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Map of the Castle Hill (Hisarlık) of Troy
Map of the Castle Hill (Hisarlık) of Troy
Contracting State (s): TurkeyTurkey Turkey
Type: Culture
Criteria : II, III, VI
Reference No .: 849
UNESCO region : Europe and North America
History of enrollment
Enrollment: 1998  (session 22)

Troy ( ancient Greek Τροία Troia or Τροίη Troiē ; also ἡ Ἴλιος hē Ílios , "the Ilios" or τὸ Ἴλιον tó Ílion , "the Ilion"; Latin Troia or Ilium; Turkish Truva ) was a city in ancient times . According to today's doctrine, it was located in the Troas landscape in the northwest of today's Turkey . In ancient studies , the Latin spelling Troy is used, which corresponds to the ancient Greek spelling.

The historicity and localization of Troy is controversial (see Troy debate ). A common research opinion places Troy on the Hisarlık Tepe in the province of Çanakkale ( Turkey ). The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site .

Definition of "Troy"

Map of the Troas
Surroundings of Troy after Heinrich Schliemann

The following is to be distinguished more precisely with the name Troy:

  • The Greek poet Homer (8th century BC) is considered to be the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey . The Iliad describes the Trojan War for the city of Ilios - Troy itself, on the other hand, is the landscape around the city proper. The question of whether a war between the Greeks and Ilios (Troy) actually took place cannot yet be answered conclusively. The question of whether the city of Ilios (Troy) existed must be separated from the question of such a war. Homer is considered to be the founder of Western literature, his mighty verses enjoyed great popularity in ancient times, and even today the question of the real Troy attracts a lot of interest.
  • In the time of ancient Greece there was a real city Ilion. It was then equated with Homer's famous Troy. Since the tradition has broken off, the location of this Troy has also been forgotten.
  • It has been believed that Homer's Troy has been located on Hisarlık Hill since the 18th century . The German Heinrich Schliemann dug there on a large scale in the 19th century . Since then, settlements have been found that have emerged over a long period of time: from the 5th millennium BC. Until the 5th century AD
  • In the center of today's Turkey was the Hittite Empire , which was founded in the early 12th century BC. It collapsed around the same time that the Troy described by Homer was located. In Hittite sources it is said from about 1400 to 1200 BC. A city called Wilusa was mentioned several times in BC . There is evidence that this town may be identical to the site on Hisarlık. In any case, according to an evaluation of a Hittite state treaty found in the 1980s, Wilusa was probably located in the very north-west of Anatolia, in the area of ​​the Troas. Against this localization of Wilusa and its equation with Ilion, however, concerns were expressed and after the evaluation of the State Treaty and other sources, Wilusa was localized in completely different places.

The prevailing opinion, which is also taught to a lesser extent in classical studies, is that Homer's Troy is identical to a layer of settlement on the Hisarlık hill. The hill, however, consists of many layers of settlement dating back at least 3500 years. It has not yet been possible to clarify which layer corresponds to the Troy described by Homer. The question of whether there was a Trojan War between Greeks and Trojans is also still controversial.

Another point of contention in the Troy debate in 2001/2002 was how large the complex around the Hisarlık was. During excavations away from the castle hill, Manfred Korfmann discovered a lower town that was significantly larger than the previously mostly explored hill. These discoveries and their interpretation play an important role in the question of whether the settlements of Hisarlık actually had a supra-regional significance (like Homer's Troy). Above all, the ancient historian Frank Kolb takes the view that the settlements of Hisarlık were rather insignificant, which speaks against equating Troy and Hisarlık.


Coordinates: 39 ° 57 ′ 26 ″  N , 26 ° 14 ′ 19 ″  E

Relief Map: Turkey

Troy was very likely located on the 15 meter high settlement hill Hisarlık ( Turkish for "castle hill") on the Dardanelles . The settlement may have controlled access to the Black Sea since the Bronze Age . The ships could not then against the wind crossing . According to Manfred Korfmann, they therefore waited in the port of the fortress for favorable winds and the road toll, as well as the pilot and protection fees that the ships had to pay to Troy, brought wealth to the city. This view is, however, controversial: There is doubts both the existence of substantial shipping from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea during the late Bronze Age and the fact that the port of the fortress would have been used for this.

