1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Troy and Troad
TROY and TROAD. I. The Troad.—The Troad (ἡ Τρῳάς), or the land of Troy, the north-western promontory of Asia Minor. The name “Troad” is never used by Homer—who calls the land, like the city, Τροίη—but is already known to Herodotus. The Troad is bounded on the N. by the Hellespont and the Westernmost part of the Propontis, on the W. by the Aegean Sea and on the S. by the Gulf of Adramyttium. The eastern limit was variously defined by ancient writers. In the widest acceptation, the Troad was identified with the whole of western and south-western Mysia, from the Aesepus, which flows into the Propontis, a little west of Cyzicus, to the Caicus, which flows into the Aegean south of Atarneus. But the true eastern boundary is undoubtedly the range of Ida, which, starting from near the south-east angle of the Adramyttian Gulf, sends its north-western spurs nearly to the coast of the Propontis, in the region west of the Aesepus and east of the Granicus. Taking Ida for the eastern limit, we have the definition which, as Strabo says, best corresponds with the actual usage of the name Troad. Ida is the key to the physical geography of the whole region; and it is the peculiar character which this mountain-system imparts to the land west of it that constitutes the real distinctness of the Troad from the rest of Mysia, Nature has here provided Asia Minor with an outwork against invaders from the north-west; and as the Troad was the scene of the struggle between Agamemnon and Priam, so it was in the Troad that Alexander won the battle which opened a path for his further advance.
Natural Divisions.-The length of the Troad from north to south—taking a straight line from the north-west point, Cape Sigeum (Yeni Shehr), to the south-west point, Cape Lectum (Babā Kale)—is roughly 40 m. The breadth, from the middle point of the west coast to the main range of Ida, is not much greater. The whole central portion of this area is drained by the Menderes (anc. Scamander), which rises in Ida and is by far the most important river of the Troad. The basin of the Menderes is divided by hills into two distinct parts, a southern and a northern plain. The southern—anciently called the Samonian plain—is the great central plain of the Troad, and takes its modern name from Bairamich, the chief Turkish town, which is situated in the eastern part of it near Ida. From the north end of the plain the Menderes winds in large curves through deep gorges in metamorphic rocks, and issues into the northern plain, stretching to the Hellespont. This is the plain of Troy, which is 7 or 8 m. long, and 2 or 3 m. broad on the average. The hills on the south are quite low, and towards the east the acclivities are in places so gentle as to leave the limits of the plain indefinite. Next to the basin of the Menderes, with its two plains, the best marked feature in the river-system of the Troad is the valley of the Tuzla (anc. Satniois). The Tuzla rises in the western part of Mt Ida, south of the plain of Bairamich, from which its valley is divided by hills; and, after flowing for many miles almost parallel with the south coast of the Troad, from which, at Assus, it is less than a mile distant, it enters the Aegean about 10 m. north of Cape Lectum. Three alluvial plains are comprised in its course. The easternmost of these, into which the river issues from rugged mountains of considerable height, is long and narrow. The next is the broad plain round Assus, which was a fertile source of supply to that city. The third is the plain at the embouchure of the river on the west coast. This was anciently called the Halesian (Ἁλήσιον) plain, partly from the maritime salt-works at Tragasae, near the town of Hamaxitus, partly also from the hot salt-springs which exist at some distance from the sea, on the north side of the river, where large formations of rock-salt are also found. Maritime salt-works are still in operation at the mouth of the river, and its modern name (Tuzla = salt) preserves the ancient association. A striking feature of the southern Troad is the high and narrow plateau which runs parallel with the Adramyttian Gulf from east to west, forming a southern barrier to the valley of the Tuzla. This plateau seems to have been formed by a volcanic upheaval which came late in the Tertiary period, and covered the limestone of the south coast with two successive flows of trachyte. The lofty crag of Assus is like a tower standing detached from this line of mountain-wall. The western coast is of a different character. North of the Tuzla extends an undulating plain, narrow at first, but gradually widening. Much of it is covered with the valonia oak (Quercus aegilops), one of the most valuable products of the Troad. Towards the middle of the west coast the adjacent ground becomes higher, with steep acclivities, which sometimes rise into peaks; and north of these, again, the seaboard subsides towards Cape Sigeum into rounded hills, mostly low.
Natural Products.—The timber of the Troad is supplied chiefly by the pine forests on Mt Ida. But nearly all the plains and hills are more or less well wooded. Besides the valonia oak, the elm, willow, cypress and tamarisk shrub abound. Lotus, galingale and reeds are still plentiful, as in Homeric days, about the streams in the Trojan lain. The vine, too, is cultivated, the Turks making from it a kind of syrup and a preserve. In summer and autumn water-melons are among the abundant fruits. Cotton, wheat and Indian corn are also grown. The Troad is, indeed, a country highly favoured by nature—with its fertile plains and valleys, abundantly and continually irrigated from Ida, its numerous streams, its fine west seaboard, and the beauty of its scenery. Under Turkish rule, the natural advantages of the land suffice to mitigate the poverty of the sparse population, but have scarcely any positive result.
