Miranda, Eron John D.
TTH 5:00-6:30 SV 204
1. Judgment of Paris
When the dark beauty, Hecuba, the wife of King Priam, was pregnant, she had a terrifying
dream. She dreamed she gave birth to a firebrand and awoke screaming that the city of Troy was
burning to the ground. Alarmed by this, her husband consulted his son, the seer Aisacros, who told him
the baby would one day cause the destruction of his country. Accordingly Priam ordered that the child
should be put to death. So, after the boy was born, he was given to the chief herdsman, Agelaus, to be
killed. Agelaus left the child on Mount Ida to die from exposure but, returning five days later, found the
boy still alive and took him home, where he brought him up secretly. As a young man, Paris became
noted for his extreme beauty, wit and prowess.
At about this time the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, the hero and the sea-goddess, was celebrated on
Mount Pelion. All the gods and goddesses were invited, with the noted exception of Eris, the Goddess of
Strife, who was hideous and disagreeable. Angered at being left out of the nuptuals she strode into the
middle of the wedding feast and threw a golden apple into the assembled company. It landed between
the three most powerful goddesses, Hera, Athene and Aphrodite. Picking it up, Zeus found it was
inscribed ‘For the Fairest’. Wisely deciding not to judge between the three deities himself, Zeus
nominated the beautiful Paris as arbiter, but first he sent Hermes to enquire whether he would be
willing to act as judge. Paris agreed and so a time was set for the three goddesses to appear to him on
When the day came, Paris sat himself on a boulder and waited with beating heart for the arrival of the
three great deities. All at once a great light appeared which covered the entire mountain. At first Paris
was blinded, but then the goddesses cloaked their light in cloud so that he was able to look at them.
First Hera, the great queen, approached him and flaunted her beauty in front of him. Radiant with glory
she made him a promise. If he awarded her the apple, she would grant him wealth and power. He would
rule over the greatest kingdom on earth. Paris felt the excitement of this and his ambition rose up and
yearned for her gift.
After that, grey-eyed Athene approached him, drawing near and bending down, so that he might look
into the magical depths of her eyes. She promised him victory in all battles, together with glory and
wisdom - the three most precious gifts a man could have. This time Paris felt his mind leap with
excitement and with desire for the riches of knowledge and the glory of prowess.
Then it was the turn of Aphrodite. Hanging back a little, she tilted her head so that her hair fell forward,
concealing a blush on her face. Then she loosened the girdle of her robe and beneath it, Paris caught
sight of her perfectly formed breast, white as alabaster.
‘Paris,’ she said, and her voice seemed to sing inside his head. ‘Give me the apple and in return I will give
you the gift of love. You will possess the most beautiful woman in the land, a woman equal to me in
perfection of form. With her you will experience the greatest delights of love-making. Choose me, Paris,
and she will be yours.’
Then Paris, overpowered by the intoxication of her words and her beauty, found himself handing her the
apple without even pausing to reflect on his decision, guided only by the strength of his desire.
So it was that Paris awarded the Apple of Discord to Aphrodite, and Hera and Athena became his
implacable enemies. True to her promise, Aphrodite gave him Helen, the most beautiful woman living
on the earth at that time - but, in order to enjoy her, he had to snatch her from her powerful husband,
Menelaus. So began the terrible ten-year’ war between the Trojans and the Greeks in which many a
brave hero lost his life, including Paris himself, and after which the great hero Odysseus wandered the
seas for a further ten long years before returning home.
2. Death of Patroclus
Patroclus engages in battle, slaying many Trojans. Of the Trojans that he slew, one sealed his fate:
Sarpedon, the Trojan son of Zeus. Patroclus disobeys Achilles and sets off in pursuit of the Trojans
retreating back to the gates of Troy. At the urging of Apollo, Hector tries to charge Patroclus. Patroclus
kills Cebriones', Hector's charioteer, and both Patroclus and Hector fight over the armour of Cebriones.