The place gained fame in antiquity through the poetry Iliad by Homer and the legendary Trojan War described there . Even in late antiquity , the place and its legendary heroes were highly revered in the Roman Empire (see Aeneid ), and the Ilium hill was well known. With the beginning of the Christian Middle Ages, Troy (and with it the location of the city) fell into oblivion.

The existence and location of Troy have been a controversial subject in archeology for two centuries. The diverging opinions eventually led to the Troy debate . Today, the majority of ancient scholars are of the opinion that a layer of settlement on the Hisarlık is the Troy described by Homer. Homer calls the place Ilios (Greek Ἴλιος) and in one place Ilion (Ἴλιον). It remains unclear to what extent Homer's description of a war is correct.

Discovery story

First attempts at localization

Map from the Cosmographia of Sebastian Munster : New Greece with other adjoining countries as it is described in our times. 1554

With the onset of modern times, the number of travelers who visited the Troas with the Iliad in hand increased; for example the English writer Mary Wortley Montagu , who wrote in 1718:

"It is a pleasure to see the valley where, as I imagine, the famous duel between Menelaus and Paris took place and the great city stood - to read about the fall of Troy in the shadow of a Trojan ruin."

But there was a lack of Trojan ruins. Further south there were the striking ruins of Alexandria Troas , believed to be ancient Troy. From the 16th century, however, the assumption was criticized because the building remains were firstly obviously Roman and secondly too close to the sea. In the scamander level itself, however, there were no recognizable residues.

Illustration from Pope's Iliad 1716

In 1716 the second volume of the translation of the Iliad by Alexander Pope was published , which was accompanied by a picture of a reconstruction of the view of ancient Troy, which was to shape the imagination of the Troy seekers for a long time: From a bird's eye view from the Hellespont you can see the Achaean camp , behind it the battlefield framed by the rivers Skamander and Simois, and in front of the mountains of the Ida mountains the mighty walls of Troy. The corresponding reality was sought for this imaginary image: from 1750 Robert Wood and the English dilettanti searched for the remains of a castle in the entire Skamander Valley and during his time as French envoy at the Hohe Pforte (1784–1792) Count Choiseul-Gouffier had carefully measured for the first time Create maps of the Troad. On his behalf, Jean-Baptiste Le Chevalier transferred Pope's reconstruction to the real landscape in 1791 and accordingly selected the first noticeable hill in front of the Ida Mountains as the location of ancient Troy. That was the origin of the Bunarbashi or Ballı-Dağ thesis, which Schliemann was still fighting against. The much more inconspicuous hill of Hisarlık was also recognized as a ruin site and identified as the site of the Greco-Roman Ilion.

The first Troy explorers

In 1821, the Scottish newspaper publisher and amateur geologist Charles MacLaren wrote an essay on Troy, which he expanded into a voluminous dissertation in 1824, in which he localized the hill Hisarlık (also written Hissarlik ) as Troy. A part of this hill was then owned by the English landowners and diplomatic family Calvert. When MacLaren published an even more in-depth description of the Troy Plain in 1863 , the family's youngest son, Frank Calvert , tried to acquire the rest of the hill. This failed, but from 1863 to 1865 he made small test excavations himself. These impressed him so much that he was also convinced of the existence of Troy at this point. Calvert's request to the British Museum for an early investigation was refused. It was only Schliemann who examined Calvert's hypothesis in a systematic way.

Heinrich Schliemann

On August 9, 1868, the until then little experienced German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann came to the plain of the Troas . Here, too, he was looking for the legendary Troy and first suspected it, according to the thesis of Le Chevalier, under the Ballı Dağ hill. Schliemann and his five workers did not find anything, he wanted to leave, missed his ship and happened to meet Frank Calvert, in whose house he was staying. Calvert was now able to inspire Schliemann with his conviction that the ruins of Homer's Troy must be hidden under the hill of Hisarlık . Schliemann later did not hide the fact that he had the decisive clue about the situation of Troy from Calvert.

In 1873 Schliemann announced to the public that he had found Troy in Hisarlık . He owed his breakthrough to fame to another find in the same year: Schliemann's most spectacular find was what he himself called the “ Priam's Treasure ”. He established something new in several respects: on the one hand Schliemann's fame as a scientist, on the other hand the enthusiasm of the Wilhelmine Empire for Troy and for archeology in general, which was now promoted from a discipline for amateurs and travelers to a serious scientific discipline. The gold treasure was shown for a long time in the Berlin Museum of Prehistory and Early History and after the Second World War it was brought to the USSR as looted art , where it has been exhibited in the Moscow Pushkin Museum since 1996 . However, during Schliemann's lifetime - through his colleague Wilhelm Dörpfeld  - there were initial indications that the treasure was more than 1000 years older than Schliemann assumed.

Schliemann already wrote that he had to give the author of the Iliad poetic freedom ("exaggeration"); he also knew that he was not excavating the whole city, but the Pergamos castle of the city of Troy.

Wilhelm Dörpfeld and Carl Blegen

As further excavations showed, Troy was settled at the beginning of the Early Bronze Age (from approx. 3000 BC) until late antiquity . Traces of even earlier settlements have recently been found, dating back to the 5th millennium BC. Go back BC. With Christianity, the importance of the city, in which the Trojan heroes of sagas were worshiped, declined significantly. While it survived the invasion of the Goths in 276 largely unscathed, the settlement ended after a series of devastating earthquakes towards the end of the 5th century.

Cross section through the Hisarlık

To date, more than ten settlement layers have been discovered (Troy I to Troy X), which in turn are divided into over 40 fine layers. To put it simply, this includes Troy I (2950–2550 BC) and II (2550–2200) of the early, Troy III to V (2200–1700) of the Middle, Troy VI to VIIa (1700 to 12th century) the Late Bronze Age and Troy VIIb (12th century to around 1000 BC) of the Early Iron Age . Troy VIII and IX date from the 8th century BC. BC to Roman times, Troy X, a Byzantine bishopric, goes back to the early Middle Ages.

Castle walls of Troy

Troy I was still lying directly on the beach. The citadel Troy II covered an area of ​​approx. 9000 m² (four fire disasters), from Troy IV on the area was doubled, Troy VI had increased to about 50,000 m² to the south and east (not including the "lower town"). The fortress described by the author of the Iliad could be identical with Troy VI (according to another view with VIIa), which was built around the turn of the 14th to the 13th century BC. Chr. Went down. It is uncertain whether the cause was one of the frequent earthquakes or a conquest.

Whether the Trojan War also has a historical core remains highly controversial. The location of the city of Troy is clearly described in Homer's poem Iliad : The Dardanelles (in the work: Hellespont) are mentioned, the highest mountain is the Ida (Kaz Dağı). Two rivers are also described: the first called Skamander (today Karamanderes), which rises from the Ida Mountains, and the second Simois . Both unite at Troy and flow into the Hellespont. It is also reported from the islands of Tenedos (now Bozcaada ) and Imbros ( Gökçeada ).

Schliemann considered the imposing Early Bronze Age Troy II to be Homeric. He then mistakenly believed that it coincided with the Late Bronze Age layers of Mycenae and Tiryns . Dörpfeld considered the 6th layer of settlement (Troy VI) to be Homer's Troy. Layer VIh is around 1300 BC. Probably destroyed by a strong earthquake. Therefore, Carl Blegen considered the following layer Troy VIIa to be Homeric Troy. This thesis found and continues to be the most popular. According to more recent ceramic research, the probably violent end of Troy VIIa is usually around 1180 BC. Or later dated. A date around 1180 BC. B.C. would go well with most of the dating of the Trojan War by ancient authors.

Troy VIIb1 can also be considered as a candidate for Homer's Ilios. In addition to the adherence to cultural traditions of Troy VI and VIIa also new elements come to light here, for example, so-called Handmade ceramic Smoothed (ger .: Handmade Burnished Ware ): rough, gray, without potter's wheel made pottery. This suggests the arrival of new populations. The Mycenaean culture persisted in the 12th and 11th centuries. Trade and shipping continued as well. A war by the Achaeans against Troy in the 12th century could not be ruled out.

