The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary - Troy VI-IX

As we know from both the ancient sources and the excavations, although Troy was "the sacred Ilios" even as early as Homer's age, it was most particularly in Greek and Roman times that the site was renowned as a religious center.

The religious precinct before you was first constructed perhaps as early as 700 BCE. Its foundations cut into the remnants of the lower cities of Troy VI and VII that had covered the area here. Enclosed by a wall, the Sanctuary continued in use throughout the Hellenistic period and well into imperial Roman times -needless to say, repeatedly elevated and revamped; the course of the enclosure wall was altered several times. In early levels, an altar of limestone stood near the center of the sanctuary, with one semicircular end protruding from beneath a more recent altar and a sacrificial pit. Lower on the slope, you see two more altars, one from the archaic period and the other from Hellenistic times. Visible today are also sacrificial pits and wells. The northeastern wall of the upper sanctuary, neatly constructed cations. This dates to Hellenistic times. In the late fourth century BCE both parts of the sacred precinct seem to have been reorganized -very possibly the consequence of Alexander the Great's visit to Ilion in 334 BCE.

The precinct suffered greatly when Fimbria sacked Ilion in 85 BCE. Within the framework of a later and more elevated sanctuary probably established by Emperor Augustus (31 BCE - 14CE), a new altar was erected, near which you also see the foundations of a stepped podium -most likely a grandstand for the religious ceremonies performed here.

To which deities the Sanctuary may have been dedicated remains in question. The many terracotta statuettes of Cybele, Demeter, and an equestrian -Dardanus(?)- found at Troy give us at least a clue.

Further off appear trenches from the recent campaigns. Here we have exposed more of the sanctuary (two temples) as well as a stratified sequence for the lower cities of Troy VI and VII. The strata here -particularly significant for the 14th to 12th centuries BCE (Late Troy VI, VI i [= VII a], and VII b)- had been partially preserved due to the overlying remains of the religious structures