Hisarlik

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Hisarlik
Turkish: Hisarlık
Troy composite.jpg
Hisarlik from above
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Shown within Marmara
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Archaeological site icon (red).svg
Hisarlik (Turkey)
Alternative nameTroy
Coordinates 39°57′25″N26°14′20″E / 39.957°N 26.239°E / 39.957; 26.239 Coordinates: 39°57′25″N26°14′20″E / 39.957°N 26.239°E / 39.957; 26.239

Hisarlik (Turkish: Hisarlık, "Place of Fortresses"), often spelled Hissarlik, is the Turkish name for an ancient city located in what is known historically as Anatolia. [note 1] It is part of Çanakkale, Turkey. [1] The archaeological site lies approximately 6.5 kilometres (4.0 mi) from the Aegean Sea and about the same distance from the Dardanelles. The site is a partial tell, or artificial hill, elevated in layers over an original site. In this case the original site was already elevated, being the west end of a ridge projecting in an east–west direction from a mountain range.

Contents

After many decades of scientific and literary study by specialists, the site is generally accepted by most as the location of ancient Troy, the city mentioned in ancient documents of many countries in several ancient languages, especially ancient Greek, where it appears as Ilion in the earliest literary work of Europe, the Iliad. [2] The site is still being excavated under the name of Troja. It also has been promoted as a major tourist attraction visited by many thousands of persons per year. A Turkish village, Tevfikiye, has been created on the east end of Troy Ridge, as it is now universally termed, to service the site and its visitors and students.

Geography

Located at the edge of a cape projecting into the Aegean between the Dardanelles and the Gulf of Edremit, which was known in antiquity as the Troad, Hisarlik was one of many successful pockets of human civilization which arose and prospered in Anatolia. Paleogeographic studies carried out around Hisarlik by John C. Kraft, head of the Geology Department of the University of Delaware and Professors Ilhan Kayan and Oğuz Erol from Ankara University indicate a favourable environment for settlement existed from around the eighth millennium BC, when receding seas left a fertile, well watered plain which over time became a shallow, but navigable estuary. Above this natural harbour, the hill was large enough to support extensive building, providing natural protection from invasion and a commanding view of the sea.

Human settlement in the region

Section of the site Section Troy-Hisarlik-fr.svg
Section of the site

Elsewhere in Anatolia, there is abundant archaeological evidence of a thriving neolithic culture at least as early as the seventh millennium BC. What may have been the world's first urban settlement (c. 7500 BC) has been uncovered at Çatalhüyük in the Konya Ovasi (Konya Basin). Evidence from a cave at Karain near Antalya shows human occupation in the region extending over an estimated 25,000 year period.

The inhabitants of Hisarlik lived among a number of vigorous, interactive and often warlike cultures. Apart from the mainland Greeks whence they may have sprung, the Trojans counted such neighbours as the Hittites, Phrygians and Lydians. It has been suggested that the polity at ancient Hisarlik might be one and the same with that known to the Hittites as Wilusa. [3]

The region around Hisarlik is still inhabited by the descendants of the many and varied peoples who laid claim to the shores and hillsides of Anatolia. Present day Çanakkale is a thriving settlement close to the ancient site of Hisarlik. Çanakkale lies on both sides of the Dardanelles and touches both Europe (Gelibolu Peninsula) and Asia (Biga Peninsula) and, just as it was in the time of Homer, maritime traffic connects both sides of the straits.[ citation needed ]

Troy

The assumed location of Troy was apparently well known in the ancient world, visited by Alexander the Great [4] and Julius Caesar. [5] In more modern times, a site associated with Ilium (and more readily identifiable as Hisarlik) was being shown to curious visitors as early as the 15th century, when Pedro Tafur was guided from the Genoese port of Fojavecchia (Phocaea):

I travelled by land for two days to that place which they say was Troy, but found no one who could give me any information concerning it, and we came to Ilium, as they call it. This place is situated on the sea opposite the harbour of Tenedos. The whole of this country is strewn with villages, and the Turks regard the ancient buildings as relics and do not destroy anything, but they build their houses adjoining. That which made me understand that this was, indeed, ancient Troy, was the sight of such great ruined buildings, and so many marbles and stones, and that shore, and the harbour of Tenedos over against it, and a great hill which seemed to have been made by the fall of some huge building. [6]

Tafur, like most early visitors, was distracted by the more prominent Hellenistic and Roman remains close to the modern shoreline.

While the archaeological record has much to say about the physical remains, it reveals little about the people who built and rebuilt the fabled city of Troy. The historical record for Troy is dominated by the epic poems of Homer and peopled with gods and heroes whose identities and histories formed part of the oral tradition of the area for centuries before the great Greek poet committed some of them to verse. Homer was not, however, overly concerned with history. Not surprisingly, the historical context for the epic Iliad and Odyssey is not as clear as one would wish. Various attempts have been made over time to identify the origins of the inhabitants of Troy.

