Fake news! (Is it clickbait? Or have archaeologists discovered the Trojan Horse? Judge for yourself!)

Did you believe in Santa Claus when you were a kid? How about the Bible? God? The Norse gods? Satan? Zeus? Evolution? Grimm’s fairy tales? The quadratic formula? The Trojan War? Everything your parents told you? Everything your teachers told you?

It’s messy, isn’t it?

Since early in high school I believed that the Trojan War was real—think Heinrich Schliemann, after all—but clearly the story of the Trojan Horse was fictional. So I was told by my classics teacher, and by the guest expert who illuminated the trip to Greece that I took during spring vacation of 12th grade.

But several newspapers, including the Greek Reporter and the Jerusalem Post, published a report that archaeologists have discovered the real Trojan Horse!

Could it be? It would certainly be an exciting discovery, at least for people like me.

Well, it turns out that all those newspapers, even the Jerusalem Post, had been taken in by a satire. (Satire is dangerous: there will always be someone who takes it as literal truth.) Peter Gainsford, the Kiwi Hellenist, has a fine account of the situation. Go read it, and then we can say along with Paul Harvey “And now you know the REST of the story!”

But wait! What about the Trojan War as a whole? Was I fed misinformation about its historicity? That will be the true rest of the story—so stay tuned…

Categories: Teaching & Learning