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Troy Ancient City

TROY I. (3000-2500 B.C.)

The first inhabitants of Troy built their houses on a 16 m. high, indigenous rock at the western end of the ridge. The city was fortified by a wall made of rough stones. Today we can see only a short segment of this wall, some 12 m. long, and the main gate with two square towers. The thickness of the fortification wall is about 2.50 m. The other remains of the first Troy we can see today are some foundations of houses in Schliemann's north-south trench. These houses were long believed to be megaron houses.

But according to the latest research they do not have megaron plans. Manfred Korfmann, the head of the latest excavation team, who cleared the trench and made some reconstructions there in 1988, calls them "row of long houses". "Megarons", the prototype of the Greek temples, were freestanding houses consisting of a single room with an entrance hall. But these long and narrow houses, which were built of mud bricks over stone foundations, were not free standing houses. Some of them had the entrance in the corner. The stone foundation walls of some of these houses were built in herringbone style. Although this type of workmanship is seen in Mesopotamia too, there was no direct influence since it was already known all over Anatolia and can be seen even today on the walls of some Turkish houses. We can also see the same design very often in the ceramics of Troy I.

We do not know much about the building technique but we think the fish bone designs on their ceramics show us that the artisans might well be influenced by their daily life. Fishing was a very important occupation for the first inhabitants of Troy. A fishing hook made of copper, which was found recently in the ruins of Troy I, strengthens this opinion. In one of these long houses tqo infant burials were found just beneath the floor. One of them was in a shallow pit covered by a flat stone, the other one was in an urn. More examples of the same type of burial have been uncovered in open spaces in the city, but no adult burials were encountered in the acropolis. This can be explained by children's need for protection. They believed that babies, especially new-born babies, needed protection even after death. This is why babies were buried in the houses or in the gardens, and adults outside the city walls.

The Early Bronze Age inhabitants of Troy I made their tools of copper, stone and bone. Stone vessels and pottery were in constant use. All pots were shaped by hand, without the use of the potter's wheel. Some spindle whorls and loom weights have been found, showing that spinning and weaving were familiar occupations for these natives of north western Asia Minor. Troy I, which had ten building phases, was eventually wiped out by a great fire.

TROY II. (2500-2300 B.C.)

The second settlement at Hisarlik was built on top of the ruins of Troy I. It seems that the inhabitants of Troy I. completely reconstructed the citadel after the disaster. There is evidence that the culture of Troy I. continued in this period. Megarons were the general style of houses. Some of them were quite large and some of them had more rooms but the design was basically the same. During recent excavations, a wall from the biggest megaron was uncovered, under a cone which was used as a measuring point and left unexcavated by Schliemann. The cone was excavated by Prof. Gunter Mansfeld, one of the archeologists in the German team. As well as some findings belonging to different periods, the mudbrick wall of the biggest megaron -which can be accepted as the palaca of Troy II- was unearthed. The plaster of the brick wall was found in very good condition. Due to a great fire the plaster and the bricks turned red. This 4500 year old palace wall was buried again at the end of the 1991 excavation season to preserve it for future generations.

Troy II had a roughly circular plan about 110m. in diameter. It was a little larger than Troy I. The powerful defensive fortification wall was built of relatively small unworked stones and had a broadly sloping outer face. Sloping walls are stronger against earthquakes and easier to built. The upper part of the wall was supported by a vertical superstructure of sun dried brick. Small rectangular towers, at internals of approximately 10m. would have strengthened the defensive arrangements. In some places the wall is seen to have been built in separate parallel sections. These are the different building phases of Troy II. One of the early Troy II. towers was reconstructed in 1992. There were two main gates; one on the southeast, the other one on the southwest. Both display o peculiar plan with fairly large covered corridors which ran directly beneath a huge tower and jutted out from the wall. The sides of the corridor were shored up with vertical timbers. They presumably also supported transverse beams to prevent the stonework of the tower falling into the corridor.

The southwestern gateway is better preserved and the roadway, which was paved with great slabs of limestone, rose 5m. to the level of the gate by means of a ramp 21 m. long and 7.55m wide which was bordered on each side by a stone wall. It was however too steep for wheeled traffic. The southeastern gate has the same plan as the southwestern except for the paved ramp. There is another small gateway about 8m. long and 5m. wide to the south which leads to a cobbled court. The findings show us that the inhabitants of Troy II. had quite a high standard of living. The treasure found by Schliemann of gold, silver, electron (an alloy of gold and silver) and bronze all belong to this period. Objects included among this treasure make it clear that the women of this time led a life of relative luxury. The artisans who made these handicrafts were very skilful. The potters started using the potter's started using the potter's wheel and made beautiful ceramics. Two-handled depas for wine were characteristic pots of this period. A vast amount of jewelry and traces of fire led Schliemann to believe that this level was the Troy of Priam and Homer. Latter, with the help of architect Wilhelm Dorpfeld, he accepted Troy VI as the city of Priam. However the American expedition concluded that the Troy of Priam was level VIIa. Tory II was burned down by a warrior nation.

