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Geologists Show Homer Got It Right
Nature ^ | 1-29-2003 | Philip Ball

Posted on 01/29/2003 4:58:53 PM PST by blam

Geologists show Homer got it right

Trojan geography in Homer's Iliad matches sediment record of Dardanelles coastline.

29 January 2003
PHILIP BALL

The ruins of Troy now perch on the edge of a plateau overlooking a river flood plain. © Uni. of Oxford

Homer knew his geography, say US researchers. The ancient Greek writer's description of the war fought around Troy is consistent with a new reconstruction of the way the region looked about three millennia ago1.

In his Iliad, Homer recounts how the city of Troy was besieged and finally conquered by the army of the Spartan king Menelaus, who sought to reclaim his wife Helen from her abductor, prince Paris. This is thought to have happened around 1250 BC.

Homer's account of the siege and battles give several clues about the lay of the Trojan plain. Then, in the first century AD, the Greek writer Strabo expanded on the description in his book Geography, by which time Troy was known as New Ilium.

Ancient Troy is thought to have stood at a site called Hissarlik in present-day Turkey; archaeological excavations have revealed the remains of a city. There are, in fact, several different ancient Troys, as the settlement was built and destroyed many times since the third millennium BC. These ruins now perch on the edge of a plateau overlooking a river flood plain of sand, silt and marshland.

When Troy was first built around 3000 BC, say John Kraft, of the University of Delaware in Newark, and his colleagues, it was on the coast of a great bay that filled most of the plain.

Today, however, Troy's environs look very different. Little by little, silt from the Simois and Scamander rivers (today called the Dumrek Su and Kara Menderes), which flow into the bay, moved the Dardanelles coastline several kilometres north, leaving Troy high and dry.

The researchers tracked these changes back through time by radiocarbon dating the fossils in columns of sediment drilled from the rivers' flood plain. Their analysis revealed where, at different times, the ground was once a swamp, a brackish lagoon, or earlier still, a flooded bay. The investigation was begun in 1977 and has been directed by Kraft's collaborator Ilhan Kayan of Ege University in Izmir, Turkey .

The Greek army, Homer tells us, camped on the Aegean cost to the west of Troy, and drew up their ships "on the shore of the surging sea well away from the fighting". Kraft's team figures that this camp was situated on a promontory along the west of the former Bay of Troy, which the Greeks defended with a "deep ditch" to the south that prevented the Trojans from advancing up the narrow finger of land.

The researchers also located the "ford of the fair-flowing river" Scamander. Here, according to Homer, Achilles "broke the Trojan line" and forced many of the Trojans over the steep riverbanks into the deep, swift water. By Strabo's time, the plain was probably much farther north, so that the promontory was no longer evident and the two rivers were able to flow together before emptying into the retreating bay.

The team's findings show that Strabo's judgement was unfailingly acute when he spoke of the geography of the Trojan War. He realized that alluvial deposition had changed the coast since Homer's day, and he seems to have guessed rightly when he stated that the Greek camp and ship station were situated "20 stades [about 4 kilometres] from Ilium".

References Kraft, J. C., Rapp, G., Kayan, I. & Luce, J. V. Harbor areas at ancient Troy: sedimentology and geomorphology complement Homer's Iliad. Geology, 31, 163 - 166, (2003). |Article|


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: geologists; godsgravesglyphs; homer; right; show; trojanwar

1 posted on 01/29/2003 4:58:53 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Another excellent post from you.
2 posted on 01/29/2003 5:08:32 PM PST by curmudgeonII
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To: blam
If I go down to that river and make a turn,
will I be sailing on "the wine dark sea"?
3 posted on 01/29/2003 5:15:25 PM PST by APBaer
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To: blam
Homer got it right ....
4 posted on 01/29/2003 5:16:17 PM PST by canuck_conservative
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To: blam
img src=http:\\static.sky.com/images/ pictures/1106722.jpg
5 posted on 01/29/2003 5:17:49 PM PST by canuck_conservative
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To: blam
D'oh!

Huh?

Oh... The "other" Homer.

