CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The ancient Greek poet Homer was not a single person but actually an entire culture of storytelling

 

 

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The ancient Greek poet Homer was not a single person but actually an entire culture of storytelling

 

Adam Nicolson, an author and historian who has studied Homer, believes the epic poems of The Iliad and The Odyssey have their origins around 2,000 BC - 1,000 years earlier than the man who wrote them is said to have lived.

Instead, he claims the stories evolved as a tradition that were shared and refined as spoken poems for hundreds of years.

Little is known about who Homer, seen here in an idealised marble bust from the Roman period, really was

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Little is known about who Homer, seen here in an idealised marble bust from the Roman period, really was

Speaking in an interview with National Geographic, Mr Nicolson, who is the Fifth Baron Carnock, said that the idea of Homer as a single author has emerged due to an 'author obsession'.

He said: 'I think it's a mistake to think of Homer as a person. Homer is an "it" - a tradition.

 

Adam Nicolson has written a book about what Homer can tell us about life in the modern world

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Adam Nicolson has written a book about what Homer can tell us about life in the modern world

'An entire culture coming up with ever more refined and ever more understanding ways of telling stories that are important to it.'

There is very little known about exactly who or what Homer was, but is believed by the ancient Greeks to have been the first great epic poet.

Some accounts claim he was a blind poet who lived between 1,102BC to 850BC.

A guild of singing story tellers, or rhapsodes, later emerged known as the Homeridae and has led some to argue that Homer was actually a mythical figure whose name was derived from the guild.

Some of the earliest written works attributed to Homer were found with the mummified remains of Green Egyptians from around 150-200 BC.

The oldest complete Iliad manuscript is found in the doge's library in Venice and is thought to date from 900AD.

Mr Nicolson, who lives in Kent, said that notes in the margins of this manuscript, which was created in the Constantinople-Byzantium, provide some clues to what the origin of the Iliad may have been.

He said: 'One of the exciting things that emerge from that is that in the early days it seems there was no such thing as a single Iliad, no one fixed text, but this wild and variable tradition of the stories, with many different versions in different parts of the Mediterranean, endlessly interacting with itself, like a braided stream in the mountains.'

Mr Nicolson said he first became interested in Homer around ten years ago when he began reading The Odyssey while waiting for his yacht to be repaired after it was damaged in a storm while sailing up the west coast of Britain.

He describes reading The Odyssey as being like somebody 'telling me what it was like to be alive on Earth'.

Homer is depicted as a blind bard in this painting by Jean-Baptiste August Leloir, held at the Louvre in Paris

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Homer is depicted as a blind bard in this painting by Jean-Baptiste August Leloir, held at the Louvre in Paris

Early written accounts of The Iliad, like this 5th or 6th Century codex in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, are very rare and the stories are thought to have been passed down by oral storytelling for hundreds of years

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Early written accounts of The Iliad, like this 5th or 6th Century codex in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, are very rare and the stories are thought to have been passed down by oral storytelling for hundreds of years

LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN FLEECE WAS BASED ON REAL GOLD MINERS

The ancient Greek legend of Jason and his Argonauts' quest for the Golden Fleece may have been based on a real expedition to an ancient kingdom on the Black Sea.

Geologists have uncovered evidence that a mountainous area of Svaneti in what is now northwest Georgia was the country ‘rich of gold’ described in the legend.

They claim that villagers that were part of the wealthy Kingdom of Colchis, which existed from the sixth to the first centuries BC, used sheepskin to capture gold from mountain streams in the area.

Among artifacts found in  villages of Svaneti, northwest Georgia was a bronze sculpture of a bird with a ram's head that researchers say lends support that the myth of the golden fleece originated in the area

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Among artifacts found in villages of Svaneti, northwest Georgia was a bronze sculpture of a bird with a ram's head that researchers say lends support that the myth of the golden fleece originated in the area

The fleece was used to line the bottom of the sandy stream beds, trapping any tiny grains of gold that built up there. The technique is a variation on panning used elsewhere in the world.

This, they say, would have lead to sheepskins that were imprinted with flakes of gold and could have given rise to stories of a golden fleece.

Historic artifacts, including a bronze sculpture of a bird with a ram's head, that were found in the villages of Svaneti also lend support that the kingdom was the source of the myth.

Dr Avtandil Okrostsvaridze, a geologist from the institute of earth sciences at the Ilia State University, Georgia, said the story of Jason and his Argonauts quest to find the Golden Fleece may have been a real event to learn about the sheepskin gold mining technique.

THE QUEST TO FIND THE GOLDEN FLEECE

The myth of Jason and the Argonauts' quest to the the ancient Kingdom of Colchis to obtain the Golden Fleece has been a highly contentious subject among historians.

The ancient Greek legend has several, often contradictory, accounts of the adventures of Jason and his Argonauts on their ship the Argo in the years before the Trojan War.

It is described as a real story by Eurpides in his play Medea. The Greek poet Apollo of Rhodes also dedicates a poem to the voyage where he gives a detailed description of the Kingdom of Colchis.

The ancient Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder was among the first to provide a theory for what the Golden Fleece may have been, but many historians through the years have suggested that it could have been a sign of power, a sign of wealth, a book on alchemy, a particularly fine silk cloak or even simply a specially valuable breed of sheep.

According to the Greek myth the Golden Fleece had belonged to a golden ram that Jason's ancestor Phrixus had flown east from Greece to the land of Cochlis, where King Aietes, son of the sun god Helios, had sacrificed it.

The fleece was then hung in a sacred grove belonging to the war god Kratos. Jason snuck in and stole the fleece.

He said: ‘The phenomena of the “Golden Fleece”, according to our research, is connected with the sheepskin technique of recovering placer gold (gold that has built up in sand deposits).

‘The end result of this technique of gold recovery river gravels was a gold imprinted sheepskin, giving rise to the romantic and unidentified phenomena of the “Golden Fleece” in the civilized world.

‘We think, from our investigations, that the bedrock and placer gold contents of this region give grounds to believe that there was enough gold in this region to describe Svaneti as “the country rich of this noble metal”.

‘We share the viewpoint of the Roman historian Apian Alexandrine and suppose that the myth about expedition of Argonauts in quest of the “Golden Fleece” to the Colchis Kingdom was a real event and that the main purpose of this mission was to obtain gold and sheepskin technique of gold mining.’

Dr Okrostsvaridze and colleagues from the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University in Georgia, conducted a widespread survey of gold deposits in the Svaneti region.

They report in the journal Quaternary International that they used remote sensing and analysed more than 1,000 rock and gravel samples to assess the gold content in the area.

They found that placer gold, where nuggets and flakes sink to the bottom of a stream bed, were extensively exposed throughout the time of the Kingdom of Colchis.

Although the Kingdom of Colchis was named in the legend of Jason and his Argonauts as the place where they stole the Golden Fleece, the exact location has always been disputed.

Some ancient sources, and modern academics, have said it could have belonged to the Vani people of Colchis, whose territory was in the middle of the kingdom, but others have predicted it was the Svans who lived in the mountainous north.

The Kingdom of Colchis was a wealthy area in what is now modern Georgia where according to Greek mythology King Aeëtes hung the Golden Fleece until it was seized by Jason and the Argonauts

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The Kingdom of Colchis was a wealthy area in what is now modern Georgia where according to Greek mythology King Aeëtes hung the Golden Fleece until it was seized by Jason and the Argonauts

According to Greek mythology Jason and the Argonauts sailed in their ship the Argo from Greece to the Kingdom of Colchis in search of the Golden Fleece as part of a quest to help Jason win the throne of Iolcus

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According to Greek mythology Jason and the Argonauts sailed in their ship the Argo from Greece to the Kingdom of Colchis in search of the Golden Fleece as part of a quest to help Jason win the throne of Iolcus

Gold grains washed from the gravel stream bed of the River Quani in Svaneti. Streams in the area are still panned by locals for gold, some of whom still use traditional methods that include sheepskin 

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Gold grains washed from the gravel stream bed of the River Quani in Svaneti. Streams in the area are still panned by locals for gold, some of whom still use traditional methods that include sheepskin

A unique golden lion sculpture from the beginning of the second millennium BC is thought to show the sophisticated skill at obtaining and casting metal around the time when the Golden Fleece myth began

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A unique golden lion sculpture from the beginning of the second millennium BC is thought to show the sophisticated skill at obtaining and casting metal around the time when the Golden Fleece myth began

They used remote sensing and analysed more than 1,000 rock and gravel samples to assess the gold content in the area.

They found that placer gold, where nuggets and flakes sink to the bottom of a stream bed, were extensively exposed throughout the time of the Kingdom of Colchis.

Although the Kingdom of Colchis was named in the legend of Jason and his Argonauts as the place where they stole the Golden Fleece, the exact location has always been disputed.

Some ancient sources, and modern academics, have said it could have belonged to the Vani people of Colchis, whose territory was in the middle of the kingdom, but others have predicted it was the Svans who lived in the mountainous north.

Dr Okrostsvaridze, however, points to golden artifacts found in the villages around Svaneti as evidence that they had sophisticated mining and meteorological skills.

These include a unique golden lion sculpture that has been dated back to the second millennium BC.

He said: 'This shows that gold mining and its artistic processing was at a very high level, very early in the history of the old Georgian kingdoms.

'Our work shows that the gold content in the rivers sands of this region are sufficiently large to give grounds for the creation of legends.'

Svaneti sits beneath the main ridge of the Greater Caucusus mountains in northwest Georgia where streams still run rich with gold deposits according to the analysis by geologists

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Svaneti sits beneath the main ridge of the Greater Caucusus mountains in northwest Georgia where streams still run rich with gold deposits according to the analysis by geologists

Surveys by the geologists show that gold ore veins (marked with orange ovals) and stream beds that contain rich gold deposits (marked with yellow ovals) exist today and have been replenished after historical mining

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Surveys by the geologists show that gold ore veins (marked with orange ovals) and stream beds that contain rich gold deposits (marked with yellow ovals) exist today and have been replenished after historical mining

Geological surveys by Dr Okrostsvaridze and his team reveal that gold deposits in many areas that were historically mined have been replenished as streams have continued to wash them down the mountainsides.

Indeed, he said that some locals still use traditional techniques to obtain gold from the rivers in the area and it may even be possible for modern day Argonauts to find a golden fleece of their own today.

He said: ‘Our work has confirmed that Svaneti is a region, uniquely, where the locals still wash gold from alluvial placers through modern domestic, wooden vessels or pans with holes in the bottom and unto a sheepskin or fleece which collects the fine particulate gold.’

The ancient Greek legend of Jason and his Argonauts' quest for the Golden Fleece may have been based on a real expedition to an ancient kingdom on the Black Sea.

The story is thought to have been in circulation even at the time of Homer and was thought to have been a myth.

However, geologists have uncovered evidence that a mountainous area of Svaneti in what is now northwest Georgia was the country ‘rich of gold’ described in the legend.

They claim that villagers that were part of the wealthy Kingdom of Colchis, which existed from the sixth to the first centuries BC, used sheepskin to capture gold from mountain streams in the area.

The fleece was used to line the bottom of the sandy stream beds, trapping any tiny grains of gold that built up there. The technique is a variation on panning used elsewhere in the world.

This, they say, would have lead to sheepskins that were imprinted with flakes of gold and could have given rise to stories of a golden fleece.

Mr Nicolson, who has presented several TV programmes, including one about the history of whaling, has now written a book called The Mighty Dead, or Why Homer Matters in the US, to explore what influence Homer's stories have today.

He said that he believes many of the poems attributed to Homer have their beginnings around 2,000 BC.

He said that large elements of the stories from The Iliad, for example, are shared with stories found in India, Germany and Iceland.

He also said that the Iliad also paints the Greeks as lawless violent warriors rather than the civilised society they later became.

He said: 'That picture of the Greeks doesn't make sense any later than about 1,800 to 1,700 BC. After that, the Greeks had arrived in the Mediterranean and started to create a civil society.

'Before that, they were essentially tribes from the steppes between the Black Sea and the Caspian - nomadic, male-dominated, violent.'

A picture from the 5th Century Ambrosian Iliad showing Achilles sacrificing to Zeus for Patroclus' safe return

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A picture from the 5th Century Ambrosian Iliad showing Achilles sacrificing to Zeus for Patroclus' safe return

 

Achilles sarcophagus

Trojan War

File:Akhilleus Patroklos Antikensammlung Berlin F2278.jpgAchilles tending the wounded Patroclus
(Attic red-figure kylix, ca. 500 BC)

In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans (Greeks) after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husbandMenelaus king ofSparta. The war is one of the most important events in Greek mythology and has been narrated through many works of Greek literature, most notably through Homer'sIliad and the Odyssey. The Iliad relates a part of the last year of the siege of Troy; the Odyssey describes Odysseus's journey home. Other parts of the war are contained in a cycle of epic poems, which have survived through fragments. Episodes from the war provided material for Greek tragedy and other works of Greek literature, and for Roman poets including Virgil and Ovid.

The war originated from a quarrel between the goddesses Athena, Hera, andAphrodite, after Eris, the goddess of strife and discord, gave them a golden apple, sometimes known as the Apple of Discord, marked "for the fairest". Zeus sent the goddesses to Paris, who judged that Aphrodite, as the "fairest", should receive the apple. In exchange, Aphrodite made Helen, the most beautiful of all women and wife of Menelaus, fall in love with Paris, who took her to Troy. Agamemnon, king ofMycenae and the brother of Helen's husbandMenelaus, led an expedition of Achaean troops to Troy and besieged the city for ten years because of Paris' insult. After the deaths of many heroes, including the Achaeans Achilles and Ajax, and the Trojans Hector and Paris, the city fell to the ruse of the Trojan Horse. The Achaeans slaughtered the Trojans (except for some of the women and children whom they kept or sold as slaves) and desecrated the temples, thus earning the gods' wrath. Few of the Achaeans returned safely to their homes and many founded colonies in distant shores. The Romans later traced their origin to Aeneas, one of the Trojans, who was said to have led the surviving Trojans to modern-day Italy.

