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Psychology, Philosophy, Culture, History and Law

Troy: Myth & Reality with "The Muddy Archaeologist"

P1014597 Athens Arch of Hadrian GH 2015

Start date: 6th Jul 2020

Time: 10:00 - 12:15

Cost: £36

Day: Monday

Duration: 4 weeks

Tutor: Gillian Hovell

Course code: 20SU186

We explore the epic poems of Homer and the archaeology of Schliemann and beyond.  We explore the impression Troy made on the Greeks and their way of adapting it to changing times.  The final session discovers how the Romans re-invented the story of Troy to suit their own purposes. 

This course goes further and deeper than the recent British Museum exhibition did: join me for this richly illustrated course and really understand why Homer’s tales have continued to be such a fascination even to our modern day.


This course is for  beginners to advanced learners


For the first session students will need; Nothing, unless you wish to make notes


The course aims to explore the stories of Troy, from the beauty and genius of Homer to the improvisation of classical Greek adaptions and the Romans’ reuse of the old, old tales.  Each part of the history of the story of Troy is an astonishing insight into the time of Homer, the passion and genius of the Classical Greeks and the values of Ancient Rome. 

Also, just how real was Troy?  What is the archaeological evidence?  We dig deeper into the site, the finds and the personalities involved, before celebrating the ongoing story.

The course will be richly illustrated.


This course is suitable for anyone, beginner, general reader or more advanced student.


The course will cover the epic poems, the classical drama, the art and the archaeology that vividly bring Troy to life. 


Session 1:   The Myth: Homer’s epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey

Session 2 :  The Reality: the archaeology of Troy – its real history and the dynamic story of its discovery

Session 3 :  The Ongoing Story: The Greeks’ Lands of Myths & Legends

Session 4 :  The Legacy: Rome and Beyond


By the end of the course students should know the stories of Homer’s poems of Troy; the influence these had on the ancient civilizations of Archaic and Classical Greece, and how the Romans reinvented the tales to suit their own purposes.  We consider how we have continued to interact with these old stories and how they still speak to us today.

The course is richly illustrated.

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Hovell, Gillian, Head 3 Muddy Archaeologist (2)

Gillian Hovell

Gillian Hovell BA(Hons), professionally known as ‘The Muddy Archaeologist’, is an ancient historian and archaeologist who lectures for York University and for the British Museum and throughout Britain as well as internationally.
She has spent years lecturing on tours and cruises throughout the Ancient Mediterranean, inspiring guests to really enjoy their explorations into the ancient world, and she has excavated at sites including Roman Pompeian Oplontis.
Gillian shares her expertise and passion for ancient history by engaging with audiences in books, in person, in the field, in the media and on line.
Her speciality is in digging deeper into our ancient past to add depth, colour and meaning to our modern lives today; the ancient cultures have much to tell us about our common humanity, and they influenced our own heritage and still speak to us today.
Prepare to visit the past and to discover about ourselves as well as those who lived, loved and died millennia ago.

See Gillian Hovell's other courses >