Obviously, one of the central facts of Homer's Iliad was confirmed when archaeologists found Troy.

But were there any other details of Iliad (such as existance of Atreidae dynasty, Agamemnon actually having a military attack on Troy, existance of Odysseus as a ruler of Ithaca, etc...) that were confirmed scientifically - e.g. from reliable independent historical sources, archaeological finds, or other branches of sciences [1]

[1] - as a generic example of "other branches", astronomical confirmation of some celestial event mentioned, or some geological finds.

2 Answers 2


This subject is treated in detail in the 1959 book History and the Homeric Iliad by Denys Lionel Page (Sather classical lectures, volume 31).

This book, among other things, summarizes the extremely detailed information on the "Catalog of Ships" collated by the German classicist, Viktor Burr: Neon katalogos. Untersuchungen zum homerischen Schiffs-Katalog. Dieterich, Leipzig 1944.

The ship catalog is the study of the places and kings named in Homer. In general, over half of the named places are authenticated historically. The nature of the catalog is such that it appears impossible that it was fabricated, therefore, Page draws the conclusion that Homer's description must have accurately depicted Mycenaean Greece.

Archaeologically speaking, the main find (besides the remains of Troy) is that the Mycenaean megarons described by Homer have been confirmed as an actual architectural type and are well documented.


In the story of the Trojan War, if not necessarily in the text of Homer's Iliad, Agamemnon's wife Clytemnestra learns of the fall of Troy via a relay of fire beacons. In Aeschylus' Agamemnon, she's said to have received the news in Mycenae (approximately 400 miles away) the very same night that Troy fell, and Aeschylus describes the path of the transmitted message. Two men in the 20th century, one a German historian and the other a communications engineer, each traced that path and deemed the relay as being feasible. This is briefly mentioned in James Gleick's The Information and described in somewhat greater detail here (see the section "Fire Beacons").

This may not meet the definition of scientific or archaeological confirmation, but it does lend some additional credence to the ancient texts.

  • 2
    Makes me think of Lord of the Rings... "Gondor is asking for help..." Nice answer. Feb 1, 2013 at 23:02
  • I'm torn... on one hand it's a good answer. On the other this was not QUITE what I had in mind when asking (no fault of yours :)
    – DVK
    Feb 2, 2013 at 1:42
  • No, I agree, my answer probably falls short of what you're looking for. In fairness, there is no currently known evidence that proves the historicity of Homer's Iliad. But there is a growing body of circumstantial evidence seeming to indicate that a conflict did indeed take place around 1200 BC.
    – Mark42
    Feb 2, 2013 at 5:29

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