Where goddesses loved and fought

By Zhao Xu | China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-22 10:10
The places: The ruins of Aphrodisias, or the city of Aphrodite with its history parceled up in museums. The terraced landscape of Pamukkale, endowed with many hot springs, in southwestern Turkey. [Photo by Zhao Xu/China Daily]

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Spectacular archaeological sites provide a front-row seat to a mythological blockbuster

Around the 11th or 12th century BC a war was fought in western Anatolia in what today is Turkey. And it was fought not only between men, but also between gods and goddesses whose "immortal rage" - as Homer, the legendary author of the Iliad, put it - could not be thwarted.

That war was the Trojan War, talked of in many works of Greek literature, and most notably in the Iliad. It was waged against the city of Troy by the Grecian coalition after Paris, a Trojan prince, took Helen, daughter of Zeus, from her husband and king of Sparta Menelaus. (Sparta was a Greek city-state.)

Historians are at odds as to whether the Trojan War, depicted with as many twists and as much drama as it could possibly command, really happened. Yet for those whose answer is yes, the Turkish land, with the Aegean Sea to its west, is the place to be to try to imagine the fury of the immortals and the pride of the mortals, both powerful enough to send ships and tear down cities.

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