In the midst of all of this chaos, Apollo sneaks up behind Patroclus and beats his helmet from his head,
breaks his spear, and unties his corselet. Patroclus, now vulnerable, is then stabbed in the back with a
spear from Euphorbus. Now dazed, unarmed and wounded, Patroclus soon finds himself in combat with
Hector. With the blow he had taken from Apollo that had scattered his wits, the lack of armour, and the
spear wound, it goes without saying that Patroclus was no match for Hector. Hector kills Patroclus (but
not before informing Hector of his impending death at the hand of Achilles) and robs the body of its
armor and dons it himself.
3. Wrath of Achilles
The wrath of Achilles defines him, and the entire plot of the Iliad unwinds from its vicissitudes.
Achilles’ wrath is singular, flattening him as a character, making him nearly unidimensional (Achilles
does have his other moments in which we see another side barely break through), but its focus and
unidimensionality make him an unbeatable warrior. His monolithic quality makes him wrath’s
embodiment; or, put another way, literally transfigures him into wrath. He becomes, as it were, a mortal
god, defined by a singular characteristic, much like Ares is the personification of war, or Athena, wisdom
or cunning. Unbeatable in combat, yet ultimately mortal. It is his greatest trait, and his ultimate doom,
bringing down everyone with him into Hades.
This wrath motivates the story. The plot unfolds based upon the direction that Achilles points his wrath.
As the introductory stanza indicates, he points it first to his own side, Agamemnon, the son of Atreus. He
is the king of Mycenae (Mykenai), and the king of kings, the leader of all the Achaeans in this war. When
he took the captive Briseis from Achilles, Achilles turned his wrath toward Agamemnon, refusing to
fight. And, without this force of nature, wrath incarnate, fighting, the Trojans, led by their Tamer of
Forces, Hector, began to push the Achaeans back to their ships. Hector, like all of the Trojans, is really
the "Breaker of Horses" but I like to consider this in the aspect of taming wild forces, bringing them into
civilized society, which Troy itself represents, in contrast to the wild force and fury of unattached
Hector is a much more interesting character in my opinion than Achilles. Hector clearly is the second
greatest warrior in the Iliad, but unlike Achilles who is unidimensionally wrathful, Hector is
multidimensional. He is Hector, the prince of Troy, the beloved son of old King Priam, devoted husband
to Andromache, a father with a young child, and responsible for the safety of the entire city of Troy.
They all depend upon his strength, his courage, and his leadership. He is universally beloved, and
considered universally kind. Fighting for a cause that he does not believe in—the folly of judgment of
Paris, his younger brother—he is now forced to defend all those he loves, and fights to the death to do
4. The making of Achilles’ armor
Achilles learns from Antilochus, the son of Nestor and his dear friend, that Patroclus had been slain
and his armour taken. Achilles cries aloud and Thetis, his mother, hears him. She goes to her son and
asks him why he is weeping and what sorrow had befallen him. Achilles explains to his mother that
Patroclus--whom he had valued more than anyone and loved more than his own life-- had fallen, and
that he had been stripped of the armour that his father Peleus had given him. Achilles then tells her that
she will have to deal with the death of a son that will never return home, for he cannot continue living
until Hector falls by his spear, thereby avenging the death of Patroclus.
Thetis tells her son that death awaits him after Hector is slain, and knowing that he cannot return to
battle without his armour, tells him that she will bring him armour crafted by Hephaestus the following
Thetis travels to Olympus to meet with Hephaestus. She is warmly welcomed by Hephaestus and his
wife, and Hephaestus tells his wife of how Thetis and her sister had saved him after Hera, his mother,
had thrown him from Olympus. Thetis tells Hephaestus how Patroclus had fallen, and with him, Achilles'
armour. She begs him to fashion her son new armour and the blacksmith god agrees, promising to craft
armour that would amaze the eye of any that beheld it. And he did. The armour was saidto have been so
glorious that Achilles looked like Ares, the god of war himself.