Early History.—In the Homeric legend, with which the story of the Troad begins, the people called Troes are ruled by a king Priam, whose realm includes all that is bounded by “Lesbos, Phrygia, and the Hellespont” (Il. xxiv. 544), i.e. the whole “Troad,” with some extension of it, beyond Ida, on the north-west. According to Homer, the Achaeans under Agamemnon utterly and finally destroyed Troy, the capital of Priam, and overthrew his dynasty. But there is an Homeric prophecy that the rule over the Troes shall be continued by Aeneas and his descendants. From the “Homeric” hymn to Aphrodite, as well as from a passage in the 20th book of the Iliad (75-353)—a passage probably later than the bulk of the book—it is certain that in the 7th or 6th century B.C. a dynasty claiming descent from Aeneas reigned in the Troad, though the extent of their sway is unknown. The Homeric tale of Troy is a poetic creation, for which the poet is the sole witness. The geographical compactness of the Troad is itself an argument for the truth of the Homeric statement that it was once united under a strong king. How that kingdom was finally broken up is unknown. Thracian hordes, including the Treres, swept into Asia Minor from the north-west about the beginning of the 7th century B.C., and it is probable that, like the Gauls and Goths of later days, these fierce invaders made havoc in the Troad. The Ionian poet Callinus has recorded the terror which they caused farther south.
Greek Settlements.—A new period in the history of the Troad begins with the foundation of the Greek settlements. The earliest and most important of these were Aeolic. Lesbos and Cyme in Aeolis seem to have been the chief points from which the Aeolic colonists worked their way into the Troad. Commanding positions on the coast, such as Assus and Sigeum, would naturally be those first occupied; and some of them have been in the hands of Aeolians as early as the 10th century B.C. It appears from Herodotus (v. 95) that about 620 B.C. Athenians occupied Sigeum, and were resisted by the Aeolic colonists from Mytilene in Lesbos, who had already established themselves in that neighbourhood. Struggles of this kind may help to account for the fact noticed by Strabo, that the earlier colonies had often migrated from one site in the Troad to another. Such changes of seat have been, he observes, frequent causes of confusion in the topography.
The chief Greek towns in the Troad were Ilium in the north, Assus in the south and Alexandria Troas in the west. The site of the Greek Ilium is marked by the low mound of Hissarlik (“place of fortresses”) in the Trojan plain, about 3 m. from the Hellespont. Exactly at what date it was founded on the top of earlier remains is uncertain (perhaps the 7th century); but it was not a place of any importance till the Hellenistic age. When Xerxes visited the Trojan plain, he “went up to the Pergamon of Priam,” and afterwards sacrificed to the Ilian Athena (Herod. vii. 42). Ilion is mentioned among the towns of the Troad which yielded to Dercyllidas (399 B.C.), and as captured by Charidemus (359 B.C.). It possessed walls, but was a petty place, of little strength. In 334 B.C. Alexander, on landing in the Troad, visited Ilium. In their temple of Athena the Ilians showed him arms which had served in the Trojan War, including the shield of Achilles. Either then, or after the battle of Granicus, Alexander directed that the town should be enlarged, and should have the rank of “city,” with political independence, and exemption from tribute. The battle of Ipsus (301 B.C.) added north-western Asia Minor to the dominions of Lysimachus, who executed the intentions of Alexander. He gave Ilium a wall 5 m. in circumference, incorporating with it some decayed towns of the neighbourhood, and built a handsome temple of Athena. In the 3rd century B.C. Ilium was the head of a federal league (κοινόν) of free Greek towns, which probably included the district from Lampsacus on the Hellespont to Gargara on the Adramyttian Gulf. Twice in that century Ilium was visited by Gauls. On the first occasion (278 B.C.) the Gauls, under Lutarius, sought to establish a stronghold at Ilium, but speedily abandoned it as being too weak. Forty years later (218 B.C.) Gauls were brought over by Attalus I. to help him in his war against Achaeus. After deserting his standard they proceeded to pillage the towns on the Hellespont, and finally besieged Ilium, from which, however, they were driven off by the troops of Alexandria Troas. At the beginning of the 2nd century B.C. Ilium was in a state of decay. As Demetrius of Scepsis tells us, the houses “had not even roofs of tiles,” but merely of thatch. Such a loss of prosperity is sufficiently explained by the incursions of the Gauls and the insecure state of the Troad during the latter part of the 3rd century. The temple of the Ilian Athena, however, retained its prestige. In 192 B.C. Antiochus the Great visited it before sailing to the aid of the Aetolians. In 190 B.C., shortly before the battle of Magnesia, the Romans came into the Troad. At the moment when a Roman army was entering Asia, it was politic to recall the legend of Roman descent from Aeneas. Lucius Scipio and the Ilians were alike eager to do so. He offered sacrifice to the Ilian Athena; and after the Peace with Antiochus (189 B.C.) the Romans annexed Rhoeteum and Gergis to Ilium, “not so much in reward of recent services, as in memory of the source from which their nation sprang.” The later history of Ilium is little more than that of Roman benefits. A disaster befell the place in 85 B.C., when Fimbria took it, and left it in ruins; but Sulla presently caused it to be rebuilt. Augustus, while confirming its ancient privileges, gave it new territory. Caracalla (A.D. 211-217) visited Ilium, and, like Alexander, paid honours to the tomb of Achilles. In the 4th century, as some rhetorical “Letters” of that age show, the Ilians did a profitable trade in attracting tourists by their pseudo-Trojan memorials. After the 4th century the place is lost to view. But we find from Constantine Porphyrogenitus (911-959) that in his day it was one of the places in the Troad which gave names to bishoprics.
