Troy and Its Surroundings

If ever there was a defining place in the ancient world where pivotal decisions changed the entire course of history, the Troad Peninsula in northwest Anatolia was just such a place. Located along the Hellespont (the ancient name for the single, narrow waterway connecting the prosperous Black Sea with the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea), this region was highly strategic and lucratrive for those who controlled it. The Troad Peninsula also stood at the border between the two great continents of Europe and Asia. The many layers of archaeological ruins at the site of ancient Troy attest to the significance of this prized location, and Troy’s momentous fall to the Mycenaean Greeks became enshrined in history through Homer’s Iliad. It was here also that the Persian army under Xerxes crossed from Asia into Europe at great expense, for his first attempt met with disaster when a storm destroyed the bridges he had built from Abydos to Sestus for this purpose. Xerxes was said to be so enraged that he sought to punish the Hellespont with lashes and fetters. Years later, it was here again that Alexander the Great crossed back into Asia to launch his long campaign of revenge against the Persians. Still later, while the apostle Paul was at Troas he saw a vision of a man from Macedonia calling for to him for help, so Paul and his companions crossed into Europe with the gospel and established a church at Philippi (Acts 16:6-12). On a later missionary journey Paul and his companions returned to Troas from Macedonia, and as Paul was preaching late into the night a young man fell out a window and was taken up dead, but Paul came to his aid, and the young man was returned to his family alive again (Acts 20:1-12). Even in modern times, this strategic area was the site of one of the largest battles of the First World War.

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