photo of arch TROY
Activities for Transmission of Troy Stories


  NOTE the chili peppers!!! One means a pretty easy Activity, two means a harder one, and three means a challenging Activity. It is up to you.

1. Read The Trojan War, Chapter 8: "Transmission of Troy Stories to the Middle Ages."

2. Explore the links on the Transmission of Troy Stories page.

3. Read through all the Activity questions before selecting Activities to work with. Notice that some of the Activities are quite easy and may only require reading one text, while others are far more difficult, and may require reading more than one text or doing online research plus reading texts.

Select Activities that interest you and are appropriate to the time you have to spend on them. You will not get a higher grade because you select more difficult Activities.

Select one or two of these Activities for this Area. Follow the directions in your Blackboard course site to complete the activities.

Head of Emperor Constantine I


graphic of one chili pepper1. Review The Trojan War, Chapter 8: "Transmission of Troy Stories to the Middle Ages." In that chapter, read my summary of "The Story of the Fall of Troy," by Dares the Phrygian. Even this shortened version of a shortened version shows how Dares avoids using divine motivation to explain the events at Troy. Compare several of these events to those in Homer's Iliad. Which make better sense to you, those of Homer of those of Dares? Use specific examples from both readings to support your ideas.
graphic of one chili pepper2. Read "Peoples and Languages": Chapter I of Byzantium: The Empire of New Rome by Cyril Mango. Write a detailed summary of the article. A solid summary should include ALL of the main ideas AND the main supporting examples from the material being summarized.
graphic of one chili pepper3. Read through Overview of Late Antiquity by Steven Muhlberger. Write a detailed summary of the material. A solid summary should include ALL of the main ideas AND the main supporting examples from the material being summarized.
graphic of two chili pepper4. Read "The Demise of Paganism" by James O'Donnell and then think about some of the gods and their activities in Homer. Do you think that Christians would have had problems with Homer? Where would they have the problems? Be specific, giving specific examples from the Iliad and/or Odyssey and explaining why these issues might be especially troubling to Christians who had not yet conquered the pagan world.
graphic of two chili pepper5. Euhemerus was a fourth-third century BC Greek who explained that he had found a column on which were written the names and deeds of ancient kings named Uranus, Cronos and Zeus. His point was that they had been real kings who performed great deeds, and as a result, became worshipped as gods by their people. This way of thinking about the gods as historical figures became increasingly meaningful as the pagan world ebbed and Christianity expanded. This is your chance to do a bit of "euhemerizing," as it is called. Go back to Homer and select two or three interesting events that involve the gods (Book 21 of the Iliad would be a good choice), and explain how these events in Homer could be distorted retellings of actual historical events. Be sure to support your ideas with plenty of specific details.
graphic of two chili pepper6. Read Dares Phrygius: History of the Fall of Troy. Then read Dictys Cretensis: Journal of the Trojan War. Compare the two false "eyewitness" versions, Dares' supposedly from the Trojan side and Dictys' from the Greek. What significant differences can you identify between the two versions? Why do you think Dares' version became the standard "true" history of Troy in Europe (supplanting Homer)? This can be worth double credit if very well developed.
graphic of two chili pepper7. Go to The Fall of Troy by Quintus Smyrnaeus, which continues the story of the Iliad until the Greeks leave for home. Select a section that includes one of the Greek heroes you are familiar with from the Iliad. Compare/contrast this hero to his counterpart in the Iliad. Can you find any interesting similarities? Differences? So what? Support your ideas with examples from both texts.
graphic of two chili pepper8. Read through the opening several short chapters of Geoffrey of Monmouth: History of the Kings of Britain to see how the descent of the Britons from Trojan emigrants was imagined and explained. Then review the story of the Aeneid to see how the Trojans who were not killed in the Trojan War escaped and wandered around the Mediterranean for years before finally landing in Italy. Finally, ask yourself what advantages people found in tracing their descent to the ancient Trojans and write a developed answer, including the issues of antiquity and of fame. The challenge here is to understand why the story of Troy became so important to European history.
graphic of two chili pepper9. Explore one or more of the Byzantine Web sites on the Transmission of Troy Stories page. Write a detailed summary of what you found there. Can you reconcile the obviously religious nature of most of the objects represented with the unbroken reading and enjoyment of Homer? Support your ideas with specific examples from the Web sites and from your reading of Homer.
graphic of two chili pepper10. Go to Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and read the Introduction and at least the first five chapters. Then write a detailed summary of what you have found out about the late Roman Empire by reading this material. Do you agree with what you have read or do you think some of the ideas and facts have been outdated since it was written? Be specific here and give examples from the text and from any other information you might have found about this topic.

Last Updated: 8/1/2017

© Thompson: 9/22/1998