The Trojan War : A New History

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In this most interesting book, Barry Strauss, an expert in ancient military history, places Homer’s The Iliad in its historical, cultural, economic and topographical context, without losing sight of its importance as a historical document as well as a literary masterpiece.

He uses all the tools of modern scholarship, for example, newly-translated Hittite texts, which confirm Troy’s importance in the Bronze Age and reveal it to be a Hittite ally. He compares Homer’s account with contemporary Bronze Age evidence, both written and archaeological, from Egypt, the Middle East and as far as away as Assyria.

This approach illuminates everything, from the way the combatants fought, to their customs, their assumptions, their relationships with the gods, as well as the economic reasons why the Greeks were interested in Troy in the first place. What’s more, in a stroke of inspiration, he uses Pope’s 1720 translation of The Iliad which captures something of the poetry and grandeur of the original. He is refreshingly unsniffy about Achilles, Hector, Odysseus and the rest, arguing that they behave and act in ways which are demonstrably Bronze Age.

The writing is lively and accessible without losing its scholarly credentials; I found it unputdownable. Highly recommended.

 

 

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Jenny Barden's masterful novel about the lost colony of Roanoke.

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(US) $15.00
(UK) £8.99

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(US) 9780743264426
(UK) 9780099474333

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258, 288

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