The ancient Greeks thought that the Trojan War was a historical event that had taken place in the 13th or 12th century BC, and believed that Troy was located in modern-day Turkey near the Dardanelles. By modern times, both the war and the city were widely believed to be non-historical. In 1868, however, the Germanarchaeologist Heinrich Schliemann met Frank Calvert, who convinced Schliemann that Troy was at Hissarlik and Schliemann took over Calvert's excavations on property belonging to Calvert;[1] this claim is now accepted by most scholars.[2][3] Whether there is any historical reality behind the Trojan War is an open question. Many scholars believe that there is a historical core to the tale, though this may simply mean that the Homeric stories are a fusion of various tales of sieges and expeditions by Mycenaean Greeks during the Bronze Age. Those who believe that the stories of the Trojan War are derived from a specific historical conflict usually date it to the 12th or 11th centuries BC, often preferring the dates given by Eratosthenes, 1194–1184 BC, which roughly corresponds with archaeological evidence of a catastrophic burning of Troy VIIa.

Odysseus threatens Circe

On the Isle of Aeaea, known to the ancient Greeks as the Island of the Dawn, lived the bewitching goddess Circe. This very beautiful daughter of Helios and Perse was a powerful enchantress who loved using her magic to transform both men and women into beasts. To add to this humiliation, Circe took pleasure in changing only their bodies while allowing her victims to remain in complete charge of their mental senses. Though she made an appearance in the story of Medea and Jason purifying the two lovers of the murder of Medea's brother Apsyrtus, Circe is better known for the part she played in Odysseus' journey home from the Trojan War.

It seems that after losing all but one of his ships and many of his crew members to a race of cannibal giants, Odysseus and his remaining shipmates set sail to the east where they eventually found themsleves landing upon the shores of Aeaea.

Upon their arrival, the men drew lots to see who would stay onboard the ship and who would explore the newly found island. Eurylochus and twenty two of the other men were chosen to go ashore. They found the island to be a rich forest thick with oak trees. The wanderers walked through the woods until they came upon a clearing which led to the fabulous palace of Circe.

There were lions and wolves prowling about the grounds, all displaying charactertsics of a most unusual nature. Instead of attacking the search party, they stood upright and warmly embraced them with welcoming hugs. If it were not for their animals forms, thought Eurylochus, they would be human. It would not be long before his suspicions would be confirmed.

As the men entered the corrider of the palace they found Circe sitting at her loom. She graciously invited her visitors to join her for dinner and at once set before them a huge banquet. The famished men eagerly accepted, all but Eurylochus, who suspecting a trap remained outside. Instead he chose to watch through an open window. Quickly the sailors filled their bellies but to their demise, they soon found out the the food was drugged. Before long the entire party was fast asleep at the table. Circe touched them lightly about their shoulders with her wand and instantly transformed all of the men into swine.

Feeling quite happy with herself, she hurried the seafarers into a sty where she left them to wallow in the mud. Shocked and weeping, Eurylochus returned to the ship and sadly reported to Odysseus everything he saw. Odysseus listened intently, and when the story was over he grabbed his sword and ran off to rescue his crew.

As he made his way to the palace, Odysseus was met by the god Hermes who had in his possession a magical white flower with a black root. This was a plant that could only be grown by the gods themselves and contained properties that would repel Circe's magic. Odysseus readily accepted the charm from the herald and hid it among his clothing before continuing on his rescue mission. He soon found himself standing in front of the great sorceress, who once again happily prepared a table before her guest.

As before, Circe encouraged her visitor to eat his fill and when Odysseus appeared to be asleep she took her wand and lightly touched him upon his shoulders. "Off to the sty with you too" she sneered but to her surprise, Odysseus having been protected by the magic talisman jumped up with sword in hand. Circe begged the angry Captain for her life, promising him in return that she would share her bed with him and also make him co-ruler of Aeaea. Knowing that he was dealing with a witch, Odysseus refused to hear of it until Circe swore a solemn oath to the gods not to make any further mischief against him.

This she did and afterwards drew her guest a warm bath which he enjoyed while drinking wine from a golden cup. She led him to her bed in the hope of seducing the handsome traveler but Odysseus continued to refuse her advances until she agreed to restore his crew to their rightful shapes. She also promised to remove the curse from all those who had been enchanted by her in the past. Once this was done Odysseus agreed to stay in Aeaea and in the course of time Circe bore him three sons. When the time came for Odysseus to continue his journey back to Ithaca, Circe roused the breeze so that he and his crew could make their departure. She also gave him advice on how to handle some of the perils that were awaiting them on their voyage home

Paris, guided by Apollo, shoots Achilles' vulnerable heel

Following the death of Patroclus, Achilles's closest companion was Nestor's son Antilochus. When Memnon of Ethiopia killed Antilochus, Achilles was once again drawn onto the battlefield to seek revenge. The fight between Achilles and Memnon over Antilochus echoes that of Achilles and Hector over Patroclus, except that Memnon (unlike Hector) was also the son of a goddess.

Many Homeric scholars argued that episode inspired many details in the Iliad's description of the death of Patroclus and Achilles' reaction to it. The episode then formed the basis of the cyclic epic Aethiopis, which was composed after the Iliad, possibly in the 7th century BC. The Aethiopis is now lost, except for scattered fragments quoted by later authors.

Quintus of Smyrna also gives us an epic treatment of Memnon's mortal death and the immortality then bestowed upon him by Zeus as well as lyrical description of his countrymen's extreme grief.

As predicted by Hector with his dying breath, Achilles was thereafter killed by Paris — either by an arrow (to the heel according to Statius), or in an older version by a knife to the back while visiting Polyxena, a princess of Troy. In some versions, the god Apollo guided Paris' arrow.

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Patroclus separates Briseis from Achilles

Penelope and Odysseus

In Ithaca, Penelope was having difficulties. Her husband had been gone for twenty years, and she did not know for sure whether he was alive or dead. She was beset with numerous men who thought that a (fairly) young widow and queen of a small but tidy kingdom was a great prize: they pestered her to declare Odysseus dead and choose a new husband from among them. Meanwhile, these suitors hung around the palace, ate her food, drank her wine, and consorted with several of her maidservants. Penelope was despondent by her husband's long absence and especially the mystery about his fate. He could come home at any time — or never. Temporizing, she fended them off for years, using stalling tactics that were wearing thin. Meanwhile, Odysseus' mother, Anticlea, had died of grief; and his father, Laërtes, was nearly so.

Odysseus arrived alone. Upon landing, he was disguised as an old man or a beggar by Athena, and was welcomed by his old swineherd, Eumaeus, who did not recognize him but still treated him well. Odysseus' faithful dog Argos was the first to recognize him in his rags; he had waited twenty years to see his master. Aged and decrepit, he did his best to wag his tail, but Odysseus did not want to be found out, and had to maintain his cover, so the weary dog died in peace. The first human to recognize him was his old wet nurse, Euryclea, who knew him well enough to see through the rags, recognizing him by an old scar on his leg received when hunting boar with Iphitus. His son Telemachus didn't see through the disguise, but Odysseus revealed his identity to him.

Odysseus learned that Penelope had remained faithful to him. She pretended to weave a burial shroud for Odysseus' father, Laërtes, and claimed she would choose one suitor when she finished. Every day she wove a length of shroud, and every night she unwove the same length of shroud, until one day a maid of hers betrayed this secret to the suitors and they demanded that she finally choose one of them to be her new husband. When Odysseus arrived to his house, disguised as a beggar, he sat in the hall and observed the suitors, and was repeatedly humiliated by them.

Still in his disguise, Odysseus went to Penelope and told her that he had met Odysseus and told a tale of how Odysseus was a brave solider and bragged about himself. Penelope, still unknowing of this beggar's identity, started to cry in hearing of her husband. Penelope went to the suitors and said whoever can string Odysseus' bow and shoot an arrow through 12 axe-handles, would marry her. This was to Odysseus' advantage, as only he could string his own bow. (It is believed that Odysseus' bow was a composite bow, requiring great skill and leverage to string, rather than mere brute strength.) Penelope then announced what Odysseus had said.

The suitors each tried to string the bow, but in vain. Odysseus then took the bow, strung it, lined up twelve axe-handles, and shot an arrow through all twelve. Athena then took off his disguise and, with the help of his son Telemachus, a cattleherd, and Eumaeus, the swineherd, Odysseus killed all. Antinous is the first of the suitors to be killed, being slain by an arrow to the throat by Odysseus in the Great Hall while drinking. At first, Odysseus shot as many as he could with his bow, but when out of arrows he reached for spears. Caught by surprise and unarmed by Telemachus, the suitors were easy prey, but later on during the conflict they started arming themselves. This, however, did not save their lives.

When all the suitors were killed, the goatherd Melanthius, who had provided the suitors with arms but had been strung up by Eumaeus, was taken into the courtyard where his nose, ears, hands and feet were cut off, and his genitals pulled out and fed to the dogs. Telemachus hung the female servants who were availing themselves to the suitors.

Penelope, still not quite sure that the beggar was indeed her husband, tested him. She ordered her maid to make up Odysseus' bed and move it from their bedchamber into the hall outside his room. Odysseus was initially furious when he heard this because one of the bed posts was made from a living olive tree - he himself had designed it this way, and thus it could not be moved unless done by a god; he told her this, and since only Odysseus and Penelope knew this, Penelope accepted that he was her husband. She came running to him, hoping that he would forgive her. He forgave her, because he could understand why she had tested him and because he had passed the test.

To avenge the death of his son Antinous, his father Eupeithes tried to kill Odysseus. Laërtes killed him, and Athena thereafter required the suitors' families and Odysseus to make peace; this ends the story of the Odyssey.

Odysseus had been told (by the shade of Tiresias) that he had one more journey to make after he had re-established his rule in Ithaca and also that his death would come from the sea and would be peaceful and pleasant.

Penelope and the Suitors by John William Waterhouse (1912).

In Ithaca, Penelope was having difficulties. Her husband had been gone for twenty years, and she did not know for sure whether he was alive or dead. She was beset with numerous men who thought that a (fairly) young widow and queen of a small but tidy kingdom was a great prize: they pestered her to declare Odysseus dead and choose a new husband from among them. Meanwhile, these suitors hung around the palace, ate her food, drank her wine, and consorted with several of her maidservants. Penelope was despondent by her husband's long absence and especially the mystery about his fate. He could come home at any time — or never. Temporizing, she fended them off for years, using stalling tactics that were wearing thin. Meanwhile, Odysseus' mother, Anticlea, had died of grief; and his father, Laërtes, was nearly so.

Odysseus arrived alone. Upon landing, he was disguised as an old man or a beggar by Athena, and was welcomed by his old swineherd, Eumaeus, who did not recognize him but still treated him well. Odysseus' faithful dog Argos was the first to recognize him in his rags; he had waited twenty years to see his master. Aged and decrepit, he did his best to wag his tail, but Odysseus did not want to be found out, and had to maintain his cover, so the weary dog died in peace. The first human to recognize him was his old wet nurse, Euryclea, who knew him well enough to see through the rags, recognizing him by an old scar on his leg received when hunting boar with Iphitus. His son Telemachus didn't see through the disguise, but Odysseus revealed his identity to him.

Odysseus learned that Penelope had remained faithful to him. She pretended to weave a burial shroud for Odysseus' father, Laërtes, and claimed she would choose one suitor when she finished. Every day she wove a length of shroud, and every night she unwove the same length of shroud, until one day a maid of hers betrayed this secret to the suitors and they demanded that she finally choose one of them to be her new husband. When Odysseus arrived to his house, disguised as a beggar, he sat in the hall and observed the suitors, and was repeatedly humiliated by them.

Still in his disguise, Odysseus went to Penelope and told her that he had met Odysseus and told a tale of how Odysseus was a brave solider and bragged about himself. Penelope, still unknowing of this beggar's identity, started to cry in hearing of her husband. Penelope went to the suitors and said whoever can string Odysseus' bow and shoot an arrow through 12 axe-handles, would marry her. This was to Odysseus' advantage, as only he could string his own bow. (It is believed that Odysseus' bow was a composite bow, requiring great skill and leverage to string, rather than mere brute strength.) Penelope then announced what Odysseus had said.

The suitors each tried to string the bow, but in vain. Odysseus then took the bow, strung it, lined up twelve axe-handles, and shot an arrow through all twelve. Athena then took off his disguise and, with the help of his son Telemachus, a cattleherd, and Eumaeus, the swineherd, Odysseus killed all. Antinous is the first of the suitors to be killed, being slain by an arrow to the throat by Odysseus in the Great Hall while drinking. At first, Odysseus shot as many as he could with his bow, but when out of arrows he reached for spears. Caught by surprise and unarmed by Telemachus, the suitors were easy prey, but later on during the conflict they started arming themselves. This, however, did not save their lives.

When all the suitors were killed, the goatherd Melanthius, who had provided the suitors with arms but had been strung up by Eumaeus, was taken into the courtyard where his nose, ears, hands and feet were cut off, and his genitals pulled out and fed to the dogs. Telemachus hung the female servants who were availing themselves to the suitors.

Penelope, still not quite sure that the beggar was indeed her husband, tested him. She ordered her maid to make up Odysseus' bed and move it from their bedchamber into the hall outside his room. Odysseus was initially furious when he heard this because one of the bed posts was made from a living olive tree - he himself had designed it this way, and thus it could not be moved unless done by a god; he told her this, and since only Odysseus and Penelope knew this, Penelope accepted that he was her husband. She came running to him, hoping that he would forgive her. He forgave her, because he could understand why she had tested him and because he had passed the test.

To avenge the death of his son Antinous, his father Eupeithes tried to kill Odysseus. Laërtes killed him, and Athena thereafter required the suitors' families and Odysseus to make peace; this ends the story of the Odyssey.

Odysseus had been told (by the shade of Tiresias) that he had one more journey to make after he had re-established his rule in Ithaca and also that his death would come from the sea and would be peaceful and pleasant.

The fall of Troy, by Johann Georg Trautmann (1713–1769). From the collections of the granddukes of Baden, Karlsruhe.

The Acheans entered the city and killed the sleeping population. A great massacre followed which continued into the day.

