, ἡ Ἴλιος
: Eth. Ἰλιεύς
, f. Ἰλιάς
), sometimes also called TROJA
), whence the inhabitants are commonly called Τρῶες,
and in the Latin writers Trojani.
The existence of this city, to which we commonly give the name of Troy, cannot be doubted any more than the simple fact of the Trojan War, which was believed to have ended with the capture and destruction of the city, after a war of ten years, B.C. 184. Troy was the principal city of the country called Troas.
As the city has been the subject of curious inquiry, both in ancient and modern times, it will be necessary, in the first instance, to collect and analyse the statements of the ancient Writers ; and to follow up this discussion by an account of the investigations of modern travellers and scholars to identify the site of the famous city. Our most ancient authority are the Homeric poems ; but we must at the very outset remark, that we cannot look upon the poet in every respect as a careful and accurate topographer; but that, admitting his general accuracy, there may yet be points on which he cannot be taken to account as if it had been his professed object to communicate information on the topography of Troy.
The city of Ilium was situated on a rising ground, somewhat above the plain between the rivers Seamander and Simois, at a distance, as Strabo asserts, of 42 stadia from the coast of the Hellespont. (Hom. Il. 20.216
, fol.; Strab. xiii. p.596
That it was not quite in the plain is clear from the epithets ἠνεμόεσσα, αἰπεινή,
Behind it, on the south-east, there rose a hill, forming a branch of Mount Ida, surmounted by the acropolis, called Pergamum (τὸ Πέργαμον, Hom. Il. 4.508
; also τὰ Πέργαμα, Soph. Phil. 347
; or, ἡ Πέργαμος, Hom. Il. 5.446
This fortified acropolis contained not only all the temples of the gods (Il. 4.508
,512, 6.88, 257, 22.172, &c.), but also the palaces of Priam and his sons, Hector and Paris (Il. 6.317
The city must have had many gates, as may be inferred from the expression πᾶσαι πύλαι
, and elsewhere), but only one is mentioned by name, viz., the Σκαιαὶ πύλαι,
which led to the camp of the Greeks, and must accordingly have been on the northwest part of the city, that is, the part just opposite the acropolis (Il. 3.145
The origin of this name of the “left gate” is unknown, though it may possibly have reference to the manner in which the signs in the heavens were observed ; for, during this process, the priest turned his face to the north, so that the north-west would be on his left hand. Certain minor objects alluded to in the Iliad, such as the tombs of Ilus, Aesyetes, and Myrine, the Scopie and Erineus, or the wild fig-tree, we ought probably not attempt to urge very strongly : we are, in fact, prevented from attributing much weight to them by the circumstance that the inhabitants of New Ilium, who believed that their town stood on the site of the ancient city, boasted that they could show close to their walls these doubtful vestiges of antiquity. (Strab. xiii. p.599
The walls of Ilium are described as lofty and strong, and as flanked with towers; they were fabled to have been built by Apollo and Poseidon (Il. 1.129
These are the only points of the topography of Ilium derivable from the Homeric poems.
The city was destroyed, according to the common tradition, as already remarked, about B.C. 1184; but afterwards we hear of a new Ilium, though we are not informed when and on what site it was built. Herodotus (7.42
) relates that Xerxes, before invading Greece, offered sacrifices to Athena at Pergamum, the ancient acropolis of Priam; but this does not quite justify the inference that the new town of Ilium was then already in existence, and all that we can conclude from this passage is, that the people at that time entertained no doubt as to the sites of the ancient city and its acropolis. Strabo (xiii. p.601
) states that Ilium was restored during the last dynasty of the Lydian kings; that is, before the subjugation of Western Asia by the Persians: and both Xenophon (Xen. Hell. 1.1.4
) and Scylax (p. 35) seem to speak of Ilium as a town actually existing in their days. [p. 2.34]
It is also certain that in the time of Alexander New Ilium did exist, and was inhabited by Aeolians. (Demosth. c. Aristocr.
p. 671; Arrian, Arr. Anab. 1.11.7
; Strab. xiii. p.593
This new town, which is distinguished by Strabo from the famous ancient city, was not more than 12 stadia, or less than two English miles, distant from the sea, and was built upon the spur of a projecting edge of Ida, separating the basins of the Scamander and Simois.
