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Archaeology and the Iliad the Trojan War in…
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Archaeology and the Iliad the Trojan War in Homer and history

by Eric H. Cline

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1. Archaeology and the Iliad: The Trojan War in Homer and History
The Modern Scholar lecture series
by Eric H. Cline

2006, ~8:00 (comes with 64 page booklet with all info, but I’m calling it 220 pages based on the time)
listened Dec 28 - Jan 6
Rating: 3 stars

Not much to this. If was informative, but really it was very thin.

I'm glad I listened because Cline gives a summary of the thinking, as of 2006, on what Troy was, on who the Trojans and Achaeans were, on what may have happened and when and why, and on how much truth there is in The Iliad. He also provides an overview of the history of the archaeology around all this, including the work of Heinrich Schliemann.

Schliemann, a self-made American millionaire, a compulsive liar and an all-around scoundrel, led the first excavation of Troy and Mycenae. In Troy he mistakenly dug right through the era of The Iliad straight down to a city that was 1000 year older. So, Homer's Troy was largely lost to archaeology. He also manipulated all his finds, making them very hard to use in any historical way. And he falsely proclaimed himself the discoverer of Troy, even though he was tipped off by someone else (an American council who found inscriptions on the site that he was able to read that said New Ilium). This last lie wasn't discovered for decades. He is considered the father of archaeology.

The is good in these lectures is that Cline is a highly regarded archaeologist who knows a lot about Troy and region. The problem is that he really does a lot of filler, stretching a 64 page pamphlet to 8 hours without really adding any substance. He spends a lot if time telling us what he will tell us and then what he told us - lots of intro and conclusion and repetition - but not much content. ( )
1 vote dchaikin | Jan 9, 2016 |
Admittedly, Archaeology is not a field of study in which I am particularly interested. Since my teenaged daughter is currently considering archaeology as a field of study in college, however, I find it necessary to explore it a little further.

This title, part of Recorded Books' Modern Scholar audio collection was a great primer - somewhat "archaeology lite" - taking a popular topic of the Trojan War and applying the research to explain it.

Although parts of the recording were a little dry, that was because it sometimes became very "into" the analysis. I was looking at this more to skim the surface. But overall, I was very pleased with the final result. I'm still reeling from the concept that the Trojan Horse could actually have been a poetic metaphor for an earthquake. Wow - didn't see that coming. It was thought provoking and even had some humor.

Wouldn't recommend it for the average audiobook listener, but great for a non-fiction option. ( )
1 vote pbadeer | Aug 1, 2013 |
These lectures contain a good overview of the archaeological discoveries that provide information about the late bronze age when the events in The Iliad occurred. An analysis of the known data provides an fascinating view of political, technological and economic conditions at the time. Likewise, the events during the 500 year period when the story was being carried forward until the time of Homer when the story was written down also had their impact on the narrative of The Iliad. Another interesting issue discussed is how many of the details in The Iliad reflect the iron age technology of the time of Homer as opposed to the bronze age technology of the time of the Trojan War. Also, the discussion of the Epic Cycle is interesting. The Epic Cycle includes the parts of the story related to the Trojan War that are not contained in Homer's stories and have been preserved in fragmentary form through quotes by later writers.

The following are my musings and are not necessarily a review of the contents of the lectures:
It's interesting to note that the 500 years between the time of Homer and the Trojan War is considered by historians to be the Greek Dark Ages. That is because the fairly advanced late bronze age civilization described in The Iliad collapsed soon after the Trojan War. This can partly explain the motivation of the story tellers during the Greek Dark Ages for keeping alive the memories of a golden past. Homer's admiration of those past glorious times was probably similar to the enthusiasm of the Renaissance writers for the memories of the Roman Empire and ancient Greece. The two cases are different in that Homer and his scribe were putting their stories into writing for the first time, whereas the Renaissance writers were finding, saving and learning from old manuscripts. It's interesting to note how much of human history has been looking back in time to a golden age past as the source for wisdom. Since The Enlightenment the expectations have shifted toward looking to the future for increased knowledge and understanding. The recent global economic meltdown is a reminder how quickly things can change. Could we be witnessing the beginning of another dark age? We may be remembered in the future as the wise masters of a golden past era. Wow, and we didn't even know that we were that smart! ( )
1 vote Clif | Feb 23, 2009 |
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George Washington University professor, Eric Cline examines the real history of Troy and delves into archaeological discoveries. Through his analysis of known data, Cline provides a fuller, richer understanding of this historic clash.

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