Henry Fanshawe Tozer.

Researches in the highlands of Turkey; including visits to mounts Ida, Athos, Olympus, and Pelion, to the Mirdite Albanians, and other remote tribes (Volume 1) online

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^" See Mr. F. Calvert's account of the excavation in the ' Archaeo-
logical Journal' for 1864, pp. 49, 50.

D 2

36 The City and Plain of Troy. Chap. II.

the conical shape of Athos is dimly seen. The plain of
Troy is displayed in its whole length of seven niiles,^^
from the Dardanelles to the village of Bunarbashi, and
about halfway between these points a ridge, which pro-
jects into it from the eastern side, forms a conspicuous
object. But what most attracts the eye are the two
rivers — the Mendere, in the middle of the plain, tracked
through all its numerous serpentine windings by the
willow-trees on its banks, until it trends across and flows
close under the heights of Yenishehr into the Hellespont;
and the Bunarbashi river, which is marked at first by the
plantation at its source, and afterwards by the green
marshes which fringe its sides, as it skirts the foot of the
hills to the west, until it is carried off by the canal
already mentioned into the blue ^gean.

From the three tumuli we pursued our way along the
ridge towards the south, and in no long time came to an
artificial mound, which runs across it, Avith some indica-
tions of a wall having surmounted it. A little further on
we found a raised circle formed of small stones, sixty-
five paces round inside, resembling in some respects the
threshing-floors of the country ; it is impossible, however,
that it could have been intended for that object, being
at so great a height above the plain, and it is difficult to
conjecture what purpose it could have served. Beyond
this again the ridge contracts to a narrow neck, from
which a short, but steep, ascent leads up to the summit.
Here there was a level area of a few acres in extent,
running from west to east, which evidently had been
once an acropolis, for we found traces of ancient walls in
numerous places both along the edges of the cliffs and

-* This and the other measurements I ha^•e given are taken from
Dr. Forchhammer's map of the Tread, enlarged from tliat wliich he made
in connexion with tlie Englisli Admiralty survey.

Chap. II. Character of the Scenery. yj

across the angular projections of the ground, where it
appeared that there had been towers. Below this level,
on the northern side, close to the entrance, was an exca-
vation, resembling the pits already noticed, only much
larger. The Mendere flows round the base of this hill on
three sides, at a depth of 400 feet below, and the descent
to it is steep everywhere, but especially so towards the
south, where the rocks are almost precipitous. In the
sides of these rocks there are caves, the abode of numerous
wild bees, and from the honey produced by these the
entire hill has obtained the name of Bali-dagh, or " Honey
Mount." The view in this direction, though in every
respect different from that on the other side, is hardly
inferior to it. The wild mountain masses rise close at
hand on the further bank of the river, and the valleys,
which descend from them, shape themselves with strange
regularity into a succession of graceful curves, resembling
the form of a theatre. In the neighbourhood of the
stream, and closely backed by the mountains, lies the little
plain which we crossed when first setting out for Mount
Ida. The highest peak of that chain is excluded from
view, but one of the lower summits rises finely in the
distance, appearing at the end of the gorge, through
which the Mendere passes on its way from Enaeh. All
the features of the scene are bold, and spacious, and

The Mendere, which is now a clear and quiet stream,
covering only a small part of its wide sandy bed, is said
to present a very different aspect in winter, when the
floods come down from the mountains. Owing to the
narrowness of the passage, through which it has to make
its way at the foot of the acropolis, it then rushes
through with a mighty current, and rises sometimes to
the height of thirty or forty feet above its natural level.

38 TJie City and Plain of Troy. Chap. ir..

At such times, when the rain falls for several days
together on the higher ranges of Ida, the inland plain of
Beyramitch is soon converted into a lake, as the valley
which forms the passage from that to the lower plain is
too confined to admit of the water being carried off with
sufficient rapidity. Afterwards, when the clouds descend
on to the lower mountains, the plain of Troy is also
inundated ; for the Mendere, dashing through the gorge
beneath the Bali-dagh, and being shortly afterwards
joined by the Kimar, which drains a considerable valley
towards the east, at once overflows its banks and covers
the level land ; while the numerous springs and water-
courses in the neighbourhood of the plain contribute an
additional supply ; and, last of all, the Bunarbashi river,
emerging from its channel at the point where the canal
commences by which it is carried off to the west, resumes-
its ancient course and once more joins the Mendere.
Again, when at the time of these inundations strong
south-west winds prevail and obstruct the current of the
Hellespont at its mouth, the lower part of the plain is
still further flooded by the combined action of the sea
and the rivers."" It is such a scene as this which must
have suggested the magnificent description of the
combat between Achilles and the Scamander, in the 21st
Book of the 'Iliad,' when the river-god rises in defence
of his favoured city, and forces the hero from his stream,
and pursues him with a mighty wave over the plain,
calling to his brother Simois to hasten to his aid, until
the whole region is inundated by their waters. The
narrow valley which intervenes between the two plains
was fabled to have been cleft asunder by the hand of
Hercules, to whom great natural changes were usually
ascribed ; and the story was embodied in a quaint

