and again in 1890, and his researches prove that the site has been occupied successively by seven cities. The second of these from the bottom bears marks of having been destroyed by a conflagration. Within its walls were found the ruins of a palace, and a number of gold and silver ornaments. Dr. Schliemann considered this second city to be the city of Priam and the Homeric legend, but later exca vations have shown that only the sixth (the fourth from the top, later discoveries having increased the total number to nine) city can be referred to the period described in Homer. Of this city nothing remains except portions of the colossal and well-built outer walls. Consult Schliemann, Altertiimer,) (Ilios,) Schuchardt, Ausgrab Schmidt, Sammlung trojanischer Altertffiner.)