“这个伟大的城市 特洛伊 已经灭亡如今只有红色的烈焰在那里”
—— 荷马 《伊利亚特》
When Homer’s Iliad was
first written down in the 8th century BCE,
the story of the Trojan warwas already an old one.
From existing oral tradition,
audiences knew the tales of the long siege,
the epic duels outside the city walls,
and the cunning trickthat finally won the war.
In the end, the magnificentcity was burned to the ground,
never to rise again.
But had it ever existed?
By the time the field of archaeology began to take shape
in the 19th century,
many were skeptical,considering the epic to be pure fiction,
a founding myth imagininga bygone heroic era.
But some scholars believed
that behind the superhuman feats and divine miracles
there must have been a grainof historical truth –
a war that was really fought, and a place where it happened.
Frank Calvert was one such believer.
He had spent his youth travelingand learning about ancient civilizations
before accompanying his brother Frederick
on a diplomatic mission to the northwest Anatolian region of Çanakkale.
It was here that Homer describedthe Greek encampment
at the mouth of the Scamander river.
And it was here that fate brought Frankinto contact
with a journalist and geologistnamed Charles Maclaren.
Locals and travelers had long speculated
that Troy might’ve stood on oneof the surrounding hilltops.
But Maclaren had been one of the first
to publish a detailed topographicalstudy of the area.
He believed he had found the site –
a 32-meter mound known by the name Hisarlık,
derived from the Turkish wordfor “fortress.”
Soon after meeting with him in 1847,
the Calverts bought2,000 acres of farmland
that included part of the hill.
Before they could explore any further,
the Crimean War broke out and forestalled their archaeological ambitions for several years.
After the war’s end, Frank Calvert began to survey the site,
but lacked the fundsfor a full excavation.
这时 富有的德国商人 兼业余考古学家
This was where the wealthyGerman businessman
and amateur archaeologistHeinrich Schliemann came in.
At Calvert’s invitation,
Schliemann visited the grounds in 1868, and decided to excavate.
Eager to find the ancient city,
Schliemann tore massive trenches all the way to the base of the hill. There,
he uncovered a hoardof precious artifacts, jewelry,
and metalwork, including two diademsand a copper shield.
Schliemann took full creditfor the discovery,
announcing that he had found Troy and the treasure of its king Priam.
But the real treasure was elsewhere.
When later archaeologistsstudied the site,
they realized that the mound consisted
of no less than nine cities,
each built atop the ruins of the last.
The layer Schliemann had uncovereddated back to the Mycenaean Age,
more than 1,000 years too earlyfor Homer.
But inside the mound was indeed evidence
for a city that had thrivedduring the Bronze Age,
with charred stone, broken arrowheads,
and damaged human skeletons suggesting a violent end.
It was Troy VII,contained in the middle layers
and now ravaged for a second timeby Schliemann’s careless excavation.
The settlement,spanning some 200,000 square meters
and home to as many as 10,000 people,
thrived until around 1180 BCE.
Its position at the southern entranceof the Dardanelles strait
would’ve made a formidable strategiclocation for both defense and trade.
Most importantly, there are the remains
of a massive fortification wall –
perhaps the very same one
from which Priam and Hector once watched the Greeks approach.
Of course, it’s difficult to be certain
that these ruins are the true remainsof ancient Troy,
and scholars still dispute whether the Trojan War as described by Homer ever happened.
Yet the evidence is strong enough
that UNESCO has labelled Hisarlık the archeological site of Troy.
Regardless of its identity, thanks to persistence,
a bit of faith, and a lot of research,
archaeologists are bringing the long-buried secrets
of an ancient, lost city to light.
“这个伟大的城市 特洛伊 已经灭亡如今只有红色的烈焰在那里”