TROY III. IV. V. (2300-1700 B.C.)

After the disaster that brought Troy II. to an end, the survivors rebuilt the whole town. The absence of any fresh influence from outside the Troad indicates that there was no break in cultural continuity. The same people followed the some way of life and clung to the same traditions. Probably the invaders of Troy II. left this place and emigrated somewhere else, or mixing with the natives they lost their own character and lived together, for a long era, through Troy III. Troy IV. and Troy V. till the end of the Early Bronze Age.

Although each of these settlements had a greater population and occupied a larger area, none could create a better civilization than its predecessor. Each was like e village with irregular blocks of houses, separated by narrow streets. This can be explained in terms of people living in fear of another disaster. Actually during this period Anatolia had many invasions. The Hittites in particular became a great power at this time. Because Schliemann removed all the walls of these periods, there are hardly any remains left today, nor do we know what brought each of them to an end. During recent excavations in the southern excavations in the southern part of Schliemann's north-south trench some sturdy walls were uncovered. These walls, which look like defense walls, may be the city walls of these periods. Further excavations will enable us to get more information about these periods.

TROY VI (1700-1250 B.C.)

The findings of Troy VI. indicate to us a break with the past and a course of gradual change and development. Powerful fortifications and free standing houses show that these people were highly advanced in military engineering, masonry and town planning. Today we can only see the remains of the fortification wall and a few houses, along the outer periphery of the acropolis. In the central part of the citadel there are almost no remains of Troy VI, because the top of the mound was shaved off in Hellenistic and Roman times in order to provide an open court around the temple of Athena.

The monumental fortification walls of Troy VI, and its towers were built of squared blocks of hard durable limestone. There are five gateways, which were designated Vlu, Vlv, Vlt, Vls, and Vlr. The main eastern gateway is a passage about 2m. wide and 5m. long between overlapping walls. At the end of this corridor the gateway turns sharply inward and here there was once actually a door that could be opened and closed. As seen today, it was very well planned to resist attack. The southwestern parth of the wall and its tower, which we see at the entrance of the ruins today, is still in good condition. But the southern part of this wall was badly damaged when a roman bouleuterion (senate) was built over it. On this wall, large limestone blocks were freely used in the lower part; smaller stones in the upper. The sloping outer face of the wall was divided into straight segments by vertical offsets. What were these vertical offsets for? Were they merely decorative or had they some purpose?

An American architect I guided through the ruins gave me one possible explanation which seems to make sense. He suggested that the Trojans constructed the city wall, block by block and that the offsets were intended to disguise the weakest part of the construction, the point where two blocks interlocked. The offsets are carved so as to be easy for an enemy to observe, the intention was presumably to give an attacker a false impression of the strength of the weakest part of the wall. But the existence of the same sort of carving on a house wall inside the city walls, make us believe that in fact it was merely decorative. Some visitors I guide through the site believe that this was en extraordinary effort just for decoration.

It is true that this was no easy task for the bronze age, when they did not have iron tools, but throughout history men have gone to great time and expense merely for decoration. The tower was added to this wall later as further protection for the east gate. If you compare the masonry of the wall and the tower you can easily see the different workmanship. The northeastern tower is a huge tower with very handsome stonework. Inside is a well or cistern. It is too large to be an ordinary well, too deep for an ordinary cistern. Probably it was built for both purposes. This tower was built as an observation tower, dominating not only the acropolis but the whole Trojan plain as well as enclosing the well-cistern within the fortification, thus ensuring a safe supply of water in emergencies. On the south part of the tower there is a side gate that facilitated communication between the tower and the outside world. The stairway on the northern side of the tower is in good condition but it is believed that this was built in the Hellenistic period.

