After the death of Hector, who was the pillar of Troy, allies came to help the
beleaguered city. Among these were the AMAZONS, then led by Queen
Penthesilia, who is credited with the deaths of many Achaeans. However, she
met Achilles, and he slew her. But when he saw her dead in all her loveliness,
he felt remorse for having slain a thing so sweet. For Penthesilia, they say,
looked like an immortal, and in her death she seemed to sleep. This is why
Achilles' heart grew wrung, contemplating her who was a wonder of beauty
even in death.
And as he gazed on her with broken down heart, Thersites brought him to
earth: “Achilles! Are you not ashamed to let some evil power beguile your
heart to pity of a pitiful Amazon, whose furious spirit purposed nothing else
but ill to us and ours? Ha, you are woman-mad, and your soul lusts for this
thing, as she were some lady wise in household ways ... Good had it been had
her spear reached your heart ... Sorry wretch, where is now all your goodly
prowess? Where your wit? ... Nothing there is to men more ruinous than lust
for woman-s beauty; it makes fools of wise men ..." [Thersites to Achilles.
Quintus Smyrnaeus, The Fall of Troy 1.723]
This was the last jest of Thersites, whose mind, they say, was full of a great
store of disorderly words. For wrath took the heart of Achilles, who, with a
sudden buffet, dashed all of Thersites' teeth to the earth, making him fall
dead upon his face, while his blood gushed in a torrent.
The Trojans received new reinforcement from
the Ethiopians. They were led by a prince named
Memnon, son of Tithonus and Eos, the goddess
of dawn. Memnon killed many Greeks, causing
the Achaeans to retreat.
In the confusion of the retreat, the aged Nestor was
surrounded by enemies, among them was Memnon.
Antilochus tried to save his father, but he was killed.
Nestor was grief-stricken over his son's death, and tried
to confront the Ethiopian prince. Memnon, however, saw
no honour in such combat against an old man, so he
refused to fight with Nestor. Nestor lamented that he no
longer has the strength of his youth.
Nestor called upon Achilles to avenge Antiochus. Thetis,
gifted with the oracle, had warned her son that he would
die not long after Memnon. Heedless of his mother's
warning Achilles killed Memnon, thereby avenging
Memnon killed Antilochus, one of
wanted to fight Memnon
to avenge his son’s death.
Memnon refused to fight
the old man.
With Memnon's death, the Trojans lost
heart, and fled back towards the city's
walls, with Achilles in close pursuit. Achilles
was at the Scaean Gate, when an arrow
from Paris, guided by the archer god
Apollo, pierced his heel.
At the beginning of the Trojan war Achilles killed Cygnus, the son of Poseidon.
At the end of the war, Poseidon stilled grieved for the death of his dear son
and hated Achilles with passion for what he had done. In the tenth year of
the war, Poseidon sought Apollo:
“Dearest to me of all my brother's sons,
Who helped me, and for nothing, build the walls
Of Troy, is it not pitiful to see
These walls about to topple? Is it not
Pitiful that so many thousands perished
Defending them, the nameless dead, and Hector
Dragged in the dirt around the town? Achilles,
Fiercer and bloodier than the war itself,
Destroyer of our workmanship, lives on,
Keeps out of my reach, or I would make him feel
The power of my trident. You can find him
Better than I can, with invisible arrow:
Bring him to sudden death!” Metamorphoses 12.
Apollo agreed to help the heart-broken God of the Sea avenge the death of
his son Cygnus, and found Paris fighting in the midst of the Trojan lines and
presented himself to Paris:
“Why do you waste your arrows on insignificant
Targets? Serve your people better. Take revenge
On your Slaughtered brothers. Kill Achilles!” Metamorphoses 12.
There is another variation as to how Achilles
died. Achilles had seen Polyxena, daughter of
Priam and Hecuba. Achilles fell in love with her.
Achilles secretly went to her home to ask for her
hand in marriage. Polyxena's brothers, Paris and
Deíphobus, awaiting his arrival, ambushed and
The body of Achilles so treacherously slain
was rescued by Ajax and Ulysses.
