ZeusThe father of the deities, seemed to have realizedthat the earth was getting terribly crowded. To solvethe problem of over population, he devised a greatwar which would sweep like a conflagration overGreece. This was The Trojan War.
Thetis, a minor goddess, was married to Peleus, a mortal, out of this marriage. Achilles, the greatest warrior was born. Eris, the goddess of mischief and goddess of discord was not invited to the marriage feast, so into the middle of banquet hall she threw a golden apple with this note: To the fairest of the goddess. Each of the beautiful of the goddesses-namely, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite- claimed the golden apple. A quarrel ensued and father Zeus was asked to decide who was the most beautiful of the three. This placed Zeus in a predicament since Hera was his own wife and Athena and Aphrodite were his own daughters. So he parted the clouds covering Mount Olympus, the dwelling place of the deities, and showed the three goddesses a Prince of Troy named Paris.
Zeus suggested that the three beauty contestants take their problem to Paris and ask him to decide. The goddesses descended upon the earth, circled Paris by turns, and each proceeded to bribe him so that he would award her the golden apple. Hera promised him power, Athena promised him wisdom; Aphrodite promised that she would give him the most beautiful woman in the world for his wife. Paris awarded the golden apple to Aphrodite.The Judgement of Paris
Thetis Dipping Achilles in the StyxThe sea nymph Thetis is seen dipping her son Achilles in theRiver Styx to make him immortal. Only the heel by which sheholds him remains untouched by the waters and thusvulnerable to injury
The fairiest woman in the world was Helen, thedaughter of Zeus and Leda and the sister of Castorand Pollux. When her suitors assembled in her hometo make a formal proposal for her hand they were somany and from such powerful families that herreputed father, king Tyndareus, her mother’shusband, was afraid to select one among them,fearing that the others would unite against him. Hetherefore exacted first a solemn oath from all thatthey would champion the cause of Helen’s husband,whoever he might be, if any wrong was done to himthrough his marriage. It was, after all, to each man,sadvantage to take the oath, since each was hopinghe would be the person chosen, so they all boundthemeselves to punish to the uttermost anyone whocarried or try to carry Hellen away.
Then Tyndareus chose Menelaus, thebrother of Agamemnon, and made himking of Sparta as well. So matters stoodwhen Paris gave the golden apple toAphrodite. The goddess of love andbeauty knew very well where the mostbeautiful woman on the earth to befound. She led the young shepherd, withnever a thought of Oenone left forlom,straight to Sparta, where Menelaus andHelene received him graciously as their
It happened that Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world,was already married to Menelaus, king of Sparta. With the help ofAphrodite, Paris abducted Helen took her to troy where sheremained until the end of the ensuing Trojan War. This is whyshe is called Helen of Troy.
The Greeks (Achaians) banded together to restore Helen to Menelaus. Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, was their general. Many adventurous Greek heroes joined Greek expeditionary forces. Among them Achilles, the greatest and the bravest of the Greek heroes; Odysseus, the clever and wily warior; Diomedes, the bold one; Nestor, the prudent man; Aias, the giant; and aHelen and Paris host of other heroes.
The youthful Greek warrior Achilles has just learned fromAgamemnon, king of Mycenae, that he will not be allowed tomarry Agamemnon’s daughter, Iphigenia, shown dressed as abride and being comforted by her tearful mother, Clytemnestra.To appease the goddess Artemis so that the Greek fleet can sailto Troy, Agamemnon must sacrifice his daughter to her.
The story opens with a violent quarrel between Agamemnon, the commander in chief of the Greek army, Achilles, their greatest and bravest warrior. Briseis, a concubine of Achilles, is unjustly taken by Agamemnon and as a result Achilles makes a sacred vow that he will no longer fight.For the duration of most of the pitched battles between the Greeks and the Trojans, Achilles stays sulking in his tent. Because of his absence from the battlefield, The Trojans, led by Prince Hector , make bold advances in the battle and the Greeks are driven back. Their situation rapidly deteriorates until most of the Greek leaders are wounded and are forced to leave the battle. Patroclos, the dear friend of Achilles, saddened by the growing losses of his countrymen, begs Achilles to let him lead Achilles’men, the Myrmidons, to battle if, because of his anger with Agamemnon, Achilles still refuse to fight. Achilles gives him permission.
Briseis and Achilles in a 17th-century bookillustration by Wenzel Hollar
Patroclos, rallies Greeks and succeeds in making the Trojans retreat, but he is killed by Hector, The Trojan Prince who is equal to Achilles in courage and fighting skill. Angered by the death of his comrade, Achilles now enters the fight, routes the Trojans, killing them mercilessly. Filled with the dark passion of revenge, he goes after Hector and slays him. With beastly cruelty, he ties the dead body of Hector to his chariot and drags it round the city of Troy. Achilles resolves to avenge his friend’s death.
