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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trojan Work, 12 Dec. 2013
This review is from: The Trojan War: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
"The Trojan War" is part of the OUP's "Very Short Introduction" series. These are slim volumes, each would fit in a jacket pocket, covering a wide variety of topics, each written by an expect in the relevant field. (Some are reissues of the OUP's old "Past Master" series). Each is about 100+ pages long, complete with maps, illustrations, a bibliography and an index. This one has a glossary also.
The author begins by telling the tale of "The" Trojan War as recounted in various Greek epics. These he puts in the context of the likely timeframe of the Late Bronze Age in the Aegean.
Then he addresses the questions of whether Homer existed and was the Iliad an accurate account of "The" war before dealing with what we've learnt from those Hittite texts that have been translated to date (there are more still to be worked on). These show that, if as seems likely Hittite Wilusa was (W)Ilios/Troy then there were a number of Trojan Wars which leads on to the question - which of these is "The" war? He goes on to show that there is internal evidence that the Iliad may amalgamate stories about more than one of the wars.
Having dealt with the literary texts the author goes on to discuss the archaeological evidence.
As someone who grew up reading of Schliemann's exploits I was a bit taken aback to see him described as "apparently a scoundrel", even though I knew he didn't have an unblemished record. I didn't know the half of it and a few pages later I had to concur with Mr Cline's assessment of him.
The work of later, more honest, archaeologists is then reviewed and the question asked - which Troy was Priam's Troy, Dorpfeld's prosperous Troy VIh or Blegen's post-earthquake ravaged VIIa?
There is much we don't know and will never know on this topic but I feel Mr Cline has given a fine layman's summary, assuming it's accurate, which I have no reason to doubt, and it's only my reluctance to award five stars except for works that I find truly exceptional that prevents me from awarding it a fifth star.
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