TROY! Legends, mythology, fact, and fiction. I grew up studying the eastern and central Mediterranean (e.g., reading the Iliad and the Odyssey in Latin). In those early years, I had great difficulty sorting between what happened and what allegedly happened. Troy was a center piece in this ambiguity. Where does the mythology begin and what is actually true (assuming for the moment that the mythology isn’t true—although it was certainly “true” 4,000 years ago)? What I found at Troy (and Sparta in Greece and the many points in between) is that the mythology is so deeply imbedded that only scholars can guess—and I, for one, prefer the indistinguishable blurriness and romance between the two. So there are some rough facts and known legends. There were wars between Troy and Greece/Sparta. There might have been a Trojan horse. If there was a horse, what did it actually do? Whatever did happen, it is great stuff and fine raw material for movies, books, and flights of fancy. The rough facts are that it has been a hill over a bay inhabited by one group or another beginning about 4,500 years ago. As was the case throughout the region, wars, occupations, conversions, etc., resulted in an estimated 9 different periods of occupation (Hittites, Persians, Greeks, Romans, etc.) with each group building and rebuilding one city atop another until the end of occupation in about 500 A.D. Then it all fell into disuse and ravaging by people plundering treasures or simply removing the building materials for their own uses elsewhere. Today, the archeological explorations continue but large areas have been excavated revealing the intermingling of architectural styles, defense works, living conditions, etc. While the historic descriptions (mainly of the battles) are epic, Troy itself is surprisingly small, given its place in legend and literature. Enjoy our record.

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