-^ Forclihammer, ' Beschreibung der Ebene von Troia,' pp. 17-19.

Chap. II. The Maidcrc. 39

etymology of the name Scamander, as if it was "the
hero's dyke " {aKafJi^fia avBp6<;)P

No one who stands on the summit of the Bah-dagh
can fail to be impressed with the magnificence of the
position, and its suitableness for the site of a great
ancient city. You feel at once that it commands the
plain. Indeed, a person accustomed to observe the
situation of Hellenic cities, would at once fix on this as
far more likely to have recommended itself to the old
inhabitants of the country than any other in the neigh-
bourhood. It combines all the requisites they were
accustomed to look for, "a height overlooking a fertile
maritime plain, situated at a sufficient distance from the
sea to be secure from the attacks of pirates, and fur-
nished with a copious and perennial supply of water,
presenting a very strong and healthy position for the
city ; and for the citadel a hill beyond the reach of bow-
shot from the neighbouring heights, defended at the
back by steep rocks and precipices, surrounded by a
deep valley and broad torrent, and backed beyond the
river by mountains which supplied timber and fuel."-^
And in addition to this, it fulfils in the most material
points the conditions which are required for the site of
Troy. The area on the summit, with its precipices,
represents the " lofty " " beetling " ^' citadel ; below this,
the northern slopes afford ample space for an extensive
city, reaching as far as Bunarbashi, where the Scaean
gates would stand ; the neighbouring fountains were
those that were believed to well up from the Scamander,
which flowed on the opposite side of the hill. The river

^' Eustathius on II. xx. 74. The old commentator himself reports the
story as being that Hercules had opened the fountains of the Scamander.
-'' Leake's 'Asia Minor,' pp. 279, 280.
25 alneivi], b(ppu6e(jaa.

40 The City and Plain of Troy. Chap. II.

which is thus formed, and which skirts the western side
of the plain, is the Simois, which from its community of
origin with the Scamander is rightly called its brother ;
while the greater stream, which runs parallel to it for
some distance and formerly received the tribute of its
waters, passes on towards the naval station of the Greeks
on the Hellespont. The tumulus of /Esyetes, the look-
out station of the Trojans, is recognised in the Ujek-tepe,
in the direction of Besika Bay, which commands so
extensive a prospect that an English traveller, when
wishing to take a panoramic view of the plain and its
environs, selected it as the best point of view;^*^ and
from its position in the neighbourhood of the Simois,
it is probable that it also bore the name of Callicolone.

The correspondence between the plain at the back
of the Bali-dagh and the Ileian plain of Homer is a
further confirmation of this view of the site of ancient
Troy. This place is introduced in connexion with the
fight of Achilles and Agenor before the walls of the
city. Before they engage, the Trojan hero, knowing
that he is overmatched, debates with himself whether he
should not escape from the battle-field, and, taking
another direction away from the walls, fly to the Ileian
plain, and so make his way to the valleys of Ida, and
conceal himself there in the brushwood ; then, as evening
drew on, he might return to the city after refreshing
himself by a bathe in the river. "^ The position we have

2S Dr. Acland, in his ' Panorama of the Plains of Troy.'
"' (X 5' h.v iyii) TOVTOVS ix\v vTvoKXoyeeadaL iaffca
IlriXeiSr! 'A^iAf;!', iroalv 5' anb Tei'xeos aAAj/
(pfvyo) TTphs ireSiov 'l\r]'iou, 6(pp' av 'iKw/xai
"iSrjs T€ KVTifxovs, Kara, Te panvq'ia Svco'
eairepios 5' &f eireira Xoecro'a.ixfi'os Trora/xoiO,
jSpoi ano^uxSi'l'S, ttotI ''lAioi' awoveoifj.rii'. — IL xxi. 556-501.

