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In Search of the Trojan War
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(Jan 04, 2005)
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The tale of the Trojan War has fascinated and intrigued people for thousands of years. But is there any truth in Homer's epic poem? Charismatic historian Michael Wood brings to life the heroes and the romance of the Bronze Age in this award-winning archaeological detective story filmed in Greece, Turkey, Ireland and Berlin.
Originally broadcast in 1985, In Search of the Trojan War followed the successful formula established by his first historical detective series, In Search of the Dark Ages, and firmly established Michael Wood as the most personable of TV historians. Wood is not only a born TV presenter, he's got both the academic gravitas and the narrative skill to craft a compelling mystery from the archaeological, literary and mythological sources. Over six hour-long programs, Wood marshals the disparate strands of evidence to present as fully rounded a portrait as possible of both the historical and the legendary city of Troy, its central place in Western culture, and the Mycenaean Age itself. From Schliemann's initial cavalier bulldozing of the mound at Hisarlik, to Homer's epics, the Hittite Empire, and the role of slave women, Wood journeys back and forth across the Aegean and elsewhere, from a pre-unification Berlin to Liverpool, to illuminate the dawn of Western literature, myth, and history. Did the Trojan war ever happen, or was the city destroyed by natural causes? Wood doesn't claim to find a definitive answer, of course, but for the viewer it's rewarding enough simply to accompany him on this fascinating journey. The DVD includes a new 25-minute interview with Wood, who looks back affectionately on the making of the series. --Mark Walker
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Top Customer Reviews
Historian Michael wood immerses the viewer in the ancient and long lost world of the Bronze Age. Searching for evidence of the Trojan War from Homer's Iliad, Wood takes the reader through the personalities such as Schliemann, Dorpfeld, Arthur Evans and the American Carl Blagen. We are led through the weapons, the pottery styles, the heroic culture of the time as well as the physical remains on Hisarlic (the hill these men believed was the site of Troy), Mycenae, Knossos, Hattusha of the Hittites and other sites.
The journey we embark upon with Wood is half the fun. We learn of the many layers of that hill and the very different cities that were constructed on it from very ancient times until Greek and Roman times. Really, I learned so much of Agamemnon and Paris as well as the empires of the day. This is an excellent documentary and I could see this DVD used in a high school class setting.
This is a great documentary that takes the time to cover the ground necessary to look at the place and times to give the viewer an excellent understanding of the search for Troy. Six roughly hour-long shows treat the subject matter in a thorough fashion. In spite of the length, you won't get tired of it.
This is a classic documentary and I recommend it with five stars.
Most viewers (including myself) were so captivated by the search that one couldn't stop viewing all of the episodes even into the wee hours of the morning.
Lovers of history and archaeology will treasure this DVD.
After twenty years this documentary keeps all its freshness and still is easily the best cinematic account on the Trojan War. If not for the slight image discoloration, the East Berlin scenes, the cars and the clothing, this series could have been made today. All the facts, ideas and interpretations presented here are strikingly new and haven't been superseded yet.
Besides the recent find of the Treasure of Troy in the Putshkin Museum in Russia, the only missing info (included nevertheless in the included interview with Michael Wood) is that from the recent German-American excavations which changed the accepted scale of the city and its surroundings in Bronze Age times.
The documentary has a pace and an atmosphere of its own, succeeding in being both highly informative and highly entertaining: a golden association VERY difficult to achieve! This is one of the increasingly rare series which makes the viewer repeat the experience over and over!
Using common sense, solid documental sources and interviews with some of the foremost experts of the day, Michael Wood shows awesome communication skills in informing and carrying away the viewer, spreading his contagious enthusiasm for the theme but keeping always an unbiased scientific stance. This, together with excellent photography, superb editing and highly suggestive music creates a spell which makes the enduring of the six one-hour episodes surprisingly agreeable and additive. All this with very limited use of crude scale models and 80's glorious 2D low-res computer graphics!
This should be a lesson to some "historical" documentary makers of today who make excessive use of fancy (but sometimes very unreliable) 3d graphic "reconstitutions" and of re-enactors with inaccurate outfits and ridiculous choreography to "improve" on mediocre presentations and bad scripts.
1- The Age of Heroes: The story of the Trojan War. The lost treasure of Troy. Account of Heinrich Schliemann's life and research on Troy.
2- The Legend under Siege: Wilhelm Dörpfeld research. Arthur Evans' discoveries and theories. Carl Blegen's findings, the Linear-B deciphering and the role of both in Trojan War credibility.
3- The Singer of Tales: The role and long time fidelity of oral traditions. Homer's reliability challenged.
4- The Women of Troy: Plundering in Bronze Age. The taking of women and children as slaves and their economic and political role. The recent African slavery parallel.
5- Empire of the Hittites: Decisive documental evidence from the Hittites. Recurrent conflicts with the Mycenaeans.
6- The Fall of Troy: The Trojan conflict and the Mediterranean late Bronze Age collapse.
- Interview with Michael Wood: A good epilog for the series!
- Michael Wood's Photo Journal of Troy
This two DVD set contains the complete series together with a 2004 interview with Michael Wood in the British Museum which makes a good updated epilog to the series.
This is a MUST for every person, specially those interested in History (World-Military-Mediterranean-Aegean-Bronze Age), Greek Mythology, Oral traditions, Homeric epics, and Documentary Making.