5. Farewell of Hector and Andromache
After leaving Paris, Hector goes to see his wife, Andromache, and their infant son, Astyanax. She
pleads with him not to return to battle, explaining that all of her other relatives have been killed by the
Greeks and he is all she has left. Even as she begs, Andromache knows that Hector will return to the
battlefield. When Hector turns to his son to take him in his arms, the child is frightened by the plumes
on his helmet. Showing his sensitive side, Hector removes the helmet and takes the baby into his arms.
He then prays to Zeus that his son will be great. Then with a final farewell, Hector returns to the battle,
accompanied by Paris.
6. Ransoming of Hector’s body
Achilles was mad with sorrow and anger for the death of his friend. Thenthey drenched with wine
the great pile of wood, which was thirty yards long and broad, and set fire to it, and the fire blazed all
through the night and died down in the morning. They put the white bones of Patroclus in a golden
casket, and laid it in the hut of Achilles, who said that, when he died, they must burn his body, and mix
the ashes with the ashes of his friend, and build over it a chamber of stone, and cover the chamber with
a great hill of earth, and set a pillar of stone above it. This is one of the hills on the plain of Troy, but the
pillar has fallen from the tomb, long ago. Then, as the custom was, Achilles held games--chariot races,
foot races, boxing, wrestling, and archery--in honour of Patroclus. Ulysses won the prize for the foot
race, and for the wrestling, so now his wound must have been healed. But Achilles still kept trailing
Hector's dead body each day round the hill that had been raised for the tomb of Patroclus, till the Gods
in heaven were angry, and bade Thetis tell her son that he must give back the dead body to Priam, and
take ransom for it, and they sent a messenger to Priam to bid him redeem the body of his son. It was
terrible for Priam to have to go and humble himself before Achilles, whose hands had been red with the
blood of his sons, but he did not disobey the Gods. He opened his chests, and took out twenty-four
beautiful embroidered changes of raiment; and he weighed out ten heavy bars, or talents, of gold, and
chose a beautiful golden cup, and he called nine of his sons, Paris, and Helenus, and Deiphobus, and the
rest, saying, "Go, ye bad sons, my shame; would that Hector lived and all of you were dead!" for sorrow
made him angry; "go, and get ready for me a wain, and lay on it these treasures." So they harnessed
mules to the wain, and placed in it the treasures, and, after praying, Priam drove through the night to
the hut of Achilles. In he went, when no man looked for him, and kneeled to Achilles, and kissed his
terrible death-dealing hands. "Have pity on me, and fear the Gods, and give me back my dead son," he
said, "and remember thine own father. Have pity on me, who have endured to do what no man born has
ever done before, to kiss the hands that slew my sons." Then Achilles remembered his own father, far
away, who now was old and weak: and he wept, and Priam wept with him, and then Achilles raised
Priam from his knees and spoke kindly to him, admiring how beautiful he still was in his old age, and
Priam himself wondered at the beauty of mAchilles. And Achilles thought how Priam had long been rich
and happy, like his own father, Peleus, and now old age and weakness and sorrow were laid upon both
of them, for Achilles knew that his own day of death was at hand, even at the doors. So Achilles bade
the women make ready the body of Hector for burial, and they clothed him in a white mantle that Priam
had brought, and laid him in the wain; and supper was made ready, and Priam and Achilles ate and
drank together, and the women spread a bed for Priam, who would not stay long, but stole away back to
Troy while Achilles was asleep. All the women came out to meet him, and to lament for Hector.
