Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The real location of Troy

Most people remember the lavishly directed yet ultimately unsuccessful attempt at recreating the Iliad on the big screen, the movie Troy. It was for many, their look at one of antiquity's greatest wars.

Or was it?

I recently finished a book by Clive Cussler, an adventure with his eponymous hero Dirk Pitt. The story was, quite frankly, crap, but his support of a little known theory regarding the location of the ancient city of Troy was the most interesting part of the book.

Homer's verbal depictions of Troy and its surrounding environs did not fit the Mediterranean at all. Firstly, the sea on which the invading armada sailed on was said to be gray, boundless, misty at various points in the Iliad, which hardly describes the sunny blue Mediterranean sea. Such a description, however, points us immediately to Northern Europe.

Second, Homer named nine rivers, plus the local foliage, which included oak trees(!!!) and marshlands. The most stunning part was the sheer similarity between the Homeric names of the rivers and their modern equivalents.

Third, the climate was described as full of rain, fog, and snow. Sounds familiar already? In short, no way it took place in the Mediterranean. A northern locale would be the most likely.

Two options have been offered, but one fits the data better than most, and surprisingly it's near Cambridge in England. The geographical features fit perfectly, and several ancient Bronze-Age monuments still stand supposedly unexplained by archaeologists.

All the rivers and their names did not change much through the ages, and the rivers around Cambridge match up perfectly with the ones Homer described, in terms of their names. Have a look: (Homeric/modern) - Aesupus/Ise, Rhesus/Rhee, Rhodius/Roding, Granicus/Granca, Scamander/Cam, Simois/Great Ouse, Satniois/Little Ouse, Larisa/Lark, Cayster/Yare (Caistor castle is at its mouth), Thymbre/Thet, Heptaporus/Tove, Callicolone/Colne, Cilla/Chillesford, Temese/Thames. Some of these names have endured virtually unchanged for 3000 years!!! This cannot be a simple coincidence. One interesting fact about history: conquerors change city names, but hardly ever bother to change the names of rivers!

It's a fascinating theory, and one that definitely pokes the established 'experts' in the eye. And I'll file it away as one of my numerous contrary positions that simply disagrees with current dogma.

For more information, you should read Wilkens' "Where Troy Once Stood". The evidence is powerful and stunning in matching up almost exactly with Homer's account.


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