When the funeral was held in
the Greek camp, Thetis came
with her sisters, the Nereids,
mourning over the death of
her son. A funeral pyre was lit,
cremating his body. His ashes
were placed in the same urn
as that of his beloved friend,
Patroclus. Arrangements were
made for the funeral games.
the Greeks to
son's armor on
that hero who
of all survivors
deserving of it.
Ajax and Ulysses were the only claimants. A select number of
the other chiefs were appointed to award the prize.
Ajax gave a convincing argument:
"Shall Odysseus appear the better man who came last
to arms and by feigned madness shirked the war, till
one more shrewd than he ... the son of Nauplius
[Palamedes], uncovered this timid fellow's trick and
dragged him forth to the arms that he shunned ? Shall
he take the best because he wanted to take none ? And
shall I go unhonoured ... just because I was the first to
front the danger ?" [Ajax 1. Ovid, Metamorphoses
By the will of Minerva it was awarded to
Ulysses, -- wisdom being thus rated above
Furious with the decisions of the judges, Ajax
decided to kill Odysseus that night. His plan was
thwarted, when he was driven mad by Athena,
Odysseus' protector. Ajax started killing herd of
sheep, imagining that he was killing the Greek
leaders who awarded the armor to Odysseus.
Ajax slaughtered a large ram, thinking that it was
Odysseus. Returning to sanity, Ajax was
mortified by what he done, and in his despair,
Ajax killed himself with the sword that Hector
had given him.
Ajax, enraged, set forth from
his tent to wreak vengeance
upon the Atreidae and
Ulysses. But the goddess
robbed him of reason and
turned his hand against the
flocks and herds of the
Argives, which he
slaughtered or led captive to
his tent, counting them the
rivals who had wronged him.
Then the cruel goddess restored to him his wits. And
he, fixing his sword in the ground, prepared to take
his own life
According to the play written by Sophocles, Agamemnon and his
brother, Menelaüs (Menelaus), wanted to expose Ajax's body to the
dogs and vultures, refusing to allow the body to be buried.
Ajax's half-brother, Teucer, bitterly accused them of sacrilege for not
respecting one of their fallen leaders. Bloodshed was prevented
between Teucer and the Atreidae (Agamemnon and Menelaüs), only
through the intervention of Odysseus. Odysseus argued in favor of
burying Ajax in full honour, because he believed that Ajax's bravery
had earned that respect. Odysseus also told them that he would like to
be given decent burial if he was killed.
Agamemnon and Menelaüs had no choice but to respect Odysseus'
decision. Odysseus told Teucer that he would not have contested Ajax,
if he had realized how much Ajax wanted Achilles' armor.
According to one story, the armor was buried with Ajax, but the more
common version, say that Odysseus gave the armor to Achilles' son,
This is still mine, unless you suppose you can take
It from me. The use of it I have retained – even
Against myself. It has reeked with Phrygian blood
Often enough, and now will drip with its own master’s.
No man but Ajax can conquer Ajax!” Metamorphoses 13
With those words, Ajax plunged the sword deep into
his chest, piercing his heart and draining the life out of
his body, which, until that point, had been unscathed
during the ten years of war.
"Come and look on me,
O Death, O Death, -- and yet in yonder world
I shall dwell with thee, speak enough with thee:
And thee I call, thou light of golden day,
Thou Sun, who drivest on thy glorious car,
Thee, for this last time, -- never more again!
O Light, O sacred land that was my home;
O Salamis where stands my father's hearth.
Thou glorious Athens, with thy kindred race;
Ye streams and rivers here, and Troia's plains,
To you that fed my life I fid farewell;
This last, last word does Ajax speak to you;
All else, I speak in Hades to the dead.” (Sophocles)
Then, falling upon his sword, he died. So, in the words of his magnanimous
foe, Ulysses passed to the god that ruleth in gloom.
