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Middle East Monica Dispatch

Troy Through the Eyes of a Thirteen-Year-Old
March 4, 2000

Ancient Troy and Lost Gold

Abeja gives us the tour of the ruins of the famous city of Troy

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"My big brother is learning German," began Fatih, with a huge grin, "but I am learning English."

Fatih, whose name means "Conqueror," was taking the bus to Cannukale with his mother. He was on his way home to celebrate his 13th birthday party and he and his mom were nice enough to invite my friend Genesis and me to the party! Genesis and I were travelling together on the same bus as Fatih and his mother-- they were our seatmates.

Map
But Genesis and I were visiting Cannukale for an entirely different reason. We were going to see the ancient city of Troy, or Ilios, about 30 km outside of Cannukale. You know Troy from the Iliad, which directly precedes the Odyssey (hint hint! as in Odyssey World Trek!!) Check Abeja's dispatch for more information about Homer the blind bard who wrote both epics.

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Fatih and his mom on the bus
Caption

Fatih showed Genesis his new Sim Family game, and they looked at a Turkish magazine of computer games for a while. Then, I got down to business and asked Fatih to tell me a little about Troy. He takes History, Biology, Math, English and Physics in school, and from his explanation, his history seemed pretty good. Although the epic Iliad is considered a legend, the story is based in fact. "Two countries are at war," Fatih explained. He's talking about the Trojans of the Iliad, like Priam, Hector, and Paris, who were defending their walled city in the 13th century BCE against the Achaeans Agamemnon, Achilles, and Odysseus. Some think that the Troy of the Iliad is sixth in a series of nine cities that were built--one on top of another--on the same site. The first Troy was populated in 3000 BCE. The ninth Troy existed in the 5th century CE.

Vocabulary

bard - a poet
epic - a long poem or other literary work
theoretically - based on theory, not on practice
hoards - a store of money, food or treasured objects

Fatih continued, "The first country thinks it wins the war, and they have a party." In the Iliad there are ten years of fierce fighting on both sides. One reason archaeologists believe people fought so long for this city is because of its location. Troy lies just south of the narrows of the Dardanelles, connecting the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara (see the map). Theoretically, if you controlled that city you could control the entire region.

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larger view
Genesis and Monica in a big horse
Caption

Fatih didn't quite know how to explain the rest. He drew a picture of a box with a bow on top in my notebook, and Genesis asked, "Gift?" I added, "Like at your birthday party?" and Fatih nodded his head yes. "There was a horse. The Truva horse was a gift." Then his words started to flow. "There were soldiers from the second country inside the horse. They gave the horse to the first country. But at night the soldiers came out and started to fight, and then they won." Fatih's mom then interrupted and offered Genesis and me lemon cologne to clean off our tray tables (we were about to eat), as well as strawberry-flavored chewing gum and cheesy breadsticks.

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Abeja's photo shoot at the ruins of Troy
Caption

When Genesis, Abeja and I visited the ruins of Troy (also known as Truva) the next day, we were able to see a replica of the horse. I learned that the inhabitants of Troy VI, which dates to 1700-1250 BCE, used horses a lot, so the legend of the Trojan Horse isn't so far-fetched. In that era, there is also evidence of a special type of gray pottery that's also found in early Greece, showing the cultural and economic relations between the Aegean people and the Trojans.

The Nine Cities of Troy

Troy is not just one place but many places on the same site. Archaeologists have found layers of the city, nine to be exact, that date back to the Early Bronze Age. There are arguments over the date of the Trojan War, if it was during Troy VI or Troy VII.

Troia I: 3000-2500 BCE

Troia II: 2500-2300 BCE

Troia III-IV-V: 2300-1700 BCE

Troia VI: 1700-1250 BCE- known as Ilium.

Troia VII: 1250-1000 BCE

Troia VIII: 700-85 BCE- known as Ilion, a Greek city. Homer's era.

Troia IX: 85 BCE-5th c. CE A Roman city.

Because of trade and control the Trojans built up much wealth. It is this wealth that eventually led to Troy's discovery. Heinrich Schliemann, after carefully reading the Iliad and the Odyssey, decided that Troy would be found south of the Dardanelles. Frank Calvert was also looking for Troy at the "great mound of Hisarlik," located on land he owned. Schliemann began a series of nine excavations in 1871. He dug a huge trench right through the mound (destroying much evidence by doing so) but found 16 hoards of gold and jewelry, including Priam's Treasure, a fabulous necklace that his wife wears in a photograph in the museum. Schliemann encouraged worldwide interest in archaeology and yes, techniques have become better and better since then.

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Mustafa and his new book
Caption

New digs happen every summer. Findings get published in journals and books like Studia Troica. For instance, at the gift shop outside of the ruins, we met Mustafa, who interprets and guides other archaeologists. He showed us a copy of his book, "Troy." For more information on ancient Troy or how to get involved in archaeology, check our link list below.

- Monica

p.s. - Please e-mail me at ...monicaflores@bigfoot.com

Related links
www.turkishodyssey.com


 

Andrew - Welcome to the Underground (Turkish Style)
Jasmine - A Day at the Grand Bazaar
Kavitha - Istanbul's Beloved Jewel
Kavitha - Karina of Circassi Part III: In the Hotbed of Intrigue and Deceit
Abeja - Walking on the Moon?
Jasmine - Black History Month continues...Dare To Dream!

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