Whether the name of the plain is 'lKr{iov or '\Zi]iov, it cannot evidently

Chap. II. The Site of Troy. 41

selected for this spot corresponds singularly well to all
that is here implied. It is away from the battle-field,
and a safe place of refuge from lying on the other side
of the acropolis. It is on the way to Ida ; for all these
heights at the back of the Bali-dagh — and, in fact, the
mountains generally in the neighbourhood of the plains
— are called by this name in Homer ; as is shown by the
poet's speaking of all the rivers in the neighbourhood
of Troy as flowing from Ida, whereas only one of them
rises in the upper part of the chain. Lastly, the river in
\^hich Agenor proposes to have his bathe can be none
other than the Scamander, whose waters glide by in
tempting proximity.

This height, then, and the region over which the eye
ranges between it and the Dardanelles, we may regard
as the scene of those events which the earliest epic poet
has celebrated in undying verse. The level summit, on
which we stand, is the Pergamus, which contained the
palace of king Priam and the temples of the gods. The
precipices that overhang the river are those from which
it was proposed to cast the wooden horse.~^ Between
the two rivers, in the plain below, the contending armies
were arranged against one another, and the battle
swayed furiously to and fro, and heroes engaged one
another in single combat. Halfway to the Hellespont,
where the Mendere crosses the plain, was the ford of the
Scamander, by which the combatants passed it, and
where Priam stopped to let his horses drink, when on his
way to beg the body of Hector from his fierce con-
be the plain of Troy which is intended. The latter reading is better suited
to the rest of the passage, but Heyne objected to it on metrical grounds,
because that word has not the digamma, which 'IK^'iov has. Notwithstanding
this, Voss, whose translation is almost as good as a commentary, approves
it ; and Welcker adopts it unhesitatingly. ('Kleine .Schriften,' ii. p. Ixi.)

^^ -^ KaTCiireTpdcvy j3a\€eiy ipvaavjas Itt' aKprjs. — Od. viii. 50S.

42 TJie City and Plain of Troy. Chap. 1 1.

queror.-^ Beyond, in the distance, on the level shore,
the ships of the Greeks were drawn up within their
entrenchments. It is a magnificent arena for a struggle
in which Europe and Asia were the contending parties ;
too extensive, it may be, if measured by line and rule,
for some of the movements described in the poem, but in
no wise too spacious for the exploits of heroes of super-
human power, or for conflicts in which the gods them-
selves descended from Olympus to take part.

In the spring of 1864, subsequently to my last visit to
the Troad, the acropolis on the Bali-dagh was excavated
by Von Hahn, the Austrian Consul at Syra in the
Archipelago, an indefatigable explorer of the antiquities
of Turkey, whose name will frequently recur in these
volumes. The discoveries which he made, though they
cannot be said completely to have set at rest the
question of the site of Troy, have done a great deal
towards it, as they have proved that a city of high
antiquity must have occupied this position. Traces of
the outer walls were found throughout their whole
circuit, except on the southern side, where, it would
seem, the steepness of the ground was regarded as a
sufficient defence. The line of the foundations of the
northern wall was complete from end to end. But the
most important remains were those at the western
extremity of the area, on either side of the ascent, by
which the acropolis was entered. On the left-hand side
a sort of bastion was found, and in its neighbourhood a
gateway, in which the upper blocks on the two sides
approach one another, and must have been originally
covered by a horizontal lintel of stone. In these
features it resembles the gateways which have been
found in many of the ancient Greek cities. On the

-^ II. xxiv. 350.

Chap. II. Excavatio7is on the Bali-dagJi. 45

other side, at the south-west angle of the place, the
oldest walls were brought to light. These were com-
posed of polygonal blocks, carefully fitted together,
which reminded Von Hahn of the architecture of Tiryns ;
and from the appearance of them he was led to the con-
clusion that the place must have been fortified in pre-
Homeric times. But few works of art were found in
the course of the excavations — a terra-cotta figure, some
earthenware lamps, and a few other vessels, being almost
the only ones which were dug up perfect. The coins,
however, are of importance, as they furnish us with
data for determining the time when the city was probably
deserted. They are Greek coins, mostly of the neigh-
bouring towns, and belong to the second and third cen-
tury B.C. ; but what is especially to be remarked is, that
no Roman or Byzantine coins were discovered among
them. From this we may gather with some confidence,
that since the second century B.C. the place has remained
uninhabited. What was the name of the Greek city
which replaced the more ancient one, and to which most
of the walls now remaining must have belonged, it is
not easy to determine. The name of Scamandria, which
was one of the J^o\\c townships of these parts, has been
suggested, on account of the close proximity of the
Scamander ; but the evidence of the coins is against
this, for Scamandria is mentioned by Byzantine writers
as still existing in their times. Perhaps it may have
been Gergithus, which is stated by Livy to have been
handed over by the Romans to the people of New Ilium
in the year 188 B.C., after their conquest of Antiochus.^"