Other Ancient Sites.—Many classical sites in the Troad have been identified with more or less certainty. (For Alexandria Troas and Assus, see separate articles. Neandria seems to be rightly fixed by F. Calvert at Mount Chigri, a hill not far from Alexandria Troas, remarkable for the fine view of the whole Troad which it commands. Cebrene has been conjecturally placed in the eastern part of the plain of Bairamich. Palaeoscepsis was farther east on the slopes of Ida, while the new Scepsis was near the site of Bairamich itself. At the village of Kulakli, a little south of the mouth of the Tuzla, some Corinthian columns and other fragments mark the temple of Apollo Smintheus (excavated in 1866 by Pullan) and (approximately) the site of the Homeric Chryse. Colonae was also on the west coast, opposite Tenedos. Scamandria occupied the site of Eneh, in the middle of the plain of Bairamich, and Cenchreae was probably some distance north of it. The shrine of Palamedes, mentioned by -ancient writers as existing at a town called Polymedium, has been discovered by J. T. Clarke on a site hitherto unvisited by any modern traveller, between Assus and Cape Lectum. It proves to have been a sacred enclosure (temenos) on the acropolis of the town; the statue of Palamedes stood on a rock at the middle of its southern edge. Another interesting discovery has been made by Clarke, viz. the existence of very ancient town walls on Gargarus, the highest peak of Ida.
II. The Site of Troy.—Troy is represented now by the important ruins on and about the mound of Hissarlik which underlie those already referred to as surviving from the Hellenistic Ilion. Hissarlik is situated about 3½ m. both from the Dardanelles and from Yeni Keui, which lies on the Aegean coast north of Besika Bay. The famous academic dispute concerning the precise site, which began about A.D. 160 with Demetrius of Scepsis, may now be regarded as settled. After the full demonstration, made in 1893, that remains of a fortress exist on the mound of Hissarlik, contemporary with the great period of Mycenae, and larger than the earlier acropolis town first identified by Schliemann with Ilion, no reasonable person has continued to doubt that this last site is the local habitation of the Homeric story. The rival ruins on the Bali Dagh have been shown to be those of a small hill fort which, with another on an opposite crag, commanded the upper Menderes gorge. It is inconceivable that this fort should have been chosen by poets, generally familiar with the locality, as the scene of the great siege, while in the plain between it and the sea there had lain from time immemorial, and lay still in the Mycenaean age, a much more important settlement with massive fortified citadel.
No site in the Troad can be brought into complete accordance with all the topographical data to be ingeniously derived from the text of Homer. The hot and cold springs that lay just without the gate of “Troy” (Il. xxii. 147) are no more to be identified with Bunarbashi, which wells out more than a mile from the Bali Dagh ruins, than with the choked conduits, opened by Schliemann in 1882, to the south of Hissarlik. But the broader facts of geography are recognizable in the modern plain of the Menderes. The old bed of that river is the Scamander and its little tributary, the Dumbrek Su, is the Simois. In their fork lies Hissarlik or Troy. In sight of it are, on the one side, the peak of Samothrace (xiii. 11-14); on the other, the mass of the Kaz Dagh Ida (viii. 52). Hissarlik lies in the plain (xx. 216) less than 4 m. both from the Hellespontine and the Aegean coasts, easily reached day by day by foes from the shore, and possible to be left and regained in a single night by a Trojan visiting the camp of the Greeks (vii. 381-421).
In summarizing what has been found to exist on the mound of Hissarlik in the excavations undertaken there since 1870, it is not advisable to observe the order of the finding, since Schliemann's want of experience and method caused much confusion and error in the earlier revelations. No certainty as to the distinction of strata or their relative ages was possible till Wilhelm Dörpfeld obtained entire control in 1891, after the original explorer's death. There are in all nine strata of ancient settlement.
1. On the virgin soil of the hillock, forming the core of the mound, scanty remains appear of a small village of the late Aegean neolithic period, at the dawn of the Bronze Age, contemporary with the upper part of the Cnossian neolithic bed. This includes what were originally supposed by Schliemann to be two successive primitive settlements. Thin walls of rough stones, bonded with mud, are preserved mainly in the west centre of the mound. No ground plan of a house is recoverable, and there is no sign of an outer fortress wall. In this stratum were found implements in obsidian and other stones, clay whorls, a little worked ivory, and much dark monochrome pottery, either of a rough grey surface or (in the finer examples) treated with resin, highly hand-polished, and showing simple geometric decoration, which was incised and often filled in with a white substance.