It was at first a place of not much importance (Strab. xiii. pp. 593, 601), but increased in the course of time, and was successively extended and embellished by Alexander, Lysimachus, and Julius Caesar. During the Mith<*>idatic War New Ilium was taken by Fimbria, in B.C. 85, on which occasion it suffered greatly. (Strab. xiii. p.594
; Appian, App. Mith. 53
; Liv. Epit.
It is said to have been once destroyed before that time, by one Charidemus (Plut. Sert. 1
.; Polyaen. 3.14
); but we neither know when this happened, nor who this Charidemus was. Sulla, however, favoured the town extremely, in consequence of which it rose, under the Roman dominion, to considerable prosperity, and enjoyed exemption from all taxes. (Plin. Nat. 5.33
These were the advantages which the place owed to the tradition that it occupied the identical site of the ancient and holy city of Troy: for, it may here be observed, that no ancient author of Greece or Rome ever doubted the identity of the site of Old and New Ilium until the time of Demetrius of Scepsis, and Strabo, who adopted his views; and that, even afterwards, the popular belief among the people of Ilium itself, as well as throughout the world generally, remained as firmly established as if the criticism of Demetrius and Strabo had never been heard of.
These critics were led to look for Old Ilium farther inland, because they considered the space between New Ilium and the coast far too small to have been the scene of all the great exploits described in the Iliad ; and, although they are obliged to own that not a vestige of Old Ilium was to be seen anywhere, yet they assumed that it must have been situated about 42 stadia from the sea-coast. They accordingly fixed upon a spot which at the time bore the name of Ἰλιέων κώμη.
This view, with its assumption of Old and New Ilium as two distinct places, does not in any way remove the difficulties which it is intended to remove ; for the spaee will still be found far too narrow, not to mention that it demands of the poet what can be demanded only of a geographer or an historian. On these grounds we, in common with the general belief of all antiquity, which has also found able advocates among modern critics, assume that Old and New Ilium occupied the same site.
The statements in the Iliad which appear irreconcilable with this view will disappear if we bear in mind that we have to do with an entirely legendary story, which is little concerned about geographical accuracy.
The site of New Ilium (according to our view, identical with that of Old Ilium) is acknowledged by all modern inquirers and travellers to be the spot covered with ruins now called Kissarlik,
between the villages of Kum-kioi, Kalli-fatli,
a little to the west of the last-mentioned place, and not far from the point where the Simois once joined the Scamander.
Those who maintain that Old Ilium was situated in a different locality cannot, of course, be expected to agree in their opinions as to its actual site, it being impossible to fix upon any one spot agreeing in every particular with the poet's description. Respecting the nationality of the inhabitants of Ilium, we shall have to speak in the article TROAS
(Comp. Spohn, de Agro Trojano,
Lipsiae, 1814, 8vo.; Rennell, Observations on the Topography of the Plain of Troy,
London, 1814,4to.; Choiseul-Gouffier, Voyage Pittoresque de la Gréce,
Paris, 1820, vol. ii. p. 177, fell.; Leake, Asia Minor,
p. 275, foll.; Grote Hist. of Greece,
vol. i. p. 436, foll.; Eckenbrecher, über die Lage des Homerischen Ilion,
Rhein. Mus. Neue Folge, vol. ii. pp. 1--49, where a very good plan of the district of Ilion is given.
See also, Welcker, Kleine Schriften,
vol. ii. p. 1, foil.; C. Maclaren, Dissertation on the Topography of the Trojan War,
Edinburgh, 1822; Mauduit, Découvertes dans la Troiade, &c.,
Paris & Londres, 1840.)
|COIN OF ILIUM.|