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Where is the City of Troy?
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Homer's Iliad was modified by Athenian rulers

John Crowe claims that Athenian rulers between 560 and 514 BCE helped rewrite and add sections of Homer's Iliad in order to make people believe that Troy's ruins were in Hisarlik. They did this with the aim to expand Athenian colonies.
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There are many questions surrounding Homer and the existence of the Iliad and Odyssey. Who was Homer? Did he or she write both epics? When were they written? How much were they edited by others over the years? There has been a great deal of scholarly discussion on these topics, and in John Crowe's volume 2 of The Troy Deception, he investigates the idea that Homer's Iliad was edited heavily by rulers of Athens.

The Argument

In his book, John Crowe suggests that the Pisistratid rulers of Athens from 560 BC to 514 BCE were responsible for what he calls the 'Troy deception'. He argues that these Athenian rulers falsely claimed that Troy was on the site of Classical Ilion, where Hisarlik is today. Supposedly, the Pisistratid tyrants compiled smaller pieces of Homer's writing into the Iliad and Odyssey with help from some poets from their time. Crowe claims that additionally to editing Homer's poems together, the Athenians inserted new verses that weren't written by Homer, added political propaganda to serve their own interests, and inserted new geographical signposts. These new geographical indicators, such as Troy being visible from Samothrace, meant that Troy's real location effectively moved. Now, readers of the epic poem would follow the signs and insinuate that Troy must have been at Hisarlik instead of Pergamon. The purpose of this deception was to create a new colony for Athens' quickly expanding population. By 'moving' Troy to Hisarlik, and elevating the role of the Athenians in the Trojan War through propaganda, the Athenian rulers were able to claim that the Achaeans gifted the Trojan land to the Athenians as spoils of war. When the Pisistratids captured Sigeum from Lesbos, they retained the territory by using Homer's authority. To make their deception undetectable, the Pisistratids rewrote aspects of Athenian history. Later rulers of Athens continued to rewrite history to hide the extent of tyranny in Athens' past - a new age of democracy burst into existence a century after the Pisistratids ruled.[1]

Counter arguments

As is the case with anything written thousands of years ago, Homer's epic poems have most likely been edited many times throughout the years, by many different rulers and poets with different ideas and intentions. It is very difficult to know exactly how accurate the copies we own now are, especially when you consider they have been inflected by the thoughts of the translator too - unless you can read Ancient Greek. There must be a reason why this information hasn't been widely circulated by classicists and scholars of Homer. As fascinating as this theory is, it may be that there is just not enough concrete evidence for other scholars to take it seriously and write about it.



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Wednesday, 12 Aug 2020 at 12:13 UTC

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