Blood ran in torrents, drenched was all the earth,
As Trojans and their alien helpers died.
Here were men lying quelled by bitter death
All up and down the city in their blood.
The Trojans, fuelled with desperation, fought back fiercely, despite being disorganized and leaderless. With the fighting at its height, some donned fallen enemies' attire and launched surprise counterattacks in the chaotic street fighting. Other defenders hurled down roof tiles and anything else heavy down on the rampaging attackers. The outlook was grim though, and eventually the remaining defenders were destroyed along with the whole city.

Neoptolemus killed Priam, who had taken refuge at the altar of Zeus of the Courtyard. Menelaus killed Deiphobus, Helen's husband after Paris' death, and also intended to kill Helen, but, overcome by her beauty, threw down his sword and took her to the ships.

Ajax the Lesser raped Cassandra on Athena's altar while she was clinging to her statue. Because of Ajax's impiety, the Acheaens, urged by Odysseus, wanted to stone him to death, but he fled to Athena's altar, and was spared.

Antenor, who had given hospitality to Menelaus and Odysseus when they asked for the return of Helen, and who had advocated so, was spared, along with his family. Aeneas took his father on his back and fled, and, according to Apollodorus, was allowed to go because of his piety.

The Greeks then burned the city and divided the spoils. Cassandra was awarded to Agamemnon. Neoptolemus got Andromache, wife of Hector, and Odysseus was given Hecuba, Priam's wife.

The Achaeans threw Hector's infant son Astyanax down from the walls of Troy,either out of cruelty and hate or to end the royal line, and the possibility of a son's revenge. They (by usual tradition Neoptolemus) also sacrificed the Trojan princess Polyxena on the grave of Achilles as demanded by his ghost, either as part of his spoil or because she had betrayed him.

Aethra, Theseus' mother, and one of Helen's handmaids, was rescued by her grandsons, Demophon and Acamas.

The farewells of Hector and Andromache

In Greek mythology, Andromache (Ancient Greek: Ἀνδρομάχη) was the wife of Hector and daughter of Eetion, and sister to Podes. She was born and raised in the city of Cilician Thebes (Thebe under Placus), over which her father ruled. The name means "battle of a man", from ανδρος (andros) "of a man" and μαχη (machē) "battle".

During the Trojan War, Hector was killed by Achilles, and their son Astyanax was thrown from the city walls by the Greeks. Neoptolemus took Andromache as a concubine and Hector's brother, Helenus, as a slave. By Neoptolemus, she was the mother of Molossus, and according to Pausanias , Pielus and Pergamus. When Neoptolemus died, Andromache married Helenus and became Queen of Epirus. Pausanias also implies that Helenus' son, Cestrinus, was by Andromache. Andromache eventually went to live with Pergamus in Pergamum, where she died of old age.

The sacrifice of Iphigenia.

Agamemnon gathered the reluctant Greek forces to sail for Troy. Preparing to depart from Aulis, which was a port in Boeotia, Agamemnon's army incurred the wrath of the goddess Artemis. There are several reasons throughout myth for such wrath: in Aeschylus' play Agamemnon, Artemis is angry for the young men who will die at Troy, whereas in Sophocles' Electra, Agamemnon has slain an animal sacred to Artemis, and subsequently boasted that he was Artemis's equal in hunting. Misfortunes, including a plague and a lack of wind, prevented the army from sailing. Finally, the prophet Calchas announced that the wrath of the goddess could only be propitiated by the sacrifice of Agamemnon's daughter Iphigeneia. Classical dramatizations differ on how willing either father or daughter were to this fate, some include such trickery as claiming she was to be married to Achilles, but Agamemnon did eventually sacrifice Iphigeneia. Her death appeased Artemis, and the Greek army set out for Troy. Several alternatives to the human sacrifice have been presented in Greek mythology. Other sources claim that Agamemnon was prepared to kill his daughter, but that Artemis accepted a deer in her place, and whisked her to Taurus in Crimea. Hesiod said she became the goddess Hecate.

Agamemnon was the commander-in-chief of the Greeks during the Trojan War. During the fighting, Agamemnon killed Antiphus. Agamemnon's teamster, Halaesus, later fought with Aeneas in Italy. The Iliad tells the story of the quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles in the final year of the war. Agamemnon took an attractive slave and spoil of war Briseis from Achilles. Achilles, the greatest warrior of the age, withdrew from battle in revenge and nearly cost the Greek armies the war.

Although not the equal of Achilles in bravery, Agamemnon was a dignified representative of kingly authority. As commander-in-chief, he summoned the princes to the council and led the army in battle. He took the field himself, and performed many heroic deeds until he was wounded and forced to withdraw to his tent. His chief fault was his overwhelming haughtiness. An over-exalted opinion of his position led him to insult Chryses and Achilles, thereby bringing great disaster upon the Greeks.

After the capture of Troy, Cassandra, doomed prophetess and daughter of Priam, fell to Agamemnon's lot in the distribution of the prizes of war.

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The statue of Athena to which Cassandra clung just before Ajax dragged her away should not be the Palladium, since Odysseus and Diomedes stole it before the fall of Troy

The Palladium, Cassandra and Ajax
The statue of Athena to which Cassandra clung just before Ajax (Lesser) dragged her away should not be the Palladium, since Odysseus stole it before the fall of Troy
Skyphos, 350-330 BCE
Campanie "peintre de Capoue 7531"
Genève, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire

In Greek mythology, Cassandra ("she who entangles men") (also known as Alexandra) was a daughter of King Priam of Troy and his queen Hecuba, who captured the eye of Apollo and so was given the ability to see the future. However, when she did not return his love, he placed a curse on her so that no one would ever believe her predictions. Thus Cassandra foresees the destruction of Troy (she warns the Trojans about the Trojan Horse, the death of Agamemnon, and her own demise), but is unable to do anything about them. Coroebus and Othronus came to the aid of Troy out of love for Cassandra.

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The wedding of Peleus and Thetis: while the gods feast at the table Eris throws her apple from a cloud

Thetis was a sea nymph, whose beauty captured the heart of Zeus. However, it was told to Zeus that it was Thetis' fate to have a son who would be far more powerful than his father. Because of this, no god could marry her because her son would grow so powerful that he could overthrow Zeus, as Zeus had overthrown Cronus. In order to prevent this from happening, it was decided that Thetis would marry an ordinary mortal. The chosen mortal was Peleus. He was the son of Aecus, who was the son of Zeus.

The occasion of the wedding between Peleus and Thetis was a time of great celebration. All of the gods attended except Eris, the goddess of discord, and the daughter of Zeus and Hera. Understandably enough, nobody liked Eris as she was always causing trouble. Because of this, she was rarely asked to attend important Olympian events.

Furious at having been left off of the invitation list again, Eris decided to make trouble. Into the banquet hall at Peleus' and Thetis' wedding, Eris threw a golden apple, marked "For the Fairest". Of course, all of the goddesses wanted to claim it, the choice was narrowed down to the three most powerful and beautiful goddesses: Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena. Wisely, upon being asked to judge to whom the apple should go, Zeus refused to choose. No god wanted to be a part of this decision. So, it was decided that the only thing to do would be to put judgment on a mortal whose judgment the goddesses would agree to accept.

Zeus suggested the choice be made by a young man who was a superb judge of beauty, by the name of Paris. Paris was the son of King Priam of Troy, but he had been ordered to leave the city because of a prophecy that someday he would bring misfortune to his country and its people. Thus, he was presently working as a shepherd. Paris was very handsome, as any god, but he lacked intelligence and tactfulness. For if he had very much intelligence, he would have refused to be such a judge.

The three goddesses appeared in the meadow where he was guarding his sheep. None of the three goddesses left the choice up to their own personal merits. Instead, they began to bribe Paris in order to win the apple. Hera promised him the status of lord of Europe and Asia for the apple. Athena said that she would make him a great warrior for the prized apple. The third goddess, Aphrodite, promised Paris the most beautiful woman in the world for his bride if he were to choose her as the "fairest".

Paris, being more interested in women than riches of being a lord or the status of a great warrior, chose Aphrodite. Hera and Athena were greatly offended, which led them to be deadly enemies of both Paris and of Troy. This was only the beginning of Paris' problems, as the most beautiful woman in the world was Helen, whom was already married. Aphrodite, not being much on marriage and faithfulness, took Paris to Sparta to meet Helen, who immediately fell in love with Paris. They fled Sparta to the city of Troy. When Helen's husband, Menelaus, came home to find the two had eloped, he called on all of Helen's suitors to help him attack Troy and kill Paris.

Thus, from the wedding of Peleus and Thetis and the golden Apple of Discord thrown by Eris, we have the beginnings of the Trojan War.

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Thetis asks Hephaistos to produce armour for her son Achilles (Johann Heinrich Füssli 1803 ). Hephaistos shown with his his golden "robots"

Myth recounts how Hephaistos created robots, beautiful golden-haired female androids to substitute for human companionship (virtual and cyber-sex?), as well as wheeled conveniences which functioned as servo-mechanisms much like prototypical cars. But, he couldn't manufacture what he desired most ardently--to be loved for himself, as he is
Iliad--the very first, and still the greatest, work of European literature--Homer describes automata and robots devised by Hephaistos to be helpers in his workshop.

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The apple of discord

Zeus lusted after the nereied Thetis until it was revealed to him by prometheus that she would have a child that would be greater than the father. Due to this Zeus arranged for Theits to marry the mortal Peleus. Hera was greatful to thetis for not sleeping with Zeus and provided her with the most spledid wedding ever. All of the gods and goddesses were invited except for Eris, the goddess of strife. For revenge, she tossed an inscribed golden apple into the guests and Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite all decided they should have it…hence the contest. Paris was told that Zeus would shield his judgement so that he could be fair, but after each of the goddesses had unrobed, they offered Paris a bribe.

Hera—offered the richest realm on the Earth

Athena—offered that he would be the wisest and bravest among men

Aphrodite—offered the most beautiful woman to be his wife

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Thetis dipping Achilles in the waters of the river Styx

Achilles was the son of the mortal Peleus, king of the Myrmidons in Phthia (southeast Thessaly), and the sea nymph Thetis. Zeus and Poseidon were rivals for the hand of Thetis. That is until Prometheus the fire bringer revealed that if one of these gods wed Thetis, she would bear a son greater than his father. For this reason, the two gods withdrew their pursuit. When Achilles was born, Thetis had tried to make Achilles immortal by dipping him in the river Styx, but forgot to wet the heel she held him by, leaving him vulnerable

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Heroes of the Trojan War

As an epic, the Iliad contains a sometimes confusingly great number of characters. The latter half of the Iliad's second book (often called the Catalogue of Ships) is devoted entirely to listing the various commanders. Many of the battle scenes in the Iliad feature bit characters who are quickly slain. See Trojan War for a detailed list of participating armies and warriors.

The main protagonist is the Greek hero Achilles, leader of the Myrmidones, and his rival is Hector, prince of Troy.

Patroclus, friend or lover to Achilles whose death unleashes Achilles' wrath on Hector.

Agamemnon, the supreme commander of the Greek armies.

Paris, Trojan prince and brother to Hector.

Diomedes and Odysseus, Greek heroes

Greek deities, such as Zeus, Aphrodite and Athena appear predominantly in the Iliad as manipulators of the humans.

Slaughter of the suitors by Odysseus and Telemachus, Campanian red-figure bell-krater, ca. 330 BC, Louvre (CA 7124) -

Because of her efforts in putting off remarriage, she is often seen as a symbol of connubial fidelity. Though the hearer is reminded several times of her fidelity, Penelope is getting restless (due, in part, to Athena's meddling) and she longs to "display herself to her suitors, fan their hearts, inflame them more" (xviii.183-84). She is ambivalent, variously calling out for Artemis to kill her and (apparently) considering marrying one of the suitors. When the disguised Odysseus returns to his home, in her long interview with the disguised hero, she announces that whoever can string a particularly rigid bow, and shoot an arrow through twelve axe handles can have her hand. "For the plot of the Odyssey, of course, her decision is the turning point, the move that makes possible the long-predicted triumph of the returning hero". There is debate over to what extent she is aware that Odysseus is behind the disguise. By Penelope and the suitors' knowledge, Odysseus, were he in fact present, would clearly surpass any of the suitors in any test of masculine skill that could be contrived. Since Odysseus seems to be the only person (perhaps with Telemachus) who can actually use the bow, it may have been another delaying tactic of Penelope's.

When the contest of the bow begins, none of the suitors are able to string the bow, except of course Odysseus, who wins the contest. He then proceeds to kill all the suitors with help from Telemachus, Athena and two servants, Eumaeus the swineherd and Philoetios the cowherd. Odysseus has now shown himself in all his glory, and it is standard (in terms of a recognition scene) for all to recognize him and be happy. Penelope, however, cannot believe her husband has really returned (she fears that perhaps it is some god in disguise as Odysseus, as in the story of Alcmene), and tests him by ordering her servant Euryclea to move the bed in their wedding-chamber. Odysseus protests that this can not be done since he had made the bed himself and knows that one of its legs was a living olive tree, and Penelope finally accepts that he is truly her husband. That moment highlights their homophrosyne (like-mindedness).

Chryses pleading with Agamemnon for his daughter, ca. 360 BC–350 BC (Louvre).

Chryses, a priest of Apollo and father of Chryseis, came to Agamemnon to ask for the return of his daughter. Agamemnon refused, and insulted Chryses, who prayed to Apollo to avenge his ill-treatment. Enraged, Apollo afflicted the Achaean army with plague. Agamemnon was forced to return Chryseis to end the plague, and took Achilles' concubine Briseis as his own. Enraged at the dishonor Agamemnon had inflicted upon him, Achilles decided he would no longer fight. He asked his mother, Thetis, to intercede with Zeus, who agreed to give the Trojans success in the absence of Achilles, the best warrior of the Achaeans.

After the withdrawal of Achilles, the Achaeans were initially successful. Both armies gathered in full for the first time since the landing. Menelaus and Paris fought a duel, which ended when Aphrodite snatched the beaten Paris from the field. The truce was broken, the Achean army nearly reached the wall, and Diomedes, with the assistance of Athena, nearly killed Aeneas, and wounded the gods Aphrodite and Ares. Through the next days, however, the Trojans had the upper hand. They drove back the Acheans to their camp. On the first day of the Trojan attack they were stopped at the Achean wall by Poseidon. The next day, though, with Zeus' help, the Trojans broke into the Achaean camp and were on the verge of setting fire to the Achaean ships. An earlier appeal to Achilles to return was rejected, but after Hector burned Protesilaus' ship, he allowed his close friend and relative Patroclus to go into battle wearing Achilles' armor and leading his army. Patroclus drove the Trojans back all the way to the walls of Troy and was only prevented from storming the city by the intervention of Apollo. Patroclus was then killed by Hector (with Apollo's help), who took Achilles' armor from the body of Patroclus.

