Yes, there is a film called Troy that sports a very strong, muscly Brad Pitt playing the almighty Achilles. This post may not be as dramatic as the film (but at least it will be true), nevertheless I hope to give an insight on the historic grounds that once held each of the nine great cities, Troy.
To clarify that last statement, there once stood a city called ‘Troy’, but it was rebuilt nine different times during 3000 BC and 500 AD. The cause for the reconstruction was mainly due to shift in the earth soil, or earthquakes, which ultimately destroyed the living space. The reconstruction of the new cities took place on top of the previous. They continued to build on the same spot of land as they did not want to lose their precious space near the sea that was impenetrable to any outside source. And I could understand why, it was so high up that as I walked around the site I was almost blown off my feet a few times, you are so high up you can see the sea and even the other side of the peninsula.
The site was founded by a German man, Heinrich Schliemann. It was him that discovered the first pieces of evidence and that the such talked about myth suddenly became alive. As this was such a huge discovery, it drew attention from other archaeologist and historians from around the world. One man in particular was eager to join Schliemann on his quest, that was Frank Calvert a British archaeologist. The two of them had some disagreements during their uncovering of the ruins and it was Schliemann’s hunger for jewels and treasure that eventually led to a fall out.
As the ruthless, treasure hunter was keen to dig quickly to see if he was right about the location of the city. Schliemann’s thirst for success caused them to dig right past the several levels of Troy and into a time period a few hundred years too early. They effectively ruined the chance of ever recovering anything from the layers they dug right through, but some could argue that the techniques for archaeologists were still in the early stages of being developed. Nevertheless, Schliemann being first and foremost a businessman, had his methods described as ‘brutal’ and ‘savage’, having torn down so much of the ancient city (something the Greeks couldn’t even do).
The history of the city goes like this; The war between the Greeks and Trojans began after the Greek kings wife had eloped with Paris, the Prince of Troy. But, after a brutal war the Greeks failed attempts to bring down the City of Troy and they had to come up with a different plan. They deployed devious measures to trick the Trojans as they could not defeat them by combat, they offered a gift to the Trojans as a sign of their surrender, The wooden horse, that later became known as the iconic Wooden Horse of Troy. The Greeks filled the hollow horse with their own soldiers, with the Trojans being none the wiser. The wooden horse was accepted as a present and was wheeled through the front gates and into the City of Troy where it stood on display. Little did the Trojans know that were wheeling the war into their own city in plane site. Greek soldiers sat patiently inside the ‘peace offering’ to the Trojans and waited till night to open the front gates to the Greek army that waited entry to attack the city from the inside, slaying the sleeping people; men, woman, children, and eventually burned it to the ground. The city was never built again, only the story was carried through the centuries to tell the tales of the great Trojan war. So, yeah some Turks still hold a grudge against the Greeks, but you can understand why. Unfortunately, most of the treasures that were found were stolen and not given back to Turkey, by archaeologists, the main being Schliemann who stole many of thousands. He took the stolen goods back to Germany but during WWII the Trojan treasures were taken/stolen by the Russian Forces and taken to Moscow where they currently lie today in storage; still today a disputed issue between Turkey and Russia.
As my grandparents live in a village right next to Troy, I have made a visit to the place almost every year. I have seen the site develop and update over the years. I used to go when there were no turnstiles or security, no ticket office or restriction barriers. I thought this was normal. Apparently not, we had had the privilege to experience the site in this raw manner. When we were little girls, my sister and I would walk around the dirt site with my granddad as he told us the story (probably walking over artifacts whilst doing so as it was not properly excavated). I visited Troy today with my granddad and could see how times have changed, and the place actually looks a tourist destination, pretty suave I must say! My granddad seemed to have overlooked this fact. For example, there are now barriers restricting you from entering certain parts of the site which may be deemed unsafe or are under construction, he just lifted one up, ducked under it and strode right through the Amphitheater like a pro. (I ran after him and had to pretend he was senile to avoid any penalties). Then two bus loads of Japanese people disembarked and walked past us at the site entry. My granddads bewildered behavior must have been at its peak as he pointed out a Japanese man and said ‘JAP’ very loudly. To be fair, he had been born and raised in the same village and even me and my siblings were considered exotic as we were from another land. After quickly lowering his arm and acknowledge that I (and the Jap man) did in fact hear him, he continued as approximately 100 Japaneses shuffled by us, “JAP, JAP, JAP,JAP…..”, aaaaand so on- you get the picture. I think I must have dissolved in my seat at this point as I do not remember anything after this.
Thankfully, I have some photos that I took during my trip to Troy!
Fun Fact: The horse that was used during the film ‘Troy’ that was released in 2004(Top) was then flown to the Çanakkale waterfront (Bottom) where it is now on display.