Showing posts with label Trojan War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trojan War. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Palace Of Odysseus FOUND At Last!

When the Greek Reporter released an article this week about modern Greeks having Mycenean DNA, it made me think about the elusive Odysseus and the search for Him that has been by far one of the hardest.

But a few years ago, I became fascinated by the quests of modern adventurers like the late Tim Severin who proved the voyage of Jason possible, and then I moved on to the geographical research into Homeric Ithaka. Like Severin, I refused to accept the analysis of "myth busters," mainly because they've been proven fools numerous times. I was not content with the conclusion that Homer's Odyssey describes an island civilization that didn't exist. Because the problem with this analysis is that Homer's world was not set in stone, but one forever in motion due to earthquakes. Even Troy was only accepted as factual when Schliemann dug it up from the earth and matched it to Homer's descriptions. And Schliemann, among others, also visited Ithaka during his time as an archaeologist and mythologist. Not only were coins discovered depicting Odysseus, but a sanctuary to Apollon from 1,400 BCE, before the Trojan War (the specific worship of Apollon on Ithaka is mentioned in Homer). But of course, evidence of life on the island goes all the way back to 3,000 BCE, with findings that prove Mycenean civilization was there at one time. So there is no debate whatsoever that Ithaka was notable during the Iliad Era. 

It was perhaps only a matter of time before we either found the location of Odysseus' home or declared it lost forever. Indeed, Greece has always been a very seismic region, especially on the islands. Sometimes earthquakes completely wiped out the town or village and sent part of it plunging into the sea. Some things from Homer may be unfindable simply because they were destroyed not only by the Christian church, but through natural movement and erosion. I suppose I've always been fascinated by Odysseus and Ithaka because The Odyssey was my first taste of ancient Greece when my English high school class watched the film. I was captivated at that point. I even dressed up like Odysseus during Hero Day, one of the days held during School Pride Week. In truth, I never doubted the story for a minute. I always believed it.

For a long time, Odysseus' palace remained the only Homeric royal residence that had not been located. But by 2018 and on into today, it has been declared found by archaeologists on Ithaka. The Greek government was so sure of this that the Prime Minister sent 120,000 Euros to continue funding the excavations. The large building found in Agios of Ithaka has been confirmed to be a Mycenean complex, which existed at the time of Odysseus' rule and fits perfectly with Homeric details. The archaeologists and professors responsible for the find are not leaving it to mere interpretation either. They believe it proves Odysseus was real. The final piece of the palace puzzle has now fallen into place. Homer is history. With so much discovery and truth of the ancient stories, and now one more added to the pile, one may wonder how long it will take before the Greeks realize where they truly come from.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.


Picture: Fresco of a Mycenean Woman, 1,300 BCE. Image is in the public domain in the United States because it is PD-Art and the copyright term therein has expired 100 years after the author's death.

Article 1 (Ithaka Archaeology)

Article 2 (Excavation of Odysseus' Palace)

Google (Palace Landmark and Visitation)

Monday, January 27, 2020

How We Know Achilles Existed

When people hear of the Tomb of Achilles, they don't realize that from Alexander the Great to Emperor Julian, and even as late as the Ottoman Empire, people have written of their visits to the site. We have multiple sources, some not even Greek Polytheistic, who testify to the existence of this structure and the remains of the Hero therein, and being that Achilles died during the Trojan War, His body would have been immediately accessible to the Greeks for burial, so there's no chance that someone far later discovered remains somewhere and interpreted them to be Achilles. Like the existence of Troy itself which was proven by archaeology, Homer's works are literally records of real places and Gods of cultures, so why are they also not records of real people? Achilles existed most certainly, and people visited His resting place well into the Common Era.

What makes the Tomb of Achilles lost today, however, is the fact that the marker is gone, as it was only identified by a pillar, and there's no record of exact coordinates. His remains lie unnamed somewhere near Troy. In other words, we'll probably never find it, and if we do discover His remains, nothing will be proof enough for a skeptical scientist. They will always find a way to deny what they don't want to accept, and always find ways to accept what they don't want to deny. Furthermore, what if there are actually no remains left? What if they have all withered away at the mercy of the elements? But what we can say for certain is that He was real.

The only general location of His resting place, which has been drawn, photographed and filmed many times, is a large mound called a tumulus, which is a man-made mound that normally presides over a burial site. Certainly not uncommon, as Greeks were burying war Heroes in mounds as late as the Battle of Marathon, long after the Trojan War. The town that was founded around or in the vicinity of the tomb, called Achilleion, was abandoned in the Hellenistic Era, leaving everything around it to fall either into the hands of ruins or bandits. However, the mound itself still remains and can be visited to this day.

