Did you know that Troy is located in Turkey?

In 2004, with the release of "Troy" in the movie theaters, people begin to recall the legendary history of this mysterious city. However, many people do not know that this city is located in Turkish territory. Troy was identified at the end of the XIX century by Heinrich Schliemann in the hill of Hissarlik, in Dardanelos, northwest coast of Turkey. This area contains a succession of several cities that were built over each other during centuries, one of these cities is Troy. The legend of Troy is still a mystery with few possibilities of being solved by archeologists, so do not fear … the romantic enigma of Troy will not be destroyed. Today you can not see much at the glory time of Troy, just some ruins of the city can be visited.

Did the war in Troy really happened? The Troy war is one of the most important episodes that have survived in the mythology and from greek legends. Some events that caused the war are known from the two great Homeric poems, the Illiad and the Odyssey.The term "Illiad" comes from "Ilias", that means "regarding Ilion", the name of a city in the Asia Minor coast. In Illiad has 24 songs, with 15 thousand verses. Although it tells Troyan war, it is not a complete narration of what happened. The Illiad tells the second year of the conflict, when a disagreement between Agamenon and Achilles began. The wood troyan horse is considered to be an idea of Ulisses, and the most courageous Greeks got inside the horse. The troyans believed that if the horse never entered Troy, the city would never be taken; and if it was left outside, the Greeks would end up returning and would devastate the city.

Troy horse in Turkey
Troy horse in Turkey

Do you remember Paris, the one who was in love with Helena ? Paris was son of Priamo, king of Troy. When Priamo's wife Hecuba, was pregnant of Paris, she dreamed that she was giving birth to a torch with serpents. After the baby was born, she gave orders to a maid to take him to the Ida hill and kill him. The maid did not kill him but left him at the hill to die. The child was saved by shepherds. After some time, Paris returned to Troy by chance, and his parents were impressed with his ability in athletic competitions and his beautiful appearance. His parents found out who he was and received him with pleasure.

Of course that you remember the beautiful Helena: Helena was the daughter of Zeus and Leda. Helena married with Menelau, king of Sparta, they had a daughter called Hermíone. At that time Paris came to visit them. Menelau received Paris very well in his house, but Paris paid his hospitality kidnapping Helena and escaping with her from Troy. Helena's participation in this situation is explained in several ways: she was kidnapped against her will, or Aphrodite made her fall in love with Paris or she never went to Troy, and because of a ghost the Greeks spent ten long years in war.


Aereal view of Troy, Turkey
Aereal view of Troy, Turkey

To recover his wife Menelau, husband of Helena called everybody to help him to set up an expedition against Troy. The leader of the Greek force was Agamenon, king of Micenas and older brother of Menelau. The Greek heroes came to help to sail in the Aegean Sea to Troy. The leaders' names and origins are listed in the ships' catalog of the Iliad.

In the film "Troy" Brad Pitt it is Achilles. The father of Achilles was reluctant in leaving his son to join the expedition, because there was a predestination he would die in Troy. In an attempt of avoid his destiny, they sent him to Ciros dressed as a girl, where he joined the king's daughters, Licomedes. During this stay he married Deidaméia, another daughter of the king. They had a son called Neoptólemo. Ulisses found out that the Greeks would never take over Troy without the help of Achilles. So he went to Ciros to look for his help. Achilles was persuaded to go with Ulisses back to Aulis, where the inland waterway fleet was getting ready to sail.

An interesting detail: Achilles always knew that his destiny was to die in Troy, where he really died. He ended killed by an arrow shot, thrown by the arch of Paris. Tetis Achilles' mother wanted to turn his son immortal, and when he was still a baby, she immersed him in the waters of the river Estige; this made his body immune to any wounds, except for his heel, where his mother hold him. Paris' arrow shot his Achilles' heel. That is why we say "Achilles' heel" meaning a weak point.

Agamenon is seen as the evil character of the film "Troy". Agamenon was the brother of Menelau, who was married with the beautiful Helena. Agamenon made a terrible crime when, after a family fight, he served his own brother Tiestes a plate prepared with part of his own children's members.This action curse the house of Atreu, and the destiny was waiting for Agamenon when he returned from Troy. In his absence, for ten years the government of Micena was in his wife's hands Clitemnestra and her lover Egisto, the only surviving son of Tiestes. After returning to Troy, Agamenon was killed violently with an axe by Clitemnestra. Her reasons for such a brutal murder were complex, but it seems that it was not so much due to her passion for Egisto and the desire of revenge his brother, she killed him because she hated him. Agamenon had murdered brutally Clitemnestra's first husband and their children in front of her eyes; he had also sacrificed her daughter Ifigenia to Aulis. She wanted revenge.
Gold pot qith 20 cm width found in Troy, Turkey
Gold pot qith 20 cm width found in Troy, Turkey

I cannot forget to mention other important person in this story: Heitor, king's Priamo oldest son. In Homeros' Illiad, Heitor is the greatest warrior of Troy. Heitor is portrayed like a good husband and a brave warrior. As the troyan commander, he was responsible for resisting to the Greek army for nine years and finally to force the Greeks to return to their ships. At the end, Heitor was killed by Achilles to revenge his friend's death Patroclo who was killed by Heitor. Achilles ignored Heitor's request for a funeral after he killed him, he tied his body to a carriage, dragging him around the city walls.

Another important person of this history is the king of Troy: Priamo. He had 50 sons, and 50 daughters, one of his son was Heitor. After his son Heitor was killed by the Greek hero Achilles, Priamo went to the Greek camp to implore to have the body of his son back for a decent funeral. Aquiles preserved the life of Priamo and gave him Heitor's body to be buried. During the Troy attack, Priamo was killed by the son of Achilles, Neoptolemo.

Among so many tragedies… if you still didn't go to see the film, go! It is a good cultural amusement.

Date: June 6th, 2004
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