"The best and bravest of the Argive host,
Of all that came to Troia, saving one,
Achilles' self” (Sophocles)
On the spot where his blood sank into the earth a hyacinth sprang up, bearing
on its leaves the first two letters of his name, Ai, the Greek interjection of
Achilles, Ajax, and Patroclos are dead
When the war had already lasted for ten years
and the Greeks were losing heart, Calchas
prophesied that Troy could not be taken unless
they had the bow of Heracles to help them.
It was now discovered that Troy could not be taken but
by the aid of the arrows of Hercules. They were in
possession of Philoctetes, the friend who had been
with Hercules at the last and had lighted his funeral
pyre. Philoctetes had joined the Grecian expedition
against Troy; but he accidentally wounded his foot with
one of the poisoned arrows, and the smell from the
wound proved so offensive that his companions carried
him to the isle of Lemnos and left him there.
Ulysses, or Ulysses
(son of Achilles),
were now sent to
induce him to rejoin
So Philoctetes arrived in Troy, and after he had
been cured by Podaleiros, killed Alexandros
with an arrow.
Wounded by a poisoned arrow, Paris
remembered the healing powers of the
nymph Oenone, whom he had married
when a youth and had abandoned for the
fatal beauty of Helen.
Oenone, remembering the wrongs she had suffered,
refused to heal the wound; and Paris went back to
Troy and died.
Oenone quickly repented and hastened after
him with remedies, but came too late, and in
her grief hanged herself
After the death of Alexandros, Helenos and
Deiphobus quarreled over the hand of Helen;
and because Deiphobus was preferred, Helenos
left Troy and went to live on Mount Ida. But
when Calchas declared that Helenos had
knowledge of the oracles that protected the city,
Odysseus captured him in an ambush and
brought him to the camp and Helenos was
forced to reveal how Ilion could be captured.
This could be
achieved if, in
When they heard this, the Greeks had the
bones of Pelops brought over
So the Greeks sent Odysseus and Phoenix
to Lycomedes on Scyros to persuade him
to allow Neoptolemus to go to war.
Neoptolemus arrived in the camp, where
he received his father's arms from
Odysseus, who willingly surrendered
them; and he killed a large number of the
And thirdly, if the
Palladium (which had
fallen from heaven)
was stolen from Troy -
for while it remained
inside the walls, the
city was impregnable.
Odysseus went up to the city with
Diomedes by night. Leaving Diomedes
waiting outside, he assumed a mean
appearance and put on shabby clothing,
and entered the city undetected in the
guise of a beggar.
He was recognized,
however, by Helen, and
with her assistance he
stole the Palladium, and
then, after killing many
of the guards, he took it
to the ships with the
aid of Diomedes.
Odysseus and Diomedes
venture into Troy at night,
in disguise, and steal the
Palladium, the sacred
statue of Athena, which is
supposed to give the
Trojans the strength to
continue the war. The city,
however, did not fall.
Finally the Greeks
adopt a strategy
wooden horse filled
with armed soldiers
is to be given the
Trojans. It is built by
Epeius and left in
front of Troy.
The Greek army then withdraws to
Tenedos, as if abandoning the war
The Greek soldier Sinon
stayed behind when the
Greek army withdrew,
and he pretends to the
Trojans that he deserted
from the Greek army
because he had
information about a
murder Odysseus had
He tells the Trojans
that the horse is an
offering to Athena and
that the Greeks built it
to be so large that the
Trojans couldn't bring
it into Troy.
Apollo gave Cassandra the power of a seer,
then cursed her so that no one would
The Trojan Laocoön warns the Trojans not to
believe Sinon ("I fear the Greeks even when they
Andromache pleaded with Pyrrhus to
spare her son
baby over the
wall of Troy.
POLYXENA, in Greek legend, was the
daughter of Priam, king of Troy, and
Hecuba. She had been betrothed to
Achilles, who was slain by Paris in the
temple of Apollo Thymbraeus, where the
marriage was to have been celebrated
(Hyginus, Fab. 110).
