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Where Troy Once Stood: The Mystery of Homer's Iliad & Odyssey Revealed Hardcover – July, 1991

4 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wilkens, identified only as a scholar living in Paris, claims that Homer's Iliad and Odyssey do not describe Greek civilization at all. According to his fanciful reading of these texts and of history, the Trojan War was fought between Bronze Age Celts; Troy was in East Anglia, England, not in Asia Minor; and Odysseus plied the Atlantic, with stops in Senegal (Land of the Lotus-Eaters) and Havana, Cuba. Homer, it is claimed here, was a poet from Holland who lived in Spain and France. Maps, photos, tables and comparisons of place names, tides, vegetation, etc., support a flimsy argument. Although at least some elements of his thesis have been advanced as early as 1790, Wilkens plays fast and loose with the evidence.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 365 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 1 edition (July 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312059949
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312059941
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #622,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Where Troy Once Stood" is a well-researched and well-written account which challenges our asssumptions of European history. The author puts forward the proposal that the myths and legends of the classical world have their origins not in Ancient Greece and the Aegean, but rather in the Celtic lands of north-western Europe. With the tales of Homer as his starting point, the author tackles questions of climate, geography, language, ancient and modern place-names, and cultural traditions to draw the conclusion that the Trojan War was a Celtic affair which took place on the eastern shores of Britain. The book goes on to postulate that the tale of the Odyssey was in fact both a coded navigational chart to aid Celtic merchants on their routes, and a guide to the arcane initiation rites of a people who kept these stories in oral tradition for hundreds of years.
Fascinating to the last page, "Where Troy Once Stood" makes a terrific story at the least, but the depth of research and sheer plausability of its thesis make it quite a credible alternative to our conventional assumptions of history. Well worth a read!
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Format: Hardcover
Whether the author is right in his thinking or not, this is a thoroughly enjoyable book.
Wilkens says the Trojan War did not take place in Turkey, but in England. And the players were not Greeks, but Celts.
His research is thorough and convincing, though it goes against conventional theories.
Right or wrong, Wilkens has written an enjoyable book which will not only reacquaint you with the adventures of the Iliad and Odyssey, but teach you much you probably never knew about Celtic civilization.
This book is an ideal companion for a long trip or pleasant vacation. Pure fun.
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Format: Hardcover
Observe the tone of sneering academic superiority in the "Editorial Review" as it questions Iman's qualifications and dismisses his work as "a flimsy argument".

Nothing could be further from the truth. The people currently paying $299 or more per used copy all know that Iman has pulled together a compelling array of linguistic, cultural, and archeological evidence to support his conclusions. This is a landmark work and the failure of academia to respond fairly to it is very telling (although not unusual) and indeed quite sad, as embracing Wilken's ideas would reinvigorate archeology (based on the public interest it would generate). I wouldn't want to be a farmer in that area though once the rush for bronze age artifacts begins (and many such artifacts have already been found near Cambridge). The discussion on the "Gog-Magog" hills alone is worth the price of the book (since you will also know why this name resonated with such meaning as far away as Palestine, hundreds of years later).

Wilkens explores not just the historical background of the Iliad and Odyssey but reveals why initiatory mystery religion themes are a critical element that makes it difficult for modern scholars to grasp key clues to identifying where the events described took place.

It is true that after laying a solid foundation of evidence for his conclusions, Wilkens also speculates to some extent on the more difficult passages in the Odyssey, but even if he is dead wrong about "Cuba" or any other particular, he has already so completely established his core case that I would characterize these items not as "flimsy argumentation" but rather informed speculation at the margins of the argument as a whole.
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Format: Paperback
I first came cross a reference to this book in Clive Cussler's `Trojan Odyssey.' At first, I presumed it to be a faux work created by Mr. Cussler, but after a brief search online, I was surprised to find the book does, in fact, exist.

It is Mr. Wilken's contention that neither the Trojan War nor the Odyssey is Greek in origin. Instead, they are events that - wrapped in a somewhat thick coating of legend and allegory - are Celtic tales related to northwest Europe. He states that Homer - in all likelihood an actual person - did not create these two stories out of whole cloth, but rather collected and documented oral histories that were many centuries older. These oral histories were borne to the eastern Mediterranean by a group called the "Sea people' by Mr. Wilkens who were a Celtic subgroup driven out of Europe in a multi-generation Diaspora after their defeat in a war over tin mines in England.

Sound outlandish? It shouldn't because this was the Bronze Age, and bronze is made by alloying copper and tin. And where was the greatest concentration of tin in Europe: England. Other than location, this is the point at which Mr. Wilkens begins his deviation from the Iliad. He believes that the so-called Trojan War was not over Paris running off with Helen, but a banding together of European mainland tribes to destroy the England-based tin cartel. This realpolitik approach does appear more credible than an account of gods helping lovers be together and then choosing sides in a decade long war.

What proof does Mr. Wilkens offer to support his views. It seems that for many hundreds of years there have been questions about the geography in the Izmir area not being similar to the story.
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