Background of the Trojan War

The Trojan War, many times acted and many times told, holds a great place in Greek mythology and people all around the world are in respect to the different sectors of the war. This war held cunningness, death, perseverance, expeditions, friendship, and most of all, deceitfulness. This war influenced the writings of many books we now read such as the Iliad and the Aeneid. The Trojan war was the milestone and mark in the sand of Greek mythology.

Back many thousands of years ago, from around 1194 BC to 1184 BC the Trojan War occurred between the kingdoms of Troy and Mycenaean Greece*. The war broke out after Helen, the queen of Sparta, got kidnapped by Paris, the prince of Troy. Menelaus, the husband of Helen, was furious and asked his brother, Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae, to get back his wife. Agamemnon brought with him many Greek heroes such as Achilles, Odysseus, Nestor, and Ajax and more than a thousand ships from throughout the Hellenistic world. Through their expedition, they crossed the Aegean Sea and demanded Priam, the king of Troy to give back Helen. By doing so, Agamemnon and his companions laid siege on Troy, opening the doors for battle and other fights during a ten-year period. During these ten years were the deaths of Hector, a Trojan prince, and the near-immortal, Achilles. 

The morning came when the Greeks abandoned camps but left behind a large wooden horse just outside the Trojan gates. There was lots of debate on whether or not the horse should be taken inside the gates but the Trojans finally agreed to bring the so-called “gift” in. When night came, the horse opened and the Greeks, led by Odysseus, came out and destroyed Troy from within the perimeters. 

After the war ended and the Trojans were defeated, the Greeks made their way home and Odysseus went on his long, ten-year journey home to Ithaca, recounted in the Odyssey. Helen, whose two husbands died in the war, returned to Sparta and sat on the throne alongside Menelaus. There are many stories of what happened to Helen after Menelaus’s death, but some say she was exiled from Sparta to the island of Rhodes where a widow had her hanged. 

Trojan War: Real or Not?

The ethics and reality of the Trojan War is still esoteric and confusing as most of our bases for the Trojan war were modeled after archaic evidence and stories such as the Iliad, Aeneid, and Odyssey. Several important characters in the Trojan War were Greek heroes and lots of the activities taking place in the Trojan War were led by the competition between these gods. For example, Paris supposedly won Helen’s love by awarding the goddess of love, Aphrodite, the golden apple of beauty. Paris was called upon by these Greek goddesses to pick between Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, who was the most beautiful. 

It is also noteworthy that in these stories cities of the past were known to last lengthy time periods while from history and other evidence even the strongest cities only lasted months. 

As time persists, there is still archaic evidence continuing to be discovered of the Trojan War in Greece and Troy – now northwest Turkey. Skeletons, remains of city ruins, and wartime destructions have been excavated over the past 150 years and an exploration in the 1870s to find more of the Trojan War was led by a German archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann. In this exploration, a 25-meter-deep mound was discovered, and later on, studies have documented 46 building phases put into nine bands portraying the city’s inhabitation. Through each exploration scientists, archaeologists, and explorers continue to build upon their evidence of the Trojan War. Explorers have also found that in Homer’s days, some 400 years back, the ruins would have been clearly visible. 

There is so much unknown information about the Trojan War and the hefty debate on whether this war even happened is still ongoing with no sign of stopping. All we know is there is some archeological support for the Trojan War and there are many books crafted hundreds of years back explaining the Trojan War all written to the finest details. Each person has their own opinion on whether or not the Trojan War occurred, but it is in all of our interests to continue to explore and find out more information on this war. As time endures, information will be shared and piece by piece we will figure out the answer to this great Greek and Troian mystery, but for now, we can just sit back and read through all the famous books stemming from the Trojan War.  

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