The Helladic Period and Homer

North of Thessaly occurs another, different culture, the Macedonian in the Cyclades still another, the Cycladic on the Adriatic coast of Epirus explorations have found few remains that can be ascribed to the first half of the second millennium B.C.. Crete, of course, is the province of the Minoan culture.1Many amazing things were accomplished during this time. Not only did the Helladic period involve the establishment of agricultural communities in Greece, the first metalworking, and later the development of the Greek alphabet, but it played host to one of the greatest events in all of history: the Trojan War. The actual facts of this event are hard to pin down. We know that a big war happened on the present day site of Troy in the late Helladic period (probably around 1200 BCE2) thanks to excavation by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann. In the late 19th century, Schliemann found many items at the site including valuables he called Priam’s Treasure and Helen’s Jewels.3 But the actual truth of what happened is lost in the recesses of time. What we have instead of cold hard facts are the poems of Homer—namely the Iliad and the Odyssey, both of which (especially the first) deal with the Trojan War. Homer himself was not an eyewitness account of the war, nor did he live in the Helladic period, but instead a few centuries after it. Nonetheless, the accounts of the great war that he composed make that period in history truly live.The Trojan war also marked a cultural renewal following a period of some centuries in the Middle Helladic period where cultural activity began to fall off, according to archaeologists. There are many possible reasons for this original drop.