Most of us grew up learning the story of the Trojan War, and so I was excited to visit the ruins of Troy. Our guide, Isa, is well versed an ancient history and delights in myth-busting, so we were not surprised when he scorned the tacky Trojan Horse at the entrance to the archaeologic site and started giving us the true story.
The true story is that Homer lived 400 years after the time of Troy and had no historical basis for his story, other than the knowledge that there had been a military excursion against Troy about that time. The true story is that the Trojans in the city were Hittites and didn't share a common worship of Greek Gods as Homer depicts. The true story is that the Greek ships couldn't possibly withdraw into hiding behind the little island we could see in the distance and that however the Greeks managed to get into the city, a wooden horse is an unlikely military strategy for them to employ.
The archeological tour was fascinating. We saw nine layers of Troy, covering three thousand years of ancient settlement at this site. It's a rich source of knowledge about the ancient world.
But the stories of wily Agamemnon and mighty Achilles, grieving Priam and brave Hector, and the legendary beauty of Helen of Troy, still fire our imaginations. It's good to know the truth but it's also good to enjoy the myth. The original archeologists who searched out this site had agendas that went beyond the pursuit of historical fact. They wanted fame and they wanted to use myth to support political and cultural agendas of their own.
With no agenda of our own save our own learning and pleasure, we were able to be in Troy as a place in history and a place in our imaginations, and enjoy both .