Achilles, maddened with grief, swore to kill Hector in revenge. He was reconciled with Agamemnon and received Briseis back, untouched by Agamemnon. He received a new set of arms, forged by the god Hephaestus, and returned to the battlefield. He slaughtered many Trojans, and nearly killed Aeneas, who was saved by Poseidon. Achilles fought with the river Scamander, and a battle of the gods followed. The Trojan army returned to the city, except for Hector, who remained outside because he was tricked by Athena. Achilles killed Hector, and afterwards he dragged Hector's body from his chariot and refused to return the body to the Trojans for burial. The Achaeans then conducted funeral games for Patroclus. Afterwards, Priam came to Achilles' tent, guided by Hermes, and asked Achilles to return Hector's body. The armies made a temporary truce to allow the burial of the dead. The Iliad ends with the funeral of Hector.

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Full Menelaus intends to strike Helen; struck by her beauty, he drops his swords. A flying Eros and Aphrodite (on the left) watch the scene. Detail of an Attic red-figure crater, ca. 450–440 BC, found in Gnathia (now Italy).

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Achilles and Ajax at Draughts, Black Figure Ware Amphora, Greek, 540 BCE

This amphora shows the increasing skill of the Athenian vase painter in depicting the human form and in telling the human story. It was common for the vessel to be thrown and assembled by one person, while the painting was accomplished by another. This amphora is particularly well proportioned, with its volume swelling from the foot to its shoulder, from which elegant handles spring to the neck. The painter of this amphora, Exekias, was a painter who excelled in composition and that is evident here, where light and dark areas are skillfully balanced. The scene is from the Trojan Ware, and we see two of the most famous figures from this story, Achilles and Ajax. Achilles is at left, and Ajax is on the right. Both have rested their shields and spears, and Ajax has removed his helmet. Note the skillful way in which Exekias has drawn the spears to create a triangular line which leads the eye to the handles. Also see how this line is completed by the shapes of the shields, bringing our eyes back into the composition. These two warriors are shown taking a respite from their battles, and playing a game of checkers (draughts) on a board. They intently focus on the game, moving their pieces around the board. Note the frontal eye, which seems to stare at the viewer, even though they are looking at the game board. While body proportions are still not anatomically correct, Exekias indicates volume and shape by using sgraffito, carving linear detail into the black shapes of the figures. Rather than focusing on the battles to come, Exekias here captures the more human moment of two warriors at rest, trying to take their minds off their worries of what is soon to come. A double honeysuckle frieze surrounds the vessel above the action. The population at this time was mostly illiterate, but the action depicted here would have been recognized by most people. The story illustrated here is of a war that took place over 600 years before this vase was painted, and together with the writings of Homer, these vases vividly illustrate the history of this time.

Achilles is best known from the phrase 'Achilles Heel.' He was the commander of the Trojan army and thought to be invincible. As a child, his mother, Thetis, a sea nymph, in order to protect him from harm, dipped him into the waters of the underworld river Styx. These waters would confer invulnerability to anyone who was immersed. However, his mother held the young Achilles by his heel as she dipped him, and this part of his body was not protected. The phrase 'Achilles Heel' has come to mean any point of vulnerability. He was later killed in battle from an injury to his vulnerable spot, and his second in command, Ajax, rescued his body from the enemy Trojans.

Thetis gives her son Achilles his weapons newly forged by Hephaestus, detail of an Attic black-figure hydria

Homer, Iliad 18. 136 & 18. 368 - 19. 23 :
"[Thetis addresses her son Akhilleus at Troy :] `I am coming to you at dawn and as the sun rises bringing armour to you from lord (anax) Hephaistos.’
So she spoke, and turned, and went away from her son, and turning now to her sisters of the sea she spoke to them : `Do you now go back into the wide fold of the water to visit the ancient of the sea and the house of our father, and tell him everything. I am going to tall Olympos and to Hephaistos the glorious smith (klytotekhnes), if he might be willing to give me for my son renowned and radiant armour.'
She spoke, and they plunged back beneath the wave of the water, while she the goddess Thetis of the silver feet went onward to Olympos, to bring back to her son the glorious armour . . . Thetis of the silver feet came to the house of Hephaistos imperishable, starry, and shining among the immortals, built in bronze for himself by the god of the dragging footsteps. She found him sweating as he turned here and there to his bellows busily . . . Kharis of the shining veil saw her as she came forward, she, the lovely goddess the renowned strong-armed one had married. She came, and caught her hand and called her by name and spoke to her : `Why is it, Thetis of the light robes, you have come to our house now? We honour you and love you; but you have not come much before this. But come in with me so I may put entertainment before you.'
She spoke, and, shining among divinities, led the way forward and made Thetis sit down in a chair that was wrought elaborately and splendid with silver nails, and under it was a footstool. She called to Hephaistos the renowned smith (klytotekhnes) and spoke a word to him : `Hephaistos, come this way; here is Thetis, who has need of you.'
Hearing her the renowned smith of the strong arms answered her : `Then there is a goddess we honour and respect in our house. She saved me when I suffered much at the time of my great fall through the will of my own brazen-faced mother, who wanted to hide me for being lame. Then my soul would have taken much suffering had not Eurynome and Thetis caught me and held me . . . Therefore set out before her fair entertainment while I am putting away my bellows and all my instruments.'
He spoke, and took the huge blower off from the block of the anvil limping; and yet his shrunken legs moved lightly beneath him. He set the bellows away from the fire, and gathered and put away all the tools with which he worked in a silver strongbox. Then with a sponge he wiped clean his forehead, and both hands, and his massive neck and hairy chest, and put on a tunic, and took up a heavy stick in his hand, and went to the doorway limping. And in support of their master moved his attendants. These are golden, and in appearance like living young women. There is intelligence in their hearts, and there is speech in them and strength, and from the immortal gods they have learned how to do things. These stirred nimbly in support of their master, and moving near to where Thetis sat in her shining chair, Hephaistos caught her [Thetis] by the hand and called her by name and spoke a word to her : `Why is it, Thetis of the light robes, you have come to our house now? We honour you and love you; but you have not come much before this. Speak forth what is in your mind. My heart is urgent to do it if I can, and if it is a thing that can be accomplished.'
Then in turn Thetis answered him, letting the tears fall : `Hephaistos, is there among all the goddesses on Olympos one who in her heart has endured so many grim sorrows as the griefs Zeus, son of Kronos, has given me beyond others? Of all the other sisters of the sea he gave me to a mortal, to Peleus, Aiakos' son, and I had to endure mortal marriage though much against my will. And now he, broken by mournful old age, lies away in his halls. Yet I have other troubles. For since he has given me a son to bear and to raise up . . . Now I come to your knees; so might you be willing to give me for my short-lived son a shield and a helmet and two beautiful greaves fitted with clasps for the ankles and a corselet. What he had was lost with his steadfast companion [Patroklos] when the Trojans killed him. Now my son lies on the ground, heart sorrowing.'
Hearing her the renowned smith (periklytos) of the strong arms, the lame one (amphigyeeis) answered her : `Do not fear. Let not these things be a thought in you mind. And I wish that I could hide him away from death and its sorrow at that time when his hard fate comes upon him, as surely as there shall be fine armour for him, such as another man out of many men shall wonder at, when he looks on it.’
So he spoke, and left her there, and went to his bellows. He turned these toward the fire and gave them their orders for working. And the bellows, all twenty of them, blew on the crucibles, from all directions blasting forth wind to blow the flames high now as he hurried to be at this place and now at another, wherever Hephaistos might wish them to blow, and the work went forward. He cast on the fire bronze which is weariless, and tin with it and valuable gold, and silver, and thereafter set forth upon its standard the great anvil, and gripped in one hand the ponderous hammer, while in the other he grasped the pincers.
First of all he forged a shield that was huge and heavy, elaborating it about, and threw around it a shining triple rim that glittered, and the shield strap was cast of silver. There were five folds composing the shield itself, and upon it he elaborated many things in his skill and craftsmanship . . . [an elaborate description of the scenes depicted on the shield follows.]
Then after he had wrought this shield, which was huge and heavy, he wrought for him a corselet brighter than fire in its shining, and wrought him a helmet, massive and fitting close to his temples, lovely and intricate work, and laid a gold top-ridge along it, and out of pliable tin wrought him leg-armour. Thereafter when the renowned smith of the strong arms had finished the armour he lifted it and laid it before the mother of Akhilleus. And she like a hawk came sweeping down from the snows of Olympos and carried with her the shining armour, the gift of Hephaistos.
Now Eos (Dawn) the yellow-robed arose from the river Okeanos to carry her light to men and to immortals. And Thetis came to the ships and carried with her the gifts of Hephaistos. She found her beloved son [Akhilleus] lying in the arms of Patroklos crying shrill . . . She clung to her son’s hand and called him by name and spoke to him : `‘My child . . . accept from me the glorious arms of Hephaistos, so splendid, and such as no man has ever worn on his shoulders.’
The goddess spoke so, and set down the armour on the ground before Akhilleus, and all its elaboration clashed loudly. Trembling took hold of all the Myrmidones. None had the courage to look straight at it. They were afraid of it. Only Akhilleus looked, and as he looked the anger came harder upon him and his eyes glittered terribly under his lids, like sunflare. He was glad, holding in his hands the shining gifts of Hephaistos. But when he had satisfied his heart with looking at the intricate armour, he spoke to his mother and addressed her in winged words: ‘My mother, the god has given me these weapons; they are such as are the work of immortals. No mortal man could have made them. Therefore now I shall arm myself in them."

Aeschylus, Bassarae (lost play) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
The subject of this lost play is summarised by Weir Smyth (L.C.L.) : "Thetis, accompanied by her sister Nereïdes, comes from the depths of the sea to enquire the cause of the lamentations of her son. She finds Akhilleus by the dead body of Patroklos and promises to procure from Hephaistos new armour that he may take vengeance on Hector, who has been exulting over the death of Patroklos. The play probably contained a description of Akhilleus’ new armour, his reconciliation with Agamemnon, and his combat with Hektor, whose corpse was dragged in at the close."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 106 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"When Achilles was reconciled to Agamemnon . . . since he was going out against Hector unarmed, Thetis his mother secured armour for him from Vulcanus [Hephaistos], and the Nereides brought it to him over the sea. Wearing this he slew Hector."

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Thetis brings the new armour to Achilles, who mourns his friend Patroclus

..Thetis returns to her son, who still weeps in the arms of the dead Patroclus. She gives him his new armor, and promises, after hearing Achilles' concerns for the body, that she will keep the body as fresh and whole as it was when Patroclus was alive. Achilles goes to summon the Achaeans so he can announce his return to battle. Before the assembly, he curtly expresses sorrow over his rage, which has cost the Achaeans so much. Agamemnon responds with a long, over-elaborate speech, in which he blames god-induced delusion for his past mistakes. He offers Achilles all the gifts offered during the previous embassy. Achilles brushes the offer aside impatiently. He wants to return to battle. Odysseus tells him that first the men must eat and gear up, and he insists that Agamemnon should make assurances to Achilles that he has not lain with Briseis. He also insists that the two men reconcile themselves more fully, and that Achilles should feast with Agamemnon before returning to battle. Agamemnon agrees, and he tells Odysseus to send men to get all of the gifts promised to Achilles.

Achilles keeping Hector's corpse. Tondo from an Attic red-figured cup, ca. 490–480 BC.

That night the Trojans held a council as to what to do. Hector's comrade-in-arms Polydamas suggested that the Trojans waste no time and return to the walls of the city where they would be safer from Achilles' wrath. Hector however, would not listen, thinking the Trojans were still on the cusp of a total victory.

The next day Achilles, killing many, routed the Trojans back to the city. Hector was left alone to face him. Seized by fear, Hector turned to flee, as Achilles gave chase to him three times around the city. Hector then mastered his fear and turned to face Achilles. But Athena, in the disguise of Hector's brother Deiphobus, deluded Hector. He requested from Achilles that his body be returned to Priam for a rightful burial, which Achilles refused. Achilles hurled his spear at Hector, who later dodged it, but Athena brought it back to Achilles' hands without Hector noticing. He later threw a spear at Achilles which hit the shield but to no avail, then, when Hector turned to face his supposed brother to retrieve another spear he saw no one there. At that moment he realized that he was doomed and that the gods were now all in Achilles' favor. But a warrior to the end, Hector decided that he would go down fighting and that men would talk about his bravery in years to come.

Hector then drew his only weapon, his sword, and charged Achilles who recognized the armor that his foe was wearing as his, and knew how to exploit its weakness, there was a chink in the armor at the throat. He plunged his spear which Athena had returned to his hand through the chink and Hector died slowly. As he died Hector begged to Achilles to not desecrate his body and accept the offerings from his parents, but Achilles, in his anger refused and described to Hector what he would do to his dead body. In his last moments of life, Hector promised Achilles that Paris and Apollo would be the ones to avenge his death. After he died, Achilles then slit Hector's heels, and took the girdle that Ajax had given him and passed it through the slits of the heels. He then fastened the girdle to his chariot and drove his fallen enemy through the dust to the Danaan camp. For the next few days Achilles mistreated the body, but it remained preserved from all injury by the gods. King Priam himself soon came to claim the body. Out of respect for Priam, Achilles returned Hector's body. Priam returned to Troy with the body of his son, and it was given full funeral honors. Even Helen mourned Hector, for he had always been kind to her and protected her from spite. The last lines of the Iliad are dedicated to Hector's funeral. Homer concludes by referring to the Trojan prince as the "tamer of horses."

Achilles fighting with Hector, attic vase 490 BC

That night the Trojans held a council as to what to do. Hector's comrade-in-arms Polydamas suggested that the Trojans waste no time and return to the walls of the city where they would be safer from Achilles' wrath. Hector however, would not listen, thinking the Trojans were still on the cusp of a total victory.

