Was the Trojan War real?

The Trojan War as presented in Homer more than likely did not occur. However, historians think that the Trojan War might have been based on real military conflicts.

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For a long time, not just the Trojan War but the city of Troy itself was held to be mythological. In the late nineteenth century, however, Heinrich Schliemann uncovered the ruins of a Bronze Age city that corresponds with many descriptions of where Troy must have been. Based on Mycenaean...

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For a long time, not just the Trojan War but the city of Troy itself was held to be mythological. In the late nineteenth century, however, Heinrich Schliemann uncovered the ruins of a Bronze Age city that corresponds with many descriptions of where Troy must have been. Based on Mycenaean and Trojan archaeological evidence, historians and archaeologists believe that a series of conflicts did actually take place between Troy (in Asia Minor) and the Mycenaean cities (in Greece) in the Late Bronze Age (1400-1200 b.c.e.) While the causes of the conflict can only be speculated at, what is known is that the city of Troy suffered enormous destruction during this period, and was apparently burned to the ground. While we cannot know, the Iliad may refer to events in this conflict that attained legendary status over time, particularly as Mycenaean culture was destroyed by Dorian invasions that ended their Bronze Age heyday. 

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In modern times, the Trojan War is generally viewed as a blend of fact and fiction, though to what extent the events presented within Homer's epics are factual is debated. Some argue that there was a proper Trojan War, while others believe that was not the case.

The classical Greeks themselves believed the Trojan War was a real event in their distant history, but once their civilization was no more, most believed the conflict to have been made up entirely. Such perceptions changed when Heinrich Schliemann discovered the ruins of Troy in the 1870s. Evidence suggests the city had undergone several attacks, and the ruins sported a great many sling bullets, which would have been gathered up by the Trojans for later use in combat had they won whatever conflict finally brought their city to its knees.

Historians assume that Troy was destroyed around 1180 BCE. The precise causes of its end are unknown, though historians hypothesize a military conflict could have been the reason. Whether or not the battle that destroyed Troy was part of the Trojan War as described by Homer is impossible to tell, but it is possible that historical memory of several different wars or conflicts were later composited into mythic stories surrounding the city.

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