Spring 2024 - Sarah Morris - Townsend Lectures

Sarah Morris, Steinmetz Professor of Classical Archaeology and Material Culture, University of California, Los Angeles, will be presenting Out of Anatolia: The Trojan War from Hatti to Hissarlik for the Department of Classics' 2024 Townsend Lecture Series. 

I. Out of Anatolia: The Prehistory of the Trojan War - April 10

The epic story of the Greek expedition to attack Troy and recover Helen, best known from Homer’s Iliad, was embedded in a long history of military encounters and poetic memories. The origins of the narrative stretch back to the Late Bronze Age, when Anatolia was dominated by the Hittite Empire and engaged with rulers and peoples in cities and islands along its western coastline, including some which featured Hellenic names and Aegean material culture.

II. The Parallel Lives of Homeric Heroes: Epic Adventures Beyond Troy and Athens - April 12

During the first millennium BCE, names and places from those regions survived in local memory and inspired epic tales linked to Homeric personalities and adventures that unfolded beyond the events imagined around the ruins of Troy, which shaped the poetic work attributed to Homer. These parallel lives emerge through a close examination of early Greek art beyond Athens and in Archaic poetry, across the constellation of islands and cities named by Homer.

III. From Ilion to Hissarlik: The Evolution of Troy as a Sacred Landscape - April 15

Finally, the site itself (known as Hissarlik in Ottoman times) evolved as a place of memory, a dimension already active in the Iliad and built into the aftermath of its Bronze Age destruction. Troy became the locus of ritual activity focused on ruins, then a new foundation as Greek and Roman Ilion, site of shrines and cults for heroes and god and their festivals, and a destination of pilgrimage for visitors Hellenic and foreign, throughout its lasting history.

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