The next day Achilles, killing many, routed the Trojans back to the city. Hector was left alone to face him. Seized by fear, Hector turned to flee, as Achilles gave chase to him three times around the city. Hector then mastered his fear and turned to face Achilles. But Athena, in the disguise of Hector's brother Deiphobus, deluded Hector. He requested from Achilles that his body be returned to Priam for a rightful burial, which Achilles refused. Achilles hurled his spear at Hector, who later dodged it, but Athena brought it back to Achilles' hands without Hector noticing. He later threw a spear at Achilles which hit the shield but to no avail, then, when Hector turned to face his supposed brother to retrieve another spear he saw no one there. At that moment he realized that he was doomed and that the gods were now all in Achilles' favor. But a warrior to the end, Hector decided that he would go down fighting and that men would talk about his bravery in years to come.

Hector then drew his only weapon, his sword, and charged Achilles who recognized the armor that his foe was wearing as his, and knew how to exploit its weakness, there was a chink in the armor at the throat. He plunged his spear which Athena had returned to his hand through the chink and Hector died slowly. As he died Hector begged to Achilles to not desecrate his body and accept the offerings from his parents, but Achilles, in his anger refused and described to Hector what he would do to his dead body. In his last moments of life, Hector promised Achilles that Paris and Apollo would be the ones to avenge his death. After he died, Achilles then slit Hector's heels, and took the girdle that Ajax had given him and passed it through the slits of the heels. He then fastened the girdle to his chariot and drove his fallen enemy through the dust to the Danaan camp. For the next few days Achilles mistreated the body, but it remained preserved from all injury by the gods. King Priam himself soon came to claim the body. Out of respect for Priam, Achilles returned Hector's body. Priam returned to Troy with the body of his son, and it was given full funeral honors. Even Helen mourned Hector, for he had always been kind to her and protected her from spite. The last lines of the Iliad are dedicated to Hector's funeral. Homer concludes by referring to the Trojan prince as the "tamer of horses."

Battle of the Ships, between the Greeks and the Trojans.

The Apple of Discord

The Trojan War has its roots in the marriage between Peleus and Thetis, a sea-goddess. Peleus and Thetis had not invited Eris, the goddess of discord, to their marriage and the outraged goddess stormed into the wedding banquet and threw a golden apple onto the table. The apple belonged to, Eris said, whomever was the fairest.

Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite each reached for the apple. Zeus proclaimed that Paris, prince of Troy and thought to be the most beautiful man alive, would act as the judge.

Hermes went to Paris, and Paris agreed to act as the judge. Hera promised him power, Athena promised him wealth, and Aphrodite promised the most beautiful woman in the world.

Paris chose Aphrodite, and she promised him that Helen, wife of Menelaus, would be his wife. Paris then prepared to set off for Sparta to capture Helen. Twin prophets Cassandra and Helenus tried to persuade him against such action, as did his mother, Hecuba. But Paris would not listen and he set off for Sparta.

In Sparta, Menelaus, husband of Helen, treated Paris as a royal guest. However, when Menelaus left Sparta to go to a funeral, Paris abducted Helen (who perhaps went willingly) and also carried off much of Menelaus' wealth.

In Troy, Helen and Paris were married. This occured around 1200 B.C. (Wood, 16).

Greek Armament

Menelaus, however, was outraged to find that Paris had taken Helen. Menelaus then called upon all of Helen's old suitors, as all of the suitors had made an oath long ago that they would all back Helen's husband to defend her honor.

Many of the suitors did not wish to go to war. Odysseus pretended to be insane but this trick was uncovered by Palamedes. Achilles, though not one of the previous suitors, was sought after because the seer Calchas had stated that Troy would not be taken unless Achilles would fight.

One of the most interesting stories is of Cinyras, king of Paphos, in Cyprus, who had been a suitor of Helen. He did not wish to go to war, but promised Agamemnon fifty ships for the Greek fleet. True to his word, Cinyras did send fifty ships. The first ship was commanded by his son. The other forty-nine, however, were toy clay ships, with tiny clay sailors. They dissembled soon after being placed in the ocean (Tripp, 584-584).

The Greek fleet assembled, under Agamemnon's inspection, in Aulis. However, Agamemnon either killed one of Diana's sacred stags or made a careless boast. Either way, Diana was outraged and she calmed the seas so that the fleet could not take off.

The seer Calchas proclaimed that Iphigenia, daughter of Agamemnon, must be sacrificed before the fleet could set sail. This was done, and the Greek ships set off in search of Troy.

Finding Troy

Finding Troy proved difficult, however, and the Greek fleet at first landed in Mysia. According to Herodotus, the Greeks were under the impression that Helen had been taken by the Teuthranians (Teucrians), and though the Teuthranians denied such allegations, the Greeks layed siege to the city (Herodotus, Bk. II.118). The Greeks ultimately prevailed, but suffered heavy casualties at the hands of Telephus, king of the Teuthranians, and, at the end, were still without Helen. Telephus, in the course of the war, was wounded by Achilles.

With no where else to turn, the Greeks returned home.

The Trojan War might not have happened had not Telephus gone to Greece in the hopes of having his wound cured. Telephus had been told by an oracle that only the person who wounded him (in this case, Achilles) could cure him. Achilles assented and Telephus told the Greeks how to get to Troy.

Embassy to Priam

Odysseus, known for his eloquence, and Menelaus were sent as ambassadors to Priam. They demanded Helen and the stolen treasure be returned. Priam refused, and Odysseus and Menelaus returned to the Greek ships with the announcement that war was inevitable.

The War

The first nine years of the war consisted of both war in Troy and war against the neighboring regions. The Greeks realized that Troy was being supplied by its neighboring kingdoms, so Greeks were sent to defeat these areas.

As well as destroying Trojan economy, these battles let the Greeks gather a large amount of resources and other spoils of war, including women (e.g., Briseis, Tecmessa and Chryseis).

The Greeks won many important battles and the Trojan hero Hector fell, as did the Trojan ally Penthesilea. However, the Greeks could not break down the walls of Troy.

Patroclus was killed and, soonafter, Achilles was felled by Paris.

Helenus, son of Priam, had been captured by Odysseus. A prophet, Helenus told the Greeks that Troy would not fall unless:

a) Pyrrhus, Achilles' son, fought in the war,
b) The bow and arrows of Hercules were used by the Greeks against the Trojans,
c) The remains of Pelops, the famous Eleian hero, were brought to Troy, and
d) The Palladium, a statue of Athena, was stolen from Troy (Tripp, 587).

Phoenix persuaded Pyrrhus to join the war. Philoctetes had the bow and arrows of Hercules, but had been left by the Greek fleet in Lemnos because he had been bitten by a snake and his wound had a horrendous smell. Philoctetes was bitter, but was finally persuaded to join the Greeks. The remains of Pelops were gotten, and Odysseus infiltrated Trojan defenses and stole the Palladium.

The Trojan Horse

Still seeking to gain entrance into Troy, clever Odysseus (some say with the aid of Athena) ordered a large wooden horse to be built. Its insides were to be hollow so that soldiers could hide within it.

Once the statue had been built by the artist Epeius, a number of the Greek warriors, along with Odysseus, climbed inside. The rest of the Greek fleet sailed away, so as to deceive the Trojans.

One man, Sinon, was left behind. When the Trojans came to marvel at the huge creation, Sinon pretended to be angry with the Greeks, stating that they had deserted him. He assured the Trojans that the wooden horse was safe and would bring luck to the Trojans.

Only two people, Laocoon and Cassandra, spoke out against the horse, but they were ignored. The Trojans celebrated what they thought was their victory, and dragged the wooden horse into Troy.

That night, after most of Troy was asleep or in a drunken stupor, Sinon let the Greek warriors out from the horse, and they slaughtered the Trojans. Priam was killed as he huddled by Zeus' altar and Cassandra was pulled from the statue of Athena and raped.

After the War

After the war, Polyxena, daughter of Priam, was sacrificed at the tomb of Achilles and Astyanax, son of Hector, was also sacrificed, signifying the end of the war.

Aeneas, a Trojan prince, managed to escape the destruction of Troy, and Virgil's Aeneid tells of his flight from Troy. Many sources say that Aeneas was the only Trojan prince to survive, but this statement contradicts the common story that Andromache was married to Helenus, twin of Cassandra, after the war.

Menelaus, who had been determined to kill his faithless wife, was soon taken by Helen's beauty and seductiveness that he allowed her to live.

The surviving Trojan women were divided among the Greek men along with the other plunder. The Greeks then set sail for home, which, for some, proved as difficult and took as much time as the Trojan War itself (e.g., Odysseus and Menelaus)

 

 

[4]

File:J G Trautmann Das brennende Troja.jpg

The Burning of Troy (1759/62), oil painting by Johann Georg Trautmann

The events of the Trojan War are found in many works of Greek literatureand depicted in numerous works of Greek art. There is no single, authoritative text which tells the entire events of the war. Instead, the story is assembled from a variety of sources, some of which report contradictory versions of the events. The most important literary sources are the two epic poems traditionally credited to Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey, composed sometime between the 9th and 6th centuries BC.[5] Each poem narrates only a part of the war. The Iliad covers a short period in the last year of the siege of Troy, while the Odyssey concerns Odysseus's return to his home island ofIthaca, following the sack of Troy.

Other parts of the Trojan War were told in the poems of the Epic Cycle, also known as the Cyclic Epics: the Cypria, Aethiopis, Little Iliad, Iliou Persis,Nostoi, and Telegony. Though these poems survive only in fragments, their content is known from a summary included in Proclus' Chrestomathy.[6] The authorship of the Cyclic Epics is uncertain. It is generally thought that the poems were written down in the 7th and 6th century BC, after the composition of the Homeric poems, though it is widely believed that they were based on earlier traditions.[7] Both the Homeric epics and the Epic Cycle take origin from oral tradition. Even after the composition of the Iliad, Odyssey, and the Cyclic Epics, the myths of the Trojan War were passed on orally, in many genres of poetry and through non-poetic storytelling. Events and details of the story that are only found in later authors may have been passed on through oral tradition and could be as old as the Homeric poems. Visual art, such as vase-painting, was another medium in which myths of the Trojan War circulated.[8]

In later ages playwrights, historians, and other intellectuals would create works inspired by the Trojan War. The three great tragedians of Athens,Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, wrote many dramas that portray episodes from the Trojan War. Among Roman writers the most important is the 1st century BC poet Virgil. In Book 2 of the Aeneid, Aeneas narrates the sack of Troy; this section of the poem is thought to rely on material from the Cyclic Epic Iliou Persis.

Legend

The following summary of the Trojan War follows the order of events as given in Proclus' summary, along with the Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid, supplemented with details drawn from other authors.

Origins of the war
The plan of Zeus

According to Greek mythology, Zeus had become king of the gods by overthrowing his father Cronus; Cronus in turn had overthrown his fatherUranus. Zeus was not faithful to his wife and sister Hera, and had many relationships from which many children were born. Since Zeus believed that there were too many people populating the earth, he envisioned Momus[9] orThemis,[10] who was to use the Trojan War as a means to depopulate the Earth, especially of his demigod descendants.[11]

The Judgement of Paris

File:Enrique Simonet - El Juicio de Paris - 1904.jpg

The Judgment of Paris (1904) byEnrique Simonet

Main article: Judgement of Paris

Zeus came to learn from either Themis[12] or Prometheus, after Heracles had released him from Caucasus,[13] that, like his father Cronus, one of his sons would overthrow him. Another prophecy stated that a son of the sea-nymphThetis, with whom Zeus fell in love after gazing upon her in the oceans off the Greek coast, would become greater than his father.[14] Possibly for one or both of these reasons,[15] Thetis was betrothed to an elderly human king, Peleus son of Aiakos, either upon Zeus' orders,[16] or because she wished to please Hera, who had raised her.[17]

All of the gods were invited to Peleus and Thetis' wedding and brought many gifts,[18] except Eris (the goddess of discord), who was stopped at the door byHermes, on Zeus' order.[19] Insulted, she threw from the door a gift of her own:[20] a golden apple (το μήλον της έριδος) on which was inscribed the word καλλίστῃ Kallistēi ("To the fairest").[21] The apple was claimed by Hera,Athena, and Aphrodite. They quarreled bitterly over it, and none of the other gods would venture an opinion favoring one, for fear of earning the enmity of the other two. Eventually, Zeus ordered Hermes to lead the three goddesses to Paris, a prince of Troy, who, unaware of his ancestry, was being raised as ashepherd in Mount Ida,[22] because of a prophecy that he would be the downfall of Troy.[23] After bathing in the spring of Ida, the goddesses appeared to him naked, either for the sake of winning or at Paris' request. Paris was unable to decide between them, so the goddesses resorted to bribes. Athena offered Paris wisdom, skill in battle, and the abilities of the greatest warriors; Hera offered him political power and control of all of Asia; and Aphrodite offered him the love of the most beautiful woman in the world,Helen of Sparta. Paris awarded the apple to Aphrodite, and, after several adventures, returned to Troy, where he was recognized by his royal family.

File:Hydria Achilles weapons Louvre E869.jpg

Thetis gives her son Achilles weapons forged by Hephaestus (detail of Atticblack-figure hydria, 575–550 BC)

Peleus and Thetis bore a son, whom they named Achilles. It was foretold that he would either die of old age after an uneventful life, or die young in a battlefield and gain immortality through poetry.[24] Furthermore, when Achilles was nine years old, Calchas had prophesied that Troy could not again fall without his help.[25] A number of sources credit Thetis with attempting to make Achilles immortal when he was an infant. Some of these state that she held him over fire every night to burn away his mortal parts and rubbed him with ambrosia during the day, but Peleus discovered her actions and stopped her.[26] According to some versions of this story, Thetis had already destroyed several sons in this manner, and Peleus' action therefore saved his son's life.[27]Other sources state that Thetis bathed Achilles in the River Styx, the river that runs to the under world, making him invulnerable wherever he had touched the water.[28] Because she had held him by the heel, it was not immersed during the bathing and thus the heel remained mortal and vulnerable to injury (hence the expression "Achilles heel" for an isolated weakness). He grew up to be the greatest of all mortal warriors. After Calchas' prophesy, Thetis hid Achilles in Skyros at the court of king Lycomedes, where he was disguised as a girl.[29] At a crucial point in the war, she assists her son by providing weapons divinely forged by Hephaestus (see below).

