Essay Preview: Troy Case
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Ancient History CHW3M
Nov. 25th, 2011
When people hear the word Troy, they immediately think of Brad Pitt/ Orlando Bloom in the highly flawed Hollywood blockbuster Troy. Troy shows the battle between Greece and Troy after it is said that the Prince of Troy, Paris, seduced King Menelaus of Spartas wife, Helen and convinced her to leave Sparta and come back with him to Troy. For the Greeks, this means war. Menelaus turns to his brother, King Agamemnon, to assemble his troops and prepare for war against Troy. 1000 ships from all of Greece set sail to lay siege to Troy and bring Helen home. “If love is worth fighting for, it has known no greater battle than this”. As sweet and romantic as that is, it is completely incorrect. The movie shows relationships between unimportant secondary characters and a vague portrayal of the actual war and other significant events that happened. Was there really a war? Was it fought over the love of a women? Did the famous legend of the “Trojan Horse” even exist? My researched completely disproves the historical accuracy of this Hollywood epic. From what Ive researched, it seems that the movie is more based off the poem the “Iliad” by Homer and the imagination of Hollywood screenwriters than from actual historically and scientifically proven events. Although some things are shown accurately, for instants the usage of bronze and their weaponry, the rest is completely apocryphal. The military strategies are wrong, the historical events are not shown accordingly, and the cross-cultural interaction is depicted incorrectly. Troy is an enjoyable and entertaining movie to watch, but not for historic insight.
Although the movie is depicted extremely wrong, the one aspect that the writers and director got correct was the weaponry. The weapons used in the movie were the same as used in the war. Back then, the must-have material was bronze; bronze was used for anything and everything. Pots, sculptures, but most importantly; for war. Bronze was the key element in all battle artillery. Shields, swords, and armour were all made from the bronze. Archaeologists have found “Bronze weapons found buried with warriors” (Martin , S. 2004, Horizon: The Truth of Troy [ Documentary], BBC) that were actually used in the war and they closely resemble the props that used in the movie. For example, the movie shows that the Greeks had circular shields and the Trojans had more of a rectangular one. When archaeologists found the bodies of the warriors, the ones found inside the city were a rectangular shape, which shows that the Trojan warriors did in fact use rectangular shields. As for the Greeks, scientist and archaeologist have found evidence at other sites that show the Greeks used circular shields so they could overlap one another during war time and create a “dome” which they used as a defence strategy to block and protect themselves from oncoming arrows, spears, etc. which is shown during the first battle in the movie. In addition, “They began to uncover arrowheads in the lower city. It suggested close quarter fighting.” (Martin , S. 2004, Horizon: The Truth of Troy [ Documentary], BBC). This is also shown in the movie. Arrows were used in higher up areas and sent through the air to hit opponents that were attacking from a farther distance, but they were also used at the end of a weapon, like a spear, for closer interactions with enemy opponents. In the early parts of the movie, when the Greeks try to penetrate Troys wall, from up along the wall, the Trojan soldiers would use arrows to try and kill the men that attacking from afar while down below, foot soldiers would use a spear to hit opponents that were closer up without having to get too close. Although these are proven to be true and were shown in the movie, not every aspect of weapons and military strategies was shown, with one in particular. One important military strategy was completely neglected. One thing that the Trojans did that was brilliant was not only did they have a strong army and a wall barricading their city and protecting it, they also added another obstacle for their opponents. They made it tremendously hard for the enemy to even make it into Troy. “A circle was dug around Troy so chariots couldnt get to the gates” (Martin , S. 2004, Horizon: The Truth of Troy [ Documentary], BBC). This was such a well-thought-out and well devised strategy. Not only would it put a dent in the opponents idea to just “march in and concur”, it would also give Troy more time to plan and prepare for unexpected fights. This was such a great military strategy, but not at all recognized in the movie. To conclude, although the weaponry that was used in the movie was shown correctly, the military strategies were not shown to the fullest.
Another aspect that was shown unfittingly was the historical events. The most important and famous being the “Trojan Horse”. Archaeologist have found no evidence of this existing whatsoever. The only “evidence” of this even existing is from Homers “Iliad”. Some suggest that maybe the horse was a metaphor for Poseidon, the god associated with horses who was also the god of the seas and earthquakes.
“The suggestion is that Homer knew that the city he was describing had been
destroyed by an earthquake, but thats not how you want to end your
monumental saga–with a whimper. So he concocted this idea of a Trojan
What Eric Cline is saying here is that maybe Homer was just an amazing story teller. Maybe he made up the legend of the Trojan Horse because he didnt want to end his story with a natural disaster being the cause that destroyed this monumental city. Maybe he wanted to give his story a more exciting edge but still cleverly incorporated the truth somehow which is how he came up with the legend that is the Trojan horse. In addition Cline also states that
“the archaeological evidence indicates that a Trojan war or wars took place,
and that Homer chose to write about one or more of them by making it into a
great ten-year-long saga.”(