*‘아시아엔’ 해외 필진 기고문 한글요약본과 원문을 게재합니다.
트로이는 현재 터키의 서부 지역에 위치한 전설에 나오는 역사도시다. 고대 그리스의 역사가, 호메로스는 자신의 대서사시 <일리아스>에서 ‘트로이 전쟁’에 대해 기록했다.
영국인 고고학자 프랭크 칼버트와 독일인 고고학자 슐리만은 1965년과 1871년 각각 트로이 유적을 발굴함으로써 이 전설에 대한 역사적 신빙성을 실어주었다.
기원전 12세기 패권다툼이 절정이던 지중해 세계에서 지정학적 이점과 상공업을 통해 부를 쌓은 트로이는 호전적인 연안 군소도시국가들이 호시탐탐 침략의 기회를 노리는 질투의 나라였다.
트로이의 왕 프리아모스는 자국의 평화를 지키기 위해 그리스의 아가멤논에게 외교사절단을 파견했다. 프리아모스 왕의 아들 파리스 왕자는 사절단의 일원으로 아가멤논 왕궁에 도착해 환영을 받았다.
하지만 혈기왕성한 왕자는 환영만찬에서 아가멤논 왕의 동생이자 스파르타의 왕 메넬라오스의 아내인 절세미녀 헬레네와 사랑에 빠지게 된다. 파리스 왕자는 외교 사절의 중요한 임무는 망각하고 밤새 헬레네를 꼬드겨 트로이로 야밤 도주를 한다.
왕자의 무분별한 행각은 트로이의 멸망을 초래하게 된다. 파리스 왕자와 헬레네 왕비의 도피행각이 그리스 전역에 곧 퍼지자 그리스 국가들은 응징을 위해 연합군을 형성했다. 이들은 1천여척의 함선에 병사를 태우고 원정길에 올랐다.
하지만 난공불락의 트로이를 함락하는 것은 쉽지 않았다. 그리스의 군사전략가 오디세우스는 트로이 성에 진입하기 위해 한 가지 꾀를 냈다. 커다란 목마를 제작해 그 안에 병사들을 숨겨놓고 성 안으로 위장 진입시킨 것이다. 병사들은 밤 사이 목마에서 나와 성을 함락시킨다.
여기서 그리스의 전쟁 영웅 아킬레스는 트로이의 첫째 왕자 헥토르를 결투에서 살해하고, 명사수인 파리스 왕자는 자신의 형을 죽인 아킬레스를 화살을 쏴 죽인다. 트로이 왕의 딸 폴릭세네 공주는 승리의 제물로 신전 위에서 목 베어지고, 언니 카산드라 공주는 노예로 끌려가 그리스에서 최후를 맞는다. 모든 트로이인들은 학살되고 재물은 약탈당한다.
Troy: Between myth and history
During the seven-hour trip by bus from Istanbul to Troy, I looked at Turkey’s spectacular scenery: wide fields of yellow flowers followed by hills covered with shades of green and then wide spaces of rose fields until we reached the Dardanelles Strait, which we crossed on a big ferry boat to the other bank where the city of Canakkale, the nearest to the ancient area of Troy, lay.
Though we finally reached the outskirts of Troy, two things prevented us from exploring the historical city, which dates back to the age of Homer who portrayed it in his famous epic poem.
We had to wait until the following morning to see the ruins of Troy, which, but for the stratagem manifested in that big wooden horse standing at the entrance of that legendary town, nobody would have been able to approach.
At the bus door, the handsome assistant driver told us Troy was a few steps away. We got off the bus to find ourselves five kilometres away from Troy. I was astonished to discover that I had to walk that distance and I burst into hysterical laughter.
I left Istanbul seven hours earlier, passed by many cities and towns, stopped many times, travelled hundreds of kilometres by road and crossed the Adriatic Sea, but instead of reaching Troy we were on the side of the road, as seen in American films.
I stood almost hopelessly at the beginning of the road to Troy. At last, we breathed a sigh of relief when a Turkish man with rural features stopped his car and waited to see a relative of his.
He kindly agreed to give us a lift to Troy, but after travelling for not more than five kilometres, he suddenly stopped in front of a bazaar telling us that was the end of his trip. He tried in Turkish to tell us something, but as we did not understand anything, the shopkeeper explained that Troy is a national reserve that is open for only a limited number of hours. That was the second surprise.
As he pointed out that tourists stay in small motels in that village and visit Troy in the morning, we spent the night in a small rural house in the village, surrounded by thousands of birds that kept hovering over us singing.
As we approached the ancient city, the famous enormous wooden horse was in the distance.
Days went by, but Troy was still closed! Ulysses had to think of a stratagem. He suggested that the campaign leaders invite the cleverest carpenters and sculptors to make a large hollow horse where some of the bravest Hellenistic fighters would hide.
He would then deceive the fleet that he had sailed with the campaign’s soldiers. In the dead of night, the Trojans drew the horse inside their city as a reminder of that all-out, bloody war in which their best youth were killed.
In the last watch of the night, the hidden champions emerged from within the horse and the army broke into the mighty city, under whose walls people were humiliated and souls perished and were buried.
Thus wrote Homer telling the story of the Trojan Horse in his famous epic poem the Iliad. But we have to go back a little to understand the story from the start.
