**NINE LAYERS OF TROJAN CITY: GLIMPSE INTO TROY'S HISTORY Poem by RAJ NANDY
**NINE LAYERS OF TROJAN CITY:
GLIMPSE INTO ANCIENT TROY’S
(PART – I)
Tucked away on the northwestern coast of Anatolia -
About four miles east of the Aegean Sea,
And equidistant from the Dardanelles Strait,
Lies the historic ‘Hisarlik tell’!
The Dardanelles once know as the Hellespont, -
Linked the Aegean via the Sea of Marmara and
the Bospherous Strait, -
With the Black Sea way up North!
This ‘Hisarlik’ in Turkish means a fortress, -
Which is located on an ‘artificial mound’,
Which the archeologists lovingly call a ‘tell’;
Has been identified as the site of ancient City
of Troy which fell!
But it has its own hidden secrets to reveal and tell!
More than two thousand years ago this portion of the
Had a different conflagration of its own to boast!
The sea and its beaches were much closer to the
mighty walls of Troy,
And had cradled a Trola Bay on whose western
The Geek army of Agamemnon had camped, –
as a convenient site!
And the beaches of Troy were once the real time
action scene, -
Of close combats between the defending Trojans
and the attacking Greeks!
Where Achilles had dragged the body of Hector -
to his chariot chained;
Under the shadows of the mighty walls of Troy
and proclaimed, -
That he had avenged the death of his dear friend
Patroclus, whom Hector had slain! , -
But those walls of Troy which the Greeks failed
Had finally led to a ten year’s long siege!
And over the past centuries the alluvial silt,
Brought by the Simos and the Scamender Rivers,
Located up north and down south of ancient Trola *,
Filled up the Trola Bay pushing Troy further east!
Archeological diggings going seventy meters deep,
Found marine life and sea shells where once the sea
Now standing on top of Hisarlik tell, where myth and
reality appear to blend!
With the cool and gusty northerly breeze from the sea,
Bringing relief from the Turkish summer’s heat!
One can try to imagine fair Helen’s beauteous face,
That launched a thousand ships across the Aegean,
To retrieve the honor and pride, and King Menelaus’
An epic tale of courage, brutality, love, despair,
Immortalized by the blind poet Homer in his ‘Iliad’!
Which the tourist now tries to visualize and see,
A story which has long become a part of Western
(PART – III)
Under this historic 'Hisarlik tell' archeologists have
Nine layers of ancient cities of Troy, - like nine
separate downy cushions spread;
Each with a different bedspread, where ancient cities
of Troy lies buried to rest!
When a city was destroyed by fire, earthquake or war,
The citizens leveled the debris to build anew upon
the earlier site,
Giving rise to an artificial mound which gained more
than hundred feet in height!
Today this ‘Hisralik tell’ is archeologists delight!
It was a British archeologist Frank Calvert who first
during 1860s identified historic site Hisralik!
But his work got overshadowed by the German Heinrich Schliemann’s excavation, which was unscientific!
Schliemann’s unplanned excavation damaged part of
old Troy’s untold story;
But he proved to the world that Homer’s Troy was no
fiction, - but an authentic part of Ancient History!
The excavated nine layers of Troy pertains to Early,
Middle, and Later Bronze Age,
Spanning a period from 3000 BC to 400AD, which
includes the Iron Age!
(PART – IV)
At the lowest bottom of the Hisarlik mound, remains
of ancient city of Troy-I was found!
Here between 3000 to 2500 BC initial Greek settlements
were seen, -
With single storied rectangular houses made of
‘Mud bricks’ unknown in Europe in those early days,
Was common, and in use in the land of the Orient!
A 300 feet diameter citadel, imposing walls with gates
and flanking towers, -
Which with time the earth had graciously devoured!
Troy –II was better planned and double the size;
A ‘burnt city’ destroyed by fire of devastating kind!
Troy – III, IV and V, were all successively built upon
the earlier sites!
The cities gradually becoming bigger and better,
With houses more closely packed and huddled together;
Perhaps growing population accounts for the latter!
Troy –VI and VII, here merits a special mention;
For both the archeologists and historians after some
Declare that this is the Troy of Homer and Iliad’s mighty
Which lay buried for centuries beneath the ‘Hisralik’ -
As a lover of History I found this to be rather exciting!
In 1890 after the death of Schilemann, Wilhelm Dorfeld
continued the excavation,
Looking for another city just outside Schilemann’s Troy,
He found 300 yards of battlement wall which established
another layer of ancient Troy!
Archeologists called it Troy –VI, which has revealed its
This city with a population of around 7000, was ten
times larger than previous cities!
Horses were domesticated and their skeletons were
And Dorfeld claimed this to be the Troy of Homer’s
But the American Carl Blegan’s excavating work, -
which lasted seven seasons,
Refuted Dorfeld’s claim in 1938 - presenting fresh
Troy-VI was destroyed by an earthquake and not fire,
Cracks in the walls and remnants of Mycenaean potteries
indicated a period earlier, -
Before the historic Trojan War began!
Blegan found the remains of houses of Troy-VI and
its citadel walls were repaired and re-used;
And his claims of Troy VII as 'King Priam’s City', had
His discoveries of tenant style living, underground
food storage below floor of houses,
With houses in concentric circles huddled and built
one above the other!
Showed a city geared up to withstand a siege, -
strengthening his claims further!
Skeletons inside houses and streets and Achaean
Indicated a sacked city where Trojans had bled!
Mycenaean cemeteries were found at Besik Bay –
south of Troy,
Where bodies of Greek warriors lay buried -
killed during the war with Troy!
Troy, a city, which around 1190 BC the Greeks
sacked and destroyed!
(TROY – VIII & IX)
Troy gradually collapsed and remained abandoned
for almost next four centuries,
Till the Greek settlers began to occupy Troy around
Giving it a Hellenized name of ‘Ilion’, - Troy’s
The Roman general Sulla sacked Troy in 85 BC,
And in the same year Rome partially re-built this
Troy’s Ninth City!
To the Trojan Aeneas - the Romans now traced their
And this city of Ilion received Emperor Augustus’
A temple of Athena, public buildings and aqueducts
Making Ilion an historic and a ‘sacred city’ of the East!
Here in 480 BC the Persian Emperor Xerxes came to pay
And 150 years later the Great Alexander kneeled before
During the 4th century AD Constantine the Great, wished
to make Ilion his new capital!
But later he chose Byzantine with its natural harbor and
Ever since then the city of Troy (Ilion) gradually lost its
‘Hisarlik’ toady is UNESCO’S Heritage Site, -
A virtual paradise for Archeologists, and Historians
- Raj Nandy
04 May 09
(Based on my research work and notes made on the ancient
History of Troy. ‘Trola’ = ancient name of Troy. The
Trojan War took place around 1200 BC. Homer wrote
‘The Iliad’ about 450 to 500 years later. +Homer called
the Greeks as Achaeans.)
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