As early as 1946, American classical art historian Rhys Carpenter argued that the Trojan War, far from being a historical event, was in fact a synthesis of many such events involving peoples whose mutual involvement stretched back centuries. [7] In the Iliad, the word most commonly used for the city of the Trojans is not "Troy" but "Ilion". Carpenter saw this as evidence of the possibility that Troy was not the name of a town at all, but rather the name of an area or district inhabited by the Trojans. The Greeks clearly had a legend about a war against the Trojans, but may have disagreed about where these people lived. At least one group of Greeks put them at a place called Teuthrania in the area known as Mysia.

Carpenter suggests that the real "Troy" is located in neither the Troad nor Aeolis but rather that the memory of a pan-Achaean expedition elsewhere was located at two different points in Asia Minor by later poetic traditions: at Ilion by the Ionic poets, because they found in this area a local folk tradition about a strong citadel sacked near the end of the Bronze Age (Hisarlik); and at Teuthrania by the Aeolic poets, to correspond with Aeolic traditions connected with their own occupation of this area.

If one is willing to accept Carpenter's line of argument this far, one can place "Troy" virtually anywhere in the eastern Mediterranean where bands of Mycenaean Greeks may have undertaken joint piratic raids. Carpenter goes so far as to place "Troy" in Egypt and to connect the story of the Trojan War with the raids of the Sea Peoples mentioned in Egyptian sources at the end of the 13th and beginning of the 12th centuries BC.

Whoever the ancient inhabitants may have been, the fact remains that for over two millennia a thriving civilisation existed at Hisarlik.

Archaeological excavation

Archaeological plan of Troy Plan Troy-Hisarlik-en.svg
Archaeological plan of Troy

An alternative site, Hisarlik tell, a thirty-meter-high mound, was identified as a possible site of ancient Troy by a number of amateur archaeologists in the early to mid 19th century. The most dedicated of these was Frank Calvert, whose early work was overshadowed by the German amateur archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in the 1870s. [8]

The site of Hisarlik has been under near-constant archaeological excavation ever since Schliemann began in 1873. [9] While much has been discovered about the structural layout of the many layers of occupation, there has been a paucity of writing found from before the classical era. In fact, the only written document heretofore discovered is a small cylinder seal with an inscription in Luwian. [9]

Troy VII is an archaeological layer of Hisarlik that chronologically spans from c. 1300 to c. 950 BC. It coincides with the collapse of the Bronze Age and is thought to be the Troy mentioned in Ancient Greece and the site of the Trojan War. [10]

Notes

  1. A compound of the noun, hisar, "fortification," and the suffix -lik. The suffix does not create a plural, which would be hisarler, but an abstract, "fortification-place," where "fortification" is of indefinite number; i.e., one or many. The current translation appears in Cline 2013 , p. 1.

Related Research Articles

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Heinrich Schliemann German businessman and archaeologist (1822–1890)

Heinrich Schliemann was a German businessman and pioneer in the field of archaeology. He was an advocate of the historicity of places mentioned in the works of Homer and an archaeological excavator of Hisarlik, now presumed to be the site of Troy, along with the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns. His work lent weight to the idea that Homer's Iliad reflects historical events. Schliemann's excavation of nine levels of archaeological remains with dynamite has been criticized as destructive of significant historical artifacts, including the level that is believed to be the historical Troy.

Trojan War Legendary war in Greek mythology

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Troy Homeric ancient city in northwest Asia Minor

Troy or Ilium was an ancient city located at Hisarlik in present-day Turkey, 30 kilometres (19 mi) south-west of Çanakkale. It is known as the setting for the Greek myth of the Trojan War.

Mysia Historical region in the northwest of ancient Asia Minor

Mysia was a region in the northwest of ancient Asia Minor. It was located on the south coast of the Sea of Marmara. It was bounded by Bithynia on the east, Phrygia on the southeast, Lydia on the south, Aeolis on the southwest, Troad on the west and by the Propontis on the north. In ancient times it was inhabited by the Mysians, Phrygians, Aeolian Greeks and other groups.

Troad Historical name of the Turkish Biga Peninsula

The Troad or Troas is a historical region in northwestern Anatolia. It corresponds with the Biga Peninsula in the Çanakkale province of modern Turkey. Bounded by the Dardanelles to the northwest, by the Aegean Sea to the west and separated from the rest of Anatolia by the massif that forms Mount Ida, the Troad is drained by two main rivers, the Scamander (Karamenderes) and the Simois, which join at the area containing the ruins of Troy.

Tenedos An island in Turkey

Tenedos, or Bozcaada in Turkish, is an island of Turkey in the northeastern part of the Aegean Sea. Administratively, the island constitutes the Bozcaada district of Çanakkale province. With an area of 39.9 km2 (15 sq mi) it is the third largest Turkish island after Imbros (Gökçeada) and Marmara. In 2018, the district had a population of 3023. The main industries are tourism, wine production and fishing. The island has been famous for its grapes, wines and red poppies for centuries. It is a former bishopric and presently a Latin Catholic titular see.

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Dardanians (Trojan)

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Çanakkale Municipality in Turkey

Çanakkale, formerly Dardanellia, is a city and seaport in Turkey in Çanakkale Province on the southern shore of the Dardanelles at their narrowest point. The population of the city is 195,439.