The wall between the northeastern tower and the east gate was cut across by a Roman foundation. The southern gate is the principal entrance to the fortress. It was a simple opening, 3.30 m. wide with a relatively broad street which ascended from the gate towards the citadel. The gateway was protected by a tower about 7 m. wide. It is exactly the same as the eastern tower. We wonder if this was the famous gate mentioned in the lliad as the "Scaean gate" where the duel between Achilles and Hector took place. Between the south gate and southwest gate, for a distance of some 121 m., lies the southern part of the fortification wall. The greater part of this wall was badly damaged by the construction of a small odeon and other public buildings in the late classical and Roman times. At the west end of this wall there was e gateway which for some reason was later blocked up. What could this reason be?

Today we all accept that the fortification walls of Troy VI were used during Troy VII a. The American expedition proved that the Troy of Priam was the first Phase of Troy VII. According to Prof. Fritz Schachermeyr, the Austrian archeologist, and Prof. Ekrem Akurgal, the Turkish archeologist, Troy VI was the city of Priam. Whether it was VI. or VII. the same city walls were used in both periods. That means these walls are certainly the walls of Priam's city. In the light of this knowledge and with the help of a little imagination, the blocking up can be explained by the wooden horse story. As we take this mythological approach, we want to make you think, though as yet this theory cannot be proved. In fact, if we examine this gate carefully, we can see evidence of its having been enlarged. That is, the Trojans tore down the wall to enlarge the gate to take the huge wooden horse into the citadel. Soon after this, instead of rebuilding the gate, which would have taken time, they completely closed it off using unworked stones.

This explanation makes sense if the wooden horse story actually occurred as told in the legend, otherwise there must be another explanation. Free standing houses of different designs and megaron-like large houses were characteristic of this period. The pillared house, a megaron with the roof supported by wooden pillars, was introduced. Examining these houses and others, we can say that building techniques reached their full development and some powerful authority controlled the planning of the houses in the acropolis. At this level black and grey Minoan pottery has been found in a wide variety of characteristic shapes. Troy VI was brought to its end by a violent earthquake.

TROY VIIa (1250-1180 B.C.)

After the earthquake that laid Troy VI in ruins, the survivors immediately repaired the fortification walls, reconstructed the old houses and built many new ones. The same people continued to occupy the same place through Troy VIIa with a direct, unbroken continuation of the culture of Troy VI. After the earthquake, the upper part of the great wall was rebuilt and some additions were made. On the eastern side of the fortress a new wall was added to the older wall which overlapped the east gateway, but this extension was destroyed during the excavations.

The south gateway was also repaired and it continued to be the principal entrance to the citadel. The way through the opening was paved with large flat stones. In he middle of the paved area an underground drain, which was made to carry off rain water from the upper part of the acropolis, can still be seen to day. The houses which were found within the outer ring of the acropolis were smaller and roughly built, because the acropolis at this time was obliged to shelter a larger population than its predecessor. The walls were thick and sturdy, but no real effort was made to build handsome structures. In this period in almost every house, large storage jars were set deeply into the ground and covered with a heavy stone slab. The size of these jars ranged from 1.75m. to 2m. in height and 1m. to 1.25m. in diameter. These large jars were regularly used for the storage of solids-as well as liquid supplies for an emergency.

The numerous small, roughly built houses everywhere in the acropolis and innumerable storage jars indicate that a large number of people sheltered within the fortification from an invasion. This and some traces of fire and fighting like arrow heads and spear heads on the walls and abundance of human skeletons. Especially a human jay cut by a sword-makes us think that Troy VIIa was the Troy of Priam which was besieged and captured by the Achaens and destroyed by fire. This is the opinion of the American Cincinnatti University team but according to Prof. F. Schachermeyr and Prof. Ekrem Akurgal, Troy VI was the city of Priam. With fine fortifications, ingenious design and carefully constructed buildings, Troy VI fits in well with the lliad. "Priam and his sons Paris and Hector or else the king and princes known to us by their names in myth, must have lived during this glorious period. To take this powerful city the Greeks fought for ten years. They could only achieve their goal after the city had been destroyed by an earthquake. Since the Greeks well knew that they owed their victory to Poseidon, the Earth shaker, they offered him a wooden horse for his great help" The horse was the symbol of poseidon.

TROY VIIb. (1180-1000 B.C.)

After the departure of the Achaens, the citadel was reoccupied by the survivors. The first phase of Troy VIIb. followed the same way of life as Troy VIIa. but later changed as a result of migrations. This stratum too was destroyed by fire.