2" Liv}', xxxviii. 39. To this view Mr. F. Calvert inclines, in his essay-
on the subject in the 'Archaeological Journal' for 1864. The account of
the excavations on the Bali-dagh is given in Von Hahn's ' Ausgrabungeu
auf der Homerischen Pergamos. '

44 The City and Plain of Troy. Chap. II.

When we left Bunarbashi, on our return journey, we
descended in an easterly direction towards the plain,
passing on our left hand a nearly isolated hill. This
eminence, which is now called Garlik, corresponds very
well in its position to the Homeric description of the hill
of Batieia, in front of which the Trojan army was
marshalled : —

'• Before the city stands a lofty mound,
In the mid plain, by open space enclos'd;
Men call it Batiasa ; but the gods
The tomb of swift Myrinna; muster'd there
The Trojans and allies their troops array'd." ^^

At the distance of somewhat less than half an hour from
the village we reached the Mendere, which is bounded at
the sides by steep banks, and extends about a hundred
feet in breadth, the whole of its bed being now covered
with a shallow stream. Even until the end of the
summer it usually contains some water, though on two
or three occasions during the last hundred years it is
reported by travellers to have been dried up. After
crossing it we proceeded to the farm of Atchi-keui,
which lies on the slope of the hills on the eastern side of
the plain, not far from the point where the Kimar joins
the Mendere. At the summit of the rocky knoll above
this place some persons have fancied that they discovered
layers of stones and the sockets of a gateway ; but the
traces of these are very questionable. There is, how-
ever, little doubt that it was the site of the ancient
Village of the Ilians (^Ykikwv Kcoixri), and is therefore
interesting, because that locality was regarded by as
great an authority as Strabo in ancient times, and more
recently by Ulrichs, as the site of ancient Troy. Yet,

^1 Horn. II. ii. Si I saj. (Lord Derby's translation.)

Chap. II. AtcJii-kcui. 45

even if this view were not overthrown by many other
difficulties, such as the position of the city relatively
to the rivers of the plain, the insignificance of the site
would of itself render it highly improbable. There is,
in fact, hardly any place in the neighbourhood less
striking, and less likely to have attracted the original

Rather more than half a mile from the foot of the
hills there lies an extensive marsh, which is green in
summer-time and in winter forms a lake, and is called
the Djudan. We had heard that within this two con-
siderable springs had been lately discovered, and that
this discovery had been connected with the claims of the
neighbouring site, on the ground that they might repre-
sent the Homeric fountains ; so we determined to visit
them. When we arrived at the edge of the marsh, my
companion waded into it, and when he had penetrated
through the reeds for some distance, came upon a clear
basin of water, apparently fed by underground springs,
about twenty feet across. There is said to be another
source not far from it ; but we must suppose the ground
to have altered considerably before we could conceive of
these as corresponding to what Homer describes.

Another object of far greater interest in the neighbour-
hood of Atchi-keui, and close to the stream of the Kimar,
is the Hanai Tepe. This is the largest of the many
tumuli in the surrounding district, and its size is so great
that Dr. Forchhammer, who accompanied the English
Admiralty survey of the plains, questioned the possibility
of its being an artificial mound. Shortly before my first
visit, in 1853, it was excavated by Mr. Frank Calvert, the
Consul's brother, who first sunk a perpendicular shaft
through the centre, and then carried a horizontal shaft to
meet it from the side. The investigation proved not only