Never mind.
6 posted on 01/29/2003 5:18:25 PM PST by Redcloak (Join the Coalition to Prevent Unnecessarily Verbose and Nonsensical Tag Lines)
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To: blam
How the @#$%^& do you post a pic?!
7 posted on 01/29/2003 5:18:46 PM PST by canuck_conservative
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To: blam
Thanks for another fascinating post! Love this history stuff...
8 posted on 01/29/2003 5:19:19 PM PST by janetgreen
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To: blam
Homer knew his geography

Somehow I find this hard to believe.

9 posted on 01/29/2003 5:21:07 PM PST by JennysCool
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To: blam
Bump
10 posted on 01/29/2003 5:23:43 PM PST by Fiddlstix (Tag Line Service Center: Get your Tag Lines Here! Wholesale! (Cheaper by the Dozen!) Inquire Within)
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To: blam
Seems like there was some mention of Achilles struggle in the Scamander and that his glory would be covered in silt.

I would have to look it up.
11 posted on 01/29/2003 5:23:44 PM PST by tet68
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To: canuck_conservative

12 posted on 01/29/2003 5:27:30 PM PST by BenLurkin (Socialism is immoral.)
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To: canuck_conservative
Put a < before img src and > after jpg. Also http://
13 posted on 01/29/2003 5:28:52 PM PST by BenLurkin (Socialism is immoral.)
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To: BenLurkin
Thanks. I used back-slash instead of forward slash. D'oh ....!!
14 posted on 01/29/2003 5:32:28 PM PST by canuck_conservative
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To: JennysCool
"From now on, when people get wood, they'll think of Trojans." -- Ned Flanders
15 posted on 01/29/2003 5:49:14 PM PST by Publius
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To: canuck_conservative
<img src=http://static.sky.com/images/pictures/1106722.jpg>

Becomes


16 posted on 01/29/2003 5:50:30 PM PST by petuniasevan
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To: blam
A German team has been conducting ongoing excavations at Troy since 1988 and has made some important discoveries. The Project Troia website has news in English and German about the annual digs and publications.

See: http://www.uni-tuebingen.de/troia/eng/neues.html

17 posted on 01/29/2003 6:31:34 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: blam
conquered by the army of the Spartan king Menelaus, who sought to reclaim his wife Helen

Bzzzt! Yes, Helen was the wife of Menelaus, but Menelaus was not the leader of the Greeks. That honor went to his brother Agammemnon. So, Homer got it right, but this journalist did not.

18 posted on 01/29/2003 6:54:44 PM PST by ClearCase_guy
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To: canuck_conservative

19 posted on 01/29/2003 7:00:07 PM PST by visualops
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To: petuniasevan; BenLurkin
lol GMTA
20 posted on 01/29/2003 7:01:40 PM PST by visualops
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To: blam; FairOpinion; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; ...
A Blast from the Past. January 2003. It never got pinged.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
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21 posted on 10/11/2006 10:04:25 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (North Korea is a rogue and illegal regime. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: blam

I can't access article without a subscription. Are there any maps?


22 posted on 10/11/2006 10:51:52 AM PDT by Unam Sanctam
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To: blam

Actually, I found a useful map here:

http://www.udel.edu/PR/UDaily/2003/troy030303.html


23 posted on 10/11/2006 10:53:29 AM PDT by Unam Sanctam
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To: canuck_conservative

24 posted on 10/11/2006 3:00:26 PM PDT by KillTime (Democracies that can't distinguish between good and evil or deny any difference shall surely perish.)
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To: blam
Homer wasn't "guessing".
25 posted on 10/11/2006 5:50:36 PM PDT by Question_Assumptions
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To: KillTime



Yeah, I know, I was only learning how to post pictures back then - had been on FR for about 2 months, and that was the first time I tried.


And then that one article gets pinged 3 1/2 years later. Weird!!
26 posted on 10/14/2006 7:52:22 PM PDT by canuck_conservative
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Graves
Glyphs
Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
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27 posted on 06/23/2008 11:15:55 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_________________________Profile updated Friday, May 30, 2008)
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 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


28 posted on 08/14/2011 8:34:22 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Yes, as a matter of fact, it is that time again -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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