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In Search Of The Trojan War - 1. The Age Of The Heroes

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In Search Of The Trojan War

Episode One

The Age Of The Heroes

The extent of the historical basis of the Iliad has been debated for some time. Educated Greeks of the fifth century continued to accept the truth of human events depicted in the Iliad, even as philosophical scepticism was undermining faith in divine intervention in human affairs. In the time of Strabo topological disquisitions discussed the identity of sites mentioned by Homer. There was no break when Greco-Roman culture was Christianised: Eusebius of Caesarea offered universal history reduced to a timeline, in which Troy received the same historical weight as Abraham, with whom Eusebius' Chronologia began, ranking the Argives and Mycenaeans among the kingdoms ranged in vertical columns, offering biblical history on the left (verso), and secular history of the kingdoms on the right (recto). Jerome's Chronicon followed Eusebius, and all the medieval chroniclers began with summaries of the universal history of Jerome.

The discoveries made by Heinrich Schliemann at Hisarlik reopened the question in modern terms, and recent discoveries have fueled more discussion across several disciplines. The events described in Homer's Iliad, even if based on historical events that preceded its composition by some 450 years, will never be completely identifiable with historical or archaeological facts, even if there was a Bronze Age city on the site now called Troy, and even if that city was destroyed by fire or war at about the same time as the time postulated for the Trojan War.

Map of Bronze Age Greece as described in Homer's Iliad

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