2. Superposed on these, remains, where they still exist, but comprehending a much larger area, lies a better constructed and preserved settlement. This has been twice rebuilt. It was enclosed by a massive fortress wall of rudely squared Cyclopean character, showing different restorations, and now destroyed, except on the south side of the mound. Double gates at the south-east and south-west are well-preserved. The most complete and most important structures within the citadel lie towards the north. These are two rectangular blocks lying north-west to south-east, side by side, of which the southern and larger shows a megaron and vestibule of the type familiar in “Mycenaean” palaces, while the smaller seems a pendant to the larger, like the “women's quarters” at Tiryns and Phylakopi (see Aegean Civilization). Other blocks, whose plans are difficult to bring into inter-relation in their present state of ruin, are scattered over the area, but mainly in the south-west. This is the fortress proclaimed by Schliemann in 1873 to be the Pergamos of Troy. But we know that, while his identifications of Homeric topographical details in these ruins were fanciful, a much larger fortress succeeded to this long before the period treated of in the Iliad. The settlement in the second stratum belongs, in fact, to a primitive stage of that local civilization which preceded the Mycenaean; and it is this latter which is recalled by the Homeric poems. The pottery of the second stratum at Hissarlik shows the first introduction of paint, and of the slip and somewhat fantastic forms parallel to those of the pre-Mycenaean style in the Cyclades. The beaked vases, known as schnabelkannen, are characteristic, and rude reproductions of human features are common in this ware, which seems all to be of native fabrication. Bronze had come into use for implements, weapons and utensils; and gold and silver make up a hoarded treasure found in the calcined ruins of the fortification wall near one of the gates. But the forms are primitive and singular, and the workmanship is very rude, the pendants of the great diadems being cutout of very thin plate gold. Disks, bracelets and pendants, showing advanced spiraliform ornament, found mainly in 1878, and then ascribed to this same stratum, belong undoubtedly to a higher one, the sixth or “Mycenaean.” Rough fiddle-shaped idols, whorls, a little worked ivory and some lead make up a find, of whose early period comparison of objects found elsewhere leaves no sort of doubt. This treasure is now deposited in Berlin.
3, 4, 5. This primitive “Troy” suffered cataclysmal ruin (traces of conflagration are everywhere present), and Hissarlik ceased for a time to have any considerable population. Three small village settlements, not much more than farms, were successively erected on the site, and have left their traces superposed one on another, but they yielded no finds of importance.
6. The mound, however, stood in too important a relation to the plain and the sea to remain desolate, and in due time it was covered again by a great fortress, while a city spread out below. The latter has not yet been explored. The remains of this period on the acropolis, however, have now been examined. A portion of them was first distinguished clearly by Dörpfeld in 1882, but owing to the confusion caused by Schliemann's drastic methods of trenching, the pottery and metal objects, really belonging to this stratum, had come to be confused with those of lower strata; and some grey monochrome ware, obviously of Anatolian make, was alone referred to the higher stratum. To this ware Schliemann gave the name “Lydian,” and the stratum was spoken of in his Troja (1884) as the “Lydian city.”
In 1893, however, excavations were carried out on the south of the mound in the hitherto undisturbed round outside the limits of the earlier fortress; and here appeared a second curtain wall of massive ashlar masonry showing architectural features which characterize the “Mycenaean” fortification walls at Mycenae itself, and at Phylakopi in Melos. With this wall was associated not only the grey ware, but a mass of painted potsherds of unmistakably “Mycenaean” character; and further search in the same stratum to west and east showed that such sherds always lay on its floor level. The inevitable inference is that here we have a city, contemporary with the mass of the remains at Mycenae, which imported “Mycenaean” ware to supplement its own ruder products. The area of its citadel is larger than the citadel of the second stratum; its buildings, of which a large megaron on the south-west and several houses on the east remain, are of much finer construction than those which lie lower. This was the most important city yet built on the mound of Hissarlik. It belonged to the “Mycenaean” age, which precedes the composition of the Homeric poems, and is reflected by them. Therefore this is Homer's' Troy.
Its remains, however, having been obliterated on the crown of Hissarlik, almost escaped recognition. When some centuries later a third important city, the Hellenistic Ilion, was built, all the accumulation on the top of the mound was cut away and a terrace made. In this process the then uppermost strata of ruins wholly vanished, their stones being taken to build the new city. The Mycenaean town, however, which had been piled stage upon stage to the summit, descended on the south side a little own the face of the mound; and the remains of its fortifications and houses at that point, lying below the level cut down to by the Hellenistic terrace-makers, were covered by the depositing of rubbish from the crown and again built over. Thus we find them now on the southern slope of the mound only, but have no difficulty in estimating their original extent. Many tombs and a large lower city of this era will doubtless be explored ere long.
7. To “Mycenaean” Troy succeeded a small unfortified settlement, which maintained itself all through the Hellenic age till the Homeric enthusiasm of Alexander the Great called a city again into being on Hissarlik.
