This paper aims at reassessing the role and impact on the Early modern perception of the Trojan Myth of two Latin narratives known to us as the War Journals of Dictys the Cretan and Dares the Phrygian. The two texts, that have longtime eluded generic classification, cannot be described as other than unwitting forgeries, being literary texts that in the intentions of their Greek, unknown authors had no other ambition than participating in the Homer-centric vogue of the Second Sophistics. A number of unforeseeable vicissitudes, first of all their being translated into Latin and the disappearance of Greek in the Middle Ages, elevated Dictys and Dares to the rank of real documents in the eyes of the Western World. But for this major misinterpretation to last as long as it did, Dictys and Dares clearly had an intrinsic documentary quality that was only minimally shaken by the new Humanistic approach and even the reappearance of Homer. Through a more general discussion of what makes a documentary text, this paper tries to answer the question of why and how two unassuming fictions could fulfill for centuries the Western craving for documents on the Trojan War.
The Trojan War - Between History and Myth / Prosperi, Valentina. - (2016), pp. 93-111.