The holding Friedrich Matz contrary, that towards the end of the 13th century. BC strengthened the fortifications of Mycenae, Tiryns and Athens. Shortly after 1200 BC The palace of Pylos was destroyed and Mycenae attacked. From ceramic finds it can be concluded that it coincides with the destruction layer of Troy VIIa. Since the Achaeans had to defend themselves against foreign attacks in their homeland, Matz considered a campaign by the Mycenaean Greeks against Troy to be ruled out from this time, while such a campaign would be understandable about two generations earlier. The argument that a campaign against Troy as early as the 14th or 13th century would have called the Hittites on the scene and certainly found expression in Hittite written sources, can only be used after 1316 BC. After the Hittites under their great king Muršili II conquered the area of Arzawa and established vassal states on the west coast of Asia Minor.

Hittite thesis by Joachim Latacz

lili rere
Outlines of the front and back of the biconvex bronze seal found in 1995 from the 2nd half of the 12th century BC. With the logograms SCHREIBER, GUT and FRAU as well as two proper names

However, much remains unexplained on this point. The question of the extent to which Homer can actually serve as a source for historical events in the Late Bronze Age, and whether there was a Trojan War at all, cannot be adequately dealt with here. In any case, the theories of Greek studies about the hexameter and the origin of the epic, as presented by Joachim Latacz , found support in the new excavation results. In material terms and based on the excavation findings, a Luwian inscribed biconvex seal is the most important indication of a connection between this settlement and the Hittites .

According to Latacz, Troy is very likely to be identical to the city of Wilusa [= (W) Ilios] mentioned in Hittite sources , which was confirmed by the excavations of the Tübingen archaeologist Manfred Korfmann . In the excavation area of ​​Troy, for example, an underground spring system was found, the shape of which corresponds in every detail to the description of a spring in the city of Wilusa in the so-called Alaksandu Treaty.

Within classical philology , Latacz is currently the best-known advocate who considers the historicity of Homeric epics and at the same time the connection with Korfmann's Troy. Neither in the Hittite nor in the Greco-Roman written tradition is there any clear evidence of Hisarlık's identity with Homeric Troy; the same applies to the connection with Wilusa.

Discussion about the lower town since 1992

For a long time, the investigations were mainly limited to the castle hill (Greek Acropolis ) of Troy, i.e. the upper town. From 1988 onwards, an international team led by the Tübingen prehistorian Manfred Korfmann carried out research. Using the geophysicist Helmut Becker 1992, by geomagnetic measurements by means of a highly sensitive cesium - magnetometer an extended lower city discovered below the Acropolis.

The used in the geophysical surveys from 1992 Cesium - magnetometer , an exhibit in the Deutsches Museum Bonn

The team (under the direction of Ernst Pernicka since Korfmann's death in 2005 ) then intensively investigated this lower town , and so the question of how big Troy was moved to the center of the discussion. Korfmann's theses on the importance of Troy have met with resistance in research since the summer of 2001 and led to a broad, often personal discussion within German classical studies.

At its core, this Troy debate , the “new dispute over Troy”, revolves around the actual size and importance of the late Bronze Age Troy. While Korfmann saw Troy as a supraregional trading center, some archaeologists and ancient historians today limit it to an only moderately important settlement. The protagonist of this group is Korfmann's colleague from Tübingen at the time, the ancient historian Frank Kolb , who himself has some excavation experience in Turkey. The main accusation against Korfmann and his academic colleagues is a neglect of scientific care and caution. Since the beginning of the Troy dispute, Korfmann had to withdraw some of the excavation interpretations that supported his theory and came a bit towards the arguments of the other side. However, the team around Korfmann and his successors stuck to the overall interpretation of the excavations. Even at a scientific symposium in Tübingen in the spring of 2002, the dispute could not produce a clear decision.