8. The Hellenistic Ilion, however, has left comparatively little trace, having been almost completely destroyed in 85 B.C. by Fimbria. Portions of fortifications erected by Lysimachus are visible both on the acropolis (west face chiefly) and round the lower city in the plain. A small Doric temple belongs to the foundation of this city, and a larger one, probably dedicated to Athena, seems to be of the Pergamene age. Of its metopes, representing Helios and a gigantomachia, important fragments have been recovered. Coins of this city are not rare, showing Athena on both faces, and some inscriptions have been recovered proving that Hellenistic Ilion was an important municipality.
9. Lastly about the Christian era, arose a Graeco-Roman city, to which belong the theatre on the south-east slope of the hill and the ornate gateway in the same quarter, as well as a large building on the south-west and extensive remains to north-east. This seems to have sunk into decay about the 5th century A.D.
Bibliography.—J. F. Lechevalier, Voyage de la Troade (1802); Choiseul-Gouffier, Voyage pittoresque (1809); Dr Hunt and Professor Carlyle, in Walpole's Travels (1817); O. F. v. Richter, Wallfahrten im Morgenlande (1822); W. M. Leake, Journal of a Tour in Asia Minor (1824); Prokesch v. Osten, Denkwürdigkeiten aus dem Orient (1836); C. Fellows, Excursion in Asia Minor (1839); C. Texier, Asie Mineure (1843); R. P. Pullan, Principal Ruins of Asia Minor (1865); P. B. Webb, Topographie de la Troade (1844); H. F. Tozer, Highlands of Turkey (1869); R. Virchow, Landeskunde der Troas, in Trans. Berlin Acad. (1879); H. Schliemann, Troy (1875); Ilios (1880); Troja (1884); Reise der Troas (1881); W. Dörpfeld, Troja (1892) and Troja und Ilios (1902); C. Schuchhardt, Schliemann's Excavations (Eng. trans., 1891); P. Gardner, New Chapters in Greek History (1892). (D. G. H.)
III. The Legend of Troy.—According to Greek legend, the oldest town in the Troad was that founded by Teucer, who was a son of the river Scamander and the nymph Idaea. Tzetzes says that the Scamander in question was the Scamander in Crete, and that Teucer was told by an oracle to settle wherever the “earth-born ones” attacked him. So when he and his company were attacked in the Troad by mice, which gnawed their bow-strings and the handles of their shields, he settled on the spot, thinking that the oracle was fulfilled. He called the town Sminthium and built a temple to Apollo Smintheus, the Cretan Word for a mouse being sminthius. In his reign Dardanus, son of Zeus and the nymph Electra, daughter of Atlas, in consequence of a deluge, drifted from the island of Samothrace on a raft or a skin bag to the coast of the Troad, where, having received a portion of land from Teucer and married his daughter Batea, he founded the city of Dardania or Dardanus on high ground at the foot of Mt Ida. On the death of Teucer, Dardanus succeeded to the kingdom and called the whole land Dardania after himself. He begat Erichthonius, who begat a son Tros by Astyoche, daughter of Simois. On succeeding to the throne, Tros called the country Troy and the people Trojans. By Callirrhoe, daughter of Scamander, he had three sons—Ilus, Assaracus and Ganymede. From Ilus and Assaracus sprang two separate lines of the royal house—the one being Ilus, Laomedon, Priam, Hector; the other Assaracus, Capys, Anchises, Aeneas. Ilus went to Phrygia, where, being victorious in wrestling, he received as a prize from the king of Phrygia a spotted cow, with an injunction to follow her and found a city wherever she lay down. The cow lay down on the hill of the Phrygian Atē; and here accordingly Ilus founded the city of Ilion. It is stated that Dardania, Troy and Ilion became one city. Desiring a sign at the foundation of Ilion, Ilus prayed to Zeus and as an answer he found lying before his tent the Palladium, a wooden statue of Pallas, three cubits high, with her feet joined, a spear in her right hand, and a distaff and spindle in her left. Ilus built a temple for the image and worshipped it. By Eurydice, daughter of Adrastus, he had a son Laomedon. Laomedon married Strymo, daughter of Scamander, or Placia, daughter of Atreus or of Leucippus. It was in his reign that Poseidon and Apollo, or Poseidon alone, built the walls of Troy. In his reign also Heracles besieged and took the city, slaying Laomedon and his children, except one daughter Hesione and one son Podarces. The life of Podarces was granted at the request of Hesione; but Heracles stipulated that Podarces must first be a slave and then be redeemed by Hesione; she gave her veil for him; hence his name of Priam (Gr. πρίασθαι, to buy). Priam married first Arisbe and afterwards Hecuba, and had fifty sons and twelve daughters. Among the sons were Hector and Paris, and among the daughters Polyxena and Cassandra. To recover Helen, whom Paris carried off from Sparta, the Greeks under Agamemnon besieged Troy for ten years. At last they contrived a wooden horse, in whose hollow belly many of the Greek heroes hid themselves. Their army and fleet then withdrew to Tenedos, feigning to have raised the siege. The Trojans conveyed the wooden horse into Troy; in the night the Greeks stole out, opened the gates to their friends, and Troy was taken.
