- The Trojan War was a fight that happened in the Bronze Age.
- It happened between Troy and Mycenaean, Greece.
- The war has been found to be happening around 1,180 B.C., which might be when it happened in the story of Homer, who created the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey.”
The Myth Behind the Trojan War
A long time ago, when the gods were still living on earth, they had a big feast to celebrate the wedding of Thetis and Peleus. All of the gods were invited except for Eris (the goddess who always causes quarrels). Keep reading to learn more Trojan War facts.
The wedding feast was a success. Then Eris, another goddess, came in. She was angry because she was not invited. Eris brought a golden apple that said: “For the fairest” on it. All of the other goddesses thought they should have this prize because they were very beautiful. They argued about it for years, but no one could decide between them.
The gods asked a human to judge between them. This human was Paris, a prince, son of the king of Troy.
The goddess Hera showed up to see if she was granted the golden apple. Athena, the goddess of war and intelligence, also came. Finally, Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love, decided she also deserved the golden apple for her.
Aphrodite promised Paris to give him the most beautiful woman in the whole world. He only needed to provide her with the apple.
The three goddesses were waiting for Paris’ decision. Paris then marched straight to Aphrodite to gift her with the beautiful golden apple.
Helen of Troy turned out to be the most beautiful woman in the world at that moment. She was married to a king from Greece.
Paris came to visit, and at night he stole Helen away because he had help from Aphrodite, the goddess of love.
The Greeks sailed over to Troy to try and get her back, but it wasn’t easy because Troy was a strong city with thick walls and brave fighters. There were many heroes, but Hector was the bravest because he was kind and honorable.
The son of Thetis, the goddess of water, was Achilles. He was strong and well-trained. Hephaestus, the god of craftsmanship, made his armor and swords.
And he was no ordinary fighter. When he was a baby, his mother took him to the River Styx, where the gods go when they die. She dipped him in that water so that he would be invulnerable. His skin could not be broken except for on his heel. You see, his mother held onto Achilles’ heel so tightly that it couldn’t get wet while she dipped him.
The Trojan War began when these heroes and armies got together to get Helena back to her husband. So the myth told the story of a real war between the Greeks and the Trojans in the past.
The Trojan War Fact: Ten Years of War
The king of Mycenae led the Greek army. This army came from many different cities and regions, including:
- The Cyclades
We don’t know how many people there were, but Homer says there were tens of thousands.
In Homer’s Iliad, there are many exciting events. They happen in the 10th year of the Trojan War.
King Agamemnon took away a woman called Briseis. Achilles became angry and took his troops, then went home and didn’t fight anymore.
In the fighting that followed, the Trojans were able to gain ground and set up camp close to the Greek ships.
Achilles’ friend Patroclus went to battle in Achilles’ armor. He was trying to make the Greeks happy and scare the Trojans.
At first, the plan worked. But then Patroclus was killed by the Trojan prince Hector.
When Achilles saw this, he wanted to make sure that Hector paid for what he did. He became friends with Agamemnon again, and they went back to fighting together.
Achilles came back to battle. The Greeks had more success this time. Achilles killed Hector with the new armor from his mother.
Achilles was very angry. He did not want to let Hector’s body go for the funeral ceremony.
Achilles dragged Hector’s body behind his chariot. This made the family of Hector very sad.
But the gods were good on Hector’s family. They protected Hector’s body from being harmed. The god Hermes helped Priam, who was upset, get into the Greek camp without being seen.
Priam begged Achilles to give him his son’s body. Achilles’ need for revenge went away, and he agreed. It was a good decision because it showed some humanity in the hero and gave order back to the world.
The funeral of Hector could now happen. The Iliad ends at this point.
The Trojan War lasted for 10 years. Many people died in the war, including Hector and Achilles. The end of the war came with a gift: a huge wooden horse waiting outside Troy one morning.
The Trojan War Fact: The Trojan Horse
The Greek armies retreated from their camp one morning. They had left a huge horse made of wood just outside the city of Troy.
The Trojans opened the gates and fell into the trap. They took the gift horse inside their city. The horse opened up, and a group of Greek people climbed out.
They robbed Troy from inside and got away with everything they could steal. Thus the Trojans lost the war.
The Trojan Horse was the trick that helped end the war. It is very famous and is one of the most well-known military tricks known.
Helen went back with Menelaus. She didn’t want to be a widow again, so she left and went back to Sparta with him. When he died, she was forced into exile on Rhodes Island.
Odysseus’ Journey Home
After the Trojan War, many Greeks went home. They didn’t enjoy easy trips back.
The gods were angry because many people committed bad things in Troy. Few people got home safely or lived to enjoy their return.
The most difficult and long journey is that of Odysseus, as told in Homer’s Odyssey. He had to travel all over the Mediterranean Sea. Poseidon, the God of the Sea, tormented him all along his journey.
Odysseus faced many problems on his journey. He was in the storm, and he also had a shipwreck. Many people wanted to hurt him, like the one-eyed giant Cyclops and the Sirens with their song.
Odysseus finally comes home, only to find many men in his house who want to marry his wife. They think he is not alive.
After 10 years at sea, Odysseus also overcomes the last challenge. He is reunited with his wife, Penelope. He also kills the suitors that had no right to be there.
The Iliad and the Odyssey
There is not much written about Homer, the author of the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey,” two long poems about the Trojan War. Homer may have written and sung his stories for kings and festivals. He wasn’t the only one to do this, but he was famous because he had a lot of stories.
These poems were told from one person to another. Then people started writing them down.
The Real Troy
Was there a Trojan War? Ancient people were interested in telling the truth. They thought that the events happened for a large part.
The legacy of the war was present in Greek lives. Even a thousand years later, Alexander the Great made sure to visit the remains of Troy on his way to conquer Asia. He supposedly picked up some armor left there from the time of the war.
The Romans were also fascinated by the story. They came from a Trojan warrior called Aeneas, who made his way to Italy. Virgil wrote about him in an epic poem, the Aeneid.
In the 19th century, people found the rest of what is supposed to have been Troy in modern-day Turkey. They did this by digging on a hill.
A German archaeologist named Heinrich Schliemann did some excavations. He found some things, and he claimed they were treasures of Helen and Priam.
Yet, when archaeologists looked more closely at the site and did research, they found that it was probably Troy. But the size of it is not what Homer said.
The city seemed to show signs of destruction. Archaeologists had a hard time with the existence of other settlements on top of one another. They were connected to the Mycenaean world in Greece.
The site is probably a place where the Greeks raided the territory of Troy. This raid was just part of a war. The raid became famous because it happened before Mycenaeans’ world collapsed.
People told the story, and the great myths of the Trojan War came out of it. The Iliad is the best. The Iliad is followed by its sister narrative, Homer’s Odyssey.
These stories tell about ten years after Odysseus left Troy to go home. That means that the heroes achieved their wish for immortal glory.
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