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 Polites also, “‘who was the scout of the Trojans, trusting to his swiftness of foot, and who was on the summit of the tomb of the old Æsyetes,’1” was acting absurdly. For although he was seated “ on the summit of the tomb,
” yet he might have observed from the much greater height of the citadel, situated nearly at the same distance, nor would his swiftness of foot have been required for the purpose of security, for the tomb of Æsyetes, which exists at present on the road to Alexandreia, is distant five stadia from the citadel. Nor is the course of Hector round the city at all a probable circumstance, for the present city will not admit of a circuit round it on account of the continuous ridge of hill, but the ancient city did allow such a course round it.2
1 Il. ii. 792.
2 M. Lechevalier, who extends Ilium and its citadel Pergamus to the highest summit of the mountain Bounar-bachi, acknowledges that the nature of the ground would prevent the course of Hector and Achilles taking place round this position, in consequence of the rivers and the precipices which surround it on the S. E. To meet the objection which these facts would give rise to, M. Lechevalier interprets the expressions of Homer in a manner never thought of by the ancient grammarians, although they contorted the text in every possible manner, to bend it to their peculiar opinions. Would it not be more easy to believe that at the time of the siege of Troy this city was no longer on the summit of the mountain, nor so near its ancient acropolis as it was at first; and that the inhabitants moved under the reign of Ilus, as Plato says, and as Homer leads us to conclude, to the entrance of the plain and to the lower rising grounds of Ida? The level ground on the top mountain which rises above Bounar-bachi, and on which it has been attempted to trace the contour of the walls of ancient Ilium and of its citadel, is more than 3200 toises in circumference. But it is difficult to conceive how, at so distant a period and among a people half savage, a space of ground so large and without water could be entirely occupied by a town, whose power scarcely extended beyond 25 leagues. On the other hand, as the exterior circuit of this mountain is more than 5500 toises, it is not to be conceived how Homer, so exact in his description of places, should have represented Achilles and Hector, already fatigued by a long-continued battle, as making an uninterrupted course of about seven leagues round this mountain, before commencing in single combat. It appears to me therefore that the Troy of Homer must have covered a much less space of ground than is generally supposed, and according to all appearances this space was bounded by a hillock, on which is now the village of Bounar-bachi. This hillock is about 700 or 800 toises in circumference; it is isolated from the rest of the mountain; and warriors in pursuing one another could easily make the circuit. This would not prevent Pergamus from being the citadel of Ilium, but it was separated from it by an esplanade, which served as a means of communication between the town and the fortress.—Gossellin.
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