See Homer, Il. vii. 452 seq., xx. 215 seq., xxi. 446 seq.; Apollodorus ii. 6, 4, iii., 12; Diodorus iv. 75, v. 48; Tzetzes, Schol. on Lycophron, 29, 72, 1302; Conon, Narrat. 21; Dionysius Halicarn. Antiq. Rom. i. 68 seq. The Iliad deals with a period of fifty-one days in the tenth year of the war. For the wooden horse, see Homer, Od. iv. 271 seq.; Virgil, Aen. ii. 13 seq.
The Medieval Legend.—The medieval romance of Troy, the Roman de Troie, exercised greater influence in its day and for centuries after its appearance than any other work of the same class. Just as the chansons de geste of the 10th century were the direct ancestors of the prose romances which afterwards spread throughout Europe, so, even before Heliodorus and Achilles Tatius, there were quasi-histories, which reproduced in prose, with more or less exactness, the narratives of epic poetry. Long previous to the Ἡρωϊκός of Flavius Philostratus (fl. 3rd century A.D.) the Trojan War had been the subject of many a prose fiction, dignified with the title of history; but to remodel the whole story almost in the shape of annals, and to give a minute personal description of the persons and characters of the principal actors, were ideas which belonged to an artificial stage of literature. The work of Philostratus is cast in the form of a dialogue between a Phoenician traveller and a vine-grower at Eleus, and is a discourse on twenty-six heroes of the war. A fictitious journal (Ephemeris), professing to give the chief incidents of the siege, and said to have been written by Dictys of Crete, a follower of Idomeneus, is mentioned by Suïdas, and was largely used by John Malalas and other Byzantine chroniclers. This was abridged in Latin prose, probably in the 4th century, under the title of Dictys Cretensis de bello Trojano libri VI. It is prefaced by an introductory letter from a certain L. Septimius to Q. Aradius Rufinus, in which it is stated that the diary of Dictys had been found in his tomb at Cnossus in Crete, written in the Greek language, but in Phoenician characters. The narrative begins with the rape of Helen, and includes the adventures of the Greek princes on the return voyage. With Dictys is always associated Dares, a pseudo-historian of more recent date. Old Greek writers mention an account of the destruction of the city earlier than the Homeric poems, and in the time of Aelian (2nd century A.D.) this Iliad of Dares, priest of Hephaestus at Troy, was believed to be still in existence. Nothing has since been heard of it; but an unknown Latin writer, living between 400 and 600, took advantage of the tradition to compile Daretis Phrygii de excidio Trojae historia, which begins with the voyage of the Argo. It is in prose and professes to be translated from an old Greek manuscript. Of the two works that of Dares is the later, and is inferior to Dictys. The matter-of-fact form of narration recalls the poem of Quintus Smyrnaeus. In both compilations the gods and everything supernatural are suppressed; even the heroes are degraded. The permanent success, however, of the two works distinguishes them among apocryphal writings, and through them the Troy legend was diffused throughout western Europe. The Byzantine writers from the 7th to the 12th century exalted Dictys as a first-class authority, with whom Homer was only to be contrasted as an inventor of fables. Western people preferred Dares, because his history was shorter, and because, favouring the Trojans, he flattered the vanity of those who believed that people to have been their ancestors. Many MSS. of both writers were contained in old libraries; and they were translated into nearly every language and turned into verse. In the case of both works, scholars are undecided whether a Greek original ever existed (but see Dictys Cretensis). The Byzantine grammarian, Joannes Tzetzes (fl. 12th century), wrote a Greek hexameter poem on the subject (Iliaca). In 1272, a monk of Corbie translated “sans rime L'Estoire de Troiens et de Troie (de Dares) du Latin en Roumans mot à mot” because the Roman de Troie was too long. Geoffrey of Waterford put Dares into French prose; and the British Museum has three Welsh MS. translations of the same author—works, however, of a much later period.
The name of Homer never ceased to be held in honour; but he is invariably placed in company with the Latin poets. Few of those who praised him had read him, except in the Latin redaction, in 1100 verses, by the so-called Pindarus Thebanus. It supplied the chief incidents of the Iliad with tolerable exactness and was a textbook in schools.