Theycarried the body into the house of Andromache and laid it on a bed, and the women gathered
around, and each in turn sang her song over the great dead warrior. His mother bewailed him, and his
wife, and Helen of the fair hands, clad in dark mourning raiment, lifted up her white arms, and said:
"Hector, of all my brethren in Troy thou wert the dearest, since Paris brought me hither. Would that ere
that day I had died! For this is now the twentieth year since I came, and in all these twenty years never
heard I a word from thee that was bitter and unkind; others might upbraid me, thy sisters or thy mother,
for thy father was good to me as if he had been my own; but then thou wouldst restrain them that
spoke evil by the courtesy of thy heart and thy gentle words. Ah! woe for thee, and woe for me, whom
all men shudder at, for there is now none in wide Troyland to be my friend like thee, my brother and my
friend!" So Helen lamented, but now was done all that men might do; a great pile of wood was raised,
and Hector was burned, and his ashes were placed in a golden urn, in a dark chamber of stone, within a
7. Death of Achilles and Fall of Troy
Achilles dies during the Trojan War (but after the action of the Iliad) mortally wounded by an arrow
shot by Paris. Ovid (Metamorphoses 12) has Apollo urge Paris to shoot at Achilles and then guide his
aim. Other writers allow Paris to do the shooting (or stabbing) alone, or Apollo, or Apollo disguised as
Paris. Apollodorus and others say the wound was in Achilles' heel. Not all the authors subscribed to the
idea that Achilles was only mortal in his heel, especially since it doesn't make a lot of sense to think that
an ordinary wound in the ankle would be lethal. The bronze man Talos, however, did die when the nail
in his ankle was removed and all the life-giving fluid running through his body leaked out. That Achilles'
mother was a nymph made Achilles a demi-god, at best. Her attempts to make him immortal by burning
or immersion in the River Styx were obviously not entirely successful.
Despite losing virtually all of its greatest champions, Troy still would not fall. The city’s walls, built by
Apollo and Poseidon, were impenetrable.
Odysseus came up with an ingenious plan to get inside the city. With Athena’s help, Epeius, an
artisan, constructed an enormous wooden horse. Led by Odysseus, a small army of the boldest Greek
warriors hid themselves inside. The Greek fleet then sailed away—but only as far as the far side of the
offshore island Tenedos.
When the Trojans found the horse, which had an inscription dedicating it to Athena, some wanted
to burn it or push it off a cliff. But others argued that if they brought it inside the city walls and used it to
replace the stolen Palladium, the horse would bring them luck. The prophets Cassandra and Laocoön
explicitly warned the Trojans that Greek troops were hidden inside the horse—but of course no one
Laocoön underscored his warning by hurling his spear at the wooden horse. At that moment, two
sea serpents rose out of the sea and attacked Laocoön’s sons. The serpents killed the boys and Laocoön,
who rushed to his children’s defense. Though Athena sent these serpents to shut him up for good and
thereby bring about the destruction of Troy, the Trojans who witnessed this horrifying tragedy assumed
that the priest was being punished for desecrating the wooden horse.
With the Trojans already inclined to bring the wooden horse inside the city, the Greek Sinon gave
them the last push they needed. The Trojans found him outside the Trojan walls, with his arms tied and
his clothes torn to shreds. Apparently enraged at his comrades, Sinon claimed that he had escaped being
sacrificed to Athena, who had become angry at the Greeks for stealing the Palladium. The Greeks, Sinon
added, had built the enormous horse to appease the goddess—and had designed it so that it would not
fit through the city’s gates because they knew that placing it in the citadel would bring the Trojans
victory. Harming it, Sinon warned, would turn the wrath of Athena on the Trojans.
Persuaded by Sinon’s lies, the Trojans breached their own city’s walls in order to secure the wooden
horse. That night, Helen—suspicious of treachery—walked around the horse and, mimicking the voices
of their wives, called out the names of some of the most renowned Greek warriors. But Odysseus kept
the men quiet.
After the Trojans had fallen into bed following a drunken celebration of their impending victory,
Sinon freed the Greek warriors and sent a beacon to the Greek fleet, which quickly returned. Those
inside opened the gates and the Greeks seized the city in a single bloody night.
The Greeks did get their comeuppance, though. The sacrilegious massacre of the Trojans and the
desecration of the temples angered the Gods so much, they decided not to let the Greeks return home.
The Gods besieged the returning Greek fleet with storms, which wrecked nearly every single ship. It was
little consolation to the Trojans, though, as their city had been burned to the ground.