Frank Calvert British archaeologist

Frank Calvert (1828–1908) was an English expatriate who was a consular official in the eastern Mediterranean region and an amateur archaeologist. He began exploratory excavations on the mound at Hisarlik, seven years before the arrival of Heinrich Schliemann.

Historicity of the Homeric epics Debate on the factuality of the Homeric canon

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Ophryneion or Ophrynium was an ancient Greek city in the northern Troad region of Anatolia. Its territory was bounded to the west by Rhoiteion and to the east by Dardanus. It was located about 1.5 km north-east of the village of İntepe in Çanakkale Province, Turkey. The city was situated on the steep brow of a hill overlooking the Dardanelles, hence the origin of its Ancient Greek name ὀφρῦς (ophrus), meaning 'brow of a hill', 'crag'.

Hamaxitus Former populated place in Turkey

Hamaxitus was an ancient Greek city in the south-west of the Troad region of Anatolia which was considered to mark the boundary between the Troad and Aeolis. Its surrounding territory was known in Greek as Ἁμαξιτία (Hamaxitia), and included the temple of Apollo Smintheus, the salt pans at Tragasai, and the Satnioeis river. It has been located on a rise called Beşiktepe near the village of Gülpınar in the Ayvacık district of Çanakkale Province, Turkey.

Larisa, or Larissa, was an ancient Greek city in the south-west of the Troad region of Anatolia. Its surrounding territory was known in Greek as the Λαρισαῖα (Larisaia). It has been located on a small rise by the coast now known as Limantepe, about 3.5 km from the village of Kösedere to the north-east and 3 km from the village of Babadere to the east, in the Ayvacık district of Çanakkale province, Turkey. As with other Greek toponyms containing the consonantal string -ss-, spellings that drop one 's' exist alongside those that retain both in the ancient literary sources. Larisa in the Troad should not be confused with 'Aeolian' Larisa, near Menemen, or with 'Ionian' Larisa in İzmir province.

Kolonai was an ancient Greek city in the south-west of the Troad region of Anatolia. It has been located on a hill by the coast known as Beşiktepe, about equidistant between Larisa to the south and Alexandreia Troas to the north. It is 3.3 km east of the modern village of Alemşah in the Ezine district of Çanakkale Province, Turkey. Its name in Ancient Greek is the plural form of κολώνη (kolōnē), 'hill, mound', a common name for promontories with hills on them in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is not to be confused with Lampsacene Kolonai, a settlement situated in the hills above Lampsacus in the north-east of the Troad.

Achilleion (Troad) Ancient Greek city

Achilleion was an ancient Greek city in the south-west of the Troad region of Anatolia. It has been located on a promontory known as Beşika Burnu about 8 km south of Sigeion. Beşika Burnu is 2 km south of the modern village of Yeniköy in the Ezine district of Çanakkale Province, Turkey. The site considered in classical antiquity to be the tomb of Achilles is a short distance inland at a tumulus known as Beşiktepe. Achilleion in the Troad is not to be confused with Achilleion near Smyrna and Achilleion in the territory of Tanagra.

Neandreia, Neandrium or Neandrion (Νεάνδριον), also known as Neandrus or Neandros (Νέανδρος), was a Greek city in the south-west of the Troad region of Anatolia. Its site has been located on Çığrı Dağ, about 9 km east of the remains of the ancient city of Alexandria Troas in the Ezine district of Çanakkale province, Turkey. The site was first identified as Neandreia by Frank Calvert in 1865 and Joseph Thacher Clarke in 1886 and was first excavated by the German architect Robert Koldewey when he excavated in 1889.

Biga Peninsula

Biga Peninsula is a peninsula in Turkey, in the northwest part of Anatolia. It is also known by its ancient name Troad (Troas).

References

  1. Shaheen, Kareem (20 September 2017). "Archaeologists home in on Homeric clues as Turkey declares year of Troy". The Guardian.
  2. The story of the discovery and identification is told in Wood 1993 , Ch. 1-2
  3. "Kingdoms of Anatolia - Troy / Llium (Wilusa?)".
  4. "Alexander the Great at Troy". www.livius.org. Archived from the original on 2002-06-02.
  5. Deuel, Leo (1977). Memoirs of Heinrich Schliemann. New York: Harper & Row. p. 131. ISBN   9780060111069.
  6. Pedro Tafur, Andanças e viajes,ch. XIII; the text written in 1453/54 recounts a voyage of the 1430s.
  7. Rhys Carpenter (1946). Folk Tale, Fiction and Saga in the Homeric Epics. University of California Press. ISBN   978-0-520-02808-1.
  8. Susan Heuck Allen (1999). Finding the Walls of Troy: Frank Calvert and Heinrich Schliemann at Hisarlík. University of California Press. ISBN   978-0-520-20868-1.
  9. 1 2 "Ancient Troy: The City & the Legend". Live Science . 26 August 2017.
  10. I.E.S. Edwards; C.J. Gadd; N.G.L. Hammond; E. Sollberger (18 September 1975). The Cambridge Ancient History. Cambridge University Press. pp. 161–. ISBN   978-0-521-08691-2.

Bibliography