For a thousand years the myth of descent from the dispersed heroes of the conquered Trojan race was a sacred literary tradition throughout western Europe. The first Franco-Latin chroniclers traced their history to the same origin as that of Rome, as told by the Latin poets of the Augustan era; and in the middle of the 7th century Fredegarius Scholasticus (Rer. gall. script. ii. 461) relates how one party of the Trojans settled between the Rhine, the Danube and the sea. In a charter of Dagobert occurs the statement, “ex nobilissimo et antiquo Trojanorum reliquiarum sanguine nati.” This statement is repeated by chroniclers and panegyrical writers, who also considered the History of Troy by Dares to be the first of national books. Succeeding kings imitated their predecessors in giving official sanction to their legendary origin: Charles the Bald, in a charter, uses almost the same words as Dagobert, “ex praeclaro et antiquo trojanorum sanguine nati.” In England a similar tradition had been early formulated, as appears from Nennius's Historia britonum and Geoffrey of Monmouth. The epic founder of Britain was Brutus, son, or in another tradition, great-grandson, of Aeneas, in any case of the royal house of Troy. The tradition, repeated in Wace's version of Geoffrey, by Matthew Paris and others, persisted to the time of Shakespeare. Brutus found Albion uninhabited except by a few giants. He founded his capital on the banks of the Thames, and called it New Troy. Otto Frisingensis (12th century) and other German chroniclers repeat similar myths, and the apocryphal hypothesis is echoed in Scandinavian sagas. About 1050 a monk named Bernard wrote De excidio Trojae, and in the middle of the 12th century Simon Chèvre d'Or, canon of the abbey of Saint-Victor, Paris, followed with another poem in leonine elegiacs on the fall of the city and the adventures of Aeneas, in which the Homeric and Virgilian records were blended.
We now come to a work on the same subject, which in its own day and for centuries afterwards exercised an extraordinary influence throughout Europe. About the year 1184 Benoît de Sainte-More (q.v.) composed a poem of 30,000 lines entitled Roman de Troie. It forms a true Trojan cycle and embraces the entire heroic history of Hellas. The introduction relates the story of the Argonauts, and the last 2680 verses are devoted to the return of the Greek chiefs and the wanderings of Ulysses. With no fear of chronological discrepancy before his eyes, Benoît reproduces the manners of his own times, and builds up a complete museum of the 12th century—its arts, costumes, manufactures, architecture, arms, and even religious terms. Women are repeatedly introduced in unwarranted situations; they are spectators of all combats. The idea of personal beauty is different from that of the old Greeks; by Benoît good humour, as well as health and strength, is held to be one of its chief characteristics. The love-pictures are another addition of the modern writer. The author speaks enthusiastically of Homer, but he derived his information chiefly from the pseudo-annals of Dictys and Dares, more especially the latter, augmented by his own imagination and the spirit of the age. It is to Benoît alone that the honour of poetic invention is due, and in spite of its obligation for a groundwork to Dictys and Dares we may justly consider the Roman de Troie as an original work. From this source subsequent writers drew their notions of Troy, mostly without naming their authority and generally without even knowing his name. This is the masterpiece of the pseudo-classical cycle of romances: and in the Latin version of Guido delle Colonne it passed through every country of Europe.
The De bello trojano of Joseph of Exeter, in six books, a genuine poem of no little merit, was written soon after Benoît's work or about the years 1187–1188. At first ascribed to Dares Phrygius and Cornelius Nepos, it was not published as Joseph's until 1620 at Frankfort. It was directly drawn from the pseudo-annalists, but the influence of Benoît was considerable. Of the same kind was the Troilus of Albert of Stade (1249), a version of Dares, in verse, characterized by the old severity and affected realism. But these Latin works can only be associated indirectly with Benoît, who had closer imitators in Germany at an early period. Herbort of Fritzlar reproduced the French text in his Lied von Troye (early 13th century), as did also Konrad von Würzburg (d. 1287) in his Buch von Troye of 40,000 verses, which he himself compared to the “boundless ocean.” It was completed by an anonymous poet. To the like source may be traced a poem of 30,000 verses on the same subject by Wolfram von Eschenbach; and Jacques van Maerlant reproduced Benoît's narrative in Flemish. The Norse or Icelandic Trojumanna saga repeats the tale with some variations.