Current dating of the main layers of Troy
Troy I 3000 - 2500 BC Chr.
Troy II 2500-2300 BC Chr.
Troy III-V 2300--1700 BC Chr.
Troy VI 1700-1250 BC Chr.
Troy VIIa 1250 - 1180 BC Chr.
Troy VIIb 1180-1000 BC Chr.
Troy VIII 1000 - 85 BC Chr.
Troy IX 85 BC BC - AD 400 or 600

The Korfmann position shapes the image of Troy for the interested public today. The public dispute has calmed down somewhat since 2004 after the debate shifted more and more to the technical level. After Manfred Korfmann's death in August 2005, the Tübingen archaeometallurge Ernst Pernicka was entrusted with the scientific management of the Troy project. For the continuation of the work in Troy in the summer of 2006 he was granted a license by the Turkish antiquity administration.

The 18-year series of excavations should now lead to a scientific conclusion. To a limited extent, questions about the Bronze Age city fortifications will also be examined further. In addition, the maintenance, preservation and presentation of Troy, which was declared a national park in 1996 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, require constant effort. In 2018, the Troy Museum at the gates of Troy was completed. Since Korfmann's excavations began, the finds have been collected in the Çanakkale Archaeological Museum . The German Research Foundation stopped its financial support in 2009. Since then, the German excavations have been made possible by foundation funds.

At the end of 2012, the University of Tübingen's excavation license expired. It was originally planned to use a US university as a successor, but the license will now remain in Turkey. The new head of the excavation is Rüstem Aslan, who received his doctorate in Tübingen.


Founded by the name of the former Colonia Ulpia Traiana , the names Troia Minor ("Little Troy") and Troia Francorum ("Franconian Troy") for Xanten were established well into the Middle Ages . Finally, around 1100, the Annolied told of the founding of Xanten by the Trojans that were defeated in the Trojan War:

Middle High German
Translation (Eberhard Nellmann, Reclam edition)
Free of charge with the sînin
vili verre nidir bî Rîni.
dâ worhtin si duo with vroudin
a luzzele Troii.
den bach hîzin si Sante
nâ demi wazzere in iri lante;
the Rîn havitin si vure diz meri.
then wuohsin sint Vreinkischiu heri.
Franko got along with his own
in the distance on the Rhine.
They were happy to build there back then
a little Troy.
They called the stream Sante
according to the river of their homeland.
They took the Rhine instead of the sea.
The Franconian people grew there ever since.

As early as 1444, when Xanten fell to the Duchy of Kleve , coins were minted with the inscription Joannes Troianorum Rex ("John, King of the Trojans").

Troy Museum

A few hundred meters from the excavation mound of Troy, on the outskirts of the village of Tevfikiye, the Troy Museum was opened in 2018. In the midst of olive trees and green fields, it was erected as a rust-red, square monolith that rises around 50 meters above the landscape. Construction work on the museum began in 2014. The museum offers artifacts from ancient Troy that have remained in Turkey on 3000 m² of exhibition space.

Troy hypotheses

Raoul Schrott's hypothesis

Karatepe City Walls

The comparatist and writer Raoul Schrott assumes, in particular on the basis of Assyrian texts, that Homer was a Greek writer in Assyrian service in the province of Cilicia . For the audience there, he had transferred older Greek material from the Trojan War to the local environment. Troy ascribes scrap to the Karatepe-Arslantaş hill . Its huge castle ruins with their strong ramparts and many defensive towers on a 225 m high hill not only have the "crown with towers" from Homer's Iliad, but also - in contrast to Schliemann's Troy - the two mighty gates in the south known from the story and north as well as the snow-capped mountains in the hinterland mentioned in the Iliad and a long river with wild ford and warm springs further east.

Hypothesis by Eberhard Zangger

One of the localization hypotheses about Atlantis , which is generally rejected by the scientific community , was developed by the geoarchaeologist Eberhard Zangger in his 1992 book Atlantis • A legend is deciphered . It says that Plato's Atlantis has archaeologically verifiable features of historical Troy and that Troy was destroyed by the Greeks.

