On This Day
1183 BC – Traditional reckoning of the Fall of Troy marking the end of the legendary Trojan War, given by chief librarian of the Library of Alexandria Erastothenes, among others.
Troy (Ancient Greek: Τροία, Troía, Ἴλιον, Ílion or Ἴλιος, Ílios; Latin: Troia and Ilium;[note 1] Hittite: 𒌷𒃾𒇻𒊭 Wilusa or 𒋫𒊒𒄿𒊭 Truwisa; Turkish: Truva or Troya) was a city in the northwest of Asia Minor (modern Turkey), south of the mouth of the Dardanelles and northwest of Mount Ida.[note 2] The location in the present day is the hill of Hisarlik and its immediate vicinity. In modern scholarly nomenclature, the Ridge of Troy (including Hisarlik) borders the Plain of Troy, flat agricultural land, which conducts the lower Scamander River to the strait. Troy was the setting of the Trojan War described in the Greek Epic Cycle, in particular in the Iliad, one of the two epic poems attributed to Homer. Metrical evidence from the Iliad and the Odyssey suggests that the name Ἴλιον (Ilion) formerly began with a digamma: Ϝίλιον (Wilion);[note 3] this is also supported by the Hittite name for what is thought to be the same city, Wilusa.
After a destruction at the end of the Bronze Age, believed to represent the end of the Trojan War, and a period of abandonment or near-abandonment during the subsequent Dark Age, the site acquired a new population of Greek-speakers, who built a classical city that became along with the rest of Anatolia a part of the Persian Empire. The Troad was liberated by Alexander the Great, an admirer of Achilles, who he believed had the same type of glorious (but short-lived) destiny. After the Roman conquest of this now Hellenistic Greek-speaking world, a new capital called Ilium (from Greek: Ἴλιον, Ilion) was founded on the site in the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus. It flourished until the establishment of Constantinople, became a bishopric, was abandoned, repopulated for a few centuries in the Byzantine era, was abandoned again, and is now a Latin Catholic titular see. Most recently it has risen to prominence as an archaeological site.
In the mid-19th century the Calvert family, wealthy Levantine English settlers of the Troad, occupying a working farm a few miles from Hisarlik, purchased much of the hill in the belief that it contained the ruins of Troy. They were antiquarians. Two of the family, Frederick and especially the youngest, Frank, surveyed the Troad and conducted a number of trial excavations there. In 1865, Frank Calvert excavated trial trenches on the hill, discovering the Roman settlement. Realizing he did not have the funds for a full excavation, he attempted to recruit the British Museum, and was refused. A chance meeting with Calvert in Çanakkale and a visit to the site by Heinrich Schliemann, a wealthy German businessman and archaeologist, also looking for Troy, offered a second opportunity for funding. Schliemann had been at first skeptical about the identification of Hisarlik with Troy, but was persuaded by Calvert. As Schliemann was about to leave the area, Calvert wrote to him asking him to take over the entire excavation. Schliemann agreed. The Calverts, who made their money in the diplomatic service, expedited the acquisition of a Turkish firman. In 1868, Schliemann excavated an initial deep trench across the mound called today “Schliemann’s trench.” These excavations revealed several cities built in succession. Subsequent excavations by following archaeologists elaborated on the number and dates of the cities.
Today a small village near the ruins, Tevfikiye, supports the tourist trade visiting the Troia archaeological site. It lies within the province of Çanakkale, some 30 kilometres (19 mi) south-west of the provincial capital, also called Çanakkale. The current map shows Ilium a little way inland from the Scamander estuary across the plain of Troy. According to Korfmann, due to Troy’s location near the Aegean Sea, the Sea of Marmara, and the Black Sea, it was a central hub for military activities and trade, and the chief site of a culture he calls the “Maritime Troja Culture,” which extended over the region between the Black and Aegean Seas.
Troy was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1998.
Born On This Day
1879 – Susanna Bokoyni, Hungarian-American circus performer (d. 1984)
Susanna Bokoyni (24 April 1879 – 24 August 1984), also known as “Princess Susanna”, was a Hungarian centenarian and circus performer who was listed in Guinness World Records as the longest-lived dwarf on record. The second-longest lived is Rozika Ovitz Ovitz, a Holocaust survivor from Rozavlea, Romania, who died at age 98.
Early life and career
Bokoyni was born in Hungary on 24 April 1879. Doctors told her family that she would not live past age seven. At age 16, she became a dancer at Budapest’s Orpheum Theater. She later toured with Rose’s Parisian Midget Follies and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show where she performed a tight rope act.
Later life and death
In 1972, the nonagenarian Bokoyni moved to Newton, New Jersey and settled at the Merriam House Retirement Home. On 24 August 1984, she died at age 105 at Newton Memorial Hospital. She was interred at Glenwood Cemetery in Vernon, New Jersey.
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