RUINS OF TROY AND MYCENAE (Illustration) Famous People Film Geography History Legends and Legendary People Fiction Social Studies

Where, exactly, is Troy? This map, depicting its location in modern-day Turkey, also helps us to understand how it relates to nearby Greece and to Istanbul. Image online via "On the Go Tours."


Through the time of the American Civil War, most people throughout the world believed that Troy was a mythological place. There was no city by that name. There were no known primary sources to prove a Trojan War had ever occurred.

Yet the possibility existed:

  • What if ruins of Troy were buried deep in the earth?
  • What if people took Homer at his word?
  • What if, with Iliad in hand, one were to follow the landscapes Homer described?

Would such a quest lead to a real place called Troy?

Charles MacLaren, a Scot, believed that Troy was at (or near) the Turkish town of Hissarlik. He published a book about his ideas in 1822.

Frank Calvert, an Englishman living in Turkey, was so sure about Hissarlik that he bought half the mound which, he suspected, hid the ruins of the ancient city.

Heinrich Schliemann, a German who had lived in various parts of the world, was so obsessed with his belief that Troy existed—and that it was to be found under the Hissarlik mound—that he made a deal with Culvert. He would search for Troy under Culvert’s hill.

At the time—in 1870—archaeology was not the science it is today. And Schliemann was no trained archaeologist. But through his efforts (bungled and deceitful though they were) the ancient city of Troy, hidden for thousands of years, once again came to light.

The mound itself has nine levels (where nine successive cities had been built). Scholars believe the Troy of Homer’s Iliad was at the 7a level. Guessing he was right, working in secret, but digging too deeply, Schliemann destroyed much of the actual site that he was seeking.

The amateur archaeologist found more than the ancient town. He also found artifacts (including jewelry, pottery, gold bracelets and pins, stone ax heads, and a golden diadem) which he called “Priam’s Treasures.”

Sophie, Schliemann’s Greek wife, shocked the academic community when she was photographed wearing the recovered diadem.

Without permission, Schliemann took many of those priceless objects out of the country. He brought them to Berlin, but they ended-up in Moscow (after the Soviet Army took them from Berlin at the end of World War II). Today much of “Priam’s Treasure” is housed in Moscow’s Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.

When he finished his work at Troy, Schliemann set out to find Mycenae, the home of Agamemnon.

Once again he was fortunate to unearth amazing ruins, including a grave circle and Lion Gate (from about 1300 B.C.) Although Schliemann believed he had located the beehive-shaped tomb of Agamemnon—and the ruler’s golden death mask—scholars later discredited those conclusions.

Ownership battles over Schliemann’s discoveries continue to this day.

Not only are Russia and Turkey arguing about Priam’s Treasure, recently Frank Culvert’s descendants have joined the fray. After all, they say, their ancestor owned the mound from which the objects were removed. So...shouldn’t the treasure of Culvert’s hill belong to them?

If only Homer could return! One wonders how he’d end his story of Troy today.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: May 20, 2019

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"RUINS OF TROY AND MYCENAE" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jan 18, 2020.
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