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The Trojan War Story In Greek Mythology

A Fictitious Epic ?

Trojan War

In Greek mythology, the Trojan War Story (also known as the Battle of Troy or the Troy War) figures in the Epic Cycle, of which only the Iliad and Odyssey remains today. These very ancient legendary poems attributed to poet Homer tells the story of the Battle of Troy which allegedly took place year 1200 BC and which would have opposed Greek people to the Trojans. Nicknamed the Trojan War, the veracity of the stories mentioned by Homer in the Iliad poem and the Odyssey poem are now widely disputed by historians and archaeologists.

The Trojan War summary, a beautiful love romance

Priam and Helen of Troy

The Trojan War story begins with a beautiful romantic anecdote worthy of the most sensitive souls of Ancient Greece. Paris, son of King Priam, Emperor of Troy, falls madly in love with the wife of Lord Sparta Menelaus, the beautiful Helen. Paris thus kidnaps Helen and triggers a war with Menelaus and his brother Agamemnon who gathers a real army in order to assail the city of Troy. For many years, the Greek coalition, accompanied by greek mythological heroes Achilles god of war and Odysseus as well as many other epic characters (Nestor, Diomedes, Ajax), try to penetrate the fortress of Troy resisting the invasion.

Siege of Troy

The Trojan horse and the fall of troy summary

It is then that Odysseus, cunning like a fox, imagines an ingenious subterfuge: Greeks will raise siege while a gigantic wooden horse filled with soldiers, the Trojan horse, will unexpectedly penetrate the battlements of the city. At dusk, soldiers will come out of their hiding place and discreetly open the gates of Troy which, having failed to foresee it, will be unable to fight back as the city easily falls into the hands of the coalition.

The ploy works and the Trojans, who offer no resistance, are brutally decimated while the Greeks loot, ransack and burn all buildings in the city. Agamemnon seizes Cassandra, who has taken refuge at the altar of Athena, while old King Priam is beheaded and Hector's son, Astyanax, is thrown from the top of the walls. Once the Trojan War is over and silence falls down again, the city of Troy is nothing more than a pile of ruins and ashes.

Herodotus

The Epic Cycle, a work of fiction ?

According to Herodotus, the first true historian of the planet and author of Inquiry (The Histories), the Battle of Troy would be one of the very first military war between the Persian empire and the Greeks. The story told in the Iliad and Odyssey poems would be a fictitious chronicle in which Trojans portray the real adversaries of Ancient Greece, the Medes and the Persians.

Thucydides, a great Athenian historian and politician, author of History of the Peloponnesian War, believed that the Trojan War story and Homer's narratives were above all symbolic and had a political connotation; the attempt of a Greeks gathering with the intention of a great Hellenistic conquest.

In search of Ancient Troy location

Hisarlik - Archeological Site of Troy

Be that as it may, the Battle of Troy is nowadays considered a pure Mycenaean fable. Heinrich Schliemann, a German archeology enthusiast and Greek mythology lover, tried to uncover the ruins of Homer's Ancient Troy and managed to discover the site of Hisarlik in Turkey. Hisarlik's hill and its remains, very modest for having been the site of a Greek siege, have been associated with Troy mythology since the 19th century, but dates do not match Homer's poems.

A new interpretation

In the 1950s, scientists managed to decipher ancient tablets recovered at Knossos and in the Peloponnese peninsula and noted that scriptures were made in the same language. Such Hellenistic extension admits the hypothesis of the existence of a king whose power could've allowed the elaboration of a coalition like that described in the Trojan War story.

Moses Finley, who has paid much attention to the veracity of the history of the Trojan War, mentions in The World of Odysseus that Homer's inspiration does not stems from Mycenaean Greece, nor from Archaic Greece but indeed from Greek Dark Ages.