Located in present day Hisarlik, Turkey; Troy was a Bronze Age city occupied from 3000 BCE until its final abandonment in 1250 CE and first discovered by German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann. The site consists of 9 different “Cities of Troy” each containing unique features. However, the main focus of our presentation will be addressing Troy VII, the setting of Homer’s Iliad. Distinctive advances made in succession from one Troy to the next include the effectiveness of barricades and foreign influences in their arts. Troy I began as a small village having stacked stone walls as the only evidence of fortification. By Troy II these walls grew in girth and the mounds of stones were replaced with layers of bricks. The evidence of foreign trade is shown early due to the discovery of materials outside the area such as lapis lazuli and electrum found in Troy II, along with Lesbos influenced pottery from Troy I. As the “Cities of Troy” grew more prosperous over the centuries, their connection with other Aegean and Anatolian cultures followed suit. Indicated by Minoan pottery and dome ovens from Lemnos. Due to its proximity to the Dardanelles Strait, Troy was able to obtain power by overseeing indirect access to the Black Sea through the Sea of Marmara. It’s location was a crucial factor of Troy’s success, being influenced by Balkan, Greek, and Anatolian civilizations. The Trojans adopted bridges from the Ottomans, Roman city layouts, and art from Greeks. Being positioned in the middle of numerous cultural fronts could be why Troy was so frequently targeted by opposing states. The necessity for protection grew after each destruction of the city. By the time of Troy VII, the main fortifications reached a maximum of 5 meters wide and 9 meters tall. This wall was lined with numerous guard posts and had been constructed without any corners, which are weak points difficult to defend. Frequent destruction is what helped make Troy unique, each city being constructed on top of the previous and out of tertiary deposits. This elevated each city and explains the limited land within the walls, crowding the space near Troy’s citadel. The fact that Troy was rebuilt on the same site even after many defeats of the city, stresses it’s strategical positioning. Most of their diet was provided from the sea or cattle they farmed, due to the soil nutrient lacking soil. The Trojans had tamed horses, which was even discussed by Homer in the Iliad, showcasing the skills of most citizens. Even though troy was an advanced civilization for it’s time, they fell behind in defenses and failed to assert themselves among other city states.
Troy was a cultural bridge that connected Anatolian and Mediterranean civilizations. Troy’s location was the most important factor for it’s prosperity, but subsequently lead to it’s downfall. Its proximity to the sea allowed for advances in fishing and a greater access to foreign trade. This allowed them to adopt ideas for city structure from Romans, utilize new techniques in art seen from the Greek, and construct better bridges after meeting with Ottomans. However, Troy’s seemingly amazing location only helped until they began to face opposition on numerous fronts form different civilizations, forcing Troy to restart each attempt at a prosperous city. While these connections with other city states ultimately lead to Troy’s demise, they provide archaeologist with insight on early Bronze Age through trade, weaponry, fortifications, layouts, and art.
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