The Trojan War: A New History

The Trojan War: A New History

by Barry Strauss
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The Trojan War: A New History by Barry Strauss

The Trojan War is the most famous conflict in history, the subject of Homer's Iliad, one of the cornerstones of Western literature. Although many readers know that this literary masterwork is based on actual events, there is disagreement about how much of Homer's tale is true. Drawing on recent archeological research, historian and classicist Barry Strauss explains what really happened in Troy more than 3,000 years ago.

For many years it was thought that Troy was an insignificant place that never had a chance against the Greek warriors who laid siege and overwhelmed the city. In the old view, the conflict was decided by duels between champions on the plain of Troy. Today we know that Troy was indeed a large and prosperous city, just as Homer said. The Trojans themselves were not Greeks but vassals of the powerful Hittite Empire to the east in modern-day Turkey, and they probably spoke a Hittite-related language called Luwian. The Trojan War was most likely the culmination of a long feud over power, wealth, and honor in western Turkey and the offshore islands. The war itself was mainly a low-intensity conflict, a series of raids on neighboring towns and lands. It seems unlikely that there was ever a siege of Troy; rather some sort of trick -- perhaps involving a wooden horse -- allowed the Greeks to take the city.

Strauss shows us where Homer nods, and sometimes exaggerates and distorts, as well. He puts the Trojan War into the context of its time, explaining the strategies and tactics that both sides used, and compares the war to contemporary battles elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean. With his vivid reconstructions of the conflict and his insights into the famous characters and events of Homer's great epic, Strauss masterfully tells the story of the fall of Troy as history without losing the poetry and grandeur that continue to draw readers to this ancient tale.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743293624
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 09/19/2006
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 221,419
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Barry Strauss, professor of history and classics at Cornell University, is a leading expert on ancient military history. He has written or edited several books, including The Battle of Salamis, The Trojan War, and The Spartacus War. Visit

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Trojan War: A New History 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Composer More than 1 year ago
I am researching Bronze Age Troy to get background for an opera I'm composing. I've read many books and watched videos on the subject. This book is the most up-to-date, and it's bibliography is astounding. Strauss' conclusions are well reasoned, and he gives due attention to competing views from a wide variety of sources. His recommendation for his favorite translations of Homer are spot on. I'm especially pleased that so much information is packed in a slim volume, and it is an easy read. Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in the subject.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The book 'The trojan War' by Barry Strauss wasnt as good as i thought it was going to be. I recommend this book to the people that are interestedin finding the truth on what really happpened during the war. I like the original legend better than the way that Strauss broke it down based on artifacts. In the book Strauss used other wars in comparison and told how the scenes and battle really might have happened. In his context he wasnt writing as if he was sure that that is what happened r if that the people realy looked as they did. If i would have written this book i would have not made it seem like the Trojan war was pointless. Even though there really wasnt a logical reason for war, strauss just took away the enjoyment of the legend itself. When i was younger the story that i heard was Princess Helen was taken away by Prince Paris of troy and Helens husband Menelaus was furious so rthey went to war to get her back. How they won the whole war they snuck into the gates of the city hidden in a giant wooden horse and attacked. and they won. That was it but in my book they go into major details which was fine but i still didnt like it. I expected way more from the book.