The Trojan War: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback | May 14, 2013

byEric H. Cline

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Homer's tale of the abduction of Helen to Troy and the ten-year war to bring her back to Greece has fascinated mankind for centuries since he related it in The Iliad and The Odyssey. More recently, it has given rise to countless scholarly articles and books, extensive archaeologicalexcavations, epic movies, television documentaries, stage plays, art and sculpture, even souvenirs and collectibles. However, while the ancients themselves thought that the Trojan War took place and was a pivotal event in world history, scholars during the Middle Ages and into the modern era deridedit as a piece of fiction. This book investigates two major questions: did the Trojan War take place and, if so, where? It ultimately demonstrates that a war or wars in the vicinity of Troy probably did take place in some way, shape, or form during the Late Bronze Age, thereby forming the nucleus of the story that was handeddown orally for centuries until put into essentially final form by Homer. However, Cline suggests that although a Trojan War (or wars) probably did take place, it was not fought because of Helen's abduction; there were far more compelling economic and political motives for conflict more than 3,000years ago.Aside from Homer, the book examines various classical literary sources: the Epic Cycle, a saga found at the Hittite capital of Hattusas, treatments of the story by the playwrights of classical Greece, and alternative versions or continuations of the saga such as Virgil's Aeneid, which add detail butfrequently contradict the original story. Cline also surveys archaeological attempts to document the Trojan War through excavations at Hissarlik, Turkey, especially the work of Heinrich Schliemann and his successors Wilhelm Dorpfeld, Carl Blegen, and Manfred Korfmann.

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Homer's tale of the abduction of Helen to Troy and the ten-year war to bring her back to Greece has fascinated mankind for centuries since he related it in The Iliad and The Odyssey. More recently, it has given rise to countless scholarly articles and books, extensive archaeologicalexcavations, epic movies, television documentaries, st...

Eric H. Cline is Chair in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Professor of classics, Anthropology, and History, and Director of the Capitol Archaeological Institute at The George Washington University. He is the author, Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2009), winner of the 2011...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:144 pages, 6.88 × 4.38 × 0.68 inPublished:May 14, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199760276

ISBN - 13:9780199760275

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Customer Reviews of The Trojan War: A Very Short Introduction

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good book Nice overview about the famous search for truth in the legend
Date published: 2014-10-08

Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of illustrationsAcknowledgmentsIntroductionPart I. The Trojan War1. The story according to the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Epic Cycle2. The war in historical context: Mycenaeans, Hittites, Trojans, and Sea PeoplesPart II. Investigating the Literary Evidence3. Homeric questions: Did Homer exist and is the Iliad accurate?4. The Hittite texts: Assuwa, Ahhiyawa, and Alaksandu of WilusaPart III. Investigating the archaeological evidence5. Early excavators: Heinrich Schliemann and Wilhelm Dorpfeld6. Returning to Hisarlik: Carl Blegen and Manfred KorfmannEpilogueGlossary: Characters and PlacesReferencesFurther readingIndex