The Trojan War
Our Senior Class is currently investigating the accuracy of The Trojan War. As a start, we have become familiar with the Iliad, and, in groups, have written summeries of the text.
Please tell us whether our accounts are accurate.
What was the catalyst for the Trojan War?
The sea nymph, Thetis is told by Zeus to marry Peleus as he cannot be with her and their child. At the wedding banquet, all had been invited except the Goddess of Discord, Eris. As a result, she had prepared a golden apple with a message inscribed “For the Fairest” and when she appeared at the wedding banquet, she rolled the golden apple across the floor. Aphrodite, Hera and Athena all reached for the apple and started a quarrel. It was decided by Zeus that the fairest goddess would be decided by a mortal man. Paris, a young sheppard boy (not known to Hermes as the Prince of Troy) and it was decided that he should be the judge.
Each Goddess offered a prize to Paris. Athena promised him invincibility in battle and powerful armies. Hera promised him unimaginable wealth and to rule over all of Asia and Europe. Aphrodite offered him the most beautiful woman in the world. Paris chose Aphrodite and her prize, the most beautiful woman in the world.
Paris is soon reunited and travels with his parents to Athens as Ambassador of Troy and is no longer banished. He then meets within the Greek Kingdom of Sparta, King Menelaus and his stunningly beautiful wife, Helen. Both Paris and Helen fall in love with each other when Menelaus was absent for a funeral and while he was gone, abducted Helen and much of his wealth. This was what started the whole Trojan War.
By Renee, Miles and Kai
A brief summary of Homer’s Iliad
The Trojan War is most likely to have taken place during the 13th century BC.
Menelaus was outraged that his wife had been taken and called forth all of Helen’s old suitors. He asked them to come forth and help him regain his honour by retrieving her and killing the person who took her. This meant that the Greeks would have to go to war against the Trojans. Many of the suitors did not want to go to war. One of the suitors, who did not wish to go to war, promised Agamemnon fifty ships for the Greek fleet: 49 of which were made of clay and fell apart when taken out to sea.
Although Achilles was not one of the original suitors, he was called forth to help win the war. The Greek ships set off in search of Troy which proved more difficult then was first expected. According to Herodotus, the Greeks landed first in Mysia, being under the impression that Helen had been taken by the Teuthranians. The Teuthranians denied this allegation, so the Greeks destroyed the city. It was said that Telephus the king of the Teuthranians was wounded by Achilles. When the Greeks returned to Greece, Telephus was told by an Oracle that the only way to cure his wound was to go to the person who had inflicted it (in this case Achilles). Achilles accepted Telephus’s request for help, in return he told them how to get to Troy.
Odysseus and Menelaus were sent as ambassadors to Priam. They demanded Helen and the stolen treasure to be returned. Priam refused and war was declared. The first nine years of the war were not only fought against Troy but against the neighbouring regions as well. The Greeks realized that Troy was being supplied by its neighbours, so the Greeks sent troops to destroy them.
The Greeks won many important battles, with the Trojan hero Hector being killed as well as the Trojan ally Penthesilea. Although they could still not break down the walls of Troy they had managed to destroy most of the Trojan economy and collected a large amount of resources and other spoils.
Seeing as the Greeks could still not get behind the walls of Troy, Odysseus thought of a plan. A wooden horse was built with its insides hollowed. The Greek warriors and Odysseus were to climb inside and surprise the Trojans, killing them in their sleep. The rest of the Greeks fleet sailed away, to make them believe that the Trojans had victory, only one whose name was Sinon was left behind with the horse. He was left at the walls and pretended to be angry at the Greeks. He stated that he had been deserted by the Greeks and that the horse would bring the Trojans luck.
The Trojans dragged the horse into Troy. Believing they were victorious, they drunkenly celebrated long into the night. After they were asleep or unconscious, the Greek warriors were let out of the horse by Sinon. They slaughtered the Trojans and ransacked Troy itself.
After the war any surviving Trojan women were divided amongst the Greeks and they set sail for home.
Yet after all this Menelaus who swore he would kill his unfaithful wife, was seduced by her and he allowed Helena to live.
By Ross, Mieke and Samantha