In Italy Guido delle Colonne, a Sicilian, began in 1270 and finished in 1287 a prose Historia trojana, in which he reproduced the Roman de Troie of Benoît, and so closely as to copy the errors of the latter and to give the name of Peleus to Pelias, Jason's uncle. As the debt was entirely unacknowledged, Benoît at last came to be considered the imitator of Guido. The original is generally abridged, and the vivacity and poetry of the Anglo-Norman trouvère disappear in a dry version. The immense popularity of Guido's work is shown by the large number of existing MSS. the French Bibliothèque Nationale possesses eighteen codices of Guido to thirteen of Benoît, while at the British Museum the proportion is ten to two. Guido's History was translated into German about 1392 by Hans Mair of Nördlingen. Two Italian translations were made: by Filippo Ceffi (1324) and by Matteo Beliebuoni (1333). In the 14th and the commencement of the 15th century four versions appeared in England and Scotland. The best known is the Troy Book, written between 1414 and 1420, of John Lydgate, who had both French and Latin texts before him. An earlier and anonymous rendering exists at Oxford (Bodleian MS. Laud Misc. 595). There is the Gest Hystoriale of the Destruction of Troy (Early Eng. Text Soc., 1869–1874), written in a northern dialect about 1390; a Scottish version (15th century) by a certain Barbour, not the poet, John Barbour; and The Seege of Troy, a version of Dares (Harl. MS. 525 Brit. Mus.). The invention of printing gave fresh impetus to the spread of Guido's work. The first book printed in English was The Recuyell of the Hystoryes of Troye: a translation by Caxton from the French of Raoul Lefèvre. The Recueil des histoires de Troyes was “composé par vénérable homme Raoul le Feure prestre chappellain de mon très redoupté seigneur monseigneur le duc Phelippe de Bourgoingne en l'an de grace 1464,” but probably printed in 1474 by Caxton or Colard Mansion at Bruges. It is in three books, of which the first deals with the story of Jupiter and Saturn, the origin of the Trojans, the feats of Perseus, and the first achievements of Hercules; the second book is wholly taken up with the “prouesses du fort Hercuiez”; the third, “traictant de la generally destruction de Troyes qui vint a 'ocasion du rauissement de dame Helaine,” is little else than a translation of that portion of Guido delle Colonne which relates to Priam and his sons. Two MSS. of the Recueil in the Bibliothèque Nationale wrongly attribute the work to Guillaume Fillastre, a voluminous author, and predecessor of Lefèvre as secretary to the duke. Another codex in the same library, Histoire ancienne de Thèbes et de Troyes, is partly taken from Orosius. The Bibliothèque Nationale possesses an unpublished Histoire des Troyens et des Thébains jusgu'à la mort de Turnus, d'après Orose, Ovide et Raoul Lefèbre (early 16th century), and the British Museum a Latin history of Troy dated 1403. There were also translations into Italian, Spanish, High German, Low Saxon, Dutch and Danish; Guido even appeared in a Flemish and a Bohemian dress.
Thus far we have only considered works more or less closely imitated from the original. Boccaccio, passing by the earlier tales, took one original incident from Benoît, the love of Troilus and the treachery of Briseida, and composed Filostrato, a parable of his own relations with the Neapolitan princess who figures in his works as Fiammetta. This was borrowed by Chaucer for his Boke of Troilus and Cresside, and also by Shakespeare for his Troilus and Cressida (1609). One reason why the Round Table stories of the 12th and 13th centuries had a never-ceasing charm for readers of the two following centuries was that they were constantly being re-edited to suit the changing taste. The Roman de Troie experienced the same fate. By the 13th century it was translated into prose and worked up in those enormous compilations, such as the Mer des histoires, &c., in which the middle ages studied antiquity. It reappeared in the religious dramas called Mysteries. Jacques Millet, who produced La Destruction de Troie la Grande between 1452 and 1454, merely added vulgar realism to the original. Writers of chap-books borrowed the story, which is again found on the stage in Antoine de Montchrétien's tragedy of Hector (1603)—a last echo of the influence of Benoît.
Bibliography.—The Troy legend is dealt with in the elaborate work of A. Joly, Benoît de Sainte-More et le Roman de Troie (1870–1871); G. Körting, Der altfranz. Roman de Troie (1883); F. Settegast, Benoît de Ste-More (Breslau, 1876); G. C.Frommann, Herbort v. Fritzlar u. Benoît de Ste-More (Stuttgart, 1837); R. Jäckel, Dares Phrygius u. Benoît de Ste-More (Breslau, 1875); E. Juste, Sur l'origine des poémes attrib. à Homère et sur les cycles épiques de l'antiq. et du Moyen-Âge (Brussels, 1849); J. A. Fuchs, De varietate fabularum troicarum quaestiones (Cologne, 1830); H. Dunger, Die Sage vom trojan. Kriege (Leipzig, 1869); G. Körting, Dictys u. Dares (Halle, 1874); H. Dunger, Dictys Septimius (Dresden, 1878); L. Havet, “Sur la date du Dictys de Septimius,” Rev. de philol. (1878); F. Meister, “Zur Ephem. belli Troiani von Dictys,” Philologus (1879); R. Barth, Guido de Columna (Leipzig, 1877); A. Mussafia, “Sulle Versione Italiane della Storia Troiana,” Sitz. d. k. Akad. Wien (1871),vol. lxvii., and “Ueber d. span. Versionen” (ibid., 1871), vol. lxix.; A. Pey, Essai sur lí romans d'Eneas (1856). See also J, J. Jusserand, De Josepho Exoniensi (1877); E. Gorra, Testi inediti di Storia trojana (Turin, 1887); A. Graf, Roma nella memoria et nelle imaginazioni del medio evo (Turin, 1882); Le Roman de Troie, ed. L. Constans (Soc. d. anc. textes fr. Paris, 1904); H. L. Ward, Catalogue of Romances (1883), vol. i.; W. Greif, “Die mittelälterlichen Bearbeitungen der Trojanersage,” in E. Stengel's Ausgaben und Abhandlungen aus dem Gebiete der romanischen Philologie (Marburg, 1886); A. N. Wesselofsky, Mat. et recherches pour servir à l'histoire du roman et de la nouvelle (Petersburg, 1889); R. Dernedde, Ueber die den altfranzösischen Dichtern bekannten epischen Stoffe aus dem Alterthum (1887).}}