TROY VII . (1000-85 B.C)

Troy VII was the first Greek settlement in Troy. At this time Greek culture was dominant and this stratum a typical Greek colony. A religious area with a place for worshipping and sacrificing, just outside the western part of the Troy VI city wall, was built in this period. The Persian king Xerxes stayed here and sacrificed 1000 oxen to the Greek gods on his way to Greece (480 B.C.) After bribing the enemy gods with the 1000 oxen, Xerxes had a bridge of ships over the Dardanelles. But the bridge was destroyed by the strong current. Then he punished the Dardanelles by whipping the waters 300 times (!) Later two new bridges were built. One for the animals, the other for the soldiers. Alexander the Great, on his way to Granicus, stayed here and made valuable offerings. (334 B.C.) he also ordered Lysimachus, one of his commanders, to build the Temple of Athena.

TROY IX (85 B.C. - 400 or 600 A.D.)

The top stratum, which was built on the ruins of the earlier settlement at Hisarlık, was e Hellenistic and Roman city. This last settlement which is known as "Novum llium" or New "llion" made great progress at the time of the early roman emperors. The great Roman emperors chose the Trojans as their ancestors. Augustus especially shoqed great interest in the city and enlarged and beautified the Temple of Athena. Also at this time the town spread all over the ridge and was bigger than it had ever been in its long history. To supply water for the city, water pipes and aqueducts were built. An aqueduct which is still in good condition can be seen today in Kemerdere village, 14 km. from Troy, on the mountainside.

The greater part of the city is still unexcavated. In the excavated area, a roman odeon (music theatre) and a bouleuterion (council chamber-senate), built over the southern part of the fortification wall of Troy VI, can be seen, also a Roman bath opposite the odeon and a few marble pieces of the Temple of Athena. Only eight rows of seats from the odeon are relatively well preserved. The marble seat on the eighth row was the imperial box and the changing room on the left of the stage was marble surfaced same as the orchestra. The odeon was probably a covered construction, for there is no channel for rain water. The floor of the Roman bath was once covered with beautiful mosaics. The bath and the mosaics were uncovered by the Cincinnati team. The mosaics were not protected and tourists too them as small souvenirs of Troy and nothing was left behind.

The temple of Athena was built on the northeast part of the Hisarlık mound. This temple was a huge building with thick marble columns. From this doric temple only a few marble capitals, a few marble capitals, a few marble blocks from its ceiling and a piece of the stone pavement from its terrace can be seen today. The eastern part of the two parallel temenos walls which surrounded the terrace are still standing. Some of the marble pieces from the temple were burned by local villagers to produce lime and some of them were possibly used as grave stones. For example, in Kum koy graveyard down on the plain, near the point where the river Simois joins the Scamander, and in a graveyard near Ciplak village. Also it is possible that the material in the graveyard of Eski Kumkale, an old Ottoman harbor at the mouth of the Scamander, was taken from the same source.

Down the northeast slope of the mound lies the large theatre. The stage was excavated previously and new excavations are being carried out every year. The seating capacity was probably six or eight thousand. Partly because a greater part is unexcavated and partly because of not having many written records from this era, we do not know much about this settlement. According to recent records llion was completely destroyed by the Roman Legate Fimbria, during the Mithridatic Wars (85 B.C.). Soon after that Emperor Sulla provided some financial relief for rebuilding the city. This was because llion was recognized as the mother city of the Romans. But it especially benefitted from this legendary connection during the reign of the Julio-Claudians. At this time the city experienced a second "building bomm". Augustus visited Troy in 20 B.C. the temple of Athena, bouleterion and the big theatre were restored or rebuilt with the financial relief provided by Augustus.

Because of llion's legendary connection with Rome its special status as a "free and federate city" was renewed periodically. Many Roman emperors visited Troy. Caracalla was one of them. Emperor Constantine the Great also visited Troy in the early fourth century A.D. He decided to built a new capital for the Roman Empire in the east, and thought of establishing it in Troy. But the strategic importance of llion in trade had completely lost its place to Byzantium. Because of this great change, he passed over llion and moved to Byzantium. He rebuilt the whole city and made it the capital of the Roman Empire, and the name of the city became Constantinople. After losing its importance in trade, llion became more and more neglected. Only some tourists were visiting the neighboring tumuli which were identified as tombs of the Greek and Trojan heroes. Then for a few more years the Trojans offered sacrifices at the Trojans offered sacrifices at the ancient altars, but with the coming of Christianity the city lost its importance completely. In the fourth century the town became the seat of a bishopric.

Although the new excavation team is getting new information about this period today still we do not know much about this settlement or what brought this era to its end. Probably a severe earthquake in the early sixth century tumbled down the city and the people left this place forever. Though destroyed, Troy remained. Homer and Virgil have kept it alive right up to our time.


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