Troy (ancient city, Asian Turkey)

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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Troy (ancient city, Asian Turkey)

Troy, ancient city made famous by Homer's account of the Trojan War. It is also called Ilion or, in Latin, Ilium. Its site is almost universally accepted as the mound now named Hissarlik, in Asian Turkey, c.4 mi (6.4 km) from the mouth of the Dardanelles. Accepting Greek tradition and details in Homeric poems as reliable, Heinrich Schliemann identified the site and conducted excavations there beginning in 1871. Nine successive cities or villages have occupied the site, the earliest dating from the Neolithic period. Attempting to determine which stratum of the mound was the Troy of the Trojan War, Schliemann first gave this distinction to the third stratum and then to the second. Excavations conducted by Wilhelm Dörpfeld in the 1890s indicated that the sixth stratum, representing the sixth settlement of the city, was the Homeric Troy. However, later discoveries by the Univ. of Cincinnati expedition under C. W. Blegen indicated that the seventh level was the Troy of Homer's period. At any rate, it has been definitely established that the Troy of the Trojan War was a Phrygian city and the center of a region known as Troas. The culture of the Trojans dates from the Bronze Age. The Romans, believing that they themselves were descendants of Aeneas and other Trojans, favored the city, and the ninth of the settlements on the site was of some importance in Roman times.

See H. Schliemann, Troy and Its Remains (1875) and Ilios: The City and the Country of the Trojans (1881, repr. 1968); J. L. Angel, Troy (1951); C. W. Blegen, ed., Troy (4 vol., 1950–58; supplementary monographs, 1961–63) and Troy and the Trojans (1963).

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