As the Greek soldiers were taking women captives after the siege of
Troy, Agamemnon was farther down the beaches of Ilion waiting for a
storm to calm itself when, “from a gaping hole in the earth, Achilles
sprang up as large as life with his sword in hand to challenge all the
Achaean hosts and Agamemnon, its chief:
“Is this how you all go home, you nation of ingrates?
Is this the thanks I get for my deeds and sacrifices?
At Troy? My body has been interred, and gratitude,
Too, it would seem. I want a prize for myself. My
Ghost requires what you have all picked out for
Yourselves – a woman, or rather a girl. Polyxena,
I shall have. Let her be sacrificed to appease my
Neglected spirit.” Metamorphoses 13.
The Danaans did as Achilles’ ghost wished. They sacrificed Polyxena,
the daughter of Hecuba, wife of Priam.
The shade of
the Greeks and
She was put to death by Neoptolemus, son of
Achilles, on his father’s grave (Ovid, Metam. Xiii. 440
Ajax 2 was a brave man,
but at the end of the war,
when Troy was being
sacked, he raped the
seeress and princess
Cassandra, who was
clinging to the wooden
image of Athena, which is
believed to have been
knocked over from its stand
as he dragged her away
from the sanctuary.
The Achaean kings assembled on account
of this outrage, and Odysseus advised to
stone Ajax 2 to death for his crime.
However, no punishment was decided, but
during the returns of the Achaean leaders,
the gods sent storms and contrary winds
because the Achaeans had despoiled the
shrines and Ajax 2 had dragged Cassandra
from the sanctuary of Athena.
In one of these storms,
Athena threw a
thunderbolt against Ajax
2's ship; and when the
ship went to pieces, he
made his way safe to a
rock, and declared that he
was saved in spite of the
intention of Athena.
But Poseidon smote the rock with his trident and split
it, and Ajax 2 fell into the sea and perished. His body,
being washed up, was buried by Thetis in Myconos.
Robert Bell writes of Hecuba's encounter with
Polymestor after the fall of Troy:
Still a boy at the start of
the war, Polydorus had
been sent to his half-sister
Iliona, who had married
Polymestor, king of the
When Polymestor saw the way things were going, he decided
to appropriate the treasure for himself and killed
Polydorus, throwing the body into the sea
The body of Polydorus washed up on the shore
of the plain of Troy near the tents of the captive
Hecuba, discovering the death of yet
another child, was distraught
Hecuba quickly sent
a message to
was unaware of her
him she knew
treasure was hidden
and that he should
recover it for her
When Polymestor arrived with his two sons, Hecuba's
companions murdered the boys while Hecuba tore out the
eyes of Polymestor (Bell, 222)
There are different variations as to
the death of Hecuba. Some say she
was stoned to death by Greeks
angry with her for killing
Polymestor, others say that she
jumped overboard off of Odysseus'
ship. One possible end, which
Robert Bell calls "symbolic of her
total descent" is that she was
turned into a dog as she fled from
Polymestor's companions (222).
Once Troy was defeated, Andromache, who
could have inherited throne and palace, was
given as a special award to Achilles' son
Neoptolemus. At Thetis advice, Neoptolemus
remained two days in the island of Tenedos,
which is off the coast of the Troad, and thence
he set out for Epirus by land, taking with him
Andromache and Helenus, seer and son of
Having come to the front at Troy, Odysseus, never forgetting that he had been
outwitted by Palamedes, kept plotting night and day against him. It is told that
Odysseus compelled a Trojan prisoner to write a letter of treasonable purport, which
seemed to be sent by King Priam 1 of Troy to Palamedes, and that he dropped the
letter in the camp to be found and at the same time buried gold in the quarters of
Palamedes.Others have said that Odysseus, referring to a warning in a dream,
convinced Agamemnon to move the Achaean camp for one day, and hid by night a
great quantity of gold in the place where Palamedes' tent had been. Odysseus also
gave to a Trojan prisoner a letter to be carried to King Priam 1, and sent a soldier of his
ahead to kill him not far away from the camp. So when the army returned the next day
to the camp, a soldier found the letter on the body of the dead Trojan prisoner. And
on it it was written: "Sent to Palamedes from Priam" [Hyginus, Fabulae 105]...
promising him as much gold as Odysseus had hidden if he would betray the camp
according to agreement.
