Monday, February 03, 2003


Dismissed by many as simply legend, Homer's grand account of the Trojan War was given a boost in credibility when the remains of the city were found decades ago. Now geologists have found that not only was there a Troy, but that Homer's account of the war at least contains accurate geographical details:
When Troy was first built around 3000 BC, say John Kraft, of the University of Delaware in Newark, and his colleagues, it was on the coast of a great bay that filled most of the plain.

Today, however, Troy's environs look very different. Little by little, silt from the Simois and Scamander rivers (today called the Dumrek Su and Kara Menderes), which flow into the bay, moved the Dardanelles coastline several kilometres north, leaving Troy high and dry.

The researchers tracked these changes back through time by radiocarbon dating the fossils in columns of sediment drilled from the rivers' flood plain. Their analysis revealed where, at different times, the ground was once a swamp, a brackish lagoon, or earlier still, a flooded bay.

What's my point, you ask? Well, perhaps scholars who so quickly dismiss ancient accounts as legendary and non-historical might need to realize the truth that actually there. And if Homer had it right, maybe--just maybe--the Old Testament, which makes claims of historical reliability that Homer does not, should be taken a little more seriously, too.

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