46 The City and Plain of Troy. Chap. II.

that the tumuhis was artificial, but also that it had risen
to its present height by strata superimposed on one
another at very different times. Just below the surface
were Turkish tombs, belona-insf to a villao-e which for-
merly existed on the hill-side hard by. Underneath
these were found large Greek jar-tombs, resembling those
which are found elsewhere in the Troad, composed of a
coarse red clay, mixed with gravel, and laid in a hori-
zontal position. Within these were human skeletons,
placed on their backs, with raised knees. From the style
of the art shown in the vases and glass phials which were
arranged round the bones, their date must have been
about the fourth century B.C. Below this again was a
layer of a light whitish substance, which proved to be
calcined bones, about six feet thick ; and intermixed with
the lower part of the stratum were rounded river pebbles,
bearing marks of violent heat. The ashes were perfectly
dry, and so light that the labourers employed in digging
through them were frequently unable to proceed from
coughing. Then came a layer of wood ashes, intermixed
with small pieces of charcoal and fragments of coarse
pottery ; and between this and the solid rock, on which
the whole rested, was a stratum of earth, two feet thick,
containing the skeleton of a man extended at full length,
with a large unhewn stone at its head. The entire height
of the mound was fifteen feet. In opening the horizontal
shaft a wall of huge rough stones was disclosed, five feet
in thickness, and forming a circle ninety-five feet in
diameter, which served to enclose the ashes, and rose as
high as the top of that stratum. It is estimated to con-
tain as much as 27,000 cubic feet of calcined bones.-"-
This discovery was certainly a very remarkable one.

'^ A full account of the excavation is given by Mr. Frank Calvert in the
'Archoeological Journal ' for 1859.

Chap, II. ' The Hanai Tepe. 47

It proved that one, at all events, of the tumuli in the
Troad was constructed for purposes of sepulture. The
skeleton which was found at the bottom was evidently-
deposited at an earlier date than the mass of ashes, as
the signs of the action of fire were altogether above it.
It may not improbably have belonged to some ancient
king or hero, and the fact of his bones reposing on the
spot may have caused it to be regarded with veneration,
and consequently to be chosen as a fitting place for a
national pyre on some important occasion. What that
occasion was, we have no means of ascertaining ; but the
superincumbent jar-tombs show that it was earlier than
the fourth century, and no supposition is so natural as
that it was after some great battle fought at a remote
period. During the truce which succeeded the first en-
gagement in the ' Iliad,' we are told that the dead on
both sides were burned, and that the Greeks raised a
mound over the spot where their slain were consumed.
In the account of the burial of Patroclus we have a de-
scription of the way in which such a monument was con-
structed, and it corresponds very closely to what is found
in the Hanai Tepe : —

" Designing, next, the compass of the tomb,
They mark'd its boundary with stones, then fiU'd
The wide enclosure hastily with earth,
And, having heap'd it to its height, return'd." ^

Or, in plainer prose, " they traced a round monument,
and laid foundations around the pyre, and forthwith
heaped earth on the top of it ; and when they had heaped
up the mound they returned." It seems hardly im-
probable that this tumulus may have been erected by the
Trojans at 'the time of the war of Troy, and that some

" II. xxiii. 255-257. (Cowper's translation. )

48 T]lc City and Plain of Ti'oy. Chap. II.

tradition of the great battle after which it was raised may
have come down to the Homeric period.

Leaving Atchi-keui on the following morning, we rode
along the hills that bound the eastern side of the plain
to the village of Chiblak, where the ground begins to
descend towards the valley of the Dumbrek. This river
runs parallel to the Hellespont, from which it is separated
by the Rhoetean ridge, and enters the Trojan plain shortly
before discharging its waters into the sea. At Chiblak
we saw squared blocks of stone and capitals of Greek
columns among the buildings, from which we gathered
that an ancient site was in the neighbourhood ; and, after
proceeding about twenty minutes further towards the
north-west, we arrived at the ruins of Ilium Novum,
which the Turks call Hissarlik, or "the place of a castle."
The situation is fine, as it commands the meeting of the
two plains of the Dumbrek and the Mendere ; but the re-
mains of the ancient city are few, being principally com-
posed of lines of walls and pieces of mosaic pavement,
which have been excavated. At the extreme angle was
the acropolis, and close to this is the form of a theatre
excavated in the hill-side, the same which we had seen
from Yenishehr. This place in ancient times claimed to
be the site of old Troy, and its inhabitants regarded
themselves as the representatives of the Trojans. And
though we cannot allow their claim, especially on account
of their nearness to the sea — which formerly, when the
alluvium formed by the rivers did not extend as far as at
present, could hardly have been more than two miles off
— yet there is an interest attaching to the place where

Online LibraryHenry Fanshawe TozerResearches in the highlands of Turkey; including visits to mounts Ida, Athos, Olympus, and Pelion, to the Mirdite Albanians, and other remote tribes (Volume 1) → online text (page 4 of 31)