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Troy

Went to see Kill Bill Pt 2 with Anne and Gabby. Before the main feature, there was a short for Troy showing hundreds of ships under sail. I was asked, as a military historian, was it logistically possible at the time for an army so large to have taken the field at the time?

The short answer is yes.

The Trojan War took place around 1190 BCE. The blurb that the legend is 28 centuries old is more or less correct; Homer wrote about four centuries after the event.

Could Agamemnon have assembled an army of tens of thousands? Yes, he could have. We have many instances of Bronze Age and Iron Age societies able to assemble such numbers.

Hundreds of ships is another matter, but given the shipbuilding technology of the time, plus money, it was possible. The Acheans were a seafaring people. Indeed, this was probably the root cause of the war - conflict of trade between Greece and the Black Sea; control of the Hellespont.

Supporting such an army would have been difficult, but not too hopelessly complex. A stationary army cannot forage for long but Agamemnon's army is on a beach, with plenty of ships. He could build a wharf and ship supplies straight from Greece. There are no tides in the Aegean so it would be straightforward enough.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
communicator
1st May, 2004 05:15 (UTC)
Were there any bronze age examples of massive armies camping out for ages?

Also - be interested in your views of KB2
hawkeye7
2nd May, 2004 03:44 (UTC)
It happened on occasion. The siege of Sharuhen by the Egyptians took three years, around 1725 BCE.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )