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ON THE MILITARY ARCHITECTURE OF TROY: Some remarks on the difficulty of conquering the city

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1111Restored Plan of Troy’s citadel adapted from W. Dorpfeld’s excavations. The successive archaeological and urban levels are noted. Note also the outer and inner walls of Troy VI.
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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My initial intention was to give an outline of the military architecture of Troy but the detailed studies of W. Dorpfeld, M. Wood, H. Schliemann, R. Neumann, C.W. Blegen, J.L. Caskey, M.Rawson, M. Korfmann, D. Easton and others, most of which are free on the internet, does not leave any room to add something new to the subject beyond the usual data. Therefore, in this article I will deal with the essential result of that architecture, namely the difficulty of conquering the mighty fortress which Troy VI had been.
Which of the archaeological urban levels of the city discovered and excavated by H. Schliemann at the hill of modern Hissarlik was the city of Homer’s epic? This is one of the main problems concerning the Homeric Epic Cycle. It is considered certain that the Homeric Troy corresponds to one of the levels VI (about 1900-1250 BC) and VIIa (about 1250-1180 BC). Wilhelm Dörpfeld who in 1893-94 continued Schliemann’s excavations in Troy, indicated level VI as the Homeric city. Dörpfeld found that the last phase of that level (VIh) was hit by an earthquake and concluded that after the blow, the city was captured by enemies who according to his view they were the Homeric Achaeans. The German archaeologist found that the earthquake caused damage to the city but the destruction was the work of man, a view based on the discovery of extensive fire traces in the VIh destruction level and on archaeological evidence, mainly traces of military activity.
This theory of Dörpfeld and those who agree with him today (e.g. M. Wood and others) is the most believable in my opinion, that is why in this article I will base my analysis on the assumption that Homer’s Troy was the archaeological level VI (phase VIh). In a future article I will deal with the arguments of those who argue that Homer’s city was the level VI and the ones of those who argue that that city was level VII (less likely).

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A rare and detailed representation of the total city of Troy (urban area and citadel). Most of the modern representations use to deal just with the architectural and engineering status of the citadel. Most of the defensive features mentioned in the text are noted, but please observe notably the scalar urban distribution of the buildings of the lower city and the citadel, essentially being the fourth defensive line of Troy (Copyright: National Geographic Magazine. Art by William Cook. Source on Troy: Troy project).

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Πολύχρυσαι Μυκῆναι…

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Αναδημοσίευση από το σπουδαίο Ιστολόγιο Ανιχνευτές  (http://anihneftes.wordpress.com/ για Αρχαία Ελληνική Ιστορία και Αρχαιολογία και   http://anihneftes.blogspot.gr/  για Νεότερη Ελληνική Ιστορία κ.α.)

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Στοά, ἀρ. φύλ. 292, 24.11.1876

« Περὶ τοῦ σκελετοῦ ὅστις εὑρέθη ἐν Μυκήναις ἡ ἐν Ναυπλίῳ ἐφημερὶς «Ἀργολὶς» δημοσιεύει τὰ ἑξῆς.

Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα εὗρον προσωπίδα χρυσῆν, νεαροῦ ἀνδρὸς καὶ μέγα φύλλον χρυσοῦ, δίκην θώρακος. Ὁποία ὅμως ὑπῆρξεν ἡ ἔκπληξίς των, ὅτε ὑπὸ τὴν προσωπίδα καὶ τὸν θώρακα εὗρον σκελετὸν ἀνθρώπινον σῶον, διατηροῦντα ἔτι μορφὴν ἀνθρωπίνην, εἰ καὶ πελιδνοτάτην, ὡσεὶ καστανόχρουν! Ἦτον ὥς τις μούμια. Ἡ σιαγὼν διατηρεῖ ἔτι ὅλους τοὺς ὀδόντας, 32 τὸν ἀριθμόν. Φαίνεται ὥς τις κοιμώμενος! Τὸ στῆθος εἶναι εὐρὺ καὶ διατηρεῖται ἔτι ὁ θώραξ συνεχόμενος οἱονεὶ ὑπὸ ἐπιδερμίδος.

Εὑρέθησαν δὲ σὺν αὐτῷ μία ὡραία χρυσῆ ζώνη μὲ κροσσοὺς χρυσοῦς, ξίφος μὲ λαβὴν χρυσῆν ἐξαίσιον καὶ πολὺ ὑπέροχον πάντων τῶν τέως ἀνευρεθέντων. Ἔτι δὲ καὶ παραξιφίδιον ὡραῖον, σπιθαμιαῖον. Πρὸς δὲ καὶ (πρῶτον ἤδη) τεμάχια ξύλων κατὰ τὸ μᾶλλον καὶ ἧττον ἐφθαρμένα. Τὸ μοναδικὸν τοῦτο θέαμα ἐθάμβωσε πάντας. Δὲν ἦσαν πλέον τέφρα καὶ ὀστᾶ. Ἦτον ἄνθρωπος προαιώνιος σύσσωμος. Παράδοξον! Ἐσκέφθησαν νὰ μεταφέρωσι τὸν σκελετὸν αὐτόν, ἀλλ’ εἶδον, ὅτι τοῦτο εἶναι ἀπολύτως ἀδύνατον καὶ ὅτι μόλις τὸν ἐγγίσωσι θὰ διαλυθῇ εἰς τὰ ἐξ ὧν συνετέθη, εἰς τέφραν. Μεγίστη δὲ φροντὶς καταβάλλεται νὰ διατηρηθῇ τὸ λείψανον τοῦτο ἀκίνητον, ἄθικτον εἰς τὸ μέρος, ἐν ᾧ εὑρέθη, νὰ καλυφθῇ δὲ τοῦτο διὰ μεγάλου ὑαλίνου θολωτοῦ πώματος καὶ νὰ στεγασθῇ ἀκόμη, ὡς σεπτὸν καὶ ἀνεκτίμητον ἀγλάϊσμα τῶν ἐρήμων Μυκηνῶν.

Ὁ Κύριος Ἐρρίκος Σχλίεμαν ἀποτελειώσας τὰς ἐν Μυκήναις ἀνασκαφὰς ἔρχεται ἐντὸς τῆς ἑβδομάδος ἐνταῦθα κομίζων τὸ σῶμα τοῦ νεκροῦ ἐκείνου, ὃν ὑπολαμβάνει ὡς τὸν τοῦ Ἀγαμέμνονος. Τὰ τελευταῖα ἀνακαλυφθέντα εἶναι τὰ ἑξῆς: Δύο πλάκες χρυσαῖ σφυρήλατοι, ἑκάστη τῶν ὁποίων παριστᾷ βουκέφαλον καὶ λέοντα καταδιώκοντα ἔλαφον· κύπελλον χρυσοῦν μετὰ δύο σειρῶν τοῦ συμβολικοῦ σημείου τοῦ ἁγίου πυρός, ἕτερον μέγιστον κύπελλον χρυσοῦν· ἕτερον ἐξ ἀλαβάστρου ὕψους 0,25, δύο ἀργυρᾶ κύπελλα, 128 κομβία χρυσᾶ, 4 λαβὰς ξίφους περιβεβλημένας χρυσῷ, δύο ἐπίσης χρυσοῦς σωλῆνας, 11 ξίφη χάλκινα, ἐξ ὧν τὰ δύο μόνον ἀκέραια καὶ μήκους τὸ μὲν 0,94 τὸ δὲ 0,74.

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