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The Trojan War: A Very Short Introduction

(Very Short Introductions #356)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  155 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
The Iliad, Homer's epic tale of the abduction of Helen and the decade-long Trojan War, has fascinated mankind for millennia. Even today, the war inspires countless articles and books, extensive archaeological excavations, movies, television documentaries, even souvenirs and collectibles. But while the ancients themselves believed that the Trojan War took place, scholars o ...more
Paperback, 130 pages
Published May 10th 2013 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2013)
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Matthew Lloyd
Jul 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
I must admit from the start to having read this book for the precise reason of understanding how and why people argue that "The Trojan War" was a historical war and, moreover, what it actually means for "the Trojan War" to have been historical. I understand that it is a Very Short Introduction, not an academic tome, but it is by a scholar who also edited The Oxford Handbook of the Aegean Bronze Age , so one would hope for some kind of scholarly rigor. It certainly didn't help that I've recently ...more
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
İnsanların dünyayı anlama çalışması, hatta ona anlam verme çalışmasıyla oluşmuştur bir çok mit. İçinde bulunduğu tarihi, insanları da içine alan çok geniş bir alandan bakan ortak bir kültürdür. Nitekim Homeros, İlyada ve Odysseus 'da hem kültürel birikimini konuşturmuş hem de o dönemin insanlarını, olaylarını anlatmıştır. Herhalde burada sorulması gereken soru şu :
Kurmaca gibi görünen bu öykünün ne kadarı gerçektir ? Dahası Homeros gerçekten yaşamış mıdır ? Ya da Akalar gerçekte kiminle savaşmış
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Short and good. It will stuff your brain. Good companion to Wood.
Nathan Trachta
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A growing interest of mine has been the late Bronze Age and a friend had recommended that I read 1177BC by Professor Cline. i decided I wanted to read a different piece by him prior to ordering 1177BC so I could sample his work. Because this piece would be a foundation toward 1177BC and would provide a good sample of his writing style I decided to order The Trojan War: A very short introduction.
I'll open by saying this is great introductory piece; welly thought out with good divisions for presen
Fernando Jimenez
Durante un reciente viaje a Grecia, en plena visita a Micenas, me di cuenta no sólo de que lo desconocía casi todo sobre la Guerra de Troya, sino que el poder evocador de las ruinas era tan fuerte que la imaginación completaba la información de los paneles informativos. No obstante en pocos lugares de hace mención a Homero y a Troya. Este breve volumen divulgativo es perfecto para tener un compendio del argumento del ciclo troyano y de la búsqueda en el yacimiento de dicha ciudad, de pruebas de ...more
Dec 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, mythology
Gotta love that historical context and the exhaustive attempts to answer questions like, Was Homer real? Did the battle of Troy occur? Which city is really the right Troy?
There is no perfect answer to these questions - there is too much data to decide upon the actual answer. But this was definitely informative, with a short plot summary of the works attributed to Homer.
Will hopefully be helpful when I decide to finally delve into the Iliad.
Sofie Sieling
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
An extremely educational read while also being enjoyable. I was quite glad that the book was not all about the stories and myths of the Trojan War, but more a critical theory regarding the homeric questions for better understanding of the reliability of Homer. The book also concluded archeological research at Hisarlik to find Priam's Troy. There is no doubt that I shall use this academic line for further historical studies for my education. Though, before you read this one, it would be better to ...more
Terry Gallagher
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it
A friend recommended I check out this series of "very short introductions" from the Oxford University Press and this is the one I found at the library that was closest to my interests.

There are more than 300 titles in the series, "for anyone wanting a stimulating and accessible way into a new subject."

While giving plenty of attention to the "literary evidence," this book leans heavily on the historical/archaeological scholarship, which appeals less to me.

In the epilogue, the author writes, "Hom
John DeSain
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like a lot of Cline's books he sets the stage really well and puts everything in perspective expertly. He's an expert in his field and manages to make the study of the historical past readily accessible to the average reader. My only problem is...I want more:) It's a short read that could be a little more verbose in details.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A clear and concise synopsis of the never ending discussion on the Trojan war. It also describes the more recent archaeological findings and summarises the conclusions that can now be inferred from the knowledge gained so far.
Timothy McNeil
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I honestly did not know how much I didn't know about the Trojan War before I read this book. I still don't know as much as I would prefer, but this was a good primer.