Elopement of Paris and Helen

File:Francesco Primaticcio 003.jpg

The Abduction of Helen (1530–39) byFrancesco Primaticcio, with Aphrodite directing

The most beautiful woman in the world was Helen, one of the daughters ofTyndareus, King of Sparta. Her mother was Leda, who had been either raped or seduced by Zeus in the form of a swan.[30] Accounts differ over which of Leda's four children, two pairs of twins, were fathered by Zeus and which by Tyndareus. However, Helen is usually credited as Zeus' daughter,[31] and sometimes Nemesis is credited as her mother.[32] Helen had scores of suitors, and her father was unwilling to choose one for fear the others would retaliate violently.

Finally, one of the suitors, Odysseus of Ithaca, proposed a plan to solve the dilemma. In exchange for Tyndareus' support of his own suit towardsPenelope,[33] he suggested that Tyndareus require all of Helen's suitors to promise that they would defend the marriage of Helen, regardless of whom he chose. The suitors duly swore the required oath on the severed pieces of a horse, although not without a certain amount of grumbling.[34]

Tyndareus chose Menelaus. Menelaus was a political choice on her father's part. He had wealth and power. He had humbly not petitioned for her himself, but instead sent his brother Agamemnon on his behalf. He had promised Aphrodite a hecatomb, a sacrifice of 100 oxen, if he won Helen, but forgot about it and earned her wrath.[35]Menelaus inherited Tyndareus' throne of Sparta with Helen as his queen when her brothers, Castor and Pollux, became gods,[36] and when Agamemnon married Helen's sister Clytemnestra and took back the throne of Mycenae.[37]

Paris, under the guise of a supposed diplomatic mission, went to Sparta to get Helen and bring her back to Troy. Before Helen could look up, to see him enter the palace, she was shot with an arrow from Eros, otherwise known as Cupid, and fell in love with Paris when she saw him, as promised by Aphrodite. Menelaus had left forCrete[38] to bury his uncle, Crateus.[39] Hera, still jealous over his judgement, sent a storm.[38] The storm caused the lovers to land in Egypt, where the gods replaced Helen with a likeness of her made of clouds, Nephele.[40] The myth of Helen being switched is attributed to the 6th century BC Sicilian poet Stesichorus. For Homer the true Helen was in Troy. The ship then landed in Sidon before reaching Troy. Paris, fearful of getting caught, spent some time there and then sailed to Troy.[41]

File:Homeric Greece.svg

Map of Homeric Greece

Paris' abduction of Helen had several precedents. Io was taken from Mycenae,Europa was taken from Phoenicia, Jason took Medea fromColchis,[42] and the Trojan princess Hesione had been taken by Heracles, who gave her toTelamon of Salamis.[43] According toHerodotus, Paris was emboldened by these examples to steal himself a wife from Greece, and expected no retribution, since there had been none in the other cases.[44]

The gathering of Achaean forces and the first expedition

According to Homer, Menelaus and his ally, Odysseus, traveled to Troy, where they unsuccessfully sought to recover Helen by diplomatic means.[45]

Menelaus then asked Agamemnon to uphold his oath. He agreed and sent emissaries to all the Achaean kings and princes to call them to observe their oaths and retrieve Helen.[46]

Odysseus and Achilles

Since Menelaus's wedding, Odysseus had married Penelope and fathered a son, Telemachus. In order to avoid the war, he feigned madness and sowed his fields with salt. Palamedes outwitted him by placing his infant son in front of the plough's path, and Odysseus turned aside, unwilling to kill his son, so revealing his sanity and forcing him to join the war.[38][47]

According to Homer, however, Odysseus supported the military adventure from the beginning, and traveled the region with Pylos' king, Nestor, to recruit forces.[48]

At Skyros, Achilles had an affair with the king's daughter Deidamia, resulting in a child, Neoptolemus.[49] Odysseus, Telamonian Ajax, and Achilles' tutorPhoenix went to retrieve Achilles. Achilles' mother disguised him as a woman so that he would not have to go to war, but, according to one story, they blew a horn, and Achilles revealed himself by seizing a spear to fight intruders, rather than fleeing.[50] According to another story, they disguised themselves as merchants bearing trinkets and weaponry, and Achilles was marked out from the other women for admiring weaponry instead of clothes and jewelry.[51]

Pausanias said that, according to Homer, Achilles did not hide in Skyros, but rather conquered the island, as part of the Trojan War.[52]

File:Bray Achilles discovered by Ulysses.jpg

The Discovery of Achilles among the Daughters of Lycomedes (1664) by Jan de Bray

First gathering at Aulis

The Achean forces first gathered at Aulis. All the suitors sent their forces except King Cinyras of Cyprus. Though he sent breastplates to Agamemnon and promised to send 50 ships, he sent only one real ship, led by the son of Mygdalion, and 49 ships made of clay.[53] Idomeneus was willing to lead the Cretan contingent in Mycenae's war against Troy, but only as a co-commander, which he was granted.[54] The last commander to arrive was Achilles, who was then 15 years old.

Following a sacrifice to Apollo, a snake slithered from the altar to a sparrow's nest in a plane tree nearby. It ate the mother and her nine babies, then was turned to stone. Calchas interpreted this as a sign that Troy would fall in the tenth year of the war.[55]

Telephus

When the Achaeans left for the war, they did not know the way, and accidentally landed in Mysia, ruled by King Telephus, son of Heracles, who had led a contingent ofArcadians to settle there.[56] In the battle, Achilles wounded Telephus,[57] who had killed Thersander.[58] Because the wound would not heal, Telephus asked an oracle, "What will happen to the wound?". The oracle responded, "he that wounded shall heal". The Achaean fleet then set sail and was scattered by a storm. Achilles landed in Scyros and married Deidamia. A new gathering was set again in Aulis.[38]

Telephus went to Aulis, and either pretended to be a beggar, asking Agamemnon to help heal his wound,[59] or kidnapped Orestes and held him for ransom, demanding the wound be healed.[60] Achilles refused, claiming to have no medical knowledge. Odysseus reasoned that the spear that had inflicted the wound must be able to heal it. Pieces of the spear were scraped off onto the wound, and Telephus was healed.[61] Telephus then showed the Achaeans the route to Troy.[59]

Some scholars have regarded the expedition against Telephus and its resolution as a derivative reworking of elements from the main story of the Trojan War, but it has also been seen as fitting the story-pattern of the "preliminary adventure" that anticipates events and themes from the main narrative, and therefore as likely to be "early and integral".[62]

The second gathering

File:Troas.png

Map of the Troad (Troas)

Eight years after the storm had scattered them,[63] the fleet of more than a thousand ships was gathered again. But when they had all reached Aulis, the winds ceased. The prophet Calchas stated that the goddess Artemis was punishing Agamemnon for killing either a sacred deer or a deer in a sacred grove, and boasting that he was a better hunter than she.[38] The only way to appease Artemis, he said, was to sacrifice Iphigenia, who was either the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra,[64] or of Helen and Theseusentrusted to Clytemnestra when Helen married Menelaus.[65] Agamemnon refused, and the other commanders threatened to make Palamedes commander of the expedition.[66] According to some versions, Agamemnon relented, but others claim that he sacrificed a deer in her place, or that at the last moment, Artemis took pity on the girl, and took her to be a maiden in one of her temples, substituting a lamb.[38] Hesiod says that Iphigenia became the goddess Hecate.[67]

The Achaean forces are described in detail in the Catalogue of Ships, in the second book of the Iliad. They consisted of 28 contingents from mainland Greece, thePeloponnese, the Dodecanese islands, Crete, and Ithaca, comprising 1178 pentekontoroi, ships with 50 rowers. Thucydides says[68] that according to tradition there were about 1200 ships, and that the Boeotian ships had 120 men, while Philoctetes' ships only had the fifty rowers, these probably being maximum and minimum. These numbers would mean a total force of 70,000 to 130,000 men. Another catalogue of ships is given by the Bibliotheca that differs somewhat but agrees in numbers. Some scholars have claimed that Homer's catalogue is an original Bronze Age document, possibly the Achaean commander's order of operations.[69][70][71] Others believe it was a fabrication of Homer.

The second book of the Iliad also lists the Trojan allies, consisting of the Trojans themselves, led by Hector, and various allies listed as Dardanians led by Aeneas,Zeleians, Adrasteians, Percotians, Pelasgians, Thracians, Ciconianspearmen, Paionian archers, Halizones, Mysians, Phrygians, Maeonians,Miletians, Lycians led bySarpedon and Carians. Nothing is said of the Trojan language; the Carians are specifically said to be barbarian-speaking, and the allied contingents are said to have spoken multiple languages, requiring orders to be translated by their individual commanders.[72] It should be noted, however, that the Trojans and Achaeans in the Iliad share the same religion, same culture and the enemy heroes speak to each other in the same language, though this could be dramatic effect.

File:Philoktetes Lemnos Met 56.171.58.jpg

Philoctetes on Lemnos, with Heracles' bow and quiver (Attic red-figurelekythos, 420 BCE)

Nine years of war
Philoctetes

Philoctetes was Heracles' friend, and because he lit Heracles's funeral pyre when no one else would, he received Heracles' bow and arrows.[73] He sailed with seven ships full of men to the Trojan War, where he was planning on fighting for the Achaeans. They stopped either at Chryse Island for supplies,[74] or in Tenedos, along with the rest of the fleet.[75] Philoctetes was then bitten by a snake. The wound festered and had a foul smell; on Odysseus's advice, the Atreidae ordered Philoctetes to stay on Lemnos.[38] Medontook control of Philoctetes's men. While landing on Tenedos, Achilles killed kingTenes, son of Apollo, despite a warning by his mother that if he did so he would be killed himself by Apollo.[76] From Tenedos, Agamemnon sent an embassy to Priam, composed of Menelaus, Odysseus, and Palamedes, asking for Helen's return. The embassy was refused.[77]

Philoctetes stayed on Lemnos for ten years, which was a deserted island according to Sophocles' tragedy Philoctetes, but according to earlier tradition was populated byMinyans.[78]

Arrival

Calchas had prophesied that the first Achean to walk on land after stepping off a ship would be the first to die.[79] Thus even the leading Greeks hesitated to land. Finally,Protesilaus, leader of the Phylaceans, landed first.[80] Odysseus had tricked him, in throwing his own shield down to land on, so that while he was first to leap off his ship, he was not the first to land on Trojan soil. Hectorkilled Protesilaus in single combat, though the Trojans conceded the beach. In the second wave of attacks, Achilles killed Cycnus, son of Poseidon. The Trojans then fled to the safety of the walls of their city.[81] Protesilaus had killed many Trojans but was killed by Hector in most versions of the story,[82]though others list Aeneas, Achates, or Ephorbus as his slayer.[83] The Achaeans buried him as a god on the Thracian peninsula, across the Troad.[84] After Protesilaus' death, his brother, Podarces, took command of his troops.

File:Wenceslas Hollar - Briseis and Achilles crop.jpg

Briseis and Achilles in a 17th-century book illustration byWenzel Hollar

Achilles' campaigns

The Achaeans besieged Troy for nine years. This part of the war is the least developed among surviving sources, which prefer to talk about events in the last year of the war. After the initial landing the army was gathered in its entirety again only in the tenth year. Thucydides deduces that this was due to lack of money. They raided the Trojan allies and spent time farming the Thracian peninsula.[85] Troy was never completely besieged, thus it maintained communications with the interior of Asia Minor. Reinforcements continued to come until the very end. The Acheans controlled only the entrance to the Dardanelles, and Troy and her allies controlled the shortest point at Abydos and Sestus and communicated with allies in Europe.[86]

Achilles and Ajax were the most active of the Achaeans, leading separate armies to raid lands of Trojan allies. According to Homer, Achilles conquered 11 cities and 12 islands.[87] According to Apollodorus, he raided the land of Aeneas in the Troad region and stole his cattle.[88] He also captured Lyrnassus, Pedasus, and many of the neighbouring cities, and killed Troilus, son of Priam, who was still a youth; it was said that if he reached 20 years of age, Troy would not fall. According to Apollodorus,

He also took Lesbos and Phocaea, then Colophon, and Smyrna, andClazomenae, and Cyme; and afterwards Aegialus and Tenos, the so-called Hundred Cities; then, in order, Adramytium and Side; then Endium, and Linaeum, and Colone. He took also Hypoplacian Thebes and Lyrnessus, and further Antandrus, and many other cities.[89]

Kakrides comments that the list is wrong in that it extends too far into the south.[90] Other sources talk of Achilles taking Pedasus, Monenia,[91]Mythemna (in Lesbos), andPeisidice.[92]

Among the loot from these cities was Briseis, from Lyrnessus, who was awarded to him, and Chryseis, from Hypoplacian Thebes, who was awarded to Agamemnon.[38] Achilles captured Lycaon, son of Priam,[93] while he was cutting branches in his father's orchards. Patroclus sold him as a slave in Lemnos,[38] where he was bought by Eetion of Imbrosand brought back to Troy. Only 12 days later Achilles slew him, after the death of Patroclus.[94]

File:Achilles Ajax dice Louvre MNB911.jpg

Ajax and Achilles playing a board game (Black-figure Atticlekythos, ca. 500 BC)

Ajax and a game of petteia

Ajax son of Telamon laid waste the Thracian peninsula of which Polymestor, a son-in-law of Priam, was king. Polymestor surrendered Polydorus, one of Priam's children, of whom he had custody. He then attacked the town of thePhrygian king Teleutas, killed him in single combat and carried off his daughter Tecmessa.[95] Ajax also hunted the Trojan flocks, both on Mount Idaand in the countryside.

Numerous paintings on pottery have suggested a tale not mentioned in the literary traditions. At some point in the war Achilles and Ajax were playing aboard game(petteia).[96][97] They were absorbed in the game and oblivious to the surrounding battle.[98] The Trojans attacked and reached the heroes, who were only saved by an intervention of Athena.[99]

The death of Palamedes

Odysseus was sent to Thrace to return with grain, but came back empty-handed. When scorned by Palamedes, Odysseus challenged him to do better. Palamedes set out and returned with a shipload of grain.[100]

Odysseus had never forgiven Palamedes for threatening the life of his son. In revenge, Odysseus conceived a plot[101] where an incriminating letter was forged, from Priam to Palamedes,[102] and gold was planted in Palamedes' quarters. The letter and gold were "discovered", and Agamemnon had Palamedes stoned to death for treason.