Legendary Troy was a big city ruled by King Priam, and according to Homer, the king’s son, Paris, was asked to judge a beauty contest among the Greek goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite.
He declared the latter the winner of the contest, as she had promised to marry him to the most beautiful woman in the world. Paris later visited Menelaus, the king of Sparta, and he fell in love with his wife, Helen, who was known as the most beautiful woman in the world.
Paris either abducted Helen or she willingly went with him to Troy, which enraged Menelaus, and the Greeks (called Ilium by Homer), who vowed to take revenge on Paris and the Trojans. Accordingly, a campaign was launched led by Agamemnon, Menelaus’s brother, and included Achilles and Oysseus (Ulysseus in Latin) and others.
The Greeks laid siege to Troy for ten years, but they failed to capture the city, which was fortified with huge stonewalls, until Odysseus’ Trojan Horse stratagem.
Apart from these myths, little is known about Troy’s history. Archaeologists say Troy was founded in the early Bronze Age, which started in Asia Minor in about 300 BC. The city is located on a fertile elevated plain in northwest Turkey, and was near the southern tip of the strait known today as the Dardanelles.
Archaeologists discovered nine cities, one beneath another. The second and the sixth cities in particular achieved prosperity, as Trojans were engaged in agriculture, sheep farming and the wool trade. They did business with the Mycenaeans, who lived in Greece, and with other peoples along the coast of Asia Minor on the Aegean Sea.
Little is known about the real Trojan War either. Archaeologists found evidence that the Greeks probably sacked Troy in a campaign similar to the one described in the Iliad, but the motive for this campaign is unknown. Greek scholars believe that Troy fell in about 1184 BC, whereas many archaeologists suggest that the seventh city, which was destroyed in about 250 BC, was the city referred to in classical Greek literature.
The ruins of Troy
The German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann was the first to carry out excavations at Troy in 1870. He found evidence of the presence of a number of cities built at that site over a long period of history. At the end of the excavation area, he discovered the ruins of an ancient walled city, imposing buildings and hidden treasures of gold and silver. He mistakenly believed that this city, which he called the second Troy, was the one
described by Homer.
In the 1890s, the German archaeologist Wilhelm Durbfeld, a former assistant to Schliemann, conducted other excavations at Troy and was the first to reveal the presence of nine cities found one beneath another at the same site.
He believed that the sixth city was the same one described in the Iliad. This city, which he called the sixth Troy, was larger than its predecessors, with high walls and large rectangular houses, which were probably built around a central palace.
In 1932, Carl Plegin, an Amer ican archaeologist from Cincinnati University in Ohio, USA, carried out new excavations at Troy, which lased for six years, following which he confirmed Durbfeld’s results, except that he believed Homeric Troy was the seventh city, saying that the sixth city represented an important stage in its development, but it was not Troy as reported in Greek mythology.
Though Plegin believed the seventh city was Homeric Troy, archeologists have not been able to prove that it was the ancient city.
The Troy site remained deserted from the twelfth to the eighth century BC, except for a small village built by some Greek settlers there, in addition to a city (the ninth) built in the fourth century BC and called Ilium by the Greeks. It existed for about seven centuries and was deserted in about AD 400. It remained hidden until it was uncovered by Schliemann.
Having reviewed the annals of history, we found it appropriate to tour the area to see for ourselves the ruins of that historic city. The first thing we saw was the large wooden horse. Tourists who climb its empty stairs and look through its side openings look very small, as if they werelooking through the windows of a high-rise tower.
I went inside the horse trying to see how it accommodated the soldiers. As I climbed the stairs hidden in the horse’s abdomen, I found myself in a huge empty space with some small wooden windows through which the soldiers had watched the Trojans.
Behind the large horse was a cobbled pathway lined with some roses and shrubs, which led to a passage shaded by high, 100-year-old oak trees. Then appeared the ruins of Troy, which the Turkish government designated as a national reserve and heritage site in 1996.
Without Homer’s Iliad, nothing would have been known about the history of that legendary city or Helen, the most beautiful of Troy’s women, the cause of that bloody war.
Helen, the fruit of glamorous love, daughter of Zeus, the womanizer, and charming Leda, whom the supreme Olympian gold turned into a white swan who walks with a swinging gait along swamps and brooks. This baby girl was the ink with which he signed the declaration of war.
Helen… Love also kills
Homer described how she was brought up in the home of a prince, who married her mother Leda after being forsaken by Zeus, Helen’s father, and how she led a life of luxury, not accepting a husband below the level of the king of Sparta.
This was before Paris came from Troy as the son of the king to visit King Menelaus. He fell in love with her and she decided to go with him to Troy, which triggered a t e n-ye a r drama ending in entering Troy using a stratagem.
I k e p t o n imag i n i ng the l o c a t i o n a n d surroundings of the palace where Helen and Paris lived. I looked at the ruins of the houses where the Trojans lived and the very few signs that show how they were clever at arts and some handicrafts, such as pottery, inscriptions on metal, etc. Most sites, except amphitheatres and the remnants of temples, towers and gates, were obliterated.
I was only able to imagine the full shape of Troy when I saw visualized paintings of it looking its best in the archaeological museum in Canakkale, which houses most of the objects excavated including tombs, tombstones, pottery, statuettes, handicrafts, etc.