BBC published a not so flattering article regarding ancient Greek legends. The article’s author, Armand d’Angour, associate professor of classics at the University of Oxford, raises a series of questions and attempts to clarify if all of the ancient Greek legends are actually true or if they are myths, a figment of Greeks’ colorful imagination. The article seems as an unsuccessful attempt to devalue the significance of Greek culture and the contribution of ancient Greeks to modern civilization.
“What was the origin of some of these ideas?” wonders d’Angour, who gave his own interpretation to some of these questions.
“Was there ever really a Trojan Horse?”
According to the writer, even though archaeologists have proven that Troy was indeed burnt down, there is no significant evidence regarding the existence of the wooden horse that Greeks used to hide and pass the city gates. It was probably an “imaginative fable, perhaps inspired by the way ancient siege-engines were clothed with damp horse-hides to stop them being set alight by fire arrows.”
“Homer is one of the great poets of ancient Greek legends. Did he actually exist?”
The article claims that Homer may in fact have never existed. His greatest works, Iliad and Odyssey were both composed orally under his name, but even though ancient Greeks were certain that he was the one who recited them, there is no actual way of knowing if that was the case.
“Did Pythagoras invent the Pythagorean theorem? Or did he copy his study from someone else?”
Even though schoolchildren around the world are taught the Pythagorean theorem during math class, d’Angour believes that the Babylonians had been using the theorem for centuries before Pythagoras even mentioned it.
“Was Alexander the Great really that great?”
Alexander may have been given the title “Great” but according to the article his character was far from that. In fact, the Oxford professor claims that he was a heavy drinker, a megalomaniac, paranoid, short man with a “rasping voice and impulsive temper” which even led him to kill one of his closest associates, Cleitus.
The full article can be found here.