It was a struggle for me to deal with the non-Greek names for people and places, but that is on me.
Kenia Sedler
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent and engaging overview of the literary and archaeological evidence for the existence of the city of Troy!
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite history of the Trojan war. I’ve read a few books in the war and in found this book a number of new insights and observations that I appreciate. kudos to Eric Cline!
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Read for my Classical Mythology class. there are so many better books to teach mythology and the TW with. *shoves copy of Edith Hamilton's Mythology at you*
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Well written summary of the literary and archeological evidence about Troy and the Trojan war. It was a surprise to me how much of the well-known story of the war does not come from Homer!
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommended to Will by: 166
Summary of the history of the Trojan Question, and our current state of knowledge regarding the various "Troys" at Hissarlik. And those of use who grew up worshipping Schliemann as the revealer will be disappointed to find that he was, well, a scoundrel, who didn't hesistate to just make things up.
May 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thank goodness this is not a primer on Homer, but something much more valuable – especially considering how brief it is. This smart little book it a pocket size treatment of the Epic cycle; the series of now lost or fragmentary epics that tell the story of the Trojan War and its aftermath, of which the Iliad and Odyssey were a part. Not to suggest that all of these epics were composed at the same time, let alone by the same individual. The book considers textual and archeological evidence in tur ...more
Sean Sullivan
Jun 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
The title says it all. This introduction is focused on the history of the war itself, and the changing nature of our knowledge of it, and doesn’t spend much time on the literary aspects of the works (Iliad, et al) which have arisen around the conflict. What we really know about the war is scarce and contradictory. We’re not even sure there was a single war. We are sure, today, that Troy existed, and we are sure wars were fought around it, but beyond that, its mere conjecture.

Incredibly, even tha
Jan 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: western-civ
The debates about the Trojan War's place in history is something that I had only vague ideas about, but Cline's book helped me to get a much better sense of the scholarship about the Trojan War. The Iliad and the Odyssey are the only fully surviving work of a number of poems (referred to as the Epic Cycle) about the Trojan War's causes, course, and aftermath. These are the works that contain some of the famous stories of Trojan War: the death of Achilles, the Trojan Horse, and the sack of Troy. ...more
Linda Steiger
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was an excellent short essay on what is known about the Troy and the Trojan Wa, a real Goldilocks job: not too much, not too little. Clear, concise, seemed well documented and up to date. Reviewed the whole story as we know it, not just what's covered in the Iliad, placing it within its historical context, sourcing names, providing probable identities for the Achaeans (the ancient Greeks, i.e. the Myceneans), the Trojans (a client state of the Hittites), and the various players, and what is ...more
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book very much lives up to its name. It is a very short introduction to the Trojan War, a nice resource for those curious to learn about whether the events memorialized in Homer's classic epic actually took place.

It reads well. Cline introduces the literary sources of our knowledge of the war, then addresses the historical and archeological evidence. And while he does show evidence of extended warfare in and around what scholars have identified as the ancient city of Troy, he can't corrobor
Daniel Wright
I remember first being introduced to the Iliad in Greek, back in early 2007. In that and my subsequent reading of Homer, both in English and Greek, I have always been attempting to fit the text at hand into what precious little I knew about the history and archaeology of the period. This fascinating, detailed and highly readable introduction has renewed my interest and captured mu imagination. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Sep 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short but not concise, Cline struggles to provide not just a short history of the Trojan War but an overview of the history of the history of the Trojan War as presented by millennia of scholars, scoundrels and fantabulists. This was a fascinating read that left me not only hungry for more but frustrated by how little is actually known.
Robert Terry
Aug 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Good introduction to The Epic Cycle of the Trojan War. The last half of the book on the various archaeological speculations gets bogged down.
Apr 30, 2013 rated it liked it
As advertised. Quick read, covers the basics. If you wanted to know more, you'd have everything you'd need to get started. I don't; this is plenty to cure total ignorance.
rated it liked it
Nov 14, 2016
Anwen Hayward
rated it liked it
Aug 10, 2015
Eric Cline
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
rated it really liked it
Jul 28, 2016
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DR. ERIC H. CLINE is the former Chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and current Director of the Capitol Archaeological Institute at The George Washington University. A National Geographic Explorer and Fulbright scholar with degrees from Dartmouth, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania, he is an active field archaeologist with 30 seasons of excavatio ...more

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