This program is an account of the search for the ancient city of Troy and evidence for the Trojan War as described in the epics of Homer. It begins with the pioneering work of Heinrich Schliemann and the subsequent investigations of the agreed site of Troy in Turkey. The archaeology including the latest work since the 1990s is discussed within the context of critically examining Homer’s account of the war.
The re-discovery of “Priam’s Gold” and the ‘romance’ of the story of Paris, Helen and Menelaus are the counterpoints to the overview of a century and a half of archaeological work done at Hissarlik since the 1870s. There are a number of expert commentators who interestingly have different perspectives on Schliemann’s work.
This would be an ideal starting point for your own critical review of the archaeology of Troy and the historical basis of the Trojan War. Conversely it could also serve as an excellent overview and summary to complete a Case Study of Troy or the Trojan War.
Dr Denis Mootz
STAYING FOCUSED. This is the data collection stage of the activity.
The detailed questioning is designed to ensure that students decode the visual and aural materials presented to them in the video.
The video programs can be stopped at the end of each section. This will allow students to share and discuss answers.
Introduction. Note the terms used to describe the “Trojan War”.
Note the question that follows. Implications?
Note the details we are given here of the “story behind the epic”. Implications?
Note the “history” of the gold we are shown.
How many pieces were there from ancient Troy?
When did the gold from Troy “vanish”? Implications?
Where was the gold found? Result?
What was admitted in 1993? Result?
Who have claims to the gold?
Note the details of Homer’s “story” of Troy.
Why has this story proved so popular?
Note the basic details of the story and its characters.
Note the result of the siege of Troy.
Note the clichés cited by Eric H. Cline. Implications?
Note Jack Davis’s comments on “universal” themes. Implications?
Note the questions asked.
Note the dating of the “Trojan War”.
When did Homer write his ‘books’? Implications?
Note details of Homer. Implications?
Note the comments by C. Brian Rose. Implications?
What is the value of Homer’s ‘epics’?
Note the details of the “tale” as retold here.
Why are troy and Sparta in conference?
What causes a problem? Result?
Note the two “versions”. Implications? Result?
How does Homer describe Troy? Result?
Note details of Heinrich Schliemann.
Why was he convinced of Troy’s existence?
Why did scholars doubt Homer’s tale?
Note how Schliemann is described. Implications? Result?
What two aims did Schliemann have?
How did he become rich? Implications? Result?
Note details of Sophie. Implications?
How did Schliemann decide where to ‘dig’? Result?
Note the role of Frank Calvert.
Note details of the mound of Hissarlik.
How did Schliemann excavate Hissarlik? Why? Result?
Note the comments from Eric Cline and Brian Rose. Implications? Result?
Why did Schliemann give his workers a day off one day? Result?
What did Schliemann believe he had discovered? Result?
Why is there a ‘problem’ with this story? Implications?
How did Schliemann create his own “personal” Helen? Result? Implications?
How did Wilhelm Dorpfeld upset Schliemann’s ‘theory’? Result?
What had Schliemann discovered?
What dilemma faced Schliemann?
What problem had he made for himself?
What ‘bothered’ Schliemann now? Implications? Result?
Who was Agamemnon?
Why did he enlist support for an attack on Troy?
What was the Greeks’ “secret weapon”? Result?
How did Schliemann know where to look for Mycenae? Result? Implications?
How was Mycenae different from Troy?
What did Schliemann believe he had discovered at Mycenae? Implications?
What did Schliemann announce to the world?
Note the suggestion that Schliemann falsified his finds.
What had he actually discovered? Implications?
What link was discovered to the Iliad? Result? Implications?
Note the description of Mycenaean wealth.
Note the history of violence at Mycenae. Implications?
What desperate act did Agamemnon perform to ensure good sailing? Implications?
Note details of the Greek fleet and its voyage.
Why did Achilles and Agamemnon have a disagreement? Result?
Note the reference to the WW1 attack on Gallipoli and the other attacks on the Trojan plain.
Why was the location of Troy important? Result? Implications?
Note the description of the citadel of Troy.
How do we know that it was a ‘cosmopolitan’ city?
What motive for war is suspected?
Note Paris’s action to avoid the siege of Troy. Result?
Note the evidence from Hittite texts of Prince Alexandros (Paris) of Troy. Implications?
NOTEMAKING. This is the collation stage of the activity. Students need to organise the field of information and begin to explore its context. Directions and /or Inquiry questions are provided for notemaking / summary exercises that will follow the viewing of the video.
The materials / data for the summaries have been collected above. The activity could be done in teams, groups, or by individuals, or as a class with teacher direction.
Draw up a timeline / chronological chart of the events described and discussed in this program.
Note details of the cities of Troy and Mycenae.
Note details of the Trojan War.
Note details of work of Heinrich Schliemann at Troy.
Note details of work of Wilhelm Dorpfeld at Troy.
Note details of work of Carl Blegen at Troy.
Note details of the recent work of Korfman and Rose at Troy.
Note details of the correspondence between the archaeological record and the poems of Homer.
Note details of the timeline of Trojan history as revealed at the site.
Note details of the controversy over “Priam’s Treasure”.
ISSUES & INQUIRY. Key issues and inquiry questions that have been raised by the video are addressed at this stage for discussion and research.
Why is there debate about who discovered the site of Troy?
Why was Schliemann’s work at Troy controversial then?
PROBLEMS of EVIDENCE. Questions of reliability and validity of the perspectives, evidence and sources presented in the video program need to be considered, tested and researched.
What has the archaeology of Troy suggested about the tradition recorded by Homer?
Why do modern archaeologists disagree about the significance of Schliemann’s work at Troy?
COMMUNICATING. The key issues and inquiry questions are potential topics for debate, essay writing, reports, historical recount and explanation.
Write a REPORT on the Trojan War.
Prepare notes (both sides) for a DEBATE of the proposition that
The Pushkin Museum has an obligation to return “Priam’s Treasure” to Berlin.
What does archaeology suggest about the city of Troy?