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With the revival of interest in the study of the Greek language and Greek literature in Italy during the 15th century the literary remains of Greek civilization from Homer to the Greek Church Fathers of early Christianity were well-known to scholars. However, in the 18th and early 19th century the sceptical attitudes applied to the Bible in scholarly biblical criticism came to be applied to Greek literature, so much so that scholars dismissed everything before the first Olympic games in 776 BC as legend. The excavations of Heinrich Schliemann, who began excavating Troy in 1870, changed all that. Archaeology has recovered information that enables not only scholars to treat every surviving text from the ancient world in a critical way, but allows students to find a middle ground between uncritical acceptance of the legends and mythology of Greece on one hand, and dismissing them entirely.
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