However, Pausanias, quoting the Cypria, says that Odysseus and Diomedesdrowned Palamedes, while he was fishing, and Dictys says that Odysseus and Diomedes lured Palamedes into a well, which they said contained gold, then stoned him to death.[103]

Palamedes' father Nauplius sailed to the Troad and asked for justice, but was refused. In revenge, Nauplius traveled among the Achaean kingdoms and told the wives of the kings that they were bringing Trojan concubines to dethrone them. Many of the Greek wives were persuaded to betray their husbands, most significantly Agamemnon's wife,Clytemnestra, who was seduced by Aegisthus, son of Thyestes.[104]

Mutiny

Near the end of the ninth year since the landing, the Achaean army, tired from the fighting and from the lack of supplies, mutinied against their leaders and demanded to return to their homes. According to the Cypria, Achilles forced the army to stay.[38] According to Apollodorus, Agamemnon brought the Wine Growers, daughters of Anius, son of Apollo, who had the gift of producing by touch wine, wheat, and oil from the earth, in order to relieve the supply problem of the army.[105]

The Iliad

File:Chryses Agamemnon Louvre K1.jpg

Chryses pleading with Agamemnon for his daughter (360–350 BC)

Main article: Iliad

Chryses, a priest of Apollo and father of Chryseis, came to Agamemnon to ask for the return of his daughter. Agamemnon refused, and insulted Chryses, who prayed toApollo to avenge his ill-treatment. Enraged, Apollo afflicted the Achaean army with plague. Agamemnon was forced to return Chryseis to end the plague, and took Achilles' concubine Briseis as his own. Enraged at the dishonour Agamemnon had inflicted upon him, Achilles decided he would no longer fight. He asked his mother, Thetis, to intercede with Zeus, who agreed to give the Trojans success in the absence of Achilles, the best warrior of the Achaeans.

After the withdrawal of Achilles, the Achaeans were initially successful. Both armies gathered in full for the first time since the landing. Menelaus and Paris fought a duel, which ended when Aphrodite snatched the beaten Paris from the field. With the truce broken, the armies began fighting again. Diomedeswon great renown amongst the Achaeans, killing the Trojan hero Pandarosand nearly killing Aeneas, who was only saved by his mother, Aphrodite. With the assistance of Athena, Diomedes then wounded the gods Aphrodite andAres. During the next days, however, the Trojans drove the Achaeans back to their camp and were stopped at the Achaean wall by Poseidon. The next day, though, with Zeus' help, the Trojans broke into the Achaean camp and were on the verge of setting fire to the Achaean ships. An earlier appeal to Achilles to return was rejected, but after Hector burned Protesilaus' ship, he allowed his close friend[106] and relative Patroclus to go into battle wearing Achilles' armour and lead his army. Patroclus drove the Trojans all the way back to the walls of Troy, and was only prevented from storming the city by the intervention of Apollo. Patroclus was then killed by Hector, who took Achilles' armour from the body of Patroclus.

File:Triumph of Achilles in Corfu Achilleion.jpg

Triumphant Achilles dragging Hector's body around Troy, from apanoramicfresco of the Achilleion

Achilles, maddened with grief, swore to kill Hector in revenge. He was reconciled with Agamemnon and received Briseis back, untouched by Agamemnon. He received a new set of arms, forged by the god Hephaestus, and returned to the battlefield. He slaughtered many Trojans, and nearly killed Aeneas, who was saved by Poseidon. Achilles fought with the river godScamander, and a battle of the gods followed. The Trojan army returned to the city, except for Hector, who remained outside the walls because he was tricked by Athena. Achilles killed Hector, and afterwards he dragged Hector's body from his chariot and refused to return the body to the Trojans for burial. The Achaeans then conducted funeral games for Patroclus. Afterwards, Priam came to Achilles' tent, guided by Hermes, and asked Achilles to return Hector's body. The armies made a temporary truce to allow the burial of the dead. TheIliad ends with the funeral of Hector.

After the Iliad
Penthesilea and the death of Achilles

File:Akhilleus Penthesileia Staatliche Antikensammlungen 2688.jpg

Achilles killing the Amazon Penthesilea

Shortly after the burial of Hector, Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons, arrived with her warriors.[107] Penthesilea, daughter of Otrere and Ares, had accidentally killed her sister Hippolyte. She was purified from this action by Priam,[108] and in exchange she fought for him and killed many, includingMachaon[109] (according to Pausanias, Machaon was killed by Eurypylus),[110] and according to another version, Achilles himself, who was resurrected at the request of Thetis.[111] Penthesilia was then killed by Achilles[112] who fell in love with her beauty after her death. Thersites, a simple soldier and the ugliest Achaean, taunted Achilles over his love[109] and gouged out Penthesilea's eyes.[113] Achilles slew Thersites, and after a dispute sailed to Lesbos, where he was purified for his murder by Odysseus after sacrificing to Apollo, Artemis, and Leto.[112]

While they were away, Memnon of Ethiopia, son of Tithonus and Eos,[114]came with his host to help his stepbrother Priam.[115] He did not come directly from Ethiopia, but either from Susa in Persia, conquering all the peoples in between,[116] or from the Caucasus, leading an army of Ethiopians and Indians.[117] Like Achilles, he wore armour made by Hephaestus.[118] In the ensuing battle, Memnon killed Antilochus, who took one of Memnon's blows to save his father Nestor.[119] Achilles and Memnon then fought. Zeus weighed the fate of the two heroes; the weight containing that of Memnon sank,[120]and he was slain by Achilles.[112][121] Achilles chased the Trojans to their city, which he entered. The gods, seeing that he had killed too many of their children, decided that it was his time to die. He was killed after Paris shot a poisoned arrow that was guided by Apollo.[112][114][122] In another version he was killed by a knife to the back (or heel) by Paris, while marrying Polyxena, daughter of Priam, in the temple of Thymbraean Apollo,[123] the site where he had earlier killed Troilus. Both versions conspicuously deny the killer any sort of valour, saying Achilles remained undefeated on the battlefield. His bones were mingled with those of Patroclus, and funeral games were held.[124] Like Ajax, he is represented as living after his death in the island of Leuke, at the mouth of theDanube River,[125] where he is married to Helen.[126]

The Judgment of Arms

File:Ajax suicide BM F480.jpg

The suicide of Ajax (from a calyx-krater, 400–350 BC, Vulci)

A great battle raged around the dead Achilles. Ajax held back the Trojans, while Odysseus carried the body away.[127] When Achilles' armour was offered to the smartest warrior, the two that had saved his body came forward as competitors. Agamemnon, unwilling to undertake the invidious duty of deciding between the two competitors, referred the dispute to the decision of the Trojan prisoners, inquiring of them which of the two heroes had done most harm to the Trojans.[128] Alternatively, the Trojans and Pallas Athena were the judges[129][130] in that, following Nestor's advice, spies were sent to the walls to overhear what was said. A girl said that Ajax was braver:

For Aias took up and carried out of the strife the hero, Peleus'
son: this great Odysseus cared not to do.
To this another replied by Athena's contrivance:
Why, what is this you say? A thing against reason and untrue!
Even a woman could carry a load once a man had put it on her
shoulder; but she could not fight. For she would fail with fear
if she should fight. (Scholiast on Aristophanes, Knights 1056 and Aristophanes ib)

According to Pindar, the decision was made by secret ballot among the Acheans.[131] In all story versions, the arms were awarded to Odysseus. Driven mad with grief, Ajax desired to kill his comrades, but Athena caused him to mistake the cattle and their herdsmen for the Achean warriors.[132] In his frenzy he scourged two rams, believing them to be Agamemnon and Menelaus.[133] In the morning, he came to his senses and killed himself by jumping on the sword that had been given to him by Hector, so that it pierced his armpit, his only vulnerable part.[134] According to an older tradition, he was killed by the Trojans who, seeing he was invulnerable, attacked him with clay until he was covered by it and could no longer move, thus dying of starvation.

The prophecies

After the tenth year, it was prophesied[135] that Troy could not fall without Heracles' bow, which was with Philoctetes in Lemnos. Odysseus and Diomedes[136] retrieved Philoctetes, whose wound had healed.[137] Philoctetes then shot and killed Paris.

According to Apollodorus, Paris' brothers Helenus and Deiphobus vied over the hand of Helen. Deiphobus prevailed, and Helenus abandoned Troy for Mt. Ida. Calchas said that Helenus knew the prophecies concerning the fall of Troy, so Odysseus waylaid Helenus.[130][138] Under coercion, Helenus told the Acheans that they would win if they retrieved Pelops' bones, persuaded Achilles' son Neoptolemus to fight for them, and stole the Trojan Palladium.[139]

The Greeks retrieved Pelop's bones,[140] and sent Odysseus to retrieve Neoptolemus, who was hiding from the war in King Lycomedes's court inScyros. Odysseus gave him his father's arms.[130][141]Eurypylus, son ofTelephus, leading, according to Homer, a large force of Kêteioi,[142] or Hittitesor Mysians according to Apollodorus,[143] arrived to aid the Trojans. He killedMachaon[110] and Peneleos,[144] but was slain by Neoptolemus.

Disguised as a beggar, Odysseus went to spy inside Troy, but was recognized by Helen. Homesick,[145] Helen plotted with Odysseus. Later, with Helen's help, Odysseus and Diomedes stole the Palladium.[130][146]

File:Mykonos vase.jpg

The earliest known depiction of the Trojan Horse, from the Mykonos vaseca.670 BC

Trojan Horse

Main article: Trojan Horse

The end of the war came with one final plan. Odysseus devised a new ruse—a giant hollow wooden horse, an animal that was sacred to the Trojans. It was built byEpeius and guided by Athena,[147] from the wood of a cornel treegrove sacred to Apollo,[148] with the inscription:

The Greeks dedicate this thank-offering to Athena for their return home.[149]

The hollow horse was filled with soldiers[150] led by Odysseus. The rest of the army burned the camp and sailed for Tenedos.[151]

When the Trojans discovered that the Greeks were gone, believing the war was over, they "joyfully dragged the horse inside the city",[152] while they debated what to do with it. Some thought they ought to hurl it down from the rocks, others thought they should burn it, while others said they ought to dedicate it to Athena.[153][154]

Both Cassandra and Laocoön warned against keeping the horse.[155] While Cassandra had been given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, she was also cursed by Apollo never to be believed. Serpents then came out of the sea and devoured either Laocoön and one of his two sons,[153] Laocoön and both his sons,[156] or only his sons,[157] a portent which so alarmed the followers of Aeneas that they withdrew to Ida.[153] The Trojans decided to keep the horse and turned to a night of mad revelry and celebration.[130] Sinon, an Achaean spy, signaled the fleet stationed at Tenedos when "it was midnight and the clear moon was rising"[158] and the soldiers from inside the horse emerged and killed the guards.[159]

The Sack of Troy

File:Amphora death Priam Louvre F222.jpg

Neoptolemus, son of Achilles, kills King Priam (detail of Attic black-figureamphora, 520–510 BC)

The Acheans entered the city and killed the sleeping population. A great massacre followed which continued into the day.

Blood ran in torrents, drenched was all the earth,
As Trojans and their alien helpers died.
Here were men lying quelled by bitter death
All up and down the city in their blood.[160]

The Trojans, fuelled with desperation, fought back fiercely, despite being disorganized and leaderless. With the fighting at its height, some donned fallen enemies' attire and launched surprise counterattacks in the chaotic street fighting. Other defenders hurled down roof tiles and anything else heavy down on the rampaging attackers. The outlook was grim though, and eventually the remaining defenders were destroyed along with the whole city.

Neoptolemus killed Priam, who had taken refuge at the altar of Zeus of the Courtyard.[153][161] Menelaus killed Deiphobus, Helen's husband after Paris' death, and also intended to kill Helen, but, overcome by her beauty, threw down his sword[162] and took her to the ships.[153][163]

Ajax the Lesser raped Cassandra on Athena's altar while she was clinging to her statue. Because of Ajax's impiety, the Acheaens, urged by Odysseus, wanted to stone him to death, but he fled to Athena's altar, and was spared.[153][164]

Antenor, who had given hospitality to Menelaus and Odysseus when they asked for the return of Helen, and who had advocated so, was spared, along with his family.[165]Aeneas took his father on his back and fled, and, according to Apollodorus, was allowed to go because of his piety.[161]

The Greeks then burned the city and divided the spoils. Cassandra was awarded to Agamemnon. Neoptolemus got Andromache, wife of Hector, and Odysseus was given Hecuba, Priam's wife.[166]

The Achaeans[167] threw Hector's infant son Astyanax down from the walls of Troy,[168] either out of cruelty and hate[169] or to end the royal line, and the possibility of a son's revenge.[170] They (by usual tradition Neoptolemus) also sacrificed the Trojan princess Polyxena on the grave of Achilles as demanded by his ghost, either as part of his spoil or because she had betrayed him.[171]

Aethra, Theseus' mother, and one of Helen's handmaids,[172] was rescued by her grandsons, Demophon and Acamas.[153][173]

The returns

Main article: Returns from Troy

The gods were very angry over the destruction of their temples and other sacrilegious acts by the Acheans, and decided that most would not return home. A storm fell on the returning fleet off Tenos island. Additionally, Nauplius, in revenge for the murder of his son Palamedes, set up false lights in Cape Caphereus (also known today as Cavo D'Oro, in Euboea) and many were shipwrecked.[174]

  • Nestor, who had the best conduct in Troy and did not take part in the looting, was the only hero who had a fast and safe return.[175] Those of his army that survived the war also reached home with him safely, but later left and colonised Metapontium in Southern Italy.[176]

File:Poseidon and Ajax.png

Poseidon smites Ajax the Lesser, byBonaventura Genelli (1798–1868)

