The discovery of ancient Troy

Ruins of Troy

Hello guys, a long time ago, there was a city called Troy, which was located in modern Turkey. According to Homer, in 1200 B.C. an alliance of Greek city-states had waged war against Troy, in order to get back the beautiful Helen that was the wife of Menelaus, the king of Sparta. Helen was abducted by Prince Paris of Troy, because Aphrodite had promised to become his wife. Some Greek kingdoms had allied, in order to attack Troy and to liberate Helen. There was a long bloody war between the Greeks and the Trojans, but eventually the first got the upper hand by using the infamous Trojan horse.

Odysseus had suggested to build a large wooden horse and to send it to the Trojans, in order to fool them. This would make them think that the Trojan horse was a gift from the gods. Everyone agreed to this idea and they started working on their plan. They built the horse and then they sent it to the gates of Troy. Afterwards, they pretended that they were preparing to leave Troy for good (To set off to their homes). The Trojans had found the horse in the gates of their city and they dragged it inside with cheerings and festivities.

Then, they placed it in the city and they started. However, they didn’t know that there were some Greek soldiers in the belly of the horse, since it was hollow and it could house some people in it. When everyone was asleep, these soldiers snuck out of it and they opened the gates of the city, which allowed the Greek army to storm the place and capture everyone. This had resulted in the victory of the Greek alliance and the retrieval of Helen. This was the story of the Iliad, the famous poem of Homer.

When I was a kid, I used to love these stories. I was so fascinated by them and I used to know many details about them(However, I have forgotten most of them ever since). When I grew up a little, I found out that most of the elements of these stories are fictional. This was quite the bummer, but it turns out that there were some fragments of truth in them. It is believed by many scholars that Iliad was based on historical events. About 150 years ago, a British archeologist called Frank Calvert had excavated in a site in Northwest Turkey called Hisarlik. He found enough evidence there to believe that this was Ancient Troy! However, Calvert had a difficulty in convincing the British Museum to support his excavations.

Then, according to www.thoughtco.comin August of 1868, Calvert invited a man called Heinrich Schliemann to dinner and to see his collection, and at that dinner, he recognized that Schliemann had the money and chutzpah to get the additional funding and permits to dig at Hisarlik that Calvert could not. Calvert spilled his guts to Schliemann about what he had found, beginning a partnership he would soon learn to regret. Schliemann returned to Paris in the fall of 1868 and spent six months becoming an expert on Troy and Mycenae, writing a book of his recent travels, and writing numerous letters to Calvert, asking him where he thought the best place to dig might be, and what sort of equipment he might need to excavate at Hisarlik.

Heinrich Schliemann

In 1870, Schliemann began excavations at Hisarlik, under the permit Frank Calvert had obtained for him, and with members of Calvert’s crew. But never, in any of Schliemann’s writings, did he ever admit that Calvert did anything more than agree with Schliemann’s theories of the location of Homer’s Troy, born that day when his father sat him on his knee.” (source: ). In 1872, Schliemann had struck ruins of a prehistoric city and he was convinced that these had belonged to Ancient Troy. Schliemann continued these excavations for a long time.

NOTE: Heinrich Scliemann was a German businessman and a pioneer in the field of archaeology. He was convinced that Troy had existed and he was obsessed into finding this city. It was his biggest dream.

According to, “One day Schliemann’s pick struck a shiny object. Immediately he dismissed his workers, and continued digging. He unearthed jewelry of gold and silver, goblets, plates and vessels of gold and copper, and a shield. This hoard, which Schliemann called “Priam’s treasure,” attracted a great deal of publicity. Schliemann became a famous archaeologist almost overnight. He smuggled the treasure out of Turkey and displayed it in his house in Athens. A later photograph of Sophia Schliemann draped in the heavy jewelry became one of the most famous images of its time.

Schliemann’s wife wearing some of the artifacts of Ancient Troy

Schliemann eventually gave the treasure to the Berlin Museum. More than 50 years after his death, during World War II, the entire hoard disappeared. A long-standing rumor that it was hidden away deep in Russian vaults was proven true when these began to open up at the end of the Cold War. In April 1996, the treasure went on display in Moscow.

Yet scholars agree that “Priam’s treasure” never belonged to the king for which it was named. It was a remnant of a much earlier culture. The bedrock layer in which Schliemann dug first, called Troy I, dates from about 3,000 B.C., the Early Bronze Age. Its ruins include brick walls and crude pottery. After Schliemann realized he had excavated too deeply, he found the treasure in the next layer up, now called Troy II, a city of stone walls with artifacts of finely worked metal. But this was still about 1,000 years before the events of the Iliad.

After Schliemann’s death in 1890, his widow vowed that his work would continue. She funded further excavations by Wilhelm Dörpfeld (1853-1940), who was more scientific in his orientation. He found nine separate cities, one atop the other, at the Hissarlik site. He believed that the sixth of these was the Troy of the Iliad. It was larger than its predecessors, with high limestone walls protecting its perimeter.” (Source:

As you can see the discovery of Troy was full of intrigues. I hope you found this article interesting. Alright guys, I’m off! Bye bye!

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