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Guest Message by DevFuse


Troy, a tale within a tale...

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 12:54

The recent movie Troy is based on the legendary tale told by Homer in the Iliad. The real Troy is in Turkey on the Dardanelles Straits, the meeting point of continents.

Why is Troy so famous?
Troy is one of 20,000 tumuli in Turkey; indeed, it is a rather small one. So why is it so famous? One: Its strategic importance since 3,000BC. Two: Homer's priceless PR. Three: Helen of Troy and the Trojan Horse. Four: The magnificent treasure found by German archaeologist Heinrich Schiliemann in 1873 that he thought was the Treasure of King Priam. In fact, Priam lived in the 13th century BC. Schiliemann's treasure predates Priam by 1300 years. The treasure included four ceremonial axes, two of which were made from materials imported from as far away as Afghanistan and China--proof of the Trojan's far-reaching trade relations.

The Trojan Horse and the Trojan War as seen through the eyes of Hollywood.
So, the real Trojan War probably had a lot more to do with wealth and power than with love. Yet, according to Homer, the Trojan War had its roots in a beauty contest held on Mount Ida near the city. Paris, a Trojan prince, chose Aphrodite as the fairest of three goddesses when she promised him the hand of Helen, the beautiful wife of Menelaus. This story is completely overlooked in the film.

Not in the heel but through the heart
The term 'Achilles Heel' meaning fatal weakness comes from the story of Achilles whose mother bathed in him in the River Styx to make him immortal. The waters made him invulnerable except for the heel by which his mother held him. Achilles is fatally wounded in the heel by Paris.

A scene from the film, Troy
In the Hollywood version, Achilles is killed by two arrows to his heart. In the film, Paris hands the Sword of Troy to a random soldier: in fact, this soldier was none other than Aeneas, the son of Aphrodite and a Trojan nobleman, who later founded Rome. The film has many other errors: the sun rises in the west, we see Mexican llamas, a plane flies over Achilles, Helen's tear-streaked makeup is fixed when she turns her head and Achilles has blonde hair (it should be red). Still, it is worth seeing.

The real causes behind the war
Troy's awesome wealth was derived from taxes levied on the caravanserais that passed through the city and the merchant shipped that anchored in its harbour. The real aim of the war was to acquire this wealth. 3,000 years later, the Dardanelles were to see another major naval battle: the Battle of Gallipoli (Gelibolu). Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, sent soldiers from Europe, Australia and New Zealand to attack the Dardanelles. Ironically, the Allied flagship was called the HMS Agamemnon. After the Turkish victory, Ataturk is said to have cried, "Hector, we have avenged you."

By The Gate Magazine

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