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Jill Rubalcaba and Eric H. Cline first offer an abridged version of the Iliad before delving into the many archaeological ...
Jill Rubalcaba and Eric H. Cline first offer an abridged version of the Iliad before delving into the many archaeological expeditions at Hisarlik, the modern-day site believed to have been ancient Troy. They recount everything from Heinrich Schliemann’s quest for glory and renown to Manfred Korfmann’s controversial picture of Troy as a political entity with Anatolian—not Aegean—ties. Whether the legend of Troy is fact or fiction remains up to the reader to decide.
This useful but uneven volume summarizes the legend of the Trojan War, then describes the archaeological excavations at Hisarlik, the Turkish site believed to have been Troy. After a brief (though ponderous) introduction comes a graceful 20-page retelling of how, according to Homer, the Greeks fought at Troy. Elegant red-and-black illustrations every few pages echo Greek vases, part of the overall attractive book design. Readers must then switch gears for the final 35 pages, illustrated with a handful of photographs, which describe the main excavations, from Heinrich Schliemann in 1870 through several more scientific expeditions up to recent times. The authors, a writer and a classical scholar, review hypotheses about the site and occasionally weave in anecdotes, but the overall scheme is chronological and the writing straightforward, without the spark of Laura Amy Schlitz's biography, The Hero Schliemann (2006). However, readers may find the recap of The Iliad enjoyable and the rest, including a timeline and recommended websites, helpful for reports. Given the source material, it should be better. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)