Thetis persuades Hephaestus, god ofmetalworking, to make a beautiful new suit ofarmor for her son. The ornamentation of theshield is described in detail: It includes civic andrural scenes and dancing figures. Achilles,equipped with his new armor, sallies out and killsmany Trojans. He fights the river-god Scamanderand finally encounters Hector, who panics and ischased three times by Achilles around the wallsof Troy. Achilles overtakes Hector and with thehelp of Athena kills him remorselessly. He tiesHector’s corpse by the heels to his chariot anddrags it exultantly back to the Greek camp, whilePriam, Priam’s wife Hecuba, and Andromache,Hector’s devoted wife, bewail Hector’s death.
Achilles came to the battlefield, with new armour andshield from his mother, fashioned by the godHephaestus. Achilles was determined to seek out
With Hector dead, Achilles knew, as his mother hadtold him that his own death was near. PrinceMemnon of Ethiopia, the son goddess of the Dawn,came to assistance of Troy with a large army and fora time, even though Hector was gone, the Greekswere hard-pressed and lost many a gallant warrior,including swift footed Antilochus, old Nestor’s son.Finally, Achilles killed Memnon in a glorious combat,the Greek heroe’s last battle. There Paris shot anarrow at Achilles and Apollo guided it so that it struckhis foot in the one spot where he could be wounded,his heel. Achilles died, and Ajax carried his body outof the battle while Oddysseus held the Trojan back.
The greeks decide Achille’s divine armor should be given to either Odysseus or Ajax, the two greatest Greek warriors remaining. When Odysseus is chosen, Ajax plots revenge, but Athena makes him go crazy. Ajax massacres some cattle, then comes to his senses and, mortified, kills himself.
The prophet Calchas then tells the Greeksthat they must capture the Trojanprophet Helenus in order to win. They doso, and Helenus tells them that Troy canonly be defeated by the bow and arrowsof Hercules. Hercules gave these weaponsto Philoctetes, who set out for Troy withGreeks, who abondoned him along theway. Odysseus and a few others set out toapologize and get him back. Philoctetesreturns and promptly kills Paris.
The Greeks learn that the Trojanshave a sacred image of Athena,the Palladium, that protectsthem. Odysseus and Diomedes,sneak behind enemy lines andsteal it. Yet Troy still has theprotection of its gigantic walls,which prevent the Greeks fromentering.
Odysseus came up with a plan to get the Greeksinto Troy. Under Athenas direction, the Greeksbuilt a gigantic wooden horse with a hollow body.Odysseus and an elite group of Greek warriorshid inside the horse. Their Greek companionstook the horse to the city gates and left it therewith an inscription explaining it was dedicatedto Athena.The Greek army then withdrew from sight,pretending to sail away. The Trojans werentquite sure what to do with the horse. Somewanted to destroy it. Others wanted to bring itinside, and still others could hardly contain theircuriosity.
A raggedly dressed Greek soldierappeared. He said his name wasSinon and that the Greek armyhad planned to sacrifice him toAthena, but he had escaped.Athena was furious with theGreeks, he explained, becausethey had stolen the Palladium. Asif disclosing a great secret, Sinontold the Trojans that the Greekshad built the great wooden horse
Most of the Trojans agreed that theyshould try to get the horse inside thecity walls. One man, however, spokeout against the idea. The prophetLaocoon, wary of what the horsewould bring, warned the Trojans notto trust the Greeks. To emphasizehis point, Laocoon threw his spearat the horse. Just then a hugemonster rose up from the sea anddevoured Laocoon and his sons.
To the Trojans, Laocoons deathappeared to be a direct result of hisattack on the horse. They reasonedthat the horse must indeed be anoffering to Athena; when Laocoonattacked the horse, she was offendedand sent the sea monster to punishhim. Athena did send the sea monsterto kill Laocoon, but not because hehad desecrated her monument — shejust wanted to shut him up.
Wooden Horse ofTroyAccording tolegend, theGreeks built anenormouswooden horse andhid soldiers insideit toward the endof the Trojan War.The Trojansthought the horsewas a gift andbrought the horseinside their citywalls. Then theGreek soldiersleapt out, openedthe city gates, andlet in the rest ofthe Greek army todefeat the Trojans.
The Greek Army, hiding nearby,sweeps into the city andmassacres the Trojans.Achilles son kills Priam. Of themajor Trojans, only Aeneasescapes, his father on hisshoulders and his son holdinghis hand. All the men arekilled, the women and childrenseparated and enslaved.