Troy - An Epic Tale of Rage, Deception and Destruction, Ben Hubbard

Troy - An Epic Tale of Rage, Deception and Destruction, Ben Hubbard

The siege of Troy is perhaps the most famous story to survive from the ancient world, and the subject of many attempts to work out if it was a real event, if there was a real Homer etc. This book largely takes a different approach. Although it does include some sections looking at those topics, the main focus here is on what the story of the siege tells us about various aspects of Bronze Age and later Greece, as

We start with a look at the city of Troy itself, and in particular the archaeological efforts to identify one of the many cities on the generally accepted site of the city as the Troy of Homer’s siege. Each chapter then focuses on a particular element of the siege and the Iliad – the role (or most often the fate) of women, the savage nature of the violence recorded in the text or the role of the gods in the siege. We also get a chapter devoted to the key plot element of the Illiad – the death of Patroclus and the impact it had on Achilles. Finally we look at the known aftermath of the story – Agamemnon’s Mycenae soon fell as Greece’s bronze age civilization ended in a dramatic collapse leading to an ancient Greek dark ages, as did most of their contemporaries.

I found this to be an effective approach. We can never really be sure how much Homer’s story reflected a real siege, or exactly when that siege might have taken place, but we can be fairly sure that it took place in ‘heroic age’ Greece, and as it appealed strongly to the ancient Greeks  must have felt convincing to them. As a result we can use the Illiad to examine ancient Greek attitudes to warfare, and what we know from other sources to illustrate some aspects of the epic poem.

Chapters
1 - The City of Troy
2 - The Warrior Kings
3 - The Role of Women
4 - The Savagery of the Siege
5 - The Death of Patroclus
6 - Gods, Men and Homer
7 - New Civilizations from Old

Author: Ben Hubbard
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 224
Publisher: Amber
Year: 2018


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