Tumulus of Achilles on Video

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Agamemnon, His Daughter, and Abraham's Myth

The movie Troy, made in 2004, isn't really fair to Agamemnon of the House of Atreus. True, He really did have a falling out with Achilles, but that doesn't necessarily make Him a bad person or "unheroic." Hollywood has portrayed Him as an old, overweight, over indulgent, and even cowardly tyrannical thief, whose greed for power cannot be satisfied. But the fact of the matter is that we don't even know what He looked like, and the so called Mask Of Agamemnon is speculation at best, as it predates the Trojan War by hundreds of years. What we mostly know about Him comes from Homer. In The Iliad, Agamemnon is a fantastic warrior, whose courage and strength on the battlefield sent many Trojans "down to Haides," as Homer might put it. While Gods like Apollon had to teach Agamemnon a lesson in humility at times, He is hardly disgraced in the eyes of the ancients. While He does have His selfish points, He is considered a Hero, as all of the Homeric warriors are classified as such.

However, one of the most infamous myths about the man is concerning His daughter, Iphigenia. In the story, Agamemnon once again finds Himself at odds with a God, this time Artemis after He kills a deer in an area sacred to the Goddess (I myself have always believed deer to be sacred to Artemis, which is why I will not kill or eat them). Artemis steps in and sends the winds into unfavorable manifestations, literally beaching His fleet. To atone for His offense, Agamemnon decides on a human sacrifice of His own daughter. Only then, He thought, would Artemis allow the Greek navy to even begin sailing for the Trojan coast. In one version, He goes through with the sacrifice and the winds then open their course toward Troy. In another, Artemis replaces Iphigenia with a deer on the altar, thus saving her life and taking the sacrifice of the animal in her place.

One thing that's really interesting is how this framework mirrors the old testament story of Abraham, who was going to sacrifice his own son to God, but at the last minute, an angel sends his attention in the direction of a ram, which is sacrificed in his son's place. It is estimated that Genesis, the part of the bible in which the story occurs, was written around 1450 to 1400 BCE. While Agamemnon would have lived later, around 1260 to 1180 BCE, the Jews do not appear to have had contact with the Greeks until much later, around the 4th century. And, if Moses was indeed the author of Genesis, he is estimated to have lived anywhere from 1550 to 1200 BCE, meaning it's possible that Agamemnon predates him. Of course, there were many versions and oral traditions of the bible and Greek religious stories throughout the ages, so it's not possible to tell really which one of these stories may have been told first, and certainly no evidence that one stole from the other.

Agamemnon is one of those Heroes who comes to us through the good and the bad, meaning that sometimes, human Heroes are made through their triumphs and also their tragedies, especially if their tragedies are something they learn from and can be used to teach people valuable lessons. Agamemnon can teach us how to destroy our enemies, but also the importance of living a life with humility and compassion, as He spent a lot of time learning of the hardships of hubris and selfishness.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Who Were The Trojans?

We all know the famous story of the Trojan War (City of Troy VII), how the Greeks and Trojans across the sea, fought each other for ten years, until the Greeks, led by Odysseus, tricked the Trojans with the famous Trojan Horse. The story is enshrined in the human imagination, and thanks to Heinrich Schliemann, is also embedded in the books of human history. But who were the Trojans of this time, really? Has that question ever been successfully answered? 

The first possibility is that they were a group of Greeks themselves. The Greeks came from the east and settled in mainland Greece. Troy is also in that direction. Remember, the Greeks had differently named settlements. Homer doesn't even call the invaders of Troy "Greeks," but rather Argives and Achaeans. So it's entirely possible that Troy itself was a Greek settlement, just called by its name instead of identifying with an entire ethnic category. It's also possible that the Trojans were Hittites, as the Hittite Empire was in Asia Minor, which is also where Troy was located. 

Some people think that the Trojans went on to become the Romans. Legend has it that, when Troy fell, a Trojan named Aeneas, fled the city and founded what would become Rome, which, as Karma would have it, later conquered Greece. However, if it's true that the Romans were the remnants of the Trojans, it would be very, very early Rome. Remember, Rome became a mighty empire, and many different bloodlines lived and populated there. Even today, a Roman citizen might not be the same as a Roman even five-hundred years ago. I think it would be very far-fetched to go to Rome today, point to someone and say, "you're a Trojan." I think the Trojan bloodline is basically extinct, that it died out a long time ago, certainly as history knew it.

Who were the Trojans of the famous war? I think the fair answer is that we don't really know. But we do know that there was a Troy, and we know it as a fact because it was excavated by Schliemann, proven to the world, and we do know it was one of the greatest times of Gods and Heroes ever written about in the history of humanity. The brave men on both sides live forever in history and in our hearts.

In the Goodness of the Gods,