Palamedes found guilty of treason
This is how Palamedes lost his life through an unjust judgement. For the next day,
when Palamedes was brought before Agamemnon, he denied having betrayed the
army, but he was not able to convince either the king or anyone else of his innocence,
after soldiers went to his tent and dug up the gold that sly Odysseus had hidden.
And so Palamedes was stoned to death by the entire army. But others affirm that
there was not such a plot, and that Palamedes was drowned by Odysseus and
Diomedes 2 when he put out to catch fish.
Now Oeax, son of Nauplius, wishing to
avenge the death of his brother
Palamedes, informed Agamemnon's wife
Clytemnestra that Cassandra was being
brought by her husband as a concubine to
When Palamedes' father Nauplius 1 learned that calumny
and a miscarriage of justice had killed his son, he sailed to
the Troad, and meeting the leaders of the Achaean army,
claimed satisfaction. But all of them favoured
Agamemnon, who protected Odysseus, and so Nauplius 1
Revenge, Part One
Then Nauplius 1, avenging himself for the outrage he had
suffered, traveled through the whole of Hellas and
contrived that the wives of the ACHAEAN LEADERS should
take lovers. And that is why, they say, Clytaemnestra slept
with Aegisthus, Aegialia, wife of Diomedes 2, with
Cometes 2, and Meda 2, wife of King Idomeneus 1 of
Crete, with Leucus 1. Because of this, Agamemnon was
murdered when he returned from Troy, and Diomedes 2
and Idomeneus 1 had to go into exile
As a result, Agamemnon fell victim of a
conspiracy conceived by his own wife
and her lover Aegisthus…
…and was murdered along with
Cassandra, who predicted her own
fate shortly after her arrival to
"... for me waits destruction by the
two-edged sword." [Cassandra.
Aeschylus, Agamemnon 1149]
Clytemnestra was the daughter of King Tyndareus of Sparta and his
wife Leda. She was thus the sister of Helen of Troy and Castor and
Clytemnestra had to suffer through three husbands: Her father, king
Tyndareus of Sparta, betrothed her to Tantalus while she was still a
virgin. Because Tantalus was the son of Thyestes and king of Mycenae,
Clytemnestra became queen. She bore Tantalus a son. Agamemnon
killed Tantalus because he was the son of Thyestes who had
debauched his mother. He also killed the new-born son of Tantalus.
Agamemnon thus obtained Clytemnestra as property from the man he
defeated. Because Clytemnestra was queen of Mycenae, Agamemnon
became king. Clytmenestra had three children by Agamemnon,
Iphigenia, Electra and Orestes. Agamemnon sacrificed Iphigenia to
Artemis so he could go fight at Troy. She was corrupted by Aegisthus
and turned against Agamemnon. When Agamemnon returned from
Troy with Cassandra as his consort, they were both murdered by
Aegisthus and Clytemnestra. These two lived together as king and
queen of Mycenae until Orestes returned to take vengeance on them
for them for the murder of his his father. He killed them both.
During the sack of Troy, Menelaus' forces came to the house
where Deiphobus 1 and Helen, having married after the death
of Paris, lived. When they had her new husband arrested,
Menelaus cut him to pieces under torture, lopping off ears
and nose, and all of his limbs one by one; and then he led
Helen to the ships.
Great offences were committed by the Achaeans against the
gods while sacking Troy, and on that account they had a
difficult return or no return at all. Menelaus wandered for
eight years in several Mediterranean before he and his wife
could return to Sparta. For it is said that Menelaus, returning
with five ships, came first to Sunium in Attica, but thence he
was driven again by winds to Crete. And from Crete he
wandered up and down Libya, and Phoenicia, and Cyprus, and
Egypt, collecting treasures probably though pillage. In Egypt
he lost his pilot Canobus, after whom the city east of
Alexandria was named.