  • Ajax the Lesser, who had endured more than the others the wrath of the Gods, never returned. His ship was wrecked by a storm sent by Athena, who borrowed one of Zeus' thunderbolts and tore it to pieces. The crew managed to land in a rock, but Poseidon struck it, and Ajax fell in the sea and drowned. He was buried by Thetis inMyconos[177] orDelos.[178]
  • Teucer, son of Telamon and half-brother of Ajax, stood trial by his father for his half-brother's death. He was disowned by his father and wasn't allowed back on Salamis Island. He was at sea near Phreattys inPeiraeus.[179] He was acquitted of responsibility but found guilty of negligence because he did not return his dead body or his arms. He left with his army (who took their wives) and founded Salamis in Cyprus.[180] The Athenians later created a political myth that his son left his kingdom to Theseus' sons (and not to Megara).
  • Neoptolemus, following the advice of Helenus, who accompanied him when he traveled over land, was always accompanied by Andromache. He met Odysseus and they buried Phoenix, Achilles' teacher, on the land of the Ciconians. They then conquered the land of the Molossians(Epirus) and Neoptolemus had a child by Andromache, Molossus, to whom he later gave the throne.[181] Thus the kings of Epirus claimed their lineage from Achilles, and so did Alexander the Great, whose mother was of that royal house. Alexander the Great and the kings ofMacedon also claimed to be descended from Heracles. Helenus founded a city in Molossia and inhabited it, and Neoptolemus gave him his mother Deidamia as wife. After Peleus died he succeeded Phtia's throne.[182] He had a feud with Orestes (son of Agamemnon) over Menelaus' daughterHermione, and was killed in Delphi, where he was buried.[183]In Roman myths, the kingdom of Phtia was taken over by Helenus, who married Andromache. They offered hospitality to other Trojan refugees, including Aeneas, who paid a visit there during his wanderings.
  • Diomedes was first thrown by a storm on the coast of Lycia, where he was to be sacrificed to Ares by king Lycus, but Callirrhoe, the king's daughter, took pity upon him, and assisted him in escaping.[184] He then accidentally landed in Attica, in Phaleron. The Athenians, unaware that they were allies, attacked them. Many were killed, and Demophon took the Palladium.[185] He finally landed in Argos, where he found his wife Aegialeia committing adultery. In disgust, he left for Aetolia.[186]According to later traditions, he had some adventures and foundedCanusium and Argyrippa in Southern Italy.[187]
  • Philoctetes, due to a sedition, was driven from his city and emigrated to Italy, where he founded the cities of Petilia, Old Crimissa, and Chone, between Croton and Thurii.[188] After making war on the Leucanians he founded there a sanctuary of Apollo the Wanderer, to whom also he dedicated his bow.[189]
  • According to Homer, Idomeneus reached his house safe and sound.[190]Another tradition later formed. After the war, Idomeneus's ship hit a horrible storm. Idomeneus promised Poseidon that he would sacrifice the first living thing he saw when he returned home if Poseidon would save his ship and crew. The first living thing he saw was his son, whom Idomeneus duly sacrificed. The gods were angry at his murder of his own son and they sent a plague to Crete. His people sent him into exile to Calabria in Italy,[191] and then to Colophon, in Asia Minor, where he died.[192] Among the lesser Achaeans very few reached their homes.
House of Atreus

File:The Murder Of Agamemnon - Project Gutenberg eText 14994.png

The murder of Agamemnon (1879 illustration from Alfred Church's Stories from the Greek Tragedians)

According to the Odyssey, Menelaus's fleet was blown by storms to Crete andEgypt, where they were unable to sail away due to calm winds.[193] Only five of his ships survived.[175] Menelaus had to catch Proteus, a shape-shifting sea god, to find out what sacrifices to which gods he would have to make to guarantee safe passage.[194]According to some stories the Helen who was taken by Paris was a fake, and the real Helen was in Egypt, where she was reunited with Menelaus. Proteus also told Menelaus that he was destined for Elysium(Heaven) after his death. Menelaus returned to Sparta with Helen eight years after he had left Troy.[195]

Agamemnon returned home with Cassandra to Argos. His wife Clytemnestra(Helen's sister) was having an affair with Aegisthus, son of Thyestes, Agamemnon's cousin who had conquered Argos before Agamemnon himself retook it. Possibly out of vengeance for the death of Iphigenia, Clytemnestra plotted with her lover to kill Agamemnon. Cassandra foresaw this murder, and warned Agamemnon, but he disregarded her. He was killed, either at a feast or in his bath,[196] according to different versions. Cassandra was also killed.[197] Agamemnon's son Orestes, who had been away, returned and conspired with his sister Electra to avenge their father.[198] He killedClytemnestra and Aegisthus and succeeded to his father's throne.[199][200]

The Odyssey

Main article: Odyssey

Odysseus' ten year journey home to Ithaca was told in Homer's Odyssey. Odysseus and his men were blown far off course to lands unknown to the Achaeans; there Odysseus had many adventures, including the famous encounter with the Cyclops Polyphemus, and an audience with the seerTeiresias in Hades. On the island of Thrinacia, Odysseus' men ate the cattle sacred to the sun-god Helios. For this sacrilege Odysseus' ships were destroyed, and all his men perished. Odysseus had not eaten the cattle, and was allowed to live; he washed ashore on the island of Ogygia, and lived there with the nymphCalypso. After seven years, the gods decided to send Odysseus home; on a small raft, he sailed to Scheria, the home of the Phaeacians, who gave him passage to Ithaca.

File:Arnold Böcklin - Odysseus and Polyphemus.jpg

Odysseus and Polyphemus by Arnold Böcklin: the Cyclops' curse delays the homecoming of Odysseus for another ten years

Once in his home land, Odysseus traveled disguised as an old beggar. He was recognised by his dog, Argos, who died in his lap. He then discovered that his wife,Penelope, had been faithful to him during the 20 years he was absent, despite the countless suitors that were eating his food and spending his property. With the help of his son Telemachus, Athena, and Eumaeus, the swineherd, he killed all of them except Medon, who had been polite to Penelope, and Phemius, a local singer who had only been forced to help the suitors against Penelope. Penelope tested Odysseus and made sure it was him, and he forgave her. The next day the suitors' relatives tried to take revenge on him but they were stopped by Athena.

The Telegony

Main article: Telegony

The Telegony picks up where the Odyssey leaves off, beginning with the burial of the dead suitors, and continues until the death of Odysseus.[201] Some years after Odysseus' return, Telegonus, the son of Odysseus and Circe, came to Ithaca and plundered the island. Odysseus, attempting to fight off the attack, was killed by his unrecognized son. After Telegonus realized he had killed his father, he brought the body to his mother Circe, along with Telemachus and Penelope. Circe made them immortal; then Telegonus married Penelope and Telemachus married Circe.

The Aeneid

File:Aeneas' Flight from Troy by Federico Barocci.jpg

Aeneas Flees Burning Troy (1598) byFederico Barocci

Main article: The Aeneid

The journey of the Trojan survivor Aeneas and his resettling of Trojan refugees in Italy are the subject of the Latin epic poem The Aeneid by Virgil. Writing during the time of Augustus, Virgil has his hero give a first-person account of the fall of Troy in the second of the Aeneid 's twelve books; the Trojan Horse, which does not appear in "The Iliad", became legendary from Virgil's account.

Aeneas leads a group of survivors away from the city, among them his sonAscanius (also known as Iulus), his trumpeter Misenus, father Anchises, the healer Iapyx, his faithful sidekick Achates, and Mimas as a guide. His wifeCreusa is killed during the sack of the city. Aeneas also carries the Lares andPenates of Troy, which the historical Romans claimed to preserve as guarantees of Rome's own security.

The Trojan survivors escape with a number of ships, seeking to establish a new homeland elsewhere. They land in several nearby countries that prove inhospitable, and are finally told by an oracle that they must return to the land of their forebears. They first try to establish themselves in Crete, whereDardanus had once settled, but find it ravaged by the same plague that had driven Idomeneus away. They find the colony led by Helenus and Andromache, but decline to remain. After seven years they arrive inCarthage, where Aeneas has an affair with Queen Dido. (Since according to tradition Carthage was founded in 814 BC, the arrival of Trojan refugees a few hundred years earlier exposes chronological difficulties within the mythic tradition.) Eventually the gods order Aeneas to continue onward, and he and his people arrive at the mouth of the Tiber River in Italy. Dido commits suicide, and Aeneas's betrayal of her was regarded as an element in the long enmity between Rome and Carthage that expressed itself in the Punic Warsand led to Roman hegemony.

At Cumae, the Sibyl leads Aeneas on an archetypal descent to the underworld, where the shade of his dead father serves as a guide; this book of the Aeneiddirectly influenced Dante, who has Virgil act as his narrator's guide. Aeneas is given a vision of the future majesty of Rome, which it was his duty to found, and returns to the world of the living. He negotiates a settlement with the local king, Latinus, and was wed to his daughter, Lavinia. This triggered a war with other local tribes, which culminated in the founding of the settlement of Alba Longa, ruled by Aeneas and Lavinia's son Silvius. Roman myth attempted to reconcile two different founding myths: three hundred years later, in the more famous tradition, Romulus and Remus founded Rome. The Trojan origins of Rome became particularly important in the propaganda of Julius Caesar, whose family claimed descent from Venus through Aeneas's son Iulus (hence the Latin gens name Iulius), and during the reign of Augustus; see for instance the Tabulae Iliacae and the "Troy Game" presented frequently by the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

Dates of the Trojan War

Since this war was considered among the ancient Greeks as either the last event of the mythical age or the first event of the historical age, several dates are given for the fall of Troy. They usually derive from genealogies of kings.Ephorus gives 1135 BC,[202] Sosibius 1172 BC,[203] Eratosthenes 1184 BC/1183 BC,[204] Timaeus 1193 BC,[205] the Parian marble 1209 BC/1208 BC,[206] Dicaearchus 1212 BC,[207]Herodotus around 1250 BC,[208] Eretes1291 BC,[209] while Douris 1334 BC.[210] As for the exact day Ephorus gives 23/24 Thargelion (May 6 or 7), Hellanicus 12 Thargelion (May 26)[211] while others give the 23rd of Sciroforion (July 7) or the 23rd of Ponamos (October 7).

The glorious and rich city Homer describes was believed to be Troy VI by many twentieth century authors, destroyed in 1275 BC, probably by an earthquake. Its follower Troy VIIa, destroyed by fire at some point during the 1180s BC, was long considered a poorer city, but since the excavation campaign of 1988 it has risen to the most likely candidate.

 

Historical basis

Historicity of the Iliad

The historicity of the Trojan War is still subject to debate. Most classical Greeks thought that the war was an historical event, but many believed that the Homeric poems had exaggerated the events to suit the demands of poetry. For instance, the historian Thucydides, who is known for being critical, considers it a true event but doubts that 1,186 ships were sent to Troy.Euripides started changing Greek myths at will, including those of the Trojan War. Near year 100, Dio Chrysostom argued that while the war was historical, it ended with the Trojans winning, and the Greeks attempted to hide that fact.[212] Around 1870 it was generally agreed in Western Europe that the Trojan War never had happened and Troy never existed.[213] Then Heinrich Schliemann popularized his excavations at Hissarlik, which he and others believed to be Troy, and of the Mycenaean cities of Greece. Today many scholars agree that the Trojan War is based on a historical core of a Greek expedition against the city of Illium, but few would argue that the Homeric poems faithfully represent the actual events of the war.

In November 2001, geologists John C. Kraft from the University of Delawareand John V. Luce from Trinity College, Dublin presented the results[214][215][216] of investigations into the geology of the region that had started in 1977. The geologists compared the present geology with the landscapes and coastal features described in the Iliad and other classical sources, notably Strabo'sGeographia. Their conclusion was that there is regularly a consistency between the location of Troy as identified by Schliemann (and other locations such as the Greek camp), the geological evidence, and descriptions of the topographyand accounts of the battle in the Iliad.

In the twentieth century scholars have attempted to draw conclusions based onHittite and Egyptian texts that date to the time of the Trojan War. While they give a general description of the political situation in the region at the time, their information on whether this particular conflict took place is limited. Andrew Dalby notes that while the Trojan War most likely did take place in some form and is therefore grounded in history, its true nature is and will be unknown.[217] Hittite archives, like the Tawagalawa letter mention of a kingdom of Ahhiyawa (Achaea, or Greece) that lies beyond the sea (that would be the Aegean) and controls Milliwanda, which is identified with Miletus. Also mentioned in this and other letters is the Assuwa confederation made of 22 cities and countries which included the city of Wilusa (Ilios or Ilium). TheMilawata letter implies this city lies on the north of the Assuwa confederation, beyond the Seha river. While the identification of Wilusa with Ilium (that is, Troy) is always controversial, in the 1990s it gained majority acceptance. In the Alaksandu treaty (ca. 1280 BC) the king of the city is named Alakasandu, andParis's name in the Iliad (among other works) is Alexander. The Tawagalawa letter (dated ca. 1250 BC) which is addressed to the king of Ahhiyawa actually says:

Now as we have come to an agreement on Wilusa over which we went to war...

Formerly under the Hittites, the Assuwa confederation defected after the battle of Kadesh between Egypt and the Hittites (ca. 1274 BC). In 1230 BC Hittite king Tudhaliya IV (ca. 1240–1210 BC) campaigned against this federation. Under Arnuwanda III (ca. 1210–1205 BC) the Hittites were forced to abandon the lands they controlled in the coast of the Aegean. It is possible that the Trojan War was a conflict between the king of Ahhiyawa and the Assuwa confederation. This view has been supported in that the entire war includes the landing in Mysia (and Telephus' wounding), Achilles's campaigns in the North Aegean andTelamonian Ajax's campaigns in Thrace and Phrygia. Most of these regions were part of Assuwa.[70][218] It has also been noted that there is great similarity between the names of the Sea Peoples, which at that time were raiding Egypt, as they are listed by Ramesses III and Merneptah, and of the allies of the Trojans.[219]

That most Achean heroes did not return to their homes and founded colonies elsewhere was interpreted by Thucydides as being due to their long absence.[220] Nowadays the interpretation followed by most scholars is that the Achean leaders driven out of their lands by the turmoil at the end of the Mycenean era preferred to claim descendance from exiles of the Trojan War

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