HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Trojan War : a new history by Barry S.…
Loading...

The Trojan War : a new history (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Barry S. Strauss

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5921431,456 (3.43)9
"The Trojan War is the most famous conflict in history, the subject of Homer's Iliad, one of the cornerstones of Western literature. Although many readers know that this literary masterwork is based on actual events, there is disagreement about how much of Homer's tale is true. Drawing on recent archeological research, historian and classicist Barry Strauss explains what really happened in Troy more than 3,000 years ago." "Strauss shows us where Homer nods, and sometimes exaggerates and distorts, as well. He puts the Trojan War into the context of its time, explaining the strategies and tactics that both sides used, and compares the war to contemporary battles elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean. With his vivid reconstructions of the conflict and his insights into the famous characters and events of Homer's great epic, Strauss tells the story of the fall of Troy as history without losing the poetry and grandeur that continue to draw readers to this ancient tale."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)
Member:Berkeley_Library
Title:The Trojan War : a new history
Authors:Barry S. Strauss
Info:New York : Simon & Schuster, c2006.
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:None

Work Information

The Trojan War: A New History by Barry S. Strauss (2006)

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Arguments about whether the Trojan War actually happened may well predate Homer. Certainly they predate any existing copies of Homer, since Thucydides had trenchant comments on just what might or might not have happened.

This book isn't one of those arguments; it accepts the Trojan War as real. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a history. It's more of a projection: Take the story of the Iliad and retell it, cutting out only those parts which are clearly impossible in the light of archaeology and modern science. The result is at least 75% Homer, no more than 25% observed facts. Was there a city of Ilium (Wilusa), i.e. Troy? Certainly. Was it badly damaged, very likely sacked, around the end of the Mycenaean era in Greece? Yes. Were the attackers Greeks? Very possibly. Were they led by a King of Mycenae? It would make sense, since Mycenae was a very great city. Was the king's name Agamemnon? It's possible. Did he have a supporter named Achilles? We can't absolutely rule it out. Did they have a quarrel about two women whose names we know, did it result in a Trojan attack on the ships, and did that lead ultimately to the death of the Trojan prince Hector....?

Well, let's look at some realities. By all accounts, the Trojan epic and romance attributed to Homer (the Iliad is an epic; the Odyssey a romance) were composed about four hundred years after the event -- maybe more. So, for four hundred years, the story would have had to be preserved in folktales and oral epics -- the Greeks lost the skill to write after the Mycenaean era, and didn't regain it until they borrowed a new writing system hundreds of years later.

But oral history is pretty predictable: it forgets complicated facts and boils everything down to stories of individuals. Take the story of the Battle of Otterburn in 1388; the Earl of Douglas, who was raiding Northumberland, won a battle against Henry "Hotspur" Percy. The ballad of Chevy Chase, which was picked up a few hundred years later, knows of the battle but throws out all the details and ends up telling us that Percy and Douglas actually fought hand to hand -- making a battle into a series of single combats just as the Iliad is a series of single combats. Or take the Song of Roland. We know that Roland was a real noble at the time of Charlemagne. But he was just some border lord who got himself killed. By the time of the Roland, he is the greatest knight of Christendom, who defeats an entire enemy army even as he's dying -- dying not, we note, because he was overwhelmed by his enemies but because he blew his horn so loudly that he damaged his skull. Enemies couldn't kill him; he had to do it himself.

And this sort of distortion can happen quickly. There's a sea chanty, "Santy Anno," which described Santa Anna beating Zachary Taylor in the Mexican War, even though the reverse was true. That chanty was first collected less than a century after the Mexican War, in a time when written records were readily accessible.

And we're supposed to accept the accuracy of a story transmitted orally for close to half a millennium with no written support whatsoever?

This book is highly readable, even fascinating -- I breezed through it. But believable? Come on.... ( )
  waltzmn | Dec 12, 2020 |
An examination of the most famous war of Greek history, but did it ever happen?
  jerry-book | Jan 26, 2016 |
This book was not what I expected. I thought it would focus on archeological evidence as a support for the existence of Troy. Instead the author asks us to imagine what a real battle at Troy would have been like. He does this by comparing events in The Iliad with practices and events from other bronze age sources. It certainly provokes some interesting thoughts and is presented well. I found it to be most intriguing during the sections when the actual archeological evidence is being discussed. I only wish there had been more of an in-depth look at the physical evidence. Overall a good read and the author does a good job of describing what an actual bronze age battle at Troy would have looked like. ( )
2 vote pjskimin | Dec 6, 2013 |
Thought this would give me more historical info on the actual Trojan War. Turns out we don't know enough to fill a book, so a lot of this is padded out by a blow-by-blow retelling of the Iliad, which I definitely didn't need. Pretty lame. ( )
1 vote AlCracka | Apr 2, 2013 |
An interesting commentary on the Iliad, but not one that focuses on the text itself, but rather compares the story to what we now of Bronze Age Greece. A lot of discussion is devoted to the question of the historicity of the tale. It's a very light read, without much substance...but I don't think it really sheds much light on the subject. ( )
  hmessing | Mar 22, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

Belongs to Publisher Series

Is a supplement to

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Scott and Karen, Judy and Jonathan.
Larry and Maureen, and Ronna and Richard
First words
A NOTE ON ANCIENT HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY
Ancient Greek history traditionally begins in the year 776 B.C., when the first Olympic Games are supposed to have been held.
INTRODUCTION
Troy invites war.
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

"The Trojan War is the most famous conflict in history, the subject of Homer's Iliad, one of the cornerstones of Western literature. Although many readers know that this literary masterwork is based on actual events, there is disagreement about how much of Homer's tale is true. Drawing on recent archeological research, historian and classicist Barry Strauss explains what really happened in Troy more than 3,000 years ago." "Strauss shows us where Homer nods, and sometimes exaggerates and distorts, as well. He puts the Trojan War into the context of its time, explaining the strategies and tactics that both sides used, and compares the war to contemporary battles elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean. With his vivid reconstructions of the conflict and his insights into the famous characters and events of Homer's great epic, Strauss tells the story of the fall of Troy as history without losing the poetry and grandeur that continue to draw readers to this ancient tale."--BOOK JACKET.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

LibraryThing Author

Barry S. Strauss is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

profile page | author page

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.43)
0.5
1 2
1.5 1
2 11
2.5 3
3 15
3.5 10
4 30
4.5 3
5 7

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 166,070,198 books! | Top bar: Always visible