See also


Technical and non-fiction books

Artistic processing


Web links

Commons : Troy  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Troy  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Articles and essays

Photos and videos

Individual evidence

  1. 14. Question: What is the correct spelling of Troy? ( Memento of May 13, 2015 in the Internet Archive ). Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen
  2. ^ Heinrich Otten : The bronze plaque from Boğazköy. A State Treaty of Tutḫalija IV. Studies on the Boǧazköy Texts , Supplement 1, Wiesbaden 1988.
  3. Frank Starke : Troy in the context of the historical-political and linguistic environment of Asia Minor in the 2nd millennium. In: Studia Troica. 7, 1997, pp. 447-487. Regardless came John David Hawkins : Tarkasnawa, King of Mira, Boğazköy sealings and Karabel. Anatolian Studies 48, 1998, pp. 1–31 after evaluating a Karabel inscription to a similar result.
  4. See above all Susanne Heinhold-Krahmer : Has the identity of Ilios with Wiluša been finally proven? Studi micenei ed egeo-anatolici. 45, 2004, pp. 29-57.
  5. ^ So Vangelis D. Pantazis advocates an identification of Wilusa with the West Anatolian Beycesultan : Vangelis D. Pantazis: Wilusa. Reconsidering the Evidence. KLIO, 91, 2009, pp. 291-310, especially pp. 303 ff ( ).
  6. Lady Wortley Montagu: Letters. Mannheim 1784, p. 77. Quoted by Christoph Ulf (Hrsg.): The new dispute about Troy. Beck, Munich 2003, p. 22 f
  7. ^ Jacob Spon: Curieuse journey through Italy, Dalmatia ... Nuremberg 1681.
  8. Justus Cobet: From text to ruin. In: Christoph Ulf (ed.): The new dispute over Troy. A balance sheet. Beck, Munich 2003, pp. 19–38, here: pp. 22 ff.
  9. ^ Manfred Flügge: Heinrich Schliemanns way to Troy. Munich 2001, p. 155 f.
  10. ^ Manfred Flügge: Heinrich Schliemanns way to Troy. Munich 2001, p. 176.
  11. ^ Manfred Flügge: Heinrich Schliemanns way to Troy. Munich 2001, p. 220.
  12. See overview table in Dietrich Koppenhöfer: Troja VII - attempt at a synopsis including the results of 1995. In: Studia Troica. Volume 7, 1997, p. 346, tab. 4. The estimates made by Blegen - its dating (approx. 1260 BC) is now considered outdated - for the end of Troy VIIa lie between 1185 and 1140 BC. BC or in the course of stage SH III C (2nd half of the 12th century). Koppenhöfer himself takes 1180 BC. And follows Sandars and Hansel.
  13. ^ Friedrich Matz : Crete, Mycenae, Troja . In: Kilpper Collection (Ed.): Great cultures of the early days . tape 6 . Phaidon, Essen 1985, ISBN 3-88851-085-6 , The Greek Heldenzeit, p. 122 .
  14. Bernhard Zimmermann, Anne Schlichtmann (ed.): The literature of the archaic and classical times (=  manual of the Greek literature of antiquity . Volume 1 ). CH Beck, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-57673-7 , Historical Background of the Homeric Epic, p. 40 ( digitized version [accessed on November 17, 2017]).
  15. Troy in the light of the new research results ( Memento of June 12, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  16. On the controversy about Troy VI / VII: What I definitely deny! ( Memento from November 17, 2014 in the Internet Archive ). Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , July 23, 2001. Fictional argument between Dieter Hertel and Joachim Latacz.
  17. Magnet track. At:
  18. John Freely : Back to Ithaca. In Odysseus' footsteps through the Mediterranean . Philipp von Zabern, Darmstadt 2016, ISBN 978-3-8053-4987-1 , The rediscovery of ancient Troy, p. 139 (English: A Travel Guide to Homer. On the Trail of Odysseus through Turkey and the Mediterranean . London / New York 2014. Translated by Jörg Fündling).
  19. German researchers leave excavation site in dispute. At: December 26, 2012.
  20. ^ "Troy Museum: The westernmost outpost of Anatolia" Taz from January 26, 2019
  21. Note: The ZDF film adopts the point of view of Korfmann and his successors. This means that the ditch around the lower town is only interpreted as a defensive structure and not as a drainage ditch like Kolb's ( In the Troia debate, Frank Kolb replied to the excavation team: Everything is missing about the commercial town. Schwäbisches Tagblatt, August 11, 2001). Likewise, the size of the settlement is estimated at 10,000 inhabitants, while the critics of the Trojathesis reject this as being too high.