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Period I-V | VI | VII-IX

TROY VIIa (1250-1180 B.C.)

Satellite PhotoAfter the earthquake that laid Troy VI in ruins, the survivors immediately repaired the fortification walls, reconstructed the old houses and built many new ones. The same people continued to occupy the same place through Troy VIIa with a direct, unbroken continuation of the culture of Troy VI.

After the earthquake, the upper part of the great wall was rebuilt and some additions were made. On the eastern side of the fortress a new wall was added to the older wall which overlapped the east gateway, but this extension was destroyed during the excavations.

The south gateway was also repaired and it continued to be the principal entrance to the citadel. The way through the opening was paved with large flat stones. In he middle of the paved area an underground drain, which was made to carry off rain water from the upper part of the acropolis, can still be seen to day.

The houses which were found within the outer ring of the acropolis were smaller and roughly built, because the acropolis at this time was obliged to shelter a larger population than its predecessor. The walls were thick and sturdy, but no real effort was made to build handsome structures.

In this period in almost every house, large storage jars were set deeply into the ground and covered with a heavy stone slab. The size of these jars ranged from 1.75m. to 2m. in height and 1m. to 1.25m. in diameter. These large jars were regularly used for the storage of solids-as well as liquid supplies for an emergency.

The numerous small, roughly built houses everywhere in the acropolis and innumerable storage jars indicate that a large number of people sheltered within the fortification from an invasion. This and some traces of fire and fighting like arrow heads and spear heads on the walls and abundance of human skeletons. Especially a human jaw cut by a sword makes us think that Troy VIIa was the Troy of Priam which was besieged and captured by the Achaens and destroyed by fire.

This is the opinion of the American Cincinnati University team but according to Prof. F. Schachermeyr and Prof. Ekrem Akurgal, Troy VI was the city of Priam. With fine fortifications, ingenious design and carefully constructed buildings, Troy VI fits in well with the lliad.

"Priam and his sons Paris and Hector or else the king and princes known to us by their names in myth, must have lived during this glorious period. To take this powerful city the Greeks fought for ten years. They could only achieve their goal after the city had been destroyed by an earthquake. Since the Greeks well knew that they owed their victory to Poseidon, the Earthshaker, they offered him a wooden horse for his great help"

The horse was the symbol of Poseidon.

TROY VIIb. (1180-1000 B.C.)

After the departure of the Achaens, the citadel was reoccupied by the survivors. The first phase of Troy VIIb. followed the same way of life as Troy VIIa. but later changed as a result of migrations. This stratum too was destroyed by fire.

TROY VIII (1000-85 B.C)

Troy VII was the first Greek settlement in Troy. At this time Greek culture was dominant and this stratum a typical Greek colony. A religious area with a place for worshipping and sacrificing, just outside the western part of the Troy VI city wall, was built in this period. The Persian king Xerxes stayed here and sacrificed 1000 oxen to the Greek gods on his way to Greece (480 B.C.)

After bribing the enemy gods with the 1000 oxen, Xerxes had a bridge of ships over the Dardanelles. But the bridge was destroyed by the strong current. Then he punished the Dardanelles by whipping the waters 300 times (!) Later two new bridges were built. One for the animals, the other for the soldiers.

Alexander the Great, on his way to Granicus, stayed here and made valuable offerings. (334 B.C.) he also ordered Lysimachus, one of his commanders, to build the Temple of Athena.

TROY IX (85 B.C. - 400 or 600 A.D.)

The top stratum, which was built on the ruins of the earlier settlement at Hisarlık, was e Hellenistic and Roman city. This last settlement which is known as Novum llium or "New llion" made great progress at the time of the early roman emperors. The great Roman emperors chose the Trojans as their ancestors. Augustus especially showed great interest in the city and enlarged and beautified the Temple of Athena.

Also at this time the town spread all over the ridge and was bigger than it had ever been in its long history.

To supply water for the city, water pipes and aqueducts were built. An aqueduct which is still in good condition can be seen today in Kemerdere village, 14 km. from Troy, on the mountainside.

The greater part of the city is still unexcavated. In the excavated area, a roman odeon (music theatre) and a bouleuterion (council chamber-senate), built over the southern part of the fortification wall of Troy VI, can be seen, also a Roman bath opposite the odeon and a few marble pieces of the Temple of Athena.

Only eight rows of seats from the odeon are relatively well preserved. The marble seat on the eighth row was the imperial box and the changing room on the left of the stage was marble surfaced same as the orchestra.

The odeon was probably a covered construction, for there is no channel for rain water.

The floor of the Roman bath was once covered with beautiful mosaics. The bath and the mosaics were uncovered by the Cincinnati team. The mosaics were not protected and tourists too them as small souvenirs of Troy and nothing was left behind.

The temple of Athena was built on the northeast part of the Hisarlık mound. This temple was a huge building with thick marble columns. From this doric temple only a few marble capitals, a few marble capitals, a few marble blocks from its ceiling and a piece of the stone pavement from its terrace can be seen today. The eastern part of the two parallel temenos walls which surrounded the terrace are still standing. Some of the marble pieces from the temple were burned by local villagers to produce lime and some of them were possibly used as grave stones. For example, in Kumköy graveyard down on the plain, near the point where the river Simois joins the Scamander, and in a graveyard near Çıplak village. Also it is possible that the material in the graveyard of Eski Kumkale, an old Ottoman harbor at the mouth of the Scamander, was taken from the same source.

Down the northeast slope of the mound lies the large theatre. The stage was excavated previously and new excavations are being carried out every year. The seating capacity was probably six or eight thousand.

Partly because a greater part is unexcavated and partly because of not having many written records from this era, we do not know much about this settlement. According to recent records llion was completely destroyed by the Roman Legate Fimbria, during the Mithridatic Wars (85 B.C.). Soon after that Emperor Sulla provided some financial relief for rebuilding the city. This was because llion was recognized as the mother city of the Romans. But it especially benefited from this legendary connection during the reign of the Julio-Claudians. At this time the city experienced a second "building boom". Augustus visited Troy in 20 B.C. the temple of Athena, bouleterion and the big theatre were restored or rebuilt with the financial relief provided by Augustus. Because of llion's legendary connection with Rome its special status as a "free and federate city" was renewed periodically. Many Roman emperors visited Troy. Caracalla was one of them. Emperor Constantine the Great also visited Troy in the early fourth century A.D. He decided to built a new capital for the Roman Empire in the east, and thought of establishing it in Troy. But the strategic importance of llion in trade had completely lost its place to Byzantium. Because of this great change, he passed over llion and moved to Byzantium. He rebuilt the whole city and made it the capital of the Roman Empire, and the name of the city became Constantinople.

Trojan HorseAfter losing its importance in trade, llion became more and more neglected. Only some tourists were visiting the neighboring tumuli which were identified as tombs of the Greek and Trojan heroes. Then for a few more years the Trojans offered sacrifices at the Trojans offered sacrifices at the ancient altars, but with the coming of Christianity the city lost its importance completely. In the fourth century the town became the seat of a bishopric.

Although the new excavation team is getting new information about this period today still we do not know much about this settlement or what brought this era to its end. Probably a severe earthquake in the early sixth century tumbled down the city and the people left this place forever.

Though destroyed, Troy remained. Homer and Virgil have kept it alive right up to our time.

Period I-V | VI | VII-IX

Turkish Ministry of Culture