The Mycenaean Age: A Study of the Monuments and Culture of Pre-Homeric Greece

By Chrestos Tsountas; J. Irving Manatt | Go to book overview

APPENDIX A THE MYCENAEAN TROY

JUST a quarter of a century ago Dr. Schliemann began his excavations in the Troad, and his untimely death in 1890 left them still unfinished. In 1893-94 they were continued by his faithful associate, Dr. Dörpfeld, and it may now be said that the main questions at issue have been settled.

Of the earlier excavations we need give no detailed account. Enough to say that prior to 1890 they had brought to light on the hill of Hissarlik remains of seven superimposed cities (as Schliemann reckoned them). The oldest of these settlements was of slight importance, measuring only 150 feet in breadth. The circuit wall and houses were built of small quarry stones and clay mortar; no bricks were used; stone implements prevailed (metal being very rare); and the pottery was usually hand-made and of a baked black clay, with perforated projections instead of handles. This panarchaic city is built directly on the virgin rock, which here lies 115 feet above sea level. Upon its remains, which form a new level from 11 to 20 feet higher, rose the second city, with its circumvallation of crude brick walls raised on stone substructions, and houses of the same character, including the palace described on page 252, with its Great Treasure (p. 178) left to attest its opulence, and its rude and often grotesque pottery, so strongly contrasting with the elegant work of the Mycenaean potter. This city had perished in a mighty conflagration, and thus was equaled in fate at least with Homer's Troy; but on the other hand the criteria of its culture obviously indicated a catastrophe indefinitely earlier than the traditional Trojan War or the actual Mycenaean age.1

Still the Burnt City was the sole claimant to Homeric honors, for between it and the Graeco-Roman Ilion of the uppermost stratum lay nothing but four successive strata of shabby village settlements.

Such was the state of the question in 1890, when Schliemann and Dörpfeld returned to Hissarlik, and began excavating an undisturbed mound of débris outside the southwest gate of the Second City, but inside the Graeco-Roman citadel. Here Dr. Schliemann hoped to find the tombs

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1
The recent excavations have brought to light three successive circuit walls, and three superimposed groups of buildings within them, showing that this city had been twice enlarged and rebuilt, but without any great change of level.

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