Washington, September 29 : Ancient Greek texts like "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" are revealing new secrets about the ancient world, the most prominent being the discovery of a site that might be the city of Troy.
Thanks to evidence from a range of disciplines, experts are in the middle of a massive reappraisal of these foundational works of Western literature.
Recent advances in archeology and linguistics offer the strongest support yet that the Trojan War did take place, with evidence coming from the large excavation at the likely site of Troy, as well as new analysis of cuneiform tablets from the dominant empire of the region.
In 1870, German businessman and self-taught archeologist Heinrich Schliemann, landed on the western coast of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) with a copy of "The Iliad" in his hand.
On the plain before him, an unimpressive mound of grass and stone and bushes swelled 100 feet into the air. Tradition had long identified this mound, called Hisarlik, as a possible site of the historical Troy.
Schliemann soon reported to the world that he and his diggers had found the charred remains of Troy just where Homer said it would be.
The news was a worldwide sensation, and Schliemann's view that the Homeric epics were fairly accurate chronicles of Late Bronze Age history, dominated scholarship for more than 50 years.
But, in fact, Schliemann hadn't found Homer's Troy.
Hisarlik was occupied from 3000 BC until 500 AD, and subsequent archeological excavations showed that the civilization Schliemann chipped from the mound actually ended more than 1,000 years before the Trojan War could realistically have been fought.
But the newest digging at Troy is tipping the consensus again, perhaps this time for good. Schliemann and Blegen, it now appears, had only discovered the tip of the iceberg.
The mound at Hisarlik thrusts up from the plain, but most of its ruins are concealed beneath the surface.
In a project that has now been underway for 20 years, the German archeologist Manfred Korfmann and hundreds of collaborators have discovered a large lower city that surrounded the citadel.
Using new tools, such as computer modeling and imaging technology that allows them to "see" into the earth before digging, Korfmann and his colleagues determined that this city's borders were 10 to 15 times larger than previously thought.
They also found that it supported a population of 5,000 to 10,000 - a big city for its time and place, with impressive defenses and an underground water system for surviving sieges.
Critically, the city bore signs of being pillaged and burned around 1200 BC, precisely the time when the Trojan War would have been fought.