I bet that title got your attention but I won't be talking about condoms.
I'm sure most of you have heard of the epic poem The Illiad by Homer and its "sequel" the Odyssey. Many of you probably encountered it in high school or even in college or maybe you just watched the movie Troy. I had the pleasure (well at the time it was a displeasure) of reading portions of the tale in high school and later in college I finally got around the reading the entire thing. The story has a lot of things within the backdrop of the war - internal tensions, individual introspection, deities, divine intervention, symbolism, exploration of heroism and sacrifice and much more. A great story right?
After reading the story I began to wonder - just how much of this story is real and accurate?
For a long time it was simply viewed as just another epic poem. Then in the 1800's something changed that - arcaeologists found Troy. Thanks to the work of amateur archaeologists Frank Calvert and Heinrich Schliemann, Troy was found to be an actual city in what is now modern day Turkey. Also, a 21st century historical/geological study found that the geological/geographic descriptions in the Illiad to be consistent with archaeological and historical geological texts.
Homeric Troy (Troy VII - the city has apparently been destroyed and rebuilt several times) ranges from 13th to the 9th century BCE. Dates for events from historical document and archaeological research seems to agree and jive with the Illiad.
Other various finds seem to support the setting of Homer's poem and also those in the Odyssey. There is even some evidence that the characters in the poems were based on actual historical figures.
However, we have to pause here a minute and ask ourselves - if there was a Troy; if it was destroyed by a war around the time Homer said, in the same place and records indicate, and a close similarity between actual people and characters in the story, does this mean that there really was an Achilles, half-man half-god and the Pantheon of Greek gods is real?!
That's where the story crosses from history into fiction. I'm sure many would agree with this assessment - I just wonder why such critical assessment isn't placed upon other ancient works.
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