Walk • Trek • Travel
A photographic record and journal of our walking, trekking and travelling adventures.
Çanakkale - Ancient city of Troy
Çanakkale - Ancient city of Troy

Monday 24 January 2022

The reason we were in Çanakkale was simple. The ancient, even mythical city of Troy. Çanakkale was the closest town by bus that we could base ourselves from which we could easily reach Troy.
The trouble with Troy is that it is complicated. The archaeological site is complicated, the story or myth of the Trojan War is complicated, and even the discovery of the area today known as Troy is complicated.

The Short Version

You could watch the 2004 movie starring Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom and Brian Cox and have a good idea of the critical events in Homer’s ‘The Iliad’. It is a good film and worthy of a watch just for entertainment, and even the Troy Archaeological Site includes clips of the film in their video presentation.

The Long Version

The problem is that the Troy in Homer’s ‘The Iliad’ is not the only, or even the first Troy, discovered in the 19th century. The Homeric Troy was Troy VI and was the sixth ‘version’ of the city out of nine. Troy VI existed from around 1750 BC to 1300 BC, which is quite a big window for the ten-year standoff between the Greeks and the Trojans. The next problem is that Homer lived in the 8th Century BC (800 - 701 BC), which is at least five hundred years after the Trojan War is said to have occurred, and at that time, the Greeks had no alphabet and so no means of writing anything down.
Homer was thought to be blind and was a poet, which given the absence of writing, probably means he was a bard following the bardic oral tradition of singing stories handed down through generations of bards. So it seems reasonable to ask how a blind, illiterate poet could accurately portray the events of the Trojan War some five hundred years after it had allegedly occurred. More importantly, how did the Iliad become a book in the first place and then become the most important work of ancient Greek literature and the oldest extant work of Western literature?
According to Barry B. Powell, Professor of Classics at the University of Wisconsin, the Greek Alphabet was invented so that some unknown scribe could take down the story of the Iliad recited by Homer and make a written record of it. If true, this makes the Iliad the first-ever document using the Greek Alphabet and the origin of all subsequent works using the Greek Alphabet.

Heinrich Schliemann

In 1871, a successful businessman and amateur archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann informed the world that he had found the legendary city of Troy. He searched for many years using only a copy of Homer’s Iliad as a guide, which led him to Hisarlik, now known as Troy.
Schliemann failed to mention that he had met with British archaeologist Frank Calvert or that Calvert had already acquired the land around Hisarlik to continue excavations but lacked the funds. Calvert persuaded Schliemann to continue where he had stopped.
Schliemann dug a large trench through the mound at Hisarlik and found evidence of a city. He also discovered silver and gold vessels and jewellery, which he named ‘Priam’s treasure’ and believed included ‘the jewels of Helen’ but later turned out to be from Troy II - a thousand years earlier than King Priam and Trojan War.

Our Visit to Troy

We left our hotel and walked to the small bus station nearby. The bus we needed was parked were expected, with the door open but unattended, and we were unsure if we needed to buy a ticket from an office or the missing driver. We eventually climbed aboard and waited to see what would happen. More people arrived and climbed aboard, and then the driver arrived, closed the door and pulled away. The other passengers took turns going up to the driver and giving him money. He would then root around in a box of change and give some to them all the time keeping an occasional eye on the road ahead.
We reached the Ancient City of Troy, paid the entrance fee and entered the site. Troy was deserted. We were the only ones there other than the staff. It was also cold. Bitterly cold. The wind raced across the flat plain to the west and chilled us to the bone. The sun was shining, but it did little to combat the effect of the wind. I can’t imagine how the Greeks survived on that plain for ten years while they lay siege to Troy. We weren’t sure if we would last the two and a half hours until the bus back!
Our Bus to Troy. The next one was two hours later!
Wooden Horse of Troy - the windows are a giveaway!
Exploring the ruins of ancient Troy
Looking out over the plains outside the walls of Troy
A ramp through the defensive walls of Troy
Romans added an Odeon among other things
The archaeology stratigraphy of the various Troys
The Wooden Horse prop from the movie Troy
Are you tired of being stuck in the office? Bored of being chained to a desk? Counting down the days until retirement?
Me too!!